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Why Online Funnies Have Taken Over from Print

Simon's Cat, Western Spaghetti, two creative masterpieces.

Ben Shingler 19 Aug 2008TheTyee.ca

Ben Shingler is a writer and journalist based in Saint John, New Brunswick.

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Mind-boggling stop-motion video.

There is still something appealing about opening up the morning paper to the comics page. But the creativity found in online video comics -- they're not quite cartoons in the classical sense, but a far cry from the still drawings found in the paper -- is pretty difficult to beat.

The most popular online series these days is Simon's Cat, which uses simple flash animation to shed light on those special, twisted moments shared by cat and owner.

Sounds familiar, right? So maybe it's a reflection of the medium that the first three episodes of this young series seem a lot more fun than stale, old Jon and Garfield.

The most recent episode, "TV Dinner," shows a cat trying to get attention from his couch-potato owner. It may not be groundbreaking, but the video has obviously caught people's attention: it's been viewed more than two million times since it appeared online about a month ago.

"Let Me In," released in early March, has been seen nearly six million times, and "Cat Man Do," also released in March, nearly 3.8 million.

A less often watched online comic strip is Teen Girl Squad, which traces the lives of four characters -- "cheerleader," "so and so," "what's her face" and "the ugly one" -- through the trials of youth. It's clear Teen Girl Squad isn't celebrated for its artistic merit, but there are certainly lots of animated videos online that are.

One of the biggest hits these days is a mind-boggling stop-motion video called Western Spaghetti. It's not funny in a laugh-out-loud way, but the magical realism on display certainly stretches the imagination to smiling extremes.

That said, there's still nothing online that can match the energy, hilarity, and social commentary of Calvin & Hobbes; unless, of course, you read it online.  [Tyee]

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