The Comics Curmudgeon

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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A blog started by Josh Fruhlinger in July 2004, under its original title, I Read The Comics So You Don't Have To (a Boston-area newspaper that featured a similarly-titled column forced the name change). In it, Josh selects several newspaper comic strips every day and offers (usually sarcastic) commentary on them. Over time, the blog has developed a great deal of media attention as the authors of many comics have discovered it. Some comic artists or writers are even fans of the blog, including Chris Browne (Hagar the Horrible), Mark Tatulli (Lio, Heart of the City), Francesco Marciuliano (|Sally Forth and also the web comic Medium Large), Ed Power (My Cage), Jumble Jeff Knurek (the Jumble puzzle/comic), and Bob Weber, Jr. (Slylock Fox). Marciuliano, who is also registered on the boards, even created a logo for the site during a major site redesign in early 2010, while Bob Weber has actually used the blog to sell official Slylock Fox merchandise directed at the adult fans of his strip.

Josh has also developed a great deal of Running Gags within the blog, including Aldo Kelrast, a character in Mary Worth, whose storyline became one of the strip's most popular after Josh began joking about it. Archie has even made reference to one of the blog's running gags.

Read it here.


The Comics Curmudgeon is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in The Comics Curmudgeon include:
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Much of the blog is based on this.
    • His application of plothole logic to Slylock Fox can easily make you unable to see it as anything other than a hell dimension populated by poor souls cursed to be animals for all eternity, constantly under surveillance and presumed to be guilty of all accused crimes.
    • Marmaduke is a ravenous, uncontrollable hellhound who regularly consumes his "owner"'s neighbors and buries their stripped bones in the back yard.
    • Instead of being a caring, helpful soul, Mary Worth is a Machiavellian, manipulative harpy who cannot stand people living in ways she doesn't approve and compulsively meddles in the affairs of those she encounters.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: (In a commentary on Mary Worth) "Place your bets on what this 'troubling' medical condition may be: pregnancy, venereal disease, dementia, Electra Complex, droopy-ponytail-itis"
  • Ascended Meme: After constantly joking about the Archie comic strip being written by the "Archie Joke Generating Laugh Unit 3000," the strip began referencing that line.
    • The author of Mary Worth opened a CafePress store and created merchandise prominently featuring some of Aldo's greatest moments.
  • Asexuality: Josh constantly makes jokes about Mark Trail being asexual. It's probably second only to the jokes about Mark solving all his problems by punching people with his "fist of justice."
    • By contrast, Josh desperately wishes that the characters in Luann would all develop this, as the achingly awkward "sexiness" of the strip "makes my libido shrivel and die."
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "Marmaduke's owner can't get the dog to stay off the furniture, stop digging up the yard, or refrain from eating the neighbors"
  • Caustic Critic: Josh can be this at times, especially to strips that he dislikes, though he's generally more sarcastic and jovial than outright hostile. Except for the one and only time he discussed political cartoons.
    • Josh can get pretty hostile about strips he wants to see end, Crock, Marvin, and Luann being among the hardest hit. Generally, though, he just mocks the on-going nature of long-running strips, often citing them as horribly out of touch with modern times (such as Crock's belief that kids these days "swap iTunes" as a sign of commitment).
      • He has come to genuinely and openly hate Funky Winkerbean. Considering he had been impressed by the writer's willingness to go through with depicting Lisa's death from cancer, this should say something about the direction the strip has taken since then.
    • Subverted by Mallard Fillmore. He hates it, but has only talked about it once. Plus, mentioning it on his blog is a bannable offense.
      • Should be noted that he dislikes political cartoons in general, not just Mallard Fillmore. He rarely also talks about Doonesbury for example.
    • Also subverted by Get Fuzzy; it's one of the few comics he genuinely likes. Since its entertaining on its own merits, he rarely brings it up, and when he does, it's just as often an attempt to explain why it's amusing to those outside the fold, which he undertakes with a surprising amount of maturity, considering this is the internet.
    • The Pluggers and Snuffy Smith comics generally get reviewed with a mildly sneery checklist of pretty much every stereotype off the Acceptable Targets checklist regarding rural people.
    • Interestingly, his opinion of BC seems to have softened since the comic's transformation into a Legacy Comic. Hart had made the comic preachy, unfunny and overtly religious in a way that didn't suit the tone of the comic after his finding religion. The legacy writer's decision to go in a more bizarre direction with it leads to a more incomprehensible but more enjoyable comic
  • Child Eater: Marmaduke
  • Dissimile: His quip about The Family Circus here:

I'm overjoyed to see Billy's comically overwrought expression of crushing despair as his mother drapes that suit jacket over his shoulders. It's as if he’s won the Masters, only instead of a green jacket he's getting a blue jacket, and instead of winning the Masters he's going to be executed wearing a blue jacket.

Billy: Now that we're in bed, they won't have to watch their language on TV.
Josh: You sure got that right, you little fucker.

  • Promoted Fanboy: Josh's constant riffing on newspaper Spider-Man got him invited to appear in the Rifftrax commentary track for Spider-Man 2.
  • Rule 34: He found one of Cassandra Cat on someone else's blog and posted it to his own. It later got taken down from both blogs, at Bob Weber, Jr.'s request[1].
  • Running Gag: Beyond all the Memetic Mutation, other recurring gags include:
    • Beetle Bailey and Sarge being sexual partners.
    • Dennis the Menace's ever-growing Menace Decay.
    • The Family Circus being the story of an ultra-Fundamentalist cult living sequestered away in the "Keane Kompound."
      • Also, jokes about the kids being drooling retards
    • Funky Winkerbean's obsession with cancer and death, to the point that never-ending depression seems to be the only constant force in the Funkyverse. Also extends to Crankshaft at times.
    • Herb and Jamaal being "ludicrously non-specific."
      • And those two being "on the down-low." You know what I'm talking about.
    • Marmaduke being a demonspawned hellhound who can't stop killing and eating people, and his owner being Adolf Hitler.
    • Marvin's obsession with Toilet Humor.
    • Mary Worth's obsession with sanctimonious meddling (although that one is more or less canon).
    • Archie being written by a sterile computer, the Archie Joke-Generating Laugh Unit 3000, that "almost, but doesn't quite, understand humor."
    • Mark Trail solving most of his problems by punching bearded hillbillies.
      • As well his Asexuality
      • Don't forget the abominations that are Rusty's attempts at expressing emotion the author's attempts to draw Rusty as something more resembling a human boy than some sort of hellspawn.
      • And all the giant animals running around, and even occasionally speaking.
    • Dick Tracy is an authoritarian tyrant who believes violence is the solution to everything.
    • The romance between Brad and Toni in Luann seems to make Josh physically ill. Also, TJ is probably gay.
    • Crankshaft being a Jerkass
    • Newspaper Spider-Man wants nothing more than to watch TV.
      • Along with jokes about everyone else in the strip being absolute morons.
    • In Apartment 3-G, Luann is vapid, Tommie has the personality of cardboard, and Margo Magee is a memetic psychopath who would just as soon snap someone's neck as acknowledge they exist. Of course, no part of that diminishes Josh's Perverse Sexual Lust for her.
      • Finger-Quotin' Margo.
    • Calling For Better or For Worse "FOOB" (all caps, as if it were a botched attempt at an acronym), after a strip where April explains slang that actually only exists in-universe.
    • The crazy pervert inbound visitors. See, when someone goes to the site from a search engine result, Josh can see what they searched, and he took to posting some of the most creepy and outlandish ones for the amusement of readers.
    • "Ha! It's funny because [some creepy reason]." The best part is that, for once, he's not extrapolating anything; these are always the intended joke.
    • It's gotten to the point that he has a Running Gag where he wonders if he's overplaying a particular gag, only for a strip to take it to new and disturbing heights.
    • The characters of Judge Parker being smug dicks, who see no problem with using their money to get whatever they want.
  • Scunthorpe Problem: At one point the comment system's spam filter kept catching posts containing "MILF" . . . and Gil Thorp takes place in Milford.
  • Shout-Out: My Cage, Pearls Before Swine and Sally Forth have all made positive references to the blog. Retail made a less positive reference to it in a strip about a blog called "hateoncomics.com." Ironic, considering Josh has never covered Retail.
    • The Jumble (whose artist is a regular commenter) has included Josh in a few puzzles, including one where he is put on trial and found guilty by the entire newspaper comics page.
    • Archie occasionally drops references to the AJGLU 3000 into background detail.
    • The authors of Mary Worth have released "Aldomania" merchandise.
  • Uncanny Valley: Whatever on Earth Rusty is.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Josh loves pointing out a) potentially awesome ways the plot could develop and b) how boring the plot actually develops. When it does turn out awesome, however...
  • Trope Name: This entry.
  • Very Special Episode: Parodied. "Two weeks ago, General Halftrack slipped off into the woods to quietly kill himself. Today, in a very special Beetle Bailey, Beetle finds the body"
  1. though the pic is easy to find, if you know where to look