Monday, January 01, 2007

It isn't just me, I know

Holiday posts for bloggers are either a polite obligatory entry, necessary evil or onerous task for all those authors both amateur (me) and professional alike. It's always a challenge to find a semi-unique image to use that will meet the usual posting criteria of the blog but yet be something that hopefully most people have not seen repeated every holiday and posted between 500 blogs for the last several years. Just think back to how many times you saw Santa pooping in a chimney and you'll get the idea.

Many authors and columnists who have interesting lives opt to skip the holiday posts altogether and travel and enjoy some family time. Some, like Bully, wrote about his London trip over the holidays and made me envious. I want his job. Sure, cutting up dead animals is fun, but unless you count fleeing from PeTA agents, the travel opportunities are somewhat limited.

The syndicated comic strips often choose to submit some crappy group sketch of the entire cast of the strip shouting Happy Valentine's Day! or something. Blondie and the once hyper-surreal strip Gasoline Alley is particularly prone to this holiday short-cut. Cripes, guys. Would it kill you to actually write something that fits the storyline that also incorporates the holiday in question? Some strips are ridiculous about the practice. A daily action-adventure strip that is in the climax of a final battle between the hero and the villain will take a break from the devastation and pause a day to show Mr. Destructo and The Phantom sharing a hug and wishing all their readers a Merry Christmas. It's as bad and as jarring as Lex Luthor or Dr. Doom shedding a tear in a comic book over the death of innocent bystanders.

It's even worse when the strips are of a non-linear or non-topical nature like Garfield, The Family Circus or the previously mentioned Blondie. Those strips could be, and probably are, written using snail-mail while asleep and readied several months in advance. The strips would be all the better for avoiding the Very Special Holiday Message and skip acknowledging that any time passes in the strip all together. The sharp, classic work of Charles Schultz aside, so many strips are stuck in a non-ironic stylistic 1950's time warp that it would probably go unnoticed by their readers in any case.

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