Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Family matters

I've just picked up Eoin Colfer's first Artemis Fowl novel after having enjoyed his Half Moon Investigations. Each novel features a 12-year-old protagonist, one a criminal mastermind, the other a private detective.

I also recently discovered an article whose author found Fred Vargas' Have Mercy On Us All reminiscent of Daniel Pennac's Malaussène novels, and I agreed with the observation. (Hat tip to Detectives Literarios.) Pennac and Vargas write about "marvelous tribes" — strange families and eccentric collections of people who somehow get along harmoniously living under one weird roof.

That's two reminders the same week that not all family humor is as dreary, featureless, focus-group-driven and identically unfunny as that to be found on the typical American newspaper's comics pages.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dave K. said...

Hey, you're not dumping on "Family Circus" are you? It's a classic, I tell you. Even better than "Cathy."

I have yet to pick up a Vargas book, but it's coming real soon.

September 11, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

You know what's good about Family Circus? Nuffin!

And speaking of Cathy, do recall a certain former editor-in-chief of the newspaper where we were colleagues? Ever see her and Cathy together?

I rest my case.

September 11, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Actually, "Family Circus" probably predates the focus-group era, in which there are strips about young white families, young black families, Hispanic families, slightly older families with teenagers, slightly older than that families whose children have left home, and the only result of all the spurious diversity is bland, unfunny sameness.

"Cathy" probably moves us a little closer to the modern age. Once features syndicates saw that a strip about a kicky office woman who says Ack! all the time could be a smash, the floodgates were open.

I await the day when the big syndicates offer a strip with a gay or a Muslim protagonist. On second thought, when that happens, said protagonist will wind up being as cuddly and as sitcomically dull as all the rest.

September 12, 2007  

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