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Why don't they just jump through the giant picture window?

(From Overboard. Click on the thumbnail for full sized broadsides!)

You've probably gathered that I like Overboard. One of the more unique newspaper strips, detailing the adventures of pirates in the modern day -- still on the pirate ship, still fighting other pirates and sacking cruise ships and using swords and maces and cannons and the like. I like the cast and crew, which take the concept of "casual disdain" to new and exciting heights. While Chip Dunham phones it in more these days than in the older days of the strip -- the rare Overboard print collections show a savagery of humor rare on the newspaper page -- I still like it and I think it still kind of works.

That being said... I don't like metahumor strips as a rule. In my own brief foray into webcartooning (the less said about the better) I used that kind of "cartoonist as character" device. Dunham uses it. Frank Cho uses it (his infamous "monkeyboy Cho.") And it just. Never. Works. The only exception is if they go whole hog -- make the characters actors, so when the cartoonist shows up they break character and go to get a smoke. Sort of Greystone Innish, only Greystone Inn tries to have it both ways which doesn't work.

So, the joke above doesn't work for me, even though the trappings do. I love the idea of employee relations involving a morningstar and a 6 pound cannon. I just wish it didn't have to invoke "the cartoonist" as part of it.


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