Friday, August 06, 2004

Comic Strip Reviews: Fox Trot

Fox Trot used to be one of my favorite comic strips. In high school I bought the books, and I have every Fox Trot collection up through Welcome to Jasorassic Park; I don't know how many that is, but it's somewhat of a lot. Maybe I've grown out of the strip and I'm romanticizing it in retrospect, but I feel like it used to have more depth than it does now.

(Incidentally, most "Comic Strip Reviews" on this blog are really a way for me to complain about comic strips, so don't look for too many positive reviews.)

The strength of Fox Trot has always been its characters and its extended story arcs, like Paige's attempts to get a prom date, Peter and Jason's moral struggle with whether to return an lost envelope of money, the family's disatrous vacations, or Jason's epic, summer-long arc at Camp Bohrmore science camp. But lately, the arcs go nowhere (see the recent arc where Jason designs a jPod to compete with iPod, or the metabolically gifted Peter's sudden weight gain and equally sudden weight loss), and the gags too often groan-worthy puns or cheap sight gags.

Bill Amend has been gravitating toward more visual humor for awhile, which is important, since comics are a visual medium. But his sight gags never satisfy, they just break the reality of the strip and ultimately feel kind of lazy.

Not all of the strips are lame. Some of them still register in the old Fox Trot style, although none of them have the freshness to me that they once had. I'm just observing a general trend in the series that bothers me.


Zack said...

Is Peter still dating Denise (the blind girl)? I don't think I've seen her in a strip for years.

Anyhow, my Fox Trot journey was similar. I think Jasorassic Park was the last one I bought, too. I still read Fox Trot when I pick up the comics, but if it wasn't an inch away from Get Fuzzy in the Chronicle, I might not.

Kenny said...

I don't know. At some point they broke up, but they may have gotten back together.