“Ennui having fun?”

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When I started drawing a comic strip, two of the most influential strips out there were “Doonesbury” and “Bloom County.” One of the more minor distinctions shared by these two innovative features was the abandonment of the traditional “speech balloon” for the style displayed in the strip above. Yes, I dabbled with this “new” look now and then, as in this strip from 1999. Drawing speech balloons is tedious and not at all easy as it appears. Still, I have stuck with the balloon, because it’s such an integral part of what a comic strip is to me. Sometimes, if the design seems to dictate, if a balloon seems unnecessary such as in a close-up talking-head shot, I will dispose of it.

38 thoughts on ““Ennui having fun?””

  1. I never really give a great deal of thought behind talk “ballons”. Some strips are so wordy that you almost need them to keep track of who is talking.

    In regards to Arlo always making a “production” out of everything, I think that it is because he has a great imagination. As does JJ.

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  2. Balloon or no balloon…I like them all…I honestly don’t know that I would have noticed if you had not pointed it out.

    I do things like Arlo is doing in this retro with my kids years ago and now with my grandkids…and Arlo is correct…no imagination anymore!

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  3. As a little boy, I discovered the hard way that it’s better to write the words and then draw the balloon, rather than the other way round. I expect most of us have …

    Incidentally (a pedant writes), the words (in Lottie Collin’s English version) go: ‘Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay’; although the original published version had ‘…de-ray’. Lottie Collins: now THERE’S a subject for a cartoon strip!

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  4. When is a balloon not a balloon? Or, a balloon by any other name would be just as ballooney? Or is that balogna? I quit.

    Debbe, saw this, thought of you: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/08/punching-poultry-louisiana-lawmaker-claims-chicken-boxing-is-sport/?intcmp=latestnews Forgive me. I saw a couple of illegal cock fights in Lousy Anna — every bit as vicious as the illegal dog fights, believe it or not — and even with leather spur covers rather than sharpened metal spurs, the Day-Lewis movie comes to mind, There Will Be Blood! I’m surprised PETA hasn’t put in as many hours complaining about the fights as they have fur coats and leather belts and shoes.

    Am I in trouble again for stirring…I mean, making waves? Oops! Waves is a nautical analogy. I am in trouble again. 😀

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  5. I’m gonna weigh in on the Children on the Boat issue and side with Mindy. Using proper safety features such as life preservers and close parental observation, sailing is no more irresponsible than having kids in automobiles with safety features such as seat belts and close parental observation. Kids were sailing long before they were riding in cars. I’m with you on this one, Mindy.

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  6. No balloon is just fine. Interesting how after all these years that Doonesbury is on another break and Bloom is gone (but not forgotten) but you still indure. Good On Ya!

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  7. sandcastler (I cannot get used to the lower case first letter!), cats on board sailing vessels were once considered good luck as well as mobile rat killers. Otto66, A&J remains my favorite with Bloom County running a close second and Frazz in third. (Pogo is in there somewhere.) But didn’t Bloom go away twice before this? GoComics has Bloom reruns.

    No, Mr. Johnson, I’m not hyping your competition. I really don’t think this Village would even be faintly susceptible to that anyway. I know certain people under this roof and a neighbor’s who almost fight over whom (like that, Ghost?) is to get first shot at A&J in the morning. Ginger, I’m told, once sent Mindy into screaming fits by cutting A&J from the comics section with scissors and then leaving the mutilated page for Mindy. John had enough sense to leave the house as soon as he heard what Ginger had done.

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  8. Shelly, the lower case start to my nickname is a reminder to me to be humble. Fifteen years with the Francicans taught me humility, piety, and a few other things.

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  9. Kids get bored because they lack inner resources, When I get bored I think of something fun to do, and, boom, no more boredom.
    Shelly, according to Patrick O’Brian, during the Napoleonic period, in the British Navy at any rate, cats, along with Parsons and sailing on a Friday wee bad luck,

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  10. Jerry in FL, and Llee, I could not get to A&J at all yesterday–it would not load. I kept trying and it drove me crazy!! Lily, I was ecstatic when I learned to read, because I realized VERY quickly that I never had to be bored again ever–as long as I had something to read with me. Which is one reason I really like all kinds of e-readers.

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  11. NK,

    I, too had much trouble getting onto this site yesterday. When it finally loaded, it wouldn’t take my comment I loved my Kindle till my router quit working 🙁

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  12. Mindy et al.: At least I didn’t tell you what an Air Force detachment commander once told me…”If you want me to respect your opinions, get better opinions!” I thought that was unnecessarily harsh. Especially since I was right and he was wrong. 🙂

    (Very good, Shelly.)

    Jimmy must be WordPressing again. This blog was unavailable from here most of the morning.

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  13. Better than Rossini’s “Lone Ranger” thingie, Mary in Ohio? For general information, I really don’t think Mindy’s evil twin sister is all that evil. And a dollar bill? Ghost, is all the air force that cheap?

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  14. Mary:

    Tah-rah-rah-boom-de-ay / We have no school today. / Our teacher’s passed away; / She died of tooth decay.
    They threw her in the Bay; / It scared the fish away. / She’s never coming out; / She smells like sauerkraut.

    May have posted that before. I may have even found it here, but think MPR Writer’s Almanac is more likely. Sang that to our ministerial coordinator in the church office after our pastor had offered something equally gross. “You’re both awful.”

    Go in Thursday mornings to copy-edit the weekly church bulletin for our sterling secretary. Among other things, I like the 1:3 ratio.

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  15. OK, Shelly, then what do you do when a naked chick dances on your table top?

    An article I read about the Heartbleed virus advises you should protect your accounts by…

    1. Using only very long, very complicated passwords
    2. Using different ones for every account
    3. Changing them every 30 days
    4. Never writing them down

    Sure. No problem.

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  16. You’re asking ME that, Ghost? Or do you mean the feathered fowl kind of chick? And how did you know that Ginger…ah, eat your heart out, I’m not going to finish that one.
    😀

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  17. Well, Shelly, which kind of chick do you prefer? Oh, and Mindy never answered me when I attempted to determine to whom the “three pairs” of pokies John saw belonged. You wouldn’t happen to have any information about that, would you?

    Debbe 😉

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  18. Miracles occasionally happen department: Monday afternoon, not 5 minutes after I finished making copies of our tax forms, our printer totally died. It had been in the throes for a few months – being held together, literally, by duct tape(!) – but, on Monday, it completely went. Among other things, it insisted on my clearing a paper jam when there was no paper in the machine, not even in the storage bin, and crumpling up any sheets I tried to feed it.
    I am thankful that it did last until after the tax forms were copied.

    That evening, we went to an office supply store and looked at several printers. One or two caught our eyes, but it was apparent we had not taken along sufficient information to make a choice. Upon the return home, we checked ratings of printers, found a good one which the store had – and, on sale, too – and verified that it would work with our system with our son, a computer pro.
    Tuesday morning, I returned to the store, bought the on-sale printer (and found that our old machine’s cable would work with it, thus saving some $$) and also was able to return an unopened ink package for full credit. Yay! That afternoon, I managed to hook up the printer enough to be able to make copies of, say, emails and to do ordinary copying. For me, that was nothing less than a miracle, as I usually can stick a plug into a wall socket, but not much more. In contrast, I could not make the disc of instructions work at all, so didn’t get the whole installation done. Said son will be doing that for us soon.

    Yep, sometimes miracles do occur…and I am grateful.

    For those of you who know about such things, we have Windows 7 Professional matched with an HP 6520 now.

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  19. Good morning Villagers…..

    ….and a cockle doodle do morning Mindy and Clan….chicken boxing…..what a bunch of baloney. Thanks for thinking of me 🙂

    There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not chasing some hen down, or up, the aisles at work. They do run funny and believe me, sometimes they think they can fly. Then I have a few who will actually peck at you, I had one draw blood on my hand the other day when I reached to put eggs back on the belt. Spent hens are vicious, so chicken boxing, I feel would be right up there with cockfighting. I’ve pulled hens out of cages who have literally had their head almost pecked to death….not a pretty sight.

    I love the strip above and it’s so true.

    Did anyone read the comments on yesterday’s strip…..fired up, they are on the Dark Side.

    GR…you sure do have a one track mind, but we love ya 😉 Maybe you should change your “handle” to Pokeyman 🙂

    Ya’ll have a blessed day…..

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  20. Good morning Villagers…..

    ….and a cockle doodle do morning Mindy and Clan….chicken boxing…..what a bunch of baloney. Thanks for thinking of me 🙂

    There isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not chasing some hen down, or up, the aisles at work. They do run funny and believe me, sometimes they think they can fly. Then I have a few who will actually peck at you, I had one draw blood on my hand the other day when I reached to put eggs back on the belt. Spent hens are vicious, so chicken boxing, I feel would be right up there with cockfighting. I’ve pulled hens out of cages who have literally had their head almost pecked to death….not a pretty sight.

    Did anyone read the comments on yesterday’s strip…..fired up, they are on the Dark Side.

    GR…you sure do have a one track mind, but we love ya 😉 Maybe you should change your “handle” to Pokeyman 🙂

    Ya’ll have a blessed day…..

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  21. When my children were little I used to use a chicken as a puppet. Thanks, Jimmy! Cartoon influences! Speech no-ballons! And a groaner of a pun in the title! I believe it was Zippy the Pinhead in his cartoon who first asked, “Are we having fun yet?” Full-course meal this time.

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  22. to curmudge ex prof – remember the days when you went to a store, bought something, brought it home, plugged in and then used it ??? no programming, no “is this the right cable $$$ ???”
    Ah – those were the days ….

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  23. ‘Bloom County’ & ‘Doonesbury’ are both very much of their time and have faded as times move on. I doubt that ‘Arlo & Janis’ will have that problem.

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