My picks for the 10 funniest comic strips published/put on the Web in 2013. .
#1 – Must be funny. (There were a lot of touching/poignant/inspiring/awesome strips this year but only the funny ones made the cut.)
#2 – Must be fresh. (Otherwise this list would consist of Peanuts re-runs.)
#3 – Must be family friendly. (Anything over the edge got cut even if it made me laugh.)
#4 – Must be fathomable. (i.e., punchlines that were the pay off of lengthy continuities, long-running gags, or required esoteric knowledge of the strip in question also got cut.)
Honorable Mention: Least I Could Do
Ryan Sohmer and Lar deSouza’s Least I Can Do is a sharply written, flawlessly drawn, often hilarious webcomic about Rayne Summers, one of the most charming sociopaths on record. As it is a living embodiment of the term “NSFW” (though incredibly without using explicit images or obscenities), it’s also pretty much permanently excluded from competition (though the Sunday strips focus on Rayne in his childhood and as such are family friendly in a raucous Calvin And Hobbes sorta way). Sohmer and deSouza occasionally interrupt their main story with brief so-called true-life accounts of their (mis)adventures at various comic cons. One such strip finally gets them into the finalists’ circle. Welcome, boys.
Honorable Mention: Pooch Cafe
Pooch Café vacillates between competently amusing and wickedly brilliant. Here Paul Gilligan takes a risk with a wordy set-up and gets his well-earned laugh.
Honorable Mention: Willy ‘n’ Ethel
Joe Martin always lands somewhere in the top ten, frequently with each of his strips making an appearance.
Honorable Mention: Zits
Jeff Scott and Jerry Borgman never fail to perfectly capture the tension between modern teens and their parents. You never see Archie and Jughead doing this!
Runner Up: Pearls Before Swine
Well, that got weird in a hurry.
Runner Up: Cats With Hands
Runner Up: One Big Happy
Third Place: Heavenly Nostrils
Dana Simpson is methodically and hilariously engaging in complex magical world building with Heavenly Nostrils, but does so in such a perfectly understated way that the average reader isn’t aware of it. Here is one such perfectly executed understatement.
Second Place: Gil
One of the most common complaints leveled against modern (i.e., post-Peanuts) comic strips is their purported lack of draftsmanship. Norm Feuti shows he can stand up to the best of the old grandmasters with this well drawn, utterly charming, and ultimately character driven summer time Sunday strip.
Grand Prize Winner: Mr. Boffo
Anybody can parody Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks; Joe Martin goes for a meta-gag on the painting itself.