Guess who's coming to breakfast?
June 28, 2001 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Guess who's coming to breakfast? The most rapidly syndicated comic strip since Calvin & Hobbes. Not bad for a cartoon that has the relatively narrow purpose of "telling jokes about black people to black people." Is it doing so well because of the politics or in spite of the politics? Or is it just that it's pretty damn funny and well-drawn? In any case, if it gives people even a glimpse of otherwise absent diversity, I love it.
posted by conquistador (22 comments total)
Probably in spite of the politics, as far as advertisers and networks are concerned. Friends of mine enjoy it for the cultural stuff (sly observations and whatnot -- Star Wars, conspiracy theory stuff, you know the drill) and not just the political stuff.

It's still funny. And McGruder's got a new book out too.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 2:03 PM on June 28, 2001

THe cool thing about this strip: It started as a daily comic in the University of Maryland Diamondback Newspaper. I remember reading it back when I was just a little under-grad there. He got into a lot of hot water about some of his topics so what you see now is actually a watered down version of the original strip.

Sadly, he and one famous dead basketball player are U of M's only bragging rights.
posted by remlapm at 2:06 PM on June 28, 2001

wow... i was dissapointed because i really wanted to share my favorite boondock strip, yet not enough to take it down off my wall and scan it... but when i went to the site, clicked around, i found it on the third try, despite it being a couple months old.. anyway.. yeah. probably won't be as funny to the rest of you, but as a participant in foolishness much like that displayed in this particular strip, it holds a special place in my heart.
posted by lotsofno at 2:31 PM on June 28, 2001

The Boondocks used to be my favorite newspaper strip (as opposed to quality online comics), but I stopped reading it awhile ago. First of all, the artwork is terrific, but still gets on my nerves a little -- it's a little shaky and a bit too obviously anime-influenced. (I have no problem with influences, until they reach the point of imitation...) Also, the non-stop barrage of social satire just got to me after awhile -- the strip was great at making things funny that no one had before, but it wasn't very good at making me just plain old laugh. Finally, I'd had enough Jar Jar jokes.

(The Boondocks was, by the way, the only syndicated strip to repeatedly mention the DeCSS war.)
posted by tweebiscuit at 3:05 PM on June 28, 2001

Boondocks rules. And it's Marylandian influence doesn't hurt either...
posted by owillis at 3:12 PM on June 28, 2001

I don't know; a cartoon for geeks about geeks became a big hit. Why not this?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 3:26 PM on June 28, 2001

he and one famous dead basketball player are U of M's only bragging rights.
Excuse me, no offense but I think that "one famous dead basketball player" is not a worthy epitaph for Len Bias. I just felt like mentioning his name, that's all
posted by matteo at 3:36 PM on June 28, 2001

hmm. i'm a geek, but never honestly found dilbert all that humorous. boondocks, on the other hand, is as consistently funny as bloom county was back in the day, and has a tendency for 'quick-hit' political commentary, rather than dragging it out, trudeau-style.

plus, i dig it cos there's a pretty constant stream of wu-tang jokes. odb humor never goes stale.
posted by gangcandy at 4:19 PM on June 28, 2001

Wow. This is pretty interesting. This comic strip has been in the Baltimore Sun for a while so I'm familiar w/the comic. I never knew the guy grew up in Columbia, Maryland which is a 5 minute drive from me.
posted by suprfli at 4:22 PM on June 28, 2001

I never thought of Dilbert as the by-geeks-for-geeks comic. I thought of it as the by-geek-about-cubicle-slaves comic. You don't have to be a geek to appreciate Dilbert, you just have to be familiar with the modern workplace. Now, User Friendly... there's the by-geek-about-geeks-to-exploit-geeks comic.
posted by darukaru at 4:45 PM on June 28, 2001

That's why Boondocks looked familiar. I had seen McGruder's work during my short stint at UMD! Of course, I love it because it's a great strip, but now I know why it seemed so familiar to me.

And he's down with OkayPlayer, too.
posted by anildash at 4:51 PM on June 28, 2001

In another, [Huey] embarks on a campaign to expose Santa Claus as an "agent of the Illuminati" trying to bring about a New World Order while the "real" Santa, a black man named St. Nick (Jolly) Jenkins, languishes on death row accused of a crime he did not commit.

I'm sorry, but that is soggy-cheerios-through-the-nose funny! I'd compare MacGruder to Trudeau in his heyday. There's nothing wrong with a non-stop barrage of social satire on the funny pages. Something has to put what's in the rest of the paper into perspective.
posted by dchase at 5:21 PM on June 28, 2001

The first weeks of its appearance in the Chicago Tribune were greeted by surly letters to the editor complaining about its "racism", apparently because it made jokes about the interactions between white and black people. (It's set, edgily, in the suburbs, and a nearby family is a black lawyer, his white wife, and their biracial daughter.) I think it's hands-down one of the funniest strips in production and I wish MacGruder all the success he can get.

Yeah, not exactly something that struck a personal chord with me, but I loved that "The LEFT side!" strip too ...
posted by dhartung at 5:23 PM on June 28, 2001

Man, you guys have got to be kidding me! Gil Thorp is the happeninest comic ever! That and little nemo.
posted by thirteen at 5:34 PM on June 28, 2001

As a former Marvel Comics fan, a wannabe revolutionary, and a copyleft advocate, I have to say that this particular Boondocks cartoon scored a personal trifecta with me.
posted by jbushnell at 5:54 PM on June 28, 2001

tweebiscuit - I agree about the anime influence, but it doesn't bother me that much. Here's a pretty cool interview with him done by the Onion's AV Club, and he says flat out that he's a big anime fan and always imagined the strip as being animated. Pretty cool, I think.

Lotsofno - "Left side of the bedroom, fool! What!!!? What?!!" I remember reading that one in the Sunday comix and laughing my ass off. Haven't seen it since, but it had the same effect just now. You are a person after my own heart.

I like this comic a whole lot, and I'm proud that he's a local guy.
posted by GriffX at 9:37 PM on June 28, 2001

he... always imagined the strip as being animated.
I would pay cash money to see Boondocks as a teevee show. It could be the Simpsons for the Double-Aughts. It's a pity no network would ever have the guts to show it, though.
posted by darukaru at 11:16 PM on June 28, 2001

I've seen Boondocks online a few times, but never really got into it until I revisited it via this thread an hour ago (thanks conquistador!).

This recent strip pretty much explains why I'm cranky most of the time, if anyone's interested.
posted by lia at 6:15 AM on June 29, 2001

How about "because it's funny"? I've been reading Boondocks for at least a year--however long it's been in Newsday. They ran a feature article on McGruder when they started running the strip, I think because they were nervous about reader reaction.

He's got the kid going after telemarketers now--and getting in trouble with his grandfather for how he's doing it.

memo to tweebiscuit: there haven't been any Jar Jar jokes lately.
posted by rosvicl at 7:22 AM on June 29, 2001

Boondocks is the only strip in the paper that consistently cracks my shit up. Oh yeah, and Geech :)
posted by sonofsamiam at 7:24 AM on June 29, 2001

It's a pity no network would ever have the guts to show it, though.

Maybe they could run it on BET.
posted by thirteen at 8:02 AM on June 29, 2001

Funny you should mention Trudeau dchase, as The Boondocks runs on page 2 of the living section in the Atlanta Journal Constitution - right underneath Doonesbury. It ran on the comics pages for awhile, but folks didn't like black cultural criticism mixing it up with Cathy I suppose.

I have my ups and downs with the strip (particularly McGruder's essentialist thinking when it comes to interracial couples and biracial identity) but I have to give McGruder much respect for not backing down on BET. If only more of us could/would be as publicly critical of that travesty of a network.
posted by likorish at 8:43 PM on June 29, 2001

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