Four Color Philosophy: Oh Brother, Not Another One!

The quality new comic strip Oh Brother! has ended.  Citing lack of sales and stress-related health issues, the creator has had to bow out voluntarily.

I feel really bad for Mr. Stephens; his strip was solidly enjoyable, and I still get mad thinking about how Cartoon Network screwed over The Secret Saturdays because it wasn't toyetic enough (though, to be fair, the pacing desperately needed tweaking, but that's not important now).  Oh Brother! was consistently enjoyable, not in a laugh-out-loud way but still more amusing & creative than the vast majority of popular strips.

This is what's wrong with the cartoon market.  Here we have a strip that kids, adults, & families can enjoy together, that doesn't go out of its way to demonize any demographics or reek of authorial ego trips, and it dies entirely too soon.  Meanwhile, readers continue to have Dustin tell us that unemployed twenty-somethings deserve poverty because they're not Baby Boomers and get to watch Tom Batiuk masturbate his ego & indulge his cancer fetish through his Funky Winkerbean proxy Les.  NO ONE who follows comic strips likes these strips on their own merits; the most you'll get for the former example is a tooth-pulling admission that the art is nice, even if the "humor" is toxic, and if there's discussion of them, it's to mock their many, many, many failures.  I know that no industry is "fair", but the balance between actual quality and popularity in the newspaper comic is so disparate that it's an injustice.

I hope Mr. Stephens is okay and wish him the best of luck.


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