Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Thursday, November 21, 2002 One of the best things about the Internet is that you can use it to prove the existence of things that everybody else thinks you just imagined. Like the TV show Small Wonder, the lyrics of “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”, or a Democrat-controlled Congress. It has its limits, though.
I remember a daily comic strip from a local paper in southeastern Kansas. The title of the strip was Mighty Funny. It “chronicled” the “adventures” of a “superhero” named Mighty Funny and his nameless sidekick.
I’ve complained about Bill Watterson descending into formula. Compared to Mighty Funny, the last years of Calvin & Hobbes were like a Dadaist anthology strip. Mighty Funny wasn’t just boilerplate. It was an entire boiler table setting. Here’s an example. I’ve reconstructed it from memory, so some details might be off. That includes the “jokes*,” but it doesn’t matter. As you’ll see:
Panel One: Mighty Funny, dressed in a cape and tights with the letters MF emblazoned on his chest, stands in an heroic pose, arms akimbo, squarely facing the reader. “Why was the broom late?” he asks nobody. His sidekick, a twerp less than half the size of Mighty Funny himself, also facing the reader, says, “I give up.”
Panel Two: Mighty Funny, with no change in posture or expression, announces, “Because he overswept.” The sidekick, apparently afflicted with the same paralysis, lies: “That’s Mighty Funny.”
Panel Three: Mighty Funny, looking exactly the same but somehow less heroic now that we haven’t seen him so much as blink for three panels, asks nobody: “Why wouldn’t the bald man let anyone use his comb?” His sidekick again says, “I give up.”
Panel Four: Mighty Funny joylessly recites, “He couldn’t part with it.” The sidekick again intones, “That’s Mighty Funny.”
Where do I start?
I don’t plan to waste a single pixel going on about the quality of the jokes themselves. The fact that “That’s Mighty Funny” was invariably the best joke in the strip twice a day goes without saying. I could talk about how some aspiring graphic novelist tried to build a career out of drawing one—count it, one—crude panel, then finding several years’ worth of banal riddles that would fit into the dialogue balloons. I could talk about how as superheroes go, the best thing one can say about Mighty Funny is that he probably keeps his secret identity very closely guarded, because he makes Zan from the Wonder Twins look like a bad-ass. I could go into a discussion about how Mighty Funny and his seemingly obsequious but actually strip-stealing partner in nothing are trapped in an existential nightmare, doomed to stand frozen day after day, pinned flat against the newsprint like butterflies in a case, except ugly, relating gags that will never, ever, ever get a laugh, as if some particularly vindictive Greek god is still not done being really, really pissed at them.
But nobody will know what I’m talking about, because nobody remembers this strip but me. And I can’t find one byte of information about it on the Internet. Google is, for once, no help. As far as the web is concerned, it didn’t exist before today.
Here’s what I know, and it’s not enough. I saw it during one or more of my family’s visits to our relatives in Kansas. I don’t know what year it was, or how long the strip ran. I don’t know the name of the strip’s author, and even if I did, I can say that if I produced such crap every day, I’d sure come up with a pseudonym. Nobody else in my family seems to remember the strip. So nobody believes me when I talk about it. Which I must, every time the subject of “your least favorite comic strip” comes up, because as hard as Fred Bassett works at being not funny, Fred’s sharp-as-a-cue-ball observations are downright Menckenesque when compared to the wit and wisdom of Mr. Funny.
All I can hope for is that someone reading this remembers reading Mighty Funny over breakfast back in the day and gets back to me. Okay, that’s not all I can hope. I can also hope that the person getting back to me is not the author of Mighty Funny. That would be mighty awkward.
Which, interestingly enough, is the name of my superhero alter ego.
* * *
I have to post a correction. We didn't take eleventh at the Brits pub quiz; we ranked eighth. My mistake.
We did better at Kieran's last night however. Second place once again, baby! Second time in a row! At this rate, we'll never have to buy wine again. But now we're going to be gunning for the team that came in first the last two months. Look out, first-place team.
* Thanks to Samuel Stoddard’s Really Bad Jokes for the “jokes.” I actually had to look through a lot of them because 95% of them were too advanced to have ever been featured in Mighty Funny. Seriously. posted by M. Giant 3:25 PM 1 comments
'course, it's years later, but I totally remember Mighty Funny. I particularly remember how he was always drawn with his head facing straight up, which I thought was odd. Well-remembered!