Comic Strip Humor The Plot Never Thickens

Here are some of the basic rules regarding humor strip (not adventure) comics which vary from the single-panel cartoon.

1. Keep the spotlight on the star. The focus of humor is always on your lead character. This is also true in sitcoms and in sketch comedy. The cast is there to support the central character, that's why there are never more than three main characters in any one panel.

2. A character isaconstant. The star doesn't change, but always looks the same, wears the same basic expressions—and not too many of those, either. This character's actions are predictable.

3. There is no plot. The first frames are only the setup and background for a simple line of logic or illogic. Running gags are popular. Popeye's spinach and Dagwood's super sandwich are still working after fifty years.

4. Dialogue is always sparse. Sentences run four or five words. There's a great use of exclamations. The key words are repeated.

Panel One. Two kids sitting on steps watch Charlie Brown approach. Boy says to girl: "Well! Here comes ol' Charlie Brown."

Panel Two. Charlie is next to them: "Good ol' Charlie Brown . . . Yes, sir!"

Panel Three. Charlie has just passed: "Good ol' Charlie Brown tt

Panel Four. Charlie is out of sight: "How I hate him!"

—Charles Schulz

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