Open the Sunday comics section of any newspaper and you will probably see the same thing you saw last week. Garfield is still binge eating. Billy's Grandpa is still hanging out in heaven. Dick Tracy is still leaving a pile of bodies in his wake. It's hard to believe that in previous generations comic strips were as pop-culturally relevant as the Cartoon Network or Must-See TV. Though in past years some artists, including Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame, have tried to revive the grand form of newspaper comics, most of the readable strips and series out there have moved online or taken on the form of graphic novels. Cartoonist Conspiracy, Big Time Attic, and Altered Esthetics have come together to create a project that returns the comic to its glorious, colorized, large-scale form. This Friday they celebrate the publication of Big Funny, an oversized, 48-page newspaper that can be purchased for lazy Sunday-afternoon reading. Contributing artists' strips, each unique in style and content, comment on subjects including the dying newspaper industry, America's hand in globalization, and even the general weirdness of today's strips (why is Mark Trail so obsessed with feces?). The opening reception, this Friday from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. will feature poster-sized comic artwork (including some of the originals printed in the collection), a retrospective of unseen artwork by William Ede, live music by Roe Family Singers, and mini-comics for sale from a vintage cigarette machine.
Aug. 6-29, 2009