The 'Shroom:Issue 157/Palette Swap
How's everybody doing? We've made it to April, so give yourself a big pat on the back!
There isn't much to report from me. My state is still shut down, and people are being absolute selfish morons about it, but things are looking up, somewhat. Now if we can only keep healthy so we can all go out again. I'm thankful that my job is "essential", so I'm not stuck at home all day, because if I was, I'd probably go crazy. Going to work keeps me sane, even if I have to look at the snow falling outside in APRIL.
Our two new writers have been very hard at work churning out fantastic sections for you, and Yoshi is doing something you all enjoy- analyzing a boring boxart, so I won't keep you away from that any longer. Happy reading! ~FunkyK38
Section of the Month
Welcome to new writer winstein (talk), with the new section Drawn and Pressed, which discussed the history of the Garfield comic strip for its debut. Congratulations! Thank you to everyone who voted this time, and please keep it up for this month as well!
|Palette Swap SECTION OF THE MONTH
|Drawn and Pressed
|What's on the Box?
|World of Plight
What's on the Box?
Hello readers, and welcome back to What's on the Box.
Last month, we looked at an obscure spin-off, and although this spin-off isn't more obscure, I would say it's hardly a spin-off on the tongues of everyone, but due to ongoing global circumstances, this seemed possibly the best time to look at the GBA title Dr. Mario & Puzzle League.
Now this boxart is actually quite different from the Dr. Mario boxart we looked at several issues ago for the NES. The viruses have been removed, and honestly that is already an improvement given how horrific they looked, and Doctor Mario himself is now a lot more cartoony and more resembles the Mario that we know today. It is a little bit annoying that the Viruses have been fully removed from the boxart, however, as they would've been very welcome in their cartoony form. But given the boxart had to fit two games on it, it's easy to see why they were left off. And as the Megavitamins are a lot more prominent this time around, it is a little bit more believable that this game follows the Tetris style.
The boxart is let down by the Puzzle League element, however, given how bland it is. All we have is a grey background with lots of blocks with either a star, heart, diamond or circle inside of them, and then the name of the game in the normal Mario-stylised font. Looking at the boxart, I have no idea what puzzles it would entail. One might assume maybe a Tetris-style game like Dr. Mario or perhaps it would be to do with cards given that some of the suits are present. Looking at the wiki article, given it's based on Panel de Pon it is based off Tetris.
I both dislike and slightly like the boxart, as you might've guessed from the paragraph above, the Puzzle League part of the boxart is abyssal, the only thing going for it is the stark contrast to Dr. Mario part of the boxart above it, given how that one is alive with colour. Panel de Pon looks to be quite the colourful game, so why the boxart for its part is so grey, I have no idea. They might as well have just had it beige.
World of Plight
Special thanks to my mom, for editing these stories, and for listening to me ramble about Nintendo.
Hey-a everyone! This is Doctor Mario, here to say thank you, to all of our doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, all those other people putting their lives on the line to help the sick and unfortunate. Thank you guys for all you do, stay safe, and remember: Be like Doctor Mario. Wear gloves and a mask, people!
So, about current events… uh, well, hospital equipment has been going missing. No one knows where it’s been going, and the security cameras aren’t picking anything up. Just vanishing. It should be fine, it’s a big hospital and we don’t get many patients, but still. Maybe I should get Detective Pikachu on this…
It’s so good to finally be a fighter! I can’t believe Daddy Sakurai actually let me in. This place is so huge, I wonder how they managed to build it. And my room is amazing, suited just for me! And guess what? I finally found out where the mayor went too!
The nicest person I’ve met so far is probably that little guy with a bandana and spear! He is so kind and cute, yet warrior-ish! He hasn’t been in a fight yet, but I think he would be amazing! Not like that Waluigi guy. I think he’s really grumpy and mean. In fact, I think he’s reading over my shoul
Wah! Seriously?!?! Bandana Dee is preferred over me??? Why would anyone choose that little orange ball over me?!?! Me, The Great Wah, The Purple Powerhouse, The Tennis Tornado!... WALUIGI!!! Everyone wants me in. Even Sakuari wants me i---
Smash Brothers Police Officers Gabriel the Centurion and Officer Kruller have confiscated this parchment from one Waluigi. The reason for doing so is as follows:
False statements regarding Master Masahiro Sakurai’s position on Waluigi being permitted as a Fighter were found.
It is currently under review for any additional harmful/untrue statements about Master Sakurai or any other person/persons. Signed, Gabriel the Centurion.
After further observation, evidence has been found that the book did not belong to the blasphemer, Waluigi, and discussion is underway as to whether the book should be burned, or returned to its original owner, Isabelle, the mayors secretary in Smashville. Signed, Officer Kruller, Head of the Last Resort Police Department.
It was decided that the book in question should be returned to the owner, Isabelle, after the blasphemer and thief, Waluigi, took it from the owner by force, hid inside the men’s latrine, and proceeded to write lies about Sakurai, but it cannot be returned as the owner has gone missing. It will instead be given to Magolor04726 until Isabelle is found.
This is the second missing persons case to occur after one King Floraine Dedede went missing. The details of the report can be found at any Smash Bros. police post. Signed, Corporal Paraplonk, member of the Elite Trio, and head of Smash Bros. Police headquarters post 27.
OK, to sum that up in case you got lost (I had to re-re-re-read that in order to know what the heck happened.), Isabelle was writing me an entry, Waluigi stole her diary and hid in the bathroom, wrote in it, and the police got involved. Then when we tried to return her diary, we couldn’t find her. Sakurai is thinking of assigning police to every fighter. Not that it'd do much good, I mean seriously...
Hey guys! Thanks for reading “World in Plight”, and I hope you really enjoy it so far! If you have ideas for who I should interview next, if you have questions or if you want to chat, contact me on the Mario Boards.
Sitting at home doing nothing of value, Magolor04726, Certified Doctor (Not).
Drawn and Pressed
In the newspaper that we normally order, Pickles was added relatively later, and together with another comic strip Zits, replaced a couple of comic strips, and to this day, this newspaper still publishes these comics. I was taken to how well it's drawn. It has grown on me and I am sure on a lot of folks as well, given how it's still published. Despite its popularity, I got the sense that it's not popular enough to have a full collection reprint, which is a real shame as this is a treasure of a comic strip. A comic strip about old people may not have been all that relatable since a lot of the time, young folks are a preferred subject to cover. Even then, this comic strip about old people still manage to be enjoyable even to those outside the age group because the content of the comic is simple to read and find meaning in.
The title of the comic strip is funny because it uses a food name, akin to Peanuts, but it does serve a purpose: Pickles is the surname shared between Earl and Opal, the comic's elderly couple. The association is intentional, as confirmed by the author himself, given how he enjoyed the revered comic strip by the late Charles Schulz. Despite the fact that the main characters have the Pickles designation, they are not related to one of the Rugrats' families in the slightest. Instead Brian Crane picked up the name Pickles from one of the (American) football players in a game he watched on television. Interestingly, Rugrats had a newspaper comic strip, and ran for a somewhat admirable five years. In addition, the Pickles household have a garden of zucchinis, which they usually give to their neighbours due to surplus, much to their displeasure.
Earl is the eccentric yet grouchy husband, and being a retired person means he has a lot of free time to irritate his wife Opal. He is, in my opinion, the biggest source of humour of this comic. Opal is basically a housewife who is not taking any of Earl's sassiness, although she had her bumbling moments. Despite being in their 70's and married for at least 50 years, they still have their disagreements every now and then. If the two of them are a comedic duo, Earl would be the wise guy and Opal would be the straight "man". Alongside the old couple are their pets Roscoe and Muffin, who are basically a typical cat and dog. Basically, Roscoe is the dog who is quite optimistic but is not the brightest bulb, while Muffin the cat is more surly and has a superiority complex. Their daughter Sylvia and her family lives near the elderly couple, and are in fact neighbours. Sylvia is a then-divorced mother who is well aware of her parents' eccentricities and tried not to take after them. Nelson is Sylvia's daughter and he regularly visits his grandparents, and his impressionable mind meant that he would take Earl's off-kilter words of "wisdom" at face value.
Dan was introduced a bit later into the comic, who eventually married Sylvia. He is a wildlife photographer who was basically introduced to appease the editor's suggestion of doing some dating strips involving Sylvia in his own way, but he probably didn't want to move the focus away from the main attraction: the titular couple. Other characters include Clyde, Earl's friend who he meets regularly in the park; Emily, Opal's senior friend who is young-at-heart; and Pearl, who is Opal's sister and is mostly critical of Earl since he chose to marry Opal as opposed to her. Amusingly, in recent years, a character called Leon, Earl's brother, was introduced and he's heavily based on the author himself, being a cartoonist that would justify Earl and Opal's frustrations with being the primary subjects for his comic strip.
The author went on record to say that he took inspiration from his in-laws, whose elderly antics gave him a lot of material for his work. Amusingly, he found that he himself became similar to Earl as he grew older, and he even joked that in hindsight, he would have made Earl more handsome. After all, some of the best inspirations come from real life, and it's no different for a great number of comic strips. For example, Cathy Guisewite took inspiration from her life as a single woman to produce material for her comic strip named after her, and Scott Adam's focus on office humour in Dilbert is from his time working at Pacific Bell. Not to mention how many political cartoons are practically reliant on real-life events to write itself. The author even converts the contributions from fans into sequential art, although it does have its disadvantages, such as unknowingly stealing somebody's idea because of a non-disclosing contributor, since Brian Crane doesn't really use Twitter. I previously lamented that Pickles collections never collected every comic strip, but this is one scenario where omitting a comic strip from a collection is completely justified and understandable.
What is very pleasing about this comic is the overall simplicity and optimism that makes it a very pleasant comic to read and to see. The art style is quite simple but effective, since it portrays enough details that gives it a pleasing look. The characters are easy to understand, with the main characters Earl and Opal have enough differences that they bounce off each other quite nicely, giving their misadventures a sense of humour. One might even say that they make for enjoyable neighbours. Perhaps the main thing I really like about this comic is how good-natured and innocent it is. It should be noted that Brian Crane himself does not participate in the common vices (alcohol consumption, smoking, cursing), and this is reflected in his characters, and I find it enlightening since it felt rare to know a work which don't rely on swearing or alcohol for humour. Trivia: The characters also have a Mormon background, much like the author himself.
The source of humour from old people is not necessarily rare, but Pickles made it very enjoyable without being overly offensive to the age group that is made fun of. One's mileage may vary, but I personally found the material in Pickles to be quite enjoyable even after 30 years (since 2nd April 1990). It helps that Brian Crane himself is basically a senior as the years gone by, since he can be a living example of what to make fun of. The author mentioned the challenges associated with a comic strip, where there is a requirement to come up with new material daily for years and years, but the appreciation from readers who loved and grew attached to the characters made it all the more worthwhile, which gives newspaper comics a good name. You know that a comic strip is relatable when readers joked that they were spied on for ideas for this comic strip, since that implies that they see themselves in the characters.
Brian Crane, the creator of this comic strip, had an ambition of becoming a comic strip artist from young, citing Al Capp's Li'l Abner, Walt Kelly's Pogo and Charles Schulz' Peanuts as his primary inspirations. Although he felt that such an ambition seemed impossible, life found a way into his lifelong dream when he felt that his path to being an artist was confirmed, citing an anecdote where his fifth grade's friend reacted strongly with laughter on his drawing. From there, he worked his way through his profession of drawing, eventually leading him back to the comic strip when he not only felt disillusioned by working on ads that weren't aligned with his beliefs, but felt that he had a knack for funny ideas from doing greeting cards. Although the odds were stacked against him, thanks in part to the unlikeliness in being picked up for syndication, he decided to take the chance. His topic of choice is about old people, as he was reminded of his grandparents. His work was rejected by a number of prospective syndicates, but with the support of his wife, he eventually found an interested party in The Washington Post Writers Group for his comic strip about old people. Needless to say, he was overjoyed. Initially he had to draw the comic strip part-time and kept his day job, but as more and more newspapers picked up his comic strip, he could afford to draw his comic strip full-time and gradually made it his full-time job, fully working from home in the process. From there, his success was followed by more greatness, including getting to meet his inspiration Charles Schulz, gaining accolades from his peers and winning a Reuben award at the National Cartoonists Society. One of the things that I find inspirational about all of this is how the author remains humble all the way through his journey, and he appears to still employ this attitude.
On some days, our newspaper didn't print, meaning that the comic strip of that day won't be printed. If we're lucky we might get one ahead of schedule but Pickles is not exactly a priority. As that was also a time when I cut out the comic strips for collecting, I needed to find the missing content. That was when I searched online for content, which opened me up to a new variety of comic strips I didn't know exist, quite a number of which I eventually considered favourites. We won't be delving into some of these comic strips for a while, but if the time comes, we'll get to it.
Overall, I love Pickles and I am pleased that new content keeps coming, even if the author reused older strips on a few occasions. When a work that focuses on a certain demographic manages to be enjoyable to those outside of it, that is a mark of a great work, and one could say that it achieved a timeless quality. It's also amazing that even after 30 years the comic is still enjoyable and I thank the angels who guided Brian Crane for making a comic strip that he never dreamed of doing, because the entire thing enriched the lives of millions (at least, it looked like it did).
Normally, I don't divulge on the next comic (which might change), but I felt that I could do this, mainly because I considered Pickles and Zits as comics that I took a liking to at the same time. So without further ado, my next topic will be about Zits, which is an effort between Jim Borgman and Jerry Scott. Amusingly, Jeremy from that comic made a cameo in Pickles.
Pickles can be read from GoComics, which has an archive dating back to 2003, meaning the complete collection is currently unavailable: https://www.gocomics.com/pickles
Thank you for reading.
- Cartoonist Brian Crane's popular 'Pickles' family joins The Republican - masslive.com
- Rugrats (comic strip) - Wikipedia
- Pickles by Brian Crane for September 22, 2007 - GoComics
- A cartoon family: Popular 'Pickles' captures humanity of humans - Deseret News
- Brian Crane’s “Pickles” now in 800 papers - The Daily Cartoonist
- Swimsuit Season’s Over. For Good. - The New York Times
- How “Dilbert” Practically Wrote Itself - Harvard Business Review
- Pickles by Brian Crane for January 20, 2019 - GoComics
- The Art of Making Pickles - Brigham Young University
- The Inkblot, Issue #006 -- Getting Pickled—An Interview with Brian Crane - CoolCartooning.com
- How We Met: Earl and Opal’s Love Story - Brigham Young University
|The 'Shroom: Issue 157
|Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight
|Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing
|ACNH Photo Contest