Sunday, December 7, 2003

Contenders vie for comics page


Zits is at the top, family favorites reign and we're not changing much - yet

Starting Monday in Tempo, you can see six days worth of the candidates to join the daily comics page. Starting Thursday, you can vote for your favorites at Cincinnati.Com. The contenders:

OVERALL RANKINGS
Zits
For Better Or For Worse
Baby Blues
Hi & Lois
Beetle Bailey
Blondie
Garfield
B.C.
Middletons
Dilbert *
Dinette Set
Dennis the Menace
Marmaduke
Jump Start
Speed Bump
Mutts
Cathy
Agnes
Doonesbury *
Boondocks
Mary Worth
James
Doodles *
You Can With
Beakman & Jax *
* Sunday only comic
Flo & Friends, written by John Gibel and illustrated by Jenny Campbell, is about a youthful grandmother who is a radio talk-show host and chocoholic. She is joined by a cast of family and friends who range in age from 15 to eightysomething . Gibel has an animation marketing studio and Campbell has a cartooning business. Gibel based the main characters on his friends and family. Campbell dedicates her work to her late father who had an abiding love of cartoons.

Frazz, by Jeff Mallett, follows a hip elementary school janitor, Edwin "Frazz" Frazier, and his experiences with the students, teachers and parents he encounters throughout his work day. Mallett based Miss Plainwell, the teacher who has a crush on Frazz, on his wife. Other characters are based on Mallett's own childhood experiences at school and at home (his father was an educator). Mallett has been drawing since he was a kid. He is the author and illustrator of the children's book Dangerous Dan, and has illustrated books for other authors.

The Hots, written by Stephen Hersh and illustrated by Nina Paley, details the lives of young marrieds Max and Hannah. She is good at parties, fair at spelling, useless at gardening and great at programming the VCR. He is opinionated, takes pride in his willingness to eat anything and his ability to wiggle one ear. Hersh is an advertising writer who also created the comic strip Bliss. Paley is an animator who has created two other strips, Nina's Adventures and Fluff.

Red & Rover, by Brian Basset, follows the everyday adventures of a 10-year-old red-headed boy and his dog. It is a retro-style comic celebrating the simple joys of childhood. This is the second syndicated strip that Basset, 46, a former editorial cartoonist for the Seattle Times, has created. His first strip, Adam, now is called Adam@home and appears in about 200 newspapers. His start as an editorial cartoonist was in the Buckeye state where he was the cartoonist for the Lantern, Ohio State University's newspaper.

Tina's Groove, by Rina Piccolo, chronicles the personal and workplace adventures of a single, smart, attractive waitress. As a child, Piccolo created her first drawings on her family's living room wall. This is her second syndicated comic strip; she is part of a lineup of six female cartoonists who produce the daily comic "Six Chix." She loosely based Tina on her short-lived experience as a waitress.

Sara Pearce





COMICS POLL
Contenders vie for comics page

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Tune up for the holidays with seasonal CDs
Celebrity favorites
Christmas best-sellers
Levee club hooks big names
Spoleto lands Baryshnikov
Documentary explores award shows
Playhouse true to Dickens
Dead man walking is predictably 'Stiff'

SEEN: BENEFITS AND BASHES
Greater Cincinnati's Benefits and Bashes
Up Next

SUNDAY COLUMNISTS
Kendrick: Alive and well

SUNDAY TASTE
Get party started with sips of the season
Helpings
Love that nutty taste

PLANNING AHEAD
Get to it!