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Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

Damn Good Comics blogger Mr Myth says:

Stunning upset of the day: It isn’t unheard of for two popular gaming strips to happen to make near identical jokes on the same day. What was a shock, however, was the realization that on this day, Ctrl+Alt+Del managed to thoroughly out-humor Penny Arcade.

Both make jokes about a Halo-branded Mountain Dew called "Game Fuel". I'm not that sure CAD (which goes for a more straight-forward parody of the concept of a main Halo character endorsing ever more ludicrous products) made me laugh more than Penny Arcade here. Penny Arcade, as usual, took an approach to this "joke" that wasn't as expected as probably most gaming webcomics (including CAD) would do and it's that "left turn" aspect to PA that usually gets me, even if I'm not super-familar with the videogame they're mocking.

What do you think?

Re: Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

As usual, CAD is more of a straightforward joke, while PA's is a little... coarser, for want of a better word. I liked 'em both.

But I will note that, like the surreal "Garfield" strips, CAD's joke would have been just a bit better had he left off the guys' exclamation at the end. Keep the pose, the open-mouthed shock, but just remove the dialogue.

Doc.

Re: Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

Even though I usually choose Penny Arcade over CAD 99% of the time, their joke this time just didn't do it for me - possibly because it felt too similar to jokes they had made before. It's a visually stunning strip, and I liked the disdain Masterchief seems to have for the entire thing - but the voice felt recycled.

Now, that isn't to say that CAD's was original - but it had a good rhythm to the jokes (aside from the throwaway last panel), and as theleast says above, sometimes the simple joke can be the best.

Re: Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

CAD's joke is every single "X has sold out and is now inspiring products" gag, including the obligatory "shocking" culmination in feminine hygiene products. It's strictly by-the-numbers.

It could have been saved if the last panel had, say, a joke in it. Maybe a clever turn of some sort. Instead, there's the typical WTF moment, played straight.

Penny-Arcade, in contrast, demonstrates that they can make up their own jokes.

Re: Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

Scott Kurtz's picture

When two comic strips focus their humor on the same target audience, you're going to end up doing similar jokes. Certainly you'll find yourself doing jokes on the same topic. It's seen daily on the editorial comics page. Almost every editorial cartoonist does similar if not identical gags on any given day.

So, this is an occupational hazard that all cartoonists must take into serious consideration when writing their strips. Is there someone else out there making this joke? Making this comment? How is my strip different. What am I saying that's unique to what everyone else is saying?

The problem with Penny-Arcade and CAD has always been that CAD can not expand beyond it's gaming genre roots. Penny-Arcade does jokes about video games, but it does it in a unique style and voice. Mike and Jerry have put a lot of work into developing a sharp, acerbic flavor to their work that goes beyond their subject matter.

CAD has nothing BUT the subject matter. Take away the obvious joke about what's new in the world of gaming and you have nothing else.

Re: Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

David Simon's picture

I think the PA strip is cleverer, but the CAD strip is funnier. Never underestimate the simple joke.

Crimson Dark

[url=http://www.davidcsimon.com/crimsondark/]Crimson Dark[/url]

Re: Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

I've read CAD for a lot longer than PA, and I tend to like the jokes there a lot more. I will admit my bias in this. However, I honestly think CAD takes the cake. Halo 3 tampons had me laughing so hard the entire household came to see what was so funny. That gets my vote.

PA, however, gets props for what looks like Master Chief's nonchalance towards the whole sponsorship thing. He's being made to do an ad, he doesn't care, and proceeds to mock them. That got a good chuckle out of me.

Of course, ANY comic picking on the marketing hype will get my vote of approval right now as I think the entire trend is disgusting. I'm waiting for World of WarCraft-themed fruit snacks for kids where you can bite Onyxia's head off with your lunch at this point. *sigh*

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Re: Penny Arcade Vs CAD?

I'm not a regular reader of either of these comics, but from the two strips cited it seems clear to me that Penny Arcade is several levels of funny higher than CAD. As you say, the thrust of the CAD joke is simple exaggeration.

By contrast PA has a charming linguistic playfulness (the discussion of the differing meanings of "chug", "charge" and "crank"). And also in the space of 3 panels it manages to imbue real character into Master Chief (clueless, self-conscious, argumentative, clumsy).

Plus it has a nice visual punchline.

Seriously. PA is in a different league. I love that fucking shit.