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The Daily Mumps

Hello friends. The Daily Mumps is a daily one-panel photo comic made out of pictures of my own lousy kids. I know! A very special hell! But let's be reasonable. You try my comic, I'll come to your house and fluff your pets up for you. Deal? And if you dig it, feel free to pass the Mumps along to a friend. I'd really appreciate it, as I'm dying to start saying things like "The Mumps are spreading!" and "Nobody is immune from the Mumps!" and "Why won't this rash go away!" and "I'd like a #2 Value Meal please!" (That last one was for the lady at McDonald's, where I'll be having lunch today.)
Here are a few Mumps to get you started:
'You're next, Brainy Smurf'
'Miller time'
'Four things to say...''
'Always keep the receipt'
'Soccer survivors'
If you feel like checking it out, it would be great to get some feedback, good or bad. Of course, you're under no obligation either to check it out or to comment. You have a life, after all. Who can blame you for being a self-absorbed jerk? I thank you.

Sure It's a Comic

Xaviar Xerexes's picture

I think its definitely a comic -there's a juxtaposition of words and pictures and unless you're a McCloudian purist excluding one-panel work from the definition then this fits. Granted you're making minimal use of the rich toolset and vocabulary available to comics creators (for starters, no attempt to really integrate text and image through word bubbles or strategic placement of the text in the image itself) but it doesn't mean it's not a comic.

I run this place! Tip the piano player on the way out.

Uncle Ghastly's picture

Reminds me more of the Caption contests on Fark than a comic strip.

Comic or not?

It certainly a valid question. On any single point of contention (one panel? no dialogue? no integrated text? no drawings?) I think there is plenty of precedent in the comic world. However, maybe when all those exceptions-to-the-rule are bundled together, you wind up with something less-than-comicky. (I myself tend to be pretty wishy-washy when describing it.)

I guess I'd feel funny doing something arbirarty--like sticking the text over the art in some distressed-looking old typewriter font--just to be able to slot it in to a more comfortable category.

Ghastly's "it's like a caption contest" observation is also interesting. The mumps I like the best are the ones where neither the caption nor the photo would operate alone. Like Tim D rightly pointed out, who wants to look at pictures of some asshole's rotten kids? Likewise, the text should be more than some stand-up-comedian riff on something that would be just as funny (or not) without the picture. It's when the picture and photo work together than the mump feels most like a comic to me.

But damn it all, people, I REALLY appreciate the feedback! And I personally love the conversation (you can bust my chops all you like, Tim). Thank you so much for checking it out and taking the trouble to comment!

Fabricari's picture

While this is amusing, I don't really consider this a comic anymore than I'd consider my Ofoto galleries a comic. Now it's not that I'm a purist who believes you need more than one panel, but there needs to be some sense of movement in time. That can be accomplished by umbilical cord bubbles or text, or whatever. It doesn't necessarily have to be a gag, but some motion towards an insight or conclusion. Right now the text serves as a caption, which seems to pull the reader outside of the "panel".

I can see the fun of involving your kids in this project. Why not take an extra step and take a series of photos. Let them act a little or capture some motion.

Just ramblin'. Heh.

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

[quotea="Fabricari"]...there needs to be some sense of movement in time.[/quote]

Interesting, Fabricari. The idea of needing motion in time, leading up to some conclusion. I can see that, although I think plenty of one-panel comics fail to include a time element more than occasionally (thinking of Far Side, just off the top of my head).

But I definintely see what you're saying about being pulled out of the panel by the text. I think you sort of have to glance back and forth between the image and the text to see how they work together, and maybe it's that activity that makes it feel not like a comic to you.

As far as taking extra steps in the composition of the photos--one of my rules is that I only use "found," candid images. Nothing that I've set up or composed in advance. In that way I have to create a new meaning for the image, sort of the way the kids do on Whispered Apologies. It's probably even the same with a team comic like A Softer World, where I believe the photos are produced first, independently of the writer, and then the writer adds his own meaning with the text.

So does my exclusive use of "found" art makes it not a comic? Again, it might be just one more drop in the bucket that flips it that way for some readers.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Fabricari's picture

As a matter of coincidence, today's strip at Fabricari.com uses a single panel, and I think it still counts as sequential art because of what I said earlier. The text gives it a sense of passing time. Especially since you need to read left to right to take it all in. Maybe we can get McCloud in here and he can be the judge...

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

Fabricari's picture

Junior.thomas wrote:
I do see your point. Just out of interest--how do you think the idea of time relates to something like The Far Side? Or many other gag-a-day kinds of strips? I think they often forego any sense of time passing in favor of just delivering a zinger (click on the link for one example). While we're at it, what about this guy?: 'The slurp heard 'round the world' There's no dialogue, but there is a description of a scene that covers some amount of time. I know it doesn't operate in the way you're describing, and the text still doesn't physically integrate with the image. But I'm curious if it feels any different to you compared to some of the simpler jokey ones. Either way, thanks one million for your thoughts, and for helping me to think about the Mumps in a different way.
Givin' this more thought I realized it's presumptuous of me to declare what is a comic and what isn't. That's really up to the artist to decide. I think my confusion is with the terms "comic" vs. "sequential art". There had been a movement to use "sequential art" to add status to comics, but that term excludes the "Far Side"s and Political Cartoons. All that matters is if you audience connects with your humor. Semantics are pointless beyond that. Oh, and I really don't think you have anything to worry about your comixpedai.org entry, you comic, at the very least, raises interesting dialogue about comics - even if it's on the fringe categorically.

Steve "Fabricari" Harrison

That's a nice way to think about it. People don't read something because of what it is or isn't. They read what they like. Also, instructions on cake mixes. People read those, unless they want a crap cake.

Thanks again, man.

I don't care what you call it ... the Daily Mumps is hilarious and I love it. But why don't you work on the weekends?!

Thanks Catherine. I'm glad you like it.

As for weekends, they're for generating new material. And, you know, being a whatchacallit. Um. "Dad."

Comic virgin no more.

Sorry for the obnoxious bump, but given the conversation I thought this might be interesting. I originally posted yesterday's photo with a standard title and caption. But I was hating it. Finally, after a great deal of thought and candle lighting and rending of t-shirts, I realized it needed a thought bubble.

So here it is, my first actual inarguable comic, complete with integrated text.

And now I need a cigarette.