1. “but why Dagwood as opposed to, say, Smokey Stover or der Captain?”

    Because Dagwood is a comic strip character.

    When will you realize not to ask these questions as Whamond and his ilk *never* have any reason.

    Frankly Dagwood’s a lousy choice. A grown up Charlie Brown would be funnier as it’s easier to imagine Cathy being a child when Peanuts was beginning. Or Dilbert could then say “… now give me my mouth”.

    Or it could be Albert the Alligator. Why Albert? Because *everything’s* funnier when Albert does it.

  2. Cidu Bill: Why not Dagwood?

    If there was a comic strip character particularly known for stealing noses, Whammond would have used that one, but as it is, just picking one at random seems reasonable.

  3. I think Dagwood was a fairly good choice. It had to be a well known comic character, but a large percentage of the available fathers are merely supplemental figures to a kid who would get in the way of the joke in this panel (such as Dennis or Calvin). Dagwood has kids, but they are so ordinary that their characteristics don’t interfere here.

  4. “my kids just looked at me like I was the village idiot”

    Yea, I always thought this was a stupid trick too. My experience has been that kids don’t fall or it, or even find it funny. They’re just confused. Has anyone here had any positive reactions to this action?

  5. The “Got your nose!” trick works fine if it is used (for the first time) at the right age, but the appropriate window is fairly narrow: about two to four. A kid who knows the joke may still be nostalgically amused by it later on, but I think it would fall flat if used on a first grader with no prior experience.

  6. Hey Kilby. Yea, I know that’s what people say, but I’ve never seen it work on kids of any age. I’ve seen my friends try it on kids of various ages from time to time, and they, as Bill said, just look at them like they’re idiots. They know their nose is still in place, and can clearly see it’s a thumb between the two fingers. Have you made this ‘gag’ work?

  7. My daughter took the “got your nose” trick pretty seriously. She knew it was just my thumb, but she was determined to get her nose back anyway.

  8. Some children have strong imaginations and can play along, others have less imagination or are just not amused.

    It helps if you play with the kids with some regularity.

  9. @ Stan – The reactions I received from my kids were more or less the same as what Usual John reported.
    P.S. After my son got beyond the “target age”, I added (just once or twice) the following Q&A:
    Q: How are you going to smell without your nose?
    A: As bad as you usually do.

  10. “I’m not sure I understand your first answer, woozy, since of course the other two are comic strip characters as well.”

    That was kind of my point. Whamond and his ilk *never* have reasons and never think they *need* reason. He needed a character to take the nose so…. why not Dagwood. That it’s a comic character from a different comic is as for as the joke goes. Frankly Mr. Wilson would have been a better choice.

  11. @ woozy – I disagree: Mr. Wilson would have been even worse than Dennis’s father, because he’s a grumpy child-hater, and therefore highly unlikely to ever have interacted with any kid unless forced to.

  12. Dagwood is not the point of this cartoon. Cathy is. Might as well quibble with the number of buttons on his shirt.

  13. woozy: “Whamond and his ilk *never* have reasons and never think they *need* reason. He needed a character to take the nose so… why not Dagwood.”

    Like I said before, “why not Dagwood?” Not everything in the strip needs to have a reason.

  14. “Like I said before, “why not Dagwood?” Not everything in the strip needs to have a reason.”

    Well, for a joke to be worth it there ought to be a reason for it. The joke is Cathy doesn’t have a nose because someone took it. Why not Cathy’s father or an unspecified person? Well, somehow it if funny if there is a universe of cartoon characters and we have an interaction between two different strips.

    Exactly *why* this is funny doesn’t really hold up under scrutiny. It certainly isn’t original and not something that hasn’t been thought of by *EVERY* comic writer of all time. And why Dagwood. Dagwoods not mean. ANd he’s not really older than Cathy. Actually this “when you were a kid” is a bit of a problem as Cathy was never a kid. She was penned full grown.

    A joke this … well, strange but not innovative… isn’t strong enough for just “Dagwood’s a different comic character”. Not sure this is salvagable.

  15. woozy, I get that you don’t think the joke is funny. Personally, I think it’s passable. But my point is that, as you say, “The joke is Cathy doesn’t have a nose because someone took it.” The joke is not about Dagwood, so there’s no reason to say “This joke is bad because the cartoonist could have used a different cartoon character.” The cartoonist also could have had them sitting on a park bench instead of at a table. There’s no particular reason it’s a table instead of a park bench, and there’s no reason that there needs to be.

    Originally this blog’s charter was that “The CIDU page is a place for people who love comics, and the artists deserve respect,” but I feel like the blog has really collectively shifted to bashing certain cartoonists, and microanalyzing why certain comics aren’t funny. (Not singling out you, woozy, it’s a collective shift that I’ve also participated in.)

  16. Surprisingly, Dagwood appears to have ten fingers. Is his the only strip drawn this way? Makes the trick work better.

  17. If I might add my own two bits… I don’t think anybody really wants an unnatural degree of politeness toward either one another or the cartoonists. Just maybe “Is this particular snarky comment necessary?” And with that in mind, IT PROBABLY USUALLY IS.

  18. Bill: I agree with BA. Don’t be hard on yourself. This is probably the most civil and thought provoking site on the internet (the latter in terms of comics, obviously). I enjoy these over-dissections of the comics, and it very rarely gets to the point of bashing cartoonists or other people who leave comments. Keep this up, Bill. You’re doing a fantastic job!

  19. “(the latter in terms of comics, obviously)” I retract that…it’s thought-provoking in many other areas too.

  20. Dagwood can be occasionally seen to have five fingers per hand, and he is not the only cartoon character with a full set. Virgil Partch characters sometimes have seven or eight digits on each hand.

  21. Bill, I hope my comment didn’t come off as critical of your moderation skills. As others have said, this is a great blog, and has some of the most interesting and civil discussions on the internet. And obviously when we talk about comics, we’re sometimes going to talk about how/why certain comics aren’t funny. Presumably you don’t want to regularly intervene to make sure no one is criticizing a comic, so I wasn’t suggesting that you should do anything differently.

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