Greeting Cards as Comics or Jokes

There’s a certain type of greeting card designed to be humorous.  Some setup on the front of the card, then turn to the inside and there’s a punchline.  This is similar to a newspaper-style comic strip in its graphic layout.  Though I would claim that the constrained setup-then-punchline structure  of a greeting card may be more similar to a spoken joke than a comic strip.  Greeting cards can have a long or short setup, but require a short punchline.  Comic strips can have multiple sub-jokes within them.

Newspaper-style comic strips also have a fundamentally different timing than a joke greeting card.  Comic strips tend to be either one panel (in which case the entire thing is designed to be a humorous snapshot) or three to four panels (which can give a sense of time passing and can include a blank panel for a pause or beat).  Again, a funny greeting card seems more like a spoken joke in format, even if the medium is more like a comic strip.

The innovation I think greeting cards can give to newspaper comics is the page turning.   Readersof newspaper-style strips may read ahead, effectively diminishing the joke.  If one has to open the card, it’s hard to accidentally read ahead.  So, what I would like to see is a three or four page card that has one panel of a comic strip on each page.  I don’t think it’s terribly practical on a large scale, but it seems like a nifty little project.

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2 Responses to “Greeting Cards as Comics or Jokes”

  1. wedge Says:

    I think Calvin and Hobbes comics would work very well in that format, especially the ones in which Calvin is doing some philosophical musing. There are a couple panels of setup, and then his weird conclusion in the last panel, which would fit on the inside of a card.

  2. oneirichaberdasher Says:

    Yeah, I think Calvin and Hobbes might be good, since the multiple page-turning would help highlight the passage of time, which I think is critical to those strips. The fact that Calvin and Hobbes are sledding down a hill (then crashing at the bottom) while Calvin is talking is important for adding overall humor to the situation. Yeah, I’d like to see a multi-page card featuring the boy and his tiger.

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