I am addicted to newspaper puzzles. Crosswords, Sudoku, Blankout, Word Wheels, Kenken, Navigati, Logic Grids, Codewords. I care not. I can but puzzle.
Which brings me on to a certain cartoon dog.
The one redeeming feature of the Daily Mail (apart from the way it induces blissful, nay, orgiastic fantasies of smashing Richard Littlejohn's head in with a brick) is it's quite excellent puzzle section, which includes my absolute favourite daily fix, Scrabblegrams (I used to play Scrabble at tournament level, in my wild youth). Thankfully, there is almost always a copy left lying around in my local pub, so I never actually have to buy the cursed thing. Also part of the puzzle page are the comics. The Daily Mail runs Garfield, I Don't Believe It, Odd Streak, The Strip Show and Fred Basset. All of these are almost painfully unfunny. Fred Basset, however, is in a league of its own.
To illustrate what is special about Fred Basset, let us compare it to Garfield, another dreadful comic strip with which it shares similiarities both of format and concept.
You will notice that, unfunny as it is, the Garfield strip does, in fact, contain a recognisable joke, whereas Fred Basset is simply a pictorial representation of about fifteen seconds in the life of a middle class dog. In an ideal world, it would be the perfect dadaist artwork. It probably is.
Fred Basset has been in continuous publication since 1963.
I have more experience with this dog than most. My paternal grandmother, being an elderly middle class lady who liked dogs (Fred Bassets core demographic, without a doubt) possessed an alarmingly large number of collected Fred Basset cartoons: whole books filled with literally nothing except Fred Basset. They are still in a box somewhere up in my parents spare room. They are strange, frightening things. Reading a whole book full of Fred Basset cartoons is exactly like sitting in a large, comfortable armchair, where a morbidly obese woman with no face slowly drips pentobarbitol into your eyes. If anyone were ever to managed to read every single Fred Basset cartoon in a row I have absolutely no doubt they would achieve absolute oneness with all things, becoming able to levitate and live only on air and sunlight. Unfortunately, after little more than a decades worth of exposure, horrified onlookers notice that a strange, coal black fluid has begun to seep from every orifice in the readers head, a fact of which he is unsettlingly unaware. This liquid has the consistency of warm honey, and smells faintly of phosgene and charred meat. It is in fact a by-product of the rapid necrotisation of the readers higher mammalian mind. Death or permanent catatonia are inevitable by this stage; there is no cure.
In the spirit of free enterprise. I decided to see whether I could use photoshop to improve upon any Fred Basset cartoons. Grabbing a selection at random from the internet, I set to work.
Fred Basset with Possible Daily Mail Headlines
HUNDTFUHRER FRITZ BASSET
Fred Basset with Transposed Heads
Fred Basset Takes the Game Too Far
Fred Basset Will Tear Us Apart, Again
Alright in their own way, but these were just stabs in the dark. I decided to break out of the comic strip format and go to the old visual comedy trick of combining two things that are complete opposites.
Still not quite there. I refuse to believe there is not some simple trick that can be performed on Fre Basset strips to render them more amusing.
Let me go smoke a few pipefulls of Extract of Salvia Divinorum and ruminate on this further.
g o t t o l e a v e r o o m s o t h e l e t t e r s c a n b r e a t h e
Right, now, I was going to keep going, but, unfortunately, I have just found something that I did not know existed when I started writing this post. I found this:
It is essentially, what I have just been fucking around with, only much better. The creator has struck the nail on the fucking head; the trick is to leave the art intact and re-write only Freds balloons to portray him as a psychopathic sexual deviant. That was so obvious I want to cry, though I am glad I didn't try because it would have been unintentional plagiarism.
Some of these are pretty fucking funny though, so at least I have a few hours good entertainment out of this. That said, CURSE THAT HOUND! Always one step ahead.
Scanner should be fixed soon, till then, artniks.