Rugrats Strip Art Repeats Itself

Can you find 3 things that are the same in these 3 strips?
("Rugrats" strips, 1/12-14/99, by Kent, Harkins and Blyberg, from the Ctoons site. (c)1999 Viacom.)


1. The theme is the same -- Angelica tells twisted versions of nursery rhymes (she holds the book upside down), with Tommy & Chuckie commenting about it in the fourth panel.

2. The art in each is different, but the art style in the first 3 panels are virtually the same.

3. The third panel in each strip has Angelica closing the book and saying "The End".

These days, in order to complete the strips in less time, artists tend to take shortcuts on some occasions. Some fill text in half the panel, with actual art in the second half of the strip (Greg Howard's Sally Forth is one example). Some have a special logo for a sequence that takes up half the strip each day in the sequence (occasionally used in Tom Armstrong's Marvin). However, the time saver used in the above sequence is rarely used in comics -- use the same art each day, or draw something close to it each day (they chose the latter). While creators sometimes do all they can to produce quality material in a restricted time period, the above sequence doesn't do wonders for the strip (in my opinion), especially at the time when many Rugrats fans denounce the strip and papers have second thoughts of picking it up. Such shottcuts are a good idea, but when they are days or, even better, weeks apart. If they are published consecutively, like they just did, readers would think that they started to get a little lazy.


("Rugrats" strip, 3/9/99, by Kent, Harkins and Blyberg, from the Ctoons site. (c)1999 Viacom.)

On 3/9/99, Kent, Harkins & Blyberg decided to try another "Angelica's Fairy Tales" strip. This time, it was a one-time thing (the 3/8 & 3/10 strips were, as Monty Python puts it, "something completely different"). Also, even though the idea was taken from the earlier sequence, the art was different (compare this with the 3 strips above). Finally, the last panel had Angelica & Chuckie, rather than Tommy & Chuckie. Even though the art was, to a degree, different, the staff, probably at a loss for ideas, decided to go to the archives and do a strip using ideas based on older strips.

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