Josh, depicted here reading the comics so we don't have to.
A blog started by Josh Fruhlinger in July 2004, under its original title, I Read The Comics So You Don't Have To (a Boston-area newspaper that featured a similarly-titled column forced the name change). In it, Josh selects several newspaper comic strips every day and offers (usually sarcastic) commentary on them. Over time, the blog has developed a great deal of media attention as the authors of many comics have discovered it. Some comic artists or writers are even fans of the blog, including Chris Browne (Hšgar the Horrible), Mark Tatulli (Lio, Heart of the City), Francesco Marciuliano (Sally Forth and also the web comic Medium Large), Ed Power (My Cage), "Jumble Jeff" Knurek (the Jumble puzzle/comic), James Allen (Jack Elrod's assistant/successor on Mark Trail), and Bob Weber, Jr. (Slylock Fox). Marciuliano, who is also registered on the boards, even created a logo for the site (and the image for this page) during a major site redesign in early 2010. Also, Bob Weber has actually used the blog to sell official Slylock Fox merchandise directed at the adult fans of his strip.Josh has also developed a great deal of Running Gags within the blog, including Aldo Kelrast, a character in Mary Worth, whose storyline became one of the strip's most popular after Josh began joking about it. Archie has even made reference to one of the blog's running gags.Read it here.
His application of plothole logic to Slylock Fox can easily make you unable to see it as anything other than a hell dimension populated by poor souls cursed to be animals for all eternity, constantly under surveillance and presumed to be guilty of all accused crimes.
Marmaduke is a ravenous, uncontrollable Hellhound who regularly consumes his "owner"'s neighbors and buries their stripped bones in the back yard.
Also, his owner is apparently Adolf Hitler due to similar hair and mustache styles.
Instead of being a caring, helpful soul, Mary Worth is a Machiavellian, manipulative harpy who cannot stand people living in ways she doesn't approve and compulsively meddles in the affairs of those she encounters.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: (In a commentary on Mary Worth) "Place your bets on what this 'troubling' medical condition may be: pregnancy, venereal disease, dementia, Electra Complex, droopy-ponytail-itis"
Josh can get pretty hostile about strips he wants to see end, with Marvin, Luann, and (when it was still running) Crock being among the hardest hit. Generally, though, he just mocks the on-going nature of long-running strips, often citing them as horribly out of touch with modern times (such as Crock's belief that kids these days "swap iTunes" as a sign of commitment).
He has come to genuinely and openly hate Funky Winkerbean. Considering he was a fan of the strip when the blog started and had been impressed by the writer's willingness to go through with depicting Lisa's death from cancer, this should say something about the direction the strip has taken since then. He's not too wild about its spinoff strip Crankshaft, either.
Subverted by Mallard Fillmore. He hates it, but has only talked about it once. Plus, mentioning it on his blog is a bannable offense.
It should be noted that Josh dislikes political cartoons in general. He also rarely talks about Doonesbury, for example.
Also subverted by Get Fuzzy; it's one of the few comics he genuinely likes. Since its entertaining on its own merits, he rarely brings it up, and when he does, it's just as often an attempt to explain why it's amusing to those outside the fold, which he undertakes with a surprising amount of maturity, considering this is the internet.
The Pluggers and Snuffy Smith comics generally get reviewed with a mildly sneery checklist of pretty much every stereotype off the Acceptable Targetsinvoked checklist regarding rural people.
Interestingly, his opinion of B.C. seems to have softened since the passing of creator Johnny Hart and the strip's subsequent transformation into a Legacy Comic. Hart had made the comic preachy, unfunny and overtly religious in a way that didn't suit the tone of the comic after his finding religion. The legacy writer's decision to go in a more bizarre direction with it leads to a more incomprehensible but more enjoyable comic.
Similarly, Dick Tracy has fallen off the rotation since the creative team changed - Josh has stated he just doesn't find it as perversely entertains anymore, now that the plots are shorter and saner and the artwork is better.
I'm overjoyed to see Billy's comically overwrought expression of crushing despair as his mother drapes that suit jacket over his shoulders. It's as if heís won the Masters, only instead of a green jacket he's getting a blue jacket, and instead of winning the Masters he's going to be executed wearing a blue jacket.
Family Theme Naming: Josh speculates that Lois from Hi and Lois was originally named Ladybug before she got married and left the Bailey family, considering that her brothers' names are Beetle and Chigger.
Fanfiction: There was a post about a joke in Hi and Lois when one of the kids misunderstands a metaphor, and assumes that Beethoven was buried alive. This ensued.
Fetish Retardant: In-universe, Josh has noted that he's never turned on by highly sexualized female characters such as June Morgan or Blondie, yet is head-over-heels in love with Margo McGee. Part of it is his well documented love of strong, take-charge women.
Fridge Brilliance:invoked There were comics that Josh had initially disliked when the blog started, but as he reviewed them more he began to genuinely appreciate them. Two examples are Curtis and They'll Do It Every Time.
This is somewhat true with The Better Half in which he never even acknowledged it until Uncle Lumpy started blogging it while he was on vacation. But realizing that their marriage is more f***ed up than The Lockhorns he started taking a interest in it. Though it seems if anything more of a "fascination" than actual appreciation.
Furry Confusion: Josh notes that a dog plugger owning a pet dog is confusing. He says "Pluggers don't have health insurance, so they take their kids to the vet"
Hypocrisy Nod: Often, Josh complains heartily about some aspect of a comic, only to turn around and demand that the very next strip include more of what he disliked about the first comic. He always lampshades this. Example!
I Knew It:invoked In Apartment 3G, he correctly guessed that Ruby was Luann's biological mother over four years before The Reveal proved it.
Insane Troll Logic: Josh writes some of his own for a Dennis the Menace riff. He says that Dennis hates baseball, America's favorite pastime. Therefore, he hates America, and is a terrorist/fascist/commie.
Mood Whiplash: Josh delves into the metatextual layers of a Dennis the Menace strip, culminating in his decision that "perhaps Dennis is menacing us, by showing us the real human consequences of our hidden desires." The next strip was Shoe:
Josh: "Haha, it's funny because shitting something something the economy!"
Even the comments section has nothing but respect for the man, everybody agreeing that their mocking was in good jest, and that despite how unfunny many may have found the comic, every single commentor still respected him as a cartoonist and human being.
Also on the death of B.C. creator Johnny Hart: "Instead, Iíll just note that the dude died at his drawing board. Thatís hardcore."
And when Al Scaduto of They Do It Every Time passed away at the age of 79, no one, not Josh nor the commenters, expressed anything but respect for the man.
Billy: Now that we're in bed, they won't have to watch their language on TV. Josh: You sure got that right, you little fucker.
Put on a Bus: An interesting non-character example. Either Josh loses interest in many comics, or runs out of ways he can play on the same running gag, or he finds replacements to mock when the older riffing material gets stale. note we hardly ever see The Lock Horns since he started poking fun at The Better Half, nor Garfield or Marmaduke since he started on Heathcliff Regardless, many many comics have come and gone from his circulation over the years.
Reality Ensues: A huge amount of the blog's comedy is found in describing the real world ramifications of a given strip, especially if given dark, gory or sexual undertones.
Rule 34: He found one of Cassandra Cat on someone else's blog and posted it to his own. It later got taken down from both blogs, at Bob Weber, Jr.'s requestnote though the pic is easy to find, if you know where to look.
Along with jokes about everyone else in the strip being absolute morons.
In Apartment 3-G, Luann is vapid, Tommie has the personality of cardboard, and Margo Magee is a memetic psychopath who would just as soon snap someone's neck as acknowledge they exist. Of course, no part of that diminishes Josh's Perverse Sexual Lust for her.
Recently a running-gag is about how incredibly boring the current storyline is (Tommie and Carol talking about nothing for months) and how it seems to never end, while wondering where the heck Margo and Luann are.
The crazy pervert inbound visitors. See, when someone goes to the site from a search engine result, Josh can see what they searched, and he took to posting some of the most creepy and outlandish ones for the amusement of readers.
The characters of Judge Parker being smug dicks, who see no problem with using their money to get whatever they want.
The running gag in Heathcliff is Josh making fun of the fact that the comic is pure insanity, to the point where Josh doesn't even have to say anything. It's almost as if the writer expects Josh to riff it so he makes it as bizarre as possible to make it easier for him.
Referring to The Phantom as "The Ghost Who [something related to that day's comic]", after his official epithet of "The Ghost Who Walks"
"Ha! It's funny because [some creepy reason]." The best part is that, for once, he's not extrapolating anything; these are always the intended joke.
It's gotten to the point that he has a Running Gag where he wonders if he's overplaying a particular gag, only for a strip to take it to new and disturbing heights.
Scunthorpe Problem: At one point the comment system's spam filter kept catching posts containing "MILF"...and Gil Thorp takes place in Milford.
Self-Deprecation: Josh will occasionally comment on how horrible or immature a person he thinks he is based on how he reacts to a scene.
Shout-Out: My Cage, Pearls Before Swine and Sally Forth have all made positive references to the blog. Retail made a less positive reference to it in a strip about a blog called "hateoncomics.com." Ironic, considering Josh has never covered Retail.
Josh: While the idea that I began my blog as the result of some kind of massive traumatic brain injury would explain a lot of things, the jokes on them: I never had any artistic talent in the first place, suckers!
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: invoked Josh loves pointing out a) potentially awesome ways the plot could develop and b) how boring the plot actually develops. When it does turn out awesome, however...