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The Smart Move Awards

January 2001

Smart Move: Joe Average A little recognition is long overdue for Joe Average by Aaron Holm. But now is, without a doubt, the best time to give it. The life of Joe Harris has been pure hell for quite a while now, but finally things are looking up: Joe's got a girlfriend. Gwen O'Malley, while as attractive as all of Holm's female characters, is different in that her smile does not radiate those "EVIL WOMAN - LOOK OUT" vibes. To all appearances, Gwen and Joe are made for each other and happy together. Remarkably, the comic is still funny, perhaps funnier, which is a next to miraculous achievement in such a scenario. Even with a few things going right, it's already clear that there is still a whole crazy world for the protagonist to battle, providing all the entertainment with half the angst. Will happiness last? Who knows? It's still the first date, and I know as well as anyone how the winds can shift. But Aaron Holm certainly must realize that this Smart Move is not only bringing in the readers, but revitalizing his own will to go on, giving me back the mantle of Most Unreliable Cartoonist.

Smart Move: General Protection Fault This Smart Move Award goes to General Protection Fault by Jeff Darlington for the "College Days" storyline. We've gotten to see some great background story, giving new depth to our understanding of the characters. We've gotten to see the formation of a friendship portrayed in a very real and compelling manner. We've gotten to see the humble beginnings of GPF software. But most of all, we've gotten to see some fantastic hair. If Nick ever sees Ki's yearbook photo, he will not let her get near a pair of scissors ever again. Readership is confirmed way up, so you don't need me to tell you this flashback was a Smart Move.

Smart Move: Ozy and Millie When David Simpson redesigned Ozy and Millie, I was skeptical. My feelings at the time were that the comic strip was not broken and did not need fixing. But, in time, I came to realize that the art had made a huge leap forward. It's not an obvious thing at first, but what Simpson has done is to make his characters so three-dimensional, you could swear they're real. A sculptor would have little or no room for interpretation. The more realistic animal features make them come to life; others may disagree, but I think the kids are that much cuter when you can see their pointy teeth. If Millie were to step into reality and shake your hand, you can imagine exactly what it would be like.

Ozy and Millie just might be my favorite comic strip, because looking into that vivid world is a delight for me every day. It's that kind of quality that merits a second Smart Move Award.

See previous Smart Move Awards

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