There’s a LOT of live theater in comics right now. Brooke McEldowney continues to reinterpret Romeo & Juliet in the insightful and beautifully rendered romance strip Pibgorn. Maryjane Parker, in the daily strip version of The Amazing Spider-Man (by Alex Saviuk, Larry Lieber and Stan Lee) has to find a new acting project because, as she put it in the Nov. 17 installment, “it turns out the theater that we’re playing in is a death trap!” Patrick McDonnell’s Mutts has pursued a funny “Shakespeare in the Park” theme for a whole week. The young genius protagonist of John Hambrock’s The Mind of Edison Lee is insufferably writing, directing, producing and starring in his school’s Thanksgiving pageant. Dick Tracy’s old thespian pal Vitamin Flintheart is co-starring (with, unbeknownst to him, the villain Gruesome) in a revival of Arsenic and Old Lace.
Plus the usual number of theater and dance references found in gag panels and other strips. (Rick Stomoski’s Soup to Nutz, Keith DuQuett’s LeftyBosco Picture Show, Mark Anderson’s Andertoons). Seriously, comic strips is one area of social commentary where live theater really holds its own against film, TV and pop music.