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Funny Books - FoxTrot: My Hot Dog Went Out - Bill Amend

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My Hot Dog Went Out
A FoxTrot Collection
Bill Amend
Andrews McMeel Publishing 2005
127 pages

My Hot Dog Went Out, Can I Have Another? is the 18th FoxTrot collection by cartoonist Bill Amend. The only thing wrong with this latest installment is the size as the book comes in the smaller 8½ by 6½ instead of the much more comfortable in your hand and easier to shelve 8½ by 9. Then again, a visit to the official, run by Bill Amend himself, website reveals this size is by request of the comic strip artist himself (and he gives a couple of good reasons) so who am I to complain? 

A successful comic strip has to appeal to a vast majority of readers. FoxTrot is a series of gags and jokes about a functional family with slightly dysfunctional kids. The parents, Roger and Andy try to deal as best they can with their two teenage kids, Peter and Paige, and computer nerd Jason. It is a well-balanced strip as the kids are not, like many sitcom kids for example, smart ass know-know-it-alls, and the parents are not total idiots. Unlike many more recent comic strips the art is nice, clean, and realistic.

My Hot Dog Went Out, Can I Have Another features series of strips about gardening with mom, Paige's freshman fair, a series of cameo appearances by Garfield when Pete gets a summer job at the movie theatre as a giant Garfield to promote the movie, and a really funny and sometimes thought-provoking series featuring the Foxes in Washington. This last series of comic strips also features a particular favorite where Jason comments most favorably on the Washington Post comic section,  Whoever is in charge is a genius! No, a super genius! and is the first self-referential strip I have come across.

Bill Amend, creator of this really humorous cartoon, is also a fairly hip guy. Not only do you get gags about computers, shopping on Amazon, Ipods, computer games and marketing ploys, but a careful reader will see more or less hidden references to other cartoons such as the early Mickey Mouse and a somewhat subtle tip of the hat to Calvin and Hobbes.

By the way, the website, is really cool and well made by the way and includes a whole bunch of goodies, extras, behind the scenes information, flash stuff created by fans, and so on and so on. It is a great way to waste an hour or so.

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