Sure, the art in this comic is ok (xkcd: your #1 source for basic photoshop gradient skills!) but the effect worked better the first time.
Anyway, livejournal crusader-for-humor-justice teapotdome e-mailed me some thoughts on the specific joke in this comic, so here they are:
I think with this strip, Randall has found himself on a comedic and intellectual level with the kind of family-friendly standup comics who perform on cruise ships. 'Hey, you know that dream that everyone has? Well, everyone has it!' is the sum total of what's going on here. The art is somewhat interesting, but this one is purely joke-driven, and the joke is so milquetoast and shabby that I can hardly believe it. I suppose it's only the natural evolution of the last couple strips, where warmed-over '80s references are used as a substitute for original humor; but now instead of pop culture we get the greatest hits of the collective unconscious!
Do you see what's going on here? It's critical that Randall be able to evoke those 'hey, I recognize _____' and 'this is SO MY LIFE!' responses, because that's all what he has to offer the reader, rather than novel or funny ideas. So by playing it as safe as possible, and referencing a dream that almost everyone who has ever attended school has experienced, he ensures that the most glimmers of recognition will be sparked for the least amount of energy invested. It'd be impressive, if it weren't so lazy and stupid.
Next week, I predict, we will see several stick figures pondering just why it is that we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway, or perhaps the guy in the black hat raising his hand at a Steve Jobs press conference to ask just what IS the deal with airline food, anyway?
To which all I can add is: we went through all this nonsense a few months ago, and it's just as bad now.
oh wait that's a lie, i have something else to say: I went and took the words out of this one, not sure how well it turned out, so you tell me what you think. But I'm not going to keep doing this for you guys, if you want it to be a regular thing you will have to take it upon yourselves.