The Boondocks was a fairly funny comic that ran for a good 10 years. Most everyone, even those who don’t read comics, have heard of it, most likely because of its political and social points and views. Huey, Riley and Granddad existed in a world where 10 year olds were hardened by the events of the day. Sometimes poignant, usually funny, it delved into topics that most comic strips don’t go near, such as race, class and social upheaval. And for that very reason it outgrew its medium.
The comic strip, by its very nature, is a quick read. 2-4 panels, maybe 10 on Sundays, greet the reader, with most of each panel being filled up by drawings. Little is left for plot development, and even less is left to flesh out political viewpoints. The best(Doonesbury) can somehow deal with this, but even it seems cluttered. Discussion of such important matters in humorous ways is not beyond the realm of possibility, as The Daily Show and other TV programs have shown, but The Boondocks simply wasn’t able to sufficiently get its point across. Creator Aaron McGruder wisely went to the format of a 22 minute animated show, no matter his reasoning. It ensured that the idea stayed fresh and was able to grow.
See, take the ‘Get Condi Rice A Date’ strips. While funny, I personally see that working much better in the extended format of television. One liners just don’t develop the joke as much, and can lend too much credence to critics who feel its simply disrespectful. It wasn’t, in my view, but there wasn’t enough fleshing out of the idea to dissuade people of that.
But The Boondocks don’t live in the black and white anymore. The characters have been given life and voice (through Regina King’s and John Witherspoon’s great voice-acting). They’re tangible, the plots make a point, and it’s still funny.