How many of Skin Horse strips have the best panel being the THIRD, not the FOURTH panel? Am I just only noticing when it happens and not when it doesn’t, or does it happen a lot? (I suppose also with the implied question of, And Do You Have A Take On That.)

It happens a decent amount, and in Narbonic too.Usually it’s because the third panel has a stand-alone line that’s funny in and of itself while the fourth panel is the Official Punchline. It’s like a rhythm thing, where the final joke has to feel like a break point for the strip to end

It’s kind of hard to put into words but the fourth panel here completes the thought in the way the third panel wouldn’t.

But the actual reason the third panel is often the funniest is because there’s usually a joke there and sometimes it’s funnier and sometimes it isn’t. My “take” here is that you should be trying to have jokes (or story moments or character moments or what-have-you) wherever you can fit them.

The punchline here is a bit week, but “I’ve been cutting back on on-site deaths” is a good line so the strip is good. Note also there’s a beat panel here because this “more jokes!” advice isn’t ironclad and sometimes you need to let a moment breathe, but a lot of the best gag-a-day strips have multiple gags

The newspaper comic Get Fuzzy is really really good at this, and even though it’s not the Mean Green Meme Machine Nancy is, I think it’s a comic that comic-makers should read. This is a conversation between two characters that’s also a series of jokes, and there are enough jokes that one of them will likely land (I like panel 4).

It’s easy to get into the mindset of “This is a gag a day comic, and here is The Gag”, but often those set-up panels that fit in a funny line or two, and the extra effort can really pay off, and when you only write one joke for a four-panel strip, it can leave the whole thing feeling.

Kind of empty