Piranha Club

Piranha Club

Infobox Comic strip
title=Piranha Club


caption= Title panel for "Piranha Club" Sunday strips.
creator=Bud Grace
current=
status=Running
syndicate=King Features Syndicate
comictype=print
genre=Humor
first=February 1, 1988 (as Ernie)
last=

"Piranha Club" is the title of a comic strip written and illustrated by Bud Grace. It was originally called "Ernie", but the title was changed to the current one in 1998. The strip made its debut in February 1988. In 1989 the Swedish Academy of Comic Art awarded Bud Grace with the Adamson Statuette [cite web
url = http://www.thecartoonists.ca/index_files/2002pages/4_october_2002_bud_grace.htm
title = Bud Grace, Creator of The Piranha Club
accessdate = 2007-12-12
publisher = The Cartoonists
] , and Grace received the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Comic Strip Award for 1993 for his work on the strip [cite web
url = http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/piranha/aboutMaina.php
title = About Piranha Club
accessdate = 2007-12-12
publisher = King Features Syndicate
] .

The strip is highly popular in the Scandinavian countries Norway and Sweden, where it is published in a bimonthly (previously monthly) comic book under the original title, "Ernie" cite news
url = http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/liveonline/02/style/comics053102.htm
date = 2002-05-31
title = Comics: Meet the Artist
accessdate = 2007-12-13
publisher = The Washington Post
] .It is also one of the most popular comic strips regularly published in newspapers in Estonia (if not the most popular) [cite web
url = http://www.ljudmila.org/stripcore/burek2/estonia.htm
title = COMICS IN ESTONIA: A BRIEF ACCOUNT
accessdate = 2007-12-12
publisher = Stripburger
] .

Characters

* The Piranha Club is a society of freeloaders, hustlers and other shady characters who will do anything to make a quick buck. It also houses an actual piranha named Earl who serves as the club's mascot and trash compactor.

* Ernie Floyd used to be the strip's main character until stories shifted more onto Sid and the Piranha Club members. Originally, Ernie was portrayed as something of a loser, but he gradually evolved into a more "normal" person. He has held various jobs, but usually works as an assistant manager at the Mr. Squid fast-food restaurant. He owns a 1957 DeSoto, has a fetish for toasters, and dates Doris Husselmeyer.
* Sid Fernwilter is Ernie's uncle and member of the Piranha Club. Sid is a hustler who will do just about anything to make a quick buck. When he's not trying to scam a few dollars from his nephew or mooch a free meal. When the strip's editors pointed out to Bud Grace that no one would voluntarily be friends with someone like Sid, he became Ernie's uncle. It should, however, be pointed out that Sid isn't completely black and white in his crook behaviour. He does have limits and never actually harms anyone, even if he succeeds in scamming them out of their savings. He also believes that actual robbery is below him.

* Doris Husselmeyer is Ernie's girlfriend. In the early years of the strip, Doris was unattractive with greasy hair and coke-bottle glasses, and stories were often about Ernie trying to break up with Doris without hurting her feelings. Doris eventually became a lot more attractive. She was at one time courted by Arnold, much to Ernie's anger, but Arnold seems to have given up this project. Doris owns a vicious cat named Bobo who usually attacks Ernie at every opportunity, but has suffered heavy bruises trying to eat Earl.

* Ethel "Effie" Munyon is Ernie's elderly and absent-minded landlady. A former Miss Bayonne, she has been married twelve times and is currently dating Sid, although Sid mostly hangs around with her to get a free meal. Effie is also a terrible cook and usually serves Sid dishes like boiled octopus or deep-fried roadkill. Then again, according to Sid, "the only thing better than a good meal is a free meal." She constantly calls Ernie Harold and often mistakes other men for her ex-husbands.

* Arnold Arnoldski is a homely, over-weight and bad-complected 19-year-old who often hangs out with Sid and frequently becomes involved in his schemes. As Ernie evolved into a more normal person, many of his loser characteristics were transferred to Arnold. Arnold often ends up as pack mule for Sid's schemes, and his more notable jobs include bungy-jumping tester, car alarm, goat herder, torpedo man and wrestler under the name "The Masked Slapper."

* Dr. Enos Pork, MD, is the most incompetent doctor north of Tierra del Fuego and is Sid's best friend. He is a heavy smoker and, like Sid, a member of the Piranha Club. He is married, and his wife (real name: Barbara Packer Pork) is usually referred to only as Frau Pork. He also clashes frequently with his mother-in-law, who is known only as Mother Packer, whose name is inspired by Alferd Packer a 19th century cannibal from Colorado. Both Frau Pork and Mother Packer often end up beating Dr. Pork into a pulp .

* Spencer Husselmeyer is Doris's 10-year-old brother. He is a mischievous brat who makes Bart Simpson seem a Boy Scout in comparison. He has a special affection of putting grease on doorknobs, toilet seats, or anything else he can apply it to and especially loves to practice on his sister's boyfriend, Ernie.

* Elvis Zimmerman is a used-car salesman and member of the Piranha Club.

* Reverend Bob is a televangelist and is also a prominent member of the Piranha Club.

* "Slick" Willie O'Haberman is an ambulance-chasing attorney, who is also a member of the Piranha Club.

* Quacko, the human duck.

* The Bearded Lady, married to Quacko.

* Zerblatt, a space alien from the planet Grelzak, married to a gorgeous earthling woman and having about one hundred frog-human hybrid children with her.

* Bill the Parrot, a Colombian parrot who lives in Ernie's apartement from time to time. Also often dresses up in a squid costume.

* Bud Grace is a former nuclear physicist turned cartoonist, who frequently makes appearances in his own comic strip.

etting

The characters reside in or around Bayonne, New Jersey, which is where most of the storylines take place. Prominent scene locations include:

* Ernie's house, typically used as the setting for romantic encounters between Ernie and his girlfriend.
* Effie's house, usually as the setting for Effie serving a questionable meal to Uncle Sid.
* The local church where Reverend Bob preaches.
* The local grade school that Spencer attends.
* Used car lot operated by Elvis Zimmerman.

tyle

The strip is drawn in detail and now appears in colour. The characters are shown around their city block, in their apartments, at church and in their club. Day to day items like cars, and other items which are drawn presented in as close to reality as possible.

While the strip is usually stand alone, on many occasions it is serialised with the story running for a week or more on some occasions.

The daily strip usually runs to four panels. The Sunday strip is in a three by three panel format with the strip logo appearing in the top left hand side panel.

Languages

*English: Ernie (later The Piranha Club)
*Danish: Erling (Piranha Klubben)
*Estonian: Ernie (Piraaja Klubi)
*Swedish: Ernie (Pirayaklubben)
*Finnish: Hannes (the name was never changed to the equivalent of The Piranha Club)
*Norwegian: Ernie (Pirayaklubben)
*Latvian: Ērnijs (Piraju klubs)

Books

* "Ernie: Out Of Control", ISBN 0-8362-2123-0

References

* [http://www.reuben.org/ncs/awards2.asp NCS Awards]

External links

* [http://www.kingfeatures.com/features/comics/piranha/about.htm King Features Syndicate "The Piranha Club" page]
* [http://www.toonopedia.com/ernie.htm Don Markstein's Toonopedia "The Piranha Club" page]


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