The Lockhorns, 9/22/16
It’s actually pretty complicated trying to figure out how old someone is in a legacy comic strip, because you have to juggle a variety of narrative, cultural, and personal cues. Take the title hell-couple in the Lockhorns: they’re a long-time married couple still of working age, so probably no younger than 35 and no older than 55. That’s a span I’m right in the middle of! The seem older to me, because I’ve been reading The Lockhorns on and off since I was a child, plus their character design has been more or less set since they debuted almost 50 years ago, but today’s Leroy Lockhorn, the one who coexists with up-to-the-minute hipster stereotypes like our barista here, came of age in the 1960s at the very earliest. He has never sent or received a telegram in his life. And if he’s like literally every 35-to-55-year-old person I know, he sends text messages all the time. Basically Loretta can’t turn her back on him for more than 15 seconds before he starts just being a dick to someone for no reason.
Mark Trail, 9/22/16
At last, we’ve found out the relevance of this island makeout session from two years ago (strip time)/eleven weeks ago (real time): this couple brought invasive fire ants with them, as passengers on the firewood they burned to warm their writhing bodies. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture keeps a meticulous log of the movement of every vessel everywhere on the seas, and was able to track down the culprits. After twenty hours of interrogation in a black-site USDA detention center in an unnamed Balkan country, our nautical lovebirds confessed to their woodcrime and will, after a tearful hour-long self-criticism session on TV, be sent to the labor camps where all Invasive Species Enablers are detained indefinitely until the War On Gross Bugs finally ends in victory.
The Lockhorns, 9/6/16
“Like, take the guy who designed this building. How high do you think that ceiling is? Six feet? Six and a half? I’d like to use the democratic process to let that architect know what I think of him! Too bad we can’t. Too bad he works for the Management of this building, which is an enormous edifice built on the post-apocalyptic wasteland that used to be ‘outside.’ Or that’s what they say, anyway. I’ve never seen a window. Have you? Has anyone? How many generations has humanity been inside this fortress? Has anyone seen the Manager, who has enslaved us to inscrutable busywork under the eternal glare of flickering fluorescent lights? Did you catch the big game last night? Working hard or hardly working?”
Gil Thorp, 9/6/16
Oh hey, now that phenom QB True Standish is off to anchor the Wake Forest Demon Deacons’ 114th-ranked offense, I guess there’s a new quarterback battle shaping up in Milford! Soon enough we’ll learn if Kevin Pelwecki is a standard-issue “overly cocky high school athlete” of the sort we get once a year, or actively delusional!
Hagar the Horrible, 9/6/16
Legitimate shoutout to Hagar the Horrible for depicting how the only way to truly survive war with your mind intact is to pretend your enemies aren’t human! The carnage behind Hagar and Eddie is particularly great — but nothing compared to what happened to Eddie’s soul.
Mary Worth, 9/4/16
One of the low-key best aspects of the Tommy the Tweaker Mary Worth stories is the emotionally complex and slightly co-dependent relationship between Beedle mère et fils. Sure, Tommy has let Iris down, again and again, but deep down in his heart he doesn’t want to. Obviously it’s very embarrassing for Tommy to be busted in front of his mom, partly because now she knows he’s a drug addict. But I bet that what hurts him most is that in her eyes he’s now an incompetent pharmacy-shopper. Like, why couldn’t she have seen all the times he successfully pulled this off, you know? Maybe she would’ve been proud of him, even!
Panel from The Lockhorns, 9/4/16
It’s always fascinated me that the Lockhorns takes advantage of the increased space the Sunday comics provides by printing six unrelated one-panel Lockhorns gags. That’s a lot of content! And as someone who has to produce a lot of content on the regular, I know that sometimes the well just goes dry on your usual shtick, man. That’s why I totally respect today’s Lockhorns, which provided five gags about the usual marital hellscape and one that’s just “what’s the deal with deep-dish pizza, amirght everyone?”
Panels from Crock, 9/4/16
I’m from Buffalo, NY, where Buffalo wings were invented (more than a decade after the notorious Jessica Simpson “I don’t eat Buffalo” incident, some people still need this explained to them), and, fun fact: in Buffalo we don’t call them “Buffalo wings”! We call them “chicken wings,” or just “wings.” So I guess I’m not surprised that people who are actually in the French Foreign Legion don’t call it “Legionnaires’ disease.”