"Mister Fox, are you by any chance familiar with the article 'Fever Response in North American Snakes'? Published in the Journal of Herpetology? 1996? I'm afraid, Detective sir, that your racist and inaccurate stereotypes are as offensive to me as your pose is to crabs." --Annie
Today is Mother’s Day across most of the world (British “Mum’s Day” is celebrated during Lent, in retribution for their cooking). Because of its ability to trigger a laugh riot of misunderstandings, dysfunction, and resentment, Mother’s Day is a huge deal in the comics, on a scale with Thanksgiving. Let’s see how some of our favorite families celebrate:
Edge City, 5/12/13
Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin demands smooth sheets and an unsullied mattress, even if it means forgoing all the messy pleasures that sustain bonds of love. Husband Len submissively abets her every whim. It’s a mystery how those children got here.
Jeremy Zits-Duncan promises to give his mother the tolerance and respect she most desires, but fails utterly in the execution. SPANG!
Mary Worth, 5/12/13 (panel)
Beth Kinley celebrates her mother’s special day by ditching Elinor to enjoy some incompetent afterdinner macking on new beau Tom Harpman. Hey, Tom: Beth is a real girlfriend — quit trying to inflate her.
Lockhorns, 5/12/13 (panel)
Leroy cranks up the hypocrisy to give Loretta’s mom a proper greeting. Brrrrr…
Dennis the Menace, 5/12/13 (panel)
Henry and Dennis get it right … and so, as always, does Alice. But c’mon — Dondi was more menacing than this!
Funky Winkerbean, 5/12/13 (panel)
Darin and Jessica bring flowers to the grave of somebody named Lisa Moore whose ashes weren’t scattered in New York’s Central Park the way Darin’s mom’s were.
Jeff Murdoch congratulates himself for overspending at the Hallmark: “Surely now my mother will love me?” Ha ha, nope!
Here’s a sentence that’s probably never been written: I don’t understand Archie’s emotional arc here? Veronica’s dialogue in panel one is stereotypical “Ha ha the ladies like to gossip about their network of relationships with other ladies and we hate that amiright fellas” talk. But what are Archie’s sweatballs in panel one supposed to represent? Is he already nervous about being cruelly snubbed by Ronnie for daring to ask for some quiet study time? That would seem to undercut the vague surprise of the punchline, then. Is it sexual arousal, always a good bet with Archie? Is he saying that the reality of Veronica’s conversation is interfering with his ability to think sexy thoughts about her? Those word-balloon icicles are perhaps well deserved.
Hagar the Horrible, 3/7/13
So, mild historical accuracy: It’s true, that, in their colonization of Greenland in the 10th through 15th centuries, the Norse came in contact with the Inuit! Inuit names tend to be polysyllabic, though, and not, you know, incoherent grunts, but sure, let’s have Hagar talking to “Oog.” And let’s give Oog slits for eyes too! Why not!
Unironic praise: Nearly everything about this is perfect, from the fish-costume’s terrifying eyes and weird fin-feet that would be very difficult to stand up in, to Heathcliff just standing there with his hands behind his back, dreaming of ripping open the great fish and feasting on its hundreds of pounds of succulent flesh, to the bored dude with the hair in his eyes inside the costume, who isn’t being paid enough to deal with any of it.
The Lockhorns, 3/7/13
“But I’ve finally managed to poison mine! Now help me move his body to the car so we can go dump him in the river.”
OK, so the Phantom adheres to the quaint old ‘50′s-TV-cowboy “shoot the guns from the bad guys’ hands” ethic, while Savarna just stone cold kills the bastards, no fuss. But the Ghost Who Negotiates ought to know that while employers may set terms and conditions (like uniforms, mmm…) for their workers, they can’t go around telling independent contractors like Savarna how to deliver their services. What I’m saying is if he hasn’t got a W-2 job on offer here, he’d better let Savarna continue her reign of bloody 1099-MISC slaughter, or there’ll be hell to pay with the IRS.
Lockhorns panel, 2/17/13
At last we know what keeps the Lockhorns together: as devout Catholics, death is the only permissible exit from their loveless hell of a marriage. But really, Father — a penance enhancement for Leroy? Isn’t Loretta enough? You’ve just heard the endless catalog of her horrifying sins against this poor man; have you no mercy? Don’t pretend you can’t hear me, Padre, I know you’re still in there!
Sally Forth, 2/17/13
Ted tries desperately to charm Sally out of her Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know you’re probably wondering, “Why should Ted and Sally have all the fun? Why can’t I enjoy the full-on Charles in Charge theme song karaoke binge experience?” Well, faithful reader, wonder no more:
Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/17/13
Apparently cancer stripper Dolores’ gender-sniffin’ powers work only on the preborn, otherwise how could she have missed out on Honey’s Big Secret? Or maybe Honey is always extra-careful to put the seat back down? Seriously, is there any other way to read this? “Rex, I want you to know I’m not like the other girls. Not like other girls at all, CHECK IT OUT DOC!”
Poor Rex instantly shrivels back to his tiny prepubescent boyhood, to relive his psychosexual development in light of this revelation, and maybe get it right this time.
This has nothing to do with women, or of course humor — I just thought you’d enjoy seeing Ed Crankshaft in pain. Was I wrong? I don’t think so!
Hey, Josh is once again abandoning you for his annual winter sojurn at scenic Undisclosed Location. No fundraiser this time around, but I’ll be here through next Sunday. If you have any site issues, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do what I can to help.
I don’t like to tell a cartoonist how to do their job … haha, who am I kidding, that’s literally been exactly my schtick on this blog for the past eight and a half years! Anyway, I’m all for just having Loretta telling people about how unhappy her marriage is, right in front of her husband, but maybe this panel would be a little funnier if Leroy were more obviously not paying attention to her? Like, maybe if he were looking at his phone or something. I mean, I guess you could interpret his expression as a thousand-mile stare, a sort of numb mask that settles on his face every time he thinks about how he’d rather be anywhere other than with his wife and do anything other than listen to her, but he pretty much always looks like that so I don’t think it quite drives the joke home the way it should.
The first panel of this strip is by far the happiest I’ve ever seen the Hobbs family when they’re voluntarily spending time together. I do have to wonder how exactly Francis “plays” Wheel of Fortune and ruins the experience for everyone else. Does he shout out painfully wrong answers, disturbing his siblings’ and mother’s silent, maniacal grinning? Whatever the case, perhaps he can go commiserate about his banishment with his brother’s wife, who has also apparently been uninvited from Family Game Show Watching Night.
Mark Trail, 1/23/13
“I win because I use the lure that is named after me — the ‘Rod Bassy Killer’! I’m called that because I killed the real Rod Bassy and assumed his identity after selling my soul to the Devil so that he would make me the greatest fisherman alive. Wait, did I say that last part out loud?”
Just for the record, since Friday Newspaper Spider-Man has dedicated a single panel to depicting Kraven’s daring escape and 11 panels to depicting these morons standing around talking to each other.
Wizard of Id, 1/23/13
I was going to object that a witch, of all people, shouldn’t need to consult a fortune teller for a glimpse into the future, but then I remembered that I’m already on the record as doubting witchy powers, so well played, newspaper comics industry.
A line from the movie Alien often pops into my head when I read the Lockhorns: “I admire its purity.” A lot of comics would engage in marital misanthropy laffs about leftovers being served once too often; only the Lockhorns has the nerve to portray those leftovers as a plate-sized, undifferentiated shit-colored mound. Leroy’s not just cracking wise about the vultures; this is rotting organic matter that can literally only be eaten by creatures with very specialized digestive systems.
Herb and Jamaal, 12/12/12
Man, things sure were better in the good old days, right? Athletes of an earlier, better time never got involved in gambling or cheating or drugs or any of that business. What could be the cause of all the young sports people doing bad things? Is it the rap music? Probably the rap music.
“Talk about yourself!” Probably the best dating advice for teens ever? Sure!