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Comics archive! Lockhorns

It’s like a German expressionist movie, but even more depressing

The Lockhorns, 12/17/14

Kudos to the Lockhorns for occasionally giving us another angle on their “Leroy and Loretta passive-aggressively try to emotionally destroy one another in a mostly featureless hell-dimension” shtick. By another angle, I don’t mean thematically, of course; I mean a literal viewing angle. Today, for instance, Leroy responds to Loretta’s basic need for reassurance on her appearance with a cruel wisecrack while the two of them stand next to a doorframe and a mirror floating in an otherwise featureless-hell dimension, as you’d expect, but we’re looking up at the whole scenario from about knee height, which gives us both a close up on Loretta’s ass (demonstrating what gave rise to the conversation) and also a great look at Leroy’s looming gut spilling over his belt (demonstrating the lack of self-awareness that’s going hand in hand with his lack of tact).

Gil Thorp, 12/17/14

How is Gil following up his state football championship? Why, by keeping all the good players off the basketball team, that’s how! “I only do a half-assed job at coaching most years, so shouldn’t I be able to rest on my championship laurels and literally not even field a basketball team this year? Let’s see how many people I can convince to quit!”

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/17/14

Oh whoops it looks like Becka’s husband didn’t actually leave her for the sexy nutritionist co-worker he flirted with in 2009; that was just to establish his untrustworthy character in the very long chess game Rex Morgan has apparently been playing with us all this time. Anyhoo, I know Becka’s in a low emotional state, but she also appears to be in the 25-40 demographic, and therefore shouldn’t go around affixing the “cyber” prefix to whatever slur she’s applying to people just because they came into her life via the Internet, satisfying though it no doubt is.

Dennis the Menace, 12/17/14

“Cheer up, Mr. Wilson! All of us are on a one-way road with no exits, and its final destination is death!”

Loretta actually wants to see the U.S. from space (to get as far from Leroy as possible)

Beetle Bailey, 9/24/14

Hey, who says Beetle Bailey is behind the times? Look, there’s Miss Blips relaying the General’s capricious orders via cell phone, instead of by walkie-talkie or carrier pigeon or whatever long-distance communication method was most current when the strip started. And keeping up with General Halftrack’s slow decline into decrepitude, his new-style sexual harassment is indistinguishable from a request for a sleep aid, since nothing seems more erotic to him these days than a nice, comfortable nap.

Funky Winkerbean, 9/24/14

Speaking of new eras, New Era Funky Winkerbean features a pair of extremely sad sack teens who serve as our viewpoint characters for the teen storylines in the strip. I can’t be bothered to learn their names, so I just call them Sad Sack Hat Teen and Sad Sack Glasses Teen in my mind, when I have to think about them, which I try to do as little as possible. Anyway, Sad Sack Hat Teen has been forced by Bull to do time in the Westview Scapegoat mascot costume in lieu of detention, and I’m seriously wondering who exactly he’s talking to in these panels. Clearly the giggling cheerleaders already know about this head-rubbing thing. Does he think that they can’t hear him in there? Because I’m pretty sure they can hear him. Or maybe he just doesn’t think it matters, because after the game the High Priest will symbolically burden him with the sins of the entire people, and then send him out into the wilderness, never to return.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/24/14

Guys, Sarah, doesn’t just imperiously demand ludicrous things because she’s mad with power and people are terrified to tell her no, OK? She does it because she wants her family to live the opulent lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to even after her baby brother is born. And she wants a pony. Just look at her, wiping away a tear of joy, just thinking about the moment when someone up and gives her a pony for no good reason at all.

Lockhorn, 9/24/14

Leroy’s crinkly smile is usually supposed to represent “drunk” or “drunk and horny,” but here I think it’s supposed to mean … smug? Smug as in “haha, yes, I have thought up the perfect comeback here for her request that we travel sometimes, point: Leroy, and yes, I am keeping track of points, I have been keeping track of points for years and years and years

Sunday panels

Panel from the Lockhorns, 9/14/14

One of the things I like about the Lockhorns is the work ethic implied by the format of its Sunday installments: instead of using the extra space to do larger, more expressive, possibly multipanel strip, or just being lazy and doing one enormous panel, the Lockhorns creative team just churns out five more Lockhorns, each of which could stand on its own in a daily panel, because, fuck it, making more Lockhorns is our job, right? Anyway, this panel from today is close to the ultimate Lockhorns installment. “Marriage is like a perpetual I.R.S. audit,” Leroy says, and no detail (Loretta probing into the family finances, say) is provided to imply that this is part of some vaguely clever metaphor; “I.R.S. audit” here is just literally a synonym for “something unpleasant.” That’s the next, and presumably final, step: every Lockhorns strip, regardless of the setting or action, just having the caption “Marriage is unpleasant.”

Panels from Marvin, 9/14/14

Meanwhile, something profoundly unpleasant seems to have recently happened in the throwaway panels of Marvin. In panel one, the whole family, including Marvin, is sporting, grim, thousand-mile stares; in panel two, Marvin sits alone in the Punishment Corner. Does the level of distress on display here mean that whatever transpired was much worse than Marvin’s usual poop-related antics? (No, of course not, Marvin’s bowel movements are the stuff of the worst kind of nightmare.)