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.
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”
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.)
Rex Morgan, M.D., 7/20/14
Long ago, I worked with a photographer who was also a passionate VW enthusiast, and for whom every new “upgrade” to his beloved brand was a kick in the solar plexus: One-piece rear window, UNGH! Big tail lights, UNGH! Convertible top, UNGH! When they introduced a semiautomatic transmission he uttered a fearsome oath, bought a Porsche, and never looked back. Good thing, too, or he would’ve seen the abomination Niki’s driving.
The same dark forces that turned the bug by degrees into the Super Beetle turned Original Niki and Kelly into these two. We first met Niki snatching June’s purse to buy artisanal salami for his methskank Mom, then doing some impressive ethical acrobatics to talk himself into a big payday “reward” after an extended tutorial from Rex. Kelly started out a stereotypical Bad Girl running off to drug parties in the woods and having a Brush with Death before Seeing the Error of Her Ways. Now they’re all cleaned up, and droning out text like “Sarah’s a great kid and I like her very much” about hideous paint-spattered brat-monsters. Kids, don’t let the Morgans get anywhere near you, is what I’m saying.
Slylock Fox (panel), 7/20/14
Slylock’s totalitarian society descends into outright racism: “First they came for the skunks and I did not speak out, because I was not stinky.”
Lockhorns (panel), 7/20/14
Loretta, lack of wind is not the problem.
Also: Alfas haven’t had those bumpers since 1982. Has Leroy been bald 32 years?
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/20/14
Parson Tuttle’s own sins tend toward small-time grifting, so he’s plum tickled to get a lead on the more entertainin’ sinnin’ goin’ on in th’ Holler.
Piranha Club, 7/20/14
Now that right there is an authentic automobile. Own it, Ernie — own it as long as you possibly can. Doris will be happy to drive you to work.
– Uncle Lumpy