Funky Winkerbean, 4/10/14
If, like me, you’ve reached the Stockholm Syndrome stage of your Funky Winkerbean readership, you’ve no doubt come up with some little strategies to derive enjoyment from the unrelenting murk of gloom. What gets me through several panels a day is the knowledge that said gloom may be unrelenting, but is not without texture; we still have the opportunity to discover how exactly the characters will have their dreams crushed and their spirits broken. When it comes to Jessica, whose new motherhood is impelling her to complete her quest to document the father she never knew, her trajectory of sadness is now clear: she will slowly learn, over the course of her project, that her father was an asshole and nobody liked him.
(This is as good a context as any to note that the inimitable Chris Sims’ March Funkywatch is available for your enjoyment!)
I’m less concerned about the protection of Heathcliff’s secret identity (why did he even wear his superhero outfit to the vet in the first place?) than in his ongoing and rapid menace decay. Specifically, it bothers me that he’s wearing what’s obviously a Batman costume but the yellow disc on his chest conspicuously lacks the bat-symbol. Is Heathcliff worried about trademark violations? Is he suddenly all about respecting the intellectual property rights of DC Comics, Inc.? Is he afraid of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s lawyers? Pathetic.
“I tried to explain to her that ever since we stumbled onto that witch’s coven and our eyes were blinded and turned eerie, milky white by the burst of dark magical energy they cast at us, our other senses have become much more acute, plus we have the power to read minds! But she didn’t even listen to me, though I have a hard time distinguishing between thought-speech and voice-speech anymore, so perhaps I wasn’t actually speaking aloud to her.”
Reggie is somewhat oversexed and not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I find it unrealistic that he’d be so desperate for romantic attention as to be an easy mark for Jughead’s scam. Still, if this is the setup we need for him to disappear screaming into a swirling, furry vortex of hungry hungry cats, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief.
Hagar the Horrible, 4/4/14
In benighted, backwards 10th century Scandinavia, where even the rudimentary medical knowledge of the Greeks and Romans either had never been learned or was long forgotten, doctors worked on some combination of superstition, ignorance, and fraud, and so patients may as well have offered their own suggestions and advice on treatment. Still, Helga seems more pleased than you’d think imagining her husband being gorily dismembered in a scene that sounds less like surgery and more like a bloody sacrifice to the violent Norse pantheon.
It’s true: working in retail may be low-paying and low-status, but it sure beats dying in a far-off colonial war when your tiny, isolated fortlet is overrun by a bloodthirsty enemy.
Remember when Heathcliff panels about using marine life as sporting equipment seemed to be written so as to include jokes of some kind, even if they weren’t obviously funny in any way? Well, now they’re just naming fish species. Sad, really.
Apartment 3-G, 4/4/14
I was going to make a joke that panel one here featured Tommie’s post-coital request for oral servicing from this rough-hewn large animal vet, or that Lily in panel two had become so crazed with hunger that she learned how to open a car door, but then I got a good look at Tommie’s huge, terrifying claw-flipper in the first panel, so now I’m just going to sit here and gibber wordlessly for a while.
Better Half, 4/4/14
Speaking of horrifying nightmare-things, it looks like Cthulhu has finally awoken from his dreamless billion-year slumber! HAVE PITY ON US, CRUEL OLD ONE, AND CONSUME OUR SOULS WITH A MINIMUM OF AGONY
Slylock Fox, 3/24/14
Yes, yes, I’ve covered it all here exhaustively: at some point in the history of the Slylockverse, most species of animal abruptly achieved sapience and for the most part displaced Homo sapiens from its previous dominance of the ecosystem, with only a few genetically abnormal remnants like Wanda Witch surviving. Normally I’m obsessed with the question of when and how this Change occurred, but it’s worth contemplating some of the more subtle effects on the transformed animals themselves. For instance: just about every creature has a survival instinct, of course, and most animals will fight or flee when their dim minds understand that their health or life is in immediate danger. But only the most intelligent species have the time or capability to contemplate death in the abstract, to see grey hairs and smile lines in the mirror and realize with icy certainty that they herald the looming end. Would a bear in a forest in our world, or a beaver happily building a dam by instinct in some pristine lake, feel the slightest urge to trade some food or other precious item for a potion that would reverse the aging process? Of course not. And yet we humans understand all too well why these gullible beasts are willing to fork over hard-earned cash for the fraudulent promise of eternal youth. In the Garden of Eden parable, we imagine that humanity came into its own when it suddenly understood good and evil. But perhaps the truth is that awareness — and terror — of death is the true mark of a species that’s graduated to adulthood.
Wizard of Id, 3/24/14
I guess “Monkdonald’s” represents one of the Wizard of Id’s occasional acknowledgements that it notionally takes place in a vaguely medieval setting — because, they had, like, monks and stuff back then? Get it? Anyway, as a true indication of how half-assed everything about this is, the Monkdonald’s Happy Meal analogue is called a “Slappy Meal”, because it, like, rhymes and stuff? Get it? It so offends me that not the tiniest bit of effort has gone into making some joke mashing up McDonald’s product offerings and the golden age of European monasticism that I’m going to refuse to do it for them, even though making anachronistic jokes about monks is literally one of my favorite things in the world.
Is Heathcliff perhaps not quite the unstoppable badass that we’ve imagined? First we find out that he kisses his parole officer’s ass, and now we see that his suburb has been invaded and annexed by skunks and all he can do is watch in mute horror.