The newspaper comics as a rule are neither created by nor designed to cater to young people, or people particularly up on pop culture ephemera. This is a medium that still thinks that an iPod is a cutting-edge piece of technology, and that jokes about black people hiding things in their afros is funny. Thus I’m pretty impressed by today’s “dad bod” reference in Heathcliff. This is a concept that I’m mostly aware of as a running joke on Twitter; the phrase appears to originate from a blog post by a Clemson college student from March 30, which went viral when linked to and gif-listicle-fied by Buzzfeed on April 30. Thus the idea has been in the public consciousness for barely a month, and when you factor in the lead time newspapers require, you realize that in comics time this joke was adapted into Heathcliff form in the equivalent of those incredibly tiny fractions of a second that can only be detected by incredibly precise atomic clocks. I was so taken aback by this cutting-edge joke, in fact, that I almost didn’t notice that … Heathcliff is drinking beer in this panel? Can cartoon cats do that? Drink beer? On the funny pages?
Judge Parker, 6/8/15
On a normal day in the comics, when a guy in a hardhat superciliously challenges a Spencer-Driver with a “unless, of course, you too have a master’s in structural engineering,” that would be the best thing that happened in Judge Parker that day. But not today. Not today, when the first-panel narration box dares to follow up the sentence “Rocky consents to investigating the viability of using cargo containers for interior offices” with an exclamation point. I like to imagine that there’s a real voiceover actor reading this, and they made him record this line again and again. “More emotion,” bellows the director, “more dynamism. Rocky’s investigating viability, for God’s sake.”
Apartment 3-G, 6/8/15
Hey so remember when Lu Ann was “at the hotel” then there was “suddenly a knock” and then Tommie appeared? Well, it seems … pretty clear that they’re back at the apartment today? And also Tommie has a different haircut. I’m real worried about Apartment 3-G, guys.
Mark Trail, 6/8/15
NO RUSTY DON’T TELL CHERRY WHERE BABIES COME FROM
she’s gonna have some questions for mark
questions he does not want to answer
Slylock Fox, 5/26/15
You know, for too long I’ve thought about the transition from human to animal rule in Slylock Fox in terms of revolutionary violence. But perhaps I’m mistaken. Look at the episode in today’s Six Differences: maybe the revolt began not with acts of carnage, but acts of love, as newly sapient animals freed their dear ones from enslavement. Like all oppressors, of course, the gentleman holding the leash doesn’t see it this way; he’s furious because he can only understand that his own previously unquestioned authority is now under threat. The Great Change did entail violence, of course, but maybe the animals didn’t initiate it.
Apartment 3-G, 5/26/15
Oh hey, remember Margo’s ex-boyfriend Greg, who plays James Bond? Well, here he is, the guy playing one of the most high-profile characters in the movies, just wandering around the streets of New York sans entourage, ready to bump into Margo and make small talk with her about her agency, which … you know, I sort of thought that Greg had been Margo’s client? Of course, she’s a terrible publicist and all, but probably even she’d be smart enough to advise him not to ruin his Bondian cred by appearing in public wearing a green jacket. Anyway, on the surface, this may look like the same kind of disconnected dreamscape conversation Apartment 3-G’s been mired in for months, but replying to your ex-lover’s “Have you missed me?” with “It’s lovely to see you” is from my point of view a delightfully sick burn.
Dear Heathcliff and Creators Syndicate: you can’t just make a character cool by having him stand next to another character widely considered cool and then have a third party say “That’s a whole lotta cool.” That’s not how being cool works!
If you’re like, me you saw the Perfesser’s statement that he attended a “1950s sock hop” and immediately thought, “Have the bird-men of Shoe invented time travel, and do they use it to travel back to enjoy the innocent entertainments of simpler eras?” But the answer is clearly no, as obviously the Perfesser wouldn’t have phone service in the days before the deployment of modern wireless networks. So instead, we’ll have to console ourselves with the deliciously depressing story of the evening that we can derive from this strip: the Perfesser, having finally worked up the energy to leave behind another grim night at home, went out for a social event with fellow bird-nostalgists, only to be overcome with social anxiety at the thought of actually interacting with others; he thus spent the whole evening staring at his phone screen, with eventually disastrous results.
Hmm, how many SynergyPoints™ should we award today’s Avengers-themed Heathcliff? Well, we should deduct some for the fact that it was published nearly three weeks after the movie debuted, but perhaps add some back because the colorists correctly did up Heathcliff in Hulk green despite the absence of explicit color or even name cues in the caption text.
OK, Newspaper Archie, we know you’re just slumming it here on the comics pages and most of your money comes from those Double Digests on sale at supermarket checkout aisles around the country, but that doesn’t mean you have to be rude about the genre.