Let me start this long post about Heathcliff on a long-running blog about comic strips that I own and write by saying that I’m not crazy, OK? Obviously I know that the anthropomorphized animals in strips like this don’t act like their real-world counterparts. Heathcliff and his skunk associate, for instance, walk on their hind legs and contemplate exchanging money for manufactured goods. But the whole point, it seems to me, of using a very specific type of animal like a skunk in a gag is to exploit its skunk-nature for comic effect. And, you guys: the deal with skunks is not that they “smell bad”, in some generalized, shame-inducing way; it’s that they can spray foul-smelling fluid out of a special gland near their anus at attackers. Right? I mean if you just want an animal that smells bad in ways that gross everyone out, why not just have a really dirty cat? Or maybe … maybe … the point is not that the skunk actually smells bad, but that everyone is nervous around him, for smell reasons, and so his offer to buy all the deodorant is really performative, for Heathcliff’s benefit, so the word spreads that he knows about your odor-related concerns and it’s under control, OK? Honestly, I’d be willing to forgive a lot if some future Heathcliff depicted the skunk-character ostentatiously rubbing deodorant all around his anal region and aggressively shouting “ARE YOU HAPPY? ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?” at nobody in particular.
Oh, hey, it’s a new plotline in Crankshaft, and here, in the very first panel, you can see a brief glimmer of happiness! I think Pam’s supposed to be smiling? But by panel three, she’s already managed, with zero input from anyone else, to talk herself into Funkyverse-typical heavy-lidded depression. Not … the food truck rodeo! I dunno, I think of a gathering of food trucks in a public space when the weather’s nice to be a fun way to spend lunch, but I’m sure we’ll find out what’s wrong with it soon enough.
Panel from Slylock Fox, 8/3/14
I’m actually, genuinely sad that Slylock’s usual soulless ratiocination didn’t end up benefitting Slick Smitty this time around. “Sorry, everyone, you paid to see the singing clam, and it’s logically impossible to prove a negative, so we can’t rule out the possibility that you saw a singing clam while it happened to not be singing. Welp, off to solve more crimes!” How do you think Slylock “convinced” Slick Smitty refund all the money? Was it via biting? Was there biting involved?
Panel from Heathcliff, 8/3/14
Guys, I don’t think I really cover Heathcliff’s “Kitty Korner” often enough on this blog. There’s some real drama that goes down in these supposedly adorable cat anecdotes. Real drama. Girl, your boyfriend is no good and your cat knows it, is what I’m trying to say.
Panel from Dennis the Menace, 8/3/14
HAHA THE LADIES THEY KEEP SCREWING UP THE JOB THEIR GENDER ASSIGNED TO THEM AMIRGHT FELLAS BUT WHAT’RE YA GONNA DO IT’S NOT LIKE YOU’RE GOING TO COOK OR ANYTHING
I kind of like the fact that the nonconsensual photo of a drunken senator taken in panel one, which will presumably be posted on various social media platforms and go viral for certain low-grade political scandal definitions of “viral,” isn’t really remarked upon by anyone here, except as a launching point for a terrible bit of wordplay. And why should the senator care? Used to be that a guy — even someone with an important job — could spend his afternoon enjoying a beer or six and nobody would think twice. Used to be that a guy dressed up in a fucking wizard costume in the middle of a restaurant would get a lot more disapproving looks than an upstanding, suit-wearing citizen who happened to be getting a little buzz on. I guess times really have changed, though I’m not sure if technology is the culprit here.
Port-o-Johns rent for $85 a month if you want them serviced every other week, so I’m not quite sure Heathcliff’s owner-grandpa’s math really checks out. If he really wanted to save money, they could just let him use their bathroom? I could see why they’d be hesitant to go down that route, though.