Slylock Fox, 1/26/15
One of my favorite things about Slylock Fox is the fact that the planet isn’t entirely populated by anthropomorphic animals; although the vast majority of the human race was apparently exterminated as the beasts took control, a few representatives of our species remain, presumably enough to preserve a breeding stock, and need to deal with the unimaginable trauma the best they can. It’s impossible to tell whether these men were professional clowns in the Before Time, or if dressing as such is the only way they can deal with the madness of the world they inhabit. As clowns number two and three demonstrate, traditional clown makeup long ago ceased being manufactured, leaving them to do the best they could with material that actually matched their skintone. Basically if you can visualize a faux-hobo clown wearing flesh-colored makeup stealing candy from a bipedal, dress-wearing pig’s porch, desperately holding up his pants as he runs away, and not break down weeping, you have a heart of stone.
Apartment 3-G, 1/26/16
OK, this thing where the art in Apartment 3-G has little or nothing to do with the writing is just getting sad and alarming, guys. Like, when Margo and her dad were having lunch at a “Tribeca Grill” that looked suspiciously like the inside of somebody’s dowdy apartment, there was at least one word in that description that worked, and that word was “inside.” But now Margo is just straight-up ordering breakfast at a “cafe” that is literally just her and some other woman standing out on the sidewalk. “Now that’s what I call a healthy appetite!” her interlocutor says, as she stares directly into the face of madness.
Gil Thorp, 1/26/15
Speaking of the face of madness, how about panel two of Gil Thorp, eh? Against Gil’s advice, Maxwell has decided to forge an alliance with Marty Moon and establish a memorable #brand! And that brand is MAX BACON™. Because when it comes to bacon … who doesn’t want the max? Other than people keen on not dying of heart disease, that is!
Herb and Jamaal, 1/26/15
Let me tell you lucky kids today: if you grew up before the Internet provided an on-demand stream of smut into every household, you spent a not-insignificant part of your junior high years parsing movie descriptions in the paper for exactly terms like this, just in case there was a chance you could see these so-called “adult situations” on HBO after your parents were likely to be in bed. Jamaal, a jaded inhabitant of our modern porn-world, just sips his iced tea and regards the on-screen simulated humping with disinterest and vague distaste.
Mark Trail, 1/26/15
Do you think Mark is quickly changing the subject in panel two because he’s thinking “Hmm, this swamp-king is awful blase about having seen a mangled corpse and left it behind to be devoured by bog-creatures, better tread lightly,” or because he’s thinking “Well, that problem is solved! I’ll never have to deal with that ponytail man again!” It’s so hard to tell with him.
Mary Worth, 1/20/15
Uh oh, looks like there’s trouble in flute-playing paradise for Hanna and Sean! Why doesn’t Sean want Hanna to tag along with him to the nearby medical center? Does he want to keep the details about the medical ailment for which he’s seeking treatment secret from his new beau, because they’re embarrassing (incurable VD) or emotionally traumatizing (incurable impending death)? Is “nearby medical center” actually a euphemism for “the retirement home where one of my other girlfriends lives”? Is Hanna just starting to cramp his style? Is he going to blurt out “STOP SMOTHERING ME,” shattering this fragile happiness forever?
Judge Parker, 1/20/15
Every decade or so the soap opera strips need to offer up their backstories to new readers (haha, the soap opera strips think they have “new” readers) so I guess we’re going to hear the true tale of Neddy and Sophie, Tragic Orphans! I like the phrase “while Sam and Abbey were figuring out what to do with us,” because it conjures up the image of the destitute hobo family, rounded up by Spencer Farms security and locked in the holding cell deep beneath the stables, while Sam and Abbey watch the panicked trio on a hidden camera. “What should we do with them?” asks Sam. “We can’t let them go. They’ve already seen too much.” Then the grandfather dies. As the terrified children wail, Abbey rubs her chin. “I think … I’m pretty sure they’re going to grow up sexy, Sam. I think we can keep them.”
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 1/20/15
Jughaid is beginning to realize that his socio-economic class is so widely despised that contempt for it is engrained in the English language itself.
Dick Tracy, 1/20/15
Good news! The Dick Tracy-Funky Winkerbean crossover is going great. In today’s strip, our cop heroes use the implied power they have to imprison and punish to make Funky feel awkward and scared over a harmless joke.
Mark Trail, 1/20/15
I admit that I don’t fully grasp all the nuances of the villains’ scheme in the current Mark Trail plot, though I think it’s a safe bet that they’re all extremely stupid. So I don’t know why exactly this boat blew up, but when a Mark Trail installment consists entirely of a single-panel boat explosion, you’d better believe I’m going to report that to you.
Herb and Jamaal, 1/20/15
This punchline would’ve been a lot more obvious if Herb were looking at a smartphone or one of the other “modern technological advancements” Jamaal name-checks (a fax machine, maybe?). But frankly I like it how it stands. Herb doesn’t need your fancy high-tech geegaws to be a dick.
Apartment 3-G, 1/16/15
This is kind of a delicate subject, but: I feel like there’s been a marked decline in the quality of the Apartment 3-G art over the past year or so; artist Frank Bolle will be turning 91 this year and I wonder how much longer he’ll be up for doing the strip. Today Tommie has wandered so far off-model that it seems that even the syndicate colorists have failed to recognize her and given her the wrong hair color. Honestly, the strip could use the infusion of new energy from a younger artist like the ones who took over Judge Parker and Gil Thorp in the past decade. It would’ve been particularly nice to have someone new in place in time for the steamy shower lesbian three-way Apartment 3-G fans have been waiting for literally since the day the strip launched in 1961.
Mary Worth, 1/16/15
I honestly did not think I was going to see anything in today’s comics funnier than Hanna in panel two of today’s Mary Worth, her flute at the ready and her face demonstrating her grim determination to make beautiful music with it.
But then I saw panel three of today’s Spider-Man, in which Peter shows his steely resolve to not have sex with his wife like he wanted but instead show up for some publicity photos for her lucrative job that pays his bills, presumably sulking visibly the entire time.
Herb and Jamaal, 1/16/15
Hey, are you wondering what Herb’s mother-in-law is doing on this fine Friday? Well, she’s just sitting in an armchair, silently contemplating her own inevitable death!