Dennis the Menace, 10/4/14
Sure, I make fun of Dennis the Menace, particularly when it comes to Dennis’s lack of menacing, but if there’s one thing I really respect about it, it’s that Mr. Wilson has never stopped being angry, has never softened into a likable character. His trademark single bead of anger-sweat is here, but his hands are also clenching into fists — not because he plans to hit anybody, because Mr. Wilson is not at heart a violent man, but because his whole body is just clenching up involuntarily at the thought of so many naps ruined. So is he going to die of a massive coronary event, and soon? Yes, probably! But he will have never compromised his truest self.
Remember the innocent bygone days of this strip, when the main thing you could say about clams was that clams got legs? Well, now clams got a terrible addiction to prescription medication.
Beetle Bailey, 10/4/14
I’m guessing that panel two here is a result of someone saying “Hey, let’s maybe mix up our simplistic art a little and actually show the back of someone’s head for once” but in actually it looks like someone’s saying “Guys guys guys how many tabs was I supposed to take how many tabs OH MY GOD EVERYONE’S FACE IS A CLOUD HOW DO I UNCLOUD YOUR FACES”
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/28/14
Say what you will about the grotesquely stylized hillbilly characters in Snuffy Smith, but their mostly fabricated dialect certain does include some striking turns of phrase! Take, for instance, “’xpectin’ a li’l stranger.” Have you ever heard a pregnancy described in more philosophically melancholy terms. “Sure, th’ li’l tater will be flesh an’ blood to hub and me. But in th’ end, ain’t we all strangers t’each other? Can we ever see into th’ heart of another?”
The throwaway panels, meanwhile, are a bit more straightforwardly depressing. “Th’ good news: No more dietin’ fer you! Th’ bad news: infant moratality in Hootin’ Holler is seven times th’ national average!”
The throwaway panels here — “Oh, can’t find one of your beloved possessions, son? Your father may have hocked it, because we’re constantly teetering on the edge of financial ruin!” — may be one of the grimmest things I’ve seen in the comics pages in a while. The rest of the strip fills in the details of the story, though: dad is suffering from a traumatic brain injury, so obviously he can’t be expected to hold down a steady job.
Hi and Lois, 9/28/14
Running through a checklist and then concluding with an eerily contraction-less “I think we are ready”? Spending time during the game quantifying all aspects of the current seasons? Haha, the Flagstons aren’t aliens wearing meatsack disguises and trying to blend into human society at all!
Today’s Momma is a master class in whiplash, moving from clunky, painfully artificial dialogue clearly meant to set up a joke in the first two panels to gibbering madness in panel three. I guess Momma is doing an exaggerated “hands up” gesture to make it clear she’s responding to Francis’s monetary request neither freely nor cheerfully. But what are we to make of the young men’s dialogue? Francis is only thinking his, and with the darkened bottom of the thought balloon that designates gloom in this strip. “Never mind, Normy,” he muses. “I never wanted you to see this. I didn’t want you to know that this is how things really are in this house.” Normy, meanwhile, similarly troubled, mutters “I dig you…” presumably in reluctant admiration of Francis’s elder-terrifying fundraising techniques.
Mark Trail, 9/27/14
You might think Mark is being awful cold to the obviously smitten Lori, looking at her expressionlessly as she weeps and telling her that he really has nothing to do with her situation and that she should “take care of herself.” But that’s pretty much how he treats his wife, so!
Remember when Johnny Hart was alive and B.C. did strips mocking the concept of evolution? I guess you could say that under new management, the strip has … evolved. UGH NO SORRY I EVEN SAID THAT IT WAS TERRIBLE