B.C. was groundbreaking in a number of ways when it debuted in the late 1950s, but if you were born in the ’70s or ’80s, probably your chief memory of it is how it came to reflect creator Johnny Hart’s sincere and also somewhat aggressive Christianity. Hart died in 2007, with a new creative team led by Hart’s grandson taking over, and after a rough start B.C. has settled back into the groove as a perfectly serviceable legacy syndicated comic strip that will continue to extract declining revenue from the print newspaper industry until that industry inevitably collapses in the next 10 to 15 years.
Anyway, while I have no clue as to the religious convictions of the current strip creative team, the universe of B.C.’s cavemen has been free of Christianity or indeed any other identifiable religion from our own world over the past seven years. But today’s strip reveals that the characters are still subject to the whims of a capricious and cruel deity — specifically, of MASON, whose signature stands in for the ineffable godhead like the flaming Aleph of Jewish mysticism. “APRIL FOOL’S” the god-name announces, as one of its puny creations, expecting only a pleasant swim, plummets to an agonizing death, his final moments spent in confusion and terror.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 4/1/14
Meanwhile, poor Uriah the mailman, the only representative of the hated Federal government who dares to set foot in Hootin’ Holler, is about to be subject to a much more human prank. What lurks in that mailbox? An angry baby rattlesnake? A rabid raccoon? A low-grade explosive device? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be hilarious, for people who aren’t Uriah!
Mark Trail, 3/29/14
OK, fine, I haven’t been keeping you properly up to date on the doings in Mark Trail, but at least I’m letting you know when Mark finally gets around to punching someone! Let’s all … wait, what? That’s … that’s not Mark’s fist? That’s Mark’s face? Oh, man, I gotta … I gotta lay down. Gotta rest up. Rest up for next week. There’s gonna be all kinds of punching next week. Mark hasn’t been punched in a while. You can tell from the dust cloud that puffs out from where Marlin’s fist makes impact. He’s not going to like this. Not one bit.
Apartment 3-G, 3/29/14
Wait, did Lily the deer just say “bleat”? Jeez, the forest animals are never going to accept her city ways! “I say, fellow deer, this grass certainly is more lush than what I’m used to in Central Park! Anything around here to wash it down with? Surely there must be a Starbucks nearby! Bleat!”
B.C. and Wizard of Id, 3/29/14
B.C. did a joke about “haters” and Wizard of Id did a joke about “cougars,” in case you were still holding on to your will to live! The best I can say here is that at least B.C. didn’t try to draw a hater.
Mary Worth, 3/25/14
Oh, hey, what’s going on with Tommy the ex-con’s failing attempts to reintegrate himself into society? Well, today what’s up is that Tommy was sitting on his mom’s bed looking at Internet pornography all day instead of trying to find a job. As hilarious as Tommy’s facial expression in panel two is, I’m mostly fascinated by his feet in panel one. I know in my heart of hearts that he’s just supposed to be wearing white tube socks and there’s a little bit of a shadow falling from his feet onto the sheet, but it really looks to me like he owns white patent leather shoes with dark heels à la Pee-wee Herman and has chosen to wear them while sitting on his mom’s bed and looking at Internet pornography.
One of the things that amuses me about my relationship with B.C. is that I’ve read it daily for more than a decade and yet there are multiple named characters that I literally have never been able to tell apart in any way. I mean, I know that these two here are “Clumsy” and “Curls,” because they actually have distinct character designs, but there are also “Peter” and “B.C.” and (I think?) “Thor” and I cannot tell you anything specific about any of them. This may explain why one of those guys died in fiery agony almost a year ago and I never even noticed he was missing.
Hagar the Horrible, 3/25/14
The thing I like about today’s Hagar the Horrible is that invites you to imagine the hours of inept rowing leading up to this exchange. “Okay, they … they still haven’t figured it out,” Hagar thinks. “Should I say something? No, they need to learn for themselves. If they ask, I’ll say something. God, they’re still doing it. Is this the dumbest Viking band in all the North? Was it even worth it to brutally kill my father’s cousin in single combat to win their loyalty? Don’t say anything, don’t say anything, don’t say anything, let them ask, let them ask, let them ask…”