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Comics archive! Mark Trail

Thank you, thank you, mighty Cape Buffalo

Herb and Jamaal, 7/19/14

As a former center for the NBA’s Phazers and part-owner of a local restaurant, you’d expect Jamaal J. Jamaal to be comfortable in the public eye, and specifically with attention from the ladies. What’s more, he and Rajni met cute when she retrieved his underwear for him Thursday, and he spent all day yesterday checking out the contours of her “Single and Looking” T-shirt. But here he is again paralyzed by self-doubt — just like the poor, forlorn, rejected characters Angelina Jolie plays in all those movies.

Crankshaft, 7/19/14

Hey, remember how Crankshaft doesn’t know how to use a remote? Yeah, well, forget that.

Mark Trail, 7/19/14

RRRRRMMUMBRUMBBLLE, and Mark cuts short his halting exigesis of Lori’s ladyfeelings to Get the Hell out of Dodge. It is the mighty Cape Buffalo, fiercest among the bovines! Of unknown ancestry, the Cape Buffalo is unpredictable and highly dangerous to humans, as anyone would be who grew up a bastard cow.

No more speculating on feminine ways today! I bet Mark is every bit as grateful as we are.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/19/14

In the annals of nephewism, the relationship between Jughaid and his Uncle Snuffy stands out as a particularly sweet example. Equally ignorant and lazy, they share interests in shif’lessness and petty crime, and seem to get along pretty well. Jughaid even looks a little sheepish about his cosmic arrogance. Maybe God will cut him a break come smitin’ time.


– Uncle Lumpy

Shout-outery

Gil Thorp, 7/18/14

Tongue loosened by wine and Mimi’s sultry charms, Gil slurs out his commitment to mediocrity and refusal to reason with anybody, ever. And dammit, slow as he is, that tuba player is one hell of a receiver.

Mark Trail, 7/18/14

“I’m not interfering in your relationship with Lori …. That said, here are my opinion and advice regarding your relationship with Lori!” Mark has suppressed all feelings since 1946, but that dam has now burst with him loving and missing Cherry all willy-nilly, and here he advises Dirty to go work on his relationship. The long-awaited Mark Trail/Mary Worth crossover has begun, and it’s going to be awesome.

Funky Winkerbean, 7/18/14

Because comic book conventions are inherently fascinating, I had complete confidence that Comics Curmudgeon readers would follow this week’s Funky Winkerbean with rapt attention so I didn’t have to look at it. Thank you, generous readers!

But Comic John’s coy little shout-out in panel two is just too irritating to pass by. Tired joke, sitcom-style “That’s Our Crazy!” take, grandiose validation of the speaker’s own in-group, ugh. Pair that with the over-rendered “uncanny valley” look that suggests ol’ Skunkhead was drawn from life and now here I am considering the possibility that Comic John might be an actual real person living in the same world as me and seriously have you no mercy, Funky Winkerbean?

Judge Parker, 7/18/14

I do believe that’s a Business Plan Sam’s holding there. Steel yourselves.

Lots of name-checking going on in Judge Parker this week. Mopey Eurotrash Jules the other day, and now wealthy Parisian Cancer Rachel and country-music legend, solar entrepreneur, and real-estate titan Rocky Ledge, né Milton Rasmussen, husband of award-winning actress and equestrienne Godiva Danube, née Brunhilde Akermann. I kid you not.

There must be a point at which a comic moves so slowly that it needs to spend every strip reminding readers what’s gone before. I’m taking dibs on calling that point the “Parker Equilibrium.” Ironically, Apartment 3-G was first to reach it.


Just a reminder that there are no Comments of the Week on my watch — Josh will be back July 28 with an extra helping.

But to sate your lust for comics-themed Friday entertainment in the meantime, I have assembled “Twirlin’ Tommie Thompson” – two seemingly endless conversations with Carol Collins in Jack Riley’s magical barnyard, featuring Red Tommie and Blue Tommie and a swirling kaleidoscope of backgrounds:

It’s a little less annoying if you draw a little dot on your monitor at the tip of Tommie’s nose. But don’t use permanent marker like I did – it lasts a surprisingly long time.

– Uncle Lumpy

Dirty feelings; dirty thoughts

Mark Trail, 7/15/14

“Call me Dirty, Mark, like my good friends do! You like me, Dirty, don’t you? I sure like it when you talk to me: Dirty. And I will be Dirty for you any time and any way you want!”

In Carson McCullers’ novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, people constantly confide their deepest feelings in a character who is utterly incapable of understanding or helping them in any way. Mark Trail is exactly like that, but with more elephants and no actual hunting.

Archie, 7/15/14

One of the paradoxes of experimental psychology is that the paradigm for secondary reinforcement, which increases the frequency of a behavior, is identical to the paradigm for frustration, which decreases it. Both paradigms present stimuli associated with a primary reinforcer such as, oh, say, sexual release, but withhold the primary reinforcer itself. Archie, of course, has been dining out on that association for a long time – start with a stereotypically porny setup like oiling up your mostly-naked girlfriend by the pool in front of her angry but impotent father, but then cut to some dumb pratfall. Readers know it won’t deliver — it hasn’t for 72 years, and never will. I guess I’m just asking why anybody reads Archie, since it’s not porn.

Lockhorns, 7/15/14

It didn’t occur to me before seeing this panel today that Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn are never shown in casual daywear — check it out. Apparently in the absence of any sort of emotional connection they had been relying on deeply-ingrained but meaningless rituals to keep their lives from flying apart: parties, dress codes, weekly visits with Dr. Pullman, and other mechanisms to sustain their empty, endless charade of a marriage. It worked, too, right up until the instant Loretta said, “We’re not staying together for the sake of appearances — any more.”

Judge Parker, 7/15/14

OK, I’m posting this partly because the dialog doesn’t make any sense – it’s like the authors pasted in speech-bubbles left over from other strips so they could make a tee time:

“What do you know about the fashion business?”
“Lots! Remember Jules? He didn’t know anything about business!”
“We met at an institute design class! That has nothing to do with business either!”
“But Jules was into shoes! Are we even talking about business any more?”
“That’s what design classes are for … to spark a passion! For shoes! Or Jules! Certainly not business — or design, whatever that is!”

But I mostly want to express my irritation that we are probably headed for a do-over of one of the most grindingly dull Judge Parker stories of all time, justly ignored in Josh’s retrospective: Mopey Eurotrash Jules and Sam the Man with a Business Plan. Spoiler: Sam winds up with a million-dollar stake in Jules’ business just because.


– Uncle Lumpy