Mark Trail, 12/12/13
So Jeff and Jared’s Sinister Artifact-Napping Plan is going something like this: they woke Mark up at gunpoint and Jeff took him off with the artifacts by canoe, with Jared left behind fake-tied-up claiming that Mark is the one doing the kidnapping! I have literally no idea why they think this will work out any better for them than just fleeing with the artifacts — wouldn’t the police have a bit more urgency in tracking down a kidnapping victim than they would in looking for some stolen property? — but I’m super glad things are playing out like this, because we finally get to see Cherry explode into the violent rage that we all knew was lurking just below her placid/heavily medicated surface.
Judge Parker, 12/12/13
Say, remember when Judge Parker Senior’s terrible airport-bookstore thriller got a bad review from a snooty academic, and he raged about it for days and days in a way that reaffirmed that he was thin-skinned and unpleasant, and then by crazy coincidence he and Katherine were seated with said snooty academic at dinner, and he lied about his name so he could glower at her in secret? Kind of the sort of behavior that might make you think, “This man is an awful person and not a strip protagonist that we want to see rewarded,” right? Well, screw you, loser. Judge Parker Senior has now revealed his identity to this lady and has publicly humiliated her and prompted her husband to do so as well! So all’s well that ends well, for assholes!
Soooo … is Heathcliff driving off to get more milk, or abandoning these non-milk-having chumps in a huff and finding a new family that knows the importance of keeping the refrigerator properly stocked? I’m guessing the latter, based on the don’t-give-a-damn vibe radiated by the cat and the car, which are both wearing sunglasses, in the middle of the night.
Well, congratulations, Heathcliff: you did a panel where the whole joke is that Heathcliff is about to cannonball into a fishbowl barely bigger than he is, and the fish in the bowl can see him and know they’re about to die gasping on the carpet after their whole world is obliterated in a flurry of yowls and shattered glass, and so one of them, as presumably his last act on this earth, just says “Fuck.” Oh, I mean, “fudge,” obviously, except in my experience “fudge” as a minced oath only ever means “I almost said ‘fuck’ but then realized I was in a context where that was inadvisable, like, say, a nationally syndicated newspaper comic.” It seems appropriate, anyway, given the gravity of the situation from the fish’s perspective, although there’s a pretty good chance that Heathcliff might miss the bowl entirely from this distance.
Mark Trail, 12/3/13
The great thing about being a villain in Mark Trail is that when you’re a villain in Mark Trail you’re a villain, by God. None of this “likable antihero” or “moral ambiguity” nonsense, which is for college professors and other sissies. It can take a little while for the humans to figure it out, but Andy has these guys’ number and is already trying to attack. Even Mr. Dunlap’s delicious homemade syrup (or, as I like to call it, “flapjack juice”) physically leaps out of Jared’s hand, refusing to grant its power of deliciousness to such a ne’er-do-well.
In all honesty, I don’t really care that much about whatever harebrained artifact-napping schemes Jeff and Jared have cooked up. All I want is for Mr. Dunlap to wander around spouting off declarative sentences for as long as possible. “He’s staying at the museum! Homemade syrup is great on flapjacks! Suspenders hold my pants up! I like saying things!”
Ha ha, it’s the Funkyverse so even the puns are horribly depressing. “There’s no therapy dog? But … I’ve been waiting all week for this! It’s the only thing I’ve had to look forward to! I love dogs, I had dogs my whole life, but I can’t keep one in here. My family never visits me. I just want something warm and friendly and good that will touch me and love me unconditionally. What am I supposed to do with a bunch of fucking flowers?”
Family Circus, 12/3/13
Years later, when Billy was on trial for the various crimes he had committed as leader of the notorious Real Presence of the Manifest Messiah cult, and he took the stand in his own defense, ranting and raving that he was the son of God and no Earthly court could judge or punish him, this moment at the table came rushing back to his mother with terrible clarity.
Judge Parker, 12/1/13
Congratulations, Judge Parker! You’ve offered us many tantalizing hints that the story of Neddy’s Kidnapped Do-Gooder Friend And His Sad Wife might end in some interesting way: that they might be scam artists, that the husband might be a scam artist without his wife’s knowledge, that Neddy might have to part with enough of her trust fund to make a dent in her lifestyle to pay the ransom, that there might be some moral dilemma involved in sending heavily armed U.S. special forces into a densely populated city, etc. But instead, you stuck to your core competency: none of that happened, and the plot was wrapped up as boringly as possible, even considering said wrapping up involved the phrase “extraction team”! Obviously we don’t actually get to see all this derring-do; if this strip isn’t going to even bother showing us a main character’s triumphant cheerleading routine, it certainly isn’t going to let us see a bunch of people we barely even know shooting guns and/or getting shot. I guess there could be more to this, but the final panel sure seems to promise more boring times to come, unless you find the idea of obscenely privileged twentysomething heiresses dropping out of art school and moving back in with their easily irritated parents exciting. (Having typed that out, I think I might actually find that exciting, so hooray for Neddy’s return, I guess?)
This is a good example of a cartoon where the throwaway panels at the top entirely change the complexion of the strip. Notice that Archie says that he was stung by a bee as he was walking in to the bowling alley. Either those throwaway panels take place in the moment just before he made the fateful decision to stick his rapidly swelling thumb into the bowling ball, or, more likely, he’s just in a foul mood because once again he’s gone on a date with Veronica that’s amply demonstrated that they’re totally different people and he actually finds her quite irritating and he’s really only attracted to the idea of her, but he can’t admit that to anybody, not even himself, so instead he’s come up with some completely cockamamie story so he doesn’t have to talk about what’s in his heart.
Panel from Mark Trail, 12/1/13
“Deer are native to every continent worldwide! Except for, you know, two of them. Out of seven! But still, that’s solid 71% continent coverage. Good job, deer!”
Mark Trail, 11/30/13
“Sure, after making half-assed attempts to disguise ourselves, we’ll just tell you our full names, what could possibly go wrong? The shining divine rays behind your head and accompanying chorus of angels doesn’t indicate how this is going to go down, probably!”
oh my god he didn’t invite her back to his house this is better than even I could have imagined
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY! The intermittently ongoing plot in Crankshaft has been that Mary, the new bus driver in Crankshaft’s school district, is pleasant and nice and good at her job and everybody loves her, except for Crankshaft, obviously, for whom happiness is Kryptonite, if Kryptonite didn’t kill Superman but instead made him more of a sullen dick. Anyway, she’s been talking all week about how excited she is about having her family all around her for Thanksgiving, except apparently she’s just eating down at the Dale Evans instead, which means she has a Dark Secret, like she doesn’t have a family and it was all a brave front. Presumably Crankshaft will invite her to his place for dinner, and he’ll be insufferable because this will prove him “right,” somehow, which is more evidence that even on this nice holiday we can’t have nice things, because this is the Funkyverse, so suffer, mortal.
Mark Trail, 11/28/13
At least we can be thankful for madness in Mark Trail! Ha ha, is Mark asking Mr. Dunlap, noted Indian artifact owner and non-doctor, for his medical opinion? Sure, why not! Have Jeff and Jared, last seen looking like this, put on faintly absurd outfits in an attempt to look “inconspicuous”? Yes and yes and HELLO, floppy fisherman hat that also kind of looks like a Mountie hat! I love you all!
B.C. and Marvin, 11/24/13
If Thanksgiving’s coming, it must be time for one of my least favorite comics tropes: terrifyingly self-aware animals begging not be eaten. Today’s B.C. is a particularly gruesome example of the genre, made all the more vivid by the poor victim-turkey explaining in great detail the real-life unsavory conditions under which many factory farmed animals are raised. For sheer narrative power, though, you can’t beat panels two and three of Marvin: first, we see a panicked turkey, unable to speak English but still obviously aware of his coming fate; then we see Marvin’s family feasting on his corpse.
Panels from Mark Trail, 11/24/13
The whole Ben-Franklin-wanted-the-turkey-to-be-our-national-bird thing is a myth, pretty much. Franklin never made a serious political proposal to this effect or anything; he just wrote a letter to his daughter, in which he said that the eagle in the proposed design for the Great Seal of the United States looked like a turkey, and then, in typical witty Frankly fashion, wrote a couple of paragraphs about how turkeys are better and more noble than eagles anyway. I do like that Mark doesn’t bother correcting Rusty but also doesn’t go out of his way to really affirm his incorrect beliefs either. “Yeah, I remember hearing that when I was young and stupid like you, Rusty. Now sit back and shut up, because I’m gonna drop some turkey facts on you for the rest of this strip (not pictured).”
Apartment 3-G, 11/24/13
I know I haven’t been keeping you up to date on what’s happened in Apartment 3-G this week, so, uh, here’s what happened in Apartment 3-G this week, pretty much! Thanks, Sunday summary Apartment 3-G! The only new information we get in this strip is that Dr. Bentley likes to tickle teenage girls under their chins, which, grossssss.
Funky Winkerbean, 11/24/13
“Let’s just say your father was a terrible, hateful person and that we’re all glad he’s dead! We’re protecting you from this knowledge, but the strip sure isn’t doing the same for its readers!”