Gil Thorp, 5/22/13
Guys, remember when Gil Thorp plots used to be bonkers crazy insane? Well, those days seem to be long past, which is why I have been studiously ignoring the spring plotline for months. Here it is, in a nutshell: baseball player Foley Knox is the son of a lawyer and an aspiring lawyer himself, and his lawyer dad is suing the gas station owner father of another player because some guy fell down while pumping gas there, and Foley is being a dick to the other kid about it, the end. The other kid and his dad are Chaldean Christians from Iraq, and it briefly looked like that was going to be a plot point somehow, but it was dropped in favor of a B plot involving Foley’s delusional romantic pursuit of Darby, the softball team’s star pitcher who has a toddler because she was previously teen pregnant, which was briefly controversial last spring. Anyway, today at last these plots collide when Foley decides to win the heart of his fair beloved by defeating her tortfeasor in judicial combat! This will also fail.
Wizard of Id, 5/22/13
So Wizard of Id, which is usually not funny on any level, actually made me laugh in two distinct ways today? WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO? I appreciate the fact that the joke hinges on grammatical ambiguity — haha, you think “[a]re protesting” is a verb in the progressive aspect, but in fact “protesting” is a deverbal adjective modifying “drones”! But what really made me laugh was the sign that just says “NOT COOL”. It’s a sign that you can use at any protest and one that lets everyone know that, yeah, you’re politically engaged, but you’re also pretty chill.
Mark Trail, 5/22/13
Meanwhile, the AMAZING FOREST BEAR INFERNO is still going on in Mark Trail! I’m a little confused by the positions of everybody/thing in this comic, but, comparing the perspective in the two panels, if Cherry and Shelly are looking at the water and the tree is directly behind them, won’t they have to run sort of towards the bears in order to get to the tree? I mean, I get that they’re right on the shore and their options are limited. This is like the time my wife and I were in Stanley Park in Vancouver, and these raccoons emerged from the trees and wanted to go drink from the pond we were standing at the edge of, and they were heading right for us and didn’t seem scared of us at all, and we were in their way but there was no way for us to go that didn’t involve getting closer to them at least to start. Sure, they were raccoons, not bears, and nothing was on fire, but I don’t believe I ever pretended to be a brave man.
One of the things I didn’t expect when I recently worked Heathcliff into my comics rotation was the feature’s not infrequent expeditions into the inscrutable. I like this one, even if I don’t really understand it. Ha ha, Heathcliff is voyaging home via hot air balloon! It’s whimsical!
Yes, I’m sure the automated recording that delivered this platitude really feels bad after this sick burn! Basically, pluggers have very little control over their own lives and will sullenly lash out at anybody about it, whether they can hear them lashing out or not.
Family Circus, 5/22/13
“Billy and Dolly and Daddy and PJ are in the basement, right, Mommy? With all the sand? And time’s up for them? They won’t bother us ever again? Oh, also, this hourglass ran out, I guess.”
Spider-Man’s high school science teacher always hoped he’d kill or terribly injure himself in a lab accident.
Mark Trail, 5/18/13
Girl fight Girl fight GIRL FIGHT!!!
Mark Trail is a pretty punchy guy, as you can tell from this collection of a few of his greatest hits. But Cherry, despite her reputation as a coffee-and-pancake-bearing hausfrau, is actually quite the little badass herself. Our gal can cinch up a pack mule, nail a beer can dead center in mid-air with a rifle no sissy shotgun for her no sir — and look damn fine doing it. As we see here, she can also slap the clear light of reason right back into an effete city-dwelling hysteric overcome by panic over some teensy forest-consuming sea of fire.
Or maybe not? Maybe Cherry isn’t trying to focus Shelley’s attention so much as rebuke her for disrespecting Wes? “Don’t you dare speak that way about your husband, Mrs. Wesley Thompson — what part of ‘Love, Honor, and Obey’ don’t you understand? And my own husband Mark loves these backwoods, ablaze or not: I will not stand for you to call them ‘stupid.’” Maybe behind all her woodsy competence, Cherry really is that traditional hausfrau, impatient for this annoying inferno to end so she can get back to her man’s side where she belongs?
Nah, I’m going with “badass.”
Curtis struck a pose for his class picture so outrageous that even Chutney, despite her lifelong crush on him, doesn’t want a copy. But this strip works another way, too: on the very day Chutney finally decides to put Curtis behind her, he shows up with a photo of himself as a gift. She savors the moment and the memory of what felt like love for so long, then, true to her decision, sends him on his way — a loser in every important sense of the word.
Unfortunately, that would make Barry the strip’s principal character, and I’m pretty sure nobody wants that.
Mary Worth, 5/18/13
Oh man you guys Mary Worth has been such a garden of visual delights lately I can’t get enough of it. Check out the disembodied hand watering Elinor’s windowsill — maybe that’s Beth’s leftover hand from panel two? Speaking of which, our monopod young lovers may as well wrap up their tryst — those bushes have already engulfed Tom’s private parts.
Wizard of Id, 5/18/13
Opening for Bung at the Laugh Zone tonight will be Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart singing The Whisky Ain’t Workin’.” Frankly, it’s not doing much for The Wizard of Id, either.
Family Circus, 5/18/13
“It’s a nice day.”
“I like ice cream.”
“It is pleasant to be outdoors this time of year.”
“Punchlines are overrated.”
– Uncle Lumpy
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Action a-plenty in the midweek comics — let’s dive right in!
Judge Parker, 5/15/13
Ho ho, quite the little geopolitical economist our Sophie, eh? Here the economy of Niger is portrayed as a giant Ponzi scheme, substituting modern easy-to-trade firearms for old-timey low-liquidity postal reply coupons. Next step is to formalize it as a multi-level marketing enterprise, recruiting unclaimed hostages as kidnappers to build the downline and create a never-ending upward spiral of guns, hostages, and ransom money. Then fire up the sales team by giving everybody a logo t-shirt with the slogan: “Guns go ‘POW’ — ask me how!”
Hey Spider-Man! Take a tip from lawyer Matt Murdoch on the first rule of questioning a witness: “Don’t ask a question if you won’t like the answer.”
Mark Trail, 5/15/13
Slylock Fox, 5/15/13
Pluggers, Jr. meets The Daily Jumble. As a plugger himself, dog-man is merely alarmed by his neighbors’ atrocious table manners. Out-of-town visitor parrot-man, on the other hand, is downright disgusted. Guy looks like he’s ready to KORF his ROPTAR all AELTP the RNCO — and that NIKAPN ain’t gonna help much.
Dennis the Menace, 5/15/13
OK, is it me, is it cartoonists, or is the Bad Girl really always the hottest in the room? And we’re talking about a room shared with Alice Mitchell, so SRSLY! Dennis, cut the crap and pay some attention here — you won’t be 5 forever.
Oh, ha ha — I forgot. You will be 5 forever. Kindly resume the crap.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/15/13
Payback time at the Morgans’. I hope Sarah has more success with her little project than June had with Rex.
– Uncle Lumpy
Apartment 3-G, 5/13/13
Oh, look — the Apartment 3-G creative team is taking a tax-deductible “research” trip to Italy! Oops, I mean — Tommie’s mom is coming back!
You know, for the longest time after A3G debuted in 1961, moms were thin on the ground. Perhaps the proto-moms of that bygone day disapproved of their single daughters living independent lives in the big city (like WHORES). But let a mere half-century flit by and suddenly the joint is crawling with moms: Margo’s eccentric ethnic fortune-telling and/or stuffy whitebread matriarch bio-mom Gabriella, her murderous lunatic stepmom Bobbie, Lu Ann’s colorful Texas bio-mom “Aunt” Ruby and her disdainful rancher stepmother, and now Tommie’s homebody drudge-mom. (Unlike her roommates, Tommie has never been adopted, because duh.)
Watch for Thompson mère et fille to scour Italy for the familiar comforts of home, trudging from McDonald’s to Starbucks to Holiday Inn: “You call this ‘coffee’? Everything here is so old! Forty kinds of pizza and no Chicago-style? What is that, another church? What do you mean, you don’t have meatballs? That statue is buck naked — right out in public! Where’s the ketchup? Why don’t they just speak English? This is nothing like the Bellagio! Well don’t call it a ‘piazza’ if you don’t have anything to eat!”
Marvin disgusts himself, bringing the total to … EVERYBODY.
Slylock Fox, 5/13/13
Slylock — a crack prosecutor as well as detective — always goes the extra mile to keep his indictments entertaining and educational as well as utterly damning to the accused. Look at how engrossed Mr. Turtle is in the fascinating account that will soon cost him his freedom: “Wow, I never knew reptiles like me can’t get fevers — you learn such interesting things in court! I wonder how I came up with that fever story, anyway, if I’ve never had one? Well, there was that one time I scratched myself on the plastic palm tree in my habitat and my shell got all inflamed. I felt really hot and stayed in bed for days! That was when, exactly — late March or something? Hey, do you suppose my lawyer could use that somehow during cross-examination? Where is my lawyer, anyhow? Wait, my lawyer is Max Mouse? I didn’t know defense attorneys could work for the prosecution — that’s two new things I’ve learned today — I’m sure glad I came!”
Mark Trail, 5/13/13
Gah, how much stuff do these people take “camping”? I realize they flew in by seaplane and Shelley likes her comforts and all, but here we’ve got full beds with mattresses and pillows, a cookstove with a 20-pound propane tank, not to mention table, chairs, canopy, rods, waders, and creels, plus Mark’s no-doubt impressive armory. And look at the size of that tent — I bet you could bowl in there.
Thank goodness Shelley and Cherry found room to pack their matching tailored Bettie Page loungewear, adding a note of retro luxury to the idea of “roughing it.” Anyway, as soon as all the baggage and trees burn up in the coming forest fire, it will be refreshing to see Shelley save the day with a quick call to the rangers from her much-maligned cell phone. After their ordeal, none of our adventurers will stray beyond two bars of reception ever again. It will make a GOOD story!
– Uncle Lumpy
Family Circus, 5/10/13
It’s generally a good bet that any given Family Circus cartoon features lightly repurposed art and/or jokes from times gone by. That’s why I’m fascinated by the TV floating in Daddy’s groggy dream-bubble, the dream-bubble about to be so cruelly burst by Jeffy’s hoe. (Side note: who on Earth thought it was a good idea to give Jeffy a blade at the end of the long stick? If it can break up clods of dirt it can cut through flesh!) What clip-art library did it emerge from? The television is all black and 2-D depthless, like a modern flatscreens, but seems to have a DVD player or cable box perched impossible atop it. Maybe in his half-awake state he’s conflating all the TV technology he’s encountered in his lifetime, much as the strip itself does. We could do a better job of placing the timeframe of this reverie if we could just see how long the basketball players’ shorts are.
Mark Trail, 5/10/13
In different kind of comic strip, when two people stumble through a lonely forest away from their crashed plane and find an abandoned cabin, inspiring a “bad feeling” in an experienced woodsman, it would herald some truly terrifying adventures to come! In Mark Trail, it just means that Mark and Wes are going to do some canoeing, whee.
Mary Worth, 5/10/13
Aw, isn’t that cute, Beth is holding onto Tom’s left hand! In other Tom hand news, in panel one we can see that on his right hand he’s wearing a glove made out of human skin.
Mark Trail, 5/6/13
If there’s one thing that we all know that Cherry’s good at, it’s remaining blissfully calm/emotionally numb/dead inside when Mark vanishes into the wilderness for days or weeks at a time. So get used to it, Shelly! That’s what being married to an outdoor enthusiast is all about! Here, enjoy Cherry’s special “tea,” which has significant tranquilizing effects. You’ll be floating away on fluffy cloud of who gives a shit soon enough!
Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/6/13
Oh, hey, while June was waxing about pregnancy waffle fixations and Rex was dickishly admonishing a rich dude to get his blood drawn, Sarah became a mass-produced art impresario, proving that really the strip should be entirely about her and her somewhat creepily precocious antics.