Mark Trail, 9/30/14
My goodness guys, it has been a while since Mark has seen his family, but sure, why not stop by Washington, D.C., on his way home and do a little testifying about animal poaching and then hobnob with actual congressman Trey Gowdy, who’s taking valuable time away from his job of chairing the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi to do a little rhino-horn chat! Why are real elected humans appearing in this strip all of the sudden, instead of random fake baldheaded senators? Well, it’s possible that Trey Gowdy is desperate to woo environmentalist constituents and overcome his extremely low scores from the League of Conservation Voters, and so has paid good money to appear in this tree-hugger comic strip. But Mark’s cutting aside about getting proper funding for any conservation effort probably means that isn’t the case, since Congressman Gowdy is super not in favor of the government spending money. So I have to assume that his carefully rendered face and somewhat too blond hair are appearing here primarily because “Gowdy” is an objectively hilarious name.
Funky Winkerbean, 9/30/14
“The inevitable march towards death, I mean? Our fate approaches us, like an onrushing train?” The leaf hurtling to earth behind Les is a nice touch.
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
Hi and Lois, 9/25/14
I generally spend as little time around children as I can manage, so I often have hard time either figuring out how old kids are without being explicitly told or knowing what exactly the appropriate behavior and/or cognitive development is for whatever age they end up being. Figuring out the ages of the extremely stylized children of the comics is even harder. I’ve always pegged Dot and Ditto at around … eight? Or ten? Eight to ten, maybe? Anyhoo, I guess what I’m trying to say is that even if Ditto is nine-ish, I’m not sure if that’s an age where you’re supposed to earnestly walk through a Socratic dialogue designed to logically prove that your children should follow the ethical systems you’ve established, of if you should just announce “because I said so” and send them to their rooms. At any rate, I suppose Ditto is perfectly capable at understanding the locally prevailing moral code, considering he’s developed an elaborate persona specifically to circumvent it.
Marvin, for all its other faults, spares you any need to try to map any of its baby-characters onto the real developmental timeline of actual human infants, since it’s less concerned with verisimilitude than it is in creating a horrifying dreamscape of infantilized scat humor. “What could be worse than the strip’s constant focus on diapers?” you might say. “Maybe if the strip’s baby-characters were sexually attracted to each other, and one decided to flirt with another by complimenting her diaper?” you’d say. “That’d be awful,” you’d say. “Surely no punchline to such a strip could make the initial premise worse,” you’d say. You’d be wrong, though!
Mark Trail, 9/25/14
“I’ve heard the horns of those rhinos are aphrodisiacs, and customers in China will pay big money for them! I’ve got to harvest as many horns as I can before the species is driven to extinction!”