Mary Worth, 4/18/13
Well, it looks like fate did indeed have other plans for Beth — plans that she would meet her crush in the parking lot on the way to the grocery store! It should be smooth sailing to love for these two … but wait! Why is Tom’s face obscured by shadow? Is something sinister afoot? Is Beth not headed to Food Team? Is she a devoted customer of Shop4Food, Food Team’s hated rival? Will she refuse to go grocery shopping with Tom because she’s only 16 FoodPoints away from earning a 20-cent-per-gallon discount on gas when she swipes her 4Food4Points card at participating Exxon and Mobil stations? CAN THIS LOVE BE SAVED???
Funky Winkerbean, 4/18/13
Finally, Les’s smug happiness is going to be crushed! About time, too, it’s taken a whole week. First Funky blabbed to his newscaster ex-wife, and now this information is getting to … someone … sinister. Someone who can’t afford a nice couch or functioning Venetian blinds. Someone drinking a beer. Could this be the dude who knocked up Lisa, lo those many years ago, resulting in the birth of Darrin? Could he ruin the entire project by being a dick, somehow? Probably, since nothing in the Funkyverse really makes sense, except to induce more misery!
Apartment 3-G, 4/18/13
Ha, it seems that despite the governor’s transparent macking on Lu Ann, her project still didn’t win. “Let’s hear it for helping kids with special needs! It sure is better than helping the kids of veterans, am I right? Teaching art to vets’ kids is garbage, basically.”
Mark Trail, 4/18/13
Shelly sure is mad about this fishing business! It’s almost as if she said that she didn’t enjoy the outdoors, and nobody listened and made her go on a camping trip anyway. I absolutely love her furious face in the final panel. It looks like she’s decided that if the boys insist on her killing an animal this afternoon, she’s going to just go find one and strangle it.
Busy CEO Kingpin doesn’t have time to just sit around and watch his newly enslaved minion beat up Spider-Man! He has important things to do on the other side of the room. That’s why he has his assistant keep tabs on things for him, so that Kingpin will be alerted in the extremely likely case that Spider-Man starts running away like a coward.
The characters in and/or the creators of Blondie have a sadly tame idea of how students on spring break act.
Funky Winkerbean, 4/11/13
So Lisa’s Story has been picked up for direct-to-TV movie fame for big bucks, and I have to admit that I’m of two minds about this. On the one hand, I find the unrelenting grimness of the Funkyverse fairly awful, so I suppose I should be glad that some good has actually befallen the characters. On the other hand, Les is smug and intolerable and now I actively enjoy seeing him tortured. So I’m now rooting for this story to end in crushed dreams as Funky Winkerbean plots inevitably do. Sorry, Cayla, you seem nice but then again you married Les so you clearly have problems. I don’t care if the bad thing that happens is Les being forced to rewrite Lisa’s Story in a way that betrays the memory of his beloved dead wife, or if he gets swindled by his agent and loses all his money, or if he and his whole family are killed by a runaway police horse at the movie’s gala premiere; I just want suffering.
Herb and Jamaal, 4/11/13
All right, we know that Herb and his mother in law have a troubled relationship, but I’m very disturbed that she sits silently in the corner of his dentist’s office while he’s undergoing oral surgery, watching, remembering. “You don’t see me, Herb,” she thinks, “But I see you. I see you.”
Mark Trail, 4/11/13
Mark sure is looking awfully confident in panel three about his plan to get his outdoorsy, cabin-dwelling wife and Shelley Thompson, about whom he knows nothing except that she’s rich and doesn’t care for the outdoors, to make friends with each other! “I’ll bet Shelly has the same parts that Cherry has that are different from my parts! I’m sure they will have a lot to talk about!”
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 4/10/13
A new character came to Hootin’ Holler a while back; I can’t remember how long ago now — months? years? Most residents of the Holler are a mite suspicious of calendars anyhow, tied as they are to the Revenooers tax-collection cycle. But anyway, this kid! His name is Arlo! He’s Jughead’s … cousin, I think? And he’s a damn goody goody. Yesterday he was caught enjoying book-learnin’; today he’s teaching Jughead to enjoy the process of economically productive manual labor. And he wears a tie! Could he be a Revenooer himself? My prediction: either he’ll artfully convince Hootin’ Holler to once again become a productive economic unit, or he’ll be chased out of the community at the business end of a shotgun by the end of the month.
Mark Trail, 4/10/13
Oh boy oh boy Mark Trail! It turns out that Sexy Wes is in fact a major investor in Woods and Wildlife Magazine! And since WWM’s last big advertiser, the pro bass tournament circuit, has pulled out all its money now that Marks has exposed their corruption, that leaves our journalists no choice but to dance to their paymaster’s tune. Which I guess will involve Mark flying to Wes and Shelly’s fussily decorated mansion and personally explaining to her how awesome it is to appreciate the outdoors. (Watch the sparks fly when Mark finds out what sick sex thing “appreciate the outdoors” is code for.)
Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/10/13
Haha, so not only did Milton’s cardiologist not tell Milton he was inevitably going to die, he didn’t even bother doing any actual medical-style tests on the patient before filling his head with terror. Still, his negligence works out to Nurse Becka’s benefit. Just in time for the show, she seems to be thinking in panel three, the sexy naked silver-haired millionaire show.
Slylock Fox, 4/8/13
What must it be like to be Slick Smitty, one of the last few remaining humans in a world of anthropomorphic, mostly bipedal sentient animals? Give him credit for this: he hasn’t retreated into a gadget-crazy fantasy world like fellow survivor Count Weirdly. (Do you think Count Weirdly was ever really a member of the peerage? Does anyone have anything better than a hazy memory of what the social hierarchy was like, in the Before Time?) No, Smitty has decided to integrate himself the best he can into this multispecies world’s economy. Today, his skills have drawn him into the realm of real estate, and we should give him credit for actually trying to sell a house to some lions who are probably just going to tear up the furniture with their razor-sharp claws and then shit everywhere. And yeah, so what if it won’t have a decent view of the lake no matter what time of year it is? Does Slylock really think that a clear view of an icy lake three months a year is some kind of selling point that’s going to add thousands of dollars of value to this cottage and whatever Smitty’s commission is? Let the human have his fun. He’s been through some stuff.
Mark Trail, 4/8/13
Meanwhile, in Mark Trail, a new adventure is underway! Starring Shelly and Wes, two members of the upper crust who couldn’t be less like Mark, what with Shelley’s ambivalence about the outdoors and their propensity to just jump right into the whole physical intimacy business without much provocation, even though Shelly finds Wes’s presence in their bedroom “surprising” for some reason. What happened to that breakfast tray between panels two and three? “Oh no!” Mark would say if he were there. “There’s juice spilled all over the floor! Wait, what are you doing to her face with your face?”
Apartment 3-G, 4/8/13
Normally I’d go on about Margo’s lilac typical A3G shirt-maybe-it’s-part-of-a-dress-who-can-tell being described as “stunning,” but I’m way too amused by the cursory acknowledgement that there is in fact a third roommate in this strip, who can’t be bothered to go to this party because she’s already fallen asleep, probably because she’s so dull that she’s bored herself into unconsciousness.
Herb and Jamaal, 4/8/13
So it turns out that Jamaal has come to see the time he spends with his best friend and business partner as some kind of divine punishment for any number of terrible sins he committed over many, many lifetimes.
Special message to Baltimore-area readers: Psst! Don’t forget to come see me do comedy at Magooby’s, tonight!
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 4/3/13
You know, not to get too meta about my own shtick, but sometimes I get into so much of a groove exaggerating a strip’s tropes for humorous/queasy-making purposes that I forget that those tropes don’t always even need exaggeration! For instance: did you know that much of the intended humor value in Barney Google and SnuffY Smith derives from the fact that all the characters are desperately poor? It’s true! Like, I don’t think I ever fully grasped it, but instead of having “rooms” in their shack, the Smiths just have a tattered curtain running across the middle of the interior, providing rudimentary privacy when Snuffy and Loweezy want to get away from each other — when the latter’s resentment towards the former for never, ever helping around the house reaches a seething crescendo, say.
Mark Trail, 4/3/13
So Rusty is holding some kind of taxidermied monkey’s paw on the end of a long stick, right? There’s no way that withered hand at the bottom of panel two is (a) connected to his shoulder by an ordinary arm or (b) is a human hand or (c) is living tissue with blood pumping through it. What a strange, upsetting little boy. Mark at least seems to understand that Rusty is best experienced in small doses, though his attempt to express the idea using normal human syntax is somewhat unsuccessful. “Consider that a deal, friend! And remember, we can’t visit you if we don’t go home first! So we’re going home! Trust me, once you stop looking at Rusty, that weird inexplicable tension you have in your jaw will go away!”
Edge City, 4/3/13
Fine, Uncle Lumpy, fine, you’ve got me hooked on Edge City’s obsessive neurotic stylings! Anyway, today obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin’s hopes for a little emotional intimacy with her husband have been dashed, even taking into account the extremely low bar she’s set for herself.
Mary Worth, 4/3/13
After a busy day of not giving Tom’s lovelorn messages to her daughter, Elinor relaxes by reading the Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe and rattling her beloved bottles of prescription meds. This raises the question: How will Tom die? Tied to a table and eviscerated by a huge swinging blade? Or from a mysterious pill overdose?
Dennis the Menace, 4/3/13
Dennis and Joey are dragging a wagon of garbage around the neighborhood! Yes, Margaret, you are right to be horrified.
Hi and Lois, 4/2/13
My feeling is that, as a rule, people bring up the idea of going to a marriage counselor not (obviously) when things are going great and not in the middle of a screaming fight, but in the post-storm lull, the aftermath of a long, draining argument that has left both parties exhausted. That’s what I’m assuming is going on here, with Irma’s expression in the first panel all worn out and heavy lidded. I appreciate the narrative conceit that we’re being dropped down into the midst of some long, dark evening in the Thurston marriage, and that we’ve landed right as things turn: when Irma thinks that now is the time to finally make a last ditch effort to save their marriage, only to discover that Thirsty is ready to go another round. Look at her face in the second panel! This is going to be uglier than you can imagine.
Mark Trail, 4/2/13
Wow, I’m not sure how I missed the fact that these bass fishing contests that Rod Bassy has been rigging had big cash prizes? Like, I honestly thought it was just for fishing glory. I guess the motivation behind Rod’s elaborate cheating schemes is much more obvious now. It does make the whole plot a seem a lot tawdrier to me, though, and Bluegill’s comical, dignity-free glee at winning by default sure isn’t helping.
Dick Tracy, 4/2/13
Dick Tracy is teaming up with Jumble Jeff and David Hoyt to teach kids important information they need to know about the economic and distribution models for modern-day printed syndicated newspaper content. Could nefarious supercriminals have altered your favorite comic or puzzle, for evil purposes? It’s best to handle the Sudoku with tongs, just to be sure!
Nobody in Marvin’s family cares very much whether he lives or dies.
Finally, Spider-Man finds a level of superheroics that he can handle. (Just kidding, he’ll try drinking it and then say “Gross, is this skim?” and spit it out all over his costume.)