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Comics archive! Momma

“Also, wear this blonde wig. DON’T ASK QUESTIONS MR. B.”

Blondie, 8/18/14

Blondie has always been cheerfully hostile towards contemporary pop culture and/or modernity, so it’s pretty impressive that the strip has actually managed to find a musical reference here that isn’t dated or just completely wrong-headed. If it’s being deployed in the context of Elmo aggressively demanding that Dagwood forge an affectionate note from a wildly popular 24-year-old songstress for his own inscrutable and no doubt sinister purposes, so much the better.

Funky Winkerbean, 8/18/14

So the whole point last week’s noir-ish reverie, at the end of which someone got killed, was to remind Les of the existence of his “kill fee.” In the normal world that humans inhabit, a kill fee is what a writer gets from a publication when they fulfill the obligations of their contract but then the publication decides, for whatever reason, not to publish what they’ve written; it’s less (usually substantially yet) than what they were originally promised for the article, but the writer keeps all rights to their work and can try to sell it to someone else. But in the cutthroat world of Hollywood screenwriting in the Funkyverse, it apparently refers to a fee a writer gets when he decides he hates working on movies and just up and quits, even though he’s already gotten a big check for his script, which sounds pretty neat. Looks like I made the right choice to go west and try to make my own way in the entertainment industry!

Pluggers, 8/18/14

A physically active plugger expressing unbridled and even manic joy rather than down-home smugness or vague unease with modern life? A plugger’s all-wheel-drive that doesn’t refer to a proudly retrograde smoke-belching motor vehicle of some kind? What the hell is this even? Was someone just really, really eager to draw a bear wearing roller skates and a helmet? Not that I can blame them, it’s a pretty rad thing to draw.

Six Chix, 8/18/14

While I’m not familiar with the specifics, I’m sure there are any number of belief systems in which the sea is regarded as a single, feminine entity. Over the millennia, she’s drawn tens of thousands of sailors to their doom in her watery bosom, so the idea that she might be constantly murmuring their final terrified blasphemies seems reasonable as well.

Spider-Man, 8/18/14

I swear I’m not just saying this over bitterness over my own botched attempt to get an academic PhD, honest: I find it really pretentious when people who have non-medical doctorates go around calling themselves “doctor.” Maybe Doc Ock wanted to call himself “Professor Octopus” but then he got an angry letter from the provost reminding him that he was only an adjunct lecturer.

Momma, 8/18/14

Hello, ladies! Have you ever left the house or had interactions or experiences of any kind? Well, Momma is sorry to hear you’re such a whore.

Is the joke about … a scheduling mishap? That’s not very funny

Momma, 8/17/14

Congratulations to Momma for coming up with a strip gag that’s entirely opaque to me! Is the joke that Francis is foolish for thinking that he can ski on a day Momma has planned a beach outing? But there are several parts of the country, including my own future home in California, where this is a real possibility! Is the joke that Francis is making bold claims about a ski date with his “buddies” when in fact even in his own imagination he’s skiing in total isolation, alone and unloved? That’s … that’s not so much of a “joke” per se, but at least it sort of makes sense.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 8/17/14

Ooh, this academic skullduggery plot is reaching a climax with June’s bold pronouncements: keep your head down! don’t get involved! don’t try to change anything! just do what you’re told quietly and you’ll get out unscathed! ride this thing out until you can retire! Truly the stance of a hero!

Infinite leisure isn’t as fun if there isn’t a job I’m blissfully ignoring

Gil Thorp, 8/13/14

It’s mid-August and the summer Gil Thorp storyline finally comes into focus! It’s about how True Standish doesn’t want to go to some football factory in gross south Florida; he wants to go to one of the public Ivies, which looks like a college from an old movie! One of my cousins and her husband both went to Miami of Ohio, and they loved it; from my visits, I can confirm that it does have a classic look, largely as a result of rigorously enforced building codes that require that all buildings aesthetically match the original early 19th century structures. This uniformity has does have some weird results, particularly in huge new buildings that couldn’t actually be built from brick and mortar construction despite the appearance of their facades. At Cornell, where I went to college, buildings are supposed to look very contemporary to when they’re built, which results in an interesting aesthetic mishmosh that gives you something of an architectural historical tour as you walk around campus, even though some of the individual buildings from questionable periods end up kind of hideous (lookin’ at you, Uris Hall). Nevertheless, Miami of Ohio’s regime of strict architectural nostalgia-kitsch has managed to impress a star prospect for their 75th-ranked football program, so who am I to judge?

Judge Parker, 8/13/14

NOOOO … THE LEGAL PRACTICE THAT SAM SPENT HIS LIFE BUILDING … with the legal secretary … and the lawyer he hired, like, I’m not even going to bother looking up when but it was definitely in the last five years of real life so like three months ago strip-time … disintegrating … all he has to console him is his extremely active job of running legal interference for Judge Parker Senior and also his millions and millions of dollars … MY GOD MY GOD WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN SAM

Momma, 8/13/14

Haha, highlighting the tinges of pseudo(?)-sexual jealousy in Momma and Francis’s relationship really adds to the laff factor in this strip, doesn’t it! This is a joke that’s appeared in the strip before, and I’m glad to see that, if Momma really is transitioning into some kind of greatest hits mode, the definition of “greatest hits” is “most perverse and unpleasant.”