Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/25/13
Rex and June, who are married to each other, and have been for some time, and they were co-workers for a while before that, are meeting up with one of Rex’s high school buddies, which gives them an opportunity to … talk about Rex’s high school dating life? Which apparently they never had before? This strikes me as kind of weird, but maybe lots of people don’t want to know about their partner’s early romantic experience. Or maybe Rex has a good reason in particular to never talk about it. “I was cheerleading captain my senior year, and I dated a couple of cheerleaders, simultaneously. Well, ‘dated’ might be the wrong word, more like ‘brainwashed them and indoctrinated them into my sex-death cheerleading cult.’ And, yes, the reporters may have compared me to Charles Manson, but the big differences between me and Manson is that I wasn’t dumb enough to make the swastika on my forehead permanent, and also all the records were sealed, because I was a juvenile. Wait, maybe there was a reason I never told you about all this before.”
I somehow misread Momma’s statement in panel one as “Francis, you look more like Thomas Dewey everyday!” This would be completely in line chronologically with the strip’s usual cultural references. Francis doesn’t look anything like Thomas Dewey, of course, but he doesn’t look anything like his brother Thomas either, so whatever.
Has anyone considered that what Spider-Man has been overselling as his “spider-sense” is actually just what the rest of us call “irritation?”
The Lockhorns, 11/25/13
YES LEROY WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DIE WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO DIE FOR MEEEEE
Mary Worth, 11/21/13
Mary Worth is being mugged in broad daylight in the middle of Central Park (THANKS A LOT DE BLASIO) and things probably aren’t going to end well … for the mugger. Mary starts off by shouting for help, to be polite, but by panel two her face suddenly bears a striking resemblance to movie tough guy Claude Akins, or perhaps to a majestic lowland gorilla; this transformation, combined with her outfit’s similarity to a karate gi, implies an imminent savage beatdown that our petty criminal won’t soon forget.
If you ever need proof that Francis isn’t just a loathsome layabout, but a loathsome hipster layabout, look no further than his sports fandom. Following Ivy League football when you don’t actually attend an Ivy League school makes all those European soccer nerds who smugly tell you about how they illegally stream Bundesliga games online in the wee hours of the morning look like amateurs. And the Ivies are actually among the more normal pennants on display here! “Oh, your favorite team is Ohio State, huh?” he says. “Mine is NYU. They played their last collegiate football game in 1953. You’ve probably never heard of them.”
Family Circus, 11/21/13
This is also what Jeffy will someday tell the cops when they finally arrest him for that string of brutal stab-murders.
I love that Mr. Weatherbee looks nothing but horrified in each and every panel of this strip. Right from the beginning he’s hunched over and anxious and clutching tightly onto his lapel; it’s not like he’s under any illusions that the superintendent has anything good to say about Riverdale High, after all. And yet the actual report is obviously much, much worse than even he had imagined. Sure, the final panel, in which he’s broken out into full-on panic sweats, is great, but it’s the second panel, in which he realizes that he’s only beginning to understand the meaning of terror and his mind won’t stop screaming inside his skull, is one of my favorite things in Newspaper Archie ever.
Wait, did today’s strip and yesterday’s get swapped? Or are Francis and MaryLou just going to keep making Momma go out into the snow until she freezes to death for real?
Mark Trail, 11/14/13
These two panels of insect talk are preeettty boring, so just imagine how dull the two days of fly fishing we’ve mercifully skipped over must’ve been!
Funky Winkerbean, 11/13/13
I’ve settled into a sort of Stockholm Syndrome thing with Funky Winkerbean, where I’ve decided that, since I’m apparently going to keep reading it indefinitely, and it’s going to keep being an endless pit of misery and death indefinitely, I’ve got to figure out how to enjoy it. My current strategy is to enjoy it when the misery and death happen to characters I particularly dislike, so this week’s plot, which has been focused on Les’s inability to write a maudlin direct-to-cable movie about his wife’s death, has been pretty pleasing to me. You might recall that this story began months ago with Les getting a fat check and then getting smug about some of the clunkiest dialogue ever written. But now he’s realized that he can never write a script about his beloved dead wife, because he can’t really imagine what her thoughts were, probably because when she was alive he was too busy thinking about how her various life tragedies were affecting him emotionally to really get to know her. Somehow this didn’t prevent him from writing a best-selling memoir about her, of course, but to write a screenplay he needs to know her every thought, since obviously movies focus much more closely on characters’ internal emotional lives than books do.
Anyway, the Les-suffering is unfortunately about to end, because now he’s going to read Lisa’s diary! The diary he swore never to read, for some reason! This will solve all his problems and probably he’ll just take big chunks of prose out of the diary and use them in his screenplay and he won’t even have to pay Lisa for it, because she’s dead.
Apartment 3-G, 11/13/13
Speaking of death, I’m dying with laughter at Governor Sexy having his extremely public marriage proposal interrupted in one of the most humiliating ways possible. The YouTube video of this delightful moment will of course go viral, with the autotuned version “I Have To Take This Call (It’s Marty)” becoming a surprise novelty hit on iTunes.
Dennis the Menace, 11/13/13
Everyone in the Mitchell family takes on whatever chores need doing, dividing them up equitably without regards to outdated gender norms, and Dennis doesn’t care who knows it! He truly is a menace — to the patriarchy.
Frankly, the whole “Momma was very cold outside” angle of this strip seems overly complex, don’t you think? I mean, Momma is haunted by the grim spectre of death at all times and would presumably be quick with a depressing quip in response to a “Isn’t it great to be alive” no matter what the circumstances, though she might lean less towards “Let me check to see if I’m still alive” and more towards “I am alive and it isn’t great at all; it’s actually quite awful.” Still, the way MaryLou is leaning on the question, combined with Francis’s sly look, makes me think that something more is up here, like maybe they dumped her a snowdrift a mile away and made her walk back home, and are now trying to subtly ask her if she’s dead or not.
Ha ha, it sure is hard to keep up with the slang that the kids today use! In unrelated news, Alexander suffered some kind of traumatic brain injury at football practice.
None of us ever asked for any kind of psychological depth to the awful title character of this terrible strip, but here we have it anyway: Marvin compulsively poops constantly because he’s a desperate baby wipe huffer and is too dumb to realize he can just pull the wipes out and breathe in their sweet, addictive fumes directly. Look at how smug he is announcing his chemical dependency and its effect on his gastrointestinal life! The first step is admitting you have a problem, Marvin.
Considering that Momma is sitting less than three feet away from MaryLou, I think we have to assume that she’s so angry and agitated all the time because she’s can’t hear anything but is too proud to admit she needs hearing aids. Just imagine that everything she ever says isn’t in response to what people are saying to her (which she can’t hear) but what she imagines they’re saying to her, which is of course something terribly negative. It explains a lot!
I originally read that sign as “Beware of Dying,” and I think we can all agree that this would be a lot funnier if that was what it actually said.
Mary Worth, 10/21/13
There’s some important historical context for this Mary’s-friend-is-a-hero-for-the-homeless story: many years ago, Mary had a friend stay with her and she got drunk and destroyed Mary’s precious swans and then she left in shame and ended up at the Charterstone Women’s Shelter, which as far as Mary was concerned was the worst place in the entire universe. How would Mary’s condescending attitude towards such places affect her relationship with someone who is dedicating her life work to homeless services? Fortunately, all has been resolved: Shelly no longer works with actual gross homeless people, but instead fundraises and hobnobs with rich and powerful people like Hillary Clinton. How genteel! This visit is going to be extremely spiritually fulfilling, but also hobo-free.
Slylock Fox, 10/21/13
Ha ha, yes, Rodney is mixing blue and yellow paint to make green … but why? Why is he ritually daubing green paint onto various mailboxes — green paint that he didn’t buy in the store, but that he mixed himself to create the perfect shade? Is he only pretending to be a devil-may-care ne’er-do-well in designer shades and a leather jacket, but secretly he worships the Dark Elder Gods with a fiery intensity, identifying the homes of future sacrificial victims using the Mark described in the Fourth Forbidden Book?
This is the saddest Momma I’ve ever seen by an order of magnitude. In a terrible moment of clarity, Francis realizes that it will be years before he gets a scrap of approval from his mother again. “I wish I were dead,” he thinks. “I wish I were dead and stuffed like a bear in a museum case, so I could only feel this and nothing else, forever.”
Hi and Lois, 10/21/13
Lois wants to redo the kitchen and Hi doesn’t think they can afford it and Lois is mad at him about it! I’m … pretty sure this isn’t a “joke” per se?
Gasoline Alley, 10/21/13
Meanwhile, in “Slim is a hateable moron” news, Slim doesn’t understand the concept of foreign languages.