Slylock Fox, 3/9/15
It’s clear that the sapient animals of Slylock Fox used the ruined detritus of our civilization as the building blocks for theirs — why else would that owl judge be wearing a black robe, or that bird juror a necktie? But clearly the cultural material they drew from had gaps. For instance, despite today’s near omnipresence of the Law and Order franchise, apparently not a single episode survived for the entertainment of the triumphant beasts, because otherwise they’d know that the law enforcement apparatus consists of two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. Instead, they have Slylock fulfilling both these roles, and additionally providing entertainment to courtrooms when cases are so open-and-shut as to be boring. Even Shady Shrew is enjoying the performance. “Heh heh, it’s the sun! They’re never going to guess it! Oh, soon I’ll be back in prison, where my freedom of action is restricted but life has an order and structure I’ve never been able to create for myself on the outside. I guess that’s probably why I stole that lady’s bike off her porch in broad daylight.” Anyway, once Slylock’s done here, he’ll head over to a lawsuit involving a doctor whose husband was killed and son terribly injured in a car crash.
Mark Trail, 3/9/15
Ooh, is this Mark Trail storyline going to be about the importance of a work ethic and self-reliance? “Our young beaver knows that support a family, he’ll need to industriously build a dam, using nothing but his teeth, paws, and gumption. Meanwhile, Littlefoot grows fat on the Trail family’s handouts and refuses to even do basic foraging for himself.”
Ha ha, it’s funny because Momma’s emotional world is so twisted that her idea of a happy home is one in which her children have gathered together so she can make them all feel bad about themselves! Also, hashtags are … a thing that exists, I guess?
Family Circus, 3/9/15
NO, LADY, DON’T LET HIM TAKE OFF THIS MITTENS AND TOUCH YOU WITH HIS GROSS CLAMMY GERMY SKIN, IT’S A TRAAAAAAP
Today’s Heathcliff brings into focus for me one the most irritating aspects of this feature: that the title cat’s personality veers wildly from terrifying murder machine to weirdly forced whimsy with little rhyme or reason. Ha ha, that cat is wearing a Carmen Miranda hat in the dugout! That certainly is a … potential source of amusement? Heathcliff used to play basesball irritatingly, not just cheer it on, so this is really a step down for him to be honest.
Whoa, Tina has been blonde for at least the last decade and probably longer, so now we have to ask ourselves: why is she suddenly now raven-haired? My guess is that, based on the overwhelming soul-crushing awfulness of having Momma as her mother-in-law, she’s decided to go full-on goth. The filthy house is not so much a lifestyle choice as a side effect of the overwhelming depression.
Mary Worth, 3/2/14
Oh, wait, what’s that? This wasn’t valedictory wrapping up after all? We’ve got at least another week of Hanna and Amy pretending to be on good terms while passive-aggressively sniping about each other’s choice of spouse and lifestyle? [nods, steeples fingers] PROCEED
Momma usually wrings laughs from the wildly imbalanced nature of the relationship between Momma and her adult children: she wants them closer, despite the fact that they’re all kind of terrible, and she herself is terrible to them in various ways, and they pull away. If that doesn’t sound funny to you, then congrats on being a decent human being, but to the extent that the conceit works, it works because Momma is cartoonishly terrible and not at all self-reflective. That’s why today’s panel three, in which Momma watches her fleeing son and poignantly reflects on her own unbearableness, is definitely one of the more depressing things the newspaper comics have to offer today.
The Lockhorns, 2/25/15
The self-loathing both halves of the Lockhorns feel is an integral part of this feature’s shtick, of course. Leroy wants so badly to disappear into comforting nothingness that he can’t even bring himself to photograph his own face.
Mark Trail, 2/25/15
You know who doesn’t go through a bunch of agonized self-reflection, ever? Wolves! Wolves feel really quite good about themselves and their totally rad ability to form an awesome, bad-ass pack and just straight up eat a whole moose. Old Ripper becomes the first Mark Trail animal to get a name other than “Lucky” that I can remember, though like the old mother moose, Ripper is old, because you have to respect the strip’s animal-identification traditions.