Andy Capp, 4/22/16
On October 20, 2004, a mere three months after I launched this blog, I received an email that consisted entirely of “ANDY CAPP!” repeated 44 times, plus 10 times in the subject line. And now, eleven and half years later, I’ve finally decided: why not Andy Capp? So I’ve started reading Andy Capp, which is a strip that I’m not entirely unfamiliar with. The domestic violence laffs seem to have been excised, but all the other markers of stereotypical working-class British loutishness are still there: “Andy spends all his time at the pub,” “Andy is unnecessarily violent during pickup soccer games,” “Andy is drunk constantly,” “Andy can’t hold a job,” etc. As an American, of course, I yearn for the window into this culturally specific milieu, but then you have episodes like today’s, where the joke mainly seems to be “Andy is an asshole.” It was smart to to put “GB” on Guitar Bob’s guitar case, so there’s no doubt as to what’s going on. It took three people to make this strip!
Wait, Momma, don’t be so quick to cut off whatever explanation is being offered here, as I definitely don’t understand what’s happening. Is that lady … trying to give her children to Momma? I don’t know what’s sadder: the look of desperation on this other woman’s face as her attempt to rid herself of parental responsibility fails, or her children’s expressions of utter indifference, as if this were just one more baffling episode in a chaotic and confusing life.
Dennis the Menace, 4/22/16
I was going to write a long, elegiac paragraph about Alice’s sly facial expression and how sometimes we have to tell lies to the people we love in order to get them to do the things they need to do to thrive, but then the phrase “the anus is the ear of the butt” popped into my head and I can’t stop giggling about it, sorry.
Pluggers only get “participation trophies” when all their friends are dead.
Panel from Slylock Fox, 2/28/16
Let’s ignore this cute little geometry puzzle and focus on what Sly and Max are bringing with them to their “lakeside crime case.” A fishing pole? A ukelele? My guess is that the amount of “crime solving” they’re planning on doing up there is pretty minimal, but you can be sure that they’ll be charging all their expenses to whatever secret police service they work for.
Six Chix, 2/28/16
I’m glad to see that, while one worm has been anthropomorphized, the rest are depicted realistically, which is to say as a writhing mass of living tissue out of your most horrifying nightmares that serves as a prime example why we must all live in clean, sterile habitats shot into space.
Today’s Momma is a cute, wordless vignette about that time Francis tried to go skiing and ended up freezing to death!
Say what you will about the art in Momma, but I actually appreciate the subtle shift in Francis’s facial expression between panels today. In the first, he seems genuinely excited about his new employment — sure, he hasn’t struck it rich, but it’s a job, and as perks go, free food is nothing to complain about. Everyone needs food! In the second panel, though, you can see he’s just absorbed his mother’s snarky comment, and his face is frozen in mid-smile. He’s disappointed her again. Oh, serving hamburgers isn’t good enough for Momma, huh? It’d be better if he were selling these … flat … things … seriously, what is that pile on the table? Pancakes? Has Francis rolled up a steaming hot pancake to eat with his hands? If so, I take everything I wrote above back, he deserves all the ridicule we can throw at him.
If there’s one character that epitomizes Heathcliff’s shift into increasingly aggressive whimsy, it’s the Garbage Ape. He started as a riff on one of the core assumptions of the Heathcliff universe — that real cats will eat things out of the trash sometimes, so it’d be funny if the cats of Heathcliff were really obsessed with garbage and city sanitation infrastructure, and even funnier if there were some kind of benevolent trash-related magical beast — a garbage ape, say, who delivered garbage, for whatever reason. This was … fine, not particularly funny per se, but not terrible either, but then the Garbage Ape started metastasizing, dressing up like a pilgrim, and now … this, transformed into a menacing mechanical walker, simultaneously terrifying and a violation of the intellectual property rights of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC (a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios). Why? Why did it have to be this way? How did it get to this point, where someone might think this is an image that might legitimately tickle readers’ funny bone, rather than confusing and alarming them?