Hi and Lois, 12/16/14
I’ve never been entirely clear on how we’re supposed to understand the Thurstons’ class position relative to the Flagstons. I mean, they live in identical houses next door to each other and Hi and Thirsty work in the same office but Thirsty and Irma’s lives just always seem a little shabbier, somehow. Anyway, I own a number of thrift-store clothing items and feel that nobody should be ashamed of shopping at such places, so I’m pretty resentful about Lois’s super-smug facial expression in panel two. “Haha, guess you wouldn’t have to wear my grubby hand-me-downs like a poor person if your husband weren’t a drunk, eh, Irma? We’re ostensibly best friends!”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/16/14
Oh my God, you guys, Rex Morgan is finally following through on a plot it set up literally five and a half years ago: Becka’s husband Peter worked with a sexy nutritionist, and Becka was jealous! Her suspicions were apparently fully justified despite Peter’s attempt to convince her otherwise. So see, she never particularly cared about academic independence over at the old community college or whatever the dumb faculty intrigue plot was about; she just had her heart broken! Also, in case you’re not reading along at home, Becka is telling all this to June as a way of explaining why she’s quitting her job at the clinic. A good thing to do when you’re emotionally devastated and restructuring your financial life after separating from your spouse is to give up your main source of income!
Funky Winkerbean, 12/16/14
Let’s say that, years ago you named someone in your comic “Funky Winkerbean,” to denote the happy-go-lucky nature of the character and the strip. It was the ’70s, so maybe drugs were involved. I’m not gonna judge! And then say that over the decades your strip became a charnel house of sadness and your character became a bloated, angry jerk. I think it’d probably be a bad idea to have anyone in the strip refer to him by a nickname like, for instance, “The Funk Man.” It’d just make everyone think about the name more, you know? You don’t want people thinking about the name.
Mark Trail, 12/16/14
“Say, Justin, this gives me an idea: what if you still built your titanium mine near the swamp, but then once you got the titanium out of the ground, you just admired it for a bit and then put it back? That’s a reasonable centrist compromise we could all agree on!”
So Santa is an immortal magical being whose lifespan lies outside of time as we know it, and Momma is … roughly forty years younger than him? Sounds about right.
I like that, even in the iconography of his terrifying cult of personality, Heathcliff looks pretty bored.
Six Chix, 12/16/14
Ha ha, it’s funny because her mother died from melting, and they’re never going to hear from her again!
Sequels sure can be tricky! You need to build on an original story that’s beloved enough to merit a second installment and honor what people liked about it while still pushing forward into new territory. We don’t know yet exactly how the fascinating script for Marvella 2 manages to pull this off, but since this Newspaper Spider-Man plot is in fact itself a sequel to a storyline for 2006, we can get a good sense of how you should balance the old and the new. Back then, Marvella’s nemesis was being played by an older actress instead of the director’s young ingenue daughter, and she was angry about having been beat out for the title role by Mary Jane after auditioning for it, rather than actually getting the part and then being angry because she was displaced by Mary Jane when she became available. See, totally different! Similarly, I believe that, at the climax of this story, rather than being knocked unconscious with a lead pipe by a butler, Spider-Man will be bludgeoned by, let’s say, a special effects artist, using something you might find around a movie set.
We already knew that Momma’s dedication to passive-aggression is intense, but she’s really taking things to the next level by having a near life-size photo of Francis in his Boy Scout uniform hanging on the wall just to serve as a prompt for her to belittle him by bringing up his past humiliations.
Slylock Fox, 12/10/14
5) Did your Comics Curmudgeon manage to successfully resist the almost overwhelming urge to Google Image Search “bats with six-foot wingspans” because he knew the results would haunt his nightmares for weeks? Answer: Very true!
A genuinely disturbing scene: despite the large sign letting visitors know that this is a farm where LIVE TURKEYS are raised, Momma, declining rapidly into dementia, is unable to identify these common barnyard animals by sight. Instead of gently helping his mother out, Thomas, no doubt to get a measure of revenge for decades of controlling behavior and barely veiled contempt for his wife, gives her some weird, wordy, obtuse description. Fortunately, these angry free-range birds have dimly perceived that their honor has been slighted and will now be rising up and destroying all humanity, presumably starting with the representatives nearest to hand.
Funky Winkerbean, 11/23/14
This is a nice coda to the story of Bull’s failure to get that college coaching job: we get a reminder that everyone wants to get the hell out of this cursèd town, but nobody can quite figure out how to do it.
Mary Worth, 11/23/14
I was going to make some joke about Mary Worth finding its true level by rejecting quotes from highbrow French philosophers and just going with Nicholas Sparks, but then I visualized Hanna enjoying a little post-coital flute-playing in Sean’s room only to be shushed by some busybody Somerset employee and my mind literally exploded with happiness.