You know, last week when I accidentally mistook this storyline’s antagonist for Dr. Strange, some people got mad at me. How dare I call myself the Comics Curmudgeon when I can’t even properly curmudgeon about prominent comics characters! Well, joke’s on you people: I care a million times more about Mary Worth than I do about anything that happened in a superhero comic book ever. The fun thing about reading Newspaper Spider-Man for me is having really no preconceptions about what exactly is supposed to be happening at any given moment. Like, if I had been paying attention to the Marvel universe at all the I wouldn’t have the joyful moment of discovery today when I learned that Dr. Strange’s name is Stephen. Steve! Steve Strange! Oh, this is a delight.
Mary Worth, 3/4/16
“That’s great, Mary, great. You always have friends. I never have to worry about you being lonely. I just, sometimes … how come nobody ever worries about me? Poor, lonely Dr. Jeff. You were gone, what, six weeks? Eight? I just … I get tired, you know. Tired of this life. I gotta … I’m just gonna rest my forehead on the steering wheel for a few minutes. Just rest my eyes. Wave the other cars around us, OK?”
Mark Trail, 3/4/16
“I meant … I meant sex, OK? I regret it now. It’s stupid and I regret it. I don’t want to die in a cave!” [sobbing]
The Lockhorns, 3/4/16
If there aren’t a half-dozen improv teams named Drunk Leroy Lockhorn formed by the middle of next week, I’m going to be very disappointed.
Apartment 3-G, 11/22/15
WAITAMINUTE, HOLD UP, IT’S AFTER THE PROMISED NOVEMBER 21ST DATE AND APARTMENT 3-G IS STILL HERE? I’m assuming that this is the typical Sunday summary, giving readers a condensed version of the same weird, confusing, passive-aggressive not-conclusion that we saw in the daily strip. But wouldn’t it be funny, and in keeping with the shambolic vibe of this strip over the past couple of years, if they just sort of forgot to end it, and it was going to lurch on forever, unsupervised and out of control?
Anyway, I might as well take this opportunity to give Apartment 3-G a little send-off. I don’t think it’s a secret that it’s always been one of my favorites. On the control panel for my blog, I can sort all the strips I cover by the number of posts they appear in, which makes my preferences pretty clear:
It’s going to take a long time to displace Apartment 3-G from its number two spot. The strip’s quality might have fallen a lot from its glory days, but for most of the last decade it’s been a fun, frothy strip with a great three-cornered dynamic among the leads that I’ve enjoyed poking fun at and also genuinely, actually enjoyed. (Also, sorry to use this encomium to build buzz for myself, but the strip inspired one of the major plotlines in my novel, so it’s sad that the girls won’t live until publication day.)
I’m not sure if we’re ever going to learn what went so weird about over the last couple of years, but it’s bummed me out, and it’s bummed me out that a strip with such potential to be genuinely and unironically rebooted (I’ve said it a million times, but: A CONTINUITY STRIP ABOUT THREE LATE 20s/EARLY 30s PROFESSIONAL WOMEN LIVING IN NEW YORK, WRITTEN AND/OR DRAWN BY ACTUAL YOUNG WOMEN LIVING IN A BIG CITY, WOULD DO WELL) is just being put to bed instead. If you’re a comics big-shot, please contact King Features and see if they’ll part with the intellectual property. Until then I will pour one out for Margo, and for Lu Ann and Tommie, despite the fact that they haven’t appeared in the strip for a while now. I’m gonna miss these gals a lot.
Whenever I see a face in the comics that looks more face-like than the usual stylized conventions of whatever strip it’s in, I immediately assume it’s supposed to be a real person. Because I am vaguely attuned to pop culture but mostly an increasingly out-of-touch middle-aged man, my first thought about today’s Blondie was, “Wait, is what’s-her-name getting married? From The Hills?” Turns out no, she’s having a baby, and it’s spelled with an “i” anyway. So who’s this lady supposed to be, do you think? Someone who won a contest, or lost a bet?
Mary Worth, 11/21/15
“Serendipity” is a real restaurant in Manhattan that exists, and does indeed seem to have a hardcore tchotchke clutter aesthetic, so, kudos to Mary Worth for accuracy, I guess? Also, I honestly can’t stop thinking about my new theory that what we see in Mary Worth is in fact Mary’s own version of events, as told to someone else later. What I’m trying to say is that the dialogue here sounds like Mary’s rationale for kidnapping Olive away from people who “don’t make her feel good” because they “don’t understand her” (i.e., her parents).
Apartment 3-G, 11/21/15
“SO SMILE MARGO, AND MOVE ON”: THE LAST WORDS SPOKEN IN APARTMENT 3-G
EXCUSE ME, I HAVE SOMETHING IN MY EYE