One thing I keep meaning to mention in regard to whatever era of Archie reruns we’re getting right now is that they all seem to include a one-off mini-punchline in the first panel. I love them not because they’re funny (they’re never funny) but because they go completely unacknowledged by all the other characters, which I think I’m justified as interpreting as silent and withering contempt on their part. Jughead’s ill-will here is particularly well justified. “Archie, I’m in the middle of setting up an elaborate visual gag, I don’t need your wordplay.”
Apartment 3-G, 6/14/13
“I know everything. Why?” is a pretty sad statement about Margo’s omniscience. Sure, her infinitely expansive mind encompasses all the solid facts that make up our universe’s information-sum. But she’s still incapable of understanding the reasons behind the facts, requiring her to actually come out and interact with Lu Ann rather than just relaxing in bed with a bottle of gin and a vibrator.
So this bewhiskered he-plugger is staring with cross-eyed intensity at the hot weathervixen on the evening news. Are you glad that the TV and its stand block our view of his crotch and left hand, so that you don’t have to see what’s going on down there? Or are you sad that we can’t see, because your awful, filthy mind can’t help but fill in the blanks in the most unsettling way possible? Either way, HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND, EVERYBODY
Apartment 3-G, 6/12/13
There are so many things I [love/am horrified by] (this is a single emotion that I trust is familiar to anyone reading this blog) about today’s Apartment 3-G that I can hardly stand it. Let’s start with the idea that Lu Ann lacks the rudimentary linguistic-cultural competencies necessary to parse the concept of a “famous stylist,” which would be pretty embarrassing even if she hadn’t fairly recently been on a reality TV show in the course of which she got a makeover from a famous stylist. Then add in the fact that what had on Monday been an ignorable peach-orange shirt has today suddenly become a peach-orange shirt insanely paired with an all white suit jacket, which, when combined with Lu Ann’s weirdly rubbery-seeming fish-lipped visage, makes her look like a villain from the Adam West Batman. Look, the governor is affectionally patting her mask-face! Haha, this is a [nightmare/delight].
Funky Winkerbean, 6/12/13
Man, Funky Winkerbean is really going there, if by “there” we mean “dragging one of the sad sack characters from Crankshaft ten years through a time-wormhole into the Funkypresent.” Things we’ve learned today: Jeff looks even more beaten down by life and depressed than he does in the Crankpresent; and, Crankshaft still lives, but has been banished to a nursing home, and thus presumably no longer endangers children by driving a bus. What about Jeff’s terrible mother? Has she finally shaken off this mortal coil? I’m legitimately on tenterhooks!
Meanwhile, back in the Crankpresent, my shriveled black heart twitched in delight at Crankshaft’s look of genuine panic in the second panel. Is this the moment when the school district decides to let him go from the job that lets him preserve a modicum of independence and dignity? Let’s hope!
Mark Trail, 6/12/13
Oh, man, I’ve been totally neglectful in keeping you up to date with the new storyline in Mark Trail, which involve otter poaching and otter traps and rescuing injured otters, and have been bubbling along on just this side of hilarity. But I think it’s safe to say that the sentence “How are the otters today, Rusty?” crosses that line at a pretty fast clip.
The B.C. creative team apparently has only a vague idea of what the “internet” is or how one interacts with it.
Apartment 3-G, 6/8/13
I’m not sure why, but I kind of assumed that Lu Ann and New York State’s handsome, eligible governor were having a secretive affair, hidden from the prying eyes of the press, mostly because he seems pretty sleazy and she seems kind of dumb and/or lacking in self-esteem. But no! Apparently she’ll be his date for the very public Governor’s Ball! But before then she has an “appointment with Zoey Ziggler,” and assuming that isn’t a euphemism for some sick sex thing (which it, along with “Governor’s Ball”, may well be), I guess that means she’s going to get dolled up to the level of beauty and sophistication necessary for state-level government pomp and circumstance. Hey, remember when the A3G girls went on a makeover reality show and Lu Ann got a totally different look and it lasted for like a week? Good luck to you, Zoey!
Judge Parker, 6/8/13
Jesus Xipe Totec, please let this plot end with the doctor-priests who run April’s dad’s compound wearing the flayed skins of the entire Parker-Spencer-Driver axis, calling down the power of the gods to cleanse their patients of cancer.
Funky Winkerbean, 6/8/13
“Ha ha, that would have probably been more natural to bring up when he was first mentioned a few minutes ago, huh? Anyway, pay attention to meeeeeeeeee.”
Slylock Fox, 6/3/13
Ha ha yes blah blah blah geography facts it’s the Pacific not the Atlantic very good, Slylock Fox, now let’s get at what’s really happening in today’s puzzle. Weirdly, self-appointed Count, green-skinned and twisted and one of the last remaining inhabitants of Earth that we might recognize as “human”, has an illegal island lab (forbidden by what legislation? Does Slylock even know the sources of the law code he so ruthlessly enforces?) where he dabbles in genetic experiments. Experiments that might explain a little something about the strange menagerie of creatures ruling the crumbling cities where human beings once lived. Experiments that might transform a species of smallish and clever but nonsentient canids into bipeds capable of ratiocination and operating an airplane and distinguishing between — well, if not between right and wrong, then between what is permitted and what is forbidden. Assuming that Slylock’s enhanced intelligence gives him the skills to somehow land a jet plane on a tiny island with no airstrip, the worst that’s in store for Weirdly is that he’ll be hauled before an animal-run judiciary and thrown in an animal-guarded cell. Slylock, meanwhile, will find out some harrowing details about himself, about where he came from, about his relationship to his Creator. Somewhere in the endless levels of blood-stained cement-walled corridors below that island, there is a cage, and inside that cage is a fox, a fox that doesn’t wear a deerstalker or walk on two legs or solve crimes. It just skitters back and forth in its little prison, eating pellets and drinking water from its automatically refilled bottle and hissing at whoever comes into the room. Will their eyes lock when Slylock finally enters this chamber? Will they both finally understand what has happened, the one with only dim animal instincts, the other with terrible clarity?
Apartment 3-G, 6/3/13
Never mind whatever’s happening with Marty and her dad. Let’s all give a big hand to Doris, who received a Laurel of Merit at the Purple Olympics!
Apartment 3-G, 6/2/13
Last night I saw Frances Ha, a low-budget indie film that takes place mostly in New York but includes a brief sojourn to Paris that, I was surprised to see, was actually filmed in Paris. Admittedly it was all done with low-cost and probably handheld digital cameras, but even the cost of plane tickets for the star and a few crew members had to run into thousands of dollars, not an insignificant chunk of indie movie budget change. Comic strips are not restricted in this way, obviously, as any number of reference photographs available for free on the Internet could give an artist instant material to draw, say, an Italian cityscape as a background to Tommie’s adventures there, which is of course why the current storyline focuses on Lu Ann’s ill-defined children-of-veterans art education project, taking place in what I guess is the Mills Gallery. Still, it may have been all worth it just to see Marty tell Lu Ann what all of us have been waiting tell Lu Ann pretty much forever.
Funky Winkerbean, 6/2/13
Funky Winkerbean very, very rarely focuses on the positive. Still, the message I’m getting from today’s strip is: if your father was killed when you were a baby, maybe it’s just as well, because maybe he was an asshole you would’ve hated.
Marvin would like to take a break from its endless Marvin-pooping-in-his-pants jokes to offer you a Marvin-peeing-in-the-pool joke.
Sometimes when I take a little break from blogging, I wonder if the comics landscape will have shifted in my absence, leaving me stranded in a world I no longer understand. Fortunately, the newspaper comics industry is incredibly ossified, so I usually have no worries on that score. For instance, Spider-Man is engaged in a battle against a super-villain, and is losing, pathetically, and in need of a bailout from another, better superhero! No changes here! Kingpin is at least being innovative in his attack on Spider-Man: he’s using a laser beam hidden in his cane to defeat the wall-crawler, rather than just bludgeoning him with the cane itself, which would surely have been just as effective and probably a lot more efficient, if less artful.
Apartment 3-G, 5/20/13
Lu Ann clearly did not take the opportunity afforded by my absence to become less of a moron. At first I was confused as to why she would be surprised that Greg, Margo’s client/love slave, was James Bond — surely this isn’t a secret to anyone at this point? But then I saw how she apparently shouldered Margo aside and grabbed hold of her freakishly huge laptop, so now I assume she thinks Greg is trapped inside the screen. “Whoa — is that Greg?! Greg, don’t worry, we’ll get Superman to free you from the Phantom Zone!”
It there’s one thing we can expect from our longrunning legacy comics, it’s that they do a good job of illustrating hoary old humor tropes. Haha, Heathcliff’s owner-boy’s trumpet (?) playing is terrible, resembling a bellow made by a yak! Specifically, a mating bellow made by a yak. Check out the hearts hovering above that yak’s head. It’s attracting yaks … for sex.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/20/13
Like many isolated, desperately poor, undergoverned enclaves, Hootin’ Holler can erupt in vicious, arbitrary violence at any moment.