B.C. and Marvin, 11/24/13
If Thanksgiving’s coming, it must be time for one of my least favorite comics tropes: terrifyingly self-aware animals begging not be eaten. Today’s B.C. is a particularly gruesome example of the genre, made all the more vivid by the poor victim-turkey explaining in great detail the real-life unsavory conditions under which many factory farmed animals are raised. For sheer narrative power, though, you can’t beat panels two and three of Marvin: first, we see a panicked turkey, unable to speak English but still obviously aware of his coming fate; then we see Marvin’s family feasting on his corpse.
Panels from Mark Trail, 11/24/13
The whole Ben-Franklin-wanted-the-turkey-to-be-our-national-bird thing is a myth, pretty much. Franklin never made a serious political proposal to this effect or anything; he just wrote a letter to his daughter, in which he said that the eagle in the proposed design for the Great Seal of the United States looked like a turkey, and then, in typical witty Frankly fashion, wrote a couple of paragraphs about how turkeys are better and more noble than eagles anyway. I do like that Mark doesn’t bother correcting Rusty but also doesn’t go out of his way to really affirm his incorrect beliefs either. “Yeah, I remember hearing that when I was young and stupid like you, Rusty. Now sit back and shut up, because I’m gonna drop some turkey facts on you for the rest of this strip (not pictured).”
Apartment 3-G, 11/24/13
I know I haven’t been keeping you up to date on what’s happened in Apartment 3-G this week, so, uh, here’s what happened in Apartment 3-G this week, pretty much! Thanks, Sunday summary Apartment 3-G! The only new information we get in this strip is that Dr. Bentley likes to tickle teenage girls under their chins, which, grossssss.
Funky Winkerbean, 11/24/13
“Let’s just say your father was a terrible, hateful person and that we’re all glad he’s dead! We’re protecting you from this knowledge, but the strip sure isn’t doing the same for its readers!”
Apartment 3-G, 11/16/13
“Look, Lu Ann, I already tried to strong-arm you into agreeing to marry me by proposing in front of hundreds of people. How much more do I need to spell out for you? Are you going to finally acknowledge that I’m a manipulative sociopath or what?”
Wizard of Id, 11/16/13
Have you ever wanted to see a comic strip featuring a steaming, half-digested sheep carcass? Then today’s Wizard of Id is for you, my friend!
Mark Trail, 11/16/13
OH GOD HE HAS BEEN BITTEN HE HAS THE MELTING SICKNESS UNCLEAN UNCLEAN UNCLEAN
Funky Winkerbean, 11/13/13
I’ve settled into a sort of Stockholm Syndrome thing with Funky Winkerbean, where I’ve decided that, since I’m apparently going to keep reading it indefinitely, and it’s going to keep being an endless pit of misery and death indefinitely, I’ve got to figure out how to enjoy it. My current strategy is to enjoy it when the misery and death happen to characters I particularly dislike, so this week’s plot, which has been focused on Les’s inability to write a maudlin direct-to-cable movie about his wife’s death, has been pretty pleasing to me. You might recall that this story began months ago with Les getting a fat check and then getting smug about some of the clunkiest dialogue ever written. But now he’s realized that he can never write a script about his beloved dead wife, because he can’t really imagine what her thoughts were, probably because when she was alive he was too busy thinking about how her various life tragedies were affecting him emotionally to really get to know her. Somehow this didn’t prevent him from writing a best-selling memoir about her, of course, but to write a screenplay he needs to know her every thought, since obviously movies focus much more closely on characters’ internal emotional lives than books do.
Anyway, the Les-suffering is unfortunately about to end, because now he’s going to read Lisa’s diary! The diary he swore never to read, for some reason! This will solve all his problems and probably he’ll just take big chunks of prose out of the diary and use them in his screenplay and he won’t even have to pay Lisa for it, because she’s dead.
Apartment 3-G, 11/13/13
Speaking of death, I’m dying with laughter at Governor Sexy having his extremely public marriage proposal interrupted in one of the most humiliating ways possible. The YouTube video of this delightful moment will of course go viral, with the autotuned version “I Have To Take This Call (It’s Marty)” becoming a surprise novelty hit on iTunes.
Dennis the Menace, 11/13/13
Everyone in the Mitchell family takes on whatever chores need doing, dividing them up equitably without regards to outdated gender norms, and Dennis doesn’t care who knows it! He truly is a menace — to the patriarchy.
Frankly, the whole “Momma was very cold outside” angle of this strip seems overly complex, don’t you think? I mean, Momma is haunted by the grim spectre of death at all times and would presumably be quick with a depressing quip in response to a “Isn’t it great to be alive” no matter what the circumstances, though she might lean less towards “Let me check to see if I’m still alive” and more towards “I am alive and it isn’t great at all; it’s actually quite awful.” Still, the way MaryLou is leaning on the question, combined with Francis’s sly look, makes me think that something more is up here, like maybe they dumped her a snowdrift a mile away and made her walk back home, and are now trying to subtly ask her if she’s dead or not.
Ha ha, it sure is hard to keep up with the slang that the kids today use! In unrelated news, Alexander suffered some kind of traumatic brain injury at football practice.
Apartment 3-G, 11/12/13
Handsome Governor Peter has been plotting to make Lu Ann his First Lady for some time, but clearly he’s been waiting for the perfect moment: at an extremely public event, in front of New York’s social and political elite, so that saying no will be incredibly humiliating and awkward for everyone involved. I thought Paul Linksy won the Using Social Pressure To Force An Ambivalent Lu Ann To Marry You Lifetime Award for all time when he surprise-proposed to her in front of his chanting extended family on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but the governor is on the verge of really taking things to the next level here, what with all the reporters from major media outlets in attendance.
The best part of this comic is that there doesn’t actually seem to be any party going on here! Just Leroy lighting up a crapload of candles on Loretta’s birthday cake, so he can insult her. Probably he gave her the hat, too. Probably she was excited for maybe as much as 30 seconds, because she thought Leroy actually arranged a nice little moment for her on her birthday. Probably we’re seeing her face settle into an epic Locknornean frown just at the moment when she realizes, again, that her life is nothing but a series of bitter emotional disappointments.
Do you enjoy people vaguely flirting by naming different American regional dishes? Then today’s Blondie is for you, my friend!
Apartment 3-G, 11/4/13
Oddball misfit Marty sure is learning some stuff about how to be a bad girl from her bad girl friend Tori! For instance, she’s learning how to make the jerk-off gesture when talking (or, in this case, thinking) about jerk-offs like her dad. She hasn’t quite gotten all the nuances down yet — for instance, you should do it sort off to the side while sneering, rather than right in front of your face while you look like you’re about to cry — but it’s nice to see her trying new things!
Slylock Fox, 11/4/13
I originally thought the solution to this puzzle was going to involve the boxer shorts that Count Weirdly hadn’t taken off yet, thanks to his last shred of human decency. But no, it’s based on the fact that your hair and nails are already dead! I’m not sure what’s more unsettling, the image of a man invisible except for his hair and nails, or the thought that we’re all covered with corpse-bits that spout out of our very flesh.
You’d think that Peter Parker’s own extremely non-lucrative journalism career would give him a little more sympathy for the sad souls who pissed their editors off enough to be exiled to the Spider-Man beat for their various publications. But nope, being Spider-Man means you can just be a stone-cold dick to whoever you want!
I love how unimpressed and aggravated Heathcliff’s owner is here. What good is it even to have a cat that uses his terrifying control over the forces of darkness to manipulate matter and cancel out gravity if you still have mice?
So ends the Fall 2013 Comics Curmudgeon fundraiser. Don’t forget the “Donate” button over there on the left, for late contributions or whenever the spirit moves you. Sincere thanks to everyone!
“Astella! She — is dead!”
“Yes, and tastefully off-panel, with wisps of smoke wafting from the charred remains of her once-lovely face. Beautiful she was, Astella, and cunning! But in the end, neither quality could save her, because she lacked the experience and common sense to realize that her gun had become …. Hey waitaminute, T — why are we here, again?”
“Free Rosa and capture El Cóndor.”
“Oops. Sorry, my bad.”
Dick Tracy, 10/18/13
And it’s starting to rain!
Hey doofus, in what sense do you “know how to pilot” the Space Coupe if you can’t make it go where you want, or at the very minimum make it not go where you don’t want? Mmmmm?
Gil Thorp, 10/18/13
But that won’t stop Milford running back Chip Visci and linebackers Omari Troy and Troy Costello — touchdown!
I sincerely and unironically admire this strip’s fidelity to its team rosters. Players come in as freshmen, move up the ranks, sometimes transfer in and out, graduate, and sometimes come back. Some but not all play multiple sports. Seasons start in approximately real time, and the first weeks of each arc [football, basketball, baseball] present the roster so readers can follow along at home. That is some serious attention to craft, right there. We saw something similar in Funky Winkerbean a while back, when a character showed up to correct a minor continuity lapse revealed by publication of a 1970′s compilation.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/18/13
June is intrigued by this talk of mariticide: “Say, why don’t I stop by and ask the wife to tell me exactly how she did it? More moss, dear?”
Apartment 3-G, 10/18/13
Bad Girl Tori doesn’t just defy authority – she defies gravity. And mocks fashion with her signature reverse combover.
Program note: just a reminder that Comments of the Week are delayed until Josh’s return on Sunday, or maybe Monday, whatevs.
– Uncle Lumpy