Hagar the Horrible, 7/22/16
One fun thing about strips set in the past is to see which aspects of the strip’s world are kept accurate and which are allowed to drift into anachronisms. For instance, for this joke we have to understand that, unlike actual 10th century Norway, Hagar’s milieu includes hotels, honeymoons, room service, and brochures. But at least it doesn’t include file cabinets. Thank god. That would’ve been a bridge too far! No, Hagar and Helga just keep their treasured memories in an actual treasure chest, the way real Vikings did.
Funky Winkerbean, 7/22/16
Haha, remember earlier this week when I mentioned how hard it is for readers to reconcile the new-style Funkyverse gloom with old-style wacky hijinks? Well, I guess it was hard for the author, too! Anyway, beloved Funky Winkerbean character Darin, biological son to tragically dead Lisa, is now himself tragically dead, shot through the heart in front of his best friend by a scared, angry sailor in the midst of wacky hijinks/attempted piracy. He is survived by his loving wife, who lost her father to an act of violence years ago, and his infant son. He will be missed.
Mother Goose and Grimm and Shoe, 7/22/16
Here’s a couple syndicated newspaper comics about old, wizened dudes defiantly and somewhat derangedly sneering at their looming, inevitable death, in what is definitely not a metaphor for the medium as a whole at all, no sir!
Gil Thorp, 7/16/16
In general, I have been very happy about our move to Los Angeles, but like many transplants, I do sort of miss the passing of the seasons. This surprised me because I hate both cold and hot and humid weather. You do sort of get a winter from December to February, which everyone else makes fun of because the temperature maybe gets down into the 50s, though keep in mind that most Southern California homes are very poorly insulated so if it’s in the 50s outside, it’s also in the 50s inside your house. But the rest of the year is kind of a sunny-and-70s-or-80s blur, with occasional weeks in the 90s that could happen at any time, with the upshot being that it’s actually kind of difficult to remember what time of year it is sometimes. To keep moored in reality, you come to depend on external signposts, and up to this year, Gil Thorp’s chronological rhythm was one of those for me. You got football in the fall, basketball in the winter, baseball in the spring, and some wacky “school’s out” plot or maybe golf in the summer. But it’s summer and this baseball plot is still happening. Even when the “Elmer gets deported” plot of spring ’08 dragged on into summer, there was an acknowledgement that the semester had ended. But now? Much as I would like to enjoy Barry Bader’s continuing hilarious insensitivity to his beloved classmate’s gruesome death, I can’t help but wonder why Gil is still at his desk on July 16th. Has the world gone completely mad? Is this the final step in becoming unmoored from the natural world, begun decades ago when industry began to displace agriculture as humanity’s dominant profession? Will the fall bonfire never come?
Hagar the Horrible, 7/16/16
I’m not sure which interpretation of this strip is more unsettling: that an executioner, overhearing strangers having a conversation in a pub, assumed that they were talking about executing people, or that this executioner’s work life and sexual desires have converged in horrifying ways.
Beetle Bailey, 6/25/16
You can have your “Miss Buxley Wednesdays”; for my money, the best day in Beetle Bailey is “The Halftracks’ marriage is an awful hellpit of despair Saturdays.” I love the way she goes bug-eyed in panel one, as if thinking “we talked about this, we decided this years ago, why on earth would you bring this up now?” Then in panel two her face goes all hard with anger as he melodramatically bites his lower lip. Pure gold, I tell ya!
Hagar the Horrible, 6/25/16
Oh, man, this started off as my favorite kind of Hagar the Horrible, one about the Hagarverse’s Scandinavia’s transition from a pagan culture with more human-scaled gods to Christianity. How is Hagar supposed to show his affection for an omnipresent but invisible deity, one he can’t even visualize? But then it takes a dramatic turn. “No, Helga, you don’t understand! I was fucking God!”