Funky Winkerbean, 5/12/14
A true artist can take a hacky, overdone concept and still manage to bend it to the service of their larger project. In the case of Funky Winkerbean, that hacky concept is “ha ha, exercise sure is difficult if you’re old and out of shape,” and that project, to which the strip is totally committed, is injecting a dose of soul-wrenching ennui into the funny pages each and every day of the week. What could’ve been just another joke about a guy whose medically mandated time on the treadmill takes longer than he’d like becomes a metaphor for life as an unwinnable race, run in sweaty silence and solitude, increasingly exhausting and yet not moving you forward a single inch. You guys are looking at the work of a master here, and I hope you appreciate it.
Slylock Fox, 5/12/14
Call me a speciesist if you must, but I usually have a hard time summoning up anything but sympathy for Slick Smitty as he occasionally violates the laws of an animal-run polity he neither understands nor respects. Here he is, with his hands terribly injured — probably he made an ill-advised attempt at offering a human-style handshake greeting to some sapient beast with sharp, unretractable claws on its forepaws — and he’s been put up in what’s essentially, let’s face it, a veterinary hospital. So sure, he wandered up the corridors, no doubt reeking of animal urine, found a basket of apples, and, yeah, he took one or two, carefully cradling them in his bandaged hands so as not to exacerbate the pain in his lacerated palms. There was some goat nearby, bleating, but, whatever, there were lots of apples in that basket. There were more apples where those came from. Do you know who first cultivated apples? Do you know who saw a tiny, sour wild fruit, growing on trees on the slopes of a Central Asian mountain range, and realized that, with patience and generations of selective breeding, eventually you’d have something juicy and succulent and sweet, growing on acre after acre of carefully tended trees? It sure wasn’t fucking goats, I’ll tell you that much.
Hagar the Horrible, 5/12/14
“Battle fatigue” is an archaic term for the collective symptoms and psychological reactions to the horrors of combat that we now refer to as a variety of post-traumatic stress disorder. So, even though Hagar spends his days burning and looting villages and murdering and enslaving the innocent, know that he wakes up every night covered in sweat and has intrusive, debilitating thoughts about the awful violence he’s seen. Centuries before the advent of the mental health profession, his only recourse is to drown his sorrows with alcohol and share his feelings with another man whose chosen profession involves endless, endless gore and horror.
Apartment 3-G, 5/12/14
We’ve been having fun for weeks now making fun of the pink Ann Taylor Loft turtleneck sweater that Tommie’s been wearing nonstop ever since she got to Jack’s large animal vet practice/cult compound, but I think this is the first time we’ve seen that she’s also been wearing white pants? This is basically the perfect outfit in which to shovel horse poop all day.
In more proof that Luann seems determined to actually change things up and send its cast to college next year, it seems that beloved Pitts English teacher Mr. Fogarty will be retiring! Would you like to enjoy some more hilarious Fogarty Flashbacks™? Well, you’re going to have to check them out on the Web at LuannComic dot com, because they’re just too hot for newspapers.
Dennis the Menace, 5/12/14
It’s too bad Dennis’s spaceship doesn’t have room for a kitchen, because probably he’s going to starve to death on about day six of his mission.
Hagar the Horrible, 5/10/14
Hmm, seems like there’s been a shift since the last time I wondered whether Hagar and his clan have converted to Christianity! Clearly he’s grudgingly accepted the new faith from the south; while he continues his people’s traditional economic activities (pillage, theft, murder, enslavement), he now has to grapple with the belief that his soul’s fate after death will be determined by where he falls on some abstract scale of virtue. If he still maintained belief in the old gods, he’d know that after death in battle he’d be whisked away to Valhalla, where he would feast with the souls of history’s other great warriors.
Isn’t this a cute scene! Francis leans against a bush (?) on Thomas and Tina’s (?) lawn, while Thomas, clad in pajamas (I guess?),
stands sits kneels (?) by the window, hanging out to talk to his brother, eager (for some reason?) to hear every detail of the argument Francis had with their mother, which Francis relays for hours until Thomas dozes off. A true demonstration of brotherly love, and also baffling art-insanity.
Mark Trail 5/10/14
BREAKING: NEXT WEEK TO FEATURE BEAR FIGHT IN MARK TRAIL, STAY TUNED TO MARK TRAIL FOR RED HOT BEAR VS. BEAR ACTION
Website technical thingie note: Hey all, I’ve tweaked the formatting for the site again, so if things look really wonky, you may need to reload the page while holding down the shift key, and if that doesn’t work, you might need to clear your browser cache.
Dennis the Menace, 4/7/14
OK, so I get that if you came up with a joke about “what if the Venus de Milo wanted to do some texting, but she couldn’t? eh? eh? because she hasn’t got any arms? eh?” and you had a nationally syndicated comic panel where your jokes could go, this would be hard to resist. That said, there’s a lot of setup to this joke that has to be glossed over, with the most important aspect being that the Venus de Milo is in the Louvre, which means that the Mitchells, who have never been seen before doing anything more exotic than driving to tourist traps in their station wagon, have packed up Dennis and taken him to France. I feel like we were deprived a number of potential gags of various menacing levels here — Dennis sullenly resists Margaret’s attempt to teach him even a rudimentary amount of French, Dennis announces at the TSA checkpoint that he’s packed something dangerous and/or alive in his suitcase, Dennis loudly says “But dad, he doesn’t look like a frog at all!” in front of a Frenchman Henry is trying to impress, etc. Honestly, the fact that they’re standing in front of a topless statue means that a Dennis-makes-reference-to-human-sexuality-and-everyone-is-uncomfortable is a much more likely and entertaining scenario here than some dumb texting joke.
Hagar the Horrible, 4/7/14
So it appears that, while concubinage was common in early Norse society, Vikings didn’t really practice polygamy except at the very top of the social pyramid, and certainly Hagar, the leader of a smallish and incompetent war band, doesn’t qualify. Nevertheless, this strip is an interesting look at how attitudes might differ in a culture where marriages are thought of not primarily as a romantic attachment between two people but as a basic unit of economic production.
Funky Winkerbean, 4/7/14
Oh, it looks like Jess is going to take another stab at making a movie about her dad, John Darling! She has to refer to him as “my dad, John Darling” whenever she brings him up, because she only brings him up every year or so. Anyway, today she acknowledges that all human endeavor is basically a race against the final destruction of our planet, a race that can seem easy to lose when you’re smothered under a heavy blanket of depressive torpor.
Better Half, 4/7/14
At last, Stanley has found a phone sex line that caters to his fairly specific needs.