I don’t mean to intensely overanalyze a few stray sentences in an ephemeral work of art … no, wait, it turns out that’s exactly what this blog is for, so I think I’ll do exactly that with today’s Momma! Anyway, I find Momma’s pronoun use somewhat unsettling in this strip. Perhaps MaryLou’s line was originally “I’d like to eat dinner out for a change,” with dinner cut for space reasons, but as it stands Momma is resolutely refusing to explain to her daughter what, exactly, she will be required to eat, and it’s freaking me out. There is only the mysterious, terrifying it. “Too late! It’s ready to eat. You’ll hate it … but you’ll EAT it. Don’t you understand? IT must be C O N S U M E D”
I have to say that I appreciate the fact that there’s a banner halitosis headline on the front page of today’s Treetop Tribune health section, as the Perfesser’s question thus actually sort of makes sense in context now, rather than just being an off-the-cuff joke setup. Maybe Tribune staffers are being tasked with starting real-life “viral” conversations about the paper’s content, in order to compete with these newfangled internet sites and their social media reach? Anyway, Biz the cantankerous old bird-man is chiefly concerned with not dying, so maybe, considering audience demographics for print newspapers, the Tribune health editor ought to be assigning more stories on that topic.
Funky Winkerbean, 9/15/14
Way back in the mists of time, Bull Bushka was not the amiable if slightly dim fellow who appears in the current iteration of the strip, but rather a vicious bully whose narrative purpose was to make Les’s life miserable. Anyway, it’s good to see that, despite his change of heart, he still likes to pull elaborate little pranks to make teenagers feel terrible about themselves.
Oh, Shoe, you know that given my druthers I’d prefer not to contemplate the twisted chimeric anatomy of your bird-person characters, right? Especially when it comes to the naughty parts. I try not to think about those at all. I only contemplated the concept of bird-breasts obliquely, once, which didn’t stop TV Tropes from quoting me in the epigraph of the article on the subject. Anyway, the secondary sexual characteristics of these abhorrent beings are unpleasant enough to grapple with, but today’s strip demands that we give serious thought to the downstairs situation of these monsters. Specifically: do the bird-people of Shoe have a single cloaca that serves as the end point for their intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts, like birds, or do they have separate orifices for these different jobs, like humans? Related: do they bear live young, or lay eggs? I mean, any joke about some poor woman going into labor in the midst of a natural disaster and having her child forced back up inside her so she has to give birth again and again is awful enough even if it doesn’t raise disturbing questions about the the plumbing involved, you know?
Mary Worth, 9/12/14
Welp, as predicted, Mary is already starting to justify to herself the slow fade she’s going to pull on her beloved little friend Olive. “If only there were some way to communicate over a long physical distance! If these new-fangled computers could carry a message, that would be convenient, or perhaps if some government agency or private business existed that would, for a small fee, transport written correspondence. Ah well, no point in having regrets over the impossible, I suppose!”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/12/14
You heard it here first: Mrs. Pierpont, recognizing Sarah’s prodigy-level artistic talent, is going to groom her as a master art forger, having her current aging employee train her in this lucrative craft before his eyesight goes. Hope you enjoy spending your childhood churning out fake Miros in a windowless warehouse basement “studio,” Sarah!
Crankshaft is of course an insufferable asshole, but his name is the title of the strip, which means that he is literally the reason his entire spacetime continuum exists, and everything and everyone else there has been called into being merely to further his story. When you think about it, it’s actually surprising that more characters in the strip haven’t angrily turned their back on God.
I like to make fun of the Goggle Eyes of Horror that often accompany Shoe punchlines, but I don’t mean to neglect their complement, the Heavy Lids of Despair, which the Perfesser is sporting in both panels here to excellent effect. Never mind why Roz is asking Cosmo the kind of question normally posed in a job interview — she probably sees him every day and he’s the only one in the restaurant, so lord knows it’s not surprising they long ago ran out of things to talk about. The facial expression accompanying his response is pricelessly appropriate: he’s in late middle age, working in a dying industry, and living in filth with a nephew he barely tolerates. What does she think he’s going to be doing in five years? The same stuff, obviously, only with more heart blockage and worrying letters about the state of the Bird Newspaper Guild pension fund he’d been counting on for his meager retirement. He’s asking Siri, which is notoriously terrible at understanding anything but the most basic and restricted questions, what the future holds, but his face tells you he’s only doing it because he knows the answer all too well.
Mark Trail, 8/20/14
New Mark Trail scribe James Allen may be shaking things up in the storied strip, but he knows how to give readers what they tune in for: namely, colossally moronic villains who just leave evidence of their misdeeds lying around in publicly accessible unlocked crates, and Mark saying “What th’!” And we can also see a new tradition forming: the shocking moment of revelation in each poaching-related storyline will include Mark sadly verbalizing exactly which animal part or byproduct is being poached. Anyway, Chris “Dirty” Whathisname is gonna get punched real soon. Note that even before finding evidence of his guilt, Mark refused to use the man’s ludicrous self-appointed nickname in his internal monologue.
Gil Thorp, 8/20/14
Welp, this summer’s high-stakes storyline about star football prospect/retro architecture aficionado True Standish considering going to Milford has ended with … True Standish going to one of Milford’s conference arch-rivals! And all because Coaches Thorp and Kaz refused to ratchet up the pressure and try to force the Mudlarks to become a high school football powerhouse that could really highlight True’s skills, an admirable attitude that also nicely dovetails with their desire to do as little work as possible. I’m guessing this isn’t the last we’ll seen of True, but even if it is, we’ll always have panel three’s ludicrously awkward handshake to remember him by.
Dick Tracy, 8/20/14
Hey, remember when Dick Tracy’s wife couldn’t get an email for days and days because her ISP had a virus? You might think that represents a terrible technical failure on their part, but now that we know that Dick sends all his emails as large video files of him talking rather than just text like a normal person, I’m beginning to have some sympathy for the pressure this particular customer puts on their infrastructure.
Dennis the Menace, 8/20/14
This would be an extremely non-menacing installment of Dennis Misunderstands Very Common English-Language Turns Of Phrase In the Darndest Way were it not for the look of genuine terror on his face. “But — Mr. Wilson! Mrs. Wilson reported that you’d already chronovoyaged to 1935 and were living undercover backwhen to prevent General Murchinson’s grandparents from ever meeting one another! Our upstream agents report that the timeline is still polluted and there’s a 95% possibility likelihood that the coup will have occurred in the next six to nine weeks! Unless — have you been ricocheted back to nowtime by a paradox-eddy? Have-will President-for-Life Murchinson’s own time-scientists perfect(ed) the technology to set up a Time Travel Exclusion Zone around certain dates? We thought we will have taken every precaution!”
Marvin has taken a break from its usual array of poop jokes this week to focus on one of the more recent and unpleasant additions to its cast: Marvin’s grandparents’ unpleasant little dog. Today we learn that Marvin’s grandparents’ unpleasant little dog is openly obsessed with racial purity.