Aw — seems like just yesterday she was a cute little fifth-grader, and here she is ruining her first summer romance with a pointless, self-destructive neurotic meltdown. Little Hilary, all grown up!
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 8/8/13
Wait! Tell us more about this “Charlie” player, cutting a wide swath through the maidens of Hootin’ Holler with his smooth talk, fancy ring, and bait-and-switch mating strategy. Is he unaware of the role played by firearms in his community’s courtship rituals?
Or perhaps Hootin’ Holler’s ancestral wimminfolk cobbled together their own ritual from scraps of Sadie Hawkins Day and Musical Chairs, in which eligible wimmin pass the ring down from one to another as one by one they wed, until at last the final maiden is doomed to wear it as she weds the Final Feller — the Feller No One Wants.
Yes, that must be it, judging from the look of shock, horror, and despair on Ginny’s face — it’s exactly how Loweezy looked wearing the ring at her own weddin’ a generation ago.
Mary Worth, 8/8/13
Swimming! Hiking! Stretching! A life of petty intrusiveness requires constant discipline. Not for the weak!
Herb and Jamaal, 8/8/13
Jamaal lives every day as though it were his last, and reeks so bad everyone around him wishes it were theirs.
OK, so the Phantom adheres to the quaint old ‘50′s-TV-cowboy “shoot the guns from the bad guys’ hands” ethic, while Savarna just stone cold kills the bastards, no fuss. But the Ghost Who Negotiates ought to know that while employers may set terms and conditions (like uniforms, mmm…) for their workers, they can’t go around telling independent contractors like Savarna how to deliver their services. What I’m saying is if he hasn’t got a W-2 job on offer here, he’d better let Savarna continue her reign of bloody 1099-MISC slaughter, or there’ll be hell to pay with the IRS.
Lockhorns panel, 2/17/13
At last we know what keeps the Lockhorns together: as devout Catholics, death is the only permissible exit from their loveless hell of a marriage. But really, Father — a penance enhancement for Leroy? Isn’t Loretta enough? You’ve just heard the endless catalog of her horrifying sins against this poor man; have you no mercy? Don’t pretend you can’t hear me, Padre, I know you’re still in there!
Sally Forth, 2/17/13
Ted tries desperately to charm Sally out of her Seasonal Affective Disorder. I know you’re probably wondering, “Why should Ted and Sally have all the fun? Why can’t I enjoy the full-on Charles in Charge theme song karaoke binge experience?” Well, faithful reader, wonder no more:
Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/17/13
Apparently cancer stripper Dolores’ gender-sniffin’ powers work only on the preborn, otherwise how could she have missed out on Honey’s Big Secret? Or maybe Honey is always extra-careful to put the seat back down? Seriously, is there any other way to read this? “Rex, I want you to know I’m not like the other girls. Not like other girls at all, CHECK IT OUT DOC!”
Poor Rex instantly shrivels back to his tiny prepubescent boyhood, to relive his psychosexual development in light of this revelation, and maybe get it right this time.
This has nothing to do with women, or of course humor — I just thought you’d enjoy seeing Ed Crankshaft in pain. Was I wrong? I don’t think so!
Hey, Josh is once again abandoning you for his annual winter sojurn at scenic Undisclosed Location. No fundraiser this time around, but I’ll be here through next Sunday. If you have any site issues, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do what I can to help.
Lucy McKenzie died in a nursing home in 2009, demented and unaware that her jealous vicious harpy sister Lillian had stolen and concealed a letter from her beau Eugene proposing marriage just before he shipped out for WWII. Lucy came back this year to haunt Lillian into taking her to the ruins of the Wisteria Ballroom so she could hook up again with Eugene, as we see here. Aww.
But hey waitaminute. If Lucy and Eugene are both dead, why not just hook up on the Other Side and save Lucy the busfare back? To hear Eugene, it’s pretty damn sweet over there, what with the eternal flowers ‘n’ stuff. And as far as we know, Eugene’s not dead — we saw him in one of those then-and-now flashbacky things back in March, taking flowers to Lucy’s grave. So as long as Lucy’s in the neighborhood, why doesn’t she drop by Eugene’s for a quick haunt-and-cuddle instead of wasting time on this sepia imposter?
Comics are hard.
Sally Forth, 10/9/11
Panel-four Ted embraces the Dark Side, or makes his lucha libre début. You never know with this guy.
Six Chix, 10/9/11
Slylock Fox (panel), 10/9/11
Weirdly and his accomplice have been using their transporter to loot marijuana dispensaries. That is one stoned monkey.
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It’s the final day of the Fall 2010 Fundraiser — if you enjoy the Comics Curmudgeon, please take a few minutes to make a donation of any amount to support Josh and his fine work. You’ll feel great about it, and so will Josh — thank you!
Gasoline Alley, 9/24/10
Even beyond the bus plunge trope beloved of generations of lead-type print journalists, the current Gasoline Alley plot is chock full of old-timey goodness:
• Sound effects in dialect — “Kee-rash”, y’all! “Smootch”!
• Regionalisms — “Let’s don’t”, like Louisiana’s “might could”, Josh’s beloved upstate N.Y. “pop”, and the “bubbler” (water fountain) of my own Milwaukee roots.
• Agricultural sexuality — Rural kids don’t have much patience for courtly love. But Rover won’t fall for Miss Chris’s comely charms either, considering what’s waiting at home.
• Picaresque plotlines — A forgotten lunch, excess cell-phone use, failed brakes, missing spare, sudden infatuation: what us know-it-all city-folk call “incoherent.”
OK, cartoonists, listen up. It’s wonderful that you’ve got friends and neighbors, and peachy that they give to charity and get married and whatnot, but won’t you please, please stop sticking them in your comics? Your audience doesn’t give a rip about these people, and they always look creepy and out of place. This is not how to treat friends and neighbors in print.
Sally Forth, 9/23/10
This is how to treat friends and neighbors in print.
Dick Tracy, 9/24/10
Chief Liz is right. In fact, Dick will eventually fool himself, arrest himself for vagrancy, and then die a grisly and mysterious death at his own hands while in self-custody. His last words will be a lame wisecrack about how he died. At the funeral, friends will say, “He would have wanted it this way”, and they’ll be right, too.
OK, your comments of the week coming … eventually! But this week I have an unusual number of items to share with you!
First off: if you’ve ever wanted to hear me jaw with Tall Tale Radio podcaster Tom Racine and Sally Forth writer/Medium Large creator Ces Marculiano, well now’s your chance! We take on the hard-hitting questions in the world of comics, such as “If Tommie from Apartment 3-G had an iPod, would that tear a hole in the fabric of space-time?” and “Has Josh ever made Ces cry?” and “Can you you do a successful podcast when one party is standing on the street in Brooklyn talking into his cell phone?” (The answers are probably, yes, and barely, respectively.)
Also! This Marmaduke is presumably burned so deeply in your brain that you probably can’t remember a time when the image didn’t haunt you. But as faithful reader Jake points out, it’s merely another entry in the awful cycle of Marmadukean eternal return. Here’s the strip from April 1, 2009:
“Marmaduke can barely wait a whole year before it decided to just re-hash the same joke,” Jake says. “Don’t ancient strips like these usually take old material from the 50s, and not from twelve months prior? Oh, and it still kind of looks like the owner-man is trying to have sex with Marm. It has simply gotten worse with time. Much, much worse.”
And yet perhaps we are lucky that the Marmaduke creative team has chosen not to go too deep into the archives! After all, their fancy might have settled on this entry, which faithful reader Brian saved when it first ran in the late ’90s for his own inscrutable purposes:
OK, uh, let’s clear that out of our mind, shall we? Today’s Mark Trail features Mark beginning to discuss his overpowering love for canoeing and fly-fishing in blessed motor-free silence. Thus it may come as a shock to learn that in 1971 he served as the narrator for a book offering “tips” on operating the very motorboats whose noise pollution he claims to abhor!
1971 was of course a very different time. Check out Mark, stone-cold smoking a pipe, engaging in a little battery maintenance while a comely swimsuited lass who may or may not be Cherry looks on in obvious arousal. (Mark is ignoring her, proving that 1971 wasn’t that different.)
Curious otters! Jovial portly dudes in inner tubes! Uh, yeah, I have no idea either.
Thanks to faithful reader Randy for this stunning find.
And now, after all that delay: your comment of the week!
“Remember when Mark was going on about finding a solution to this Paradise Lake problem that would make everyone happy? It looks like the ‘everyone’ Mark was referring to is himself and the Justice Twins, Lefty and Righty. I look forward to tomorrow’s episode, when one of the paper-pushing weenies in glasses tries to interrupt Mark to ask a clarifying question about fly fishing and gets an up close and personal meeting with Righty, followed by a closing remark from Lefty. Sit down, geek, a real man’s talking about nature!” –Krazy Kat
“I think that Tobey is actually jealous that Mary is meddling someone else, and is trying to get some attention. ‘Excessive shopping, is that all? Look at me, I don’t even know how to pick up a teacup. See, I’ve dislocated my shoulder and broken several fingers during the attempt! I need your help, Mary. Help ME!’” –peabody
“‘The Professor agreed to keep the police out of the matter.’ Wait, the Professor had to be persuaded? He more than anyone should want the police way the hell up out and away from his little fraud sex dope skank party. Also, the NYPD now takes orders from shrinks? This is Bloomberg again, right?” –Uncle Lumpy
“Martin’s smile is a dazzling mix of Crest, Bobbie’s leftover happy pills, and ‘Ding, dong, the witch is dead!’ Ah, the blissful highs of institutionalizing loved ones, ammirite?” –Black Drazon
“Too bad the Hitler family does not have a sectional to accommodate the missus in what could have been a menage-a-trois of hellish, poorly-drawn proportions. As it stands, she just has to wait her turn with arms crossed and looking thoroughly bored/disgusted/misshapen.” –Skeltometer
“Confess, Senator! You’ve been illegally trapping spotted owls and turning them into fabulous bow ties.” –One-eyed Wolfdog
“The neat thing about basing a movie on a pre-existing franchise is the knowledge that the franchise brings its own fans, who simultaneous serve as guaranteed seat fillers and unpaid viral promoters. Whoever greenlit the Marmaduke movie apparently didn’t realize that this is not the case with Marmaduke and rushed to correct it by forcing Mr. Anderson to appeal to whatever grim demographic is drawn in by the horror presented today.” –bunivasal
“In Mark Trail news, the Honorable Senator Badguy McSweatballs sure did grab that hanky fast. Where was it, spring-loaded in his sleeve?” –Paddy
“It looks like the Senator’s political career will soon be over. Luckily, he’s already dressed for his next job, Ice Cream Man! ” –Digger
“Oh, that’s rage alright in Funky Winkerbean. Just entirely internalised rage. The kind of rage that smoulders inside you, pulling you tighter and tighter, burning you from the inside out until you’re nothing but an exhausted hollow human-shaped casket full of ashes and despair. (I may have just spoiled the eventual final Funky Winkerbean storyarc.)” –Lolsworth
“Stripey butt is just a random collection of muscles flying a helicopter. It’s like the artist carefully cut out every muscle from several anatomy books and then sprinkled them over a torso-like shape, making a collage of them where they fell. He’s the John Cage of newspaper comics.” –Les of the Jungle Patrol
“I don’t read Funky Winkerbean except when it appears here. It seems like a sitcom with a ‘very special episode’ that just won’t end.” –Dingo, the Essence of Purity and Virtue Incarnate™
“Good God, I know the despair never really lets up, but this week, FW has been RELENTLESS. Are barbiturates Funky’s ‘secret ingredient’ in his pizza sauce? Well, actually, that doesn’t make sense, since drug-laced pizza would have been a hit in New York (Boom! Fancy city-types are all junkies! I gotta write to Pluggers!).” –bartcow
“Of course, as everyone knows, too-bad-your-crazy-ass-girlfriend-whom-you-unethically-enabled-and-who-nearly-killed-our-friends-and-was-sent-to-a-‘facility’-‘upstate’ sex is the best kind of sex.” –bourbon babe, unbuckled
“This does explain why Bonnie doesn’t have the ready cash to tip her stylist, which is an object lesson in itself as we can all see the terrible havoc a pissed-off and resentful hairdresser can wreak on one’s orange helmet-head coiffure.” –curlyfries
“What’s the problem? An addiction to shopping or a morbid obsession with clothing the color of baby shit? Either is bad, but one is worse. ” –Who Is Dick Player?
Big thanks to everyone who put cash in my tip jar! And we must of course give thanks to our advertisers:
Neverland: In a shack they call Neverland, two boys learn that all gods demand sacrifice. From NYT bestselling author Douglas Clegg comes a gothic tale of family secrets and games of innocence turned to darkness.
To find out more about how you could be thanked in this spot — and how you could sponsor our RSS feed — click here.
So ends the Spring 2010 Comics Curmudgeon Fundraiser. Thank you, generous readers!
Sally Forth, 3/27/10
Panel 1: The Sallies have arranged a pleasant evening for you, Ted. Do not distract them.
Panel 2: See? You scared one off. Also, Jackie will now marry Ralph. It’s the universe, Ted. Don’t toy with it.
Apartment 3-G, 3/27/10
Dr. Bryant, because he is an idiot, will trust Dr. Papagoras’s professional discretion in this matter.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 3/27/10
Cucumbers … what?!! Pickle relish? A cooling summer salad? Rejuvenation of delicate skin around the eyes? God damn you, Jughaid!
Dick Tracy, 3/27/10
Dick will not get his peace and quiet, and the caller is, in fact, quite serious. But the call is not for him. Dick Tracy is a web of lies.
Gil Thorp, 3/27/10
I dunno — looks to me like he’s playing defense there in panel three. This sports action is so confusing. But then –
Hey, that’s a pretty good look for Dagwood. Blondie, not so much.
That’s it for me; Josh will be back Sunday unless he gets waylaid or, y’know, tired or something. I had a really fun week – thanks, everybody!