A cool thing about having a daily comic strip is that you can use it to air some very specific gripes you might have that arise from your personal life! I mean, if it were me and I was taking on Geico, I’d probably go with “Why does Geico have so many mascots, like there’s the gecko and the caveman and the pig and the talking paintings and the two guys with ukeleles and I think also there’s a stack of money with googly eyes?” But, you know, “I resent the application of actuarial science to me in particular” could work too!
Funky Winkerbean, 12/11/14
I know it seems weird, but there are probably some people who only read Funky Winkerbean and not its sister strip, Crankshaft, or vice versa. These people are spared the useless mental exercise of trying to figure out how the timelines of the two Funkyverse strips now line up, as are 99 percent of the people who read both and still only have the vaguest idea that they’re connected. But even if you forgot/don’t care, Funky Winkerbean has decided that its readers are starved for delightful Crankshaft-related content, and are giving us a charming flashback to the Funkypast/Crankpresent, in which the ’Shaft deals with an obviously emotionally vulnerable little girl with his classic lack of tact. I don’t was to cast aspersions on anyone’s parenting, but it sure looks like this child came to talk to a pizza-parlor Santa with neither her father nor her mother with her, so her family situation is probably pretty dire.
Meanwhile, over in Actual Crankshaft, we learn that in the Funkyverse you never ask an innocuous question because you might get a super depressing answer.
Hey, what’s happening over in the “Amnesiac Phantom Joins The Jungle Patrol” plotline, guys? Well, the Jungle Patrol’s colonel decided to test his theory that “John X” was secretly a criminal by locking him in a holding cell with a bunch of criminals, and then our hero brutally beat them into unconsciousness. Now he’s going to be taking down to the infirmary by a leering, sexually aggressive medic. Based on the conduct of one of the country’s main law enforcement bodies, I may have to retract my assessment of Bangalla as a successful post-colonial democracy, guys.
Mary Worth, 12/11/14
Hanna and Sean are so crazed with lust for each other that they’re finding erotic inspiration in anything, even Mary’s cooking. I honestly am rooting for them to start going at it right here on the dining room table, if only to take Mary to levels of scandalization we never would’ve thought possible.
Hi and Lois, 12/11/14
“Chemicals!” shouts Ditto. “The touch of water is anathema to me! Bathe me in a cleansing tetrachloroethylene fire!”
Six Chix, 12/11/14
Hey, everyone, here’s today’s Six Chix! It is 100% grim as shit.
The Phantom, 11/30/14
Give the present-day iteration of the Phantom some credit: for a superhero adventure comic, it actually tries to do a decent job of depicting post-colonial Africa, with Bangalla a kind of idealized South Africa, black-ruled but with a sizable white minority and a diverse array of indigenous ethnic groups, all living more or less in harmony. Still, the core conceit still carries a lot of uncomfortable colonial racial baggage from the strip’s 1930s origin: the hero protecting this African land is a white man — and, more to the point, the 21st in a series of white men who, despite living in Africa since the 1500s, have all apparently voyaged elsewhere to find wives, so as to continue to produce blonde-haired, blue-eyed progeny. Anyway, this coming Sunday Phantom adventure will take our hero and his kids to … Iceland! A country so homogeneously Nordic that it’s a genetic case study! Presumably Kit is just teasing his children with the prospect of adventure, when in fact they’re going to be assigned their future Norse spouses, in accordance with Phantom Law.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/30/14
Rex Morgan, M.D., became Sarah Morgan Uses Her Special Mind Powers To Become The All-Ruling God-Empress Of Earth And Destroyer Of Men so gradually that most people didn’t notice, but in retrospect this strip was seen as an important signal of the coming transition.
Peter ignores his wife as she engages in something that interests her, makes a clumsy request for sex, then glumly reflects that showing the bare minimum of emotional support a spouse ought to be able to expect might result in his literal death. Every time I think we’ve hit Peak Newspaper Spider-Man, I am pleasantly surprised anew.
The Phantom, 11/15/14
Oh my gosh, you guys, the Phantom! When we last saw our hero, he had been bitten by a snake while planting evidence on a guy; after pumping himself full of various antivenoms, he emerged from a painful ordeal physically healthy but with full-on amnesia (is this a thing? I don’t think this is a thing) and then wandered into the nearest Jungle Patrol camp. There my low opinions of this paramilitary organization were confirmed, because instead of trying to help him figure out his identity, the local commanders just put him in uniform and are having him do odd jobs around the compound.
But! Now this has set up the return of some beloved characters of yesteryear! You might recall that way back in 2008 a couple of Bangallan women, a lady cop and a waitress, decided to quit their boring day jobs and join the Jungle Patrol, despite its previously all-male makeup. (You can still buy the t-shirts based on their hilarious catchphrases!) They proved their worth by gunning some dude down in the dead of night, but retained their essential femininity in the sense that they had constant sexual fantasies about the Patrol’s “Unknown Commander” (who is, you guessed it, the Phantom himself). Later, the lady ex-cop half of this duo tried and failed to get a glimpse of this hunky he-hunk’s face while aiding and abetting some mild crimes against humanity.
Anyway! These two gals are still at it, if by “it” in you mean “serving in the Jungle Patrol” and “forming inappropriate sexual attractions to people that they don’t know are the Phantom!” Today they grace our amnesiac hero with a sexier new name, so they don’t feel like necrophiliacs when thinking hott thoughts about him.
Apartment 3-G, 11/15/14
Speaking of beloved characters of yesteryear, remember Sam, Margo’s wedding-planning assistant, who we last saw in 2007? I think he appeared in all of two strips, though that didn’t stop readers from rooting for them to get together (faithful reader Missy declared herself a “Sargo shipper”, a phrase that I have never forgotten). Anyway, looks like Sam’s going to emerge from whatever Bed-Stuy flophouse Margo banished him to seven years ago and save the day by planning her mother’s wedding for her. Will this finally be the act of heroism that wins her heart? Ha ha, of course not, you fools, Margo has no “heart” to “win.”
Funky Winkerbean, 11/15/14
This doesn’t involve any sort of flashback or anything, but it does nicely demonstrate that joy is so rare in the Funkyverse that people have no idea what it looks like when it’s happening. “Is he … is he having some kind of seizure?”