Main content:

Comics archive! Phantom

Self-congratulation Sunday

Hey, it’s Spring, and May, and Sunday … and from the look of things, everybody’s feeling pretty darn good about themselves.

Crankshaft, 5/1/16

Here, Team Crankshaft congratulates itself for its tortured “blacksmith/booksmith” wordplay by showing in-strip proxies Lillian and Jeff gushing over it. But adopting Crankshaft’s sloppy malapropism will doom Lillian’s fledgling used-book business.

Sure, throngs of would-be readers will stream through Lillian’s quiet residential neighborhood, walk past her second-floor shop, and glance up at her sign. But being literary folk who know full well that a booksmith is a person who makes books, they’ll pass on the chance to climb all those stairs only to find an author, a publisher, or a bookbinder shooing them away.

Perhaps they’ll mutter as they pass by, “If only this town had a decent bookmonger — somebody could make a lot of money!”

The authors also missed the obvious opportunity to call the place “Mom’s attic” and sell old comic books. It’s like they lost track of the strip’s core mission.

Phantom, 5/1/16

Appearances aside, that’s not Disco John Belushi. It’s Hojo, recently destereotyped and crossing over from Lee Falk’s other creation, Mandrake the Magician. Hojo is fluent in six languages, head of global crimefighting outfit Inter-Intel, and a 10th-degree black belt in some martial art or other. But here, he’s just pleased as cheese to be out in the Seven Nations working together with his good buddy Phantom to suppress political opposition to Lothar’s brother. Lucky we can’t see his face when he learns they whupped the wrong guy; poor fella must be shattered.

But hey, why is that Phantom-cam shot of Otanko taken from the perspective of someone flat on his back? That can’t be good!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/1/16

June squicks out Rex as a form of bedtime recreation; it’s the only kind she gets. “Because you’re a doctor and she respects your judgment — despite your hilarious discomfort with anything even remotely biological. You think reproduction is icky, ‘doc,’ take a whiff of this guy.”


– Uncle Lumpy

Blue vest over a purple velour shirt? Someone needs a FASHION revolution in my opinion

Funky Winkerbean, 2/27/16

Speaking of the Funkyverse’s transparent hatred for young people, the young people of Funky Winkerbean who work on the school newspaper/TV station are flagrantly violating ethics in high school journalism by picking a new staffer solely for his access to review copies of publications that their readers would probably enjoy seeing reviewed. Anyway, this is supposed to show that teens are terrible, I guess, but Les literally cringing in disgust in panel two is a delight for all Funky Winkerbean readers who hate Les (i.e., all Funky Winkerbean readers), which I think undercuts the message a little bit.

The Phantom, 2/27/16

I don’t have the time or energy to bring you up to speed on the political intrigue in process here, but I don’t think I need to in order for you to enjoy the phrase “Girok, you fool! We’re planning a revolution! Pick up!” Sure, Girok’s been knocked unconscious by the Ghost Who Opposes The Revolutionary Vanguard, but even if he hadn’t been, who makes phone calls any more, you know? Just send a text like a normal person, dude.

Mostly soapy Saturday

Mary Worth, 2/6/16

Uh oh, looks like Olive fell down and hurt herself! And now she looks … angry. You know, we’ve been having plenty of fun here watching Mary sexually reject dudes, but we shouldn’t lose sight of what this Olive story is really about, namely a little girl who talks to angels and can see the future. If there’s one thing movies have taught us about creepy children with mind powers, it’s this: they seem cheerful enough until they encounter a difficulty or obstacle that a normal person would take in stride, and then they get very angry indeed, generally with terrible consequences. The population of Midtown Manhattan seems to have dodged a bullet this time, though. Dude with the mustache is panel one in lucky his head didn’t explode, splattering goo everywhere, as a side effect of Olive’s rage.

The Phantom, 2/6/16

The Phantom is in the middle of a fairly dull story about teenage royal love that’s a sequel to one from six years ago, but I mostly want to point out that among the amenities of the Skull Cave is a Skull Hot Tub. I wonder if this is an ancient natural hot spring that’s formed a crater deep in this cavern over the centuries, or if the Ghost Who Walks just ordered a regular hot tub from Home Depot and had his interior designer “cave it up a bit.”

Pluggers, 2/6/16

Pluggers know that, no matter what you say about the Nazis and the regimes that collaborated with them, they sure knew how to maintain law and order.

Mark Trail, 2/6/16

Meanwhile, over in Mark Trail, a thing exploded pretty dramatically. HAPPY WEEKEND EVERYBODY