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Comics archive! Beetle Bailey

Loretta actually wants to see the U.S. from space (to get as far from Leroy as possible)

Beetle Bailey, 9/24/14

Hey, who says Beetle Bailey is behind the times? Look, there’s Miss Blips relaying the General’s capricious orders via cell phone, instead of by walkie-talkie or carrier pigeon or whatever long-distance communication method was most current when the strip started. And keeping up with General Halftrack’s slow decline into decrepitude, his new-style sexual harassment is indistinguishable from a request for a sleep aid, since nothing seems more erotic to him these days than a nice, comfortable nap.

Funky Winkerbean, 9/24/14

Speaking of new eras, New Era Funky Winkerbean features a pair of extremely sad sack teens who serve as our viewpoint characters for the teen storylines in the strip. I can’t be bothered to learn their names, so I just call them Sad Sack Hat Teen and Sad Sack Glasses Teen in my mind, when I have to think about them, which I try to do as little as possible. Anyway, Sad Sack Hat Teen has been forced by Bull to do time in the Westview Scapegoat mascot costume in lieu of detention, and I’m seriously wondering who exactly he’s talking to in these panels. Clearly the giggling cheerleaders already know about this head-rubbing thing. Does he think that they can’t hear him in there? Because I’m pretty sure they can hear him. Or maybe he just doesn’t think it matters, because after the game the High Priest will symbolically burden him with the sins of the entire people, and then send him out into the wilderness, never to return.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/24/14

Guys, Sarah, doesn’t just imperiously demand ludicrous things because she’s mad with power and people are terrified to tell her no, OK? She does it because she wants her family to live the opulent lifestyle they’ve become accustomed to even after her baby brother is born. And she wants a pony. Just look at her, wiping away a tear of joy, just thinking about the moment when someone up and gives her a pony for no good reason at all.

Lockhorn, 9/24/14

Leroy’s crinkly smile is usually supposed to represent “drunk” or “drunk and horny,” but here I think it’s supposed to mean … smug? Smug as in “haha, yes, I have thought up the perfect comeback here for her request that we travel sometimes, point: Leroy, and yes, I am keeping track of points, I have been keeping track of points for years and years and years

The rhinos’ revenge

Mark Trail, 9/18/14

Oh my, I guess Mark Trail rescuing his antagonists from fiery car crashes to show his dominance over them is a story element of the past! Under Mark Trail’s new management, Mark pulls you from a fiery car crash to show his magnanimity, rushes you to a hospital … and then you die, from your animal-poaching sins, after which Mark stoically consoles the woman who couldn’t bring herself to return your romantic affections. I deem this a tough but fair punishment of an unpleasant fictional character for rhino-murder.

I would have very much enjoyed hearing this doctor (who bears an uncanny resemblance to former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher) explain to Mark and Lori exactly why Chris died. “His injuries didn’t seem life-threatening at first, but despite our best efforts his wounds became infected almost immediately. It’s as if no matter how much we cleaned him, he was always … dirty.

Beetle Bailey, 9/18/14

I used to think that Beetle Bailey rarely did strips where Sarge and Cookie hang out together because it would make it clear how similar their character designs were to one another. But now I think it’s because such strips would inevitably devolve into unsettlingly child-like violent food-play.

Anthropomorphic monsters

Funky Winkerbean, 9/4/14

Most unwelcome guests just make you feel old.

But when Les Moore’s wife Lisa died in 2007 and once before, Funky Winkerbean jumped forward in time and its spinoff Crankshaft didn’t. The charming though confusing result is that whenever a Crankshaft character encounters somebody from the Funky continuity, they age about fifteen years.

So here we have Old Pam, daughter of Really Old Ed, and her husband Old Jeff, son of Probably Dead Rose. I say Probably Dead because that appears to be a genuine smile on Jeff’s face in panels two and three, and Rose strictly enforced her rules against that sort of thing.

As for the third panel hey, doesn’t anybody say “you’re welcome” anymore? Old Jeff is grateful for Holly’s gift — why does Holly imagine that’s worrisome for him? Not long ago, Old Jeff’s daughter Grown Up Mindy gave Holly a comic, to her joy and satisfaction — why does she think Old Jeff would react differently? Maybe she’s releasing him from an obligation to reciprocate, to break the cycle of comics-transfer before it escalates into some insane suburban potlatch with skidloads of mouldering comics trucked endlessly between Westview and Centerville to lie rotting on porches? Or is it out of simple mercy to Funky Winkerbean readers who just can’t imagine grownups making such a godawful fuss about comic books?

Comic strips, on the other hand ….

Beetle Bailey, 9/4/14

I’ve been reading Beetle Bailey a long, long time, and I can’t remember Otto ever appearing, being treated, as or acting like a real dog — to the extent that at first glance I thought he was ogling the woman in the first panel. Even the artist has a hard time accepting Otto’s dog-nature: sure, the front limbs end pawishly, but the backs end in feet, making it look like he’s running on his toes.

Maybe its just a subtle send-up of socially-constructed gender roles, such as we are used to finding in the pages of Beetle Bailey: all poodles are girls, of course, as are all ballet dancers who perform en pointe. So what appears to be gender-normative attraction is in fact ambiguous or transgressive! Who’s on the leash here?! The patriarchy!

Mary Worth, 9/4/14

Mary surrenders to control by her abdominal ganglia, much like a dinosaur or cockroach.

– Uncle Lumpy