Mark Trail, 5/2/13
Sorry for not keeping you up to date on what’s up in Mark Trail! The short version is that Mark and Wes flew off to go look at some sheep but then they crashed and Wes broke his foot and now they’re trapped and will no doubt resort to cannibalism soon enough. That leaves the ladies to chill back at the campsite! Don’t panic, Shelly, those wolves are perfectly harmless, not like the villainous wolves of several storylines ago. You should be more concerned about this mysterious pink mist that’s rising out of the river and filling up your tent and campsite, quite honestly. Is a mid-’80s glam-metal concert about to break out?
Dick Tracy, 5/2/13
Sorry for not keeping you up to date on what’s up in Dick Tracy! The new creative team has been pretty relentless in bringing back characters and plotlines from the strip’s storied past, and are now apparently moving on to the extremely wacky late ’60s period where Dick went to the moon repeatedly and Mysta, the daughter of the Governor of the Moon (no, really), married Dick’s son. Later she was blown up by by a car bomb, but now has apparently been … “recreated”? Except for her face? Whatever, any excuse to have a character say “No! I’ve had enough of your world! I want to take my family to my real home. Back on the moon!” is a good excuse as far as I’m concerned.
Beetle Bailey, 5/2/13
I’m a pretty big dummy about military stuff but there isn’t a single vehicle in the U.S. arsenal, past or present, that looks remotely like whatever Beetle and Plato are driving, right? Like, a mid-sized hatchback with big tires and double gun turret on top and some other guns randomly sticking out windows? That’s not a thing, right? Also, this town probably doesn’t have any trouble with parking because it appears to be one vast, featureless parking lot, though predictably it does have a lot of trouble with traffic flow.
So Heathcliff’s “pickup lines” are so effective that he has nine lady cats following him around in a neat formation, waiting in still, eerie silence for him to sex them up, individually or perhaps together? I’m not sure what it would take to make this joke funny, but adding a whole bit where he asks a lawyer for intellectual property advice isn’t it.
Funky Winkerbean, 5/2/13
Just leaving this here to remind you that Les’s creative endeavors have failed humiliatingly before, so there’s hope that they will again! Actually, the success of Lisa’s Story must gall Jessica more than it does the rest of us. “Hey, sorry my book about your dead dad was a flop! Did you hear that my book about my dead wife was a big success? I guess we know whose dead relative is better, huh?”
A long-running and beloved franchise like Spider-Man is often caught in a dilemma of its own success: how can it keep topping itself? For instance, Spider-Man, a heroic crime fighter with strength and powers beyond that of ordinary humans, has in the past been disabled by ordinary gangster who hit him in the back of the head with a club and a falling brick that accidentally fell on his head. What storyline could be more exciting, more thrilling than this? Today we have the answer: Spider-Man knocking himself unconscious by accidentally backing into a pipe. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!!!!! His only weakness is the one weakness he shares with just about everybody: a violent blow to the head.
Judge Parker, 4/23/13
Judge Parker has set up one a though experiment: is there an investment so risky and bone-headed that even a member of the Spencer-Driver clan could lose money on it? Neddy has written a $60,000 check to her new friends, do-gooders who build water filtration systems for developing nations, with the promise that they’ll literally pay her back double as soon as they sign some deal with the U.N. It’s all right there in a contract that one of said friends drew up! Will Neddy finally feel the shame of financial failure? (Haha, of course not, probably they’ll pay her back triple instead of double, just because.)
Beetle Bailey, 4/23/13
Oh, look, Beetle Bailey is taking a day off from its usual semi-senile military antics to present you with the most horrifying thing you’ve ever seen! Haha, are you tired of dry, lifeless hamburgers, Sarge? Why not enjoy this burger? It’s made up of flesh that’s been shredded into innumerable tendrils by an enormous industrial meat grinder; yet somehow, impossibly, that flesh is still alive, still moving, those tendrils writhing and squirming. The abomination has no eyes, so it cannot see, yet somehow it still senses the presence of another living thing, and so it drags itself impossibly across the plate, leaving an oozing trail of blood behind. It moves ever so slowly, and Sarge is paralyzed in terror as it twitches towards him. It hungers, he knows; it hungers for revenge, and to feed. He feels the clammy touch as the leading edge of this pulsating meat-mass touches his hand. He wants to run, wants to scream. But he cannot.
Family Circus, 3/17/13
I’m having fun trying to parse out Grandma’s relgio-moral philosophy from these three quotes. Here’s what I got: There is a creator God; sins can be forgiven, so long as you sincerely repent; but if you die unrepentant, there’s no purgatory or similar chance for forgiveness, so you’d better get your soul in order as if each moment could be your last. Do I have this right? I live it for wiser folk to figure out where she lies on the spectrum of Christian theology, but I do want to point out the hilarious middle panel, in which everyone was enjoying themselves watching basketball until she wandered in with dark warnings about the fact that death looms over us all, constantly.
So, why does Spider-Man even bother with a secret identity, anyway? Yeah, Peter, you worry about making noise while you climb up the side of a building, unmasked, in broad daylight, in order to get around an extremely minor inconvenience.
Panels from Beetle Bailey, 3/17/13
Beetle Bailey’s attempts to be sexy are exactly as misguided and off-putting as Beetle Bailey’s attempts to be funny.
Haha, panel one’s Depressed Scientist Guy With Mustache is my new all-time favorite ancillary Newspaper Spider-Man character! “Man, I thought getting off the publish-or-perish treadmill of academia would be better for my working conditions and mental health, but this is terrible. Doesn’t this oaf know you can’t hurry science? And what about my bonus? I was promised bonuses for private sector work!” Meanwhile, one of Kingpin’s lackeys is already ghostwriting Faster! Work Faster!: Leadership Strategies From America’s Most Innovative Supervillain, which will become a #1 best seller at airport bookstores nationwide.
Beetle Bailey, 3/8/13
The Halftracks don’t just live forever locked in an awful, passive-aggressive struggle with each other that neither can win or even enjoy! They also live in their own filth.
Apartment 3-G, 3/2/13
Oh hey look, the actor playing James Bond, one of the highest-profile roles in modern movies, is sleeping/“experiencing love” with his publicist, which probably isn’t a violation of any kind of ethical standards, at all! Anyway, if were you wondering what exactly the deal was with Evan and his weird cruel aunt who ran the rival agency he was secretly working for, too bad! It’s all about Margo lying to her new boyfriend about her dead fiance for no good reason now.
Beetle Bailey, 3/2/13
Most ancillary Beetle Bailey characters are created to mock/cash in on/acknowledge the existence of some pop cultural phenomenon that’s already several years old by the time they’re introduced. Rocky was originally meant to symbolize the rock and roll music the kids like so much today, but has since become a sort of general agent of subversiveness. Today’s strip acknowledges that rock music and modern art have a lot in common, in that they’re both plots by angry hipsters to make squares feel stupid.
Ha ha, Heathcliff likes to warm up with a few layups, using a dog that’s all stiff and has … blank, lifeless eyes, and … OH MY GOD HEATHCLIFF IS PLAYING BASKETBALL WITH A PUPPY CORPSE
Beetle Bailey, 2/16/13
Ha ha, it’s funny because if Beetle hadn’t mouthed off, Sarge wouldn’t have broken his arm! Ha. Uh. This is awful.
Apartment 3-G, 2/16/13
Now this is hilarious because it’s just emotional abuse, you see. “I can’t imagine the world without Margo! Who would tell me what to do and where to go? Who would tell me when my haircut is stupid or I’m chewing too loudly? A MARGO-LESS LIFE WOULD BE MEANINGLESS!”
Programming note! I’m heading off on a vacation and Uncle Lumpy will be entertaining you in my absence! Be nice to him as he brings his usual avuncular hilarity to your computer screens. I’ll be back on Monday the 25th!