Panels from Beetle Bailey, 5/24/15
Usually the best thing you can say about the art in Beetle Bailey is that it’s serviceably cartoonish, but I think something subtle and interesting is going on here today’s strip, which invades the dreams of a number of Camp Swampy denizens. General Halftrack imagines receiving an award from some generic civilian dignitary; though the achievement is obviously above his real-world capabilities, his dream-self remains identical to what we know of reality. In Lt. Fuzz’s dream, though, he’s being given an award from — who? We all know that Halftrack is the lucky focus of his monomaniacal sycophancy, so we have to assume that this figure represents the General. But his mustache is less fluffy, his face more dignified. Does Fuzz dream not just of recognition from his boss, but recognition from a better version of his boss? Is his world so sad that he can’t conceive of a Halftrack-less life, and at best can imagine only incremental improvements?
If some member of the Miller clan were to be the ultimate cause of humanity’s fiery atomic extinction, I would’ve assumed that it’d be Marvin. But as long as the hated hell-infant is vaporized by dozens of converging Russian ICBMs, I’m not really going to quibble about the process.
In a world where superheroes are real, would superhero-themed movies and comics be as popular as they are in our sadly superhero-free world? I’m sure this theme has been explored numerous times in various comic series (the subplot in Watchmen involving the popularity of pirate-themed comic books in a world full of costumed vigilantes to mind), but in Newspaper Spider-Man, it seems that superhero films are small but profitable direct-to-DVD flicks rather than billion-dollar tentpoles that studios build their release calendar around. The fact that superheroes themselves work in said films as stuntpersons is an interesting twist, and a telling statement on the economics of crime-fighting. At least Mary Jane actually has a stunt double this time around; remember, in the first Marvella, they shot a fight scene by just having her and her main antagonist actually beat the crap out of each other in a single, unmic’d take.
Beetle Bailey, 5/15/15
This fairly shocking image of a heap of mangled corpses of enlisted men at the bottom of a ravine, sent there by the careless mistake of a feckless officer, is a brutal indictment of the way the safe, insulated ruling classes worldwide use the bodies of the poor to advance their own inter — wait, what’s that? This is Beetle Bailey? Never mind, that can’t be what’s happening here. Ha ha, it’s funny because Lt. Fuzz is bad at giving orders!
Six Chix, 5/15/15
Thanks for the warning, lady, but just look at the tiny, tiny leggings your elder is about to try on. She was dancing at Studio 54 in skintight pants when you were still in diapers, so don’t you complain to her about fashion!
Beetle Bailey, 4/19/15
Never mind the deceptively delicate “sent to look for dangerous things” mission description — this is a hardened, deadly battle-drone that forces Beetle to reveal himself as a pacifist shirker or die. Deftly, Beetle inserts a brief viral message into the drone’s code, a vision of happy indolence — to live in the midst of an army, yet be far removed from the exertions and terrors of war. The drone is immediately and completely disarmed. Asymmetric warfare, indeed!
Beetle is thus exposed as a subversive menace and an imminent threat to our armed forces. I’m counting on Sarge to crush him. At least a couple times, this week.
Funky Winkerbean, 4/19/15
Say, didn’t we just finish “petulant writer gets the chance of a lifetime in Hollywood and whines about it the whole time”? Why yes we did. So why are we sending in the B team? And will we never, ever be free of Starbuck Jones? Didn’t John Carter teach Hollywood that old-timey science fiction is a bore and a money pit?
I do like the “handsome actor drives around mumbling incoherently” bit, although that car should definitely be a Lincoln.
Prince Valiant, 4/19/15
Nearing home, Aleta reflects, “Sure, girls, you can always enslave your enemies. But take it from Mom, it’s much easier just to straight-up crucify them. Oops ha-ha, I mean ‘peg’ them to ‘posts.’”
Val thinks, “Uh-oh, wife’s in one of her moods again. Hmm, maybe I can help out in the galley for a while.”
– Uncle Lumpy