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Comics archive! Beetle Bailey

Beetle Bailey Presents: The Clumsiest Fragging

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Blondie, 8/23/16

I’m really not sure how to even begin grappling with this strip, in which Dagwood, a man who I’ve always assumed to be not too deep into middle age and in possession of a perfectly healthy set of teeth, sits through a nightmarish sales pitch for some kind of futuristic dental implant technology with a name out of a satirical dystopian sci-fi movie. Maybe his insatiable appetite is leading him into the dangerous world of body modification; once this dentist outfits him with ultra-efficient chewing tech, he’s going to show up at a hospital and demand that he be given gastric bypass surgery “only in reverse.”

Beetle Bailey, 8/23/16

Say what you will about today’s Beetle Bailey, but it does get to an essential truth at the heart of the strip, namely that all the characters are morons who also have access to military weaponry. I think it’s a nice touch that the joke focuses on Zero possibly blowing his own face off and just barely draws our attention to the box of live grenades propped awkwardly on the table, ready to tumble out at the most hilarious/violent moment.

Family Circus, 8/23/16

What character do you most identify with in today’s Family Circus? I’d like to think I’m the guy who’s just out there casually smoking a pipe while he’s sunbathing, but I’m probably more like the kid who thinks that because he’s wearing goggles we can’t tell how eagerly he’s staring at the other kid’s toy boat.

Mark Trail, 8/23/16

So, uh, the staff of Woods and Wildlife Magazine didn’t know invasive species were bad until, like, last year? I’m beginning to have some doubts about their environmentalist bona fides.

Probably she shouldn’t be surveying any Barlow property, just in case

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 8/19/16

You know, what with Hootin’ Holler being a largely lawless place, with a rugged landscape and local knowledge about property holdings more likely to be passed down through generations by word of mouth than delineated on any map, bringing in surveyors isn’t the worst idea in the world! It could be a real growth industry, and could probably help cut down on the endless, violent clan feuds whose flareups can often be blamed on property line disputes, even if control of moonshine smuggling turf is ultimately the root cause. And, let’s be real, it’d be pretty useful for someone in the Smif family to have a job.

Dennis the Menace, 8/19/16

If you want to create a portrait of a child as a low-key but effective menace to everything you think about yourself as a person who heads a civilized family, this is a good start: he stares at your guest with dead eyes and shows unfamiliarity with basic concepts, all while drooling freely onto his own dinner.

Beetle Bailey and Crock, 8/19/16

Hey kids, did you know that some of America’s longest-running comic strips take place in the military during actual violent conflicts? Beetle Bailey is stateside, for the most part, but its soldiers must know that they could be deployed at any time; in today’s strip, their nighttime anxieties escalate, from right to left, climaxing with Beetle, who, panicked but clear-eyed, can only think of massive, world-obliterating explosions. Meanwhile, today’s Crock reminds us that most of the main characters are occupation troops in a grinding, brutal colonial war. Happy Friday!

Walk and talk and eat with the animals

Shoe, 8/16/16

You know, I spend a lot of time speculating about the origins of the animal-dominated world of Slylock Fox, but significantly less talking about the bird-dominated world of Shoe. I guess it’s because the complete absence of humans makes it seem less like our dystopian future and more just an extended metaphor, but today’s strip has some unsettling implications. Of course, we’ve long known that the Shoeniverse birds devour each other. But now it’s clear that there’s some secret reserves of humans — or perhaps just the salted, preserved flesh of our most beloved actresses — that the sapient bird-men and -women serve up for very special occasions.

Beetle Bailey, 8/16/16

I love how angry Cookie is at Beetle’s assumption that Otto eats ordinary dog food like an ordinary dog. He walks upright and wears clothes, Beetle! Are you insane? Do you not know what that signifies, in a comic strip?