Beetle Bailey, 12/8/13
Well I for one am relieved to read Cpl. Yo’s line in the final panel of today’s Beetle Bailey. Turns out Sarge isn’t an omnipotent weather-deity after all! That would’ve really thrown everything I believe about the universe into chaos and confusion. No, he’s just a guy with access to an unusually precise weather report.
Family Circus, 12/8/13
Speaking of omnipotence, Billy seems to think of God not so much as the all-knowing, all-powerful spirit being who created time and space, but rather as some guy who gets forgetful or distracted and has to write things down. He also appears to be on the verge of presenting God with a list of demands. Maybe he’s mixing up Our Heavenly Father with Santa Claus? Ma Keane perhaps should look a little less smug, considering the quality of religious education her son seems to have received thus far.
Better Half, 12/8/13
Today in the Better Half: Stanley’s body is crapping out on him, which he appropriate brings up with a joke about a song that’s more than 40 years old; Stanley hates his own mind so much that he’s willing to try anything to numb the pain, including an amateur self-inflicted lobotomy; Harriet’s friend has acquired a sex-robot; and Harriet and Stanley appear to have a daughter who’s never appeared in the strip before. The last of these episodes is by far the most unsettling to me.
For literally years, since most recent Funkyverse time-jump, we’ve been granted occasional glimpses of this slumped-over, wheelchair-bound, oxygen-tanked, apparently vegetative old man in a Toledo Mud Hens cap, and it’s been heavily implied, but never stated outright, that this is post-time-jump Crankshaft, as he’ll look in the ten-years-forward Funky Winkerbean half of the universe’s fractured chronology. Except today the two men actually have encountered each other, so … that’s not actually the case at all? Or maybe this horribly depressing death-house sits on some kind of time-tunneling wormhole, and Crankshaft is now being treated to a vision of the awful future that awaits him. It’s like A Christmas Carol, only without any structure or meaning or lessons learned! God, I wish this were all more interesting, given the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about it.
Beetle Bailey, 12/6/13
Ha ha, this is a confusing nightmare-tangle of horrible metaphors or perhaps reality! “Cookie, you’re making garbage for dinner! Or, maybe, your dinner just tastes like garbage, for all of us, every night? I don’t even know what I’m trying to get across here! Anyway, mealtimes are a hellish pukescape for everybody involved.”
Mary Worth, 12/2/13
As Mary Worth whines to Broadway has-been Ken Kensington about how she misses New York’s “former charm,” let’s do a little age-math, shall we? I have a strong memory (though I can’t find it now) of some official or semi-official King Features source describing Mary as “perpetually 60.” Maybe she’s a little older, but surely not past her mid-60s. Mary has said earlier in this storyline that she used to live in New York when she was a young woman; again the dates are fuzzy, but we can say with relatively certainty that this period in her life was somewhere between 30 and 40 years years ago. The years from 1973 to 1983 were, of course, the Taxi Driver/Bernie Goetz era in New York City, so you probably need to rethink whatever you were imagining when Mary wistfully recalled the city’s “former charm.” Presumably she’s one of those people who can’t go through Times Square without muttering about how it looks like a God-damn mall now that that asshole Giuliani shut down all the porn theaters. “After your experience with that mugger, it may be hard for you to agree!” “I’ll be okay, Ken. I’m shaken … shaken by how half-assed that mugging was. What self-respecting New York City thug would just give up when confronted by a portly actor? Why aren’t I lying dead in a puddle of my own blood right now?”
How exactly are those lids staying on the trash cans as the Garbage Ape swings them to and fro? Don’t those owls look like they were just cut and pasted from another drawing and plopped onto a picture of a pine tree without regards for what exactly might be holding them up? I hate to say it, but rampant Garbage Ape mania has upped the demand for this lovable/mysterious character so much that the strip is churning out some slapdash art to keep up.
Beetle Bailey, 12/2/13
Article 115 of the U.S. Military Code of Justice, “Malingering,” says that “Any person subject to this chapter who for the purpose of avoiding work, duty, or service feigns illness, physical disablement, mental lapse or derangement … shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” So, good news for everyone who ever wanted to see Beetle Bailey locked up in a military prison. Camp Swampy is clearly not a “hostile fire pay zone” but I’m guessing that the military still considers us to be living “in time of war” for legal purposes, so he’s looking at three years of hard time!
Ha ha, look at how terrified that little blonde child is! “He’s heavy! So heavy! Heavier than anything alive from our space-time continuum has any right to be! You’ll die in agony, your bones crushed to powder under a pile of impossibly dense meat, all while he sleeps his ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep!”
Judge Parker, 12/2/13
“I don’t think it matters that we live in a world where mysterious, incredibly skilled black ops troops with no obvious allegiance to any nation-state can swoop into anywhere in the world, with tactical data gained from omnipresent and near-omniscient surveillance tech, and snatch up anyone they want, killing dozens of insurgents, criminals, and terrified bystanders in the process! Just don’t worry your pretty little head over the fact that unimaginable military power will protect you, so long as some member of the ultra-rich mega-elite takes a shine to you and orders your rescue on a whim! The important thing is that Ross is safe! You know, for now.”
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 10/13/13 (panels)
What is the relationship between art and reality — among the dreamer, the dream, and the dreamed? Magritte gives us one viewpoint, Snuffy Smith another.
Snuffy reveals how the artist not only creates a work but selects its audience, source of his reputation and claims to authenticity. He is his own best example: once a mere usurper in Barney Google’s strip, he now asserts his own membership in the very elites who read his Sunday “throwaway panels” in their expansive flatlander newspapers or on high-falutin’ electronic devices. With a delicate hanky-dab at his nose, he rises — refined and redefined, “Snuffy” no more!
Judge Parker, 10/13/13 (panel)
Boy, this lady sure hates hats, doesn’t she?
Beetle Bailey, 10/13/13
You know, there are plenty of attractive and willing human partners around, like Sarge’s Sgt. Louise Lugg, Beetle’s Miss Buxley, and Killer’s groupies, but it’s all surrogates with these guys: robots, trees, and again with Beetle’s beloved pillow here. I’m just saying that’s kind of messed up.
Mary Worth, 10/13/13 (panel)
We had to wait a long time to see Mary’s head impaled on a fish, but I think we can all agree it was worth it.
Mooch ignores the comics’ prohibition of “FLICK” to imply that Earl has sex with his own parasites.
– Uncle Lumpy
Slylock Fox, 10/6/13
There’s an awful lot of fun things going in today’s Slylock Fox — that “How To Draw” bull looks more exasperated than raging, for instance, and I’d dearly love to know what’s going on in the Six Differences, in which ordinary animals seem to be ganging up on a baffled Grimace-thing. But the best little detail is that Max Mouse is surreptitiously dialing 911 as Slylock outlines the ratiocination sequence that will convict Shady Shrew of larceny and assault. He knows Sly’s been pushed to the limits by Shady Shrew’s constant low-level criminality, and fears that this might be the day when, instead of handing Shady over to the owl-run justice system, the predator-detective will just grab the insectivore between his powerful jaws and shake him back and forth until his neck snaps. Even though they’re on different sides of the law, Max can’t stand to see his fellow small mammal go down like that.
Beetle Bailey, 10/6/13
Welp, Beetle Bailey is still fixated on sex robots, but at least this time they’re imagined as part of the camp’s chilly rationalist’s vision of a dystopian, dehumanized future, so I guess that’s progress?
Haha, it’s funny because Thomas and Tina’s house is literally infested with vermin, augh augh augh augh
Mark Trail, 10/5/13
Whoa you guys, Mark is using high technology to defeat his enemies. And by “high technology” I mean “a cell phone that appears to have a seven- or eight-inch screen.” That counts, for this strip! Hiding an enormous tablet-slab might be slightly trickier than stashing away a smaller phone would’ve been, though.
The tragedy of today’s Mark Trail is the terrible coloring job. Mark appears to be wearing a charming western jacket with arrows embroidered on it. Do you expect me to believe that the whole thing is just a dull brown? For shame, King Features colorists! We want to see Mark’s jauntiest outfit ever in all its glory!
Beetle Bailey, 10/5/13
Normally, if a beloved long-running family comic strip that runs in thousands of newspapers had a character openly arranging an orgy, you might think that was kind of noteworthy, you know? But now my attitude is “Well, at least all of the women he’s planning on having sex with are biological life forms and not crudely anthropomorphic robots,” so well played, Beetle Bailey!
This bird-lady and her bird-husband went on a second honeymoon and, despite her husband’s advanced years, they were able to have all the intercourse they wanted, thanks to modern pharmaceutical science.