Don’t forget: I’m selling slightly damaged hardcover copies of my novel, the Enthusiast, for the shockingly low price of $9! Click here for all the details, or just click the button below to buy. UPDATE: Holy cow, against all expectations, I sold out of these! Thanks so much, guys — books will ship out later this week. If you’re looking to buy non-damaged, non-discounted versions, try here or here, or, if you love the Amazonian behemoth, here.
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.
Uh-oh, look at that graph. Dithers Construction Company’s profitability is tanking despite robust top-line growth. That indicates significant diseconomies of scale, probably because tightwad Dithers underinvested in staff and equipment for so long. Now every new project increases the company’s reliance on outside contractors, who take advantage of tight supply and exact their revenge for Julius’ endless chiseling by driving their prices relentlessly upward. The staff is right to be alarmed — Dithers’ panicky plan to “grow his way out of trouble” only advances the day when savage job cuts will fall without warning. But yeah, how about those Olympics?
Dick Tracy, 8/11/16
Whew! Team Tracy finally slowed its march through the character archives long enough to give us a week-long standoff between Dick and aspirational nemesis Abner Kadaver at Switzerland’s Reichenbach Falls, scene of Sherlock Holmes’ (temporary) death at the hands of Professor Moriarty.
Kadaver is a high-end hit man whose body is actually decomposing from some ill-advised makeup experiments during his former career as a horror-show host. His mouth is strangely unaffected, maybe because he runs it nonstop.
Gasoline Alley, 8/11/16
There are two humanoid species in Gasoline Alley. The Round-Eyes include patriarch Walt Wallet, daughter-in-law Nina, granddaughter Clovia, the annoying Frank Nelson character, and various animals, children, and cops. The Coal-Eyes include sons Skeezix and Corky, Clovia’s husband Slim, and the Bump family here, Rover, Hoogy, and Boog.
Now of course a Coal-Eye mother may deliver a Round-Eye baby, that’s only natural and God’s plan and why would you ever ask such a thing. But I always thought they developed in the usual, uterine, fashion. Now we see that a Round-Eyeling actually inhabits its Coal-Eye mother as an insatiable parasite, consuming the body of its host from within until its eyes glare out from her hollowed-out sockets, silently shrieking “How long ’til I am born, to shed this skin-prison and feed free?”
Wow, the comics teach you something new every day, don’t they?
Sally Forth, 8/11/16
Hilary Forth has the exact same schtick as her father Ted. In any confrontation that makes her confront her future — here, confronting her literal future self — she panics and spews any nonsense she can think of to change the subject. And it works! Present Hilary can take comfort from the fact that Future Hilary apparently didn’t think it was a problem worth solving.
Maybe its just the thought-bubble and the scowl, but I think Egghead and Ant-Man are the same guy! I mean, ants lay eggs, right? — it totally makes sense. Egghead probably hatches twice the number of evil schemes he really needs and blames Ant-Man for the 50% that fail because of stupidity or bad luck. Then he writes a tiny, tiny note saying “I quit! Signed, Ant-Man” and leaves it where Spider-Man will find it and blab his “scoop” to the Bugle. Investors will then flock to Egghead’s schemes, figuring that with Ant-Man out of the picture they’ll be 100% successful!
I’m beginning to respect the evil genius of this Elihas Starr, even though he talks down to people with those big impressive $100 words like “equivalent” and “commence.”
Oh, thank goodness all that super-powered combat is over and done with so we can move on to … drama in the contracting media business! You know, when I started writing that sentence I was being sarcastic, but by the time I got to the end of it I was 100% sincere. Please, please show me J. Jonah Jameson arguing with angry BugleCo shareholders, and eventually changing the company to “buonc” and making Peter Parker run the Snapchat channel for no extra pay. This would be roughly a million times better than a couple of dumb wizards fighting over the Wand of fucking Watoomb.
Mark Trail, 7/17/16
Hey, kids! Are you interested in visiting mass graves full of the herpes-ridden corpses of enormous, grotesque fish? Visit the Murray-Darling river basin in 2018! (This message brought to you by Tourism Australia. Australia! The Island-Continent of Waking Nightmares™!)
Hmm, let me tell you about another guy who had one of those “best of times, worst of times” days, Dagwood. His name was Sydney Carton and he got beheaded, so maybe you shouldn’t be so concerned about a little cash, OK?