Dennis the Menace, 2/19/14
To the extent that anyone anywhere thinks about third-tier characters in Dennis the Menace, they probably have Gina pegged as “vaguely tomboyish but not gender-binary-threateningly non-feminine girl who Dennis finds to be an acceptable companion and maybe nascent crush object, in contrast with Margaret.” But panels like this give us a glimpse at what one must assume was her other traditional role in the strip: as a symbol of the changing face of middle-class America, a sign of the times circa 1960 when the white people of suburbia found that other, slightly different kinds of white people wanted to be their neighbors. And Dennis is on the forefront of this bold social experiment! Papists are A-OK by him! Don’t worry, Joey, this Italian cheese-butter-noodle glop may have a crazy name that ends in a vowel, but it’s pretty much the same cheese-butter-noodle glop we enjoy right here in the USA.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2/19/14
I was going to compliment this Snuffy Smith for really getting at something profound and intriguing about the nature of human memory. When I try to remember what my classmates from elementary school look like, even when I feel like I can visualize them pretty clearly, they don’t look like children in my head, and when I look at old yearbooks I’m shocked by how young everyone is. However, I think that’s probably giving the strip far too much credit, and it’s really more likely this is just an ill-fated attempt to launch a Hootin’ Holler Babies spinoff.
Today’s Blondie is mostly standard-issue Mismatched Marital Hijinx, but I have to say I’m pretty in love with the weird and delightful second panel. It’s as if the sudden disruption of their comfortably distant routine has sent Blondie into a vertiginous spiral; even the low-level boost in emotional intimacy that comes from just making eye contact with her husband has sent her reeling. This is a couple that deliberately arranged their living room furniture so they don’t have to see each other even when they’re in the same room, remember. After only a moment of looking at her husband, she takes the opportunity afforded by his sipping his coffee to put her head most of the way down, maybe to overwhelm her senses by taking a big whiff of whatever’s on her plate, or maybe to just calm her nerves so she doesn’t vomit. In short order, she needs the barrier between her and Dagwood again. This experiment in spousal interaction is now over.
Apartment 3-G, 2/5/14
I find it deeply hilarious that Tommie answers what I assume is either Apartment 3-G’s landline or the phone connected to the building’s intercom system by saying “This is Ms. Thompson.” I guess she wants to put her most formal foot forward because she’s been eagerly awaiting a phone call — not from her fiance, with whom I assume that not even Tommie would be on a last-name basis, but from the producers of the hit reality TV show I Can’t Stop Hoarding Baby Animals! “This is it! I’m going to be famous!” she thinks. “Just let me finish dusting up all this deer urine!”
It should of course come as a surprise to nobody that Tommie’s fiance is a Identical-Looking Apartment 3-G Male Type (Dark-Haired Model), but it is a little weird that he appears to be calling from downstairs but also sitting in an office somewhere. Maybe he got a job as the building’s doorman, to be closer to her?
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2/5/14
The devil’s rock ‘n’ roll has finally reached Hootin’ Holler
Apartment 3-G, 1/30/14
Oh, man, I have to say I’m seriously disappointed that Margo has been tricked so easily into allowing a literal wild animal to roam free inside their apartment, defecating freely and infecting roommates and visitors with Lyme disease willy-nilly. Margo is not the sort who enjoys the act of breaking rules for its own sake; she merely disregards those rules that she deems inconvenient, while ruthlessly enforcing the ones that serve her interests. In fact, one would assume that Margo helped write the rules about ruminants living in their apartment building, since she and the other Apartment 3-G gals (and maybe everyone else who lives there, who knows) own the building, according to this strip from 2004 where Margo angrily imposed some worksite safety guidelines. The building’s ownership situation has literally never come up since then, but I don’t think they’ve sold it or anything?
Anyway, the only way this makes any kind of sense is if Margo is one of the very few owners of the building, and she’s going to use this deer thing as a way to establish that rules are things she imposes on other people, not things she has to obey. “Oh, hello, Mrs. Jones,” Margo says to a tenant whose beloved but lease-violating cat she had seized by animal control the previous week. “Terrible weather we’ve been having, isn’t it?” The baby deer pees on the hallway carpet right in front of them, but Margo never breaks eye contact.
Judge Parker, 1/30/14
Huh, I was really pretty sure that April’s last name was “Bowers” and her dad’s compound was in the Yucatan, but Judge Parker plots are incredibly slow, so who can even remember these things? The Atlantic/Pacific question can at least be chalked up to the slow tectonic shifts that have taken place over this storyline’s millions of years.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 1/30/14
Haha, Jughaid, while it is just like a woman to violate the expressly stated rules of her Creator and then browbeat her hapless man into joining her in her monstrous act of sin, I think you’ve misunderstood the parson’s question! He’s not asking about the first commandment, but rather the furst commandment — in other words, the command of the Fürst, the Germanic princeling under whose sovereignty Hootin’ Holler lies, due to quirks of feudal law. Sorry, Jughead, his Serene Highness has declared his dominions to be at war with the Count Palatine of the Rhine. To arms! Say farewell to your family and prepare for combat!
As you may or may not have been able to tell from that last bit, before I got into the go-go world of online content creation, I made an abortive attempt at an academic career, although my speciality was not early modern Germany but rather late antiquity. So, is the Phantom (the strip) attempting to catch the interest of America’s #1 comics blogger by having a plot point about manuscripts and artifacts from the early middle ages? Maybe! Unfortunately the Phantom (the character) is singularly failing to catch the interest of our snoopy reporter lady, if her facial expression in panel two is any indication. Maybe instead of erasing her mind with “Bandar medicine,” he’s just planning to bore her into a coma.