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!
Judge Parker, 7/31/16
Finally, everyone Sam and Abbey live with is gone for the night, having sex responsibly somewhere, so now they can have sex, responsibly! Remember, the Spencer-Drivers live a palatial horse-breeding compound and everyone’s bedroom is at least a half a mile away from everyone else’s, so obviously thre is a lot of special pleading going on here on the importance of having everyone out of their hair. I think they’re worried about the last time they tried to have sex, when this horror-nightmare happened, and they want to make sure it never happens again.
I like the vigorous wink Crankshaft is giving Pam in the final panel here. He knows he’s making a little joke! He knows this jersey is an inanimate object, and can’t actually collect Social Security! Since this is the first time I’ve ever seen him do this, I have to assume that with every other mangled wordplay-chunk he comes up with — the punchlines of about 75% of Crankshaft strips, in other words — he has no idea how dumb he sounds.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/31/16
The first row of throwaway panels at the top of the strip, which don’t appear in every newspaper depending on how they lay out their Sunday comics, completely change the content here. Without them, we just have a harmless, sappy series of nicknames. With them, we have Loweezy stalling a Barlow, the hated enemy of her clan in a feud that’s stained the hills with blood for generations, until her husband can show up with his shotgun.
Funky Winkerbean, 7/20/16
It’s hard to remember now, but Funky Winkerbean used to be a fun, whimsical strip that included exaggerated, cartoonish elements, like Les serving as a hall monitor in a machine gun nest, which readers did not immediately assume meant that he had finally snapped and planned to gun down the whole town. The current plotline, involving Darrin and Mopey Pete raiding a cargo ship off the coast of Los Angeles to get a crate of Darrin’s favorite pens, seems to harken back to those days of yore, but mostly just makes it clear that you can never actually go home again. These strips are embedded in the current hyper-realistic, hyper-pessimistic version of Funky Winkerbean, and all I can think about while catching up on their hijinks is their inevitable rendition to Guantanamo Bay and trial before a military tribunal for violation of various Laws of the Sea.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/20/16
From the look on Samanthy Jane’s face, it seems that she alone is beginning to question Hootin’ Holler’s political order, in which citizens attempt to decipher the will of a hereditary line of dogs as the basis for government policy.
Judge Parker, 7/20/16
“No, no, let’s do the unpaved road thing! It’s a totally normal and efficient shortcut, and definitely not through the property of some crazed murderous friends of my dad who will kill everyone but Derek and then lock him up in their art cave, where only I’ll be allowed access to him!”
Mary Worth, 7/20/16
“Has your brother considered switching from booze to pills? I understand they’re extremely relaxing.”