After the serial failures of his high-tech missile, “hypno”-gas, and “adamantium” chains, Kingpin resorts to old-school methods of persuasion like threatening to stone-cold bash a woman’s face in. Spider-Man is quick to comply — but then, “not moving a muscle” is pretty much his core competence.
Dick Tracy, 5/11/13
So it looks like Dr. Sail here is reconstructing the actual Moon Maid (who died in a 1978 car crash), not just creating an imposter from scratch? This opens up a chance to revisit the action-packed Moon Strips of the 1960′s and 1970′s (the so-called “Dick Tracy Has Gone Totally Nuts” era). Does it also signal complications for Moon Maid’s nominal widower Junior Tracy, who got re-married (to Sparkle Plenty) after his first wife’s death?
Ha! As recently as two years ago (the “Late Bonkers” era), Dick Tracy would have resolved such petty conflicts by having a beloved character burned, crushed, blown up, brain-wiped, dismembered, or (my favorite) eaten. But how will the new Team Tracy handle it?
Perhaps the answer lies with the Moon-obsessed siblings introduced here. Stellaluna, named for a cute bat from a kids’ book, is probably OK. But I would keep an eye on Retik, ominously named for Commander Cody’s nemesis (“Retik, the Moon Menace”) in the classic 1952 serial Radar Men from the Moon. Will this new Retik re-kill a reanimated Moon Maid, saving Junior Tracy from inconvenience? Stay tuned!
Hey, Retik: if you’re short on ideas, I’m pretty sure “suffocated in the vacuum of space” and “vaporized by a meteor” are still available. Just sayin’.
Gasoline Alley, 5/11/13
Hm, Gasoline Alley supercentenarian Walt Wallet is hanging out at the “Comics Retirement Home” with characters like these from discontinued old-timey strips, leading one to think he might, I dunno, retire or something? Except that we’ve already been down this road, in 2006, and it came to nothing.
C’mon guys, it’s time to pull the trigger — this routine will only get even more embarrassing if you have to do it again in another seven years, when Walt is 120.
Funky Winkerbean, 5/11/13
Aw, look at Darin’s adorable pissy face! Do you suppose he broke his jaw trying not to smirk?
Hey, I’m subbing while Josh takes a break through Sunday May 19 — reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have access or comment issues. Enjoy!
– Uncle Lumpy
Panels from Momma and Crankshaft, 4/17/13
Occasionally here at the Comics Curmudgeon, we must remember that we exist to praise the comics as a visual medium, and so here we go: two comic panels that deftly convey what it’s like to be eating food and then you realize the food is terrible and you’re thinking about the social consequences of spitting the food out, maybe onto your plate or maybe just into your hand. Momma is having dinner at her son Thomas and his wife Tina’s house; one of the weird dynamics of the strip I’ve always queasily enjoyed is that Momma is terribly cruel to her daughter-in-law, and narratively it’s pretty clear that our sympathies are not supposed to be with her, and yet her number one complaint — that Tina’s cooking is awful — is also always presented as legitimate. Do you think that she deliberately feeds Momma disgusting food, as revenge, for everything? Meanwhile, in Crankshaft, the terrible food is coming from Lena, the bus drivers’ transportation manager, and her emotional relationship to the people who loathe her baking is an underdeveloped Crankshaft plot element. Still, does she lash out with crappy food because of the toxic psychic environment created by Crankshaft’s mere presence? Almost certainly.
Gasoline Alley, 4/17/13
If, like me, you suddenly realize you have no clear picture of how all the characters in Gasoline Alley’s aging, sprawling cast are related to each other, check out this sweet family tree, which has a 2004 copyright date and a 1995 web design aesthetic! Anyway, it turns out addled supercentenarian Walt Wallet is grandfather-in-law to Slim, against whom I’ve always harbored an unreasoning hatred (well, there are a few reasons). More to the point, despite his encroaching dementia and general good nature, he clearly holds the same low opinion of Slim that I do, which warms my shriveled black heart.
Slylock Fox, 4/17/13
Usually the Slylock Fox true/false trivia strips do a pretty good job of offering questions that could plausibly be either true or false. Still, today’s second question is just way, way too specific to be false, though that would be hilarious. “2) False. The Global Soap Project is an art collective that steals soap from hotels and uses it to create ephemeral bubble-sculptures that are displayed at invitation-only events at exclusive private art galleries in lower Manhattan. After everyone goes home, the remaining soap suds are flushed down the toilet. Suck it, soap-poor nations!”
Mary Worth, 3/14/13
The tale of Mary’s new neighbors, the Kinleys, is rumbling along! We’ve learned that Beth is a professional romance novelist and that her mother Elinor is mean and belittling about everything, especially how stupid the romance novel genre is (this being the market that is presumably paying for the condo that Elinor lives in, but let’s leave that aside for the moment). But today we learn that Elinor doesn’t just hate romance novels; she’s disgusted by her daughter’s failure to experience romance herself. “You know nothing about real-life romance! You’ve never felt your heart beat at the sight of your beloved! You’ve never held hands with the guy you’re going steady with down at the malt shop! You’ve never let some dude put his thingie in your hoo-hah! You’re a fraud, a disgusting fraud!”
It’s surprising, really, that someone with a supportive mother like Elinor hasn’t been able to work up any kind of romantic self-confidence. Anyway, we all know, of course, that Beth is going to fall under the spell of depressed shut-in divorce Tom Harpan. The key question is: will Beth move into Tom’s apartment, probably several yards away from where Elinor will be staying? Or will they all live together in mutual animosity, to cut down on costs?
Gasoline Alley, 3/14/11
Meanwhile, the battle for the rights to sex up this donkey, for love or money, continues! It’s only Thursday, so you’ve got at least two more days of this horrorshow.
Well, isn’t this a surreal delight! I have no idea what exactly is happening here, if any “thing” can truly be said to be “happening” in such a nonlinear dreamscape. “Hold it right there, Professor,” the strangely well dressed pet store clerk bellows, as a flock of oddly identical birds arises in precise formation from Heathcliff’s pipe. Why attempt to impose some kind of dull linear “meaning” on this episode at all? Why not just enjoy it in all its trippy nonsense?
Gasoline Alley, 2/28/13
Meanwhile, in Gasoline Alley, beloved rustic Rufus is still planning on marrying a donkey, for money. They’re … they’re really doing this, huh? I would have though they’d have stopped doing this by now.
You know, before today I would’ve said that Marvin had pretty thoroughly explored the dramatic and comedic possibilities of feces, but I hadn’t even dreamed of the concept of revenge-shitting.
Apartment 3-G, 2/18/13
Margo wakes up from her asphyxiation coma and just naturally assumes Tommie has dragged her home from yet another blackout bender.
Gasoline Alley, 2/18/13
Rufus needs to arrange a sham marriage in a hurry to secure his inheritance under the terms of a really terribly drafted will, but he can’t find a human volunteer because rich or poor, he’s still Rufus. Still, none of that excuses Joel pimping out his mule. And Becky’s enthusiasm for the arrangement is starting to creep me out.
As Gertrude Stein once said of Oakland, “There is no there there.” At least not nearly enough for a vaccination scar.
Gil Thorp, 2/18/13
Oh imagine that, the peacock wasn’t really the magical score-enhancing reincarnation of his tragically dead brother after all, just the wayward pet of some amiable neighbor-doofus. But Scott will say anything to deny the plain truth: “Um, … do you mean today? The sun was in my eyes! Bitch set me up! What was that noise? She said she was 18! My dog ate it! Greedo shot first! I took a wide stance! It’s not you, it’s me! I thought they were tomato plants! I never got your message! She’s just a friend! I was drunk! The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat! How could I have known it was loaded? I swear nothing like this ever happened to me before! The heart wants what it wants! I didn’t see the sign! I was dead at the time — on the Moon, with Steve! Everybody does it! Wait, I was just holding it for somebody! Ida Know! NOT ME!”
– Uncle Lumpy
Ha ha! It’s funny because … OK, you know what, I have literally no idea why this is funny. It’s funny because Blondie feels a need to project a facade of false confidence to her husband, but with her best friend and business partner she can stare the harsh truth in the face, the better to overcome adversity? Or, wait wait, is it funny because Blondie said “Kick it up a notch,” which is the catchphrase of popular television cook/pop culture personality Emeril Legasse? That would be much more depressing, to be completely honest.
Now, it’s been a while since I’ve read any Superman comics, but as far as I can remember he reacted to the presence of kryptonite by grimacing in pain as the life force was sucked out of his body, not by regarding it with heavy-lidded ennui while sitting a few feet away from it. Is Superman too cool to writhe in agony when exposed to kryptonite now? Are there any superheroes left who aren’t too cool for stuff anymore?
I guess there’s always Spider-Man, who’s not too cool for anything. “Something’s wrong! I’ve got to find out what it is! Are my sneakers not the right brand? Do I not listen to the right music? Are my friends lame? God as my witness, I will figure out why Daredevil doesn’t want to hang out with me!”
Gasoline Alley, 2/13/13
Say, were you wondering what’s up with Rufus and Joel’s dialectical antics in Gasoline Alley? Well, it seems that Rufus has decided to marry his mule Becky! Don’t worry, though, it’s just a trick to fulfill the requirements of a will so he can get some money, it’s not a sick sex thing. This is as funny/horrifying as Gasoline Alley will be for some time, so feel free to continue ignoring it.
Pluggers may not have many friends, but they sure are on a whole lot of pills.