Mary Worth, 10/21/13
There’s some important historical context for this Mary’s-friend-is-a-hero-for-the-homeless story: many years ago, Mary had a friend stay with her and she got drunk and destroyed Mary’s precious swans and then she left in shame and ended up at the Charterstone Women’s Shelter, which as far as Mary was concerned was the worst place in the entire universe. How would Mary’s condescending attitude towards such places affect her relationship with someone who is dedicating her life work to homeless services? Fortunately, all has been resolved: Shelly no longer works with actual gross homeless people, but instead fundraises and hobnobs with rich and powerful people like Hillary Clinton. How genteel! This visit is going to be extremely spiritually fulfilling, but also hobo-free.
Slylock Fox, 10/21/13
Ha ha, yes, Rodney is mixing blue and yellow paint to make green … but why? Why is he ritually daubing green paint onto various mailboxes — green paint that he didn’t buy in the store, but that he mixed himself to create the perfect shade? Is he only pretending to be a devil-may-care ne’er-do-well in designer shades and a leather jacket, but secretly he worships the Dark Elder Gods with a fiery intensity, identifying the homes of future sacrificial victims using the Mark described in the Fourth Forbidden Book?
This is the saddest Momma I’ve ever seen by an order of magnitude. In a terrible moment of clarity, Francis realizes that it will be years before he gets a scrap of approval from his mother again. “I wish I were dead,” he thinks. “I wish I were dead and stuffed like a bear in a museum case, so I could only feel this and nothing else, forever.”
Hi and Lois, 10/21/13
Lois wants to redo the kitchen and Hi doesn’t think they can afford it and Lois is mad at him about it! I’m … pretty sure this isn’t a “joke” per se?
Gasoline Alley, 10/21/13
Meanwhile, in “Slim is a hateable moron” news, Slim doesn’t understand the concept of foreign languages.
Funky Winkerbean, 10/14/13
In exchange for his miserable wordplay, Jim Kablichnik gets a ticket to Becky’s miserable event — a capsule illustration of Westview economics.
In the standard microeconomic model, transactions equilibrate supply and demand. But the classical supply curve occupies only the upper-right of four quadrants, the one where supply and demand both have positive value. An entire economy can be built in the lower-left quadrant, if a group of people can be found who will ignore their own satisfaction and seek instead to maximize one another’s misery. Sound like anybody we know?
Here’s how it works – Kablichnik creates misery de novo, just as a miner might bury valuable metal or a cobbler ruin shoes. In panel 2, Jim demands that Becky “get”, or accept, his miserable utterance — but Becky is prepared! Her ticket-currency* stores the misery accumulated during hours of student band practice, and she quickly agrees to an exchange that she rightly calls ‘even.’ Jim also accepts, no doubt musing how he’s going to stick the ticket to Les Moore, whose industrial-scale misery production puts him at the pinnacle/nadir of Westview’s upper/under class.
Trade dynamics need to be worked out. A misery-based economy like Westview could be an appealing trading partner if we can overcome two problems: First, the town offers nothing of value to exchange for the misery that utility-based economies would heap on it. Second, the liquidity of the Westview Misery Market is limited by the number of tears those poor souls can cry.
It’s possible we could create leverage through mockery. After all, multiple voices can ridicule a single underlying misfortune, thus securitizing misery at one remove and dodging the liquidity problem. The misery that comes from being mocked is added value. I see a market-making role for the Comics Curmudgeon here. What could possibly go wrong?
* Denominated in “Montonis”, where 1 Montoni = the aggregate misery generated by consuming a medium plain pizza at the named establishment (no take-outs or deliveries). The “Free Pizza” coupon is the basic unit; a “Battle of the Bands” ticket is worth 5 Montonis and a “Lisa’s Legacy Run” credential 10.
Mark Trail, 10/14/13
“I pick up a piece of recognizably modern technology for the first time in half a century and this happens! That’s it — I’m going back to the steam semaphore for good!
Dick Tracy, 10/14/13
“Your horns are — fake. Power Rays — fake. Eyes, teeth, hair, family, biography, memories — fake, fake, fake! Are you sensing a theme here, sweetheart? ‘Cause I haven’t got all day for this.”
“[Crap, how hard do I have to pull on this thing to get some smoke out of it? I swear if Morrie's slipping those damn Parodis in with my Cubans again I'll put the Havana punch to his other pinky.]”
“You were engineered out of some kid and goo from the bottom of Moon Maid’s wreck. You’ve been brainwashed and there’s a GPS in your abdomen. Crooks did it to steal my 1970′s magnetism technology, which you can pick up at The Sharper Image these days for about eighty-nine bucks.”
“[Dammit, I want to smoke this thing, not drink it. That stupid magnetic humidor Jameson got me at Sharper Image must be on the fritz again.]”
“They picked you because nobody cared enough to keep an eye on you or report you missing. Kidnappers took a shortcut. That’s what crooks do – you blame ‘em?”
“[That warranty's got to be in here someplace and it damn well better be a full year or I'll ruin their sorry asses. Again.]”
“Somebody bring me a damn toothpick!”
Gasoline Alley, 10/14/13
I don’t know whether this speaks worse of Clovia or Slim. The dog’s not entirely blameless either.
– Uncle Lumpy
Gasoline Alley, 9/10/13
As usual, I haven’t been keeping you up-to-date on the extremely low-stakes antics in progress over at Gasoline Alley, and as usual I don’t feel a bit sorry about it, because as usual you’re not missing much. The short version is that Slim’s daughter Gretchen has an Italian boyfriend named Guido who’s supposed to be flying in to meet up with her and her dad today, only it turns out … he hasn’t! And in response to Slim’s fairly straightforward and perhaps largely rhetorical question, Gretchen gives an extremely horrifying answer. “Where’s Guido? I’m not sure, but it’s a good bet that he’s still safely contained by a layer of healthy skin! Yep, we can be reasonably certain that Guido’s empty skin-sack isn’t hanging in a display case in some monster’s nightmarish trophy room, while Guido himself is somewhere else entirely! The chances that his entire body has been flensed by some madman, leaving him a shambling, screaming open wound, wandering around oozing blood everywhere, are probably no greater than one in four!”
Funky Winkerbean, 9/10/13
Speaking of everyone’s worst nightmares of horror and madness, I’m sure the real reason Bull goes through the lost and found box every morning is as some sort of coping strategy to avoid thinking about how depressing life in Westview is for him and everyone he knows, but I do want to point out that he appears to be a holding aloft a severed human hand in the second panel.
Hi and Lois, 9/10/13
You hear that, world? Hi and Lois may be a bland legacy strip that nobody has any sort of strong feelings about one way or another, but at least it’s not going to lower itself to Marvin’s level and do an endless series of poop jokes.
Hey, everybody! Just thought I’d briefly toot my own horn and point out that today is my ninth blogiversary. That’s right, I’ve been making fun of the daily comics more or less daily for nine years now. Which is … impressive? Horrifying? An internet eternity? Whatever. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading my blog since the beginning, or who only just now started. I really appreciate your patronage and support! If you’re interested, here’s my first week of blogging, which is in some ways cringeworthy for me to look at now and in some ways pretty much what I’m still doing. Will I still be doing this nine years from now? Who even knows! I would’ve pegged this blog’s lifespan at about six months back in 2004, so I’m done making predictions.
By the way, just to prove I’m still “hip” and “with it” now that this blog thing is on its way to Internet dinosaur status, I have a Twitter and a Facebook and a Tumblr and a Google+, and you might want to click those links if those are things you like!
Anyway, I begin my tenth year of blogging the only way I know how: by whining misanthropically about Gasoline Alley.
Gasoline Alley, 7/11/13
Shockingly, the Wikipedia entry for Gasoline Alley does not include a complete list of all the characters in the strip’s sprawling cast. For that, you have to go to this lovingly maintained site that, like mine, was created in 2004, though it maintains some classic 1997 Web design aesthetics. Anyway, I was really hoping that Slim’s befuddlement in panel two meant that he had never seen this lady before in his life, and she was using his low emotional state and pliable mind to worm her way into his life and rob him blind. But no, it appears that Slim does in fact have a daughter named Gretchen, which means that his complete failure to recognize her puts him in the running for the worst dad of all time.
Mark Trail, 7/11/13
So not only is Mark not wearing a disguise, but he went undercover at this illegal poaching camp by registering under his own name! Lucky for him there’s no way for anyone to quickly determine if, say, someone were a prominent crusading journalist who wrote for a high-profile magazine focusing on outdoor living. Since all of our knowledge is limited by our own memory, Mark’s secret is safe, forever.
One of Crankshaft’s go-to humor-producing techniques is “olds say the darndest things,” which I’m assuming is what this is supposed to be. Or maybe it’s “Grandma Rose is heartless and cruel and always will be,” another classic Crankshaft comedy gold mine. Whichever it is, though, today I approve of it, because it produced “Your father puts ketchup on so many inappropriate things,” which is surely the greatest sentence that will appear in the comics all week, and perhaps all month. It’s positively poetic. In fact, I urge all of you poetically inclined folk to make it the first line in a poem of your own design in the comments. I expect Pulitzer Prize-winning greatness.
Holy crap, you guys, today’s Spider-Man pulls back the curtain on a White House scandal worse than the IRS + Benghazi + NSA spying times one billion! First we learned that the President answers each and every phone call from befuddled TSA agents nationwide, which surely isn’t an efficient use of his time. And he uses this bureaucratic power that he’s arrogated to himself to allow whatever liberal masked hoodlums he holds in high esteem to board our nation’s otherwise well-secured aircraft. But most damning is the fact that hanging in the Oval Office is a ghastly, miscolored parody of our national flag. That flag is red, white, and black — the same colors of the banner of Nazi Germany. WHEN WILL YOU WAKE UP, SHEEPLE?????
Apartment 3-G, 7/9/13
Well, I guess I was wrong about us never seeing any of the fancy clothes that Lu Ann is being forced to try on by the creepy governor’s creepy svengali! Here she is wearing a fancy new gown. That’s what a fancy new gown looks like in real life, right? With a lacy collar? And a belt? And it’s all the color of Pepto-Bismol, including the collar and the belt? And it covers every inch of flesh below the collarbone and (I assume) above the wrists? This is high fashion?
Gasoline Alley, 7/9/13
Oh, goody, idiot man-child Slim, having been abandoned by his wife and obviously being unable to fend for himself in any way, is descending into catatonic depression. He’s already had one brush with insanity that he bounced back from, but we can only hope that his current downward spiral is permanent.
Gasoline Alley, 6/13/13
Gasoline Alley’s current plotline involves the contemptible Slim being left to his own devices after his wife travelled to Hawaii without him, but things seem to be looking up as he heads upstairs to accidentally stumble upon his neighbor’s marijuana home-grow operation.
Moreover, where does he get the sycophants who laugh uproariously as he savagely beats the uncannily accurate depiction of his owner dangling lifelessly from a limb chosen for its maximum visibility from the house?
Mary Worth, 6/13/13
Pretty sure that even at this moment of sudden and terrible self-knowledge Elinor doesn’t consider herself a “creature,” Narration Box. This sort of needless editorializing is why so many of us don’t trust the mainstream media anymore.
Gil Thorp, 6/13/13
“You OK, Jimmy?”
“Of course I’m not OK, coach! There’s some monstrously huge hand-thing crawling up my chest! Augh, now it’s reaching for my neck! Get it off me, for the love of God, get it off me!”