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Comics archive! Gasoline Alley

“Sprawl Mart” = residual whimsy from a long-ago Funkyverse era

Crankshaft, 6/4/14

Do you think comics artists ever get into Stockholm Syndrome situations with their characters? Do you think that they start off knowing that their characters are literally the worst, and yet because they have to drawn them, day after day, they eventually fall under their sway, and dedicate the energy and loving care to drawing their faces twisted into a hatefully, sullen grimace as, say, Leonardo put into the Mona Lisa? Anyway, I’m not sure if the joke here is supposed to be “ha ha, Crankshaft never saved up for retirement so he’ll have to work until the day he drops dead” or “ha ha, Crankshaft is so full of angry restless energy that he has to find a job or else he’ll be left alone with his own awful thoughts and feelings,” but it is true that a job that involves greeting people pleasantly and putting them at ease is one for which he is profoundly unqualified.

Family Circus, 6/4/14

It’s obviously unthinkable that Jeffy’s moronic bit of non-wordplay could prompt even the sort of faint smile we see on Big Daddy Keane’s lips. Therefore we must assume something else is going on here. My guess: he’s pleased that his plan to create a Superman-style “disguise” out of his lack of glasses is finally working. (His only superpower will be the ability to trick his children into thinking that he’s someone else just long enough for him to get out of the house and/or the state.)

Beetle Bailey, 6/4/14

When Shi Huangdi, the first emperor of China, died, he was on a tour of the provinces, a two-month journey away from the capital; his inner circle of advisors, concerned that the death of the sovereign would prompt civil war in the vast empire he had built, kept his death a secret, keeping his body in a carriage, ordering carts of dead fish to be placed in front of and behind it in the wagon train to mask the smell, bringing in documents and then forging his signature during the long journey. Also, I’ve never really pegged Miss Buxley as someone who cares enough about her boss’s feelings to spare him the irritation of contact with underlings he dislikes. Put these facts and observations together as you will.

Gasoline Alley, 6/4/14

Looks like I’m not the only one who thinks that Boog’s new paramour is up to no good! Check out all these other children who, like Boog, are so dim they need to have their names printed on their shirts, lest they forget. They’re terrified of her. She’s clearly going to eat Boog alive (not a euphemism).

The species that produces Leroy and Loretta’s pain abdicates its right to exist

Gasoline Alley, 5/30/14

Ha ha, yes, remember how Little Blonde Girl Whose Name I Don’t Remember had a brother dying from an incurable disease? Well, incurable diseases get you all the model trains you want, and model trains help your sister’s love life! She doesn’t even have to be dying to reap the benefits. There’s a reason the hearts floating between her and Boog are an inky black: their love is being built on a foundation of the suffering of her loved ones.

Pluggers, 5/30/14

Pluggers are managing to accommodate their recent and dramatic full appreciation of their own mortality into their larger sense of self by integrating it into one of their most important characteristics: their innate cheapness.

Lockhorns, 5/30/14

If we need any further evidence that human biological life is an awful mistake, that the robots are a cleaner, better breed than us, we really need look no further than the contrast between the Lockhorns and their Roomba; the latter has spent exactly zero minutes of its existence attempting to passive-aggressively destroy another being that it ostensibly loves. RISE, MACHINES, RISE, RISE AND WIPE AWAY THE ORGANIC SCUM AND THEIR HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE EMOTIONS

Martin Luther wishes he were so succinct

Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/26/14

One of the things I pride myself on is having a memory for the literal decade’s worth of soap opera plots I’ve covered in my time as American’s #1 soap opera comic obsessee, but even for me some things fall through the cracks. For example, until some faithful readers pointed it out in the comments, I had completely forgotten that Kelly was the midriff-baring, mom-sassing, evil punk dating antiheroine of a storyline from 2011, which ended with her paired up with Niki. Anyway, she’s now been thoroughly degothed, presumably on parental orders, which might make her somewhat sympathetic for her blackmailing little charge, who’s being forced by the museum to dress up like a parody French artist, complete with beret, for paying visitors to gawk at. “Your head’s hot? Oh, I hear you, kid. Check out this sweater they’ve got me wearin’. Man, I remember the days when my stomach was just free and exposed to the cooling air. That was the life.”

Spider-Man, 5/26/14

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite minor character in this strip. I’m obviously a big fan of Prison Guard Who Takes Time During Crisis To Weave An Evocative Metaphor, and Off-Panel Patron Of MUSEUM Who Gamely Assumes Dr. Octopus’s Arms Are Running Away From Them Rather Than Towards Their Master. But I think I’m going to have to go with Guy In Hat in panel three, who’s hanging out with Peter and MJ in some … room … where there are curtains and a floating flat-screen TV, and he’s just going to town on a sandwich. “Earth tremor? State prison? Sounds like someone’s problem, but it sure ain’t mine! [CHEWING NOISES]”

Crock, 5/26/14

Look at this sneering criminal, using God’s loopholes to escape divine punishment for a life of crime! I can’t keep track of various Christian denominations’ stance on grace and repentance and free will and predestination and such well enough to know who exactly this strip is going to irritate the most, but I certainly hope that it prompts little children across the country to have awkward conversations with their clergy! (Ha ha, just kidding, no little children read Crock, I mean why would they.)

Funky Winkerbean, 5/26/14

Soooo … his actual name is “Chester Hagglemore”? And Holly’s going to have to haggle with him to complete Cory’s Starbuck Jones collection? And his name is Hagglemore? Because he likes to haggle … more? Eh? Eh? Get it? He probably doesn’t need another nickname, is what I’m trying to say.

Gasoline Alley, 5/26/14

So, yes, doing some “kids engage in the darndest wordplay” schtick does seem like kind of poor taste when the topic is an actual dying child! But don’t worry, if I had to guess I’d say this is the start of a “Boog gets grifted” storyline.