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Comics archive! Gasoline Alley

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Dick Tracy, 6/11/14

Well, Dick Tracy is going to fully commit to this crossover with the defunct Little Orphan Annie, with added hint-references to, I guess, Alley Oop? Maybe? It’s a series of nesting nods to comics history that maybe a few dozen people are going to fully appreciate, and you know, you keep doing you, Dick Tracy creative team. I’m more interested in the idea that Annie has been kidnapped by/is hanging out with “The Butcher of the Balkans,” whoever that may be. According to Wikipedia, there are at least five people who have been graced with that nickname (and, side note, sucks to be your region if it merits that kind of Wikipedia disambiguation page); two of them are in jail for war crimes and three are dead, one of whom was subjected to some extreme measures to make sure he stayed that way. Is there another one waiting in the wings? What relationship does he have with the Warbucks family? Will uncomfortable questions come up about who made bucks selling weapons to both sides in the wars that killed tens of thousands when Yugoslavia broke up in the ’90s? Is someone going to have to write a lot more checks?

Gasoline Alley, 6/11/14

I wonder if we’re being asked to believe that (a) “awk” is a thing the Kids Today say when they mean “awkward” (do they? maybe! I try to avoid contact with the Kids Today whenever possible) and (b) that children who who have been depicted casually throwing around the word “fellers” would talk like the Kids Today? Either way, I’m much more unsettled by the parrot, who seems fully sapient and increasingly outraged that nobody seems to notice or care. “No! Not the blanket again … I can’t stand any more darkness! Why won’t you listen to me? Why can’t anyone understand what I say?”

Herb and Jamaal, 6/11/14

Looks like Rev. Croom is in some financial difficulty and is dodging his creditors! Fortunately, he’s found some biblical backing for his strategies.

“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