Hi and Lois
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Sherman’s Lagoon, 5/16/13
Lead characters Sherman the shark and Fillmore the sea turtle have been furloughed from Sherman’s Lagoon due to sequestration budget cuts, leaving Hawthorne the annoying crab and Ernest the generic fish to pick up the slack. Now when I type “Sherman’s Lagoon site:” (just before adding “wikipedia.org” obviously), the Google helpfully completes it as “Sherman’s Lagoon site down”, so maybe Ernest made good on his implied threat to crash the servers?
Anyway, I’m not sure Sherman’s Lagoon will be improved by laying off its main characters, but a lot of other comic strips sure would: imagine 9 Chickweed Lane with Solange the cat free of the other characters’ insufferable yammering, or Mark Trail relaunched as a suave urban romance between Bill Ellis and Kelly Welly — stiff competition for Apartment 3-G, I bet!
It could happen: after all, Snuffy Smith elbowed Barney Google out of his own strip long ago, and Funky Winkerbean‘s eponymous “hero” isn’t much more than an overweight, depressed walk-on anymore. Likewise, Blondie has pretty much morphed into Dagwood, and Sally Forth into Ted.
Badass pirate-fighter Savarna could easily replace the Phantom, who is frankly turning out to be a real wuss. And who wouldn’t prefer reading Terrible Actress Mary Jane Parker to The Amazing Spider-Man? Rebooting Crankshaft as Pam and Jeff could show us the tender rebirth of marital love after the deaths of hated, intrusive parents. Crime-fighting gardener Carlos Alora in Charterstone Confidential could document the seedy underside of America’s retirement communities without some old bat second-guessing his every anguished, ethically dubious move. Helga the Wïdöw could inspire us with the daily struggles of a proud, resourceful woman against the murderous oppressive Viking patriarchy. And finally, clearing all the characters out of Crock (retitled Empty Sahara) would give us a welcome visual and mental break every day.
Hi and Lois, 5/16/13
Awe-struck by the miracle of Creation, Ditto Flagston professes his atheism.
Apartment 3-G, 5/16/13
The Governor of New York is a desperate stalker who talks like a six-year-old and doesn’t need to be in Albany for anything important, no siree. Lu Ann will be right down.
Judge Parker, 5/16/13
Ah, wars interest Sophie (and judging by her jacket she’s backing Team Mali) — but money interests Sam. And he seems pretty darn upset that sometimes it takes months to work out a ransom! Surely a smart lawyer should be able to fix that — think, Sam! There must be a way to accelerate ransom negotiation and delivery to increase hostage-inventory turns and drive up cash flow. Reverse-auction Web portal? Third-party escrow service? Exchange-tradable ransom futures?
All that seems like far, far too much effort to our Sam. No doubt he’ll just fall back on the strip’s traditions and have secretary Gloria Sanchez draft a letter: “Dear Kidnappers — I am Sam Driver of Spencer Farms, Parkerville ST. I have not yet received from you a large suitcase filled with cash, for no reason. Please correct this situation at once! Sincerely, Sam Driver, Esq. PS. My pal Randy Parker says hi and thanks you for his cash.”
“Fedex that tonight, Gloria. Phew, that was a lot of work — Hey Abby, is dinner on yet, or do I have time for another nip of that Shiraz?”
– Uncle Lumpy
Hi and Lois, 5/7/13
Sadly, one the many businesses that the Internet has changed beyond recognition is the adult film industry. Probably this shaggy-haired 19-year-old pizza dude has consumed all of his pornography in short, plotless smut-bursts, delivered in a tiny browser window, and has never seen the archetypical porn storyline in which a startled delivery guy is seduced by a sexually voracious customer. The smile on his face in panel two implies that at he’s at least read about such plots, though, or maybe heard them referenced in older literature, because he seems to realize that “Hey attractive lady, your husband can’t spend time with you but spent $12 to have shitty food delivered without bothering to even tell you he did it” is pretty much the gold standard for that particular scenario.
Family Circus, 5/7/13
Speaking of things that would be foreign to modern folk, I’ve always appreciated the fact that the Keane Kids seem to just form ad hoc play groups with whichever other kids are outside, rather than requiring their parents to set up appointments weeks in advance on the subdivision’s shared Outlook calendar. But still, I’m concerned about the seething mass of dozens of children that seems to have spontaneously assembled on the Keane’s lawn. What “game” could this tightly packed mob possibly be playing, other than “Let’s see how quickly we can fall upon and devour passers-by”? Ma Keane should shut that door as quickly as she can, then start boarding up the windows.
Funky Winkerbean, 5/7/13
Oh look, a Westview citizen has responded to a simple question with unfunny, confusing wordplay! Darrin’s bio-dad reacts not by co-smirking but with normal human irritation. I think I’m starting to like this guy.
Haha, it’s funny because Ziggy wants to have sex with a lizard, and he feels terrible about it!
Hi and Lois, 4/26/13
Man, I have never seen Hi looking as soul-dead as he does in the first panel. “Yeah, driver’s ed, whatever, why don’t you just ease your foot off the brake, Chip, why don’t you just let the car drift into the intersection, God, I’m exhausted. Or just gun it, just gun it right into traffic. Let me feel something, let me feel something one last time, even if it’s a thousand pounds of steel and glass crashing into me, at least it’s something, at least I can feel it.”
I honestly don’t get the impression that Veronica is critical about Archie’s clothes — Society Lady Of Indeterminate Age isn’t being particularly judge-y about them or anything — as she is just generally embarrassed by his whole deal. Or maybe she’s specifically upset by how smug he looks in panel two. “Why yes, Veronica Lodge does occasionally tolerate my presence, pleased to meet you, ma’am.”
Funky Winkerbean, 4/26/13
“Don’t worry, Dad, we know you and mom were too horrified at the very thought of sex to try to give me any useful advice, so we talked to my dying birth mother instead. Or did you figure it was just dumb luck that we’d managed to be together since high school and never have a baby? On an unrelated note, Jess and I have watched insane amounts of Internet pornography since the time we were teenagers. Enjoy thinking about that, trapped in your immobile body-prison!”
Mary Worth, 4/26/13
Okay okay Tom don’t tell her that you spend all day alone in your apartment aching for human contact any human contact but afraid to talk to anybody don’t tell don’t tell don’t tell THANKS FOR GOING TO THE GROCERY STORE IN MY CAR WE USED LESS GAS THAT WAY yeah that went well I think that went really really well
OK, here is the deal with my relationship with Pluggers, basically: Pluggers presents folksy, down-home bits of wisdom from rural and exurban types that have as an unspoken contrast the way that I and my fellow liberal urbanites conduct ourselves (e.g., we have acquaintances from multiple ethnic backgrounds, we have a passing familiarity with popular culture, we own and use paper towels, etc.); I take this contrast as implying that pluggers think they’re better humans (or human-animal hybrids, whatever) than me and everyone else who doesn’t know how to fix a car and likes living somewhere where you can get Indian food delivered, and I resent it and blow whatever implications are there completely out of proportion.
Every once in a while, though, I encounter a Pluggers that isn’t so much “infuriating” as “baffling,” and today’s Pluggers is one such instance. I hesitate to call this a universal experience, but it certainly has no class or cultural significance that I can detect, unless pluggers assume that we fancy city folk only wear space-age velcro sneakers. I do actually enjoy the drawing of the vaguely poindextery cat (always the go-to man-animal for Pluggers cartoons that aren’t quite plugger-y, as near as I can tell) clearly being sent into paroxysms of obsessive-compulsive anxiety as he feels one of his shoes hugging his foot slightly more tightly than the other, and wondering if he should retie the other one now and if so which set of books under which arm he should set down first to do so.
Aw, it turns out that the Great Spidey Milk-Drinking Caper wasn’t just a typical Newspaper Spider-Man time-wasting tangent, but is actually related to the main plot! I mean, the idea that you could “mix” Peter Parker’s DNA with a mind-control gas to make it Spider-Man-specific is laughable, but I guess it’ll do. The Kingpin probably just has the science-y aspects all mixed up in his head, anyway. He’s not a micromanager! He just wants results!
Hi and Lois, 4/5/13
For the life of me I cannot figure out why Ditto looks so God-damned smug in the second panel. Surely he’s not that impressed with his own terrible pun. Is he proud that he carries the youthful six-pack of an eight-year-old, unaware or unconcerned about the flab he’ll start to develop when he hits puberty?
Herb and Jamaal, 4/5/13
As Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged, unless we’re talking about someone who won’t cough up money for the collection plate. Go ahead and put that guy on your shit list.”
Marvin is a gross, mean, hateful baby, so I take comfort in the fact that he’s already haunted by the grim spectre of death.
Hi and Lois, 4/2/13
My feeling is that, as a rule, people bring up the idea of going to a marriage counselor not (obviously) when things are going great and not in the middle of a screaming fight, but in the post-storm lull, the aftermath of a long, draining argument that has left both parties exhausted. That’s what I’m assuming is going on here, with Irma’s expression in the first panel all worn out and heavy lidded. I appreciate the narrative conceit that we’re being dropped down into the midst of some long, dark evening in the Thurston marriage, and that we’ve landed right as things turn: when Irma thinks that now is the time to finally make a last ditch effort to save their marriage, only to discover that Thirsty is ready to go another round. Look at her face in the second panel! This is going to be uglier than you can imagine.
Mark Trail, 4/2/13
Wow, I’m not sure how I missed the fact that these bass fishing contests that Rod Bassy has been rigging had big cash prizes? Like, I honestly thought it was just for fishing glory. I guess the motivation behind Rod’s elaborate cheating schemes is much more obvious now. It does make the whole plot a seem a lot tawdrier to me, though, and Bluegill’s comical, dignity-free glee at winning by default sure isn’t helping.
Dick Tracy, 4/2/13
Dick Tracy is teaming up with Jumble Jeff and David Hoyt to teach kids important information they need to know about the economic and distribution models for modern-day printed syndicated newspaper content. Could nefarious supercriminals have altered your favorite comic or puzzle, for evil purposes? It’s best to handle the Sudoku with tongs, just to be sure!
Nobody in Marvin’s family cares very much whether he lives or dies.
Finally, Spider-Man finds a level of superheroics that he can handle. (Just kidding, he’ll try drinking it and then say “Gross, is this skim?” and spit it out all over his costume.)
Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/22/13
“Hello, everybody, we’re the creative team behind Rex Morgan, M.D.! We know that you enjoy exciting tales of adventure and the medical profession, and that you also like hot bodies in various stages of undress. We made you a promise — that the attractive characters in our feature would occasionally strip down to their underwear — and we aim to keep that promise. Every five years or so counts as ‘occasionally,’ right? We’re working our way up to full frontal nudity, which should get the syndicate OK sometime’s in the mid 2200s.”
I wouldn’t worry too much about photobombing, officer; Heathcliff will not be visible at all in this picture, seeing as the camera is pointed directly at the suspect’s crotch. This is a very particular kind of mug shot for a very specific audience.
Mark Trail, 3/22/13
“In the meantime, let’s enjoy a big, hearty bowl of orange mush in Rusty’s honor. Mush was all we ever allowed Rusty to eat, and orange was his favorite mush color. He would’ve wanted it this way! Er, does want it this way, I should say, he’s probably still alive. At least we’re all hoping that he is! Yeah, that’s it, hoping.”
Hi and Lois, 3/22/13
“Or to late March, which is when this comic strip will be published!”