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Not paying attention

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Do you ever get the impression comic strip creators aren’t always meticulous about consistency and continuity? I do! Let’s see why:

Crankshaft, 5/3/16

Remember how elated Jeff was about neighbor Lillian naming her bookstore on Sunday? Well, turns out that was just a short while after his mother Rose suffered an episode of syncope that even today has him moping around the home where he spent his miserable childhood. He takes a break from self-pity to enjoy himself on weekends? Lack of commitment — sad!

Anyway, we’re lucky Ed wasn’t around to say, “I guess it’s syncope or swimcope for Rose now!”

Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/3/16 (panel)

Hey, it’s adorable gifted artist Sarah Morgan and half of her Dad!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/30/16 (panel)

And here she is last Saturday — last night in strip time. Does she want to see the damn house or not? Is the strip’s author confused? Is Sarah? Knowing the character, these flip-flops are probably part of whatever con she’s running.

Mary Worth 5/3/16

Hey, it’s beloved secondary character Wilbur Weston, Dawn’s Dad! Check out his uniquely neglectful parenting style: “Dawn, is this older man you’re spending all your time with trying to use his influence and position of authority to take advantage of you in some way? No? Okay, welp, grub’s getting cold GLOM GLORP SMACK.”

Always four hairs, all across the years — somebody’s showing commitment to the project! The intern who draws Crankshaft’s blackheads could take a lesson.

Luann 5/3/16

But for a truly neglectful relationship, consider the one between Josh and Luann: he has sworn a terrible oath to ignore the strip entirely, so these periodic updates fall to me. Hey, it’s the job.

Leslie (“It’s Les!”) Knox is a bully because he ignored Knute’s order not to enter a men’s bathroom Crystal was using, moments after Knute himself left it, and despite the fact that guys hanging out while girls pee is totally a thing here. Anyway, Knute attempted to choke Les as he walked in, but Les knocked him down, presumably did his business, and left. Got that? Les is the bully.

In an amazing feat of circumstance, he is also the nephew of Mr. Gray, who is both the taciturn and possibly mobbed-up former Las Vegas club manager who saved Luann’s parents’ nightclub and the lethargic swain of Gunther’s Mom. Small world. So Gray is calling in a favor from Luann’s parents by having them hire Les to work at the in-club restaurant TJ manages.

TJ is probably just checking his calendar there to show us that Les is compounding his bullyhood with tardiness. But I prefer to think the gang took Les to the vet to have him chipped, and that TJ is checking his BullyTrax® app.


– Uncle Lumpy

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Dick Tracy, 4/25/15

Heckuva plan there, Abe. I mean, nobody coulda seen that coming, right? Also, I admire your use of “enlisted” instead of the less delicate “forced at gunpoint.”

Funky Winkerbean, 4/25/15

“Gosh, Cindy, thanks for the offer ‘n’ everything, but as it happens, Mason Jarr the Hollywood Actor and I are already on excellent terms from having collaborated for weeks on the failed movie version of my horrible misery porn book Lisa’s Story about my dead wife, Lisa, who died. You may even recall that I was the one who introduced you to him, during his implausible visit to Westview to research his part in Starbuck Jones, because that’s totally a thing, and nobody can read comic books anywhere but here. Anyway, didn’t Mason (Jarr, the Actor: he lives out west somewhere) specifically say he wanted to bring in a writer from the ‘comic book world’ a few strips back? But don’t worry – Darrin just wandered in for no reason, and his gigantic head is right behind you, hanging on our every word. So I’m sure his Skype-buddy, unemployed comic-book writer Mopey Pete, will hear about the opportunity somehow.”

You can’t just let plots develop — you gotta engineer them.

Luann, 4/25/15

Luann shows the signs of 30 years of careful risk management — no unsettling “time jumps” here! “But wait!” you may say. “Didn’t the whole crew just graduate head off to various colleges and Peru and whatnot?” Yeahbut! No chances were taken with the franchise — the stories are the same old “romantic” entanglements, and new characters are plug-and-play replacements for worn-out old ones. For example, Luann’s eccentric fop art teacher fills in for whiny tool Mr. Fogarty, and Dez here is the Designated Ethnic Replacement for annoying prig Delta.

Caution is the watchword — even the Tarot (“Witchcraft!”) with its scary “Hanged Man” and “Death” cards gets a remake as a whimsical “Destiny Deck” (um, somehow not witchcraft?).

Anyway, just for the record, Luann’s mom’s name is “Nancy.” I don’t know how “Prudence” got in there.

Gil Thorp, 4/25/15

Despite my role as a small-c curmudgeon, I have great fondness for Gil Thorp‘s seasonal ritual, the Reading of the Roster. This one telegraphs (hell, literally states) that 2015’s Baseball Story will be about pitcher and cleanup hitter Jordy Castillo.

Slugging pitchers are rare in the majors but more common on college and high-school teams. With the Mudlarks, of course, there’s a good chance Gil and Mimi decided the positions and batting order during a drunken session of strip I-Ching.


— Uncle Lumpy

Monday quickies

Six Chix, 11/24/14

All the turkeys are trying to get out of town this week! That’s because it’s almost Thanksgiving, and they’re justifiably terrified that they’re going to be killed and eaten.

Blondie, 11/24/14

But none of them ever imagined that, after they were killed but before they were eaten, Dagwood Bumstead might sexually fetishize their corpse.

Better Half, 11/24/14

As a financial advisor, it’s tough to keep coming up with “fun” ways to say “Welp, looks like you’re gonna die in poverty!”

Marvin, 11/24/14

“Constipated? Ha ha, it’s funny because Marvin has no problems making bowel movements! You can tell because he always smells like feces! Ha ha!”

Luann, 11/24/14

Hey, remember when Guther and Rosa decided to move to Peru for, uh, some reason? I had been thinking it was in order to do something noble but now we see that they’re just working in an extremely boring-looking call center.

Funky Winkerbean, 11/24/14

“We’ve swapped something you might actually want for something you definitely won’t!”

Mary Worth, 11/24/14

“My daughter? Oh, I definitely don’t love her. If I did, I’d have talked about her up top, when I was telling you about people I loved.”

Spider-Man, 11/24/14

Having lived in Los Angeles for nearly three months, I can assure you that panel two’s depiction of a Hollywood producer is 100% accurate.