So ends the Comics Curmudgeon 2015 Spring Fundraiser. Sincere thanks to everybody for your generosity/patience. We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.
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 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
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.
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!”
“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!”
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.”
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.
Luann‘s gimmick is to tiptoe right up to an interesting plot development, pull out the rug, and slam the door on the reader’s nose. To pick just a few recent instances, will Luann and Quill get it on in the costume closet, with ensuing romantic complications? No. Did TJ finally cross the line, blowing up both his food truck and his friendship with Brad? Nope. Is Bernice’s new roommate Dez with all the ambiguously sketchy visitors a drug user? Nosiree. Will Brad and Toni any verb in the English language? Hahaha.
When every single plot is a cheat, you have to fall back on “character” to sustain interest. In Luann, “character” means Everybody Gets a Trait. Thus Stoic Brad, Nice Guy® Gunther, Vain Tiffany, Smart Bernice, Plucky Toni, Cynical NancyMom, Clueless FrankDad, Shady T.J., Outsider Knute, Noble Stereotype Delta, and Whoops! The music stopped, but there doesn’t seem to be a chair for Rosa — had her eye on the “Noble Stereotype” seat, I bet, but Delta’s pretty damn fast. Sorry, kiddo, you gave up Yale for this and didn’t even get the t-shirt.
“It’s a small world after all.”
And so to Peru, or at least the version of Peru that tarts up Lima’s J.W. Marriott hotel with accessories from Epcot Center to make it look more international-like.
Already we see signs of trouble – Gunther’s loving the tourist life but dreads the filthy Ebola-ridden cesspit he imagines this ‘clinic’ may be. Rosa’s bored because she’s traveling with Gunther, duh.
There’s a chance this mess could still work out. After all, Uncle’s outfit seems to be a little less the “impoverished villager pays with a chicken” type of clinic and a little more the “Managing Director jets off to Madrid for a ‘big conference’ on the NGO’s dime” type. So perhaps Gunther will find contentment in the clinic’s ultra-modern Histology Lab, quietly and expertly preparing tissue samples under bright lights amid purring coolers and gently gurgling circulators. Rosa, of course, will learn that the interns are all Yale grads who ridicule her polysyllabically as she mops. Ay, insuficientemente rápido de remanentes chica!
Hägar the Horrible, 8/25/14
Hägar instructs his men to mock their dying victims as a public-relations move. Makes you wonder what they were doing before.
Funky Winkerbean, 8/25/14
Coach Bull Bushka angles for a pity hire from a place called “DUI” in full view of his current employer, who has absolutely no problem with that. Or maybe Principal Green’s just in a good mood because Les is off today.
– Uncle Lumpy