So ends the Spring 2013 Comics Curmudgeon fundraiser — thank you one and all, generous readers!
What’s that you say? Something along the lines of, “Oh my gosh Uncle Lumpy I was so busy I forgot to contribute and now I not only feel terrible but worse I won’t get an awesome refrigerator magnet and life has no meaning for me anymore and I don’t see how I can go on”? Well, listen, I really shouldn’t do this, but just this once if you click here you can still get to the Fundraiser page, make a contribution (click the banner or the email button), and qualify for your one-of-a-kind Matt Crowe refrigerator magnet. This is just between us, all right? Please don’t tell Josh — I could get in a lot of trouble!
Apartment 3-G, 5/17/13
Peter, get your mind out of your pants and pay attention — Lu Ann just told you all her secrets! Repeat after me: “She can’t remember the last time she had a hot dog with everything.” Jeez, dude.
Funky Winkerbean, 5/17/13
OK, let’s recap a little. Sneery McThumbsup here is Frank “Frankie” Pierce, former football star of Westview High bête noir Big Walnut Tech, who impregnated Les Moore’s first wife Dead Lisa (who was neither married to Les nor dead at the time, as if those are two different things) with Darin in the back of his totally bitchin’ ’70′s van — the one with that sharp knockoff Frank Frazetta mural of the sabretooth tiger and the babe with a spear on the side and the “Don’t Come Knockin’” sticker on the remnants of the rear bumper? Wow, that was a cool van. The mute thug is Leonard “Lenny” Gant, Frank’s accomplice in whatever con he’s running.
Frank, who runs “Astounding Productions” (last big hit: Vans of the ’70′s), came to Westview after seeing a TV news report about Les’s contract to convert his terrible misery porn memoir “Lisa’s Story” into a screenplay featuring excruciating dialogue like, “I can’t pretend to know what you’re going through, but I’m here for you and ready to listen as much as you need, and be your friend even if I haven’t got the right words.”
Frankie’s con cannot possibly be aimed at Darin, who works as the IT and marketing specialist for a pizza parlor (fer Chrissake), has an unemployed pregnant wife, and is therefore so poor he lacks even a van to call his own. So the con must be aimed at Les and his big deal. Will Frankie try to hijack production rights in favor of his own company? Unleash a second version of Les’s travesty upon the world? Block production entirely, claiming that Lisa’s Story somehow defames him and Darin?
To find out, I guess you’ll just have to keep reading — and whatever happens dear reader, even though I can’t pretend to know what you’re going through, I want you to know I’m here for you and ready to listen as much as you need and be your friend, even if I haven’t got the right words. If you need me for anything, I’ll be in my van.
The Comics Curmudgeon has been systematically neglecting Luann as a public service, but I’m obliged to report that Luann is still a thing that exists. The last few weeks’ strips have shown Luann to be a self-absorbed slob whose “friends” don’t really like her and whose “talents” aren’t apparent to anyone outside her own headspace. So yeah, you haven’t missed anything.
Luann schemed to hook up with crush-object Australian stereotype Quill (G’day! Sheila! Barbie! THAT’S a knoyfe!) at summer drama camp. The camp accepted Quill, rejected Luann, and accepted pretty, ambitious go-getter Tiffany, Luann’s hated rival for Quill’s affections. And so here we are.
You know how authors of long-running series grow to resent their protagonists so much they start working to subvert them? Like the way Arthur Conan Doyle “killed” Sherlock Holmes in The Final Problem? Is something like that at work here? Will we see Quill grow to love and respect Tiffany, a centered woman mature beyond her years, unashamed of her desires and undeterred by the spiteful carping of infantile, jealous rivals? Or will it just be more of the same old middle-school tee hee pretend sexxy with Luann? Oh, I think we know the answer to that question!
Mary Worth, 5/17/13
Is there anything more terrifying than Love in Mary Worth? Ignore the saccharine declarations and watch as Tom drags a flailing Beth down Charterstone’s gargantuan sidewalk to a secluded spot where he can wrench her head half off and devour her succulent brain.
Just a reminder — no Comments of the Week on my watch. Look for them Monday when Josh gets back!
– Uncle Lumpy
I’m not exactly sure what inside economic information would prompt you to abruptly sell your house. Maybe another housing bubble is going to burst and the neighbors realize they need to get whatever equity they can out of their home now? Maybe total economic and societal collapse is just around the corner and the neighbors know that the suburbs will become violent kill zones as desperate ad hoc gangs forage for food and fuel, so they’re retreating to their heavily fortified countryside bunker? But honestly, if I found out my new neighbors were leaving the neighborhood after six months, I’m not sure that “secret information about the economy” would be really high on my list of suspected reasons why. Hey, Dagwood, have you ever considered that maybe they’re trying to get away from you? That they just can’t handle the omnipresent stench of pastrami and laziness that oozes out of your house and permeates the whole subdivision?
Mary Worth, 3/1/13
An older woman arrives at a young man’s apartment, bearing an enormous bowl of soup. She is resplendent in a purple blazer; he’s in a tatty green robe, unshaven, disheveled, and ill with fever and a phlegmy cough. “Would you like to come in?” he asks. “I’d like that,” she says aloud, and then thinks “Maybe I could help you with more than your cold.” There really is pornography for just about every sexual taste you can imagine.
Good news, everybody! We know that Luann isn’t doing anything online that’s “scary” and that should make her parents “concerned”. We know this because Tiffany needled her at school all week about Luann “flirting” with Quill on Skype (HOW DARE TEENAGERS FLIRT WITH EACH OTHER WHAT WHORES) and Luann got really upset about it, which is a sign that she isn’t doing any nasty soul-besmirching flirting, I guess? Anyway, all’s well that ends well, now that Luann is back home opening up to her parents about her emotional life! The whole thing makes her dad want to drown himself.
Luann used to be one of those strips whose archives I would read when I got back from vacation, because maybe I had missed exciting developments! But slowly I realized that, enh, Luann, and I stopped doing it. So I have literally no idea how concerned the DeGroots should actually be about their teenage daughter spending so much time online, but I do find it pretty amusing how vague they’re being about it. As if they’re not really sure what this whole “online” thing is about — they’ve heard about computers, obviously, but wouldn’t actually use one, because they’re for young people — and so can only go by what they read about in articles when it comes to imagining what their daughter might be doing in so-called “cyberspace.” What did this article, which presumably ran in a print publication, say? Did it reveal that sometimes people on the Internet take on personas different from their real-life lives? Was Mr. DeGroot shocked to learn that, with some cunning “search engine” work, a cyber-naut can find images and videos of people in various states of undress, or even engaged in sexual acts? We can’t know. He doesn’t dare speak it aloud, even to his wife. It’s too awful.
Apartment 3-G, 2/25/13
Once upon a time, Margo’s dad was a wealthy two-timing cad who knocked up the family’s ethnic-of-some-sort maid and forced her to give up the baby (our Margo!) to his wife to raise, but then years later Margo found out about everything and then later still her bio-parents started hanging out together and then his wife became a pill-crazed maniac. I bring this all up because, even if Margo’s parents have suddenly been retconned into bland, kindly old WASPs, we can at least take solace in the fact that her dad is still rich! Rich enough to pay for luxury suites for Margo’s friends, anyway. (Hope you’re enjoying your stay at a single-room occupancy hotel paid for by Red Cross vouchers, everyone else in the building!) Anyway, it’s nice to see that this “luxury suite” has the same fussy 1950s interior design as the girls’ apartment, since we wouldn’t want them feeling aesthetically unmoored during this trying time.
The few seconds a day it takes to read Newspaper Spider-Man is literally the longest I’ve ever spent with Daredevil as a character, so I was somewhat chagrined to learn upon doing a bit of research this morning that his “radar sense” is indeed a thing, though more recent interpretations just sort of have it as a super-intense version of the whole “blind people’s other senses are heightened” thing and thus not something that can be detected by, say, a missile. Spider-Man’s “spider-aura”, in contrast, seems not to be a thing, since three of the first four Google hits for the phrase are to a non-Spider-Man themed discussion from 2011 on an Ultimate Fighting Championship message board. I guess they’re talking about his spider-sense and just didn’t want to say “sense” twice in the same panel? Haha, Spider-Man is forced to resort to clumsy circumlocutions in his own comic strip! Anyway, this strip is notable because it features two superheroes deciding to go with the classic “let’s split up and hope it goes after you” technique.
Gil Thorp, 2/25/13
“Birseed” in the final panel is almost certainly a typo, but if you want a realistic in-universe explanation for it, you can go ahead and imagine that Gil is just kind of drunk.
Haha, it’s funny because Marmaduke’s owner is terrified of Marmaduke and is laboring mightily to obey his woofed commands! SHOVEL, PUNY HUMAN, SHOVEL OR THE SNOW WILL BE STAINED RED BY YOUR SCATTERED VISCERA
Beetle Bailey, 1/10/13
Every long-running comic strip that isn’t Gasoline Alley, Doonesbury, or pre-time-freeze For Better or For Worse has a problem: its characters remain the same age, more or less, but it tries to keep cultural references current, which means that everyone’s personal chronology is unmoored from the universal progression of time. What is their strange existence like? Today’s Beetle Bailey provides a horrifying insight. Everything that’s ever happened to the damned inhabitants of Camp Swampy over the last 50 years of our time — every terrible pun, every downed shot, every golf game, every act of egregious sexual harassment, every long march, every horrible meal, every vicious beating — has taken place over the course of a single, eternally long day. Time cannot heal the physical and psychic wounds its characters suffer, because time simply does not pass for them. This strip is more harrowing than I ever imagined.
We interrupt my longrunning and deliberate policy of ignoring Luann to bring you today’s incredibly disappointing Luann. Yeah, TJ and Anne Eiffel made out, for, like, a second, before TJ stormed off in a high dudgeon, proving that TJ was never as hilarious and unmoored as he seemed. He was apparently just dicking around at Weenie World, recording Anne saying mean things and being extremely low-level unethical, because he was bored and wanted to get her fired, but he was never really committed to the idea. Because you know who could really ruin Anne’s life, TJ? Her boyfriend, that’s who! What’s the matter, aren’t you serious about this? Aren’t you willing to sacrifice? What are you, chicken?
So, to review: Spider-Man tried to save a lady who was falling off an elephant, but then he got kicked unconscious by the elephant instead, and the lady was rescued by the ostensible villain. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!
Apartment 3-G, 1/10/13
Sure you want to leave, Ari? It appears that Margo and Greg have reached the “We will use literally any pretext to get drunker” stage of evening.
A line from the movie Alien often pops into my head when I read the Lockhorns: “I admire its purity.” A lot of comics would engage in marital misanthropy laffs about leftovers being served once too often; only the Lockhorns has the nerve to portray those leftovers as a plate-sized, undifferentiated shit-colored mound. Leroy’s not just cracking wise about the vultures; this is rotting organic matter that can literally only be eaten by creatures with very specialized digestive systems.
Herb and Jamaal, 12/12/12
Man, things sure were better in the good old days, right? Athletes of an earlier, better time never got involved in gambling or cheating or drugs or any of that business. What could be the cause of all the young sports people doing bad things? Is it the rap music? Probably the rap music.
“Talk about yourself!” Probably the best dating advice for teens ever? Sure!
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Crock is being portrayed as too cartoonishly evil here. I mean, obviously it’s well established that he’s a villainous, petty dictator, but surely he’s enough of a realist to know that the local religious authorities aren’t going to be actively preaching sin and filth like they’re the Church of Satan or something. Shouldn’t he be pleased that the local priest is going old school and promising to use his money to punish and degrade the church’s enemies, instead of going in for some kind of touchy-feely love-thy-neighbor crap like feeding the poor or something?
Plans for a lucrative B.C. Babies franchise where abruptly scuttled when the terrifying character designs were revealed. “So, if we make their arms and legs even stubbier, and glom them onto impossibly squat torsos, and remove their necks, that’s cute, right? Kids will want those dolls?”
You know, Garfield gets a bad rap among comics snobs, but anything that teaches kids that Santa is really a terrifying demon-thing waiting to grab you from behind and drag you down into a terrifying hell-dimension is all right in my book.
Left to their own devices, Brad and TJ have turned their backs on God and started worshipping Mammon full-time.