Wizard of Id
I know this isn’t news to anyone who’s spent any time reading the adventures of the Riverdale gang, but Archie, the ostensible protagonist of the long-running Archie comics franchise, is kind of unbearable. Normally this is most obvious in the shabby way he treats the multiple young women who for reasons unknowable are in love with him, but his attitude towards his male pals is frankly not much better. Today’s strip is particularly poignant: Archie’s class-based anxieties are on full display as he attempts to worm his way into Veronica’s high society world, and he apparently thinks that loudly mocking his best friend’s poor-person habits is his key to gaining the one percent’s acceptance. Fortunately, Jughead once again proves that the most radical form of resistance to the economic elite is a complete lack of shame over the so-called “manners” they deem so important.
Wizard of Id, 11/19/13
I don’t know what’s more slapdash about this: that all three quotes are from J.R.R. Tolkien (who, for the record, is not the only author in history who has written about wizards), or that the strip freely admits to not bothering to figure out what the second quote even means.
Mark Trail and Mary Worth, 11/19/13
Meanwhile in Mark Trail and Mary Worth, true terror is in progress: old people are falling down! Say what you will about the soap opera strips, but they seem well aware of the main anxieties of their primary audience.
Apartment 3-G, 11/16/13
“Look, Lu Ann, I already tried to strong-arm you into agreeing to marry me by proposing in front of hundreds of people. How much more do I need to spell out for you? Are you going to finally acknowledge that I’m a manipulative sociopath or what?”
Wizard of Id, 11/16/13
Have you ever wanted to see a comic strip featuring a steaming, half-digested sheep carcass? Then today’s Wizard of Id is for you, my friend!
Mark Trail, 11/16/13
OH GOD HE HAS BEEN BITTEN HE HAS THE MELTING SICKNESS UNCLEAN UNCLEAN UNCLEAN
Mary Worth, 10/31/13
OH MY GOD EVERYBODY MARY WORTH WAS A DICKENSIAN STREET URCHIN! There was an ultimately quite disappointing Mary Worth flashback storyline in 2008, in which we learn that Mary’s parents got divorced and there was no food in the house but then a neighbor’s family invited her to dinner and taught her about Jesus and later her mom remarried and everything was fine. Except it seems some important backstory was left out in that tale, presumably because Mary couldn’t bring herself to admit her past homelessness to Toby, but since Shelly is perfectly happy to make sexytimes with an ex-hobo, she won’t judge too harshly.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/31/13
Meanwhile, in Rex Morgan, we’re finally getting to meet the sinister wife who somehow managed to not kill her husband despite shooting him in the head at point-blank range with a nailgun. And she appears to be … an Episcopal priest? Or one of the other denominations that wears a clerical collar and has female clergy? Anyway, bet none of you ever saw that coming, eh? I’m sure the tabloids will have quite a field day with the Tale of the Murderous Ministrix.
Wizard of Id, 10/31/13
I admit to being totally charmed seeing Bung the Jester chatting up a comely (I guess? it’s always tough to tell who’s supposed to be sexy in a strip as crudely drawn as Wizard of Id) rabbit furry in the background of this panel. Partly because they seem to be getting on quite well despite the fact that she’s twice as tall as he is, and partly because, unlike everyone else at this party, Bung has apparently decided that his faux medieval garb is costume enough, thanks.
Family Circus, 10/31/13
We all know that Billy is an insufferable dick and so his smile can’t represent anything noble or good. The question is: How long a game is he playing here? Is he smug because he’s about to rat Jeffy out to their parents for sullying of the Lord’s Prayer with references to a holiday that celebrates demons and ghouls? Or is he smiling because Jeffy has just accidentally pledged his soul to the Dark Lord Satan, and now Billy won’t have to spend time with him in heaven?
Meanwhile, in Crankshaft, a bunch of drunk little kids are stumbling down the street. Happy Halloween, everybody!
Readers of this blog are aware that the primary theme of Marmaduke is that Marmaduke is a nightmarish demon-god who hungers for human flesh (and human souls) and keeps the populace of his sleepy suburban town in a state of constant terror. You’re probably also aware of a secondary theme: namely, that Marmaduke’s owner is Hitler. But there’s also a tertiary narrative strand that pops up very occasionally, involving terrifying space monsters who occasionally wander into the panel. Are we meant to understand today that this seemingly innocent-looking fire hydrant is secretly a space-travelling robot probe, with a mission to scan Earth and report back to its interstellar masters? Or is it just an ordinary fire hydrant that, in a desperate bid for survival, spontaneously achieved both sentience and the power of spaceflight in order to avoid being doused in Marma-urine? (Marma-urine is more corrosive than the most powerful industrial acid known to man, because, as noted, Marmaduke is a nightmarish demon-god.)
Dennis the Menace, 9/1/13
Citizens! Are you adequately terrified of looming and unspecified disasters and crises? Are you monitoring government-approved warning systems at all times? Have you and your neighbors made a plan to flee your homes forever, abandoning all your worldly possessions and leaving entire cities empty, if the “need” arises? This adorable towheaded tyke wouldn’t lie to you! The threat is real! Vague but real! Dennis’s menacing factor has increased an order of magnitude.
Wizard of Id, 9/1/13
The best panel in this strip is definitely the second in the third row. The Wiz and his treasured pet gaze at one another with the sort of pure, unembarrassed love that it seems people can only experience with animals. There’s going to be a new way for the two of them to be affectionate! Isn’t that great! Then, of course, comes the tearing flesh and the venom seeping into open wounds. And the screaming. So much screaming.
Wizard of Id, 8/23/13
Wizard of Id doesn’t go in for meticulously researched historical detail like Prince Valiant or whatever, but usually its strips include its pseudo-historical characters in its faux-medieval milieu, or at least people who might be plausibly presented as existing in said faux-medieval milieu, even if there are also jokey non-medieval angles to the gag. But today all of the strip’s 49 years of accumulated baggage has been cast aside so that we can enjoy this entirely contemporary joke. Not that it isn’t worth it, obviously, since the punchline is so original, so groundbreaking, that once it had been conceived of it would have been a literal crime against humanity to give it anything but the widest publication possible. (It’s about how kids today use computers instead of magazines, you see, and also about how the magazines in doctors’ offices are generally quite old.)
Family Circus, 8/23/13
Remember, old people aren’t better at hugging because their age and wisdom have opened their hearts more fully to the possibility of loving other human beings without judgement or fear. They’ve just done it more than you have! Have you ever been hugged by a child? It was awful, right? They’re terrible at it. They need more practice.
Mary Worth, 8/15/13
Mary’s long depressing walk in the desert with what’s-her-name where they talked about widowhood, which I found so boring that I’m not even bothering to dig up a post to link to, took for-frickin’-ever and I hated every minute of it. But this amazing “talk group”? It can go on for years as far as I’m concerned. Let’s everyone just let loose with some free-form anxiety/complaints! “My kids are out of control and I don’t know what to do!” “I’ve alienated everyone who’s every loved me!” Will Mary be so overloaded with meddling possibilities that she’ll shut down with smoke coming out of her ears, like a computer from the original Star Trek confronted with an elementary logic paradox?
Gil Thorp, 8/15/13
Oh, man, is Gil Thorp going to get in trouble for breaking kayfabe and revealing to the world that pro wrestling is staged? Not sure what the punishment for Gil Thorp the strip will be, but Gil Thorp the guy will be punished by getting into the ring with a man who’s quite physically fit but isn’t mentally all there, and who might have a hard time sticking to the script that they only half-assedly worked out.
Check out those weird circular wrinkles around the base everyone’s neck in this comic. Almost as if they’re wearing a garment the exact color of their skin? It appears that for the past eight years or so, Dagwood has continued his habit of wearing shirts made out of human flesh, and has even convinced the local youth to join his nightmarish death cult.
Family Circus, 8/15/13
If the Keane Kids are going to wander through this sterile, baffling condo complex for days and eventually starve to death, as I assume they will, it’ll be kind of appropriate that they were literally killed by suburban conformity.
Wizard of Id, 8/15/13
Here is a comic about a sexually aggressive dragon, enjoy!