Wizard of Id
Great things are happening over at Kingpin Laboratories! Under the inspiring guidance of the company CEO, Kingpin researchers are producing breathtaking innovations in neuroscience — with potentially profitable real-world implications! Meanwhile, across town, a freelance photographer manages, with some effort, to remember the name of a lawyer.
So it turns out that Dagwood’s inability to understand basic finance is just a symptom of his retreat into magical thinking when confronted with scarcity of any sort.
Scram, Ziggy! Rats want to use your house for fucking!
Apartment 3-G, 3/15/13
Wow, darkness is falling on the city … pretty abruptly there, huh? I mean, in panel one it looks to be about mid-afternoon and then Margo expresses affection for another human and then an inky eternal shadow descends over new york, there is no escape and it is so so cold
Family Circus, 3/15/13
“All this suburban bourgeois bullshit that you think is important? It’s like you’re smothering my soul with a pillow! Just thought I’d let you know.”
Wizard of Id, 3/15/13
Ha ha, it’s funny because the dragon likes to eat his own poop!
It’s funny because Momma is down to her last five bucks and her son is a thief.
Funky Winkerbean, 2/21/13
Many, many comic strips have terrible dialogue, but the dialogue in Funky Winkerbean and sister strip Crankshaft is terrible in its own unique way — not from lack of craft or attention (Hi, Crock!), but its very opposite. Stare at a simple line like “How’s your room?” long enough and you’ll start to ask yourself if readers will remember the characters are traveling, or maybe think the question is whether they have enough room, say, to swing their arms or something? Then it’s down the rabbit-hole: “How’s your hotel room?” could be any hotel, so let’s go with “How’s your room in the hotel” to make it clear this Esteemed Figure is staying at the main convention hotel and not some off-strip dive, then plaster “Music Educ Asso t” on the wall for good measure. Despite all that work — no, because of it — you wind up with overwrought phrases that seem unambiguous, but which no actual human would ever utter: “solo car date”, “dead man’s singles”, or “space heater in the basement” (for “water heater”).
More fundamental is the Quip Fail at the heart of this strip. Hotel ratings use stars, not letters, so “B-flat hotel” makes no sense even coming from a
band leader Music Educator. My guess is that the joke started out star-related — maybe Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever? — and then got reworked into its present form. But if “B-flat hotel” is really your punchline, own it, don’t bury it in these wads of bumf. Put it at the end, where punchlines go: “I won’t be staying there much, so I don’t mind a B-flat hotel.” And spare us Beardo’s in-strip affirmation of your character’s dubious wit. Exactly.
Wizard of Id, 2/21/13
It’s funny because it’s not golf.
Got that? A joke. Now laugh, God damn you!
– Uncle Lumpy
Wizard of Id, 2/15/13
I think when you’re correcting the depiction of a Scrabble game played in a faux-medieval magic world in a daily newspaper comic, you’re officially that guy, and lord knows I don’t want to be that guy, so let me just very briefly point out that if you’re going to say the word you just played in Scrabble aloud, you’re probably going to say the point total rather than the number of letters, that you can only play seven letters at a time, and that the Wiz could conceivably be building off of “ex” or “on” or “ion” but even if he is there doesn’t appear to be a a nine-letter word on the board. Also, I know significantly less about the rules of magic in the Wizard of Id than I do about Scrabble, but I do know a little bit about the rules of comics narrative, and I think that if you have a character complaining about the proximity of a magic wand in panel two, said magic wand should at least be visible in panel one.
Most of the time when people ask for crossword puzzle help they do give a letter count for what they’re looking for, but the rules of Crankshaft narrative involve everyone talking at cross-purposes and getting irritated at each other, so I’m willing to let this pass.
Mary Worth, 2/15/13
Obviously the coming drama here will revolve around Mary not wanting to leave her comfy Santa Royale home to go to New York and learn how to be a pastry chef, because why would she, but I would certainly enjoy a retooled Mary Worth that focuses on Mary and John trying to make it in the big city. The first episode would revolve around their discovery that $10,000 doesn’t come close to covering eight months of rent in a two-bedroom New York apartment.
Marvin: not just a comic about a baby who soils himself constantly! It’s also about racist dogs.
I don’t like to tell a cartoonist how to do their job … haha, who am I kidding, that’s literally been exactly my schtick on this blog for the past eight and a half years! Anyway, I’m all for just having Loretta telling people about how unhappy her marriage is, right in front of her husband, but maybe this panel would be a little funnier if Leroy were more obviously not paying attention to her? Like, maybe if he were looking at his phone or something. I mean, I guess you could interpret his expression as a thousand-mile stare, a sort of numb mask that settles on his face every time he thinks about how he’d rather be anywhere other than with his wife and do anything other than listen to her, but he pretty much always looks like that so I don’t think it quite drives the joke home the way it should.
The first panel of this strip is by far the happiest I’ve ever seen the Hobbs family when they’re voluntarily spending time together. I do have to wonder how exactly Francis “plays” Wheel of Fortune and ruins the experience for everyone else. Does he shout out painfully wrong answers, disturbing his siblings’ and mother’s silent, maniacal grinning? Whatever the case, perhaps he can go commiserate about his banishment with his brother’s wife, who has also apparently been uninvited from Family Game Show Watching Night.
Mark Trail, 1/23/13
“I win because I use the lure that is named after me — the ‘Rod Bassy Killer’! I’m called that because I killed the real Rod Bassy and assumed his identity after selling my soul to the Devil so that he would make me the greatest fisherman alive. Wait, did I say that last part out loud?”
Just for the record, since Friday Newspaper Spider-Man has dedicated a single panel to depicting Kraven’s daring escape and 11 panels to depicting these morons standing around talking to each other.
Wizard of Id, 1/23/13
I was going to object that a witch, of all people, shouldn’t need to consult a fortune teller for a glimpse into the future, but then I remembered that I’m already on the record as doubting witchy powers, so well played, newspaper comics industry.
Wizard of Id, 12/20/12
Hey, teens, I bet you think that it’s “cool” to drink alcohol! Well, your pal Frosty is pretty hip and extreme with his backwards baseball cap and such, and he thought it would be OK to get drunk like a grown-up, and look what happened: he tore his own body apart and hurled it in gory chunks at his enemies, who presumably ran away in gibbering terror. This is what’ll happen to you if you let bad kids give you a hard lemonade at a party. Just ask for a Mountain Dew instead! You’ll thank us later!
Mary Worth, 12/20/12
The Sad Tale of Dawn’s Sadness that just concluded began way back in May, so obviously we need something wacky to cleanse our palate in its wake. But even longtime Mary Worth trufans such as myself could never have predicted how wacky things would get. Mary coaching an amateur cake designer to victory in the face of smug, sneering professionals, all in an attempt to cash in on the cake decorating TV craze of four years ago? Mary finally getting to see her many rambling philosophical diatribes transformed into pastry dioramas, wowing the world with her wisdom? YES PLEASE.
Better Half, 12/20/12
Whatever, Stanley is just going to keep on doing weird sex stuff with that remote, and he doesn’t need God or society’s approval, man.
Wizard of Id, 12/13/12
If there’s one thing I took away from my failed attempt at becoming a historian (other than a failed attempt to become a historical romance novelist), it was a tendency to overthink comics set in the past. I’ve mused at great length about the historical setting for Hagar the Horrible, but generally haven’t bothered with the Wizard of Id because it’s such a weird mishmosh of vaguely medieval tropes. I actually hadn’t given much thought until today about the co-existence of Id’s occasionally seen Catholic establishment and the Wizard’s dark magic, but I’m intrigued to learn that the Idish (Idian?) men of Christ view the Wiz’s dark magic in what’s probably a fairly historically accurate manner. Presumably Brother Whosit here sees himself like Elijah going up against the priests of Baal, or like Jesus Himself, curing a poor soul of the demons that afflict him. Little does he know that the the Wiz contains worse evil than even the foulest spawn of hell. We can only imagine the scene of insanely violent spiritual slaughter that takes place after the third panel here.
Meanwhile, Marvin has gotten all hopped on Arminianism and believes that, just because God created him complete with free will, he answers to no earthly authority. Look for him to be getting a possibly misspelled “Only God Can Judge Me” prison tattoo before his 25th birthday.
Apartment 3-G, 12/13/12
Man, this is one of the cheapest, most transparent “drag out the drama” techniques in the soap opera strip’s arsenal, and yet I’m totally drawn in by it! Arrrgh, why can’t Lu Ann go to Margo’s Christmas party? Is she a Jehovah’s Witness now? Will she be busy having her face smooched by Greg, who seemed on the verge of becoming her boyfriend but then didn’t, I don’t think? I CAN’T HANDLE THE SUSPENSE!!!