Hagar the Horrible and Wizard of Id, 12/15/15
Most comic strips begin their existence as the singular creation of an artist or artist-writer pair; but once it runs for long enough, it becomes an institution, and often hired hands are brought in to do the actual day-to-day work on the strip. The personnel decisions that happen behind the scenes — at Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC, say, or the lesser known Parker Hart & Associated Anachronistic Whimsy Professionals responsible for the unholy B.C.-Wizard of Id-Crock trinity — are opaque to us, and all we’re left with, if we’re regular comics readers, is the occasional disquieting realization that “the strip looks different.” Which is a long way of saying that Hagar the Horrible and Wizard of Id look different to me this week. Is this true for anyone else? Anyone? At least we can take solace in the evidence that the writing of the strips is staying true to their original vision: to put references to contemporary issues in imagined versions of our brutish past, in order to show that our present remains just as violent beneath its thin veneer of civilization.
Dennis the Menace, 12/15/15
Dennis is self-aware enough to know that he’s constitutionally incapable of pleasing a monotheistic God who judges humans against some absolute morality, or even of currying favor with a watered-down version like Santa. He’ll be happy to make a deal with a much older form of folk spirit, one with an agenda at once more opaque and easier to accommodate. The tooth fairy doesn’t care if you’ve been bad or good; the tooth fairy operates on a plane entirely removed from whatever ethical system you use to define those terms. The tooth fairy just wants your teeth.
Beetle Bailey, 9/22/15
I am very interested in how exactly the process in the Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC writers room came together to generate this alleged humor product. “So, we’re agreed that the punchline to Tuesday’s strip should be that Otto, a dog who wears clothes and walks upright and thinks in complete sentences, will be peeing on Lt. Fuzz’s garden. Any pitches on how we punch that up a bit?” “How about if he gets a really mean face when he thinks about urinating on the flowers. Like it’s a threat.” “I like it, I like it. Do we want to make it seem just a little sexual? The pee-threat?” “Yes. Yes. Now we’re talking.”
Mary Worth, 9/22/15
I know we have a few months left, but I’m calling it now: Mary saying “Toby has many friends” with a facial expression that clearly indicates that she knows that Toby has no friends, even Mary is more than an acquaintance, really, just someone she talks to because of physical proximity, so why don’t we cut to the chase, why don’t we end this charade, human connection is impossible on this side of the veil, is definitely the panel of the year.
English is of course the international language of business and diplomacy, the equivalent of French or Latin in their heyday, so we can’t fault marginal cultures like the bird-people of Treetops for adopting it and the advantages that come with it. But still, it’s sad that, in only a few generations, they’ve completely abandoned the ancient language of birds. Do they ever look at the dusty old books of Bird-Speech, the impenetrable symbols taunting them with the reminder of their ancient cultural heritage, now lost forever?
Mark Trail, 9/22/15
Oh hey over in Mark Trail Mark is about to tangle with some bad guys in that radioactive wreck! In the close confines of that boat it’d be dangerous to actually fire his spear gun, so I guess he’s just going to stab them in the gut, one by one.
Wizard of Id, 9/22/15
Oh, did summer go by too fast for your tastes? I guess you don’t really know how to do summer! I guess you should be more like this smug cartoon wizard here!
It takes highly advanced and extremely expensive science just to keep pluggers alive.
Family Circus, 8/25/15
I absolutely love how angry that poodle looks in this panel. “Oh, you think it’s funny how I look, you smug stump-leaning little shit? You think it’s a game? Is my grooming style incompatible with your narrow view of masculinity? You think I don’t still have razor sharp teeth?” Shit is about to get very real for our Billy.
Mark Trail, 8/25/15
Yes, that does sound like a logical explanation: a shipment of fake radioactive rods, glowing with their own eerie, mysterious light, which are an extremely popular gag gift worldwide! Nothing loosens up a birthday party or Christmas morning like the moment when someone unwraps their “radioactive” “extremely dangerous” present and shouts with delight, “Oh my God, what is this? You’ve killed us all!” These novelty items are in such high demand that they’re flown around the world via sea planes — the market can’t wait for slow container ships! Anyway, Mark, don’t worry your pretty little head about any high-tech “tests” for radiation, I’m sure everything is fine, just fine.
Wizard of Id, 8/25/15
Whoa, like, what if, like, we need both the dark and the light, working against each other, to create the huge, amazing universe we all live in, man? Anyway, long story short, this comic portrays the process by which glow-in-the-dark dorm posters and van decals were created in the 1970s and ’80s.
Oh, don’t worry, Bitsy: Marvin isn’t going to stop shitting himself just because he’s got sand in his diaper.
Marvin’s never going to stop shitting himself