Wizard of Id
People, I have been terribly remiss in not informing you about an amazing live performance that you can see if you live in or near Baltimore! It is a water ballet based on Moby Dick, and it is being put on by Fluid Movement, the wacky Baltimore performance art troupe that I am occasionally affiliated with. I’m not in the show this year, but my lovely wife is, and I’ve seen the performance and it’s fantastic. There are shows at 5 and 7 p.m. this coming Saturday and Sunday nights at Baltimore’s Patterson Park pool. Behold the amazing poster!
You can buy tickets here and find out more information here and maybe see/say hi to me because I’ll be volunteering in some capacity. I can’t believe it has taken a Heathcliff cartoon to prod me into promoting it here! For real, though, I’ve known people who have performed in peg legs and Heathcliff’s is pretty hardcore. Based on the leg we can see, it’s clearly not something hollow that he’s stuffing his leg into. Is he walking about with his leg uncomfortably strapped behind his back? Or did he actually amputate his leg, just to pull off a flawless sight gag that barely impresses our fish merchant? He might’ve. Heathcliff doesn’t do things by half measures. Heathcliff keeps it real.
Apartment 3-G, 8/2/13
Hey, remember when this Apartment 3-G plot was going to be about the psychological trauma that combat vets face when they return to civilian life, and that could’ve been timely and important but they could have also screwed it up pretty badly? Well, now it’s about brain tumors. Can’t go wrong with brain tumors, right?
Mark Trail, 8/2/13
I am of course duty-bound by my Comics Summarizer’s Oath to let you know when violence breaks out in Mark Trail, so here you go! We all know Mark traditionally wears pants that are too short, which becomes pretty obvious when he kicks someone, but instead of wearing khaki socks like usual today he’s just showing off his sexy bare ankles, the tease.
Ever since Spidey’s daring/cowardly escape from his plane, much of his time in Costa Verde has been taken up by him loudly remarking to nobody in particular that he doesn’t speak the local language. This will definitely make him beloved when he meets up with his allies! There’s nothing Latin American revolutionaries like more than being shouted at in English.
Wizard of Id, 8/2/13
I guess the Wizard of Id takes place in some pseudo-medieval era when even the basics of rudimentary statescraft were poorly understood, but still: ethics and accounting are not the same thing, guys!
Wizard of Id, 7/21/13
I don’t know if whoever’s currently writing Wizard of Id just got a big dog or just got bored with writing jokes about the same ten-ish characters who have been in the strip since the ’70s or what, but for the past year or so there have been a lot of Wizard of Id strips about Henry, the Wiz’s recently introduced pet dragon. As with Hagar and his cuddly bloodthirsty marauders, much of the humor here arises from the deliberately showcased contradiction between Henry-as-adorable-pet and Henry-as-terrifying-monster. I’d argue, though, that we’ve tipped a little too far towards the latter when we end a strip with an actual mangled human corpse dangling out of Henry’s mouth, with bits of blood and flesh falling to the ground like a soft rain.
Maybe I’ve fallen into some form of Stockholm Syndrome, but at this point I literally don’t want Spidey’s whiny, petulant battle of wits with a dickish eight-year-old to end. Today’s strip pretty much encapsulates everything that’s made it great: Spidey apologizing to the startled flight attendent by explaining that he only reacted to so violently because he thought she was a child; the kid taking every opportunity to remind Spider-Man that there are other, better superheroes in the world; and, of course, Spidey’s epic soda-slurping staredown with his scowling pint-sized antagonist. I am 100% certain whatever superheroic combat awaits our hero in Costa Verde will be infinitely less thrilling that this.
Mark Trail, 7/21/13
Harems? Sex fights? No wonder our society is coming apart at the seams, when immoral filth like this appears on the so-called “funny” pages.
Gil Thorp, 5/22/13
Guys, remember when Gil Thorp plots used to be bonkers crazy insane? Well, those days seem to be long past, which is why I have been studiously ignoring the spring plotline for months. Here it is, in a nutshell: baseball player Foley Knox is the son of a lawyer and an aspiring lawyer himself, and his lawyer dad is suing the gas station owner father of another player because some guy fell down while pumping gas there, and Foley is being a dick to the other kid about it, the end. The other kid and his dad are Chaldean Christians from Iraq, and it briefly looked like that was going to be a plot point somehow, but it was dropped in favor of a B plot involving Foley’s delusional romantic pursuit of Darby, the softball team’s star pitcher who has a toddler because she was previously teen pregnant, which was briefly controversial last spring. Anyway, today at last these plots collide when Foley decides to win the heart of his fair beloved by defeating her tortfeasor in judicial combat! This will also fail.
Wizard of Id, 5/22/13
So Wizard of Id, which is usually not funny on any level, actually made me laugh in two distinct ways today? WHAT IS THIS WORLD COMING TO? I appreciate the fact that the joke hinges on grammatical ambiguity — haha, you think “[a]re protesting” is a verb in the progressive aspect, but in fact “protesting” is a deverbal adjective modifying “drones”! But what really made me laugh was the sign that just says “NOT COOL”. It’s a sign that you can use at any protest and one that lets everyone know that, yeah, you’re politically engaged, but you’re also pretty chill.
Mark Trail, 5/22/13
Meanwhile, the AMAZING FOREST BEAR INFERNO is still going on in Mark Trail! I’m a little confused by the positions of everybody/thing in this comic, but, comparing the perspective in the two panels, if Cherry and Shelly are looking at the water and the tree is directly behind them, won’t they have to run sort of towards the bears in order to get to the tree? I mean, I get that they’re right on the shore and their options are limited. This is like the time my wife and I were in Stanley Park in Vancouver, and these raccoons emerged from the trees and wanted to go drink from the pond we were standing at the edge of, and they were heading right for us and didn’t seem scared of us at all, and we were in their way but there was no way for us to go that didn’t involve getting closer to them at least to start. Sure, they were raccoons, not bears, and nothing was on fire, but I don’t believe I ever pretended to be a brave man.
One of the things I didn’t expect when I recently worked Heathcliff into my comics rotation was the feature’s not infrequent expeditions into the inscrutable. I like this one, even if I don’t really understand it. Ha ha, Heathcliff is voyaging home via hot air balloon! It’s whimsical!
Yes, I’m sure the automated recording that delivered this platitude really feels bad after this sick burn! Basically, pluggers have very little control over their own lives and will sullenly lash out at anybody about it, whether they can hear them lashing out or not.
Family Circus, 5/22/13
“Billy and Dolly and Daddy and PJ are in the basement, right, Mommy? With all the sand? And time’s up for them? They won’t bother us ever again? Oh, also, this hourglass ran out, I guess.”
Spider-Man’s high school science teacher always hoped he’d kill or terribly injure himself in a lab accident.
Mark Trail, 5/18/13
Girl fight Girl fight GIRL FIGHT!!!
Mark Trail is a pretty punchy guy, as you can tell from this collection of a few of his greatest hits. But Cherry, despite her reputation as a coffee-and-pancake-bearing hausfrau, is actually quite the little badass herself. Our gal can cinch up a pack mule, nail a beer can dead center in mid-air with a rifle no sissy shotgun for her no sir — and look damn fine doing it. As we see here, she can also slap the clear light of reason right back into an effete city-dwelling hysteric overcome by panic over some teensy forest-consuming sea of fire.
Or maybe not? Maybe Cherry isn’t trying to focus Shelley’s attention so much as rebuke her for disrespecting Wes? “Don’t you dare speak that way about your husband, Mrs. Wesley Thompson — what part of ‘Love, Honor, and Obey’ don’t you understand? And my own husband Mark loves these backwoods, ablaze or not: I will not stand for you to call them ‘stupid.’” Maybe behind all her woodsy competence, Cherry really is that traditional hausfrau, impatient for this annoying inferno to end so she can get back to her man’s side where she belongs?
Nah, I’m going with “badass.”
Curtis struck a pose for his class picture so outrageous that even Chutney, despite her lifelong crush on him, doesn’t want a copy. But this strip works another way, too: on the very day Chutney finally decides to put Curtis behind her, he shows up with a photo of himself as a gift. She savors the moment and the memory of what felt like love for so long, then, true to her decision, sends him on his way — a loser in every important sense of the word.
Unfortunately, that would make Barry the strip’s principal character, and I’m pretty sure nobody wants that.
Mary Worth, 5/18/13
Oh man you guys Mary Worth has been such a garden of visual delights lately I can’t get enough of it. Check out the disembodied hand watering Elinor’s windowsill — maybe that’s Beth’s leftover hand from panel two? Speaking of which, our monopod young lovers may as well wrap up their tryst — those bushes have already engulfed Tom’s private parts.
Wizard of Id, 5/18/13
Opening for Bung at the Laugh Zone tonight will be Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart singing The Whisky Ain’t Workin’.” Frankly, it’s not doing much for The Wizard of Id, either.
Family Circus, 5/18/13
“It’s a nice day.”
“I like ice cream.”
“It is pleasant to be outdoors this time of year.”
“Punchlines are overrated.”
– Uncle Lumpy
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Update — Well, we ran out of JP and RMMD magnets mid-afternoon EDT on Tuesday, May 14. Thank you generous (and fast!) readers! Contributors at the $15 level will now receive a favorite Josh panel from the last few months, matted for framing and signed by Josh, or at their option a Margo bracelet. Thanks again!
Hey, it’s the Comics Curmudgeon Spring 2013 Fundraiser! It’s your hard-earned money — squander it here, and receive a one-of-a-kind Judge Parker or Rex Morgan, M.D. refrigerator magnet for contributions of $15 or more. Thank you!
Apartment 3-G, 5/14/13
“You don’t understand, Margo: I don’t want to be transported to the frontiers of ecstasy in the masterful hands of some handsome Italian Lothario — I want to have FUN. With my MOM.”
Meanwhile, Lu Ann sees herself in a mirror!
Ah, but some daughters know what fun is, and a mother’s role in it. As Sonya speaks, Marylou Hobbs imagines herself tanned and radiant in half of her revealing new swimsuit, striding confidently toward her lover across the deck of his yacht lying at anchor in azure waters gleaming under a benevolent Mediterranean sun — her mother nowhere aboard, in mind, or accessible even in the deepest reaches of her memory.
Sonya’s bullying logic shocks her from her reverie, and she struggles to respond:
||“Evaluate the truth-value of the postulate!”
||“Conditional! False for at least one value of X! Specify range of X!”
||“For all values of X, dammit — evaluate for all X!”
||“True, true for all X, oh God yes it’s true I will totally bang any dude with the money to rent a canoe it’s true please let it be true for me just once and free me from this hell … (sob).”
Heathcliff’s campaign to bend mice to his will is well documented, but only now does its purpose become clear. The mice are but pawns in his scheme to scare the neighborhood elephant into wreaking Heathcliff’s terrible vengeance upon the hated dogs. Who will be next? Are we humans safe? I don’t think we’re safe.
Gil Thorp, 5/14/13
Gil Thorp spices up its spring baseball story with a little constitutional law. You know, to make it interesting.
Wizard of Id, 5/14/13
Id spearchuckers have terrifying asses.
– Uncle Lumpy
Wizard of Id, 4/20/13
Apologies to any all Garys who currently live in Utah and are I’m sure perfectly nice people, but isn’t it likely that a reference to “Gary in Utah” by the people of a certain age who run the longstanding Wizard of Id comic strip is in fact a reference to the most famous Utah-associated Gary? In other words, the creators of Wizard of Id would like to see fans of any other pop cultural phenomenon that threatens their dominance of the “wizard” brand lined up against a wall and shot! When you look at the strip through this lens, the misspelling of Gandalf’s name isn’t so much a matter of “nobody involved in this process could bother to spend 15 fucking seconds double-checking on the Internet” and more a deliberate snub.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/20/13
Oh, thank goodness, we’re back to the really important Rex Morgan plotline: June’s insatiable hunger. When will she finally get to eat waffles? How many will die, for getting in between her and some waffles? How horrible will their deaths be? Next week’s going to be awesome!