The defining feature of Heathcliff’s universe is unrelenting low-grade surrealism. And the human residents of this world seem pretty inured to it all at this point: whether we’re talking about fish used as sporting equipment or word-helmets or balls of string with faces or the Garbage Ape, it’s just not anything to get worked up about. So I’m glad to see that the fishmongers, at least, are offended by this unicycle-based theft. “Oh come on this … this is absurd. Wouldn’t it have been actually faster and easier for him to grab it and run away on foot? Plus, that unicycle doesn’t even have any pedals! You’re just kicking your paws up and down in mid-air, on nothing! Damn you, Heathcliff, and your unstoppable reign of mild whimsy!”
This Archie strip is clearly a modern-day joke grafted unsuccessfully onto an old one: the corny Archie versions of an iPad and Netflix and Mad Men prove that someone involved is aware of cultural developments of the ’10s, and yet the core gag makes absolutely no sense, unless some people get a secret “Netflix remote” that doesn’t let you actually look up shows by name but does let you scroll through them endlessly at random until you find the one you want. Anyway, when do you think the art from this strip originally ran? I’m thinking Jughead’s inexplicable Yankees shirt places it around 9/11, when the awful attacks on New York meant that we all had to pretend to like their sports teams, for some reason.
Dennis the Menace, 4/21/14
Ever since those hippies Woodward and Bernstein managed to screw over Nixon, Henry Mitchell has managed to blame the Washington Post for just about everything, so don’t doubt that this little fender-bender is also going to turn out to be the liberal media’s fault.
Here is today’s B.C.! It’s about eating rabbit turds.
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Dennis the Menace, 4/7/14
OK, so I get that if you came up with a joke about “what if the Venus de Milo wanted to do some texting, but she couldn’t? eh? eh? because she hasn’t got any arms? eh?” and you had a nationally syndicated comic panel where your jokes could go, this would be hard to resist. That said, there’s a lot of setup to this joke that has to be glossed over, with the most important aspect being that the Venus de Milo is in the Louvre, which means that the Mitchells, who have never been seen before doing anything more exotic than driving to tourist traps in their station wagon, have packed up Dennis and taken him to France. I feel like we were deprived a number of potential gags of various menacing levels here — Dennis sullenly resists Margaret’s attempt to teach him even a rudimentary amount of French, Dennis announces at the TSA checkpoint that he’s packed something dangerous and/or alive in his suitcase, Dennis loudly says “But dad, he doesn’t look like a frog at all!” in front of a Frenchman Henry is trying to impress, etc. Honestly, the fact that they’re standing in front of a topless statue means that a Dennis-makes-reference-to-human-sexuality-and-everyone-is-uncomfortable is a much more likely and entertaining scenario here than some dumb texting joke.
Hagar the Horrible, 4/7/14
So it appears that, while concubinage was common in early Norse society, Vikings didn’t really practice polygamy except at the very top of the social pyramid, and certainly Hagar, the leader of a smallish and incompetent war band, doesn’t qualify. Nevertheless, this strip is an interesting look at how attitudes might differ in a culture where marriages are thought of not primarily as a romantic attachment between two people but as a basic unit of economic production.
Funky Winkerbean, 4/7/14
Oh, it looks like Jess is going to take another stab at making a movie about her dad, John Darling! She has to refer to him as “my dad, John Darling” whenever she brings him up, because she only brings him up every year or so. Anyway, today she acknowledges that all human endeavor is basically a race against the final destruction of our planet, a race that can seem easy to lose when you’re smothered under a heavy blanket of depressive torpor.
Better Half, 4/7/14
At last, Stanley has found a phone sex line that caters to his fairly specific needs.
Mary Worth, 4/2/14
Just as I had hoped, this Mary Worth Tommy storyline is so amazing that its amazingness is bleeding over into the non-Tommy parts, including Iris and Wilbur going on this fantastic sandwich date. (The date, as Monday’s strip revealed, is taking place at “Jerry’s Sandwich Shop,” which was presumably once a humble lunch counter that Wilbur single-handedly transformed into what’s clearly a full-service sandwich palace, because he bought so many sandwiches.) As you can see in panel one, Wilbur has purchased the Longer Than It Is Wide Special, whereas Iris went with the more standard Perfectly Square model. Both sandwiches are, in keeping with Jerry’s relentless focus on quality, entirely monochromatic, with bread, ingredients, and condiments all the same uniform orange color. In panel two, our two lovebirds show themselves to be true sandwich aficionados: just as a wine connoisseur will take a deep sniff out of their glass and swirl a swig around in their mouth to appreciate the subtle flavors rather than just gulp their wine down thoughtlessly, Wilbur and Iris will spend twenty minutes rubbing their sandwiches against their lips while staring ahead with dull, lifeless eyes, in order to really get the most of out their Jerry’s experience.
Mark Trail, 4/2/14
I know Mark Trail is basically the Kama Sutra of ludicrously stilted dialogue, but “No sir, I would just like to speak to Mr. Trail!” strikes me as even more like something a group of aliens wearing an ill-fitting human skin-suit would say than usual. This may explain why, sometime between panels one and two, our friendly policeman lost two inches and got a different haircut and head-shape.
Dennis the Menace, 4/2/14
“Dennis reveals his parents’ financial troubles to horrified partygoers” is definitely a step up in the menace game! Also, kudos for the municipal water district in the Mitchells’ leafy suburb for calling with shutoff warnings after business hours, I guess?
Apartment 3-G, 4/2/14
I guess Lily is just going to have wait back in the car for however long it’s going to take for newly near-widowed Tommie to strike up a flirtatious romance with Dr. Riley, the sassy large animal vet. “Wait a minute, Josh,” you’re asking. “How can you be sure they’re flirting? Also, where’s this horse they’re talking about?” The answer to both questions is that that “horse” and “colt” are both euphemisms for Dr. Riley’s penis.