Dennis the Menace
Somewhere, deep down in the bowels of my long-term memory, there’s a little glimmer that tells me that, yes, Heathcliff’s father has always been a notorious hardened criminal in the strip. I’m not sure what the significance is of the fact that he wears his prison uniform even as he walks the streets a free man. Are we meant to understand that he’s only just escaped from the joint and hasn’t had time to change yet? Is this an act of defiance against the government that once put him behind bars? Mostly his uniform just serves to draw uncomfortable attention to the fact that Heathcliff is walking around stark naked.
Dennis the Menace, 6/16/13
A rare double menace from Dennis today! In the throwaway panels, he waits until Margaret comes into earshot before letting everyone know that he doesn’t like her and is only hanging out with her for her cooking; and then he uses this twee little Father’s Day exercise as a chance to inform the other children that his father loves his family, unlike theirs, who will take any excuse to get away from them and enjoy their “hobbies,” alone.
Mary Worth, 6/16/13
Haha, the look on Beth’s face in the final panel is priceless and has made this entire storyline worth it. “Tom! Wait, you want to … what? We never … no. No. Not in front of … are you kidding me, Tom?”
Panels from Rex Morgan, M.D., 6/16/13
Sorry, everybody, I have been remiss in keeping you up to date with Rex Morgan, M.D.! Anyway, remember when Sarah wanted to sell her horsey art, for money? Well, now an actual museum wants to buy that horsey art, to use in a gift shop book! It was way too easy. “Wow … that was too easy!” thinks Sarah. She’s right. Sarah can smell a trap anywhere.
Pluggers don’t understand that the structure of our global capitalist system ensures that fluctuations in equities and derivatives markets have major and sometimes painful results in the real day-to-day economic life of ordinary citizens. Also, they are very clumsy and often bump into things.
Dennis the Menace and Heathcliff, 6/10/13
Since my main beef with Dennis the Menace is that he long ago ceased to be menacing, I feel obliged to acknowledge the flashes of menace we do see. Just trying to return some ice cream that you’ve already gotten your gross spit all over is less “menacing” than “kind of a dick move,” but I choose to believe that Dennis took the ice cream cone from this guy, gave it several long, languorous licks over a period about 45 seconds, all while maintaining unbroken eye contact, then thrust it back at him, saying “I don’t like this, give me money back.”
Heathcliff, meanwhile, is generally well known for a just-don’t-give-a-shit attitude of the sort that Dennis aspires to. However, here we see that he’s willing to kiss a little ass if that’s what it takes to get what he wants, which frankly saddens me.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 6/10/13
This strip has spent decades making jokes at the expense of rural Americans, but today’s strip, which implies that country folk are interbreeding with evolutionary throwbacks and other nonhuman hominids, goes too far.
This scene of newspapermen (or newspaperman-birds, I guess) blaming each other for the decline of their industry by spinning a nautical metaphor further and further out of usefulness is, I’m pretty sure, a fairly spot-on depiction of the modern media landscape.
Apartment 3-G, 6/10/13
“You’re kidding, right?! I’m not going to let you wear a white dress in front of a photographers. Lu Ann, you spill things a lot.’
Dennis the Menace, 5/28/13
There’s the old Menace we know and love! At least, I assume something menacing is happening in this panel, as Mr. Wilson looks completely terrified. Not sure what that has to do with Dennis taking a photo of him, though. Unless maybe he’s a nefarious criminal, possibly wanted at the Hague for crimes against humanity, and he’s afraid that if his face appears anywhere online INTERPOL will come for him. Or maybe it’s actually the act of climbing the ladder that freaks him out, and his anxiety is compounded by the thought that Dennis is photographing him in an embarrassing situation? Either way I wouldn’t worry too much about it, Mr. Wilson: that’s not a phone or anything that can connect to the Internet, just some dumb old-fashioned standalone non-electronic camera. They probably don’t even make film for it anymore!
Man, I do not even get the deal with the Heathcliff mouse strips and cheese. It’s like, Heathcliff does weird, inscrutable things with cheese when he’s in the general proximity of mice? Because mice like eating cheese? It my experience cats really enjoy eating some delicious cheese as well, but that’s neither here nor there. Mostly what I want to say about this cartoon is that “I’m thinking of unfriending him on Facebook” should replace “Christ, what an asshole” as the default catch-all punchline for New Yorker cartoons and indeed every comic ever.
Today’s shower scene is clearly the sexiest Pluggers to date, though the eroticism is somewhat reduced by the revelation that stingy pluggers only use shampoo on the small portion of their fur that happens to be on top of their heads.
Gasoline Alley, 5/24/13
If I were a better person/student of the great history of the comics medium, I suppose I’d be more interested in the Slim and Walt go to the Comics Retirement Home storyline? As it is, I can only work up the energy to care about it when something truly unusual happens, like when a dapper, nightmarish pig-man wanders into the foreground of the panel, giving you a sly look that you’ll see every night for the next three to eight weeks as you desperately try to fall asleep.
Dennis the Menace, 5/24/13
“When I was a kid, we pretended we lived in violent, lawless frontier towns, where the only respite from attempting to murder each other over cattle or women came when we had to battle the last desperate remnants of the region’s indigenous population, who we were working to displace or exterminate. Now all kids care about is exploring fantastic new worlds and adding to our culture’s scientific knowledge and whatnot. It’s fucking bullshit.”
Six Chix, 5/24/13
It sure is ironic that looking to buy for something to rest on can itself be tiring, amiright? In related news, don’t ever lie down on sample beds in furniture stores, the people shopping for beds are drenched in sweat, gross gross gross
Herb and Jamaal, 5/24/13
“Uh-oh, I’d better make sure 9-1-1 is on speed dial, because it looks like Herb is finally going to put his money where his mouth is on that whole chainsaw murder spree thing he’s been talking about for months!”
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Action a-plenty in the midweek comics — let’s dive right in!
Judge Parker, 5/15/13
Ho ho, quite the little geopolitical economist our Sophie, eh? Here the economy of Niger is portrayed as a giant Ponzi scheme, substituting modern easy-to-trade firearms for old-timey low-liquidity postal reply coupons. Next step is to formalize it as a multi-level marketing enterprise, recruiting unclaimed hostages as kidnappers to build the downline and create a never-ending upward spiral of guns, hostages, and ransom money. Then fire up the sales team by giving everybody a logo t-shirt with the slogan: “Guns go ‘POW’ — ask me how!”
Hey Spider-Man! Take a tip from lawyer Matt Murdoch on the first rule of questioning a witness: “Don’t ask a question if you won’t like the answer.”
Mark Trail, 5/15/13
Slylock Fox, 5/15/13
Pluggers, Jr. meets The Daily Jumble. As a plugger himself, dog-man is merely alarmed by his neighbors’ atrocious table manners. Out-of-town visitor parrot-man, on the other hand, is downright disgusted. Guy looks like he’s ready to KORF his ROPTAR all AELTP the RNCO — and that NIKAPN ain’t gonna help much.
Dennis the Menace, 5/15/13
OK, is it me, is it cartoonists, or is the Bad Girl really always the hottest in the room? And we’re talking about a room shared with Alice Mitchell, so SRSLY! Dennis, cut the crap and pay some attention here — you won’t be 5 forever.
Oh, ha ha — I forgot. You will be 5 forever. Kindly resume the crap.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/15/13
Payback time at the Morgans’. I hope Sarah has more success with her little project than June had with Rex.
– Uncle Lumpy
Today is Mother’s Day across most of the world (British “Mum’s Day” is celebrated during Lent, in retribution for their cooking). Because of its ability to trigger a laugh riot of misunderstandings, dysfunction, and resentment, Mother’s Day is a huge deal in the comics, on a scale with Thanksgiving. Let’s see how some of our favorite families celebrate:
Edge City, 5/12/13
Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin demands smooth sheets and an unsullied mattress, even if it means forgoing all the messy pleasures that sustain bonds of love. Husband Len submissively abets her every whim. It’s a mystery how those children got here.
Jeremy Zits-Duncan promises to give his mother the tolerance and respect she most desires, but fails utterly in the execution. SPANG!
Mary Worth, 5/12/13 (panel)
Beth Kinley celebrates her mother’s special day by ditching Elinor to enjoy some incompetent afterdinner macking on new beau Tom Harpman. Hey, Tom: Beth is a real girlfriend — quit trying to inflate her.
Lockhorns, 5/12/13 (panel)
Leroy cranks up the hypocrisy to give Loretta’s mom a proper greeting. Brrrrr…
Dennis the Menace, 5/12/13 (panel)
Henry and Dennis get it right … and so, as always, does Alice. But c’mon — Dondi was more menacing than this!
Funky Winkerbean, 5/12/13 (panel)
Darin and Jessica bring flowers to the grave of somebody named Lisa Moore whose ashes weren’t scattered in New York’s Central Park the way Darin’s mom’s were.
Jeff Murdoch congratulates himself for overspending at the Hallmark: “Surely now my mother will love me?” Ha ha, nope!
Happy Mother’s Day — give Mom a call!
– Uncle Lumpy