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Comics archive! Dennis the Menace

This one’s for you, Doc Martian, wherever you are

Andy Capp, 4/22/16

On October 20, 2004, a mere three months after I launched this blog, I received an email that consisted entirely of “ANDY CAPP!” repeated 44 times, plus 10 times in the subject line. And now, eleven and half years later, I’ve finally decided: why not Andy Capp? So I’ve started reading Andy Capp, which is a strip that I’m not entirely unfamiliar with. The domestic violence laffs seem to have been excised, but all the other markers of stereotypical working-class British loutishness are still there: “Andy spends all his time at the pub,” “Andy is unnecessarily violent during pickup soccer games,” “Andy is drunk constantly,” “Andy can’t hold a job,” etc. As an American, of course, I yearn for the window into this culturally specific milieu, but then you have episodes like today’s, where the joke mainly seems to be “Andy is an asshole.” It was smart to to put “GB” on Guitar Bob’s guitar case, so there’s no doubt as to what’s going on. It took three people to make this strip!

Momma, 4/22/16

Wait, Momma, don’t be so quick to cut off whatever explanation is being offered here, as I definitely don’t understand what’s happening. Is that lady … trying to give her children to Momma? I don’t know what’s sadder: the look of desperation on this other woman’s face as her attempt to rid herself of parental responsibility fails, or her children’s expressions of utter indifference, as if this were just one more baffling episode in a chaotic and confusing life.

Dennis the Menace, 4/22/16

I was going to write a long, elegiac paragraph about Alice’s sly facial expression and how sometimes we have to tell lies to the people we love in order to get them to do the things they need to do to thrive, but then the phrase “the anus is the ear of the butt” popped into my head and I can’t stop giggling about it, sorry.

Pluggers, 4/22/16

Pluggers only get “participation trophies” when all their friends are dead.

Sorry guys, I could talk about bishops literally all day

Dennis the Menace, 4/4/16

The Mitchells strike me as an extremely 1950s respectable upper middle class types, which means that they’re probably high church Episcopalians. Certainly they’re not going to be Catholics, or members of one of those “ethnic” Orthodox churches. (Yes, I know other denominations have bishops, but I don’t think any of them wear mitres as in the picture here.) Anyway, this panel suffers the same problem of a lot of Dennis-says-the-darndest-things-in-class gags, which is that it’s not clear at all what the correct answer to this extremely open-ended question is supposed to be. Are these eight-year-olds supposed to describe the bureaucracy of church governance, or talk about Apostolic succession or the long struggle in the 16th and 17th centuries over whether the English church should have an episcopal or presbyterian structure? Give me a break. Also, a child demonstrating knowledge of how chess works is one of the least menacing things I can think of.

Spider-Man, 4/4/16

Oh, shoot, I haven’t been keeping you up to date on Spider-Man, because it’s been all about the mildly superheroic tussling amongst Spidey, Steve Strange, and the sinister Xandu, and not about, say, supervillains memorializing their triumphs via selfie. My favorite part is how the mind-controlled Spider-Man is desperate to stop Xandu from uploading this photo to Instagram, but cannot. What would he do if he weren’t under Xandu’s spell? Post a 2,000-word screed to Medium about how selfies are a symptom of a narcissistic civilization in decline?

Crankshaft, 4/4/16

Have you ever wondered about the sexual scenarios that Crankshaft claims to be disgusted by and yet can’t stop visualizing? Then today’s strip is for you, my friend.

“Murderers go to heaven, right? I’d read the bible, but I’m illiterate”

Hagar the Horrible, 3/23/16

When Christianity came to Scandinavia, it started at the top, with kings converting to better connect them to royalty in the rest of Europe, and then nobility to curry favor with the kings. Here we see a rather late stage in the process: the minor local barons who still lead the raids across the North Sea are Christians, at least nominally enough to start using a new vocabulary. But the ordinary men who they hope to lead into battle still yearn for entrance into Valhalla, the warrior’s afterlife. The thought that now they have to make themselves right with the pacifist son of the God of the southerners rightly throws them into turmoil, and at just the wrong time, too.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/23/16

I think it’s worth remembering, in between all the antics, how (intentionally? I think?) depressing this “Milton is sliding into dementia!” storyline is! Remember when Milton was a huge dick to everyone and it was because he was terrified of losing his mind? Remember when Heather said “I am not unhappy! And you don’t have Alzheimer’s Disease until Rex says you do!” WELP, check out her facial expression in panel two here! Enh, don’t worry too much, Heather, dementia isn’t why your husband can’t remember your best friend’s name; he was just given a list of professions in order of status when he arrived at Eton, and “nurse” is way below the “you need to remember their names” line. (“Nanny” is too, but there’s a well understood “you’ve had sex with them at least three times” exception.)

Dennis the Menace, 3/23/16

This is a weirdly formal setting for Dennis to deliver one of his trademark reminders of why you should never say anything bad about anyone when he’s in earshot. With his parents standing meekly to one side while Dennis squares off directly with this captain of industry, it looks as if Henry has dragged his son to the office to demand a raise because he’s too afraid to do so himself. Or maybe the boss has demanded to see this menacing child that Henry always talks about in hushed, terrified tones? “You’ve got moxie, kid, I’ll give you that. Let’s start you in sales, with a base salary of, say, 15% more than what I give your pathetic wimp of a father?”