Gil Thorp, 11/26/13
Uggggh guys, sorry I haven’t been keeping you in the loop on the Gil Thorp football season plot, but it’s been super boring. Here’s a quick summary: the big guy who never talks is making friends and has a girlfriend and is playing on the football team even though he continues not to talk, and the Coaches Thorp are doing some half-assed detective work to figure out his Past Life Trauma; and Tip the cheerleader has been dragooned into playing on the football team, because almost all the actual football players have been injured in some way. The injury spate has up until today been confined for the most part to incidents during games or in practice, but today the team’s running backs have just been straight-up killed in a car crash. Which leaves one to ask: what horrible sin against the Gods have the Mudlarks committed, to be suffering such a fate? Were their sacrifices at the annual bonfire not considered worthy? I was reminded of a line in this review of a book about Aztec culture and sacrificial religion:
I suspect that, given a geographical setting where the main instrumental aim of religious ritual was to avert natural dangers that came at irregular intervals, such practices were subject to an “intensification ratchet” — if your efforts did not succeed in preventing the earthquake, volcanic eruption, or hurricane despite the previous long period of peace and quiet, the best inference is that it’s probably because you did not try hard enough.
In other words, look for increasingly frequent and bloody pep rallies in the coming months, with the limping and injured players making the perfect sacrificial victims. “Why do you turn your backs on us, O Gods of Victory?” Coach Kaz will implore, blood-stained hands raised to the heavens over a steaming, gory altar at the front of the Milford High School auditorium.
Six Chix, 11/26/13
I’m intrigued by the truly radical proposal being broached in today’s Six Chix: that electricity-hungry humankind should bypass the oil companies and just deal directly with Satan, the Lord of Lies, himself, tapping the supernatural fires of Hell and the moans of damned souls as an energy source. What could possible go wrong? I mean, sure, eventually we’ll all be weird pinkish blobs tortured for eternity, but let’s be real: that was probably going to happen to most of us anyway, so why should we pay high utility bills in the meantime?
This is as good an opportunity as any to remind you that I have a Twitter account that you can follow if you like that sort of thing! It’s, uh, mostly petty complaints.
Mark Trail, 10/26/13
Well! We’ve had exciting Mark Trail denouements before, but I’m pretty sure none of them are more exciting than a villain being driven over a cliff to his death by a wounded, suicidal elk. I guess the Mark Trail storytelling machine caught wind of the outpouring of recognition Mary Worth got when that strip sent a plotline’s antagonist over a cliff and lurched into action, coming up with its own death-plummet climax a mere seven years later.
The one you feel really bad for in this scenario is of course Anne Marie, who just saw her fiance die horribly. It’s worth pointing out that Anne Marie is also completely in the dark about her fiance’s evil nature, because women in Mark Trail are (a) not very observant and (b) not told unpleasant facts by men, because a lady shouldn’t worry her pretty little head about such matters. Maybe they still won’t tell her, to protect her! “I’m sorry, Anne Marie, but your fiance is in Man Heaven now. Probably you’ll find a new fiance soon, with your long, pretty hair! Welp, I’m off to Lost Forest.”
Mary Worth, 10/26/13
This week, we’ve heard the story of a teenage boy, homeless after being kicked out of his abusive home, who Shelly helped in her early years at the shelter. That teen hobo eventually grew up to be the upstanding suit-wearing doctor you see before you, thanks to Shelly’s help and guidance. In the shocking conclusion to the tale, we learn that Shelly and Dr. Smith are involved in a sexual relationship so electric that they can’t keep from pawing all over each other, right here in front of the guest that they barely notice anymore. Mary’s eyes are wide with voyeuristic lust in anticipation of the red-hot May-December chocolate-vanilla action she’s about to see.
Gil Thorp, 10/26/13
You may not care for sports, or Gil Thorp, or sports in Gil Thorp, but you really have to appreciate today’s strip, in which Gil and Kaz come up with a coaching plan and grin smugly at each other about it, and then that plan flops spectacularly over two confusingly drawn panels. I’m pretty sure Jimmy Jarbo is pounding himself in the head in frustration over his failure in panel two? Silly, Jimmy, you can’t hurt yourself that way, you’re wearing a helmet! You need to take it off and find a good barky stick.
Herb’s expression in the last panel really sells this strip to me. He’s trying, ever so gently, to steer his best friend away from the massive coronary that’s awaiting him, only to see all his work undone in an instant. “Yes,” says Dagwood, “I do want to eat all my favorite foods at once! Can you blend them up into a viscous slurry and then pour down my gullet through a funnel?”
Once upon a time, there was a teenage chicken who was smart enough to learn how to drive a car, but then these guys killed it and ate it, the end.
So ends the Fall 2013 Comics Curmudgeon fundraiser. Don’t forget the “Donate” button over there on the left, for late contributions or whenever the spirit moves you. Sincere thanks to everyone!
“Astella! She — is dead!”
“Yes, and tastefully off-panel, with wisps of smoke wafting from the charred remains of her once-lovely face. Beautiful she was, Astella, and cunning! But in the end, neither quality could save her, because she lacked the experience and common sense to realize that her gun had become …. Hey waitaminute, T — why are we here, again?”
“Free Rosa and capture El Cóndor.”
“Oops. Sorry, my bad.”
Dick Tracy, 10/18/13
And it’s starting to rain!
Hey doofus, in what sense do you “know how to pilot” the Space Coupe if you can’t make it go where you want, or at the very minimum make it not go where you don’t want? Mmmmm?
Gil Thorp, 10/18/13
But that won’t stop Milford running back Chip Visci and linebackers Omari Troy and Troy Costello — touchdown!
I sincerely and unironically admire this strip’s fidelity to its team rosters. Players come in as freshmen, move up the ranks, sometimes transfer in and out, graduate, and sometimes come back. Some but not all play multiple sports. Seasons start in approximately real time, and the first weeks of each arc [football, basketball, baseball] present the roster so readers can follow along at home. That is some serious attention to craft, right there. We saw something similar in Funky Winkerbean a while back, when a character showed up to correct a minor continuity lapse revealed by publication of a 1970′s compilation.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/18/13
June is intrigued by this talk of mariticide: “Say, why don’t I stop by and ask the wife to tell me exactly how she did it? More moss, dear?”
Apartment 3-G, 10/18/13
Bad Girl Tori doesn’t just defy authority – she defies gravity. And mocks fashion with her signature reverse combover.
Program note: just a reminder that Comments of the Week are delayed until Josh’s return on Sunday, or maybe Monday, whatevs.
– Uncle Lumpy
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Heathcliff, 10/14/13, 10/15/13
What goes on by night in Heathcliff’s neighborhood just got a lot more disturbing. Heathcliff has quintupled his garbage consumption in just a few short months, and now requires armored strikes by Garbage Ape just to keep him in slop. I fear he is building his strength for an apocalyptic conflict with Marmaduke for absolute domination of the comics page, and I’m not sure which one to back. In this business, you don’t want to be wrong about something like that.
One Big Happy, 10/14/13, 10/15/13
Meanwhile, Ruthie’s got a raven to sleep in her princess doll bed, hide in her closet, and share her breakfast. The raven tells her secrets. Terrible, terrible secrets that all ravens know but little girls must not.
Stupid raven, leave her alone — she’s just a little girl! I don’t care how much you like Trix!
Gil Thorp, 10/14/13
First I wrote, “Gil Thorp is getting a little annoying”, but the sentence just laughed at me so I put these other words around it. John Pascoe is a skilled football player who can talk but doesn’t. Nobody else can seem to shut up about this. Including, now, me. Crap.
– Uncle Lumpy
Herb and Jamaal, 9/13/13
OK, everybody, here’s the thing: when multiple negatives are strung together in a sentence the way that our faceless gumbo aficionado has strung them together in panel one, with the intent to intensify the negative sentiment rather than to have the negatives cancel each other out, that’s called negative concord. While this isn’t an accepted feature of high-status standard English today, it was common in old and middle English (and was extensively used by Chaucer), and is a feature of the high-status literary varieties of a number of other languages, including Portugese, Russian, Persian, and ancient Greek.
Now, arbitrary distinctions between dialects are made in every language ever spoken, so I’m not going on some quixotic quest to get negative concord back into standard English or anything, but I do have a gripe with people who pretend that dialectical uses of it are difficult or impossible to parse. People love to smugly point out that “I don’t got no money” logically means “I do have some money” — according to formal mathematical logic, which is very different from the logic that defines the grammar of naturally occurring spoken languages. But I would be very, very surprised if any competent native English speaker ever heared someone say “I don’t got no money” and genuinely believed that the speaker was claiming to have some money.
But (and here is my point) if you are going to go down this pedantic, narrow-minded, wrong-headed road, at least get your pedantry right. A double negative resolves to a positive. A triple negative resolves to a negative. You’re making yourself look dumb, Herb.
Gil Thorp, 9/13/13
Considering that some years the Milford bonfire is restricted to single glorious panel, I’m pretty excited about this fall’s installment being spread over multiple days! Even better is that this extra strip time gives us an opportunity to hear some Milford High students wax rhapsodically about the delightful smell of burning human flesh.
I’d give Dagwood a free sandwich if he showed up in that mask, wouldn’t you? I’d give him whatever he wanted. That thing is fucking terrifying.
Mark Trail, 9/12/13
I am completely in love with conversation between Mark and Senator Mason because it’s like a conversation between an environmental activist and a pro-oil senator two or three parallel universes over, where the issues are pretty much the same but the ossified political vocabulary consists of an entirely different set of signifiers. “Beautiful areas!” “Outdoor people!” I sincerely hope that every senator from now on starts referring to those supporting environmental protection as an “outdoor people” and those supporting increased exploitation of fossil fuels as “indoor people,” kind of like the difference between indoor and outdoor cats. Of course, this whole surveying business may just be part of the senator’s plan to enclose most of America’s population under vast domes; the few remaining “outdoor people” will be left to fend for themselves, presumably eventually accepting the absolute rule of Mark as their Outdoorsman-in-Chief.
Gil Thorp, 9/12/13
So this year’s Gil Thorp football plots appear set: the A plot involves a hulking behemoth who refuses to speak to anyone and therefore can’t shore up Milford’s sorry offensive line, and the B plot involves Tip the gymnast, who is deigning to grace the cheerleading squad with his nimble presence. Tip’s first order of business: hurling a cheerleader into the flaming maw of the fall Milford bonfire, a sacrifice to the Gods of Football. The Mudlarks have a bonfire every single year, not that it helps much. Have they considered that maybe they’re worshipping a false pantheon, and that Gil is a fraudulent messiah?
Family Circus, 9/12/13
Oh dear, it looks like Mommy’s mind has been annihilated! Hopefully we’ll find out if this was caused by powerful prescription tranquilizers, a nefarious CIA hypnosis scheme, or just her daughter’s irritating and relentless voice.
Let’s ignore the joke in today’s Momma (not hard!) and contemplate Thomas’s pants for a minute. Is he supposed to be wearing camo pants? Camo pants and a polo shirt and, like, a kepi? This is a guy who shows up for dinner at his mother’s in a suit and straw boater, but now he appears to be going horribly, horribly casual without any guidance or sense of decency.
Apartment 3-G, 9/12/13
I try to avoid contact with teens as much as I can, but I think I know a little bit about how they think, and I’m pretty sure a bad girl with asymmetrical hair would ever describe a melty-faced middle-aged man with a flattop as “super-hot.” Also, Marty, Lu Ann may be super dumb but she still has sex thoughts! You’ve got a lot to learn about how horny stupid people can get!