Funky Winkerbean, 10/13/14
Guys. You guys. To make up for the fact that Les forgot their anniversary last year — which anniversary, apparently, was also their first anniversary — he’s making it up to Cayla by writing a graphic novel about finding a new life and new love! You know, a new one, after his first life/love died. (That part takes up the first 40 pages of the book, probably.) If you squint, you can tell that the title of this masterpiece is The Last Leaf, which definitely doesn’t imply the end of summer’s vibrancy and the coming of a long, cold winter at all.
Say what you will about Crankshaft, but as Funkyverse protagonists go he’s not very complicated, emotionally. “Wait, I can’t have this specific thing temporarily? But I want this specific thing! And I’m going to make your life unpleasant by complaining about it!”
Gil Thorp, 10/13/14
Sorry if this is Too Soon, but my first thought when I saw panel one was that Gil was looking at a stylized depiction of an airplane crashing into the Twin Towers, which to me just instinctively made sense. “I do understand, but for now, that’s all I can tell you on that subject. But if you’re interested in talking about the melting point of steel and how burning jet fuel couldn’t possibly have — hello? Hello?”
Gil Thorp, 10/10/14
Usually Gil is far too disengaged from his job and his student-athletes to live up to any of the usual stereotypes of gym teachers as bullies, but as his cruel smile in panel three indicates, he’s not above indulging in a little sadism if the opportunity falls ready-made into his lap. “That’s right, quarterbacks, duke it out for my love, like bugs in a jar! Oh, does the jar need shaking? COMPETITION IS GOOD! NOW FIGHT! FIGHT!”
Dennis the Menace, 10/10/14
Dennis, unable to truly grasp the concepts of “past” and “future” or the endless cycle of the seasons, lives in an eternal present, refusing to learn anything from anything that happened before or consider that his actions might have effects on what’s coming next. It doesn’t get more menacing than this.
Family Circus, 10/10/14
When the starting premise for your Family Circus cartoon is “Let’s pretend that seven-year-old Billy drew a naked picture of his little brother in the service of an awful sub-pun,” I suppose it’s actually a good thing that the end result looks like a fleshy pink chicken with a human head.
Six Chix, 10/10/14
There’s a lot to dislike here — the crude drawing, the sub-par joke — but I’m going to focus my enmity on the fact that this cartoon ran on a Friday.
Mark Trail, 9/16/14
When you think of Mark Trail besting his enemies, you obviously think about punching. There is however a lesser known but still very effective Mark Trail Power Move, and that’s when he rescues his enemies from mortal danger, thus humiliating them. This mortal danger generally takes the form of fiery car destruction caused by the very sort of animal the villain wronged. In this case, Ol’ “Dirty”’s truck was forced off a cliff by a herd of rhinos, no doubt in revenge for all the vicious horn-poaching he dished out on their kin. Mark’s melodramatic pleas for Chris to not die are frankly just metaphorical salt in his metaphorical wounds (as opposed to his actual wounds, which are no doubt plentiful but probably more rubbed with burning motor oil and dirt than salt).
Gil Thorp, 9/16/14
Meanwhile, over in Gil Thorp it’s time for the annual bonfire! God, if there’s one thing we can count on in this crazy mixed-up world, it’s the annual Mudlark bonfire, where players are presented to the screaming multitude, where the masses bay incoherently in their lust for blood, where fists are raised in ritualistic threats of violence, where players stake their very souls on promises of victory, where Coach Thorp basks in the otherworldly glow, where foreigners become citizens of Mudlark Nation, where young women are hurtled into the air to resemble the wrathful Valkyries of old. Anyway, this year someone who I’m pretty sure is “Jarrod,” still tenuously holding onto the starting quarterback job, is trying to cement his leadership role with a crazy-eyed rant in which he promises to crush Milford’s traditional rival. True Standish is more mellow. “Probably some EPA regulation,” he says, explaining why his previous school didn’t burn a massive pile of perfectly good timber in order to propitiate the worship-hungry Gods of Victory. Of course, the EPA is a federal agency and its regulations apply to the entire country, but it’s likely that the U.S. government long ago declared Milford a “purge zone” where laws don’t apply, in hopes that its inhabitants would finish each other off with violence and/or pollution and not trouble the rest of us.
Meanwhile, today’s Pluggers shows us what happens when a population voluntarily cuts itself off from the recreational habits and cultural output of society at large without having the numbers or creative capacity to come up with an alternative entertainment industry. Once you’ve rejected recreational drugs as scary and bad, books as fit only for snobs, and all television and movies produced since 1975 as devilment, how else are you supposed to keep yourself entertained?
Mary Worth, 9/16/14
The Mary Worth creative team knows you need a breather between the excitement of “Mary and Toby talk about Olive” and whatever thrill ride is coming up next, so they’ve provided today’s strip, in which you can read the dullest conversation ever included in an ostensible entertainment product and just relax a bit. Mary is so bored that she looks like she’s trying out a little plugger-style eyeball fun in panel one.
Hey, remember when vuvuzelas were a thing people made jokes about, four years ago?