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?
Gil Thorp, 9/13/14
The tale of True Standish from the summer is now clearly also the tale of True Standish for the fall, and that tale will entail: quarterback controversy! Yes, the next several months will involve high school QB phenom with painfully overbearing dad True being preternaturally nice about the fact that he just loved Milford and really wants to win and if that means that high school QB phenom with painfully overbearing dad True Standish ends up taking the starting quarterback job away from “Jarrod,” a guy who’s probably been on the team for a while and who’s maybe even been in the strip before but about whom I could tell you exactly nothing, then that’s just how the ball bounces, you know? Anyway, today’s episode involves “Jarrod” dishing out a sick burn about not knowing the name of the local newspaper. All of today’s teens are very clued into their area’s print media outlets; the daily paper is a core aspect of teen identity in modern culture. Point: “Jarrod.”
Gasoline Alley, 9/13/14
Gasoline Alley has spent the past few months on an extremely mawkish story about a dying little boy with a wacky parrot sidekick who just wants to operate a real life steam locomotive before he kicks it. I’m a guy who loves train and isn’t in favor of little children dying of mysterious diseases, and yet am wholly unmoved by all this, mostly because the lad has been introduced to us already pre-dying, a transparent spectacle for our emotional catharsis. “I’ll remember this the…” [SIGNIFICANT PAUSE TO REMIND YOU THAT THE NEXT PHRASE IS POIGNANT AND SIGNIFICANT] “…rest of my life! Come here, parrot, give me a big hug! WEEP FOR ME, ENGINEER-MAN!”
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/13/14
By the way, if you’re wondering how long it takes Uriah the mailman to “give Miz Prunelly a special delivery” (i.e., have sex with Miz Prunelly): it takes about half an hour.
Gil Thorp, 9/3/14
Captain of Industry Art Standish lays down the law to a public employee over whom he has no power, and who can inconvenience him mightily with no effort or risk of repercussions. I bet ol’ Art just cracks ‘em up down at the DMV: “What’s that, sir? Oh, you pay my salary? Hey, Denise, we got a VIP with us this morning — this gentleman taxpayer here pays my salary! Well sir, why don’t you just stop paying those taxes — I bet that’ll fix me good won’t it?”
An alternate-dimension Curtis arrives to teach Our Curtis a Valuable Lesson, misuse the word “identical”, and start an argument about who is argumentative. Don’t worry, Our Curtis — evidence suggests that you are indeed the “smart” Curtis, although frankly this speaks poorly of dimensions everywhere.
Mary Worth, 9/3/14
Mary advises acting on only your most powerful delusions. Isn’t that pretty much how delusions work?
Judge Parker, 9/3/14
Speaking of delusions, this is Neddy’s business plan! Hey kid, your landlord doesn’t need to see it unless you want to use the space rent-free, in which case you are looking for money.
And isn’t Bebe already a thing that exists?
Westward Bound! Day Eight
Josh and Amber rolled into Los Angeles on Tuesday evening, to stay with family overnight and start moving into their new home today. I’m on the clock for a little while longer to give Josh time to find his computer, connect to the Internet, and catch up on all the action in Apartment 3-G.
And so ends the Westward Bound! Comics Curmudgeon fundraiser. Every contributor will be receiving a personal thank-you from Josh, but I’d like to add my own: thanks, you guys are the best!
– Uncle Lumpy