Ah ha, our new Newspaper Spider-Man plot is under way, and its antagonist is … Ronan, The Accuser! This is as good an opportunity as any for me to remind you that, despite the fact that I have made my name as a “comics guy” and have a love of Mary Worth and Mark Trail veering into dangerously unironic territory, I find most superhero comics extremely dopey, not least because they feature villains named things like “Ronan, The Accuser,” (and sorry, purists, I have decided that comma is a canonical part of his name and will be using it in every reference from now on). As moronic as Ronan, The Accuser seems and as dumb as his conflict with Spider-Man will inevitably be, at least you have to respect the franchise-driven media marketing strategy that brought him to newspapers everywhere. After all, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is coming out in a mere, uh, six months, and so we need to start building buzz now for when Ronan, The Accuser squares off against Peter Quill and our other heroes, just like he did in the first film, where they defeated him and he … uh … died? So he won’t be in the sequel? Man, Newspaper Spider-Man never misses an opportunity to not be useful in any way.
Haha, check out how grotesquely smug Jeff looks in panel three, because the only part of his life he has in order is strong-arming his wife into getting a job! This is some extremely relatable content right here. Marvin: come for the poop jokes, stay for the economic anxiety expressed through marital discomfort!
Mary Worth, 11/22/16
My goodness, the corpse of Iris and Wilbur’s relationship is barely cold and look who just waltzed into her life? It’s a hunky fellow student who can match Wilbur’s chest hair but also sports luxurious locks and a roguish, manly stubble. Plus he knows that chivalry isn’t dead! You can tell because he refrained from saying “You dropped your extremely dopey hat!”
The Mary Worth house art style may have changed, but it’s still kind of impossible to tell how old anyone is, so I’m not sure if this handsome he-hunk is supposed to be an older student, like Iris, or if she’s just decided that if it’s OK for Wilbur to date her, it’s more than OK for her to date a twenty-year-old. Anyway, I like the smiles of approval the hip (?) young (????) couple of college students are bestowing upon them from the background.
Dick Tracy, 11/22/16
So, yeah, I don’t know how much detail I covered it in here, but the thing with Mysta Chimera is that she’s not actually the original dead Moon Maid who was Dick’s daughter-in-law, but is rather some other lady who was genetically modified to think that she’s Moon Maid by someone who I forgot for purposes I no longer remember. Anyway! Turns out she’s the weird old gangster dude’s daughter? Mostly I wanted to show you this strip because I find it funny how much more Mindy Ermine looks like a terrifying space alien than Mysta Chimera does.
Definitely one of my favorite parts of Newspaper Spider-Man is Peter’s reactions of entirely unmoored horror whenever his wife suggests perfectly nice things. “Drive to California? But … we’re so close to Premier Silver status on United! That means complimentary Economy Plus seating as long as seats are available at check-in! This is a disaster for us!”
I am really enjoying JJJ’s world-weary expression in panel three here. It takes a lot of emotional energy pretending that it isn’t super obvious that Peter Parker and Spider-Man are the same person, you know? Like, Jonah may be a blowhard, but he’s not a moron. He just likes getting those Spider-Man pictures. The Spider-Man pictures sell papers, and he loves selling papers. The whole “SPIDER-MAN: THREAT OR MENACE?” pose was probably sincere, once, but now it’s a key part of his shtick, and he can’t give it up. It’s exhausting performing Comically Gruff Newsman all the time, guys. Exhausting. Just let him have a minute here.
Funky Winkerbean, 11/21/16
Hey guys, remember how our gang tracked down Starbuck Jones serial star Cliff Anger, and found out that, true to his name, he used to star in cliffhangers and also was angry all the time? Well, if you wanted some background on his perpetually steamed emotional state, good news: we’re about to get some fun anecdotes about how he’s super mad because his prison term derailed his movie career, or maybe about how he went to prison because of some act of violence driven by his uncontrollable temper. Either way, his new girlfriend seems drawn to his irrepressible bad boy nature.
Slylock Fox, 11/21/16
It’s really gotta disappoint Slylock to waste his time on human-on-human crime like this. This once-great species should be retraining and adapting to the new sentient beast-focused economy, not nonproductively stealing each other’s meager savings. Personally, I blame their culture: look at the media they consume, all full of violent power fantasies. Sad!
Marvin and Mother Goose and Grimm, 11/21/16
This Thanksgiving, let’s all give thanks for our wives. Wives, am I right? They’re, uh, bad? This seems … off message, but I guess it’s what we’re going with.