Funky Winkerbean, 4/22/14
Welp, at last, Jess has solved the mystery of why her father was murdered. It’s not just because he was a dick that nobody liked; it’s because one of the people to whom he was a dick disliked him so much that he decided he deserved to be killed. Shouldn’t she be filming this or something?
Judge Parker, 4/22/14
Hahaha, remember when Abbott gave April a bunch of diamonds of mysterious provenance? Well, apparently they were a wedding present for Randy (a dowry, maybe?), and also bait to lure the Gardia brothers into a firefight they can’t win, and, well, if Randy gets killed in the crossfire while April safely wanders around the jungle looking for Katherine, then I don’t think too many people are going to lose sleep over that, do you?
Apartment 3-G, 4/22/14
Oh, man, I love that Tommie is just holding the phone away from her head as Margo launches into her freakout. “Not coming home – I don’t undersand. What’s going on?! Who’s going to cook me dinner?!? I’m getting hungry! Tommie? Tommie?”
Gil Thorp, 4/22/14
In case you’re wondering what’s going on with wacky klutzy Lucky Haskins and Amy Lange: Lucky has convinced Amy that she can improve her luck by rubbing his head. That isn’t a euphemism for anything, though as you can see here their encounters are suffused with a certain queasy eroticism.
Good news, everyone! Spider-Man and “Iron Jonah” aren’t going to be killed by plummeting into the arch in Washington Square Park because they’ve been saved by Iron Man at the last minute. Since the whole point of this crisis was that Jonah was going too fast and any impact would leave him smeared all over the inside of that outdated Iron Man suit, I’m not sure how Iron Man SLAMMing into him at full speed is really much of a solution, but any denouement in which Spidey’s rescue attempt is upstaged by another, better superhero is OK with me.
Heathcliff and his ex-con dad have trained an army of bee henchmen! Nobody can touch them now.
Usually Momma focuses on Momma as an overbearing, controlling monster who insists of being negative about every aspect of her children’s’ lives, and to my mind, the strip doesn’t spend enough time exploring another aspect of her personality: her bottomless greed. She’s often distressed that Francis doesn’t have a good job, or (because of her strict adherence to traditional gender roles) that MaryLou’s suitors don’t have good jobs, and this is generally presented as being an aspect of the whole controlling-her-children’s-lives thing. But as this dream sequence reveals, Momma also just straight up wants money, and since she’s old and unemployable and presumably living on some combination of Social Security and her late husband’s meager pension, her only hope of accessing money comes from her children. I mean, look at this! She’s literally sitting in a boat full of money with dollar signs floating over her head sailing towards what appears to be a gold-plated mansion and she’s never been happier in her life. It’s like she’s in a rap video, for pete’s sake.
None of the Crock characters have anything resembling psychological depth, and Captain Preppie, whose whole personality can be summed up as “Handsome, cartoonishly narcissistic ladies’ man”, is shallower than most. Still, today’s strip is intriguing, exploring what happens to someone like this forced to live for years in an isolated desert fortress. The throwaway panels demonstrate his slide from garden-variety egotism to madness, as his love for his own handsome mug summons up eerie visions of dozens of identical Preppie-faces, grown in petri dishes in some awful lab somewhere. Only marginally less disturbing is the main action, in which the crazed Captain obsessively combs the sand around the fort for imperfections, ranting about “clutter,” while his soldiers look on.
Awww, looks like J.J.J. has decided that Spider-Man is too pathetic to kill! This won’t be the lamest victory Spidey has ever scored, but it’s definitely in the top decile for lameness.
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The Bowers/Abbotts père et fille share a private moment and a little shop talk. The thought of simply declaring her Dad’s gift and paying import duties and taxes on it never crossed April’s mind. “Can money even move in that direction — ‘away’?”, she muses. Somehow it doesn’t seem physically possible!
Welcome to the family, girlfriend – a true Parker at last!
Or maybe not? Long-running strips need to be really careful about irrevocable steps like marriages, graduations, and deaths. They upset a strip’s balance, limiting the ways characters can contribute. And if there’s one constant in Judge Parker over the last fifty years, it’s that Randy Parker is a clueless, self-satisfied tool, perpetually used and discarded by women. This principle is so much a part of the strip’s bedrock that even on the eve of his wedding, I can’t believe they’ll go through with it. I fully expect that April will die in a hail of gunfire or (more likely) disappear into the jungle at the last possible moment. Anyway, stay tuned — we’ll know in mere months!
That said, what on earth is going on in Luann? Everybody’s been moving through middle-school and high school over the strip’s 29 years, and now they’re seniors announcing college plans for the fall. Ethnic ciphers Rosa and Delta are off to Yale and Howard, most of the cast to nearby “Moony Uni” (OK sure, some kind of Unification Church outfit, I guess), and Luann to the local Community College.
Is Luann really just six months away from becoming a “college hijinks” strip, or a soaper about declining academic standards and unsustainable student debt? Is inert, self-absorbed, academically dishonest Luann even remotely plausible as a college student? All these questions will have to wait, because: OMG YOU GUYS PROM!
Herb and Jamaal, 3/20/14
Yet another newspaper drops Herb and Jamaal, and Herb blames his son for it.
“I was going to save those men — but their plight has flushed Spider-Man out of hiding! Now they can just die for all I care, for putting that stink on my beloved city!”
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