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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Judge Parker, 3/16/14
How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable are all the uses of this world? Just ask Judge Emeritus Alan Parker! In the years since he returned to his strip, we’ve heard of the growing marital discontent he shares with his wife. He told us he feels old and useless, and we’ve watched helplessly as his compulsive risk-taking escalated from recreational B.A.S.E. jumping to jungle snake-handling.
The story ends, as all such tales must, atop a forbidden cliff in the Mexican jungle with the frenzied Judge turning his wife out to “rock the joystick” of some buzzing monstrosity in the hopes that something — anything — will let him feel again. Oh Judge, Judge — in all those years on the bench, did no one tell you about heroin?
Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/16/14
“All right, Becka, I suppose it won’t hurt to go over this again. As we’ve discussed, Dr. Morgan and I allow you to banter with us on a first-name basis because it suits our image of ourselves as friendly, egalitarian people. This is our little indulgence, Becka, not yours — and there is a line. Now, when I tell you that Paula John is an incompetent emotional wreck, that is not an invitation for you to defend her, or spew vicious gossip about the Dean — my peer — from below stairs or wherever it is you and your little friends hang out. Especially when you’re not meeting your most elementary responsibilities around the clinic. Well then, I hope you’ve enjoyed our little talk. Now get me those results. And let’s go back to calling me ‘Ma’am’ for now, shall we? There’s a good girl.”
Mary Jane manipulates her doofus husband without looking up from her crossword: “Hey, Tiger, what’s a six-letter word for ‘eight-legged parasite’?”
This strip finally makes sense to me: Connie is Princess Leia, and Jeremy is Jabba the Hutt.
– Uncle Lumpy