Boy, This Archie rerun from the ’90s has turned out to be eerily prescient! It’s true that, in the modern age of atomized, Internet-based media distribution and social networking, many readers have a stronger allegiance to the writers they follow than to the publications those writers work for, especially when those writers can use Twitter and the like to push out information faster than the media outlets’ traditional publication process can. This has resulted in many cases in a change in the power relationships between writers and publishers, exemplified quite nicely by Archie and Reggie’s despair over how their business model can survive now that Veronica has demonstrated how easily it can be disrupted. Let’s all pray that this strip’s prediction of a white-ties-and-black-shirts renaissance isn’t equally accurate!
I sincerely hope that J. Jonah Iron Manbot Whateverson realizes eventually that the best way to “crush” Spider-Man is to do so metaphorically, simply by being better at catching criminals than he is. For isn’t it much more satisfying to crush a man’s spirit than to mangle his body? The best would be for him to continue to do this for years, and, every time he emerges victorious, to boast of his superiority over the hated wall-crawler, long after everyone else has forgotten who Spider-Man even is anymore.
Uncle Claybo is an animal hoarder, and his pigs got sick because of the unsanitary conditions in his house, and he was arrested for animal cruelty :(
Judge Parker, 3/1/14
I was going to apologize for not keeping you up to date on the conversation between April and her dad, but then I realized that it’s literally lasted two weeks and can be easily summed up as follows: April’s dad is on the run from some Romanian weapons-smugglers he’s fallen out with, and now they’ve managed to plant a tracker on April’s car and are on their way to this impregnable jungle fortress/cancer research facility, presumably travelling via heavily armed helicopter gunship. Good times appear to be in the narrative hopper, though, if the sinister grin of bloodthirsty mercenary/cheerful groundskeeper “Abbott” as he promises that April and Randy’s wedding ceremony will not be unduly disturbed by the endless screaming of their enemies is any indication.
Nobody in this strip is what you’d call “introspective,” so I guess Elmo is as likely a candidate as any to stumble onto self-reflective questions of ontology. Dagwood, who can only dimly grasp the philosophical thought processes this line of questioning has provoked in his young pal, is probably wrong about what’s going on in that closet; it’s more likely that Elmo is just using the dark, warm space to go into a fetal position, having arrived much too quickly at the “why is there something instead of nothing” problem.
It’s good to see that New York’s criminal element has a clear-eyed perspective on exactly how much of a threat Spider-Man is to them (namely, not much).
Funky Winkerbean, 2/20/14
So hey, remember that lady from Monday’s Funky Winkerbean, who deflected a sexual advance by announcing with dead eyes that, despite the fact that she was beautiful, she was broken inside and she hated herself? Well, turns out she’s Cindy Summers, former Westview popular girl and current national news anchor and Funky’s ex-wife! The whole marriage took place during the period when I wasn’t reading the strip, but faithful reader/disturbing Twitter user name Bat Les Moore assures me that this cheery moment happened during their divorce:
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY! Anyway, the residual effects of having been married to Funky probably explain Cindy’s self-loathing, but at least she still has her physical beauty and high-powered job to sustain her! Haha, whoops, except her boss is telling her that she’s too old to be beautiful and that they’re going to fire her, which, while this is obviously the thought process behind a lot of TV news personnel decisions, I’m pretty sure that if you just say it out loud explicitly like this you get extremely sued for age discrimination.
Anyway, not to dwell too much on this strip (haha, who am I kidding, dwelling too much on strips like this are the entire reason why this blog exists) but let’s examine today’s punchline! “It’s the digital age, Cindy … and digital shows your age.” It’s typically Winkerbeanean in that it uses low-level wordplay to let a character know that their life is changing for the worse. But does it make sense? Is TV Executive Man saying that young people, who like computers and don’t watch TV news, will watch TV news if someone young is on TV? Is he saying that Cindy has repeatedly tried and failed to operate computers, smartphones, and other digital devices on-air, further alienating the coveted young person demographic? Is he making reference to the fact that high-def broadcasts, blown up on a 60-inch screen, reveal the slight lines and imperfections on Cindy’s fortysomething visage, forcing the network to hunt after ever younger and smoother-faced anchors? Is he just being a dick, in a way that, I can’t emphasize enough, is totally, 100% legally actionable? Yes, it’s probably the last one.
Beetle Bailey, 2/20/14
Plato’s subtle shift in his third word balloon is instructive here. At first, with fanciful metaphors, he implies that Beetle can never satisfy Sarge with his work ethic. But then he shifts to an idea that, while still out of the reach of a lowly private, is at least within the realm of physical possibility. Sarge, he implies, can be bought. Now we must discover his price.
Oh, yeah, so: J. Jonah Jameson is inside the old Iron Man suit, has rigged it up somehow so his crazed eyes and Hitler mustache are visible through the mask, has gone mad with power, is determined to kill Spider-Man, blah blah blah. As you can see in the final panel, he’ll use the one weapon against which Spidey has no defense: crumbling masonry.
Mary Worth, 2/20/14
MARY WORTH IS INVITING TOMMY TO EAT IN HER APARTMENT REPEAT MARY WORTH US GIVING TOMMY AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE EITHER THEATRICALLY CONTRITE OR HILARIOUSLY INAPPROPRIATE ON HER TURF, THREAT LEVEL: AMAZING
Better Half, 2/20/14
Oh hey let’s check in with the Better Half, probably it won’t be an Oedipal nigtmarAAAAUUUUGGGHHH