Oh my goodness, it’s a new site design! Your eyes do not deceive you: I’ve tweaked the design of the site, by which I mean that the amazing Adam Norwood tweaked the design of the site, after I gave him vague and sometimes contradictory instructions on how to do it. In addition to a refreshed look that features fewer ads per page, the site also has a couple minor functionality improvements. When you want to check out older posts by date, either using the menus at the top of the page or on the advanced archives page, there are now separate menus for month and year, so you don’t have to hunt through an enormous 120-entry drop-down list. And comments on older posts are now visible! (I had turned off the ability to comment on posts older than ten days, because I was getting waves and waves of comment spam there, but that had the negative side effect of hiding the old comments from view; now you can glory in comments from yesteryear once again.)
Anyway, if the site looks weird or jumbled on your screen, it may be because your browser has cached the old version of the site; please hold down the shift key and reload the page a few times, and if that doesn’t work, try deleting your browser’s cache. If you’re still having problems, email me at bio at jfruh dot com, and be sure to send a screenshot and tell me what browser and operating system you’re using.
OK! Now: comics!
Mary Worth, 3/12/14
Look, just because I haven’t been featuring the current Mary Worth Tommy storyline on this blog daily doesn’t mean I don’t wake up every morning and give thanks for it to Karen Moy, Joe Giella, the Hearst Corporation and its wholly owned subsidiary King Features Syndicate, Inc., and whatever God(s) may be responsible for any of the previously mentioned entities. Today we have Tommy returning to the art form that is truly his métier: the unnecessary thought balloon. Remember when he got arrested and thought-ballooned “groan”, presumably keeping silent so as not to further antagonize the enraged populace? Well, today, he’s willing to get a little petulant about his mother’s overbearing attempts to make Wilbur his personal headhunter, but he won’t cross the line into full-on sass and say “sheesh” aloud.
It’s obviously not at all surprising that J. Jonah Jameson has become drunk with power and is now glorying in his new supervillain/hero status. But turning his back on photography and print media to bask in the adoration of TV news? That’s just cold. That’s a betrayal of his own embattled industry. At least he’s not clicking through slide after slide of the “Iron Jonah Foils Tank Heist” slideshow on the local Patch site.
Heathcliff’s word-helmets are getting increasingly abstract.
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).