Today is Mother’s Day across most of the world (British “Mum’s Day” is celebrated during Lent, in retribution for their cooking). Because of its ability to trigger a laugh riot of misunderstandings, dysfunction, and resentment, Mother’s Day is a huge deal in the comics, on a scale with Thanksgiving. Let’s see how some of our favorite families celebrate:
Edge City, 5/12/13
Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin demands smooth sheets and an unsullied mattress, even if it means forgoing all the messy pleasures that sustain bonds of love. Husband Len submissively abets her every whim. It’s a mystery how those children got here.
Jeremy Zits-Duncan promises to give his mother the tolerance and respect she most desires, but fails utterly in the execution. SPANG!
Mary Worth, 5/12/13 (panel)
Beth Kinley celebrates her mother’s special day by ditching Elinor to enjoy some incompetent afterdinner macking on new beau Tom Harpman. Hey, Tom: Beth is a real girlfriend — quit trying to inflate her.
Lockhorns, 5/12/13 (panel)
Leroy cranks up the hypocrisy to give Loretta’s mom a proper greeting. Brrrrr…
Dennis the Menace, 5/12/13 (panel)
Henry and Dennis get it right … and so, as always, does Alice. But c’mon — Dondi was more menacing than this!
Funky Winkerbean, 5/12/13 (panel)
Darin and Jessica bring flowers to the grave of somebody named Lisa Moore whose ashes weren’t scattered in New York’s Central Park the way Darin’s mom’s were.
Jeff Murdoch congratulates himself for overspending at the Hallmark: “Surely now my mother will love me?” Ha ha, nope!
Happy Mother’s Day — give Mom a call!
– Uncle Lumpy
Curtis and Momma, 11/26/12
Comics artists! It is true that you are old and cranky, and that everything about the young people who don’t subscribe to the paper is annoying. Nevertheless, it is perhaps advisable for you to do a cursory bit of investigation to determine exactly how newfangled the habits and turns of phrase and cultural production of today’s youth are before you lambaste them in the comics pages as irritating novelties. For instance: auto-tune made its musical debut with Cher’s single “Believe,” which hit the airwaves in 1998! This means that it’s a musical production technique that is literally older than Curtis is, and would probably be familiar to his father already. Also, the word “awesome” in its weakened, colloquial sense of “very good” is first recorded in 1961, and was in vogue from around 1980. So have you been complaining about this usage for 30 or maybe even 50 years? Perhaps now is the time to give up on this particular fight!
No, your attacks on the young should be universal and timeless. For instance, did you know that teenagers are monstrous, unthinking appetites, whose compliments cannot be taken seriously because they will vibrate ceaselessly in joy at anyone or anything that can sate their endless need?
My wife and I got married seven years ago this week, and we were together for three years before that, so yes, there is a certain amount of gas-passing that goes on in each other’s presence at this point in our relationship, and by “a certain amount” I mean “good lord it is a constant chemical warfare battle of the sort banned by the Geneva Conventions.” And yet I still have a certain amount of sympathy for what’s going on at the bottom left of the third panel. Walt’s just shoveling spoon after spoon of fart-fuel into his gaping maw, blithely assuring his son that someday he and his true love will be so confident in each other’s affections that they’ll go through life hand-in-hand, surrounded by an invisible self-generated cloud of noxious gas, their farts mingling and becoming one; but Connie’s face is a frozen mask, as she tries to hide the fact that her soul dies a little every time Walt toots audibly at the dinner table. I mean, there’s a bathroom right up the hall, you know? It even has a fan.
Mary Worth, 9/14/12
Well, it looks like Dawn is going to be living a more meaningful life, since she’s sure to imbue the fact that her new boyfriend (DO NOT DOUBT THAT HE WILL BE HER NEW BOYFRIEND) has but one arm with much more meaning than the situation deserves. (As about a million people pointed out in the comments, Jim’s disability was completely obvious in yesterday’s strip and yet I managed to not notice it at all, whoops.) Will Jim turn out to be a war hero, or even a semi-hero like Gil’s ex-student? Or is he just some guy who shouldn’t have reached so far into the garbage disposal? Whatever the case, we all know who the real hero is here: Wilbur, for inventing the Meat-Tart that Jim is enjoying with one-handed ease.
Dennis the Menace, 9/14/12
It appears that a shifty-eyed Dennis the Menace has decided on a new tactic in his war against society’s strictures: hard-line Calvinist theology. Isn’t the omnipotent God, who created the universe and predetermined our very ends before time began, the real menace here?
“Francis, you have 17 of your friends on ‘speed dial,’ despite the fact that your phone appears to be a rotary-dial bakelite model of the sort not produced in more than 25 years. Why? And, more importantly, How?”
Apartment 3-G, 10/10/11
OK, so Queen Bee turns out to be less a pop-culture icon than a vaguely Fluxus-y performance artist — more Yoko Ono than Lady Gaga — taking deadly aim at the artistic conventions of 16th-century Florence, with her stinging parody of the single most-parodied painting in history. GASP! Watch out, Edvard Munch — you’re next!
Thanks to Margo for all the helpful exposition in panel two, there. Otherwise, who would’ve guessed?
Apartment 3-G, 10/10/11, The Mona Lisa (details, edited)
WHOA! But despite Jo’s enthusiastic assurances that this is all somehow going viral, I’m pretty sure YouTube can handle the traffic.
Speaking of transgression, I would not have picked Zits as first comic to cross the line
into Mom-bondage. OK, Blondie might have been wishful thinking, but at least we were spared Momma.
And for real subversion of artistic convention, look at the way Ziggy manages to look even more obscene with his pants on.
– Uncle Lumpy
Apartment 3-G, 12/14/10
You might find it hard to believe that Lu Ann is sending out radar waves of pure pleasure at the prospect of a quick trip via PATH train to Hoboken, New Jersey, and may think that that she’s just enjoying the music of the pretty man’s voice without bothering to strain her thinking muscle in an attempt to figure out what his beautiful syllables mean. But remember, this is the girl who practically swallowed her tongue in joy at the prospect of a trip to South Dakota, so clearly she’s easy to please, destination-wise.
Beetle Bailey, 12/14/10
You probably viewed this comic with mild disgust at its content, combined with a certain amount of contempt for its portrayal of bedbugs as large enough to be visible. And of course it’s ludicrous that Sarge would be feeding them cereal, since bedbugs subsist on one and only one thing: blood. Which means that Sarge probably isn’t feeding them cereal at all, and is in fact holding a big bowl of scabs. Oh, did your disgust just get a lot less mild?
Mary Worth, 12/14/10
“You and Scott are meant to be together! You’re right to be sure! And sure to be right! You don’t mind if I hover mere inches away from you and talk to you while you attempt to share an intimate moment at a stressful time, do you? Of course you don’t!”
Ha ha, Jeremy’s room smells like a dog pooped in it!
CHAD! For those of you who haven’t, say, read Zits for the strip’s entire 13-year run, or who don’t walk around with trivia about newspaper comic strips in your heads, “Chad” is Jeremy’s college-attending older brother, who hasn’t been mentioned in this strip since, uh, pretty much the entire time I’ve been doing the blog, so, you know, six-plus years. Apparently he stopped writing to or calling his parents and they sort of forgot about him,. I’m sure the strip’s dozens of uberfans are thrilled at Chad’s un-Chuck Cunninghamization, and its millions of casual readers are spending a few seconds blinking in confusion (“Chad? Isn’t his name Jeremy? Isn’t Jeremy in high school?”) before moving on to Marmaduke.
Funky Winkerbean, 12/13/10
A much more unsettling seemingly vanished character makes contact in today’s Funky Winkerbean. So, what do we have here? Is Les having a psychotic break and believes his dead wife is airport-paging him from beyond the grave? Has one of the overeager fans we’ve been seeing on his book tour incomprehensibly fallen in love with him/otherwise gone crazy and decided to assume his dead wife’s identity? Is someone that he’s screwed over on his rise to the top (for certain very limited definitions of “top”) playing a cruel mind game? Is this just some person who happens to be named Lisa who needs to get a hold of him quickly for some reason? The answer, of course, will be determined by which of these scenarios can be made most cruel.
Apartment 3-G, 12/13/10
“Damn it, I could have gotten some money, and all I got was a kiss from a dumb girl! Stupid, stupid, stupid!”