Apartment 3-G, 6/8/13
I’m not sure why, but I kind of assumed that Lu Ann and New York State’s handsome, eligible governor were having a secretive affair, hidden from the prying eyes of the press, mostly because he seems pretty sleazy and she seems kind of dumb and/or lacking in self-esteem. But no! Apparently she’ll be his date for the very public Governor’s Ball! But before then she has an “appointment with Zoey Ziggler,” and assuming that isn’t a euphemism for some sick sex thing (which it, along with “Governor’s Ball”, may well be), I guess that means she’s going to get dolled up to the level of beauty and sophistication necessary for state-level government pomp and circumstance. Hey, remember when the A3G girls went on a makeover reality show and Lu Ann got a totally different look and it lasted for like a week? Good luck to you, Zoey!
Judge Parker, 6/8/13
Jesus Xipe Totec, please let this plot end with the doctor-priests who run April’s dad’s compound wearing the flayed skins of the entire Parker-Spencer-Driver axis, calling down the power of the gods to cleanse their patients of cancer.
Funky Winkerbean, 6/8/13
“Ha ha, that would have probably been more natural to bring up when he was first mentioned a few minutes ago, huh? Anyway, pay attention to meeeeeeeeee.”
Usually we blame media desensitization for making The Kids Today numb to depictions of gruesome violence and wanton sexuality, and therefore more prone to accept or even participate in gruesome violence or wanton sexuality. But today’s Curtis presses the argument further, positing that such content more generally kills the human capacity for empathy, leaving Curtis unable to appreciate the human tragedy that has befallen his father’s mildly irritating co-worker. Either that, or he’s been watching CNBC and The Boiler Room nonstop, leaving him inured to instances of financial suffering in particular. But as is often the case with media panic, maybe we should look away from the television screen to find the origins of human cruelty: with vicious epithets like “muttonhead” in common use in the Wilkins household, it’s no wonder Curtis has built an emotional barrier between himself and the pain felt by others.
Judge Parker, 6/6/13
Judge Parker has taken a step away from “Neddy’s friends’ kidnapping crisis may be a grift” to return to its other storyline, “Judge Parker Senior and Mrs. Judge Parker Senior’s marriage is in trouble.” Today we learn the main thing they’ll fight over in the divorce trial: rights to this terrible and almost certainly highly lucrative screenplay.
I confess that baby-talk drives me nuts, even when spoken by parents to children or by actual babies — don’t get me started on adults using it with one another. I stay away from the otherwise appealing Mutts to avoid that damn lishping cat, or dog, I don’t know, I don’t care, I won’t look. So “Gwanpa” here really sets my teeth on edge. It’s not even good baby talk with that awkward N-to-P transition, and it neglects fine alternatives like Grampa or Pop-Pop that children actually use and would work really well here. Repeating the offense six times in panel nine just twists the knife.
But credit Curtis for unleashing a terrifying hallucinatory vision on a par with Funky Winkerbean‘s Rust Belt hellscape. Who wouldn’t bolt screaming from hundreds of Curtises (Curtes? Curtides?) invading your home and swarming your comfy chair, wormlike Curtid fingers rifling through your pockets for money and smokes to the pounding rhythms of “rap” music? Why are there so many, all the same age? What do their hat colors mean? And not least, how did Curtis père ever convince some poor girl to mate with him, possibly more than once? Because if that’s the kind of world we live in, I’m pulling my wool cap down over my shiny pate and going right back to bed, nightmares or no.
Judge Parker, 5/19/13
I confess I didn’t expect Judge Parker to be so fastidious in maintaining continuity. In a strip that drips out plot points like bitumen, it would be easy to dump details like the elder Parkers’ marital frictions or April’s dead Dad down the oubliette, trusting that only a handful of lunatic obsessives would ever call them on it. But courtesy of Katherine’s suspicious nature and acid tongue, here they are front and center.
Early “tomorrow”, half of the Parker-Driver universe will set sail for Randy’s and April’s Acapulco crowd-nuptial, leaving the other half at Spencer Farms to grapple with Neddy’s Ross-Thalia Niger kidnapping con. How delightful would it be if April’s shadowy dad is alive and running the kidnapping ring/con game from his seat at the rehearsal dinner? Both plots could then collapse on one another in a melee of shouted accusations, tearing hair, and gunfire, from which the Parker-Drivers would somehow emerge carrying huge bags of cash.
I confess to having been MORE THAN A LITTLE irritated with The Phantom for breaking off its Sunday series featuring crush object/murderess Savarna so quickly. But here’s Lee Falk’s other comics hero Mandrake, and he brought crush object Narda along, so I guess all is forgiven.
The story itself is, obviously, completely nuts. To safeguard the gold being trickled out of Cockaigne in cruise ships, the Walkers and the The_Magicians are embarking on a “Masquerade Cruise” that requires them to go around in different costumes every day as they browse the ship’s theaters, buffet tables, and slots parlors. Day 1 won’t be a problem, of course — they can just show up in their own outrageous get-up. But around Day 5 we should see the Phantom skulking in the shadows dressed as Marie Antoinette, and “Super Mario Brother” Mandrake gesturing hypnotically at Rainbow Brite. The “girls” will at some point dress as the Phantom and Mandrake, leading to some fun sexytimes below decks.
The cruise ship is, of course, headed for Acapulco, which means the gold of Cockaigne will wind up with the Parker-Spencers, unless of course April’s dad steals it first.
Dick Tracy, 5/19/13
Update: Dr. Sail’s experiment is confirmed as Insect-Kewpie Mysta “Moon Maid” Tracy — cue Junior Tracy marital discord and ’70′s-era madness. It’s not yet clear how the Parker-Drivers will make a buck off this.
That’s it for me, folks — look for Josh to return on Monday with a new round of comics and your Comments of the Week. Thanks for a fun time, and your generous response to the spring fundraiser — see you next time!
– Uncle Lumpy
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Oh my gosh you guys! Comics panel hero Matt Crowe, in awe of Comics Curmudgeon readers’ generosity, has agreed to create enough additional Judge Parker and Rex Morgan, M.D. refrigerator magnets to cover the overwhelming demand we’ve experienced. But it’s the final day of the Spring 2013 Fundraiser, so contribute $15 or more now to receive your very own one-of-a-kind comics keepsake. Thank you, generous readers! And hurry!
Sherman’s Lagoon, 5/16/13
Lead characters Sherman the shark and Fillmore the sea turtle have been furloughed from Sherman’s Lagoon due to sequestration budget cuts, leaving Hawthorne the annoying crab and Ernest the generic fish to pick up the slack. Now when I type “Sherman’s Lagoon site:” (just before adding “wikipedia.org” obviously), the Google helpfully completes it as “Sherman’s Lagoon site down”, so maybe Ernest made good on his implied threat to crash the servers?
Anyway, I’m not sure Sherman’s Lagoon will be improved by laying off its main characters, but a lot of other comic strips sure would: imagine 9 Chickweed Lane with Solange the cat free of the other characters’ insufferable yammering, or Mark Trail relaunched as a suave urban romance between Bill Ellis and Kelly Welly — stiff competition for Apartment 3-G, I bet!
It could happen: after all, Snuffy Smith elbowed Barney Google out of his own strip long ago, and Funky Winkerbean‘s eponymous “hero” isn’t much more than an overweight, depressed walk-on anymore. Likewise, Blondie has pretty much morphed into Dagwood, and Sally Forth into Ted.
Badass pirate-fighter Savarna could easily replace the Phantom, who is frankly turning out to be a real wuss. And who wouldn’t prefer reading Terrible Actress Mary Jane Parker to The Amazing Spider-Man? Rebooting Crankshaft as Pam and Jeff could show us the tender rebirth of marital love after the deaths of hated, intrusive parents. Crime-fighting gardener Carlos Alora in Charterstone Confidential could document the seedy underside of America’s retirement communities without some old bat second-guessing his every anguished, ethically dubious move. Helga the Wïdöw could inspire us with the daily struggles of a proud, resourceful woman against the murderous oppressive Viking patriarchy. And finally, clearing all the characters out of Crock (retitled Empty Sahara) would give us a welcome visual and mental break every day.
Hi and Lois, 5/16/13
Awe-struck by the miracle of Creation, Ditto Flagston professes his atheism.
Apartment 3-G, 5/16/13
The Governor of New York is a desperate stalker who talks like a six-year-old and doesn’t need to be in Albany for anything important, no siree. Lu Ann will be right down.
Judge Parker, 5/16/13
Ah, wars interest Sophie (and judging by her jacket she’s backing Team Mali) — but money interests Sam. And he seems pretty darn upset that sometimes it takes months to work out a ransom! Surely a smart lawyer should be able to fix that — think, Sam! There must be a way to accelerate ransom negotiation and delivery to increase hostage-inventory turns and drive up cash flow. Reverse-auction Web portal? Third-party escrow service? Exchange-tradable ransom futures?
All that seems like far, far too much effort to our Sam. No doubt he’ll just fall back on the strip’s traditions and have secretary Gloria Sanchez draft a letter: “Dear Kidnappers — I am Sam Driver of Spencer Farms, Parkerville ST. I have not yet received from you a large suitcase filled with cash, for no reason. Please correct this situation at once! Sincerely, Sam Driver, Esq. PS. My pal Randy Parker says hi and thanks you for his cash.”
“Fedex that tonight, Gloria. Phew, that was a lot of work — Hey Abby, is dinner on yet, or do I have time for another nip of that Shiraz?”
– Uncle Lumpy
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Update: Out of Margo bracelets as of 5/15/13 early morning. Thanks again, generous readers!
It’s the Comics Curmudgeon Spring 2013 Fundraiser! Contribute $15 or more to receive a copy of one of Josh’s favorite recent comic-strip panels, signed, matted, and suitable for framing. Thank you, generous readers!
Action a-plenty in the midweek comics — let’s dive right in!
Judge Parker, 5/15/13
Ho ho, quite the little geopolitical economist our Sophie, eh? Here the economy of Niger is portrayed as a giant Ponzi scheme, substituting modern easy-to-trade firearms for old-timey low-liquidity postal reply coupons. Next step is to formalize it as a multi-level marketing enterprise, recruiting unclaimed hostages as kidnappers to build the downline and create a never-ending upward spiral of guns, hostages, and ransom money. Then fire up the sales team by giving everybody a logo t-shirt with the slogan: “Guns go ‘POW’ — ask me how!”
Hey Spider-Man! Take a tip from lawyer Matt Murdoch on the first rule of questioning a witness: “Don’t ask a question if you won’t like the answer.”
Mark Trail, 5/15/13
Slylock Fox, 5/15/13
Pluggers, Jr. meets The Daily Jumble. As a plugger himself, dog-man is merely alarmed by his neighbors’ atrocious table manners. Out-of-town visitor parrot-man, on the other hand, is downright disgusted. Guy looks like he’s ready to KORF his ROPTAR all AELTP the RNCO — and that NIKAPN ain’t gonna help much.
Dennis the Menace, 5/15/13
OK, is it me, is it cartoonists, or is the Bad Girl really always the hottest in the room? And we’re talking about a room shared with Alice Mitchell, so SRSLY! Dennis, cut the crap and pay some attention here — you won’t be 5 forever.
Oh, ha ha — I forgot. You will be 5 forever. Kindly resume the crap.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/15/13
Payback time at the Morgans’. I hope Sarah has more success with her little project than June had with Rex.
– Uncle Lumpy
Having supernatural beings of various ethical alignments battling for control of your actions (and, by extension, your soul) is an old comics trope, but usually these spirits are matched, good against evil. Poor Dagwood only has his own moral resources to draw upon in the battle against sinful sloth, and the results are predictable. In related news, if the sight of a Dagwood-headed jazz-handing actual demon doesn’t haunt your dreams for weeks, you are made of stronger stuff than I am, my friend.
Judge Parker, 5/5/13
“Abbey … what if he’s dead? What will happen to my money? Could I … lose … my money? Is it even possible for the verb ‘lose’ to have ‘my money’ as an object? This is all so terrifying for me!”