The Funkyverse seems to have taken my proclamed indifference to its chrono-narrative shenanigans as some sort of challenge. “Oh, Mr. Fancy Comics Blogger Man, it doesn’t bother you that Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft take place ten years apart, and yet both also take place in an eternal Comic Book Time present, which right now in both cases is a recognizable 2016? Well, what if we do a fractured-time narrative around Rose’s death in Crankshaft, and we keep prefacing every strip with narration boxes like ‘One week ago…’ and ‘Three weeks ago…’, but we do it over the course of nearly a month, so it becomes increasingly muddled what the chronological reference point is? How about that, huh?” Well, OK, fine. That would bother me. That would bother me quite a bit, actually!
Funky Winkerbean, 5/22/16
Funky Winkerbean, meanwhile, presents me with a simple pleasure: knowing that, while Les thinks he can glimpse daylight at the end of the decade-long hell-tunnel that is his chosen profession, he’ll actually be stuck in place spinning his wheels endlessly until this strip hits its next time-jump, which will no doubt catapult him past his brief joy upon retirement and straight into whatever his next depressing life stage is (old age and death, I would hope).
Mary Worth, 5/22/16
Oh, look, it’s Mary Worth’s first appearance under the new Sunday strip artistic regime! I give her two thumbs up; the cowl-neck sweater is a particularly appropriate choice. Less appropriate is Dawn’s assertion that obviously she’s not in love with Harlan, but if she were, would that really be so bad? After all, Cher once fell in love with a bitter, sullen Nicolas Cage in a movie, and that worked out fine!
Judge Parker, 5/22/16
Since Neddy abandoned her old person sweatshop idea, the world has clamored to know: how will the Spencer-Drivers get rich now, at taxpayer expense? Well, it looks like this is how!
Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/22/16
Congratulations to the animals, for finally figuring out how to drive the Morgans out of the countryside!
Judge Parker, 5/20/16
We joke about the fact that the intricate details of Judge Parker’s plotlines tend to shift in the narrative wind, with the only constant being that the protagonists are going to get paid in the end, but I am very sad that the strip seems to be abandoning the #1 best and most hilarious thing about Neddy’s garment factory: that she was planning to exclusively hire old people, so that she didn’t have to pay for their health insurance or pensions. The whole idea was almost certainly illegal on a number of levels, but at least it acknowledged that clothes manufacturing almost never happens in the U.S. anymore for a variety of structural economic reasons. It also gave the venture a “hook” to get positive press coverage, though that’s mainly what Godiva is for, I suppose. Anyway, now that they’re just hiring ex-cons and other people of any age, most of whom are going to expect “salaries above minimum wage” and “safe working conditions,” look for Godiva’s business manager to move the whole operation to Bangladesh within a month, while Godiva is distracted by Rocky and his sex steaks. Don’t worry, our protagonists will get paid in the end.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/20/16
If you want to learn about how subcultures and isolated communities can become so alienated from the values of the state that rejection of that state’s laws and their enforcement apparatus becomes approved behavior, you could do worse than read Barney Google and Snuffy Smith.
Mary Worth, 5/16/16
You’d think you that once you’ve graduated from high school and gone to college, you’re done with being bullied, you know? But nope, poor Dawn is just over here relaxing under a tree, probably texting fun memes back and forth with her dad or something, and then BAM! Up comes the three meanest girls at UC Santa Royale, ready to tear Dawn to pieces (emotionally). And while the “PC police” would have you believe that bullying is never justified, I think that when you’re a college-age young woman and you try to date your professor and he’s this dude, with this mustache, a certain amount of social opprobrium is fully justified.
Gil Thorp, 5/16/16
Ah, a solid Gil Thorp trope we haven’t seen in a while: “One of the Mudlarks is completely insufferable and everyone hates him but he gets redeemed, somehow.” They did with Andrew Gregory, who was a terrible braggart but then it turned out his parents had abandoned him and his siblings and Marty Moon had to pretend to be his dad so Social Services didn’t put them in a foster home. Anyway, Barry “Darth” Bader, not anywhere emo enough to be graced by the more up-to-date “Kylo” nickname, is really going to test our ability to eventually feel affection, or at least a frisson of empathy, for him.
Judge Parker, 5/16/16
Haha, Abbey has to get back to … what, exactly? Her non-job? Her sham marriage? Her horse farm, where all the actual horse farming is carried out by her absurdly uniformed underlings? I mean, I get it; she’s already put in about twice as much time and energy today on Neddy’s dumb factory and Rocky and Godiva’s sexual banter as I’d want to over the course of my entire life. The real power move is going to be if she just refuses to look up from her phone as she strolls away.