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
After the serial failures of his high-tech missile, “hypno”-gas, and “adamantium” chains, Kingpin resorts to old-school methods of persuasion like threatening to stone-cold bash a woman’s face in. Spider-Man is quick to comply — but then, “not moving a muscle” is pretty much his core competence.
Dick Tracy, 5/11/13
So it looks like Dr. Sail here is reconstructing the actual Moon Maid (who died in a 1978 car crash), not just creating an imposter from scratch? This opens up a chance to revisit the action-packed Moon Strips of the 1960′s and 1970′s (the so-called “Dick Tracy Has Gone Totally Nuts” era). Does it also signal complications for Moon Maid’s nominal widower Junior Tracy, who got re-married (to Sparkle Plenty) after his first wife’s death?
Ha! As recently as two years ago (the “Late Bonkers” era), Dick Tracy would have resolved such petty conflicts by having a beloved character burned, crushed, blown up, brain-wiped, dismembered, or (my favorite) eaten. But how will the new Team Tracy handle it?
Perhaps the answer lies with the Moon-obsessed siblings introduced here. Stellaluna, named for a cute bat from a kids’ book, is probably OK. But I would keep an eye on Retik, ominously named for Commander Cody’s nemesis (“Retik, the Moon Menace”) in the classic 1952 serial Radar Men from the Moon. Will this new Retik re-kill a reanimated Moon Maid, saving Junior Tracy from inconvenience? Stay tuned!
Hey, Retik: if you’re short on ideas, I’m pretty sure “suffocated in the vacuum of space” and “vaporized by a meteor” are still available. Just sayin’.
Gasoline Alley, 5/11/13
Hm, Gasoline Alley supercentenarian Walt Wallet is hanging out at the “Comics Retirement Home” with characters like these from discontinued old-timey strips, leading one to think he might, I dunno, retire or something? Except that we’ve already been down this road, in 2006, and it came to nothing.
C’mon guys, it’s time to pull the trigger — this routine will only get even more embarrassing if you have to do it again in another seven years, when Walt is 120.
Funky Winkerbean, 5/11/13
Aw, look at Darin’s adorable pissy face! Do you suppose he broke his jaw trying not to smirk?
Hey, I’m subbing while Josh takes a break through Sunday May 19 — reach me at email@example.com if you have access or comment issues. Enjoy!
– Uncle Lumpy
Mark Trail, 5/2/13
Sorry for not keeping you up to date on what’s up in Mark Trail! The short version is that Mark and Wes flew off to go look at some sheep but then they crashed and Wes broke his foot and now they’re trapped and will no doubt resort to cannibalism soon enough. That leaves the ladies to chill back at the campsite! Don’t panic, Shelly, those wolves are perfectly harmless, not like the villainous wolves of several storylines ago. You should be more concerned about this mysterious pink mist that’s rising out of the river and filling up your tent and campsite, quite honestly. Is a mid-’80s glam-metal concert about to break out?
Dick Tracy, 5/2/13
Sorry for not keeping you up to date on what’s up in Dick Tracy! The new creative team has been pretty relentless in bringing back characters and plotlines from the strip’s storied past, and are now apparently moving on to the extremely wacky late ’60s period where Dick went to the moon repeatedly and Mysta, the daughter of the Governor of the Moon (no, really), married Dick’s son. Later she was blown up by by a car bomb, but now has apparently been … “recreated”? Except for her face? Whatever, any excuse to have a character say “No! I’ve had enough of your world! I want to take my family to my real home. Back on the moon!” is a good excuse as far as I’m concerned.
Beetle Bailey, 5/2/13
I’m a pretty big dummy about military stuff but there isn’t a single vehicle in the U.S. arsenal, past or present, that looks remotely like whatever Beetle and Plato are driving, right? Like, a mid-sized hatchback with big tires and double gun turret on top and some other guns randomly sticking out windows? That’s not a thing, right? Also, this town probably doesn’t have any trouble with parking because it appears to be one vast, featureless parking lot, though predictably it does have a lot of trouble with traffic flow.
So Heathcliff’s “pickup lines” are so effective that he has nine lady cats following him around in a neat formation, waiting in still, eerie silence for him to sex them up, individually or perhaps together? I’m not sure what it would take to make this joke funny, but adding a whole bit where he asks a lawyer for intellectual property advice isn’t it.
Funky Winkerbean, 5/2/13
Just leaving this here to remind you that Les’s creative endeavors have failed humiliatingly before, so there’s hope that they will again! Actually, the success of Lisa’s Story must gall Jessica more than it does the rest of us. “Hey, sorry my book about your dead dad was a flop! Did you hear that my book about my dead wife was a big success? I guess we know whose dead relative is better, huh?”
Hi and Lois, 4/2/13
My feeling is that, as a rule, people bring up the idea of going to a marriage counselor not (obviously) when things are going great and not in the middle of a screaming fight, but in the post-storm lull, the aftermath of a long, draining argument that has left both parties exhausted. That’s what I’m assuming is going on here, with Irma’s expression in the first panel all worn out and heavy lidded. I appreciate the narrative conceit that we’re being dropped down into the midst of some long, dark evening in the Thurston marriage, and that we’ve landed right as things turn: when Irma thinks that now is the time to finally make a last ditch effort to save their marriage, only to discover that Thirsty is ready to go another round. Look at her face in the second panel! This is going to be uglier than you can imagine.
Mark Trail, 4/2/13
Wow, I’m not sure how I missed the fact that these bass fishing contests that Rod Bassy has been rigging had big cash prizes? Like, I honestly thought it was just for fishing glory. I guess the motivation behind Rod’s elaborate cheating schemes is much more obvious now. It does make the whole plot a seem a lot tawdrier to me, though, and Bluegill’s comical, dignity-free glee at winning by default sure isn’t helping.
Dick Tracy, 4/2/13
Dick Tracy is teaming up with Jumble Jeff and David Hoyt to teach kids important information they need to know about the economic and distribution models for modern-day printed syndicated newspaper content. Could nefarious supercriminals have altered your favorite comic or puzzle, for evil purposes? It’s best to handle the Sudoku with tongs, just to be sure!
Nobody in Marvin’s family cares very much whether he lives or dies.
Finally, Spider-Man finds a level of superheroics that he can handle. (Just kidding, he’ll try drinking it and then say “Gross, is this skim?” and spit it out all over his costume.)
Dick Tracy, 3/20/13
Sure, Dick Tracy isn’t in favor of puzzle-fixated weirdos robbing the Ren Faire in broad daylight and otherwise hassling the law-abiding citizens of his fair city. But there’s always a bright side to everything! For instance, since The Daily pays a syndicate to run the Jumbler’s daily puzzle, Dick and Sam are well within their legal rights to march down to the newspaper office, smash up all the computers with billy clubs, and then dynamite the presses. This will prevent this criminal from making any further profit from his sinister Jumbles, and if in the process it stops the liberal media from running constant biased crybaby stories about an out-of-control police force running roughshod over due process, well, that’s just an added bonus.
Mark Trail, 3/20/13
Yes, Rod Bassy’s van will be very difficult to find among the literally tens of vehicles parked in this tiny fishing hamlet, considering his name is pained on the side in giant letters and all. Still, it’s fun to watch Mark and Bluegill work themselves up into a frenzy imagining the vigilante violence they’ll perpetrate to cover up their joy at Rusty’s demise.
Apartment 3-G, 3/20/13
My mistake! I thought this guy’s thing was that he hit on emotionally vulnerable war widows, but it turns out he just likes to drop his pants and wave his dick at them.
Dick Tracy, 3/13/13
So there’s a new plot in Dick Tracy, and it involves this eccentrically dressed puzzle-obsessed possible supervillain, who is most definitely not The Riddler, a piece of intellectual property owned by DC Comics and its corporate parent Warner Bros. Anyway, this not-The-Riddler person has been taunting, or maybe just generally acting weird at, Dick Tracy in videos he’s posting online — videos that, as we can see here, are becoming increasingly transparently sexual.
Mark Trail, 3/13/13
“Good lord, we need to put a stop to this skullduggery immediately! And, if time permits, rescue Rusty before his kidnappers brutally murder him. I’m sure he’ll understand. The integrity of the professional bass fishing tournament circuit is at stake!”
Funky Winkerbean, 3/13/13
Haha, that’s right, Mopey Pete! Screw those people at Montoni’s! You may be a depressive loser but at least you got out of Westview. That’s your greatest achievement. Don’t give them the second-hand Skype time of day!