Funky Winkerbean, 11/15/13
I don’t know why, but I was under the impression that Lisa’s Forbidden Diary, the one that will help Les get inside his late wife’s head and unlock her cinematic secrets, was from, like, a time in her life when she and Les weren’t married and spending all their time together. Turns out nope! It’s just a record of all the stuff that Les probably would’ve known if he’d been paying attention at the time. Anyway, the very first passage Les reads consists of Lisa making a clunky joke and then noting smugly that the people she made it at didn’t seem to get it, probably because they weren’t smart enough. “That’s my girl,” Les thinks, smirking in her memory, smirking because she cannot. “That’s my girl.”
So it took me a while to figure out exactly what’s going on here, mostly because Heathcliff’s jeans have been colored the exact same shade of orange as his fur, and I was going to berate the syndicate colorist for doing this, but really, has Heathcliff ever worn pants before? Wouldn’t his sudden decision to do so cast an unflattering and frankly disturbing light on the years of pantslessness that led up to this point? Anyway, what’s going on here is that Heathcliff, who is wearing jeans that are the exact same shade of orange as his fur (and, side note, imagine leaving the house wearing only garments that precisely matched your own skin tone, imagine how everyone would look at you in mingled fascination and horror), is no-hands eating a turkey leg, and gorged himself to the point of bursting his pants button at exactly the right time for said pants button to hit a dog in the face. It seems like an awful lot would have had to go exactly right here for this plan to work out, but I guess Heathcliff is bored with his usual dog-harassment and wanted to take on a real challenge, you know? “He gets them with girth” says a nearby child, to give an example of another thing I’d rather not think too much about.
Dick Tracy, 11/15/13
I’m sorry, did you think Dick Tracy was an anachronistic square-jawed fascist wholly unfamiliar with American pop culture? Dick Tracy wants you to know that he’s cool, or at least was cool, back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. You know, back when he was young, taking in the post-punk and early new wave scenes in New York, hanging out with all those guys before they were famous, doing coke in the bathroom at CBGB with Patti Smith, what have you. Later he had them all arrested, of course.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/15/13
You guys, there is literally nothing Rex Morgan likes hearing better than “it’s going to cost them triple,” especially when the person reaping those tripled costs is a member of the Morgan family whose finances Rex is responsible for. Look at how pleased he is in that third panel, to hear about all the money his lawyer will be extracting from a local nonprofit arts organization! I’ve literally never seen him so happy. Just for comparison, this is the face he makes when a patient thanks him profusely for saving his life:
Mark Trail, 11/15/13
I take back what I said yesterday about the Mark Trail bug talk being boring — at least, boring in some conventional sense. Now I think it’s boring in a fascinating sense, like a five-hour Central European art house film where a village is increasingly infested with flies that represent the legacy of Communism or maybe just man’s own inherent corruption, and the inhabitants endure the plague with grim stoicism. There’s a shot of several flies on an old man’s face that goes on in silence for nearly two minutes. “Is he ever going to brush them off?” you wonder. He does, eventually. But they come back again a moment later, and he realizes that swatting them away was futile. The moose may seek shelter, but humanity has the self-awareness to know that it’s all hopeless.
So ends the Fall 2013 Comics Curmudgeon fundraiser. Don’t forget the “Donate” button over there on the left, for late contributions or whenever the spirit moves you. Sincere thanks to everyone!
“Astella! She — is dead!”
“Yes, and tastefully off-panel, with wisps of smoke wafting from the charred remains of her once-lovely face. Beautiful she was, Astella, and cunning! But in the end, neither quality could save her, because she lacked the experience and common sense to realize that her gun had become …. Hey waitaminute, T — why are we here, again?”
“Free Rosa and capture El Cóndor.”
“Oops. Sorry, my bad.”
Dick Tracy, 10/18/13
And it’s starting to rain!
Hey doofus, in what sense do you “know how to pilot” the Space Coupe if you can’t make it go where you want, or at the very minimum make it not go where you don’t want? Mmmmm?
Gil Thorp, 10/18/13
But that won’t stop Milford running back Chip Visci and linebackers Omari Troy and Troy Costello — touchdown!
I sincerely and unironically admire this strip’s fidelity to its team rosters. Players come in as freshmen, move up the ranks, sometimes transfer in and out, graduate, and sometimes come back. Some but not all play multiple sports. Seasons start in approximately real time, and the first weeks of each arc [football, basketball, baseball] present the roster so readers can follow along at home. That is some serious attention to craft, right there. We saw something similar in Funky Winkerbean a while back, when a character showed up to correct a minor continuity lapse revealed by publication of a 1970′s compilation.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/18/13
June is intrigued by this talk of mariticide: “Say, why don’t I stop by and ask the wife to tell me exactly how she did it? More moss, dear?”
Apartment 3-G, 10/18/13
Bad Girl Tori doesn’t just defy authority – she defies gravity. And mocks fashion with her signature reverse combover.
Program note: just a reminder that Comments of the Week are delayed until Josh’s return on Sunday, or maybe Monday, whatevs.
– Uncle Lumpy
Funky Winkerbean, 10/14/13
In exchange for his miserable wordplay, Jim Kablichnik gets a ticket to Becky’s miserable event — a capsule illustration of Westview economics.
In the standard microeconomic model, transactions equilibrate supply and demand. But the classical supply curve occupies only the upper-right of four quadrants, the one where supply and demand both have positive value. An entire economy can be built in the lower-left quadrant, if a group of people can be found who will ignore their own satisfaction and seek instead to maximize one another’s misery. Sound like anybody we know?
Here’s how it works – Kablichnik creates misery de novo, just as a miner might bury valuable metal or a cobbler ruin shoes. In panel 2, Jim demands that Becky “get”, or accept, his miserable utterance — but Becky is prepared! Her ticket-currency* stores the misery accumulated during hours of student band practice, and she quickly agrees to an exchange that she rightly calls ‘even.’ Jim also accepts, no doubt musing how he’s going to stick the ticket to Les Moore, whose industrial-scale misery production puts him at the pinnacle/nadir of Westview’s upper/under class.
Trade dynamics need to be worked out. A misery-based economy like Westview could be an appealing trading partner if we can overcome two problems: First, the town offers nothing of value to exchange for the misery that utility-based economies would heap on it. Second, the liquidity of the Westview Misery Market is limited by the number of tears those poor souls can cry.
It’s possible we could create leverage through mockery. After all, multiple voices can ridicule a single underlying misfortune, thus securitizing misery at one remove and dodging the liquidity problem. The misery that comes from being mocked is added value. I see a market-making role for the Comics Curmudgeon here. What could possibly go wrong?
* Denominated in “Montonis”, where 1 Montoni = the aggregate misery generated by consuming a medium plain pizza at the named establishment (no take-outs or deliveries). The “Free Pizza” coupon is the basic unit; a “Battle of the Bands” ticket is worth 5 Montonis and a “Lisa’s Legacy Run” credential 10.
Mark Trail, 10/14/13
“I pick up a piece of recognizably modern technology for the first time in half a century and this happens! That’s it — I’m going back to the steam semaphore for good!
Dick Tracy, 10/14/13
“Your horns are — fake. Power Rays — fake. Eyes, teeth, hair, family, biography, memories — fake, fake, fake! Are you sensing a theme here, sweetheart? ‘Cause I haven’t got all day for this.”
“[Crap, how hard do I have to pull on this thing to get some smoke out of it? I swear if Morrie's slipping those damn Parodis in with my Cubans again I'll put the Havana punch to his other pinky.]”
“You were engineered out of some kid and goo from the bottom of Moon Maid’s wreck. You’ve been brainwashed and there’s a GPS in your abdomen. Crooks did it to steal my 1970′s magnetism technology, which you can pick up at The Sharper Image these days for about eighty-nine bucks.”
“[Dammit, I want to smoke this thing, not drink it. That stupid magnetic humidor Jameson got me at Sharper Image must be on the fritz again.]”
“They picked you because nobody cared enough to keep an eye on you or report you missing. Kidnappers took a shortcut. That’s what crooks do – you blame ‘em?”
“[That warranty's got to be in here someplace and it damn well better be a full year or I'll ruin their sorry asses. Again.]”
“Somebody bring me a damn toothpick!”
Gasoline Alley, 10/14/13
I don’t know whether this speaks worse of Clovia or Slim. The dog’s not entirely blameless either.
– Uncle Lumpy
Prehistoric or not, it’s time to catch up when Prince Valiant beats you to a technology joke by two years.
“And by ‘great practice’ we mean ‘pointless and expensive truck rolls that put us at risk, endanger the public safety, and have had no effect on the frequency or recklessness of your life-threatening behavior.’”
“As part of your award, your family and the Montgomery County Court have arranged a special honorary bunk for you at, um, ‘Firehouse Manor’, where you’ll be on special honorary permanent assignment under the “Honorary Heroes” program, Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 5122.01(B). Your new Captain will give you additional orders on your arrival. Be sure to take all the vitamins she gives you so you can perform all your special honorary duties! Been great knowing you, gramps!”
Dick Tracy, 8/13/13
Dick Tracy‘s new creative team has been referencing, recapping, and extending old characters and plots all the way from the strip’s 1930′s origins through the Moon Madness of the 1970′s. Today’s second panel recaps the final episode before the team took over from Dick Locher in 2011: in it, Mordred tries to kill Dick Tracy in an abandoned granary but is eaten alive by rats before he can seal the deal.
So what happens now? Does the strip move forward from the present moment, with new villains to overcome and crimes to solve? Or does it start recapping the recaps themselves in an ever-tightening spiral until Dick Tracy shrinks to a single image, of a solitary rat nibbling on the last morsel of a villain, every day forever?
Heathcliff Moves On, Part XLIV: By car, scooter, balloon, elephant, and now by cannon, a cat’s gotta travel.
BOOM, I’m outta here — apparently, I’ve been selected for some sort of honorary program, and I don’t want to be late for my initiation! Josh returns Wednesday morning with more of the rich, savory comic goodness you’ve come to expect from the Comics Curmudgeon
Dick Tracy, 7/17/13
When we last checked in with Moon Maid, she was fleeing to Dairyland after her attempt to return to the moon ended in failure. Given the traditionally Chicago-centric world of Dick Tracy, it seemed reasonable to assume that this was a reference to the nearby great state of Wisconsin. But today’s strip makes it seems like she’s wandered into Berlin circa 1945 instead. Is this the scene of a typically violent Dick Tracy storyline’s denoument? Is America’s greatest lawman just leaving ruined buildings in his crime-solving wake?
Mark Trail, 7/17/13
“If isn’t them, I don’t care, though. Fuck otters I don’t know personally. I hope he makes them into hats.”
“Also, your ‘tires’ are perfectly two-dimensional circles, somehow resting on their infinitely thin edge. Why aren’t they slicing through the pavement as if it were butter?”
(That “birthday” in the title is my birthday, by the way. I am 39! Enjoy today’s post while I mourn my lost youth.)
Herb and Jamaal, 7/12/13
Herb’s mother-in-law is a fallen angel, cast out of Heaven after she and her evil confederates attempted to rebel against the Almighty.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/12/13
The introduction of flatlander science into Hootin’ Holler could have radical implications for the lives of the community’s inhabitants, which is why Maddy’s boy will probably be burned at the stake by the end of the week.
Dick Tracy, 7/12/13
“I know cigarette smoke could really irritate a throat injury, Dick, so just say something if you don’t want me to light up. No? Nothing? I’ll just take your silence as permission!”
It’s kind of sad when your real name is more embarrassing than “Pastrami Guy.”
Mother Goose and Grimm, 7/12/13
Grimm would like to “take a personal day,” for sex.