Dennis the Menace and Family Circus, 12/7/16
Happy Pearl Harbor Day, everybody, a day that will live in infamy, a day that went mostly ignored in the comics today, even though many of the old-man characters in various strips are anachronistically supposed to be World War II vets, something even Crankshaft is too young for, honestly. Anyway, these two panels taken together pose the question: what’s really menacing in this life? Is it Dennis’s wild and aggressive accusation that Mr. Wilson, a decorated war hero, was secretly in league with Tojo and the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere? Or is something more banal and yet ultimately more terrifying: that even the most dramatic and momentous events in human history can fade, in the course of just a single lifetime, into a misty half-memory that someone like Jeffy will only vaguely have a grasp on?
Dick Tracy, 12/7/16
The fact that the main villain in this Dick Tracy storyline’s name was “Selfy” and that he was obsessed with taking selfies was one of a jumble of ideas that were entertaining even when they didn’t quite gel with each other. It mostly got dropped over time, but it’s fun to bring it back in the end here, as Selfy attempts to take a murder-selfie that turns out to not be quite murder-y enough.
The Phantom, 12/7/16
Fool! The Phantom doesn’t pay high prices for cable or satellite service! He’s already got Internet access in the Skull Cave, and gets his TV via over-the-top streaming services of varying legality! He’s not held down by your rules! He’s … the Ghost-Who-Cuts-The-Cord!
Dick Tracy, 12/5/16
It’s no secret that, once the days of Dick Tracy’s violent insanity ended in 2011 (with a storyline that concluded with a villain in a bondage mask being eaten alive by rats) and a new creative team took over, I stopped focusing much on the strip here, mostly because it just wasn’t such an object of sick fascination for me any more. There hasn’t been anything particularly dramatically different about the current plotline, yet somehow it’s really caught my imagination with its string of low-key absurdities as it shambled from “a mean Congresslady wants to put space aliens in concentration camps” to “a guy who can’t stop taking selfies is lying low at the zoo.” Anyway, today’s strip particularly tickled me, mostly because of Dick’s line in the first panel. “Another storage area? Who knew that zoos had so much stuff that they needed to store? When am I going to get to stop looking in areas where things are stored and start shooting people in the face?” Don’t worry, Dick, I’m pretty sure that getting cattle prodded in the back is very much something that the Major Crime Unit’s internal review board will be glad to let you get extremely trigger happy over!
Dennis the Menace, 12/5/16
Wow, Dennis the Menace turned into bondage porn so gradually we barely noticed!
Hi and Lois, 12/5/16
Wow, Hi and Lois turned into a crushingly realistic depiction of a couple exhausted by parenthood and slowly losing whatever residual affection they had for each other so gradually we barely noticed!
The Lockhorns, 12/5/16
Is this the first time we’ve seen the top of Leroy’s head? I don’t care for it. I don’t care for it at all.
Mary Worth, 12/5/16
[I run up the stairs and throw open the door to the rooftop]
[I’m on the roof of an apartment building in a dreary metropolis]
[It’s pouring rain]
[I run to the edge of the roof and with a great heave pull aside a huge tarp]
[Underneath it is an ancient-looking spotlight]
[I throw a huge switch on its side]
[electricity surges into it and huge shaft of light beams into the sky]
[something’s written on the spotlight, something that’s now visible across the city]
[everyone for miles around cranes their necks to read the message written on the clouds]
MARY WORTH IS ABOUT TO GIVE A FORTYSOMETHING WOMAN ADVICE ABOUT WHETHER IT’S OK TO FUCK A 25-YEAR-OLD.
Dick Tracy, 11/29/16
You have to give the new-ish Dick Tracy creative team credit for bringing the strip into something that’s semi-recognizable as the modern era. I mean, the strip’s trademark bit of gee-whiz futuristic tech is now on sale and really something of a niche market, which I’m not sure if that makes their job easier or harder! Anyway, today’s strip shows that Neo-Chicago’s Major Crimes Unit is really getting with the times; they’re less likely to get information by building long-term trusting relationships with street-level informants or via brutal beatdowns of suspected criminals, and instead are just trolling Instagram for pictures of people who seem reluctant to be photographed. Thank God Dick, at least, reacts in his usual inscrutable and incorrect fashion. “This is great. I want you to have the boys in the photo darkroom print up a blown-up version of this — obviously there’s no other way to get a better look. But that’ll take hours, so let’s the two of us head down to the zoo and start shooting first and asking questions later. Hopefully that blown-up photo will count as ‘probable cause,’ retroactively.”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/29/16
I was going to go into a riff about Sarah making fun of her one-year-old brother for not having any friends, but then I realized that Sarah doesn’t appear to have any friends either, especially now that the Morgans have abruptly cut off contact with her mobster patroness. Like, who would Sarah have at her fantasy birthday party with the clown and the bounce house and so forth? Would she invite the kid who made fun of her paintings, just so she could keep him on the other side of a velvet rope and make him watch her frolic, by herself?