Hi and Lois, 6/29/15
As Hi and Lois slowly retreats to its retro roots, the Thurstons are also starting to fulfill their role from a less genteel age: not only is Thirsty an unpleasant drunk once again, but the childless couple are also depicted as being just a little less classy overall than the Flagstons, and I mean “classy” as in economic class. Sure, they live in an identical suburban house next door, but there are hints. That patch on the chair, for instance: Lois would never permit anything so shabby in her home! The family dynamic that has Irma doing yoga in the living room of what I assume to be a multi-bedroom house specifically to annoy her husband is another issue altogether, as is the fact that Hi immediately says “that’s good, right?” to Thirsty’s announcement.
Funky Winkerbean, 6/29/15
Ah, let’s check back in with Cindy’s story, which it’s my understanding is about … how young people are terrible to old people? Hmmm, something seems off here, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Ooh! Ooh! I know! He got them from a genie! Man, I’m really enjoying Heathcliff’s new arc-driven storytelling style.
“Wow, this section is full of misdirected lower-middle-class cultural resentment! Wouldn’t want you reading any of that.”
Don’t you miss the good ol’ days, when a soldier could be violently beat up day after day in the comics and no meddling politicians would disapprove?
It’s true: if you’d been wandering in the desert since 2005, you might assume that e-mail was still the most important thing that you’d need to catch up on. Trooper Benson doesn’t know the extent to which texting has supplanted many other forms of communication, and he hasn’t even heard of Facebook Messenger, Twitter DMs, WeChat, WhatsApp, and any of the other bewildering things that have sprung up in the last decade. Sure, he’s a poor devil, all right — but maybe, in his own way, he’s the lucky one.
Family Circus, 6/16/15
Billy (7)’s reign of violent substitute cartooning terror continues! Today, Mommy Keane is about to be murdered by a nattily dressed old-timey gangster, who appears to be planning to use curtains as a sort of improvised garrote.
The expressions on the faces of our characters here — disgust and contempt on the dog-lady waitress, horror and shame on the bear-man customer — are exquisite and evocative. “No! It was a joke. A joke! I don’t even know what it means, I swear. I hate France! Don’t — don’t make me go live in the big city, I beg of you!”
As entertainment becomes more and more dominated by reboots and sequels of well-known franchises, moviemakers are encountering a real dilemma: is it worthwhile to spend significant portions of the first movie of a rebooted continuity covering the protagonist’s origin story? Can we assume that pretty much everyone already knows about the radioactive spider, great power great responsibility, Bonesaw is ready, etc., and just skip to the superheroics? Or are there still newbies out there who would end up baffled and alienated by this approach? Today’s Newspaper Spider-Man proposes a radical solution to this problem: simply start each new series with the main character explaining his background story to a Freudian analyst. Problem solved! Storytelling problem solved, I should say; Spider-Man’s deep and crippling emotional problems certainly aren’t going to be resolved in just one session.
Slylock Fox, 6/5/15
When this puzzle appeared in a Sunday strip in 2009, I mostly saw it is a convoluted trick by Grandpa to make his grandkids feel like jerks for not remembering his birthday. But now that we get a closer look at him — his stubble, his wild eyes — I’m getting a different vibe. A crazier vibe. A “last year was 72 and this year is 74 and you add the digits and you get 20 which is what the Illuminati invoke as a ‘triangular’ number” vibe.
Nice job, colorists: textual clues clearly indicate that those are supposed to be white stars on a blue background, the better to make American flag footwear for the Fourth, but by making them red you’ve turned our plugger child into a promoter of Godless Communism.
Apartment 3-G, 6/5/15
I know there are only two kinds of background in Apartment 3-G anymore — “dowdy mid-century apartment interior” and “mid-century New York City streetscape” — but a narration box in Wednesday’s strip said that Lu Ann and Mike’s gross flirting was happening “at the hotel.” But now suddenly there’s a knock on … some door? And Tommie’s arrived? And she’s keeping busy? And the background is different? WHERE IS EVERYONE WHAT’S GOING ON WHAT IS HAPPENING HELLLPPPP