Judge Parker, 3/7/14
April’s dad may be an amoral arms merchant who deals with ex-Romanian secret police and has a “retirement fund” made up entirely of blood diamonds, but at least he likes Judge Parker Senior’s terrible book, which puts him one step above the real monsters: liberal Ivy League college professors.
Heathcliff only loves his owner-family for financial reasons.
Herb and Jamaal, 3/7/14
Herb has been having sex with the restaurant’s catering truck for years, but is now starting to question his auto-monogamy.
Pluggers’ electronics are covered with more disgusting slobber and drool than you can imagine.
After all these years of mocking this strip, I still can’t tell if the central conceit is supposed to be “pluggers are lower-middle-class exurban reactionaries” or just “pluggers are old.” Honestly, I think it wavers from day to day. Today’s panel I’m tentatively putting into the second of those two buckets, because while I wasn’t aware of this particular joy of aging, I also can’t imagine that it has anything particularly to do with anybody’s socio-cultural position within the American mosaic. So, leg-baldness is a thing? A thing that I’m going to have to look forward to? Greeeat.
Dennis the Menace, 2/27/14
Dennis has a known hatred of books and learning, so I guess it’s no surprise that his distorted, terrified vision of his own literate future involves hours of slogging through endless words in dull, aniconic tomes. Still, you can understand why he’s sad about giving up his current reading material, since it looks super rad. Is it about lions driving cars? Lions attacking cars? Just a bunch of lions, stone-cold flipping over cars, and mauling any panicked passengers attempting to flee?
Gasoline Alley, 2/27/14
Gasoline Alley has always been a strip of gentle, low-stakes whimsy — it once had a plot about trying to get a DVD player working that lasted for more than a month — and so it’s always thrilling with the action suddenly bursts into insane violence. When Slim hired a mercenary to drop tons of space-rock on some basketball-playing teens who annoyed him, the story was at least kind of cartoonish. Today’s strip, in which, as predicted, society has completely broken down into chaos due to rumors of the existence of an immortality elixir, seems much more realistic. The foregrounding of the actual jackboots of the billy-club wielding police charging into the melee to brutally restore order is a particularly vivid artistic choice.
“Reflective” is not usually a term we normally associate with pluggers, but you have to admit that there appears to be a certain amount of self-reflection going through this plugger-cat’s mind as he stares at his pill container. Self-reflection and regret. “Boy, reefer and LSD sure seemed real scary back in college,” he thinks. “Seemed real important to keep away. These things are safer. That’s what they tell you. The government says so, so I guess it must be true. D’you think the guys who smoked grass are taking any more of these pills today than I am? Or the gals?” He thinks about a girl from his junior year, who had been in his math class — he never was very good at math, and she used to help him with some of the problem sets sometimes — and how he saw her at that party, and she smiled when she saw him and tried to hand him a doobie, or whatever they called it, and he stuttered and made an excuse and left, then avoided eye contact with her for the rest of the semester. What do you suppose she was up to? Did she have a daily pill organizer too? Did she ever get married? Was she on the Facebook? What was her name, again?
Blondie has been serving up non-stop Olympics jokes pretty much since the Games started, each cornier and more Olympo-sycophantic than the last, to the extent that I’m now just completely assuming that a fair amount of money changed hands between the International Olympic Committee and whatever Cayman Islands holding corporation owns the rights to Blondie’s intellectual property.
Hagar the Horrible, 2/22/14
It’s Hagar the Horrible! He’s just like you, except that he lives in a anarchic, violent, Hobbesian hellscape.