Mary Worth, 10/11/14
So it seems that Ian never confronted Hanna afte all, which explains why poor Toby was on the receiving end of his grabby, sweaty vitriol. I’m trying to focus on how glowing and ecstatic Mary looks in panel two on being given official permission to meddle in Hanna’s life (by someone who doesn’t really know and isn’t authorized to speak for Hanna, but whatever), but to be honest I’m terribly disturbed by the quote marks Toby’s put around “talk”. I guess we should just think of Ian and Mary as engaged in a long-term game of good cop/bad cop with the outside world, with the thought of Ian’s chinbearded visage twisted in rage being enough to get you to conform to Mary’s vision of how your life should be.
Longtime Pluggers watchers know Reed Hoover as the strip’s most prolific contributor, who once got a whole week all to himself with his folksy down-home ideas for drawings of mutant beast-men. (This 2006 Dallas Morning News article serves as Reed Hoover: Origins, and also the final paragraph is amazing, so please read all the way to the end.) This is all well and good, of course, but I’m a little disturbed that Reed’s name has worked its way into the panel itself, which apparently features the Pluggers chicken-lady actually reading Pluggers in her daily newspaper. Probably the best thing about pluggers is what I’ve always assumed to be their instinctive disgust towards post-modern self-referential narrative, and now even this has been taken away from me.
When we last saw our hero, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN, on this blog, he was he was swinging his way into Doc Ock’s lab. Since then he was immediately captured and subdued with nearly no struggle whatsoever, and, in today’s panel one, has glumly resigned himself to death. But wait! Remember a few weeks ago, when THE AMAZING SPIDER MAN!!! broke into Ox’s jail cell for a little interrogation? Well, it turns out that he did a bad job of fixing the bars he bent to get in, allowing this dangerous, violent criminal to escape! And now said criminal is going to solve our hero’s problems for him and save his life. So, to review: actually attempts at heroism result in failure, while victory is achieved entirely accidentally, thanks to really awful negligence. THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN!!!!!!!!
The Phantom, 9/26/14
Speaking of continuity strip superheroes and negligence, I’ve been totally negligent in keeping you up to date on the current Phantom storyline! It’s been pretty boring so far, honestly, but today’s strip, in which the Ghost Who Walks vows to ignore the snake venom coursing through his veins in order to heroically plant evidence on someone, is worth pointing out.
Pluggers are on a lot of pills, you guys. A lot of pills. They also don’t have any friends!
Mark Trail, 9/16/14
When you think of Mark Trail besting his enemies, you obviously think about punching. There is however a lesser known but still very effective Mark Trail Power Move, and that’s when he rescues his enemies from mortal danger, thus humiliating them. This mortal danger generally takes the form of fiery car destruction caused by the very sort of animal the villain wronged. In this case, Ol’ “Dirty”’s truck was forced off a cliff by a herd of rhinos, no doubt in revenge for all the vicious horn-poaching he dished out on their kin. Mark’s melodramatic pleas for Chris to not die are frankly just metaphorical salt in his metaphorical wounds (as opposed to his actual wounds, which are no doubt plentiful but probably more rubbed with burning motor oil and dirt than salt).
Gil Thorp, 9/16/14
Meanwhile, over in Gil Thorp it’s time for the annual bonfire! God, if there’s one thing we can count on in this crazy mixed-up world, it’s the annual Mudlark bonfire, where players are presented to the screaming multitude, where the masses bay incoherently in their lust for blood, where fists are raised in ritualistic threats of violence, where players stake their very souls on promises of victory, where Coach Thorp basks in the otherworldly glow, where foreigners become citizens of Mudlark Nation, where young women are hurtled into the air to resemble the wrathful Valkyries of old. Anyway, this year someone who I’m pretty sure is “Jarrod,” still tenuously holding onto the starting quarterback job, is trying to cement his leadership role with a crazy-eyed rant in which he promises to crush Milford’s traditional rival. True Standish is more mellow. “Probably some EPA regulation,” he says, explaining why his previous school didn’t burn a massive pile of perfectly good timber in order to propitiate the worship-hungry Gods of Victory. Of course, the EPA is a federal agency and its regulations apply to the entire country, but it’s likely that the U.S. government long ago declared Milford a “purge zone” where laws don’t apply, in hopes that its inhabitants would finish each other off with violence and/or pollution and not trouble the rest of us.
Meanwhile, today’s Pluggers shows us what happens when a population voluntarily cuts itself off from the recreational habits and cultural output of society at large without having the numbers or creative capacity to come up with an alternative entertainment industry. Once you’ve rejected recreational drugs as scary and bad, books as fit only for snobs, and all television and movies produced since 1975 as devilment, how else are you supposed to keep yourself entertained?
Mary Worth, 9/16/14
The Mary Worth creative team knows you need a breather between the excitement of “Mary and Toby talk about Olive” and whatever thrill ride is coming up next, so they’ve provided today’s strip, in which you can read the dullest conversation ever included in an ostensible entertainment product and just relax a bit. Mary is so bored that she looks like she’s trying out a little plugger-style eyeball fun in panel one.
Hey, remember when vuvuzelas were a thing people made jokes about, four years ago?