Superhero comic trufans (of which I am not one, but I hear things) know that each iteration of a long-running beloved character, in different continuities across various media platforms, has slight variations when it comes to the nature of their powers. What, then, can we say about Newspaper Spider-Man when it comes to his famous spider-sense? We know it can’t warn him about some pretty important things he might like to know about, like that he’s about to be hit in the back of the head with a club or a brick. So what is it good for? Well, keep in mind that Newspaper Spider-Man is both a risible dolt and keenly sensitive to anything he might perceive as humiliation (earning less than his wife, a famous actress, for instance). And so, today, it’s finally coming out that Spidey and Ant-Man have been captured because Peter knew Egghead was out to catch Scott, and then went and tracked him down anyway. He knows that everyone’s gonna start yelling at him soon, and he deserves it, and his spider-sense is going nuts.
Gil Thorp, 10/13/16
Traditionally, soap opera strips end on a cliff-hanger every day to keep readers hooked. Unfortunately, it’s harder and harder to work this magic on young people, what with their Snapchats and so forth, so now Gil Thorp is experimenting by ending strips dramatically in mid-sentence.
Pluggers have so many emotions and nobody they feel safe expressing them to :(
Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/4/16
So the Morgans seem determined to buy a bloated modern house instead of a fusty, antique-cluttered Victorian with bad romantic karma. But even soulless McMansions from the ’90s have a little character, as Sarah is discovering in the delightful little “hidden” “awesome” “kid-sized only” “playroom” under the stairs that someone less whimsical might call “storage space” or “a terrible accident waiting to happen.” Anyway, note the little “SECRET CLUBHOUSE FOR KIDS ONLY SIGN” already hanging up on the wall, indicating that the “little character” I mentioned in the previous sentence is the ghost of the six-year-old who died after getting trapped in there in 2004.
Haha, I absolutely love the emotional turn this strip takes in the final panel. It would’ve been easy to have our lady bird deliver the punchline with heavy-lidded, languid bitterness, and maybe that was her intention; instead, upon just thinking about her ex-husband, her eyes bug out with anger as she realizes, in a rush of emotion, that she isn’t past the awful end of that relationship, and probably never will be.
Little-known fact: about ten years ago, I made a list of signs that will indicate that we live in a truly degraded age, and “Pluggers does a Viagra joke” was pretty close to the top! Anyway, pluggers gave up on sex years ago, and their main hope for a big romantic encounter is that their joints stop hurting for a few hours, at least enough so they can focus on what their date is saying.
Funky Winkerbean, 10/3/16
I make fun of the Funkyverse visual convention whereby flashback panels are depicted as sepia-toned photographs that look like they’re supposed to be in a photo album, but really, that’s perfectly fine as a quick signal of what we’re looking at, even if, since most of the time periods being flashed back to are well into the era digital photography, it doesn’t really make literal sense. It’s like Microsoft Word using a 3.5 inch floppy disk as a symbol for “save to disk,” or your smartphone using an outline of a classic bakelite phone handset for the app you actually use to make phone calls: sure, it’s kind of goofy, but everyone pretty much knows what it means, and it’s not like I have any ideas for how to do it better.
But unless today’s strip is the result of a complete brain fart over at Ol’ Daily Comics Coloring Central, I’m really at a loss to understand what’s supposed to be going on here. My first thought was that maybe the Starbuck Jones movie is being shot in black and white, for nostalgic purposes, or maybe because it seemed to work for Schindler’s List. But then I realized that of course we’re not looking at the movie itself but the process of filming said movie, so, like, I dunno. Maybe they think this is how you make a black and white movie: by putting all the actors in grey makeup and shooting them against a grey background and grey props. Everyone on set needs to be made up, too. Not a single speck of color can be even accidentally visible!
Things pluggers don’t have access to, as near as I can tell from today’s Pluggers:
- Computers or Internet-capable cellphones of the sort that could give a complete list of football scores at a moment’s notice.
- A television that might recap those scores (I guess we already knew this)
- Friends who might be up on what happened in this week’s games
- Any sense of community or connection to society at large
- Even extremely small amounts of money
Beetle Bailey, 10/3/16
Guys, have … have we considered that Beetle might be dead?