Mary Worth, 8/4/15
I’ve gone through a lot of fads and obsessions over the eleven (!) years I’ve been writing this blog, but Mary Worth is, and always has been, my lodestar. A quick peek at my stats shows that fully a quarter of the posts I’ve ever written discuss this strip. And you know what? It deserves all the attention. Today’s strip, in two efficient panels, encapsulates everything great about it: the overblown narration box, the crazy dutch angles in panel one as Ian pulls his hair out in consternation, and Toby’s twisted rage-face making her look like she’s planning on slitting Ian’s throat with that X-Acto knife. All this drama, of course, is turning on a relatively minor dispute, which could be resolved in one of several wholly acceptable ways — Ian could apologize and reschedule, Ian could cook something simple himself, Ian could explain his own error and ask the University Director what kind of takeout he’d like. But no, the Camerons have mutually and angrily decided to spin a terrible web of lies, in which Toby will attempt to pass off restaurant takeout food as her own, for literally no good reason at all. We can only hope this all unravels terribly and violently over dinner and Ian’s quest for academic advancement is ruined, ruined, but no matter what I am salivating to see what comes next, just as Ian probably is at the thought of takeout food.
Judge Parker, 8/4/15
Judge Parker’s joys are more subtle, but still worth savoring. Obviously when Sam’s close personal new friend (with whom he will never interact again, not once) gave him a skeet gun as a gift, it was a $20,000 Italian skeet gun. Unlike Sophie, I have no desire to Google anything about skeet gun models or their cost or nation of manufacture, so I’m just going to enjoy Sam’s rapid change of heart between panels one and two. “Hey, Sophie, this’ll be a chance for us to bond, and … wait, it cost how much? Yeah, keep your grubby hands off my high-quality, luxurious gun.”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 8/4/15
Speaking of class war, I too like my whiskey neat, and one of my go-to jokes about that is to say “in a glass” when people ask me how I like it — a joke I will now immediately stop making after seeing an addled British aristocrat say it in a soap opera comic strip. I’m pretty sure our put-upon servant is wearing gloves so that he doesn’t leave prints when he eventually throttles Avery.
Hi and Lois, 8/4/15
Having Lois’s head stick appear in front of the bottom of Dot’s word balloon is an interesting visual choice, but the fact that said word balloon covers up the house shutters makes it look like Lois is sticking her head right through that window. Anyway, I’m focusing on this minutia because I don’t want to deal with the fact that Hi and Lois’s long marriage is riddled with lies and deception.
GOD DAMN IT PLUGGERS I’M NOT A HUGE FAN OF THE BIG BANG THEORY OR ANYTHING BUT IT’S BEEN ONE OF THE HIGHEST-RATED SHOWS ON TV FOR EIGHT YEARS. THERE’S NO WAY IT CAN BE DESCRIBED AS “THE LATEST” ANYTHING. EIGHT GODDAMN YEAAAAARRRRRSSSS
Gil Thorp, 7/16/15
Huh, for some reason I had thought football phenom True Standish was a senior, and had just blown into town to help Milford win the Valley Conference title trophy, aka “the Golden Cock,” before graduating to become a backup quarterback at a second-tier Big Ten school for the next three years. But it looks like we’ve got another year of his laid-back, good-natured antics to go! Today I mostly like the way True’s less-talented teammates are laughing it up in panel two. “Ha ha, you’ll be courted by important people who can advance your career, while we’ll hang out here drinking off-brand soda and watching other people jet-ski! High five!”
The idea that our beloved (?) B.C. characters comprise the entirety of a tiny, isolated band of hunter-gatherers is probably the most accurate depiction of paleolithic humanity in this strip to date. Here’s hoping the accuracy continues and we get a good look at what happens when power relations in a society without organized political structures shift: fratricidal violence.
Mary Worth, 7/16/15
Oh, OK, maybe this will be the drama behind this mysteriously still ongoing Mary Worth storyline: Adam is psyched to be working with Terry, while Terry is only kind of enh about it! This strip can squeeze another three to five weeks out of that for sure.
The Lockhorns, 7/16/15
One of the main appeals of zombie apocalypse fiction — of apocalypse fiction of all types, really — is this: that though the world depicted is one suffering from terrible trauma, it’s also one where the constraints of our current lives have suddenly been swept away. In all likelihood you’d be killed in the opening hours of the plague or uprising, of course, but there’s a visceral thrill in imagining yourself in a new situation, with your boring money troubles and domestic squabbles vanished along with the restraints of traditional social morality. But the Lockhorns are so dead inside that even this mental escape is impossible for them. They know they live in the worst of all possible worlds, and that this is the only one there is.
You’re a plugger if you’re extremely careful to respect the trademark rights of patriotic American companies like Johnson & Johnson, but the French communists who run Chanel can go fuck themselves.
I had a little difficulty parsing the text of today’s Pluggers — it’s actually a pretty good example of why I’m O.C. (Oxford comma) for lyfe. There was a brief moment where I thought maybe “Beltone and the Scooter Store” were a wacky morning DJ duo on the most old-person-friendly radio station around. In fact, they are, respectively, an apparently perfectly respectable hearing aid manufacturer and a company that manufactures mobility scooters that went out of business in 2013 after being having perpetrated upwards of $50 million in Medicare and Medicaid fraud. In other words, even Pluggers’ old-people cultural references are several years out of date! But the overall theme of today’s panel still stands: the U.S. Postal Service largely exists as a marketing tool for companies that try to make money off the elderly.
Mark Trail, 7/10/15
“Yes, we can afford this expensive office in a Manhattan high-rise because unlike literally every other print publication on the planet, Woods & Wildlife Magazine is insanely profitable, thanks to one thing: boat explosions. Our readers can’t get enough of them! So I don’t care what that wife of yours says, you’re going out on that boat, and if it doesn’t explode on its own, you make it explode, do you hear me?”
I spent a lot of time trying to relate this joke to the octopus having eight tentacles and Heathcliff having two feet and that adds up to ten, but then I realized that two of the octopus’s tentacles are being held aloft like arms and then also I checked with my perennial beginner surfer wife and she told me that the whole point of “hanging ten” is that all your toes are off the board, which is exactly what we’re not seeing here, so you know what? Screw you, Heathcliff. Screw you.
Funky Winkerbean, 7/10/15
“The reunion…! The one … foretold … in prophecy!” I have no idea where this is going but I’ll bet it’s gonna be pretty grim!