Herb and Jamaal, 5/21/13
I don’t expect naturalistic dialogue from Herb and Jamaal, but wow guys this is some badly-translated-from-the-Slovak weirdness right here. Herb’s facial expressions as he stares at the money and then ever so slowly pulls out his wallet and slips the cash inside it are also pretty creepy. Especially his heavy-lidded zonked-out look in the final panel. Pretty sure he plans on “blocking out the memories of the experience” with powerful opiates, which are what he needs the money for.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/21/13
Speaking of unnatural dialogue, “Another anniversary, Elviney?” is certainly a weird way to offer congratulations to your best friend and her husband! “Another anniversary, Elviney? I thought you swore you’d be widowed or divorced by now?” “I married Lukey fer life! An’ I assumed that our community’s poor medical care and unusually short life expectancy would either kill off my husband or leave me in the sweet embrace of death long ago!”
Normally when someone brings a baby to a movie theater — which, let me just mention, is one of the worst things you can do as a movie goer, what the hell could you possibly be thinking — you can’t blame the baby. You should blame the parents, for being thoughtless morons. But … look at Marvin’s face. That evil smile. He’s looking forward to disrupting the cinema experience for everyone involved. The question is, will he start off by crying, thus driving everyone around him into a rage right away? Or will his opening move be a massive diaper dump, filling theater patrons with disgust and nausea?
Apartment 3-G, 5/13/13
Oh, look — the Apartment 3-G creative team is taking a tax-deductible “research” trip to Italy! Oops, I mean — Tommie’s mom is coming back!
You know, for the longest time after A3G debuted in 1961, moms were thin on the ground. Perhaps the proto-moms of that bygone day disapproved of their single daughters living independent lives in the big city (like WHORES). But let a mere half-century flit by and suddenly the joint is crawling with moms: Margo’s eccentric ethnic fortune-telling and/or stuffy whitebread matriarch bio-mom Gabriella, her murderous lunatic stepmom Bobbie, Lu Ann’s colorful Texas bio-mom “Aunt” Ruby and her disdainful rancher stepmother, and now Tommie’s homebody drudge-mom. (Unlike her roommates, Tommie has never been adopted, because duh.)
Watch for Thompson mère et fille to scour Italy for the familiar comforts of home, trudging from McDonald’s to Starbucks to Holiday Inn: “You call this ‘coffee’? Everything here is so old! Forty kinds of pizza and no Chicago-style? What is that, another church? What do you mean, you don’t have meatballs? That statue is buck naked — right out in public! Where’s the ketchup? Why don’t they just speak English? This is nothing like the Bellagio! Well don’t call it a ‘piazza’ if you don’t have anything to eat!”
Marvin disgusts himself, bringing the total to … EVERYBODY.
Slylock Fox, 5/13/13
Slylock — a crack prosecutor as well as detective — always goes the extra mile to keep his indictments entertaining and educational as well as utterly damning to the accused. Look at how engrossed Mr. Turtle is in the fascinating account that will soon cost him his freedom: “Wow, I never knew reptiles like me can’t get fevers — you learn such interesting things in court! I wonder how I came up with that fever story, anyway, if I’ve never had one? Well, there was that one time I scratched myself on the plastic palm tree in my habitat and my shell got all inflamed. I felt really hot and stayed in bed for days! That was when, exactly — late March or something? Hey, do you suppose my lawyer could use that somehow during cross-examination? Where is my lawyer, anyhow? Wait, my lawyer is Max Mouse? I didn’t know defense attorneys could work for the prosecution — that’s two new things I’ve learned today — I’m sure glad I came!”
Mark Trail, 5/13/13
Gah, how much stuff do these people take “camping”? I realize they flew in by seaplane and Shelley likes her comforts and all, but here we’ve got full beds with mattresses and pillows, a cookstove with a 20-pound propane tank, not to mention table, chairs, canopy, rods, waders, and creels, plus Mark’s no-doubt impressive armory. And look at the size of that tent — I bet you could bowl in there.
Thank goodness Shelley and Cherry found room to pack their matching tailored Bettie Page loungewear, adding a note of retro luxury to the idea of “roughing it.” Anyway, as soon as all the baggage and trees burn up in the coming forest fire, it will be refreshing to see Shelley save the day with a quick call to the rangers from her much-maligned cell phone. After their ordeal, none of our adventurers will stray beyond two bars of reception ever again. It will make a GOOD story!
– Uncle Lumpy
Mary Worth, 4/30/13
Oh my goodness, you guys, it looks like we are about to get Mary Worth’s version of the immovable object/unstoppable force problem! You see, on the one hand, the thing that Mary likes more than anything else is seeing young people matched up into happily heteronormative couples — particularly couples like Tom and Beth, who she has selected for eternal happiness with her inscrutable Mary Powers. ON THE OTHER HAND, there is nothing Mary Worth hates more than lies and dishonesty. But what if the only way to ensure that Beth and Tom could get to know each other better, in a romantic but wholesome way, would involve Mary lying? What path will she choose? I sure hope she chooses lying, because (a) Mary lying, even in the cause of love, should be delightfully awkward, made even more so by the fact that (b) Mary, Tom, and Beth’s mom Elinor all live in the same condo complex, so there’s a good chance that the lying will take the following form:
MARY answers the door. ELINOR is standing in the hall.
ELINOR: Have you seen my daughter Beth? I’m worried that she’s whoring herself over at that man-slut Tom’s apartment.
MARY: Oh-h-h-h, of course not, Elinor! Beth is here in my apartment tonight.
ELINOR: Oh. Can I come in and see her?
ELINOR: Why not?
MARY: [Stands silently, smiling, for a long time, like, a really long time, things get uncomfortable real fast but she just keeps standing there silently, forever]
Well might Grossie’s Friend Whose Name I Forget (sigh, sadly “Grossie” is a name that will never, ever leave my brain) look dubious in panel three. If Grossie is so good at spotting plastic surgery from so far away, shouldn’t she notice her tablemate’s nose, pointing up at an impossibly taut angle, presumably being held in place by some kind of industrial-strength facelift technology?
This week’s “Marvin does variations on a dumb joke all week” involves the li’l scamp uploading “feet photos” onto Facebook. Can someone confirm or deny to me that this is an actual thing that people do? I tried Googling “feet photos Facebook” and got some extremely traumatizing results so I had to go take a walk and not look at the computer for a while.
(Side note: remember when CrySpace was the baby-themed social network of choice in the Marvinverse, back in 2009? I guess we can’t pretend that MySpace is relevant enough to be spoofed anymore. Not that we could pretend this in 2009 either, but you know.)
Ha ha, wouldn’t it be funny if they made an Indiana Jones movie in the modern day, with Harrison Ford playing the title role, even though he is an old man? Wait, what? In 2008, you say? Huh.
OK, here is the deal with my relationship with Pluggers, basically: Pluggers presents folksy, down-home bits of wisdom from rural and exurban types that have as an unspoken contrast the way that I and my fellow liberal urbanites conduct ourselves (e.g., we have acquaintances from multiple ethnic backgrounds, we have a passing familiarity with popular culture, we own and use paper towels, etc.); I take this contrast as implying that pluggers think they’re better humans (or human-animal hybrids, whatever) than me and everyone else who doesn’t know how to fix a car and likes living somewhere where you can get Indian food delivered, and I resent it and blow whatever implications are there completely out of proportion.
Every once in a while, though, I encounter a Pluggers that isn’t so much “infuriating” as “baffling,” and today’s Pluggers is one such instance. I hesitate to call this a universal experience, but it certainly has no class or cultural significance that I can detect, unless pluggers assume that we fancy city folk only wear space-age velcro sneakers. I do actually enjoy the drawing of the vaguely poindextery cat (always the go-to man-animal for Pluggers cartoons that aren’t quite plugger-y, as near as I can tell) clearly being sent into paroxysms of obsessive-compulsive anxiety as he feels one of his shoes hugging his foot slightly more tightly than the other, and wondering if he should retie the other one now and if so which set of books under which arm he should set down first to do so.
Aw, it turns out that the Great Spidey Milk-Drinking Caper wasn’t just a typical Newspaper Spider-Man time-wasting tangent, but is actually related to the main plot! I mean, the idea that you could “mix” Peter Parker’s DNA with a mind-control gas to make it Spider-Man-specific is laughable, but I guess it’ll do. The Kingpin probably just has the science-y aspects all mixed up in his head, anyway. He’s not a micromanager! He just wants results!
Hi and Lois, 4/5/13
For the life of me I cannot figure out why Ditto looks so God-damned smug in the second panel. Surely he’s not that impressed with his own terrible pun. Is he proud that he carries the youthful six-pack of an eight-year-old, unaware or unconcerned about the flab he’ll start to develop when he hits puberty?
Herb and Jamaal, 4/5/13
As Jesus said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged, unless we’re talking about someone who won’t cough up money for the collection plate. Go ahead and put that guy on your shit list.”
Marvin is a gross, mean, hateful baby, so I take comfort in the fact that he’s already haunted by the grim spectre of death.
Hi and Lois, 4/2/13
My feeling is that, as a rule, people bring up the idea of going to a marriage counselor not (obviously) when things are going great and not in the middle of a screaming fight, but in the post-storm lull, the aftermath of a long, draining argument that has left both parties exhausted. That’s what I’m assuming is going on here, with Irma’s expression in the first panel all worn out and heavy lidded. I appreciate the narrative conceit that we’re being dropped down into the midst of some long, dark evening in the Thurston marriage, and that we’ve landed right as things turn: when Irma thinks that now is the time to finally make a last ditch effort to save their marriage, only to discover that Thirsty is ready to go another round. Look at her face in the second panel! This is going to be uglier than you can imagine.
Mark Trail, 4/2/13
Wow, I’m not sure how I missed the fact that these bass fishing contests that Rod Bassy has been rigging had big cash prizes? Like, I honestly thought it was just for fishing glory. I guess the motivation behind Rod’s elaborate cheating schemes is much more obvious now. It does make the whole plot a seem a lot tawdrier to me, though, and Bluegill’s comical, dignity-free glee at winning by default sure isn’t helping.
Dick Tracy, 4/2/13
Dick Tracy is teaming up with Jumble Jeff and David Hoyt to teach kids important information they need to know about the economic and distribution models for modern-day printed syndicated newspaper content. Could nefarious supercriminals have altered your favorite comic or puzzle, for evil purposes? It’s best to handle the Sudoku with tongs, just to be sure!
Nobody in Marvin’s family cares very much whether he lives or dies.
Finally, Spider-Man finds a level of superheroics that he can handle. (Just kidding, he’ll try drinking it and then say “Gross, is this skim?” and spit it out all over his costume.)
This would just be another “Ha ha, Ziggy is foolish” panel if not for dark bags under Ziggy’s eyes. As it is, it’s pretty harrowing. What botanical horror has been going on at this house, leaving Ziggy unable to flee and yet still fearful of the ever-proliferating zucchini? Is it an Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type situation, where each of those pods contains a gestating duplicate of one of Ziggy’s innumerable pets? Ziggy has been awake for days, knowing that he’ll be replaced by a soulless pod person the moment he dozes off. This exterminator was his last hope. Nobody can help you, Ziggy. Nobody can help you.
Luther’s wife’s look of face-melting terror in the fourth panel is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen in this strip in years. Still, her reaction at the end of the strip just goes to show how numb she and her husband have become to presence of the caniform hell-demon in their midst. Better the devil you know than whatever she was imagining, am I right? I mean “devil you know” literally, of course. Marmaduke is the Prince of Lies, and everyone in the neighborhood knows him quite well, having been close enough to him to smell the damned souls on his hot, awful breath.
Speaking of monstrous dogs: would I endorse this monstrous dog eating every single one of the recurring Marvin characters one by one, each of them screaming as they slide down his gullet? Yes, yes I would.