Beetle Bailey, 7/28/16
Poor Otto is already forced to wear clothes and walk around on two legs in a grotesque parody of a human being. But for me, having him wear a watch is a bridge too far. What’s the greatest thing about being a dog? That you never have to know what time it is. That you live according to the natural rhythms of the world and your body, not the micro-segmented increments of the day that we humans have spend centuries measuring with increasingly distressing efficiency. This saddens my dog-loving heart!
Though not as much as I’m saddened by this week’s Marvin, in which Bitsy the dog becomes obsessed with his own mortality, in a plot similar to the episode of the Disney Channel show Dog With A Blog that I talked about last month, hmmmm. Anyway, today’s strip reveals that, before he dies, Bitsy yearns to kill.
Mary Worth, 7/27/16
Since we’ve already established that Tommy and Iris look uncannily alike, this is a genuinely great way to show their different life trajectories: Iris, working hard to finally get her college degree, and Tommy, enjoying is Vicodin breakfast, along with his regular food breakfast, sitting in almost the exact same post. It also looks a lot like one of those anti-drug campaigns dreamed up by squares who actually think studying hard is cool, but doesn’t really transmit the intended message to most people. Like, sure, kids, you could spend your mornings writing down a bunch of facts like a god-damned nerd, or you could lazily eat cereal and literally escape from the pain of this world, which I think most of us would agree sounds pretty great. My favorite touch is how Tommy is enjoying his coffee out of a mug that says “MOM” on it. Too bad mom isn’t there to drink out of it herself! Because she’s at the library at breakfast time! What a loser!
Dog heaven is apparently just a infinite series of small cages where dog souls are boarded for all eternity. That’s still an improvement over dog hell, which is an endless sea of urine and feces.
Mary Worth, 7/13/16
The Sad Story Of Tommy’s Back Problems could’ve gotten into some interesting socioeconomic territory, examining how someone who works as a janitor at a small business, almost certainly without employer-provided health insurance or sick days, deals with an injury that, while not permanently debilitating, would keep him from working for a period of time. Instead, we’re real concerned about how this will affect Tommy’s relationship with his coworker/girlfriend, who apparently only sees him at work, and who will quickly forget he even exists if he doesn’t show up, so I guess we’re going to get some comical scenes of Tommy trying to operate a mop while doped to the gills on Vicodin. “I don’t want my girl to forget what I look like!” he says, while staring into the mirror, determined that he won’t forget what he looks like either. Poor Tommy seems to think he has a very forgettable face.
One of Prague’s biggest tourist attractions is the New Synagogue, so called because when it was built in the 1270s it took over the position as the city’s main synagogue from other, even older houses of worship. Now I’ve encountered (and even perpetrated) some ugly-American-abroad-isms in my time, but I’m willing to bet that exactly zero American visitors see the place and say “Whoa whoa whoa, this place is super old. I want to see something new, like the name implies. Gimme some poured concrete, an injection-molded facade over over plywood frame, the whole nine yards. I didn’t come all the way to Europe to see something historic.” And yet we are meant to believe that Marvin’s family is reacting exactly thus! Each strip seems intent on making sure we understand that Marvin isn’t uniquely terrible, but instead comes from a deep and ancient lineage of badness.
Despite the fact that he’s being played by known Briton Benedict Cumberbatch in the upcoming film, good ol’ Steve Strange is in fact 100% American, as he seems to be going out of his way to make clear here. “Yep, those Yankees, they sure play in the World Series a lot! The World Series is the championship of Major League Baseball, a sport that I, like most ordinary Americans, enjoy following. Please do not hunt me down and burn me at the stake due to my practice of sinister witchcraft, the techniques of which I mastered in the mysterious Orient.”
At first I assumed “demon” was just another cute pet name Greg uses for his eldest son, but no, check out the devil horns Curtis is flashing in that last panel. I think we need to make our peace with the fact that Curtis created a flash mob using the demonic powers granted to him thanks to his allegiance to the Lord of Lies, the King of Hell, whose affection for millennials is well known.