Panels from Beetle Bailey, 5/24/15
Usually the best thing you can say about the art in Beetle Bailey is that it’s serviceably cartoonish, but I think something subtle and interesting is going on here today’s strip, which invades the dreams of a number of Camp Swampy denizens. General Halftrack imagines receiving an award from some generic civilian dignitary; though the achievement is obviously above his real-world capabilities, his dream-self remains identical to what we know of reality. In Lt. Fuzz’s dream, though, he’s being given an award from — who? We all know that Halftrack is the lucky focus of his monomaniacal sycophancy, so we have to assume that this figure represents the General. But his mustache is less fluffy, his face more dignified. Does Fuzz dream not just of recognition from his boss, but recognition from a better version of his boss? Is his world so sad that he can’t conceive of a Halftrack-less life, and at best can imagine only incremental improvements?
If some member of the Miller clan were to be the ultimate cause of humanity’s fiery atomic extinction, I would’ve assumed that it’d be Marvin. But as long as the hated hell-infant is vaporized by dozens of converging Russian ICBMs, I’m not really going to quibble about the process.
Oh hey remember how MJ mysteriously wasn’t in the hotel where Spider-Man had dropped her off, which meant she could’ve been in mortal danger? Ha ha, turns out nope, which Spidey could’ve very easily determined by using the tracer he put on her clothes, rather than going through all the rigamarole with the hotel clerk. All he has to do now is not startle his wife into thinking he’s some kind of scary pervert! [Panel three: Spider-Man 100% fails at not startling his wife into thinking he's some kind of scary pervert.]
You know the only thing lazier than setting up a speech or joke or any creative work with a dictionary definition? Setting up a week’s worth of jokes with the exact same dictionary definition. Still, kudos to Marvin for not breaking out the poop joke variation on this thing until Thursday!
Herb and Jamaal, 5/7/15
Jamaal, he’s literally clenching his fists and smiling cruelly and bellowing “power.” I’m pretty sure which direction he’s planning on going with it.
We live in a world where everyone is eager to #engage with #brands, but it can be difficult to tell if the resulting #conversation is #authentic. For instance: this week, the syndicated comic strip Marvin has been featuring its own versions of the lovable Minion characters from the successful Despicable Me franchise. In order to find out if this represents true #engagement or just paid-for corporate #synergy, we need to do a little sleuthing!
- Marvin is syndicated by King Features, which is owned by the Hearst Corporation, which is privately held by a trust created by William Randolph Hearst himself.
- Despicable Me and its sequels and spinoffs (including Minions, headed to theaters on July 10!), is distributed by Universal Pictures, a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, which is in turn a subsidiary of the publicly traded Comcast Corporation.
Now, although the Hearst Television subsidiary does own several local NBC affiliates and has some joint television production ventures with NBCUniversal Television Distribution, the two parent companies are not significantly entangled, and so it seems unlikely that this week’s Marvin strips represent corporate-directed buzz-building. Thus, we can enjoy them for what they are: just some wacky jokes using someone else’s characters to make the point that Marvin is a huge dick.
“Why is nothing ever easy?” The cry … of a hero!