Mary Worth, 6/2/14
Haha, well, that Mary Worth storyline ended pretty abruptly, didn’t it? One minute Tommy’s finding love and good honest hard work, both of which will sustain him as he finally enters adulthood and maturity (assuming he doesn’t develop Meat Lung from breathing in those sandwich fumes all day); then, suddenly, it’s Pool Party time, with Wilbur and Iris being all lovey-dovey in the background. (Tommy is not in attendance, of course, because he’s busy trying to get mustard stains out of the upholstery in the VIP section. THEY NEVER COME OUT, TOMMY; THEY NEVER COME OUT.)
The main theme here is obviously that Mary Worth sees life as a never-ending series of passive-aggressive contests in which she must triumph in order to maintain her self-image; this isn’t news, exactly, but it’s interesting to see it made so explicit here. “My brownish chicken blobs were a big hit last month, but this month I plan to obliterate all these earth-toned food shapes! Only Mary’s delicious chicken things can be remembered! Nothing else!” Then she spots a little kid, and plays nice while trying to figure who she belongs to and what horrors that person will suffer for violating the condo rules that preclude any children from coming within 500 yards of, or looking directly at, the Charterstone compound.
Slylock Fox, 6/2/14
Wow, Slylock sure is smug about his plan to keep him and Max alive by building a rudimentary desalination plant! Yep, they’ll have fresh, potable water indefinitely, if by “indefinitely” you mean “a couple weeks, tops,” since the process involves boiling water and the only fuel available is a single smallish palm tree and a boat that Max has already begun to cannibalize. Sure, boiling that octopus alive, using a giant spoon to occasionally push its writhing tentacles back into the pot, seemed like a fun way to pass the time, back when Max thought they could just drink as much ocean water as they wanted. Hindsight is 20-20, you know?
Heathcliff’s vibe can best be described as “surreal whimsy”; the thing is, if you ratchet back how aggressive you are about it, that also describes the New Yorker cartoon sweet spot. This one hits pretty close to that mark, honestly.
You know, I spend a lot of time making fun of all the poop jokes in Marvin, but that’s not all the strip is about! For instance, there are also jokes about how Marvin doesn’t like his father very much.
Family Circus, 4/30/14
We’ve seen the Keane kids watching anachronistic non-flat-screens before, as is to be expected in a strip that, like many legacies, is usually constructed from a comprehensive library of decades-old clip art. Today’s installment is interestingly post-modern, though, in that the very outdatedness of the art is transformed into a self-referential joke by the rewritten caption. What do you suppose the original joke here was? “Look at all those books grandma has! Is she a Communist?”
Funky Winkerbean, 4/30/14
Well, that didn’t take long at all! John Darling’s last words weren’t a defiant announcement of his devotion to his secret lover at all, but rather a weirdly phrased declaration of love for his daughter. Turns out he was secretly a good guy, to one (and only one) person, namely his infant child. I guess that solves the mystery that was bothering Jess, somehow! The rest of us can just be relieved for her sake that her father didn’t live long enough to inevitably use her beloved nickname in a cruel and degrading fashion (“Hey, whatever happened to my unrealistically proportioned little Barbie doll? Better lay off the deserts, sweetie!”).
Mary Worth, 4/30/14
Ooh, look at Wilbur, acting like a big shot, showing off his connections to Santa Royale’s rich and powerful! Meanwhile, in panel two, Jerry is practically going cross-eyed just imagining all the sandwich revenue Wilbur has generated for him over the years. What a wonderful, mutually beneficial relationship this has been!
Marvin thinks his friend’s house smells “strange” because the air isn’t thick with the stench of his own putrefying feces. That’s the entire joke of this comic strip, which is published in newspapers across the country!
Funky Winkerbean, 4/10/14
If, like me, you’ve reached the Stockholm Syndrome stage of your Funky Winkerbean readership, you’ve no doubt come up with some little strategies to derive enjoyment from the unrelenting murk of gloom. What gets me through several panels a day is the knowledge that said gloom may be unrelenting, but is not without texture; we still have the opportunity to discover how exactly the characters will have their dreams crushed and their spirits broken. When it comes to Jessica, whose new motherhood is impelling her to complete her quest to document the father she never knew, her trajectory of sadness is now clear: she will slowly learn, over the course of her project, that her father was an asshole and nobody liked him.
(This is as good a context as any to note that the inimitable Chris Sims’ March Funkywatch is available for your enjoyment!)
I’m less concerned about the protection of Heathcliff’s secret identity (why did he even wear his superhero outfit to the vet in the first place?) than in his ongoing and rapid menace decay. Specifically, it bothers me that he’s wearing what’s obviously a Batman costume but the yellow disc on his chest conspicuously lacks the bat-symbol. Is Heathcliff worried about trademark violations? Is he suddenly all about respecting the intellectual property rights of DC Comics, Inc.? Is he afraid of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s lawyers? Pathetic.
“I tried to explain to her that ever since we stumbled onto that witch’s coven and our eyes were blinded and turned eerie, milky white by the burst of dark magical energy they cast at us, our other senses have become much more acute, plus we have the power to read minds! But she didn’t even listen to me, though I have a hard time distinguishing between thought-speech and voice-speech anymore, so perhaps I wasn’t actually speaking aloud to her.”
Reggie is somewhat oversexed and not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I find it unrealistic that he’d be so desperate for romantic attention as to be an easy mark for Jughead’s scam. Still, if this is the setup we need for him to disappear screaming into a swirling, furry vortex of hungry hungry cats, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief.