Judge Parker and Gil Thorp, 9/17/16
Saturday is a natural point for a mid-plot cliffhanger for a soap opera strip, and these two offer a great Goofus-and-Gallant-style class on how this effect can — and can’t — be achieved. Start with Judge Parker: we all thought Sophie was fine, but it looks we popped the cork on the champagne a little early, eh guys? Because it’s Honey who crawled living from the wreckage, and Sophie who’s apparently still dangling there, proving, if we needed further proof, that Honey was the steel-willed one all along. So is Sophie OK? Is the whole band dead? Does Honey think she’s Sophie? Have the Spencer-Drivers, who only got the call from the police in the first place due to the unseemly influence they have over the local government and services thanks to their wealth and power, bothered to contact the parents of anyone else in that car, who presumably are also worried about their missing children?
Meanwhile, in Gil Thorp, a girl decided to quit the soccer team and become a student trainer. Forgive me if I say this doesn’t bring us to quite the same thrill level.
Shoutout to the Cleveland State Comics Club who, when tasked with coming up with a plot for Crankshaft, settled on “What if Crankshaft did ’shrooms?”
Hi and Lois, 9/13/16
One mark of many a sitcom and comic strip with middle-class American characters is the dad working a generic, nonspecific white-collar job at a generic, nonspecific large company of some sort. So shoutout to today’s Hi and Lois for answering multiple decades-old questions in a single strip: Foofram Industries manufactures nuts, bolts, and other fasteners, and Hi is works in its PR department. This should provide lots of opportunities for gags where Hi, dead-eyed and emotionally exhausted, builds up the strength to churn out 500 peppy words about a revolutionary new alloy that Foofram Industries is going to start using in its screws to increase their stress tolerance by a full 8% or whatever. What I’m trying to say is that based on how boring his usual duties must be, Hi should be thrilled about the opportunity to write about something exciting like this lawsuit, which, for the record, Foofram is getting hit with because one of their nuts didn’t fit properly onto one of their bolts, causing the bleachers at a minor league baseball game to collapse, killing twelve people.
Mark Trail, 9/13/16
Having been denied the use of the company credit card to rent a boat, Mark has decided to rent a helicopter (apparently the risk of choppersplosion is already priced into the insurance?) to get to Abbey Powell’s Mysterious Invasive Species Island Which Is Also Volcanic Even Though It’s Near Kauai And Thus Not Really In The Right Spot For That. I’m particularly fond of Mark’s slightly put upon expression in panel three. “Women! Always thinking they’ve discovered signs of invasive species, amiright? And taking so long to get ready for a date? Eh?”
So the tale of the kid who fell asleep on Crankshaft’s bus never … actually got resolved? Last we saw Crankshaft was grouchily driving him home while his mother desperately drove by the bus in the other direction, presumably in a panic that her child had disappeared. Anyway, today it looks like the kid never did get reunited with his family and has had to live on the bus ever since, quietly training himself in the violent arts at night and awaiting his day of vengeance. That day … has arrived.
Crankshaft trufans (by which I mean Crankshaft haters, which are sadly the only kinds of Crankshaft trufans out there) have long asked themselves: when will Ed Crankshaft, who is remarkably, dangerously bad at his job as a school bus driver, finally be fired? He’s managed to so far stay employed despite the extensive and actionable damage caused by his incompetent driving. But can his career survive actual child endangerment? Stay tuned!
It probably says something terrible about me that the most affection I’ve ever felt for a plugger came from this cartoon: a plugger-lady sitting silently, unsmiling, staring at her tiny TV, waiting for something terrible to happen to the host of the gameshow she watches every day. Maybe it won’t happen today. Maybe it won’t ever happen. But if it does, she wants to be there to see it.