One of Crankshaft’s running jokes/verbal tics is calling Google “Granpa Google,” which I actually sort of like. It’s fun and whimsical to imagine Google as a helpful, chatty elderly relative, rather than what it actually is, which is to say an unthinkably vast database of information with a shockingly efficient search algorithm owned by an immensely powerful and inscrutable dystopian corporation. At any rate, Granpa’s got this one wrong! A real anti-matter brownie would in fact instantly explode into an tremendous blast of destructive energy the moment it came in contact with the air, wiping out these bus drivers and everyone else for miles around, which, you know, we should be so lucky.
Wizard of Id, 1/20/16
As like a million people pointed out to me when I wondered about it, the new-ish artist of Wizard of Id is none other than Mason Mastroianni, grandson of strip co-creator Johnny Hart. Considering how famously devout Hart was, it’s interesting that the big innovations in this strip over the past few weeks have been highly sexualized supernatural beings.
Judge Parker, 1/12/16
Oh, hey, remember back in October when April said she had just one last war crime to commit in the Balkans at the behest of her shadowy taskmasters, and then she’d come home and start churning out the next generation of Judges Parker? Well it turns out that it isn’t quite so easy to walk away from the murderous world of undercover intelligence work. Can the Parkers get April to give up the dangerous, exciting world that she loves and get domestic? Can they convince the U.S. intelligence establishment to let her go? Will several large checks make this problem, like all other problems that afflict the Parkers, go away?
I’m … pretty sure the joke here is that Pam calls Jeff “Jeffrey” during sex, and has for years, and is suddenly only now being made aware that this is also something his mother, who lives with them, calls him, and that he hates it when she does. Has their entire sex life together, presumably spanning decades, been an awful, Oedipal punishment for him? No, don’t worry, he assures her, when she calls out his full name while they have sex, it’s … kind of sweet. Kind of sweet! I guess that’s better than “when I’m inside you I see my mother’s face on your face,” right?
Hi and Lois, 1/12/16
OH MY GOD DAWG HAS EVOLVED OPPOSABLE THUMBS
RUN, FLAGSTONS, RUN
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES
The newspaper comic strip is an art form with a dilemma: each strip must, to a certain extent, stand on its own; but unless it’s a pure gag-a-day strip like the Far Side, it must also make use of a library of tropes, running gags, plots, and character elements to round out its world and live up to its full potential. But in doing so it risks confusing or alienating new readers. For instance, we all know that today’s strip is just the typical Crankshaft Has Built A Fire That Has Gotten Out Of Control gag that this strip loves, layered over with the usual inexplicable Funkyverse melancholy, but can you imagine if this were the first Crankshaft you ever read? “Oh my God!” you’d think. “That poor family! Their house is burning down! Maybe a loved one is trapped inside! Look at their stricken faces — they have nowhere else to go, and it’s so cold out!” Tomorrow’s inevitable cranky old man joke would leave you very confused indeed.
Beetle Bailey, 1/8/16
You know, even when laws change, it takes a long time for people’s attitudes about themselves to follow suit. In other words, even though Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was repealed more than four years ago, Sgt. Snorkel is going to have to drink a lot of beer before he can really enjoy himself at this leather bar.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 1/8/16
No need to look so alarmed, Morgans! Welton Green may not be comfortable with sociopathic students, but it has no policy banning narcissists.