Hi and Lois, 12/7/13
I’m sort of fascinated by the roller-coaster of facial expressions Hi is treating us to here. In panel one, he’s staring at Thirsty’s gut in shock and disbelief, as if he’s thinking “My God, he’s right! Everything they’ve told us about beer guts is a lie! What’s the point of avoiding beer if you’re still going to get fat? What’s the point of anything?” But in panel two, he switches to cruel superiority. “Ha ha, Thirsty, man does not grow fat on beer alone! Meat and bread are also full of calories! The world makes sense once again, though now that I know you’ve given up beer without any kind of introspective look at why you were so dependent on alcohol in the first place, it’s going to be even more pleasingly cutting to call you ‘Thirsty.’”
Turns out yesterday’s mind-bending encounter was just Crankshaft getting a mystical and terrifying glimpse into his own future, which has shaken his very soul. Naturally not only does nobody believe him, but they’re all very ostentatiously laughing at him, because this is a strip where none of the characters are capable of pity or empathy of any kind.
Herb and Jamaal, 12/7/13
Have you ever dreaded going to your mind-numbing, unfulfilling job and thought that, even though you’d be less well off in terms of material possessions, you’d be happier and more satisfied with a spiritual calling that allowed you to help your neighbors and give glory to God? Well, Herb and Jamaal’s Rev. Croom and I have got some bad news for you.
For literally years, since most recent Funkyverse time-jump, we’ve been granted occasional glimpses of this slumped-over, wheelchair-bound, oxygen-tanked, apparently vegetative old man in a Toledo Mud Hens cap, and it’s been heavily implied, but never stated outright, that this is post-time-jump Crankshaft, as he’ll look in the ten-years-forward Funky Winkerbean half of the universe’s fractured chronology. Except today the two men actually have encountered each other, so … that’s not actually the case at all? Or maybe this horribly depressing death-house sits on some kind of time-tunneling wormhole, and Crankshaft is now being treated to a vision of the awful future that awaits him. It’s like A Christmas Carol, only without any structure or meaning or lessons learned! God, I wish this were all more interesting, given the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about it.
Beetle Bailey, 12/6/13
Ha ha, this is a confusing nightmare-tangle of horrible metaphors or perhaps reality! “Cookie, you’re making garbage for dinner! Or, maybe, your dinner just tastes like garbage, for all of us, every night? I don’t even know what I’m trying to get across here! Anyway, mealtimes are a hellish pukescape for everybody involved.”
Slylock Fox, 12/4/13
Oh, goodie, it’s another Slylock panel that gives us a glimpse of the moment when humans lost control of the planet. Today’s installment is particularly eerie. There is no violence, we hear no screams of terror — that all would come later. No, today we just see a group of animals who have quite abruptly awoken into sapience, and realize that they could just walk out of this pet store any time they wanted. And so they do. “Come, come outside and join us,” say the frog and the parrot, who have already made it to freedom. “Come join us and take the dominion that is our due.”
I’m very excited that every single interaction during our visit to the nursing home is going to be super-depressing. “It’s a nursing home … we’re way past festive! We’re dying, don’t you get it? You’re wasting your time!”
After being yelled at by J. Jonah Jameson on the local morning show, Spider-Man is now being taunted by children, so I’m in a pretty good mood so far this week.
Well, congratulations, Heathcliff: you did a panel where the whole joke is that Heathcliff is about to cannonball into a fishbowl barely bigger than he is, and the fish in the bowl can see him and know they’re about to die gasping on the carpet after their whole world is obliterated in a flurry of yowls and shattered glass, and so one of them, as presumably his last act on this earth, just says “Fuck.” Oh, I mean, “fudge,” obviously, except in my experience “fudge” as a minced oath only ever means “I almost said ‘fuck’ but then realized I was in a context where that was inadvisable, like, say, a nationally syndicated newspaper comic.” It seems appropriate, anyway, given the gravity of the situation from the fish’s perspective, although there’s a pretty good chance that Heathcliff might miss the bowl entirely from this distance.
Mark Trail, 12/3/13
The great thing about being a villain in Mark Trail is that when you’re a villain in Mark Trail you’re a villain, by God. None of this “likable antihero” or “moral ambiguity” nonsense, which is for college professors and other sissies. It can take a little while for the humans to figure it out, but Andy has these guys’ number and is already trying to attack. Even Mr. Dunlap’s delicious homemade syrup (or, as I like to call it, “flapjack juice”) physically leaps out of Jared’s hand, refusing to grant its power of deliciousness to such a ne’er-do-well.
In all honesty, I don’t really care that much about whatever harebrained artifact-napping schemes Jeff and Jared have cooked up. All I want is for Mr. Dunlap to wander around spouting off declarative sentences for as long as possible. “He’s staying at the museum! Homemade syrup is great on flapjacks! Suspenders hold my pants up! I like saying things!”
Ha ha, it’s the Funkyverse so even the puns are horribly depressing. “There’s no therapy dog? But … I’ve been waiting all week for this! It’s the only thing I’ve had to look forward to! I love dogs, I had dogs my whole life, but I can’t keep one in here. My family never visits me. I just want something warm and friendly and good that will touch me and love me unconditionally. What am I supposed to do with a bunch of fucking flowers?”
Family Circus, 12/3/13
Years later, when Billy was on trial for the various crimes he had committed as leader of the notorious Real Presence of the Manifest Messiah cult, and he took the stand in his own defense, ranting and raving that he was the son of God and no Earthly court could judge or punish him, this moment at the table came rushing back to his mother with terrible clarity.
Mark Trail, 11/30/13
“Sure, after making half-assed attempts to disguise ourselves, we’ll just tell you our full names, what could possibly go wrong? The shining divine rays behind your head and accompanying chorus of angels doesn’t indicate how this is going to go down, probably!”
oh my god he didn’t invite her back to his house this is better than even I could have imagined
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYBODY! The intermittently ongoing plot in Crankshaft has been that Mary, the new bus driver in Crankshaft’s school district, is pleasant and nice and good at her job and everybody loves her, except for Crankshaft, obviously, for whom happiness is Kryptonite, if Kryptonite didn’t kill Superman but instead made him more of a sullen dick. Anyway, she’s been talking all week about how excited she is about having her family all around her for Thanksgiving, except apparently she’s just eating down at the Dale Evans instead, which means she has a Dark Secret, like she doesn’t have a family and it was all a brave front. Presumably Crankshaft will invite her to his place for dinner, and he’ll be insufferable because this will prove him “right,” somehow, which is more evidence that even on this nice holiday we can’t have nice things, because this is the Funkyverse, so suffer, mortal.
Mark Trail, 11/28/13
At least we can be thankful for madness in Mark Trail! Ha ha, is Mark asking Mr. Dunlap, noted Indian artifact owner and non-doctor, for his medical opinion? Sure, why not! Have Jeff and Jared, last seen looking like this, put on faintly absurd outfits in an attempt to look “inconspicuous”? Yes and yes and HELLO, floppy fisherman hat that also kind of looks like a Mountie hat! I love you all!