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Update: Out of Margo bracelets as of 5/15/13 early morning. Thanks again, generous readers!
It’s the Comics Curmudgeon Spring 2013 Fundraiser! Contribute $15 or more to receive a copy of one of Josh’s favorite recent comic-strip panels, signed, matted, and suitable for framing. Thank you, generous readers!
Action a-plenty in the midweek comics — let’s dive right in!
Judge Parker, 5/15/13
Ho ho, quite the little geopolitical economist our Sophie, eh? Here the economy of Niger is portrayed as a giant Ponzi scheme, substituting modern easy-to-trade firearms for old-timey low-liquidity postal reply coupons. Next step is to formalize it as a multi-level marketing enterprise, recruiting unclaimed hostages as kidnappers to build the downline and create a never-ending upward spiral of guns, hostages, and ransom money. Then fire up the sales team by giving everybody a logo t-shirt with the slogan: “Guns go ‘POW’ — ask me how!”
Hey Spider-Man! Take a tip from lawyer Matt Murdoch on the first rule of questioning a witness: “Don’t ask a question if you won’t like the answer.”
Mark Trail, 5/15/13
Slylock Fox, 5/15/13
Pluggers, Jr. meets The Daily Jumble. As a plugger himself, dog-man is merely alarmed by his neighbors’ atrocious table manners. Out-of-town visitor parrot-man, on the other hand, is downright disgusted. Guy looks like he’s ready to KORF his ROPTAR all AELTP the RNCO — and that NIKAPN ain’t gonna help much.
Dennis the Menace, 5/15/13
OK, is it me, is it cartoonists, or is the Bad Girl really always the hottest in the room? And we’re talking about a room shared with Alice Mitchell, so SRSLY! Dennis, cut the crap and pay some attention here — you won’t be 5 forever.
Oh, ha ha — I forgot. You will be 5 forever. Kindly resume the crap.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/15/13
Payback time at the Morgans’. I hope Sarah has more success with her little project than June had with Rex.
– Uncle Lumpy
Apartment 3-G, 5/13/13
Oh, look — the Apartment 3-G creative team is taking a tax-deductible “research” trip to Italy! Oops, I mean — Tommie’s mom is coming back!
You know, for the longest time after A3G debuted in 1961, moms were thin on the ground. Perhaps the proto-moms of that bygone day disapproved of their single daughters living independent lives in the big city (like WHORES). But let a mere half-century flit by and suddenly the joint is crawling with moms: Margo’s eccentric ethnic fortune-telling and/or stuffy whitebread matriarch bio-mom Gabriella, her murderous lunatic stepmom Bobbie, Lu Ann’s colorful Texas bio-mom “Aunt” Ruby and her disdainful rancher stepmother, and now Tommie’s homebody drudge-mom. (Unlike her roommates, Tommie has never been adopted, because duh.)
Watch for Thompson mère et fille to scour Italy for the familiar comforts of home, trudging from McDonald’s to Starbucks to Holiday Inn: “You call this ‘coffee’? Everything here is so old! Forty kinds of pizza and no Chicago-style? What is that, another church? What do you mean, you don’t have meatballs? That statue is buck naked — right out in public! Where’s the ketchup? Why don’t they just speak English? This is nothing like the Bellagio! Well don’t call it a ‘piazza’ if you don’t have anything to eat!”
Marvin disgusts himself, bringing the total to … EVERYBODY.
Slylock Fox, 5/13/13
Slylock — a crack prosecutor as well as detective — always goes the extra mile to keep his indictments entertaining and educational as well as utterly damning to the accused. Look at how engrossed Mr. Turtle is in the fascinating account that will soon cost him his freedom: “Wow, I never knew reptiles like me can’t get fevers — you learn such interesting things in court! I wonder how I came up with that fever story, anyway, if I’ve never had one? Well, there was that one time I scratched myself on the plastic palm tree in my habitat and my shell got all inflamed. I felt really hot and stayed in bed for days! That was when, exactly — late March or something? Hey, do you suppose my lawyer could use that somehow during cross-examination? Where is my lawyer, anyhow? Wait, my lawyer is Max Mouse? I didn’t know defense attorneys could work for the prosecution — that’s two new things I’ve learned today — I’m sure glad I came!”
Mark Trail, 5/13/13
Gah, how much stuff do these people take “camping”? I realize they flew in by seaplane and Shelley likes her comforts and all, but here we’ve got full beds with mattresses and pillows, a cookstove with a 20-pound propane tank, not to mention table, chairs, canopy, rods, waders, and creels, plus Mark’s no-doubt impressive armory. And look at the size of that tent — I bet you could bowl in there.
Thank goodness Shelley and Cherry found room to pack their matching tailored Bettie Page loungewear, adding a note of retro luxury to the idea of “roughing it.” Anyway, as soon as all the baggage and trees burn up in the coming forest fire, it will be refreshing to see Shelley save the day with a quick call to the rangers from her much-maligned cell phone. After their ordeal, none of our adventurers will stray beyond two bars of reception ever again. It will make a GOOD story!
– Uncle Lumpy
Slylock Fox, 5/9/13
Now, you might think that little Johnny falling asleep in mid-arithmetic is the sign of some serious medical condition, but just check out that menu hanging on the wall next to him. Lobster? Quail? Paté? The child’s slovenly clothes aside, this is clearly some sort of school for the ultra-wealthy, so probably this little one-percenter has just dozed off after a particularly rich lunch, served to him on butter-drenched platters brought to his mahogany table by a steady stream of manservants. The school nurses must be experts in treating gout and other diseases usually associated with bewigged 18th-century British gentry.
Haha, all the drama and excitement you’ve been enjoying over the past few weeks, as a mind-controlled Daredevil battled Spidey and brought him to the Kingpin, have been a fraud! Everyone was faking and nobody was ever in any danger. The main takeaway here is that Kingpin’s “Faster! Work faster!” management strategy is a failure, since it just causes your underlings to produce sham, non-functional products and then plot with your enemies to destroy you.
Heathcliff’s plan to foster a cult of personality among his house’s rodent population seems to be moving along nicely! I enjoy the fact that his owner-lady and owner-son (grandson?) are looking at this enormous cheese-idol with wide-eyed awe, but his owner-man is pissed off. Never mind the theological implications here; dude is just mad that this huge blob of no doubt stinky cheese in occupying space in his living room, where it will presumably get moldy and even more disgusting in short order.
Mary Worth, 5/8/13
Meanwhile, the world’s most awkwardly intense first date proceeds apace! Sure, let’s sit on the same side of the table, that’s not weird at all. Haha, I’ll just blurt out that I love everything you said, even though you clearly phrased the sentence as a counterfactual! I sincerely hope that Beth goes and gets a ukelele, hands it to Tom, and watches him try to act like he knows how to play it.
Tropical rain forests support more than half the world’s species of plants and animals — and according to this cartoon, all those species are terrifying. Pave it now! Replace it with Wal-Marts and strip malls with nail salons and Little Ceasars franchises! IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SAFE.
Panels from Momma and Crankshaft, 4/17/13
Occasionally here at the Comics Curmudgeon, we must remember that we exist to praise the comics as a visual medium, and so here we go: two comic panels that deftly convey what it’s like to be eating food and then you realize the food is terrible and you’re thinking about the social consequences of spitting the food out, maybe onto your plate or maybe just into your hand. Momma is having dinner at her son Thomas and his wife Tina’s house; one of the weird dynamics of the strip I’ve always queasily enjoyed is that Momma is terribly cruel to her daughter-in-law, and narratively it’s pretty clear that our sympathies are not supposed to be with her, and yet her number one complaint — that Tina’s cooking is awful — is also always presented as legitimate. Do you think that she deliberately feeds Momma disgusting food, as revenge, for everything? Meanwhile, in Crankshaft, the terrible food is coming from Lena, the bus drivers’ transportation manager, and her emotional relationship to the people who loathe her baking is an underdeveloped Crankshaft plot element. Still, does she lash out with crappy food because of the toxic psychic environment created by Crankshaft’s mere presence? Almost certainly.
Gasoline Alley, 4/17/13
If, like me, you suddenly realize you have no clear picture of how all the characters in Gasoline Alley’s aging, sprawling cast are related to each other, check out this sweet family tree, which has a 2004 copyright date and a 1995 web design aesthetic! Anyway, it turns out addled supercentenarian Walt Wallet is grandfather-in-law to Slim, against whom I’ve always harbored an unreasoning hatred (well, there are a few reasons). More to the point, despite his encroaching dementia and general good nature, he clearly holds the same low opinion of Slim that I do, which warms my shriveled black heart.
Slylock Fox, 4/17/13
Usually the Slylock Fox true/false trivia strips do a pretty good job of offering questions that could plausibly be either true or false. Still, today’s second question is just way, way too specific to be false, though that would be hilarious. “2) False. The Global Soap Project is an art collective that steals soap from hotels and uses it to create ephemeral bubble-sculptures that are displayed at invitation-only events at exclusive private art galleries in lower Manhattan. After everyone goes home, the remaining soap suds are flushed down the toilet. Suck it, soap-poor nations!”
Slylock Fox, 4/15/13
I’m sorry, Slylock, but your ratiocination has failed you today! Your logic has neglected to take into account the polysemous nature of the word “plant.” Shady Shrew wasn’t claiming to have grown silk on some fantastical tree or bush! No, he was using “plant” in the sense of a factory, and was referring to a vast, Dickensian structure in the gritty industrial port of Marseilles, where sentient silkworms are enslaved to help make the cheap shirts that retailers like Shady Shrew sell to sentient birds and beavers. Enjoy your nice blouses, ladies, you’ve got silkworm blood on your hands. [NOTE TO SELF: CHECK WIKIPEDIA BEFORE PUBLISHING THIS TO SEE IF SILKWORMS HAVE BLOOD]
Dennis the Menace, 4/15/13
Oh come on, Mr. Wilson, we all know the IRS doesn’t allow you to claim fractional dependents! Really, if you’re going to try to lay the groundwork for an insanity defense at your trial for Dennis’s gory dismemberment, you’re going to have to do better than that.
Book-o-tainment note: I have been on a Leave of Absence from Wonkette due to my need to finish writing my novel, but Wonkette writer (and Comics Curmudgeon reader) Dok Zoom has a review of the new Al Capp biography over there that might be of interest to you!