Sequels sure can be tricky! You need to build on an original story that’s beloved enough to merit a second installment and honor what people liked about it while still pushing forward into new territory. We don’t know yet exactly how the fascinating script for Marvella 2 manages to pull this off, but since this Newspaper Spider-Man plot is in fact itself a sequel to a storyline for 2006, we can get a good sense of how you should balance the old and the new. Back then, Marvella’s nemesis was being played by an older actress instead of the director’s young ingenue daughter, and she was angry about having been beat out for the title role by Mary Jane after auditioning for it, rather than actually getting the part and then being angry because she was displaced by Mary Jane when she became available. See, totally different! Similarly, I believe that, at the climax of this story, rather than being knocked unconscious with a lead pipe by a butler, Spider-Man will be bludgeoned by, let’s say, a special effects artist, using something you might find around a movie set.
We already knew that Momma’s dedication to passive-aggression is intense, but she’s really taking things to the next level by having a near life-size photo of Francis in his Boy Scout uniform hanging on the wall just to serve as a prompt for her to belittle him by bringing up his past humiliations.
Slylock Fox, 12/10/14
5) Did your Comics Curmudgeon manage to successfully resist the almost overwhelming urge to Google Image Search “bats with six-foot wingspans” because he knew the results would haunt his nightmares for weeks? Answer: Very true!
Slylock Fox, 11/5/14
In Herodotus’s Histories, the Athenian statesman Solon explains to King Croesus that to his mind Tellus of Athens was the most fortunate man who ever lived, and the brothers Kleobis and Biton are tied for second. Key to their ranking, Solon explains, is that all three not only lived lives that were universally well-regarded, but died immediately after performing their most praiseworthy deed, leaving no awkward fall from grace or aftermath to mar their reputation. (This is meant to contrast with Croesus, whose long and largely successful reign ended in conquest by the Persians, and probably with Solon himself, who lived long enough to see the political system he established in Athens overthrown.)
Our plucky fly here does not, perhaps, qualify as fortunate under Solon’s definition, as his life is about to end ignominiously in a heron’s gullet. But as a tiny insect, he really has no reputation to sully, so perhaps in assessing his life and death, we should instead focus on his inward emotional state and sense of self-worth. He is clearly on top of the world after having dodged not one but two predators and left them steaming mad in his wake. Hopefully his death will be instantaneous and he will go out on top, with that ludicrously adorable grin on his face.
Dennis the Menace, 11/5/14
Bald, tiny, spindly-legged Joey lives in constant fear of one thing: that someday someone will discover that he’s not a human boy at all, but rather an ageless goblin who has escaped his eternal home in the Deep Forest to live among us here in the Realtime Cities. Which of the Tall Ones’ terrifying devices will be the one that reveals his secret? You can never be too careful!
Apartment 3-G, 11/5/14
Guys I know I keep harping on this bizarre lunch but it keeps being flabbergasting that this was allowed to happen. There’s no wine. There’s no custard. They aren’t even sitting at a table. They are blatantly walking around in somebody’s living room. Is this a shared delusion? An aggressive Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf-style impov game, with neither party willing to blink? What is even HAPPENING heeeeeere
Panels from Slylock Fox, 10/26/14
Today’s Slylock Fox Six Differences puzzle takes place in that awkward period after the animals achieved sapience but before they had truly taken over the Earth. Our grumpy park ranger’s face may bear the scowl of prejudice, but his cause is legit: if this bear can now think and reason like humans, shouldn’t he be subject to the same law? Eventually the animals would develop their own cargo cult legal system in response to these issues, but at this moment, I assume that, despite his newfound intellectual powers, the bear here is still more than happy to meet aggression animal-style, with his claws.
Dennis the Menace, 10/26/14
At last, Dennis the Menace has shattered the unspoken rule that all characters in the daily comics must be gentiles! We learn a valuable lesson here today: that little Jewish children and little Christian children can be friends, so long as neither of them understands any of the theology behind their various holidays and just think of them as “that thing we celebrate in [insert season here],” and also agree to come together at the end of October to worship Satan. (Side note: I’m going to accept as canon the clear implication in today’s throwaway panels that Margaret is a well-known anti-Semite.)
Mary Worth, 10/26/14
There are lots of good reasons to wish that Frank Zappa was still alive, and somewhere on that list is my desire to see what he’d think about having a quote almost certainly incorrectly attributed to him used to try to bully an old woman in Mary Worth into an assisted living facility.
Six Chix, 10/26/14
Ha ha, it’s funny because the scalpel blades are breaking off still embedded in the patient’s flesh! There’s so much blood! So much hilarious, hilarious blood!
Tina had sometimes resented the fact that her rift with her mother-in-law meant that she and Thomas didn’t get invited to many family gatherings with his brother and sister. But then, she reflected, if she had been at the house that day, she would’ve been mauled to death by the cold, thirsty bear-dog-things, just like the rest of Thomas’s family.