Slylock Fox, 1/26/15
One of my favorite things about Slylock Fox is the fact that the planet isn’t entirely populated by anthropomorphic animals; although the vast majority of the human race was apparently exterminated as the beasts took control, a few representatives of our species remain, presumably enough to preserve a breeding stock, and need to deal with the unimaginable trauma the best they can. It’s impossible to tell whether these men were professional clowns in the Before Time, or if dressing as such is the only way they can deal with the madness of the world they inhabit. As clowns number two and three demonstrate, traditional clown makeup long ago ceased being manufactured, leaving them to do the best they could with material that actually matched their skintone. Basically if you can visualize a faux-hobo clown wearing flesh-colored makeup stealing candy from a bipedal, dress-wearing pig’s porch, desperately holding up his pants as he runs away, and not break down weeping, you have a heart of stone.
Apartment 3-G, 1/26/16
OK, this thing where the art in Apartment 3-G has little or nothing to do with the writing is just getting sad and alarming, guys. Like, when Margo and her dad were having lunch at a “Tribeca Grill” that looked suspiciously like the inside of somebody’s dowdy apartment, there was at least one word in that description that worked, and that word was “inside.” But now Margo is just straight-up ordering breakfast at a “cafe” that is literally just her and some other woman standing out on the sidewalk. “Now that’s what I call a healthy appetite!” her interlocutor says, as she stares directly into the face of madness.
Gil Thorp, 1/26/15
Speaking of the face of madness, how about panel two of Gil Thorp, eh? Against Gil’s advice, Maxwell has decided to forge an alliance with Marty Moon and establish a memorable #brand! And that brand is MAX BACON™. Because when it comes to bacon … who doesn’t want the max? Other than people keen on not dying of heart disease, that is!
Herb and Jamaal, 1/26/15
Let me tell you lucky kids today: if you grew up before the Internet provided an on-demand stream of smut into every household, you spent a not-insignificant part of your junior high years parsing movie descriptions in the paper for exactly terms like this, just in case there was a chance you could see these so-called “adult situations” on HBO after your parents were likely to be in bed. Jamaal, a jaded inhabitant of our modern porn-world, just sips his iced tea and regards the on-screen simulated humping with disinterest and vague distaste.
Mark Trail, 1/26/15
Do you think Mark is quickly changing the subject in panel two because he’s thinking “Hmm, this swamp-king is awful blase about having seen a mangled corpse and left it behind to be devoured by bog-creatures, better tread lightly,” or because he’s thinking “Well, that problem is solved! I’ll never have to deal with that ponytail man again!” It’s so hard to tell with him.
You comment of the week is coming in a moment, but first, an unpaid pre-endorsement: Your favorite anthropomorphic crime-solving fox will soon be available in puzzle book form, for the kids, from beloved Slylock Fox cartoonist/faithful Comics Curmudgeon reader Bob Weber, Jr.! You can pre-order Go Fun! Slylock Fox Mystery Puzzles or Go Fun! Spot Six Differences from Amazon! Don’t worry, I’ll let you know again when they’re published, but why not pre-order now? (There is no reason not to pre-order now.)
And there’s no reason not to enjoy today’s comment of the week!
“If there’s anything that gets Mary more excited than old people having sex, it’s when her meddling leads to old people having sex. Those potatoes are in for some mashing tonight!” –BigTed
Or the runners up! Very funny!
“You see, Rusty, I’m trying to explain how you were born. You and your brethren are the bluegills, and the largemouth ate all of them but you, then choked and died. Then, you ate all the babies. I realize that this metaphor has likely made things more confusing, but I assure you it’s accurate. You ate a lot of babies.” –rbmalpha
“Margo, it’s two in the morning. I’m in my sleepin’ polo!” –Shoe Substitutes
“The security camera POV in the first panel suggests that Marty Moon is going to get ‘the scoop’ whether or not Maxwell agrees to that interview or not. ‘You haven’t seen anything yet, Mr. Moon,’ the lad foolishly says. Oh, yes, he has. More than you’ll know.” –Joe Blevins
“Sure, Mark Trail loves nature, but Mark Trail isn’t one of those hippie, hairy Greenpeace PETA environmentalist pansies, no sireebob. Mark Trail is a conservationist! What’s a conservationist? It’s a little like an environmentalist, but Mark Trail won’t hesitate to burn hippos or beat the shit out of alligators to show them who’s boss. Also, clean shaven. Mark Trail will punch your hippie beard right the fuck off your face, you filthy commie.” –Comrade Dread
“There is so much right about the artwork in today’s strip, from Joey’s ‘I’m-gonna-puke’ squiggle of a mouth to Dennis’s menacing ‘eyes behind the bangs’ to the cookie bloat of both boys’ bellies, but the very best is the script on the cookie jar — very 50s/60s, the time that these boys are frozen in. I wonder if this artist could render ‘bourbon’ just as evocatively when rendering these same two experimenters a few years older, in their teens.” –handsome Harry Backstayge, idol of a million other women
“I could understand humans in The Flintstones universe using animals as tools due to man’s dominion over beast, but I find animals using each other as tools far more fascinating. Those stares are signs of the breakdown of their social order. This sudden realization makes them plot using each other for all sorts of daily tasks. The feeling would be comparable to walking down the aisles of Home Depot after buying a new house.” –sporknpork
“Having Lu Ann tell you she trusts your good sense is not much of a compliment. It’s like having a tree stump admire your thumbs.” –Gabacho
“The owner-kid’s quirkily-clothed pal looks positively terrified to witness the wrath of Heathcliff, unsurprisingly. ‘Hey, I might be an aspiring clown who comes to your house to escape my dysfunctional home life, but even I think this is strange!’ While the owner-kid’s attitude is more ‘I have been emotionally deadened by years of this. Just remember not to swear unless you want that beanie of yours bloodstained and hanging in the den.’” –Jack loves comics
“So what exactly do people dream about in this strip? Turkey and a bottle of wine? Let’s hope it wasn’t a wet dream.” –Wave Man
“As the herd thins, plugger-isms will also get strangely specific. ‘U know ur a Plugger when Louise needs to help you cut your food’” –inaflash, on Twitter
“First it was nothing below the waist; now it’s nothing below the shoulders. If Frank Bolle lasts much longer this strip will just depict talking scalps. The only way to tell them apart will be the color, and apparently even that will get screwed up.” –Tom the Sailor Man
“Welcome back to cooking with Mary Worth. In the first part of the show, I showed you how to defur a tribble. Now, I’ll demonstrate peeling off the tough outer skin. After that, you can bake them for 25 minutes at 350 degrees and feast on the goo within! Remember, keep your tribble alive as long as possible — the fear makes them tender!” –Voshkod
“And now the truth comes out: Hannah has never actually held a flute before in her life, much less played one. ‘Let’s see, I guess I just clutch my right hand around here like so, then delicately hold this key down with my left index finger, then bite down on the mouthpiece while holding my body as if I’m in the throes of a severe neck spasm…’” –TheDiva
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Slylock Fox, 1/14/15
I’ve spent literally years contemplating the strange, animal-dominated world of Slylock Fox, wondering about the terrible, transformative Event that separates it from ours. The lens I’ve seen things through has usually been scientific, but what if I should be thinking theologically instead? In the Genesis flood narrative, God famously promises Noah that He won’t destroy the world with a flood again, which is pretty specific and seems to leave some loopholes. The spiritual “Mary Don’t You Weep” famously warns “God gave Noah the rainbow sign/ no more water/ the fire next time,” but God’s ways aren’t necessarily what we would expect. What if God chose to cleanse Earth of awful humanity by simply moving his favor down a rung to the animals, transforming them into beings capable of both moral reasoning and displacing us? If that was the goal — if Slylock Fox’s anthropomorphic beasts were an attempt at resetting the clock and creating a new Eden — then today’s strip reminds us that the fatal flaw, the indelible link between knowledge and sin, was baked into the design from the beginning.
Dick Tracy, 1/14/15
Aw, it’s funny because patriarchy dictates that detective prowess, like names, can only be transmitted down the male line! And also because none of these clowns are going to be the world’s greatest detective. Batman is the world’s greatest detective. Seriously, wouldn’t it be funny if they did a Batman movie where Batman was dressed up in a rubber bat suit but instead of punching bad guys and driving around in a tank-car he just looked for clues with a magnifying glass? It’d be a lot more entertaining than whatever they’ve got planned for Ben Affleck, that’s for sure.
Sure, you could look at this as Heathcliff just reusing the exact same joke twice in six days. But I choose to imagine that Heathcliff has been clawing viciously at the bars of the bird’s cage for nearly a week now, while his owner-family does nothing, leaving the bird to crazed with terror but still clinging to the household etiquette rules.
Apartment 3-G, 1/14/15
“Meanwhile, at two in the morning, after having been exiled from their home by Margo’s drug-powered mania, the girls wander the streets of Manhattan (?), talking to each other vaguely.”