Family Circus, 4/11/14
This would be some Garden Variety Family Circus Treacle were not for a couple key details: the expressions on the faces of Kathy and Grandma. Kathy is nervous, unsure of herself: she’s heard about Grandmothers, knows vaguely that they’re older, friendly types, but has never met one in the flesh, doesn’t know what they’re really all about. And Grandma … well, Grandma looks coldly triumphant. This one will do, she thinks. We’ll have to shave her head and put her on bread and water for a few weeks, but she’ll soon adapt to the Program. Don’t worry, dear. You didn’t have a Grandmother before, but you sure have one now. Whether you like it or not.
Better Half, 4/11/14
Haha, that Stanley, taking his love for his wife and turning it into something vaguely unpleasant, as a little passive-aggressive joke! Seriously, though, his blood pressure situation is troubling. Look at his grotesquely swollen fingers! I think maybe he should see a doctor?
Sometimes your comic includes characters whose individual personalities have been built up over years of strips, and the humor from each day’s installment comes from the interplay between those long-established characters. And then sometimes your comic is just an excuse to have random people in your strip tell jokes to each other! My advice in the latter scenario is that the joke should be funny in some way.
Usually Momma focuses on Momma as an overbearing, controlling monster who insists of being negative about every aspect of her children’s’ lives, and to my mind, the strip doesn’t spend enough time exploring another aspect of her personality: her bottomless greed. She’s often distressed that Francis doesn’t have a good job, or (because of her strict adherence to traditional gender roles) that MaryLou’s suitors don’t have good jobs, and this is generally presented as being an aspect of the whole controlling-her-children’s-lives thing. But as this dream sequence reveals, Momma also just straight up wants money, and since she’s old and unemployable and presumably living on some combination of Social Security and her late husband’s meager pension, her only hope of accessing money comes from her children. I mean, look at this! She’s literally sitting in a boat full of money with dollar signs floating over her head sailing towards what appears to be a gold-plated mansion and she’s never been happier in her life. It’s like she’s in a rap video, for pete’s sake.
None of the Crock characters have anything resembling psychological depth, and Captain Preppie, whose whole personality can be summed up as “Handsome, cartoonishly narcissistic ladies’ man”, is shallower than most. Still, today’s strip is intriguing, exploring what happens to someone like this forced to live for years in an isolated desert fortress. The throwaway panels demonstrate his slide from garden-variety egotism to madness, as his love for his own handsome mug summons up eerie visions of dozens of identical Preppie-faces, grown in petri dishes in some awful lab somewhere. Only marginally less disturbing is the main action, in which the crazed Captain obsessively combs the sand around the fort for imperfections, ranting about “clutter,” while his soldiers look on.
Awww, looks like J.J.J. has decided that Spider-Man is too pathetic to kill! This won’t be the lamest victory Spidey has ever scored, but it’s definitely in the top decile for lameness.
Hagar the Horrible, 4/4/14
In benighted, backwards 10th century Scandinavia, where even the rudimentary medical knowledge of the Greeks and Romans either had never been learned or was long forgotten, doctors worked on some combination of superstition, ignorance, and fraud, and so patients may as well have offered their own suggestions and advice on treatment. Still, Helga seems more pleased than you’d think imagining her husband being gorily dismembered in a scene that sounds less like surgery and more like a bloody sacrifice to the violent Norse pantheon.
It’s true: working in retail may be low-paying and low-status, but it sure beats dying in a far-off colonial war when your tiny, isolated fortlet is overrun by a bloodthirsty enemy.
Remember when Heathcliff panels about using marine life as sporting equipment seemed to be written so as to include jokes of some kind, even if they weren’t obviously funny in any way? Well, now they’re just naming fish species. Sad, really.
Apartment 3-G, 4/4/14
I was going to make a joke that panel one here featured Tommie’s post-coital request for oral servicing from this rough-hewn large animal vet, or that Lily in panel two had become so crazed with hunger that she learned how to open a car door, but then I got a good look at Tommie’s huge, terrifying claw-flipper in the first panel, so now I’m just going to sit here and gibber wordlessly for a while.
Better Half, 4/4/14
Speaking of horrifying nightmare-things, it looks like Cthulhu has finally awoken from his dreamless billion-year slumber! HAVE PITY ON US, CRUEL OLD ONE, AND CONSUME OUR SOULS WITH A MINIMUM OF AGONY