I continue to be puzzled and irritated by the continuing existence of Crock, which, after publicly insulting me, decided to waltz off into the sunset. The official line was that new Crocks would cease on May 20, 2012, and King Features would supply “Classic Crocks” to newspapers for the next three years. Except the post-May 20 strips have looked not like classics (which I perhaps optimistically assumed meant installments from the early years of the feature) but instead pretty much like the last few years worth of strips, except not repeats, so I have no idea what their story is. Anyway, I bring this up not to harp on it endlessly, but only to suggest that maybe it’s only in this weird, ambiguous afterlife that the strip finally feels free to make a searing indictment of the practices of modern capitalism.
Family Circus, 1/20/13
I’m pretty pleased by the sight of little Jeffy stooped over under the weight of his own sadness, and since his parents always seem to hold their little redheaded son in a fair amount of contempt, I’m a little surprised they aren’t as tickled as I am by it. I’m at least assuming that their shared glance is less “What can we do to cheer him up” and more “Are you fucking kidding me?”
Commandant Vermin P. Crock (haha, no, really, that’s his name) has been doing his evil dictatorial thing since this strip debuted 37 years ago, so I shudder to think that he still considers himself to be in the early days of his career. Has he stumbled upon some Maghrebi immortality elixir out there in the desert, and now knows he will rule the land around his fort for centuries to come? It would explain how the strip keeps appearing months after its creators supposedly quit.
I think a particularly cruel thing to do to people reading a terribly written narrative is to remind them that good writers exist, and that some characters in the terribly written narrative have just decided to opt out and read those good writers while lounging around in bed.
Better Half, 12/22/12
I take it back, Harriet’s friend isn’t too sleepy for sex, she’s just heard too many stories like this and now any mention of sex causes overwhelming nausea.
As if the poor colonized subjects of French North Africa don’t have enough to worry about, now they have to deal with an outbreak of sexually aggressive camels.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 12/10/12
Why should the men of Hootin’ Holler bother investing in machinery that will lift them out of a subsistence economy if their wives do all the manual labor?
Apartment 3-G, 12/10/12
Evan and Margo’s sexual banter is pretty much as gross as you’d expect.
Mary Worth, 12/10/12
“We always deceive ourselves twice about the people we love — first to their advantage, then to their disadvantage.” –Albert Camus
Hi and Lois, 12/10/12
THE DOG SYMBOLIZES THE DYING NEWSPAPER COMICS INDUSTRY, EVERYBODY
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Crock is being portrayed as too cartoonishly evil here. I mean, obviously it’s well established that he’s a villainous, petty dictator, but surely he’s enough of a realist to know that the local religious authorities aren’t going to be actively preaching sin and filth like they’re the Church of Satan or something. Shouldn’t he be pleased that the local priest is going old school and promising to use his money to punish and degrade the church’s enemies, instead of going in for some kind of touchy-feely love-thy-neighbor crap like feeding the poor or something?
Plans for a lucrative B.C. Babies franchise where abruptly scuttled when the terrifying character designs were revealed. “So, if we make their arms and legs even stubbier, and glom them onto impossibly squat torsos, and remove their necks, that’s cute, right? Kids will want those dolls?”
You know, Garfield gets a bad rap among comics snobs, but anything that teaches kids that Santa is really a terrifying demon-thing waiting to grab you from behind and drag you down into a terrifying hell-dimension is all right in my book.
Left to their own devices, Brad and TJ have turned their backs on God and started worshipping Mammon full-time.
Mary Worth, 12/4/12
Good news, everybody! One-armed Jim didn’t just happen to wander down to the pier because he cured himself of his deep-rooted psychological problems with sheer willpower. No, he overcame his deep terror of the sea and all it represents (i.e., boat-caused amputation and/or death) especially to see Dawn, and rather than using one of the many communication methods she made available to him, he decided to just lurk down by the water until she showed up, so he could startle and unsettle her. Add this to the “I want to protect/sex you because you look like my dead sister” and “I only like you as a friend, that’s why I’m calling you and texting you and emailing you a zillion times a day” and we know that this relationship can only be healthy from here on in!
Well, here you have it: what I’m pretty sure is the first Crock I’ve ever laughed at unironically. Naturally it somehow arrives more than six months after the strip stopped being published, which I don’t understand any more than you do.
Wow, congratulations, Crock, for creating the Platonic ideal of an “angry old person rages against something he doesn’t understand at any level” comic strip! Shall we enumerate the ways in which the word-sequences in panel one fail to map onto the world as we understand it? Let’s start with “‘Virtual reality’ is the thing of the future,” which should really be “‘Virtual reality’ is the thing of the mid ’90s,” since that was the heyday of term (everyone knows that “augmented reality” is the new hotness). Then we’ll move on to “TV game,” which is inherently funny, and which is part of “everyone needs a TV game with it,” which I guess is an awkward way of saying “Everyone needs a video game that includes virtual reality features”? Or maybe it just means “Everyone needs a TV game with ‘virtual reality’, which I have no idea what that is,” which seems more likely. “How many do you want?” probably is supposed to mean “How many of the aforementioned TV games do you want” but I prefer to interpret it as “How many virtual realities do you want, here, look at these small brown boxes, each contains a virtual reality.” Finally, Crock’s smug “Now that’s virtual reality” is I guess supposed to be a triumphant zinger that represents a victory over the kids today with their TV games and their virtual reality, with the only downside being that it makes no sense to speak of. Kudos to you, Crock! Truly, this is a stunning triumph of out-of-touchness!
Gil Thorp, 9/11/12
Kudos also go to everyone who predicted that Irish soccer star Terry O’Irishperson (did you know that in non-America places they call soccer “football”???) would end up kicking for the Mudlark football team, which means kudos go to everyone because this was a painfully obvious development. I do have high hopes for Terry’s “I feel like a knight!” line in panel three, as perhaps his “armor” will make him prone to Don Quixote-style fits of nostalgic insanity. Perhaps he’ll use the annual football bonfire as an opportunity to burn some Cathar heretics at the stake!
Apartment 3-G, 9/11/12
Haha, there’s nothing better than reminding your boss that you’re using a little light office remodeling as an excuse to take an extra week’s worth of paid vacation! Presumably Margo is suddenly ten feet away from her dining companions in panel two because she’s about to unleash some killing death-rays of rage on them.
Six Chix, 9/11/12
If, like me, you’ve always been a little unsettled by whatever sexual implications lurk beneath the whole metaphorical “kiss a frog to turn him into a prince” story, you’ll find today’s Six Chix particularly disturbing.