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Comics archive! Archie

Dirty feelings; dirty thoughts

Mark Trail, 7/15/14

“Call me Dirty, Mark, like my good friends do! You like me, Dirty, don’t you? I sure like it when you talk to me: Dirty. And I will be Dirty for you any time and any way you want!”

In Carson McCullers’ novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, people constantly confide their deepest feelings in a character who is utterly incapable of understanding or helping them in any way. Mark Trail is exactly like that, but with more elephants and no actual hunting.

Archie, 7/15/14

One of the paradoxes of experimental psychology is that the paradigm for secondary reinforcement, which increases the frequency of a behavior, is identical to the paradigm for frustration, which decreases it. Both paradigms present stimuli associated with a primary reinforcer such as, oh, say, sexual release, but withhold the primary reinforcer itself. Archie, of course, has been dining out on that association for a long time – start with a stereotypically porny setup like oiling up your mostly-naked girlfriend by the pool in front of her angry but impotent father, but then cut to some dumb pratfall. Readers know it won’t deliver — it hasn’t for 72 years, and never will. I guess I’m just asking why anybody reads Archie, since it’s not porn.

Lockhorns, 7/15/14

It didn’t occur to me before seeing this panel today that Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn are never shown in casual daywear — check it out. Apparently in the absence of any sort of emotional connection they had been relying on deeply-ingrained but meaningless rituals to keep their lives from flying apart: parties, dress codes, weekly visits with Dr. Pullman, and other mechanisms to sustain their empty, endless charade of a marriage. It worked, too, right up until the instant Loretta said, “We’re not staying together for the sake of appearances — any more.”

Judge Parker, 7/15/14

OK, I’m posting this partly because the dialog doesn’t make any sense – it’s like the authors pasted in speech-bubbles left over from other strips so they could make a tee time:

“What do you know about the fashion business?”
“Lots! Remember Jules? He didn’t know anything about business!”
“We met at an institute design class! That has nothing to do with business either!”
“But Jules was into shoes! Are we even talking about business any more?”
“That’s what design classes are for … to spark a passion! For shoes! Or Jules! Certainly not business — or design, whatever that is!”

But I mostly want to express my irritation that we are probably headed for a do-over of one of the most grindingly dull Judge Parker stories of all time, justly ignored in Josh’s retrospective: Mopey Eurotrash Jules and Sam the Man with a Business Plan. Spoiler: Sam winds up with a million-dollar stake in Jules’ business just because.


– Uncle Lumpy

Honestly, Archie seems like a dine-and-dasher, right?

Mary Worth, 7/8/14

Say, what’s been going on with Mary Worth? Oh, you know, Olive demonstrated the ability to predict the future, or at least predict when branches are about to fall off trees onto Mary a few seconds in advance. And also, she’s got a cyst on her torso? Probably it’s cancer, giving her the second sight that comes just before death, or the egg of a terrible hell-demon that’s possessing her, or something. The important thing is that Olive’s parents are continuing to give in to their physical lusts for each other, just lounging around touching each other’s exposed flesh and having a little light torso-cyst talk, when they should be daughter-centering their lives and tearing that cyst out with their bare hands, immediately.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/8/14

Oh, well, I guess Bizzy Buzz Buzz is a character whose gimmick is that she … likes to clean things? I guess that explains what the deal was with yesterday’s strip, except in the sense that the deal apparently is that Loweezy brought a child over to clean up the Smiths’ filthy house, and that seems like it can’t be right. The question is also open as to whether Snuffy Smith readers were willing to wait a day for this payoff. Meanwhile, I’m really loving Jughaid’s furious expression in panel three. “No, that … that’s not what the expression means at all! God damn it, I’m getting displaced from my slot as the cute little kid in this strip by this?

Archie, 7/8/14

Ha ha, it’s funny because Archie and his girlfriend are of different economic classes, and the imbalance fills him with anxiety!

Sunday quickies

Mark Trail, 5/18/14

According to Wikipedia, Jack Elrod has been involved in Mark Trail in one capacity or another since 1950. But only now, in one of his last Sunday strips, has he managed to live out his lifelong dream of getting hardcore seahorse pornography in newspapers across the country.

Archie, 5/18/14

Dear comics artists who forgot to submit their Mother’s Day strips in time: I have some good news for you!

Blondie, 5/18/14

Look, I’m just going to come out and say what we’re all thinking: this sounds like a really shitty play.