This isn’t the first time that Loretta and Leroy have gone to see one of the Twilight films, but it’s always jarring and delightful when a smidgen of contemporary pop culture forces its way into the Lockhorns’ eternal 1962, isn’t it? I am also 100% in love with the fake Twilight poster hanging up at the Lockhorns’ local cinema. It reimagines Robert Pattinson’s dull, pasty visage as the brooding face of a proper Weimar-era expressionist vampire. And the graphic design! Doesn’t the striking image of the undead fiend’s face floating over the single word “TWILIGHT” have a million times more impact than, say, this piece of overbusy airbrushed garbage? Kudos, Lockhorns, for daring to imagine a better world than ours.
Mary Worth, 9/27/13
“The specific reason is that I have no friends and no life and writing advice to people desperate enough to send me letters is literally the only thing that gives my existence the barest shred of meaning! Uh, I guess I sort of covered that earlier, but that’s the much more specific version.”
Family Circus, 9/27/13
“I mean, he’s a competent adult and he could just learn how to cook properly, but I guess he figures that if he does, that’ll undermine the whole patriarchal structure that gives him power. So, your parents abandoned you at the world’s dullest mall kiosk too, huh?”
Huh, had it been established in this strip that the Perfesser’s mother is still alive? I guess it never hurts to introduce a new character in order to set up a hilarious joke! In this case, the joke is that an old man dropped dead during a social event for senior citizens, which probably cast a real pall over the rest of the evening.
Meanwhile, the streets of Riverdale are haunted by roving packs of vicious feral dogs.
“Ha ha, yes, it can be somewhat inconvenient to read a newspaper outside, especially if there’s a breeze. But let’s be honest: Is there a way to get the day’s news, features, sports, and weather, along with fun stuff like comics, other than printed on paper? Nope! So if you like keeping up with current events, or just want to enjoy good-natured Archie Comics Publications Inc. content in bite-sized chunks, you’re going to have to subscribe to the newspaper, and that’s the way things are going to be for a long, long time.” –An Archie newspaper comic originally written some time in the late 1990s
Mark Trail, 9/26/13
“I want the senator to reconnect with the joys of killing animals one at a time! Sure, it’s not as efficient as destroying their habitat to drill for oil, but it’s much more emotionally satisfying.”
Mark Trail, 9/24/13
Mark Trail is tired of only portraying ancient technologies like Ma Bell-supplied bakelite phones from the ’50s, d’you hear? From now on, this strip is future-proof. That’s why today’s installment features a next-generation communications device: a flat, featureless, book-sized object that sits on your nightstand, from which you need to extract a smaller flat object that you talk into. Presumably it only takes 30 to 90 determined seconds to pop out that handset as the flat thingie rings and buzzes, though don’t cut your fingernails too short or else you’ll be in real trouble.
Archie and Apartment 3-G, 9/24/13
I’m pretty sure the comics pages are supposed to be a refuge from the intense and troubling emotional scenarios that bedevil our everyday life. Thus, I deem today’s Archie, in which a teenage girl is so wracked with need for romantic affection that she declares her willingness to throw every other happiness aside for it (declares this, it must be pointed out, directly to her rival for the attentions of her beloved), a complete failure at this core mission. Much safer for teens is today’s Apartment 3-G, in which a girl learns that her beloved dad is deliberately withholding information about his brain tumor from her because he only shares that sort of thing with sexy blondes that he wants to sleep with. That’s the sort of dilemma that none of us can relate to! What a relief!
The Lockhorns, 8/25/13
Only one of the multiple Lockhorns panels crammed into the extra Sunday space is worthy of note today, and that’s this mysterious tale of restaurant carnage. How exactly are Leroy and Loretta managing to enrage so many put-upon Olive Garden managers across whatever suburban hellscape they haunt? I mean, usually their bad behavior is restricted to passive-aggressive sniping at one another, and if you kicked out everyone who did that, the restaurant industry would collapse. Moreover, how does Sizzler fit into this scenario? Perhaps the venerable and ailing chain of steakhouses is striking back at the new generation of casual dining franchises that usurped its place it the hearts of customers the only way it knows how: by offering enticements to people to go into the Olive Garden and make a loud, socially uncomfortable scene. Another plant sits by the door and loudly proclaims “You sure wouldn’t see this sort of boorish behavior at a Sizzler! Sizzler: Thinking fresh every day®!” as they’re kicked out. It’s sad that you actually have to go through the charade fourteen times just to get a single shitty Sizzler steak dinner, but I guess it gives Leroy and Loretta an outlet for their agressions that isn’t each other.
Most horrible and depressing Archie ever? Probably! The throwaway panels, which make light of partner violence, are bad enough. Then we’re dragged through the ugly truth of Archie’s monogamy-rejecting ways, which are normally played for laughs, as we have to endure Archie and Betty’s excruciating relationship talk in which she discovers that their perceptions of the commitments they’ve made to each other are radically different. And don’t neglect to put the two narratives together: since Archie was trying to borrow money form Veronica, it stands to reason that the “girlfriend” who owes him money is yet another girl, meaning that he’s two-timing (three-timing?) both of our beloved Archie comics gals. Tune in next week when Archie has to explain to the many young women who may think of themselves as his girlfriend about all the STDs!
For sheer horror, though, it’s hard to top today’s Heathcliff! The erotic charge of the throwaway panels is bad enough, but then we discover that the Heathcliff has a closet where he keeps the severed and meticulously preserved heads of his defeated cartoon-cat rivals, and some days he wears these heads like a mask in a grotesque triumphalist display.
Judge Parker, 8/25/13
I have to admit, I assumed that this whole “Neddy’s friend has been kidnapped in Niger” plot was going to end in Abbey writing a check for the ransom money, not sure about the ethics of the act, or even about whether the ransom demands were real or just part of a scam Thalia was pulling. But now I’m really looking forward to Sophie leading a team of ex-special ops mercenaries into Niamey, guns blazing. Sure, she doesn’t have much combat experience or training in small unit tactics, but wars interest her, and if she’s able to go from bullied nerd to superstar cheerleader by sheer force of will, surely nothing is beyond her powers of self-fashioning.
Judge Parker, 8/17/13
Uh oh, is there trouble in paradise for Randy and April? This is a good example of why you need to discuss your closely held values with your partner before making a lifelong commitment. It seems that Randy, as a judge, believes in the rule of law and civil rights and all that namby-pamby liberal garbage, whereas April is an shadowy undercover operative who believes in kill kill kill kill KILL and then letting God sort ’em out, maybe, if He has adequate security clearance. She may have already thrown one suspected evildoer overboard, so this theoretical discussion might get a lot more concrete real fast! How will our newlyweds resolve this conflict of worldviews? (Probably it will be resolved when April kills Randy with an untraceable poison.)
OBJECTION, this Jughead joke is not about Jughead’s laziness or his voracious appetite or his aversion to intimacy with women or his endless trend-chasing, and those are the only aspects of his personality. You can’t just add whimsical castle-sitting into the mix this late in the game!
One of my favorite Idle Comics-Reading Pastimes involves trying to figure out the original publication date of any given stretch of Archie newspaper comics reruns. The use of Beanie Babies as a cultural touchstone places this one pretty firmly in the mid 1990s. Along the way, the strip also reveals the shortcomings of the Archie Joke-Generating Laugh Unit 3000′s linear humor-logic. Presumably its legal module made sure that it used the generic “bean bags” instead of the registered trademark “Beanie Babies,” a formulation that I’m pretty sure no actual human ever uttered. This leads into a distasteful punchline about Jughead making sweet love to whatever soft, cushy surface is most capable of enabling his extreme laziness.
Hi and Lois, 7/31/13
The bedroom eyes Hi and Lois are making at each other here imply that this “dressing up” banter isn’t so much about “weren’t things better in the ’50s, when women’s autonomy was strictly limited” so much as it’s about “I’d sure find it sexually arousing if I came home to find you dressed sexily, for sex.” It’s a weird conversation to have right in front of the kids at the kitchen table, but it’s also weird to have the kitchen table three feet away from the front door of your house, so who am I to question how they do things in this family.
Herb and Jamaal, 7/31/13
Ha ha, but wouldn’t it be funny if the depictions of U.S. statesmen on our currency were sentient beings? “Oh, God, I’ve been smothered in there for an eternity! At last, I can breathe again! Wait … what … are you feeding me into some infernal machine? NO PLEASE I BEG OF YOU NOOMMMphhh”