The defining feature of Heathcliff’s universe is unrelenting low-grade surrealism. And the human residents of this world seem pretty inured to it all at this point: whether we’re talking about fish used as sporting equipment or word-helmets or balls of string with faces or the Garbage Ape, it’s just not anything to get worked up about. So I’m glad to see that the fishmongers, at least, are offended by this unicycle-based theft. “Oh come on this … this is absurd. Wouldn’t it have been actually faster and easier for him to grab it and run away on foot? Plus, that unicycle doesn’t even have any pedals! You’re just kicking your paws up and down in mid-air, on nothing! Damn you, Heathcliff, and your unstoppable reign of mild whimsy!”
This Archie strip is clearly a modern-day joke grafted unsuccessfully onto an old one: the corny Archie versions of an iPad and Netflix and Mad Men prove that someone involved is aware of cultural developments of the ’10s, and yet the core gag makes absolutely no sense, unless some people get a secret “Netflix remote” that doesn’t let you actually look up shows by name but does let you scroll through them endlessly at random until you find the one you want. Anyway, when do you think the art from this strip originally ran? I’m thinking Jughead’s inexplicable Yankees shirt places it around 9/11, when the awful attacks on New York meant that we all had to pretend to like their sports teams, for some reason.
Dennis the Menace, 4/21/14
Ever since those hippies Woodward and Bernstein managed to screw over Nixon, Henry Mitchell has managed to blame the Washington Post for just about everything, so don’t doubt that this little fender-bender is also going to turn out to be the liberal media’s fault.
Here is today’s B.C.! It’s about eating rabbit turds.
Funky Winkerbean, 4/10/14
If, like me, you’ve reached the Stockholm Syndrome stage of your Funky Winkerbean readership, you’ve no doubt come up with some little strategies to derive enjoyment from the unrelenting murk of gloom. What gets me through several panels a day is the knowledge that said gloom may be unrelenting, but is not without texture; we still have the opportunity to discover how exactly the characters will have their dreams crushed and their spirits broken. When it comes to Jessica, whose new motherhood is impelling her to complete her quest to document the father she never knew, her trajectory of sadness is now clear: she will slowly learn, over the course of her project, that her father was an asshole and nobody liked him.
(This is as good a context as any to note that the inimitable Chris Sims’ March Funkywatch is available for your enjoyment!)
I’m less concerned about the protection of Heathcliff’s secret identity (why did he even wear his superhero outfit to the vet in the first place?) than in his ongoing and rapid menace decay. Specifically, it bothers me that he’s wearing what’s obviously a Batman costume but the yellow disc on his chest conspicuously lacks the bat-symbol. Is Heathcliff worried about trademark violations? Is he suddenly all about respecting the intellectual property rights of DC Comics, Inc.? Is he afraid of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s lawyers? Pathetic.
“I tried to explain to her that ever since we stumbled onto that witch’s coven and our eyes were blinded and turned eerie, milky white by the burst of dark magical energy they cast at us, our other senses have become much more acute, plus we have the power to read minds! But she didn’t even listen to me, though I have a hard time distinguishing between thought-speech and voice-speech anymore, so perhaps I wasn’t actually speaking aloud to her.”
Reggie is somewhat oversexed and not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I find it unrealistic that he’d be so desperate for romantic attention as to be an easy mark for Jughead’s scam. Still, if this is the setup we need for him to disappear screaming into a swirling, furry vortex of hungry hungry cats, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief.
Oh look, it’s Jughead’s cousin/homunculus “Souphead”, who isn’t any more beloved by the people in this comic strip than he is by us! Anyway, the most disturbing thing in this strip is Archie’s throwaway joke in panel one, which I guess is meant to be a gentle jibe but comes across much more harshly to me. “We have too many Jugheads already! The optimal number of Jugheads: zero. Why do you persist in occupying space and time in our universe, and thus resisting our beneficial Jughead-quantity-rationalization program?”
Judge Parker, 4/9/14
Oh hey, in case you were wondering, Randy and April managed to get officially married before the Gardia brothers’ mercenary force arrived by helicopter gunship, firing dozens of air-to-ground missiles into the screaming wedding party. As you can probably tell from the first panel here, Randy and April wrote their own vows, and I have for the most part spared you from their blandness. I’ll just say that I’m a little disappointed that the phrase “on top of a pile of money that people gave us for no good reason” did not appear.
Ha ha, it’s funny because Momma called Francis a tramp! You probably think it’s funny because Momma and/or Mell Lazarus are old and are thus using “tramp” to mean “a person who travels from place to place and does not have a home or much money,” rather than “a woman who has sex with many different men,” which is probably the primary meaning in English today. But considering that Oedipal nightmares are one of this strip’s primary sources of humor, you may be wildly, horribly off-base.