Mary Worth, 9/21/14
Welcome to your next Mary Worth plot, everybody: should old people (who aren’t Mary) be permitted to drive? Or, perhaps more specifically: should old people (who aren’t Mary, obviously Mary is fine, everybody, Mary is 100% in control of her faculties and her body is in as good as shape as it’s ever been, beyond some fetching silver in her hair) be forced to move in with their terrible daughter Amy, of whom they are obviously terrified? I’m guessing the answers are “no” and “after a little light meddling/reconciliation, yes” respectively. On the other hand, the Ralph Waldo Emerson quote found on inspirational-quotes.info seems to point in another direction. “We start dying as soon as we start living! You risk life and limb every time you get out of bed! Why not get behind the wheel? Why not experience the thrill of knowing you could plow into a crowd of schoolchildren, or be run down on the sidewalk? THE RISK OF DEATH IS THE ONLY WAY WE KNOW WE’RE ALIVE”
(Also maybe old people should go to the optometrist to see if they need new glasses? Just a thought!)
Legacy strips tend to contain innumerable running gags that have been popping up regularly for decades, and in so doing ossify cultural attitudes that have long ago faded in the real world. Strips like Dennis the Menace have really young kids playing unsupervised around the neighborhood in ways that were commonplace a generation ago but would get many parents in trouble with Child Protective Services today. The tradition of just letting your dog roam freely at night, has, I think, been dead (at least in suburban American neighborhoods like the one where the Bumsteads live) for even longer: I’m pretty sure I first learned that it had ever been common when as a child I asked my mother why Fred Flinstone was dumping Dino out on their doorstep at night, and was horrified at the answer. Yet Daisy being allowed to wander around unleashed in a common theme in Blondie, and I’m genuinely curious as to whether there are places in the United States where it would still be considered unremarkable. That all said, if Dagwood were abruptly devoured by this pack of feral dogs with the same gluttonous ferocity with which he’s crammed innumerable sandwiches down his gullet over the decades, I for one would not object.
Apartment 3-G, 9/17/14
Good news, everyone! The greatest love story every told, between Jack and Carol, has wound its way to a conclusion, and that conclusion is that they are in love with each other! This romance has been amazing in that it’s somehow made Tommie even more boring by association; she’s lurking just off-panel now, absorbing its dullness radiation. Anyway, now that Jack and Carol have donned the Identical Seafoamy-Blue Garments Of Wholeness, they are ready to merge into a single identity that will blot out all need for speech or interaction with other humans, so hopefully the strip will take its leave of them rather than subject us to the days or weeks it will take for them to slowly combine into a single quivering, gelatinous organism.
We’ve known all along that Doctor Octopus had sinister designs in mind, of course, but really: a lab in a penthouse? That seems to violate any number of good safety rules. Surely a ground-floor lab would make evacuation in case of fire much easier, while a top-floor location could result in dangerous chemicals leaking through the floor into the living room of the hapless tenants below. I’m not so much angry with Doc Ock as I am disappointed.
Mary Worth, 9/17/14
You thought you were ready for a new Mary Worth plot. But nothing can prepare you for the terrifying, heart-pounding adventure you’re about to experience. Newspaper readers everywhere, brace yourself for a very special presentation of Mary Worth: Fender Bender.
Mark Trail, 9/16/14
When you think of Mark Trail besting his enemies, you obviously think about punching. There is however a lesser known but still very effective Mark Trail Power Move, and that’s when he rescues his enemies from mortal danger, thus humiliating them. This mortal danger generally takes the form of fiery car destruction caused by the very sort of animal the villain wronged. In this case, Ol’ “Dirty”’s truck was forced off a cliff by a herd of rhinos, no doubt in revenge for all the vicious horn-poaching he dished out on their kin. Mark’s melodramatic pleas for Chris to not die are frankly just metaphorical salt in his metaphorical wounds (as opposed to his actual wounds, which are no doubt plentiful but probably more rubbed with burning motor oil and dirt than salt).
Gil Thorp, 9/16/14
Meanwhile, over in Gil Thorp it’s time for the annual bonfire! God, if there’s one thing we can count on in this crazy mixed-up world, it’s the annual Mudlark bonfire, where players are presented to the screaming multitude, where the masses bay incoherently in their lust for blood, where fists are raised in ritualistic threats of violence, where players stake their very souls on promises of victory, where Coach Thorp basks in the otherworldly glow, where foreigners become citizens of Mudlark Nation, where young women are hurtled into the air to resemble the wrathful Valkyries of old. Anyway, this year someone who I’m pretty sure is “Jarrod,” still tenuously holding onto the starting quarterback job, is trying to cement his leadership role with a crazy-eyed rant in which he promises to crush Milford’s traditional rival. True Standish is more mellow. “Probably some EPA regulation,” he says, explaining why his previous school didn’t burn a massive pile of perfectly good timber in order to propitiate the worship-hungry Gods of Victory. Of course, the EPA is a federal agency and its regulations apply to the entire country, but it’s likely that the U.S. government long ago declared Milford a “purge zone” where laws don’t apply, in hopes that its inhabitants would finish each other off with violence and/or pollution and not trouble the rest of us.
Meanwhile, today’s Pluggers shows us what happens when a population voluntarily cuts itself off from the recreational habits and cultural output of society at large without having the numbers or creative capacity to come up with an alternative entertainment industry. Once you’ve rejected recreational drugs as scary and bad, books as fit only for snobs, and all television and movies produced since 1975 as devilment, how else are you supposed to keep yourself entertained?
Mary Worth, 9/16/14
The Mary Worth creative team knows you need a breather between the excitement of “Mary and Toby talk about Olive” and whatever thrill ride is coming up next, so they’ve provided today’s strip, in which you can read the dullest conversation ever included in an ostensible entertainment product and just relax a bit. Mary is so bored that she looks like she’s trying out a little plugger-style eyeball fun in panel one.
Hey, remember when vuvuzelas were a thing people made jokes about, four years ago?