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Flee in terror!

Mary Worth 7/13/14

Little Olive Taylor is a sensitive spirit-child who fears water, sees fairies, takes instruction from angels, and indulges in a little routine precognition. So it’s fair to say she inhabits that uncanny halfspace between the spirit world and our own, is it not? That was a rhetorical question; of course she does.

So she knows she’s in a world of hurt. Consider:

  • The little cyst on her torso may prove to be, as a surgeon once delicately explained to me, “the type of cyst that tends to reoccur.” Thus the doctor’s routine torsopsy may indicate the need for a torsotomy — or even a full-scale torsectomy, leaving poor Olive a stunted freak with legs emerging from her neck, and an arm from each ear. And what then, if the contagion spreads to her lap, or heaven forbid her nape?
  • Don’t her parents seem just a liiiiitle too invested in a medical resolution to what seems like a family-dynamics problem? (“But Olive, you told us you always wanted a little cyster!”) No doubt they are in a rush to foist her back off on Mary so they can resume their casual neglect and nonstop rutting.
  • Finally, with her gift of second sight, Olive can instantly recognize the chillingly named “Dr. Kapuht” as none other than the risen demon-stalker Kelrast, come to exact terrible revenge on any whom his Mary does not spurn.

Am I wrong? I don’t think I’m wrong:

Aldo always said that when one door closes, you just knock incessantly on another one until some fool tells you to come in. Run, Olive!

Slylock Fox (panel), 7/13/14

Ms. Mayfair, before going all-in with your fascist animal oppressors, consider that the entirety of your mating options consists of a) Count Weirdly, and b) this guy. Think it through, girl.

Prince Valiant, 7/13/14

Oh my gosh look you guys it’s Prince Valiant! Val and Aleta with family and friends set sail on the Island Queen for the Misty Isles, but in a great storm and with the crew distracted by a mystic bewitching siren song the ship is caught between massive rocks and a great whirlpool and ripped apart! Val is captured by a band of Sirens and forced to battle a Cyclops, whom he defeats by luring to the edge of a cliff.

But the Cyclops is revealed to be a mere man, “enchanted” beasts mere house pets, and goddess-queen Calypso a nutjob with anger issues. In short, the story starts like The Odyssey but ends like pretty much every episode of Scooby Doo ever.


– Uncle Lumpy

Anniversapost: Comics Curmudgeon: Year Ten: The endless cruise

Well, folks, here it is: July 11, 2014, ten years to the day from the moment I wrote some not particularly cogent commentary on Non Sequitur, for some reason, and a blog was born. I was 29 years old then, so I’ve been writing this blog for half of my adult life. It’s given me so much, in terms of learning to be funny, and in terms of connecting with other people, and I’ve loved every minute of it. Before I present the best soap plots of the last year, let me recap a few points:

  • Despite the valedictory nature of this anniversary celebration I’ve thrown for myself, I am not stopping blogging, as a few worried correspondents have asked. Far from it! I will continue to make jokes about Mary Worth until the newspaper strips, the Internet, or I cease to exist.
  • I will, however, be taking the next two weeks off to bask in my own glory, celebrate my 40th birthday next week, and put the finishing touches on my long-overdue novel. Your comments of the week will be up shortly and then you’ll be in the gentle, capable hands of Uncle Lumpy until Monday, July 28th.
  • There are major Josh life changes in the offing, though: Amber and I are moving to Los Angeles at the end of August, where I will be attempting to break into comedy writing and performing in as many hopefully paying forms as possible. If you’ve got a yen to work with me, or if you have the inside scoop on a reasonably priced two-bedroom apartment in Silver Lake or thereabouts, drop me a line.

And now, before we hit Blog Year Ten, the top plots of the previous nine years:

  1. Tommy the Tweaker
  2. Rex and Troy’s Big Gay Golf Game
  3. Aldomania
  4. Alan the Dope Fiend
  5. Sneaky the Raccoon’s Triumph
  6. Wilbur’s Illegitimate Not-Son: The Frolicking
  7. They Dressed in the Dark
  8. Milford Ink
  9. Life Is Brutal

What over the past year has been worthy to share the stage with these greats? Well, I was pleased with the first Mark Trail plot of 2014, a test-drive from new Mark Trail scribe James Allen. A pelican leg band led Mark to saintly Jessica the avian biologist and her evil boyfriend Marlin, who was in league with local turtle murderers. Marlin was poaching sea turtle eggs, which is a thing that happens, I guess, which naturally led to fisticuffs. Mark paused the violence long enough to mourn.

Mary Worth briefly left her California home and supposed boyfriend Dr. Jeff to travel to New York City! Ostensibly she was there to see her friend win a major award, but she ended up spending most of the trip hanging out with handsome Broadway legend Ken Kensington, going to art shows and eating thin-crust pizza and other New York stuff. Ken tried to make Mary fall in love with him with his mind powers, and Mary couldn’t help but notice his need for a woman in his life, and also briefly turned into Gollum.

She almost decided to stay, but then nearly got hit by a car, which is as good a reason as any not to dump your boyfriend, I guess.

But I have to say that for Blog Year Ten, my heart has been won over by Judge Parker’s epic, slo-mo tale of love, marriage, screenwriting, and privilege on the high seas and/or in the jungle, which has been happening for literally the entire year. It’s been full of great moments, like: Katherine going bug-eyed with glee as she wins another few thousand dollars to add to the family vault!

April telling her husband-to-be that yeah, she’s going to kill some people if America needs some killing done, so he’d better get used to it!

Judge Parker Senior humiliating some egghead academic who dared to give his terrible, unreadable book a bad review!

Judge Parker Senior making friends with a snake!

The first appearance of April’s dad Abbott, a delightful Hunter S. Thompson lookalike with a pet tarantula!

April’s dowry: some totally illegal diamonds that would get Randy into a bunch of trouble, if it were possible for bad things to ever happen to a Spencer-Driver-Parker!

An assault on Abbott’s jungle compound by his enemies, mere moments after Randy and April’s wedding, much to Judge Parker Senior’s disgust!

April heading out into the jungle in her wedding dress to do what she does best, which is to straight-up gut people like a fish with her huge knife!

Whoops! Don’t worry! The bad guys love Judge Parker Senior’s book! Everybody is saved!

And Randy is justifiably aroused!

Thank you for ten great years, everybody! I feel as rich as a Spencer-Driver-Parker, thanks to all of you. Be nice to Uncle Lumpy and I’ll see you in a couple of weeks!

I’d argue that it was Truth that gave birth to Art, myself

Gil Thorp, 7/11/14

Whoops, it turns out that nothing about the end of Gil Thorp’s spring storyline or the beginning of its summer storyline has been worth bringing to your attention, which means that I haven’t talked about it since … mid-June? Sounds about right! Golf is generally the sport of choice for summer storylines, but this year we’re going for the excitement of seven on seven football!!!!! Which is probably exciting? Anyway, today we formally meet Art and, I guess, assuming the meaty flipper-hand in panel three is meant to be flailing around in an introductory way, True, who have been watching the games and making notes, so I suppose they’re supposed to be seven-on-seven football scouts or something, which maybe is a real thing. What mainly piqued my interest in this sea of baffling half-understood info is the name of this (I think) father-son pair, “Art” and “True”. For isn’t art the purest expression of truth? And isn’t truth the basis of all art? I certainly hope their analysis of the Mudlarks’ roster talent is entirely abstract and philosophical.

Six Chix, 7/11/14

A cool thing about having your own comic is that you can use it as an opportunity to work out your very specific gripes about life. Did the member of the Six Chix consensus-driven collective responsible for today’s strip recently go to a restaurant that didn’t have a bathroom, or a restaurant from which she caught hepatitis? Since hepatitis A is transmitted via fecal matter, is it possible that these two factors are related via a particularly unpleasant method of protesting the no-public-bathrooms policy?

Mary Worth, 7/11/14

Wow, Olive, who has been shown to have future-predicting ability, sure looks scared to see this doctor! Maybe her second sight is giving her a look into her own fate, or maybe she’s just aware that she lives in a heavy-handed over-determined narrative and her doctor is literally named “Kapuht.”

Momma, 7/11/14

Momma readers were surprised when the strip simply became day after day of Momma’s children sitting in an empty void geting reports on the people their mother had killed, but most agreed that it was an improvement.