Lots of comics testing their traditional boundaries today. Check it out:
Mark Trail, 7/23/15
Slowly, with predator-like stealth, Mark Trail’s Sunday Nature strips have moved beyond their traditional range to invade and conquer the week. Tiny steps, at first – panels just a little larger, audience distracted by an African vista or boat explosion. Then the wildlife — foreground animals starting with bugs, then rodents, a comical lynx, then POW! A fin whale, right in your face!
Next comes dialog, and (like most dialog) this won’t go well for Mark: “They are known for attacking their own kind. Not like the FIN WHALE, a peaceful member of the RORQUALS, all of which have dorsal fins and throat grooves! Ken has been fishing these waters a long time … I’m confident he knows THE WHALE IS NOT A FISH … or else he wouldn’t be a fisherman but a WHALER, BRINGING THESE MAGNIFICENT CREATURES TO THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION, right? Hahaha wait what’s happening? Are those villains at NOAA behind this? I bet they are!”
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/23/15
Doc Pritchart is a dentist? Why?
Mary Worth, 7/23/15
Huh? A change of mind can’t be forced? Mary, have you completely forgotten what you’ve been doing for the past seventy-seven years? It is your brand, lady.
I sure hope this isn’t a move toward a kinder, gentler strip in which Mary minds her own business, keeps more and more to herself, and gradually withdraws into privacy of her room until a passerby notices that the talc-and-salmon smell outside her door has developed a distinct undertone ….
Meanwhile, AdamandTerry, get a room, wouldja?
– Uncle Lumpy
Gil Thorp, 7/16/15
Huh, for some reason I had thought football phenom True Standish was a senior, and had just blown into town to help Milford win the Valley Conference title trophy, aka “the Golden Cock,” before graduating to become a backup quarterback at a second-tier Big Ten school for the next three years. But it looks like we’ve got another year of his laid-back, good-natured antics to go! Today I mostly like the way True’s less-talented teammates are laughing it up in panel two. “Ha ha, you’ll be courted by important people who can advance your career, while we’ll hang out here drinking off-brand soda and watching other people jet-ski! High five!”
The idea that our beloved (?) B.C. characters comprise the entirety of a tiny, isolated band of hunter-gatherers is probably the most accurate depiction of paleolithic humanity in this strip to date. Here’s hoping the accuracy continues and we get a good look at what happens when power relations in a society without organized political structures shift: fratricidal violence.
Mary Worth, 7/16/15
Oh, OK, maybe this will be the drama behind this mysteriously still ongoing Mary Worth storyline: Adam is psyched to be working with Terry, while Terry is only kind of enh about it! This strip can squeeze another three to five weeks out of that for sure.
The Lockhorns, 7/16/15
One of the main appeals of zombie apocalypse fiction — of apocalypse fiction of all types, really — is this: that though the world depicted is one suffering from terrible trauma, it’s also one where the constraints of our current lives have suddenly been swept away. In all likelihood you’d be killed in the opening hours of the plague or uprising, of course, but there’s a visceral thrill in imagining yourself in a new situation, with your boring money troubles and domestic squabbles vanished along with the restraints of traditional social morality. But the Lockhorns are so dead inside that even this mental escape is impossible for them. They know they live in the worst of all possible worlds, and that this is the only one there is.
You’re a plugger if you’re extremely careful to respect the trademark rights of patriotic American companies like Johnson & Johnson, but the French communists who run Chanel can go fuck themselves.
Funky Winkerbean, 7/15/15
Oh, hey, remember Crazy Harry’s dark premonition from last week? It turns out that he was remembering what everyone else apparently forgot: that when they were teens they travelled through a time pool (like a hot tub time machine, but less exciting, I guess) to the far-off future of 2015! Presumably most of these characters have had their memories of the experience suppressed for timeline-maintenance reasons, but like all the Mad, Crazy Harry can see through the universe’s veil. Anyway, this strip’s last time travel storyline began relatively cheerfully before degenerating into cancer talk and generalized grim maundering, so I’m excited to see what’s in store for us! We’re already getting off to a good start here, as all the teenage characters firmly believe that they’ll be long dead before they turn 50. Nope, just one of you!
Mary Worth, 7/15/15
This Mary Worth plot, in which Terry has given into
Adam’s stalker-tastic behavior her true feelings, has definitely gotten into “Wait, is this storyline still happening? I thought it had stopped happening” territory. I just want to point out that “having good connections within the company” is probably code for “we threatened the HR director with a brutal beatdown, because violence and the threat of violence is how we solve our problems.”
Judge Parker, 7/15/15
Oh yeah, Neddy’s ex-boyfriend surprise-proposed to her last week and I didn’t tell you about it because it turned out to be pretty boring? Certainly more boring than dickering over shipping containers was. Anyway, I’m posting this strip mostly because I’m assuming that Sophie’s line in the final panel is supposed to be a sick burn, which is hilarious to me. “He hasn’t been the same since his first wife left him! Almost as if his whole vision of how his life would go was shattered as the person he loved more than anything in the world betrayed him! He’s been real erratic ever since for some reason I can’t undertand.”
Beetle Bailey, 7/15/15
Welp, it’s “Miss Buxley Wednesday” in Beetle Bailey, and you know what that means: let’s take a cute enough joke premise and then make it vaguely sexually gross for no reason!