Mary Worth, 12/2/13
As Mary Worth whines to Broadway has-been Ken Kensington about how she misses New York’s “former charm,” let’s do a little age-math, shall we? I have a strong memory (though I can’t find it now) of some official or semi-official King Features source describing Mary as “perpetually 60.” Maybe she’s a little older, but surely not past her mid-60s. Mary has said earlier in this storyline that she used to live in New York when she was a young woman; again the dates are fuzzy, but we can say with relatively certainty that this period in her life was somewhere between 30 and 40 years years ago. The years from 1973 to 1983 were, of course, the Taxi Driver/Bernie Goetz era in New York City, so you probably need to rethink whatever you were imagining when Mary wistfully recalled the city’s “former charm.” Presumably she’s one of those people who can’t go through Times Square without muttering about how it looks like a God-damn mall now that that asshole Giuliani shut down all the porn theaters. “After your experience with that mugger, it may be hard for you to agree!” “I’ll be okay, Ken. I’m shaken … shaken by how half-assed that mugging was. What self-respecting New York City thug would just give up when confronted by a portly actor? Why aren’t I lying dead in a puddle of my own blood right now?”
How exactly are those lids staying on the trash cans as the Garbage Ape swings them to and fro? Don’t those owls look like they were just cut and pasted from another drawing and plopped onto a picture of a pine tree without regards for what exactly might be holding them up? I hate to say it, but rampant Garbage Ape mania has upped the demand for this lovable/mysterious character so much that the strip is churning out some slapdash art to keep up.
Beetle Bailey, 12/2/13
Article 115 of the U.S. Military Code of Justice, “Malingering,” says that “Any person subject to this chapter who for the purpose of avoiding work, duty, or service feigns illness, physical disablement, mental lapse or derangement … shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.” So, good news for everyone who ever wanted to see Beetle Bailey locked up in a military prison. Camp Swampy is clearly not a “hostile fire pay zone” but I’m guessing that the military still considers us to be living “in time of war” for legal purposes, so he’s looking at three years of hard time!
Ha ha, look at how terrified that little blonde child is! “He’s heavy! So heavy! Heavier than anything alive from our space-time continuum has any right to be! You’ll die in agony, your bones crushed to powder under a pile of impossibly dense meat, all while he sleeps his ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep!”
Judge Parker, 12/2/13
“I don’t think it matters that we live in a world where mysterious, incredibly skilled black ops troops with no obvious allegiance to any nation-state can swoop into anywhere in the world, with tactical data gained from omnipresent and near-omniscient surveillance tech, and snatch up anyone they want, killing dozens of insurgents, criminals, and terrified bystanders in the process! Just don’t worry your pretty little head over the fact that unimaginable military power will protect you, so long as some member of the ultra-rich mega-elite takes a shine to you and orders your rescue on a whim! The important thing is that Ross is safe! You know, for now.”
I love that the canary is taunting the hungover Heathcliff with a “gobble gobble.” It still feels loyalty to its clade. It may not have been able to stop the horrible scene of carnage that happened yesterday — it may have been forced to sit there in a cage suspended just feet away the table, forced to listen to the awful sounds of grunting mammals tearing tender bird-flesh away from the bones — but at least it can take some small satisfaction that they’re suffering.
Mary Worth, 11/29/13
“Wait, what? He can’t sing anymore? This changes everything. Definitely not going to make a move on him anymore. Probably not even going to stay for the rest of this meal. If I excuse myself to the bathroom now, I could be on the 6 train before he even realizes I’ve left.”
Better Half, 11/29/13
AHH AHH AHH I TRIED TO WARN YOU I DID NOW A THREE-LIPPED TWO-MOUTHED HORROR WANTS TO DRAG ALL ITS LIPS OVER SOME POOR MAN’S FACE AHHHHHH
Mary Worth, 11/27/13
I know you’re all wondering what happened to Mary after she got viciously shoved right in the middle of Central Park. Turns out that she was rescued by the timely intervention of hunky silver-haired Broadway legend Ken Kensington, one of Mary’s top celebrity crushes! Usually I’m in a favor of anything that would put a definitive end to the sad, sexless non-relationship between Mary and Dr. Jeff, but this whole meet-cute scenario is a little too neat for my liking. My guess is that Ken used his theater world contacts to find out-of-work non-equity actors willing to play any role at any price … even if that role is Dastardly Central Park Mugger Who Fightens Attractive Women Of A Certain Age And Allows Ken Kensington To Swoop In And Play The Hero, and the price is far below scale. It certainly would go a long way towards explaining this facial expression:
Obviously this is much less “So, it’s come to this, I’m trying to grab purses from old ladies so I can afford my next meal/fix” and much more “OK, Devin, remember your Method classes: Place yourself in the mindset of a criminal. Not just any criminal, but the most nefarious criminal madman alive! Yes, I can feel the power and insanity flowing through me! Ken says that there’s an understudy part opening in Jersey Boys soon and that he knows the director — success is so close I can almost taste it!”
Dennis the Menace, 11/27/13
The span of time between when you realize that other beings can die and when you realize that you will someday, inevitably, die is definitely the most menacing age. Sometimes it lasts years!
“Ha ha, don’t worry! We’re enjoying a nice dinner now, but later I’m going to kill most of them and kick the rest of them out of the house.”
Brad and Toni will have no time to paint their future bedroom or even decorate it in any way, because every single moment they spend in it they’ll just be straight-up fucking. They probably won’t even bother to get furniture or anything; they’ll just go at it constantly on top of a pile of blankets or something in a corner. Anyway, I’m going back to ignoring Luann forever, right after I get finished with the vomiting.
Mary Worth, 11/21/13
Mary Worth is being mugged in broad daylight in the middle of Central Park (THANKS A LOT DE BLASIO) and things probably aren’t going to end well … for the mugger. Mary starts off by shouting for help, to be polite, but by panel two her face suddenly bears a striking resemblance to movie tough guy Claude Akins, or perhaps to a majestic lowland gorilla; this transformation, combined with her outfit’s similarity to a karate gi, implies an imminent savage beatdown that our petty criminal won’t soon forget.
If you ever need proof that Francis isn’t just a loathsome layabout, but a loathsome hipster layabout, look no further than his sports fandom. Following Ivy League football when you don’t actually attend an Ivy League school makes all those European soccer nerds who smugly tell you about how they illegally stream Bundesliga games online in the wee hours of the morning look like amateurs. And the Ivies are actually among the more normal pennants on display here! “Oh, your favorite team is Ohio State, huh?” he says. “Mine is NYU. They played their last collegiate football game in 1953. You’ve probably never heard of them.”
Family Circus, 11/21/13
This is also what Jeffy will someday tell the cops when they finally arrest him for that string of brutal stab-murders.
I know this isn’t news to anyone who’s spent any time reading the adventures of the Riverdale gang, but Archie, the ostensible protagonist of the long-running Archie comics franchise, is kind of unbearable. Normally this is most obvious in the shabby way he treats the multiple young women who for reasons unknowable are in love with him, but his attitude towards his male pals is frankly not much better. Today’s strip is particularly poignant: Archie’s class-based anxieties are on full display as he attempts to worm his way into Veronica’s high society world, and he apparently thinks that loudly mocking his best friend’s poor-person habits is his key to gaining the one percent’s acceptance. Fortunately, Jughead once again proves that the most radical form of resistance to the economic elite is a complete lack of shame over the so-called “manners” they deem so important.
Wizard of Id, 11/19/13
I don’t know what’s more slapdash about this: that all three quotes are from J.R.R. Tolkien (who, for the record, is not the only author in history who has written about wizards), or that the strip freely admits to not bothering to figure out what the second quote even means.
Mark Trail and Mary Worth, 11/19/13
Meanwhile in Mark Trail and Mary Worth, true terror is in progress: old people are falling down! Say what you will about the soap opera strips, but they seem well aware of the main anxieties of their primary audience.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 11/11/13
Happy Veterans Day, everybody, and let us never forget that once, long ago, Private Snuffy Smith helped defend the free world from the menace of fascism, as depicted in live action films in which Snuffy was played by little person Bud Duncan wearing a shockingly true-to-cartoon fake nose:
A few years back I linked to 1942′s Private Snuffy Smith, in which Snuffy enlists in the army in order to avoid trouble with the revenuers. In the intervening time, the sequel to that film, the Holy Grail of Snuffiana, has been uploaded to YouTube, the film with the most amazing title of any movie ever made: Hillbilly Blitzkrieg.
The plot involves Nazi spies trying to steal Snuffy’s moonshine formula and use it for rocket fuel, I guess? I only made it through about three minutes of it! Let me know what I missed, if anything.
Mary Worth, 11/11/13
“Neither would I. If not for me, I wouldn’t be here today. I create myself whole from within myself. I am the alpha and omega and nobody, least of all me, can escape me.”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/11/13
Guys, were you worried that the Morgans might not be extracting maximum revenue from Sarah’s drawings of horsies? Well, their highly compensated lawyer will see about that.