Reminder: When you see daily comics in color, those colors haven’t been selected by the artists, who generally submit their strips in black and white; instead, there’s a separate staff of colorists, paid by the syndicates, who add color for those contexts where color versions of the strip appear. I’m never afraid to mock these poor underpaid drones when their work results in weirdness or blatant historical errors, so I’m willing to give them kudos when they do the best they can with what they have to work with! Would a normally green cactus that loses its needles as part of a joke about it being “fall” in the desert turn orange, the way green leaves of deciduous trees turn orange before falling of their branches? Maybe! Does having the cactus be orange in the beginning ruin the joke? Trick question: this is Crock, and Crock jokes cannot be “ruined.”
Mary Worth, 9/29/14
It turns out that the real problem with Hanna Dingdon (side note: HAHAHA “DINGDON”) isn’t that her failing eyesight makes her a dangerous driver, it’s that her daughter just uses her as a personal babysitting services at the last minute, without any advance notice! Hanna has had it up to here with this inconsiderate treatment, and so she’s getting revenge the only way she knows how: by letting her grandson watch the most horrifying children’s programming you can imagine, starring monkey-faced rat-things bearing the logo of a literal broken heart on their chests, so that after every visit he’ll return to his mother a traumatized emotional wreck.
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.