One of the ongoing Crankshaft plots that I find particularly unpleasant is “Crankshaft’s elderly neighbor has joy brought into her life by tween twins who alternately are baffled by her and condescend to her, which she ignores because she’s very lonely and figures this is as good as it’s going to get.” Anyway, like most old people, Ms. McKenzie is great at providing some backstory! Today, for instance, we learn that the present-day Montoni is not just some huckster who slapped his appropriately ethnic name on a storefront to help sell deeply mediocre pizza; in fact, he inherited his business from his immigrant parents, who ran it as a genuine Italian restaurant before he took over and cut costs by rebuilding the menu around deeply mediocre pizza. As you can see, Montoni still keeps some single-serving pasta Lean Cuisines in the freezer in the back, to placate the few customers who still remember the what the place was like before he ruined it.
Mark Trail, 12/3/16
Mark and Abbey: Still fleeing from a paroxysm of volcanic destruction, in case you’re wondering! It’s good to know that even in moments of high tension, the strip still sticks to its core values: our heroes may be fleeing from an unstoppable river of deadly, fast-flowing molten rock, but doesn’t mean that Abbey needs to cut corners by contracting “we are” to “we’re”.
Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/3/16
OH MY GOD REX AND JUNE DECIDED IT WAS “FINE” FOR THEIR PRECIOUS LITTLE SARAH TO TAKE THE BUS TO SCHOOL WITH THE NORMAL CHILDREN AND THEN SHE WAS IMMEDIATELY HIT BY A CAR
THE LESSON IS: THE WORLD IS FULL OF DANGERS YOUR CHILD MUST BE PROTECTED FROM BY A MOB CHAUFFEUR
AND IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD A MOB CHAUFFEUR THAT’S PROBABLY BECAUSE OF A MORAL FAILING ON YOUR PART AND MAYBE YOUR CHILD DESERVES TO BE HIT BY A CAR, A CAR SAFELY TRANSPORTING OTHER, MORE WORTHY CHILDREN TO THEIR DESTINATION
Dennis the Menace, 11/30/16
I’m a little concerned about why Henry looks so very miserable in this panel. I’m wavering between “He secretly can’t get enough of Dennis’s humiliations of various adults and is profoundly sad that without his glasses he can’t make out the expression on this optometrist’s face” and “Dennis is cracking wise to cut the tension after the optometrist just sucker-punched Henry for no reason.”
Hi and Lois, 11/30/16
Somewhere deep in the HQ of Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC, a cigar-chomping executive is growling angrily at various cowering hacks. “Boys,” he says, “we used to own the comic-strip baby thing. Everyone loves Trixie, and she gets a solid 20% of the jokes in Hi and Lois. But have you seen this?” He waves multiple printouts of Marvin strips aggressively. “This little bastard is the only baby in his family. And he just makes poop jokes nonstop. I thought people loved Trixie’s sweet relationship with sunbeam.” He sighs heavily. “But I guess it’s a new world now.”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/30/16
Wait, Sarah is taking the bus now? Like a common poor? I know it’s awkward being dependent on violent gangsters to transport your child to and from her elite private school, but it seems like some extremely hasty decisions have been made here.
Mary Worth, 11/30/16
The best part about today’s Mary Worth is that Zak thinks this date is going great.
Dick Tracy, 11/29/16
You have to give the new-ish Dick Tracy creative team credit for bringing the strip into something that’s semi-recognizable as the modern era. I mean, the strip’s trademark bit of gee-whiz futuristic tech is now on sale and really something of a niche market, which I’m not sure if that makes their job easier or harder! Anyway, today’s strip shows that Neo-Chicago’s Major Crimes Unit is really getting with the times; they’re less likely to get information by building long-term trusting relationships with street-level informants or via brutal beatdowns of suspected criminals, and instead are just trolling Instagram for pictures of people who seem reluctant to be photographed. Thank God Dick, at least, reacts in his usual inscrutable and incorrect fashion. “This is great. I want you to have the boys in the photo darkroom print up a blown-up version of this — obviously there’s no other way to get a better look. But that’ll take hours, so let’s the two of us head down to the zoo and start shooting first and asking questions later. Hopefully that blown-up photo will count as ‘probable cause,’ retroactively.”
Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/29/16
I was going to go into a riff about Sarah making fun of her one-year-old brother for not having any friends, but then I realized that Sarah doesn’t appear to have any friends either, especially now that the Morgans have abruptly cut off contact with her mobster patroness. Like, who would Sarah have at her fantasy birthday party with the clown and the bounce house and so forth? Would she invite the kid who made fun of her paintings, just so she could keep him on the other side of a velvet rope and make him watch her frolic, by herself?