Hey, it’s Spring, and May, and Sunday … and from the look of things, everybody’s feeling pretty darn good about themselves.
Here, Team Crankshaft congratulates itself for its tortured “blacksmith/booksmith” wordplay by showing in-strip proxies Lillian and Jeff gushing over it. But adopting Crankshaft’s sloppy malapropism will doom Lillian’s fledgling used-book business.
Sure, throngs of would-be readers will stream through Lillian’s quiet residential neighborhood, walk past her second-floor shop, and glance up at her sign. But being literary folk who know full well that a booksmith is a person who makes books, they’ll pass on the chance to climb all those stairs only to find an author, a publisher, or a bookbinder shooing them away.
Perhaps they’ll mutter as they pass by, “If only this town had a decent bookmonger — somebody could make a lot of money!”
The authors also missed the obvious opportunity to call the place “Mom’s attic” and sell old comic books. It’s like they lost track of the strip’s core mission.
Appearances aside, that’s not Disco John Belushi. It’s Hojo, recently destereotyped and crossing over from Lee Falk’s other creation, Mandrake the Magician. Hojo is fluent in six languages, head of global crimefighting outfit Inter-Intel, and a 10th-degree black belt in some martial art or other. But here, he’s just pleased as cheese to be out in the Seven Nations working together with his good buddy Phantom to suppress political opposition to Lothar’s brother. Lucky we can’t see his face when he learns they whupped the wrong guy; poor fella must be shattered.
But hey, why is that Phantom-cam shot of Otanko taken from the perspective of someone flat on his back? That can’t be good!
Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/1/16
June squicks out Rex as a form of bedtime recreation; it’s the only kind she gets. “Because you’re a doctor and she respects your judgment — despite your hilarious discomfort with anything even remotely biological. You think reproduction is icky, ‘doc,’ take a whiff of this guy.”
– Uncle Lumpy
Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/25/16
The novel I finished last year, The Enthusiast, is about, among other things, surreptitious marketing — marketing that doesn’t look like marketing, things that come together behind the scenes, things that look like coincidences but are secretly orchestrated by cunning agents working to push their clients’ wares. So, for instance, in the world of The Enthusiast, the fact that a beloved soap opera strip character is suddenly selling her book right around the time that I’m trying to sell my book, which has an entire plot about soap opera comic strips, would be no accident, but would’ve been carefully orchestrated in secret. In real life, of course, it’s a total coincidence. Do you think we’d be talking about Sarah’s dumb horsey book and not neighborhood pinhead Franco Wallace if I had that kind of pull? Come on now.
But, since the topic has been presented to us, I might as well talk a little about book marketing. Namely, my book was funded by a Kickstarter and I don’t really have a marketing team! Sarah and Dolly Pierpont don’t have a traditional marketing team either, of course, just a network of thuggish mob enforcers wandering into museums everywhere and noting idly that this new horsey book is available and would be real good seller if it were displayed prominently in the gift shop and it would be a shame if someone accidentally soaked all those Dutch Masters hanging in the east wing in kerosene and set them on fire. My only mob enforcers are you, my faithful readers, and I implore you to spread the word about The Enthusiast not with violence, but with enthusiasm! Tell your book club! Post the link on your Facebook wall! Have me on your podcast, or radio show, or daytime television program! I promise I’m pretty funny and personable. And come to my book tour, if you’re in Washington, D.C., (tomorrow!) or Baltimore (Thursday!) or New York City (next Monday!) or Buffalo (next Wednesday!), and bring a friend or three! Let’s show these gangsters the right (i.e., significantly less profitable) way to market a book.
The Lockhorns, 4/25/16
Oh, don’t worry, Loretta, he meant it in a weird “alone together in a featureless void where time has no meaning and your very corporeal form begins to bleed into nothingness around the edges but your soul remains eternally locked in a hateful relationship with your spouse who you can never leave or avoid or be apart from for a single moment” way!
Herb and Jamaal, 4/20/16
Let’s skip over the tired husband vs. mother-in-law banter here to point out something very sad: Herb is walking around his own home with a cardboard box full of forlorn knicknacks that’s just labelled “my stuff.” Does he not have even a shelf of his own where he can stash his lamp and his … smaller lamp, and his, uh, is that a book, maybe? Or another box inside the bigger box? Anyway, the point is, Herb as a vagabond within his own house, going to bed at night hugging a pathetic box of stuff because he’s afraid someone’s going to take it from him, is much fuller of narrative pathos than Herb’s mother-in-law implying that he’s trash or whatever.
Judge Parker, 4/20/16
It’s come to our attention that you didn’t really get the message when we named Godiva’s rival “Worbell Trilling.” We wanted to name her “Whorebell,” but the syndicate it nixed it. Anyway, she’s the queen of tramps! Just to make that clear. She also looks exactly like if Godiva got zapped with some kind of face-shrinking ray?
Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/20/16
I absolutely love Rex’s dubious expression in the last panel here. It’s as if he’s only just now realizing his family and friends have spent the last three years feeding his daughter’s megalomania. “An extravagant museum gala? For my six-year-old daughter? That, uh … that might … huh. Huh. Well, probably too late to anything about it now, but … um.”
Slylock Fox, 4/20/16
Just some helpful tips for new rabbit owners here! Do try to convince them to poop in a box! Don’t try to get them to barf, they’ll never do it! Definitely don’t try to get them to have sex with hares, that’s a whole different animal and that’s gross and wrong. Just try to sleep at night thinking about how their front teeth are growing, always growing, leading to an insatiable need to chew chew chew CHEW. You probably can’t!