Today is Mother’s Day across most of the world (British “Mum’s Day” is celebrated during Lent, in retribution for their cooking). Because of its ability to trigger a laugh riot of misunderstandings, dysfunction, and resentment, Mother’s Day is a huge deal in the comics, on a scale with Thanksgiving. Let’s see how some of our favorite families celebrate:
Edge City, 5/12/13
Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin demands smooth sheets and an unsullied mattress, even if it means forgoing all the messy pleasures that sustain bonds of love. Husband Len submissively abets her every whim. It’s a mystery how those children got here.
Jeremy Zits-Duncan promises to give his mother the tolerance and respect she most desires, but fails utterly in the execution. SPANG!
Mary Worth, 5/12/13 (panel)
Beth Kinley celebrates her mother’s special day by ditching Elinor to enjoy some incompetent afterdinner macking on new beau Tom Harpman. Hey, Tom: Beth is a real girlfriend — quit trying to inflate her.
Lockhorns, 5/12/13 (panel)
Leroy cranks up the hypocrisy to give Loretta’s mom a proper greeting. Brrrrr…
Dennis the Menace, 5/12/13 (panel)
Henry and Dennis get it right … and so, as always, does Alice. But c’mon — Dondi was more menacing than this!
Funky Winkerbean, 5/12/13 (panel)
Darin and Jessica bring flowers to the grave of somebody named Lisa Moore whose ashes weren’t scattered in New York’s Central Park the way Darin’s mom’s were.
Jeff Murdoch congratulates himself for overspending at the Hallmark: “Surely now my mother will love me?” Ha ha, nope!
Happy Mother’s Day — give Mom a call!
– Uncle Lumpy
Special message to Baltimore-area readers: Psst! Don’t forget to come see me do comedy at Magooby’s, tonight!
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 4/3/13
You know, not to get too meta about my own shtick, but sometimes I get into so much of a groove exaggerating a strip’s tropes for humorous/queasy-making purposes that I forget that those tropes don’t always even need exaggeration! For instance: did you know that much of the intended humor value in Barney Google and SnuffY Smith derives from the fact that all the characters are desperately poor? It’s true! Like, I don’t think I ever fully grasped it, but instead of having “rooms” in their shack, the Smiths just have a tattered curtain running across the middle of the interior, providing rudimentary privacy when Snuffy and Loweezy want to get away from each other — when the latter’s resentment towards the former for never, ever helping around the house reaches a seething crescendo, say.
Mark Trail, 4/3/13
So Rusty is holding some kind of taxidermied monkey’s paw on the end of a long stick, right? There’s no way that withered hand at the bottom of panel two is (a) connected to his shoulder by an ordinary arm or (b) is a human hand or (c) is living tissue with blood pumping through it. What a strange, upsetting little boy. Mark at least seems to understand that Rusty is best experienced in small doses, though his attempt to express the idea using normal human syntax is somewhat unsuccessful. “Consider that a deal, friend! And remember, we can’t visit you if we don’t go home first! So we’re going home! Trust me, once you stop looking at Rusty, that weird inexplicable tension you have in your jaw will go away!”
Edge City, 4/3/13
Fine, Uncle Lumpy, fine, you’ve got me hooked on Edge City’s obsessive neurotic stylings! Anyway, today obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin’s hopes for a little emotional intimacy with her husband have been dashed, even taking into account the extremely low bar she’s set for herself.
Mary Worth, 4/3/13
After a busy day of not giving Tom’s lovelorn messages to her daughter, Elinor relaxes by reading the Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe and rattling her beloved bottles of prescription meds. This raises the question: How will Tom die? Tied to a table and eviscerated by a huge swinging blade? Or from a mysterious pill overdose?
Dennis the Menace, 4/3/13
Dennis and Joey are dragging a wagon of garbage around the neighborhood! Yes, Margaret, you are right to be horrified.
We make fun of Newspaper Spider-Man as a character here a lot, and for entirely justified reasons. But we must save some pity for the other characters exiled to the Newspaper Spider-Man universe as well! Take for instance the Kingpin, whose main villainous super-characteristic seems to be his bulk. In a fair comic-book universe, he might be expected to display his displeasure by, say, theatrically bending an iron bar in half or something; instead, he’s reduced to busting up his entirely ordinary white-collar workstation. Tune in tomorrow when Ted King, assistant director of the accounts receivables department, must sheepishly ask IT for a new keyboard!
Mary Worth, 3/6/13
I think we can say with a certain degree of confidence that Nice But Nervous-Looking Lady Moving Into 3E will end up helping Tom Harpman forget his ex-wife and love again, despite the arbitrary disapproval of Mean-Faced Old Lady Also Moving Into 3E Who Is Probably Nice But Nervous-Looking Lady’s Mother. Still, I think it would be great if this were an entirely new storyline, and the Tale of Tom Harpman were at nine days the shortest Mary Worth plot on record. “Turns out the guy keeps to himself because he’s sad and divorced. Likes soup, though. Let’s never talk about him again. So, how about Apartment 3E, right?”
Edge City, 3/6/13
I have significantly less tolerance for dwelling on Edge City’s obsessive neurotic antics than Uncle Lumpy does, but I do admit a certain queasy fascination with seeing how explicit this “the characters explore B&D” storyline will get, so, here you go: obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin tops from the bottom.
Plugger diversity is when a bunch of different brands of tires are owned by white people.
Dick Tracy, 2/22/13
Long-time readers will remember when Dick Tracy was a staple of these pages, back before a new team, narrative coherence, and really sumptuous art (go back and look at that first panel again; I’ll wait) put an end to that. So it’s nice of them to toss in an grisly death now and again, just for us old-timers. Thanks, guys — BEROWH!
Judge Parker, 2/22/13
Ha ha, so L’il Judge Randy’s going to tell his fiancée — a well-equipped professional assassin with a hair-trigger temper and history of gun violence returning from covert wet work in some Middle East hot spot — that their honeymoon will trap them on a boat with Mom ‘n’ Pop, the very people she planned to escape by eloping, swearing him to secrecy. Sam’s concerns are misplaced — L’il Judge won’t live to see cocktail hour, let alone Mexico. Work it like a claw, and call him mincemeat.
Mother Goose and Grimm, 2/22/13
The Scarlet Letter meets Welcome to the Monkey House. Those townsfolk will be mighty surprised when Reverend Dimmesdale shows up with a scarlet “D-” on his chest — the mercy grade Hester gave him so he wouldn’t try to retake the course.
Edge City, 2/22/13
Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin finally found a personal trainer well-suited to her capabilities and goals, and promptly stopped exercising. Husband Len sizes up the situation perceptively, but both irony and correction are lost on Abby.
||This woman is a therapist.
||Yes, I am going to start every single Edge City post with “Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin ….” I just have to, for some reason.
Hi and Lois, 2/22/13
Lois, check out the the Cubs memorabilia and the Dylan, Who, and Led Zeppelin posters: this guy is your Dad.
Just a reminder – no Comments of the Week on my watch. Look for them when Josh gets back Sunday or, you know, whenever.
– Uncle Lumpy
Apartment 3-G, 8/23/12
Hey, sometimes Apartment 3-G plots get a little leisurely, but leave it to Margo to pick up the pace:
|8/20 — 21
|8/22 — 23
|8/24 — 25
||Hate-sex, tears, attempted murder
|8/27 — 9/13
||Lu Ann paints a flower
|9/14 — 10/8
||Tommie agonizes over her flossing schedule
Edge City, 8/23/12
Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin hires a babysitter sight unseen to free her kids from the curse of unstructured time during the last days of their summer. Emily shows up bearing a full complement of Rebel Grrl signifiers and a new drivers license. Abby, too embarrassed to admit second thoughts, leaves Colin and Carly in her care. Hilarious hijinx ensue, but no one is hurt, and everyone Learns a Valuable Lesson. Forward two weeks. Obsessive neurotic Abby Ardin ….
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 8/23/12
Sheriff Tait interprets “T’ain’t no big thing” as a confession to misdemeanor theft.
Gil Thorp, 8/23/12
Hey, it wouldn’t be summer without incomprehensible sports action in Gil Thorp! This tournament is match play, which counts holes won or tied instead of total strokes for 18 holes. Steve is playing with a 25 handicap, which means he cuts one stroke off his score on every hole, plus a second stroke on the seven most difficult holes. A “net birdie” means he shot par on a difficult hole or birdied a standard hole.
But hey waitaminute. Steve wanted to play in this tournament expressly to trash-talk an opponent. Yet all we’ve seen out of Steve and twosome partner Pat Laske so far is Judge Parker-level politesse and manlove, unless Steve thinks congratulating an opponent on a three-inch putt is the epitome of smack. Frankly, if we don’t see a huge explosion of PTSD-fueled fury by 18, it’s gonna be a big disappointment. Also: “PLOOK.” And isn’t that a lovingly-rendered golf cart?
Jay Leno and Arsenio Hall duke it out for King of Late Night. Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door — oh, no — it’s Jimmy Fallon! PLAP!
– Uncle Lumpy
Pearls Before Swine, 9/21/09
Pearls Before Swine parodies Apartment 3-G. Poor Margo.
Edge City, 9/21/09
Last holiday: avoid bread products. Next holiday: promote bread products. Religion is so complicated.
Funky Winkerbean, 9/21/09
For some real money, try ‘Pie-the-Author’: you can pick up cowpies free at any dairy farm.
Dick Tracy, 9/21/09
What? The clown? The one we saw with a blunderbuss back in July? Say it ain’t so!
Judge Parker, 9/21/09
OK blah blah blah Gloria Sanchez sure is hot blah blah blah blah. Got it.
Mark Trail, 9/21/09
Hey, if it’s a good idea to just leave him bob, put him in the water!
– Uncle Lumpy