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Comics get Miltonian

Judge Parker, 5/11/12

Whoops, Avery Blackstone isn’t some WASPy villain bringing danger and intrigue into our heroes’ lives! No, he’s going to inconvenience them, by bringing them money. People showing up unannounced to hand sizable checks to Judge Parker protagonists that they did nothing to earn are honestly one of the primary drivers of drama in this strip.

Dennis the Menace, 5/11/12

Mr. Wilson likes his nap time because that brief moment of obliteration of consciousness reminds him that someday he’ll finally enjoy death’s sweet embrace, and he enjoys Dennis’s because it reminds him that Dennis too will someday die.

Mark Trail, 5/11/12

Aw, now that Rusty knows that he’s been abandoned, again, he’s not even bothering trying to look halfway nonhideous anymore, but just going straight out with the “demonically possessed ventriloquist dummy” look, complete with hair stained red with the blood of his victims. Later, Mark goes and confers with an honest lawman whose job is to put people in prison if all the evidence is against them, unless they’re friends of Mark Trail, in which case he’ll just violate any and all confidentiality rules and spill his guts about everything!

Gasoline Alley, 5/11/12

Speaking of demons, what started out as a vaguely cute Gasoline Alley story about Slim and Clovia taking in a mischievous orphaned kitten has turned into a harrowing fable about good and evil and free will, with the cat being tormented by a sinister feline devil who is constantly forcing him to do awful things. Today, the cat begs to be absolved for the evil it’s done. But is the demon-cat a supernatural outside force, or just the representation of his own untrammeled id?

Marmaduke, 5/11/12

Speaking of demons, Marmaduke’s war against God isn’t going well.

229 responses to “Comics get Miltonian”

  1. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:26 am [Reply]

    Lio — “The Hunger Games” meets “The Little Shop of Horrors”!

    Dog Eat Doug — Fortunately for Sophie, stinky cheese is on her top 10 list of THINGS TO ROLL IN.

    Crock — Today’s strip is especially Pepto-Dismal® (Rechin should’ve saved this one for last. Because it’s always good to go out on a high note!)

  2. Mumblix Grumph
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:30 am [Reply]

    MT: Jesus, Rusty…at least wait till the old man is out the door before you put on your self-erotic asphyxiation gear!

  3. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:32 am [Reply]

    MT-Today the part of Rusty shall be played by Howdy Doody.

    MT 2-That’s okay Mark while you are gone Rusty is going to go pearl diving with Cherry and then he will give her a pearl necklace.

    JP-Can you help me? It appears that my right arm is trying to leave.

    Spiderman-These jokes are so terrible they would make Stan Lee blush.

    MW-”What? A higher force? How can there be something higher than you, Mary Worth? We’ve only just met you and know that you are the beginning and the end that there is nothing greater than Mary Worth.”

    Marmaduke-Why would a demonic hellhound believe that God is out to get him?

  4. Maltmasher
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:37 am [Reply]

    Looks like another Demon spirit is ready to join “Not Me” and “Ida No” at the Kean Kompound

  5. Honey Badger, Does not give a shit
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:37 am [Reply]

    MW: Mary, God could not have done it alone.

  6. Nate
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:38 am [Reply]

    Mr. Wilson is right to sleep with one eye open: Dennis and Joey look downright Leopold and Loeb in that panel.

  7. sporknpork
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:40 am [Reply]

    For the life of me, I could not understand why Mr. Wilson would own a mesh screen television. Then I realized that it’s actually a remote-controlled air filter for his nap flatulence. Dennis and Joey are about to find out what true “menacing” is all about.

  8. Downpuppy
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:40 am [Reply]

    I was going to mention the obvious lack of pants in the JP office – But those hands in the first panel! What species has those hands?

  9. Mumblix Grumph
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:40 am [Reply]

    @Mumblix Grumph (#2):

    Sorry, I think got the term wrong. I try to keep up with current trends, but you kooky kids are always one jump ahead of me! You’re still into planking and listening to The Bay City Rollers, right?

  10. Cloudbuster
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:40 am [Reply]

    JP: What is this? A3G or something? What is Manly thinking, leaving Sanchez’ boobs below panel?

    MT: Bwahaha! Decades from now, the documentary will be called “Rusty Trail: Portrait of a Serial Killer” I’ve only been following Mark Trail for a bit more than a year. Wikipedia says Rusty was introduced in 1999. Has Mark ever gone fishing with Rusty, or has this cruelty been played out over 13 years?

    LUANN: The hate is still on for Ann over at Apparently wanting to make a profit is evil. And something to do with Ann and Ox. Not sure how, but she’s being evil to him.

    9CL: “Anoint” the stick? Seriously?

  11. sporknpork
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:44 am [Reply]

    @Nate (#6): Damn. You are easily better than me, with your astute historical reference while my go-to was to what I know best. lol

  12. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:47 am [Reply]

    LUANN – Last week, TJ was lying to a customer in order to trick them into upsizing their order. Today, he is muttering behind Ann’s back because he feels she is being insincere in pretending to like a customer in order to trick them into making a big order.

    Just more proof that, in the Luanniverse, whether the character is deemed “good” or “evil” has nothing to do with their behavior, but is solely a function of their creator’s plan for them.

    Very Calvinist, if I may say so.

  13. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:52 am [Reply]

    Apparently, author DEAN KOONTZ is no longer the model for Rusty Trail:

  14. ElkMeadow
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:52 am [Reply]

    MW Did Bobby suddenly age? Did Gina change her hairdo?

  15. But What Do I Know?
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:53 am [Reply]

    You mess with the bull, Marmaduke, and you get the horns!

  16. btown
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:53 am [Reply]

    MT ala the Patty Duke show, the role of Jim shall be played by… Mark Trail in a wig

    MW Mary: “I believe there were higher forces at work”.
    Sid Caesar’s doppelganger: “Funny you should say that, Mary. As you can see from our facial expressions, we are all quite forcefully high!”

  17. CanuckDownSouth
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:53 am [Reply]

    Luann – (1) Is a 150$/day uptick really going to bring her into special bonus territory? (2) The guy who handed a toddler’s paper crown to a teenager with a credit card is lecturing Ann on treating people with respect. Really? Really?

  18. Adam
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:54 am [Reply]

    How can that lawman resist giving up all the answers? Mark has totally thrashed him in their ‘leaning furthest forward whilst exclaiming’ competition!

  19. UncleJeff
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:55 am [Reply]

    Marmaduke: I’ll believe that God is seeking retribution against the Hellhound and the Hitlers when a black hole mysteriously opens up in my newspaper and trumpets sound the arrival of Judgement Day.

  20. cheech wizard
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:55 am [Reply]

    GA – All Dogs Go to Heaven. All Cats Go to Hell.

  21. Doctor Handsome
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:56 am [Reply]

    “Mark, I thought you’d be here for Gene. But since he’s not the first one to greet you, I guess you’re just here to shoot the shit. So, how about that Gene guy? Guilty as hell, right?”

  22. Guts Dozier
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:59 am [Reply]

    Luann – Is it wrong of me to hope that Ox will have a heart attack at Weenie World?

  23. Señor Tortilla
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:00 am [Reply]

    9CL: Seth, third panel: audience surrogate.

    FW: No reasons for it. No reasons against it, and Summer Moore, the Specialist Snowflake, takes charge. That and Batiuk seems to think all anti-gay protesters are like Westboro, when it’s not really the same thing at all (hint: Phelps is a Democrat)

    FC: Wow, look at that waist…

  24. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:01 am [Reply]

    Dennis the Menace-For some weird reason Mr. Wilson said that he would like to see me take a nap in dirt.

  25. Dennis Jimenez
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:04 am [Reply]

    JP – If Blackstone is WASPY, that’s perfect, cuz Randy has preying mantis arms today. Tomorrow’s strip is going to be bigger than Mothera vs Godzilla….

    MT – You totally nailed that skeery ventrilliquist dummy thing, Josh!

    GA – No comment.

    Marm – HA HA – Marm shit the bed…

    Adios Amigos, DJ.

  26. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:05 am [Reply]

    MT-I hope the evidence is against him. Do you know how hard it is to kill a person and then plant evidence so someone else is accused of murder just to get out of a fishing trip with Rusty?

  27. Mibbitmaker
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:10 am [Reply]

    New Pop Culture’s Kids: Parody Week conclusion is now up!

    Little Bobby in Slumberland
    A Chance to Show Off My Mort Drucker!

  28. Lurker Bob
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:11 am [Reply]

    GT: Uh-huh. All the teenage boys want to date a girl with kids. You betcha.

    MT: I think that Rusty is wearing that kerchief so that he can cruise the local park and find some sort of male companionship to fill the horrible, aching void in his heart and soul.

  29. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:11 am [Reply]

    MT – (Panel #3): “Say, Jim, is that a biblical passage on the wall behind you in that framed photo of those Canadian geese wearing the gold leg bands?”

    “Why, Yes, Mark. It was a gift from my friend up in the north area, Mounty McQueen. His Mother framed it for me.”

    “Glad you mentioned that, Jim. I think Mother McQueen may have also FRAMED my friend, Gene! “

  30. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:12 am [Reply]

    Luann-Ann, get on the counter, hike up your skirt, and let Ox eat some pie.

  31. Weaselboy
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:13 am [Reply]

    MT: Rusty is living his own version of No Exit. Hell is other people going fishing.

  32. seismic-2
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:14 am [Reply]

    DtM: Joey has a slot on his chest, like the one on a VCR into which you would insert a VHS cassette. I don’t know what Mr. Wilson does in fact usually insert into it, or how often, but that scheming look of vengeance on Joey’s face as he stares at his sleeping tormentor makes me suspect the worst.

  33. Doctor Handsome
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:14 am [Reply]

    Are Mark and Jim gazing into the Jackelrod Ball to divine Gene’s fate?

  34. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:20 am [Reply]

    MT – Mark senses something suspicious is going on in officer Jim’s office when he notices the paint roller tray on Jim’s desk with the still fresh “blue-jean-blue” custom colored paint in it, even though the office walls have recently been painted white. ….Mark thinks, “something smells here, and it ain’t latex paint!”

  35. Mibbitmaker
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:21 am [Reply]

    In JP, even their inconveniences are smug!

    DtM: Dennis will die someday… by Mr. Wilson’s hand!

    MT: It’s Howdy Doody time! It’s Howdy Doody time!…
    Meanwhile… “He’s guilty, Mark. Undeniably guilty of murder! So, please, Mark, help me free this vicious killer we all know and love! (like Ralph Wiggum) I’m a lawman!”

    GA: The cat is an id-iot (not to be confused with Wizard of Id-iots).

    Marm: Worse, the devil that’ll torment Marmaduke is a black cat devil….

  36. seismic-2
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:23 am [Reply]

    Marm: I’ll actually read this strip, once I make it past Frau Hitler’s bottom. That should be around next Wednesday.

  37. Braniff
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:25 am [Reply]

    FC: (The cartoon we’d LIKE to see) Thelma Louise Keane watches for the sales lady to turn away. Then she makes her escape, running into the mall. Little does Thelma know that the sales lady is actually part of mall security, though, and when she runs out to the toy store where Billy, Jeffy and PJ are “lifting the shop”, Thel is put under arrest. Then Daddy Keane is notified while watching internet porn–and tells the police to “ress the mall, ress them mall!” so he can get on with his mistress and “Uncle Roy” . . .

  38. Doctor Handsome
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:26 am [Reply]

    “Blackstone thinks he’s big shit, diverting his private jet’s flight plan? Fuck that guy, I’ll divert the Earth’s tectonic plates so he lands on the wrong continent, that prick! Get the geologists on the horn, and where the hell’s my damn latte?”

  39. Black Drazon
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:28 am [Reply]

    Judging by his position and size, Marmaduke must eat the middles out of beds, too. It must make sleeping impossible, but if I were the Hitlers, I wouldn’t complain either.

  40. Ned Ryerson
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:29 am [Reply]

    @Dennis Jimenez (#25): Marmaduke doesn’t shit the bed. Marmaduke shits the bedroom. Seriously, Marm can projectile shit like a fiesty hippo.

  41. Hambone
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:30 am [Reply]

    Hmm I think Rusty killed that guy from the previous strip, it’s the only way he’ll get to spend time with Mark.

  42. bourbon babe, unbuckled
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:31 am [Reply]

    MT: Wow, Rusty, two lies in one speech balloon. No wonder your face is contorted into a rictus of mendacity and sorrow.

    And that whole “tears of a clown” look is definitely NSFBG!

    MW: “Fate?! You dare to equate mere ‘fate’ with the power of Meddlem? Turn to ashes, unbeliever!”

    FC: Two questions: If Thel was going clothes shopping for herself, why did she take her squirming brood? And where are the rest of them now? I like to think that they’re still in the lamp store, playing “sword fight” with shards of glass.

  43. Digger
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:34 am [Reply]

    MT: “I’m afraid we’re going to have to postpone our fishing trip, Rusty.”
    “That’s okay, I’ll just turn into a zombie troll and eat Cherry’s brain while you’re away.”
    “Not much of a meal there! Ha ha ha!”

  44. survivor
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:35 am [Reply]

    I’m afraid so…. all the evidence is against him. Yessir, ol’ Gene killed a young boy named Rusty. We were able to rule you out completely, Mark, because you were last seen with the boy. I mean, the way I see it, the only possible way for you to have been guilty of the crime is if you constructed a life-like ventriloquist dummy of the boy. But even then it would be impossible to conceal the fact that you’d need to operate the dummy with your arm. Not to mention the fact that such a scheme would be ridiculous.

    Mark: Yeah…. ridiculous.

  45. Ned Ryerson
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:35 am [Reply]

    @seismic-2 (#36): Frau Hitler’s Bottom might have been a better choice of plays to produce in The Producers (depending on whether you were pulling for their scheme to succeed or fail even more spectacularly).

  46. Horace Broon
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:37 am [Reply]

    ASM: Peter’s first thought bubble might be easier to parse if we rearrange the clauses: “Wonder why, as usual, I don’t hear the audience laughing?”

    DT: Aha. So it turns out that the plan I was so sarcastic about earlier this week is actually the result of the second-teir villains attempting to act on their own initiative, and is meant to be stupid. Fair enough.

    FC: I hope Dolly will be able to scavenge enough scraps from the food court to survive when Thel just leaves her there.

    HtH: Wait, what’s the setup here? Is this guy an estate agent? Are Hagar and Helga considering moving from a two-room longhouse to a castle? Because that’s one hell of an upgrade. Or is he part of the scouting party for Hargar’s warband? “This castle is particularly easy to raid; you don’t even need the ladders!”

    MW “I never guessed it would turn out this well! My best-case scenario was that she’d learn he was married, stop whining, get on with her life and maybe actually serve me some damn pie!”

  47. pugfuggly
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:39 am [Reply]

    MT Hmm..look at the placement of Mark’s arm there. I think it’s obvious that he is actually talking to a ventriloquist dummy. The real Rusty is sobbing uncontrollably in the next room, but Mark has figured out a way to let himself off the emotional hook by fooling his warped conscience into thinking Rusty is cool with all of this.

    MW Oh god, I think we’re about to see the founding of a new religion, with Mary as its prophet….

  48. Marc
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:41 am [Reply]

    9CL- Now he just needs to strangle her Homer Simpson style.

    Funky- The Specialest Snowflake to the rescue! Batiuk will play this off as just another case of “Summer Moore, savior of humanity, protector of the downtrodden”. When in reality we all know that she is only taking up this cause because of the little thing that she and Keisha have going on.

    Mary Worth- Mary believes that there is a higher force than herself that brought Gina and Bobby together. That higher force is Google. What higher force can there be than the thing which allowed Gina to put in Bobby’s name and have it instantly spit out everything about him?

    Mark Trail- Look at that slob! Where is his tightly done up necktie? This Jim fellow is not nearly as professional as Ranger Tom Martin. Not only because of his lax dress code, but because he’s about to give away all of the facts, details, and evidence of the case that need to remain confidential from the public until the trial.

    A3G- Margo must be one hell of a bang if Scott is trying to get back with her so desperately.

    Luann- Ahh despite doing nothing as shady as Evans’ designated good guy, Evans’ designated bad guy is once again being looked at as scum of the earth.

    Cranky- I wonder if the register jockey at McArnolds is going to try to upsell Crankshaft and then give him a plastic tiara?

  49. Little Guy
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:49 am [Reply]

    Luann: Did not read, but looking forward to Ann’s showstopping “So Tired”, the DeGroot Beanfest Dinner, and the pie fight in the Westview Cafeteria.

    GA: First, that’s a black and white cat, and second, in Britian, black cats are symbols of good luck rather than bad.

  50. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:49 am [Reply]

    9CL: /facepalm.

    CdS: “romp” is such a fun word, even outside of its use as a term for a group of otters.


    R&R: *golf clap*

    SBp: Burma Shave!

    FW: sadly, it probably won’t be a Summer/Keisha PDA demonstration.

    OBH: trying for the JP demographic?

    SFx: Logan, age 8, still marginally better than Reply All.

  51. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:50 am [Reply]

    After Mandrake the Magician wraps up his current storyline, he’s headed over to Judge Parker for a magia-a-magia confrontation with Avery Blackstone the Magician.

  52. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:50 am [Reply]

    Love Is . . .hipper or stripper, it’s all good.

  53. Esther Blodgett
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:55 am [Reply]

    FW: Wow. “A gay couple.” “A same-sex couple.” Way to make us care and empathize with this issue by actually letting the kids have names, Batiuk.

    JP: “I don’t have time to see Avery Blackstone today! I’m organizing my novelty oversize business cards using my novelty oversize robotic arm!”

    MT: I knew this strip was stuck in the past. Mark is here to Get Clean for Gene.™

  54. Doctor Handsome
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:57 am [Reply]

    The second panel of today’s Gasoline Alley would make a pretty bitchin’ tattoo, especially if you’re a sociopath.

  55. Sequitur
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:00 am [Reply]

    MT: I’m waiting for the Mark Trail/Star Trek crossover where Mark gets to see the corpse and proclaims, “He’s dead Jim!”

  56. Roto13
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:00 am [Reply]

    Is… is it possible Rusty is supposed to have red hair and that’s why he’s named Rusty? Well, my mind is blown.

  57. Esther Blodgett
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:02 am [Reply]

    A3G: “Can’t you see how damaging this is to my business interests?” is totally my new catchphrase. I plan to start using it immediately and frequently.

  58. Doug Puthoff
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:02 am [Reply]

    Darn it Josh, when you wrote “Miltonian, I thought you meant Milton Berle. Or Milton the Monster.

  59. Daniel
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:02 am [Reply]

    DtM Joey looks more and more like Karl Pilkington.

  60. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:02 am [Reply]

    MT-Yeah just keep telling yourself that, Rusty. Nothing like living in denial of a fishing trip that will never happen.

    9CL-Brooke wanted to show her peeing on a stick but he couldn’t get approval from his editors. They will indulge his other fetishes but not watching women pee.

  61. Jocelyn Knockersbury
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:02 am [Reply]

    @Señor Tortilla (#23): Phelps is a Democrat

    Not in the way you mean, no. It’s all easy to look up online and any further details would get into a political thing Josh certainly doesn’t want here.

    That said, Batiuk certainly seems to be deliberately invoking Westboro, which is par for the course with his lazy faux “big issues” stories. I wondered how he was going to schmutz this up, and now I know.

  62. Pozzo
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:03 am [Reply]

    How is it that the Devil can possess cats and ventriloquist dummies, yet not come to the aid of Marmaduke, who has to be one of his loyalest servants? Oh, well — the Judge Parker crew’s having sold their seems to be working out for them, anyway.

  63. Doctor Handsome
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:03 am [Reply]

    In his most vexing menace to date, Dennis has moved Mr. Wilson’s TV perpendicular to the couch.

  64. Anonymous
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:04 am [Reply]

    LUANN: We haven’t seen Luann for weeks (except on Sunday).

    Who cares?

  65. Jocelyn Knockersbury
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:05 am [Reply]

    Interesting that the family apparently doesn’t know what Marmaduke does all those hours he’s away from home, why he returns every night hollow-eyed, covered in unspeakable gore, a satchel full of souls at his side. But God will probably smite them, too, because ignorance is no excuse.

  66. LP2004
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:08 am [Reply]

    @Esther Blodgett (#53): JP: “I don’t have time to see Avery Blackstone today! I mean, it’s great that he’d change his plans in order to give me more money, but he can just use direct deposit like everyone else! Which reminds me… you haven’t paid me the tithe from your last paycheck, Sanchez.”

  67. Doctor Handsome
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:09 am [Reply]

    I had a Catholic priest bless my vacuum cleaner, to protect me from Marmaduke.

  68. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:11 am [Reply]


    Wiley Miller IRL?


    Nom on Mom. an Ikkle Big Kitteh book.

    a little something that works for both Poteet and bb,u.

    4 bats :[.

    brainmushing otter.

    incoming corgsqui brainmush.

  69. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:12 am [Reply]

    @cheech wizard (#20): Basement Cat agrees.

  70. Mibbitmaker
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:13 am [Reply]

    A3G: Someone calls Margo out of the blue — literally!

    9CL: We feel your pain, Seth.

    Cranky, I hate you!

    ReFOOB: The first panel, rewritten to make this strip much funnier…
    Ellie: “I stood up for myself today!”
    Little Don Rickles: “Whaddaya want, a cookie?”

    SUMMER MOORE: Most Specialest Hero in the Whoooooole Worrrrrld!
    Snowflake![/Mary Catherine Gallagher]

    GT: Hey, he’s insulting me!!!

    Luann: Tonight’s episode: “Strawfatguy at Evilburger!”

    MW: A higher force named Moy, who cannot write better dialogue than “They knew, ha ha!”!
    Mary: “Oh, I’m SO unimportant!”[/Friz's Bugs Bunny]

    R&R: …and written by Charles Schulz.

    RMMD: Mabel’s pretty despicable. Did she protest against gay rights at a high school in Ohio?

    6C: Sounds like one of those DirecTV ads, only not nearly as awesome!

  71. Mcbain
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:13 am [Reply]

    S-M: Forget Spidey, this is a job for Sandman Sims!

    MT: Mark: “I’m afraid we’re going to have to postpone our fishing trip, Rusty…”
    Rusty: “What, me worry?”

  72. Holly Folly
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:16 am [Reply]

    I would like to think that the black cat from Gasoline Alley made a Faust style deal with the devil, but now things are spiraling out of control as the deal goes south. Hopefully poeple will take this as the dire warning it’s meant to be; don’t adopt cats that have been possessed by Satan.

  73. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:17 am [Reply]

    MT-Rusty, you have a better chance of becoming a real boy before Mark takes you fishing.

  74. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:24 am [Reply]

    3G – Margo must be starting to perspire. Blue is seeping out of her hair. Left unchecked, it would turn her into just another background nobody.

    Snuffy – Remember to uphold the honor of Hootin’ Holler Nel’ment’ry Sc’ool, Jughaid. You’re graded on how neatly you copy Mary Beth’s test. Be sure you get ALL the ‘postrofees!

    SmirkyDon’t jump to conclusions, kids! “No gay old time at our prom” just means they don’t want those goddamned Flintstones showing up again. Fred eats all the pretzel sticks, and then he spills his beer. DAMN IT YOU GUYS

  75. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:25 am [Reply]

    Heart – This can only end with the intervention of a third character.

    love is… …wishing you looked as good in your dress as he does.

    MarkI wonder when Mark will tell Rusty that he’s the product of a drunken orgy between Cherry and a bunch of drunken characters that include Dennis the Menace, Howdy Doody, TJ, and Alfred E. Neuman. [*]

  76. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:27 am [Reply]

    Pluggers – Baloney. Pluggers think Post-It™ notes are a modern innovation, and thus satanic. Paradoxically, though, they used to use a knock-off called “Clingers” because the packaging at the store had a picture of beloved character actor Jamie Farr as Cpl. Klinger on it.

    @FOOB-a-rama (#y371): Stewie from Family Guy is just a retread of “Spoilt Bastard” out of Viz anyway.

  77. Cloudbuster
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:29 am [Reply]

    GA: Is it possible the cartoonist was going for an endearing Family-Circus-style “Not me! Ida Know! Nobody!” shtick and tragically misstepped into “demonic Faustian tormentor” territory?

  78. Victory Garden
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:30 am [Reply]

    9CL: Finally we’re getting someplace.

    I really like this comic. I love the art and the emotional stuff. But it was really bothering me that she hadn’t taken a g.d. test yet, for the love of corn!

  79. Mcbain
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:30 am [Reply]

    MT revisited: Either Rusty is hoping the Blue Fairy will one day turn him into a real boy, or Mark is addicted to the Green Fairy, and “Rusty” has been a hallucination projected on this hideous ventriloquist dummy the whole time.

  80. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:33 am [Reply]

    JP-Sam has the look of wanting a jet in that last panel. “I wish I had a jet I could divert.”

  81. NoahSnark
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:34 am [Reply]

    Rusty looks like he is going to take his disappointment out on the teenage campers across the lake.

  82. Shrug
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:37 am [Reply]

    @gleeb (#y377):

    “‘shaft: You know, the only way a place called “Toxic Taco” could stay in business is if they encourage people to mock the poor, pimply bastard who has to wear a cardboard sombrero while giving you your Buckeye quesadillas.”

    I recall that Bordertown (in the fantasy series of the same name) also has a joint called Toxic Taco, which seems to be popular, so maybe another method of staying in business is to attract a lot of cool goth elves to hang around the shop.

  83. Ian Beste
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:38 am [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#68): Re “want”: so many kid’s cartoon series these days have in-series comic book heroes but the Justice Friends from “Dexter’s Laboratory” is hands down the best. The Infragible Cronk, who watches “TV Puppet Pals”; Valhallen, the Nordic god of rock; and Major Glory, all sharing an apartment and getting into wacky sit-com-y adventures.

  84. TheDiva
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:40 am [Reply]

    GA: That’s not a black cat, it’s a tuxie. They’re only partially unlucky.

    MT: Just give Rusty some ham. That will pacify him.

    Meanwhile, I look forward to Mark punching the evidence into submission.

    9CL: Of course Edda does not do anything so base as “pee” or “urinate” on something, she anoints it. Add golden showers to the list of uncomfortable fetishes Brooke indulges in his strip.

    C’shaft: If that pun hadn’t already been made by just about everybody ever, it might be kind of funny.

    FW: If there’s a plus side to the Anonymously Gay Duo being shuffled off backstage, it’s that we’ll spared any scenes of them humbly thanking the Specialest Snowflake for taking up the straight man’s burden in their name.

    And of course Batiuk turns the antagonists into a bunch of Westboro-wannabes, even thought the WBC is regarded as the lunatic fringe even by conservative Christians (no less than Jerry “9/11 is America’s punishment for gay tolerance” Falwell called them out for being a bunch of creeps). It shows that Batiuk has given as much thought to the psychology and motivations of his opposition as he has to the gay couple he’s ostensibly defending, ie. none at all.

    Luann: “Wow, that Ann is such a hypocrite! Now I must go off and lie to another customer in order to get them to buy more food.”

    MW: This is where Mary delivers their souls to the Great Old Ones, isn’t it?

    SM: And also because the blocking is so awkward that neither of them are facing the audience, but mostly it’s Hardy’s fault!

  85. gkl
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:40 am [Reply]

    MT: I’d say Rusty got hit with the ugly stick, but I think it’s more accurate to say he got hit with the uglier stick.

  86. Apeman
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:43 am [Reply]

    Mark Fail: Rusty must have finally hit puberty because that’s either a really bad case of acne or someone’s been hitting him in the face with the business end of a hand rake.

  87. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:47 am [Reply]

    Random Thought for the Day:

    “If you have toddlers, make sure the astroglide is not in an unlocked cabinet; they will think it’s hand sanitizer, and then EVERYTHING will be VERY SLIPPERY. #LFMF”

    also, I suspect that commodorejohn and the other computermudges will like this.

  88. Dennis Jimenez
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:47 am [Reply]

    @Doctor Handsome (#54): Or a stripper – a comic’s stripper, of course….

  89. Dennis Jimenez
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:49 am [Reply]

    @Doctor Handsome (#67): Your mother does it doggy-style in hell….

  90. Shrug
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:50 am [Reply]

    @Marc (#48):

    Google? I assumed Mary told Gina to find Tommy by bringing up Gopher on her Mosiac browser.

  91. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:51 am [Reply]

    @Ian Beste (#83): I love Valhallan and his magic Axe. *power chord*

  92. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:52 am [Reply]

    Luann: “He does seem to have a fat wallet to go with his fat g… .”

    Now if she’d said, “to go with his fat a…” it would make sense. But what word starting with “g” would both fit and need to be censored for a family comic? Surely not “girth.” I’m completely stumped by this.

  93. Santa Royale With Cheese
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:56 am [Reply]

    @survivor (#44): Mark must become… Caligari!

  94. Santa Royale With Cheese
    May 11th, 2012 at 10:56 am [Reply]

    GA: Black cats: Ur doin’ it rong.

  95. Santa Royale With Cheese
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:06 am [Reply]

    MT: And the cat’s in the cradle, and the silver spoon…


    “All of the evidence is against him, Mark. Caught totally red-handed! He’s gonna play the only card he’s got… the ‘it’s not what it looks like’ defense.”

  96. NotThatGuy
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:06 am [Reply]

    @Mcbain (#71):

    MT: “What, me worry?” ‘Zactly! (Although I don’t quite understand why Jackelrod doesn’t simply let a day or two pass off-page and have the opening segue be Mark complimenting Alfred E. Neuman on how many fish they caught on their day at the river. Is Mark *supposed* to be an asshole?)

  97. twg
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:07 am [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#92): My guess is “gut.”

    RMMD: I still am annoyed at how Mabel is the VILLAINOUS one for supposedly “keeping Foster away from Iris.” You know, he does have free will and everything; he didn’t have to go along with her.

  98. NotThatGuy
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:08 am [Reply]

    @Santa Royale With Cheese (#94):

    Because everyone forgets the old saying, “Jellicle cats are bad luck!”

  99. Downpuppy
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:10 am [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#92): Stumped? Das ist gut.

  100. pugfuggly
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:14 am [Reply]

    @Esther Blodgett (#57):

    The only way I can hear that phrase in my head is in the voice of a antebellum plantation owner. I hope that you adopt that accent when you say it too.

  101. Tom D.
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:17 am [Reply]

    So Mark couldn’t take Rusty fishing before he left? They live on the lake, right? What did he hang up the phone and rush to the airport? If he left the next day, he could have taken Rusty fishing the afternoon before he left. Mark Trail is as big a douche bag as Justin Bieber.

  102. bats :[
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:19 am [Reply]

    GA: I think it’s a red cat with horns, Josh.

  103. Spotts1701
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:20 am [Reply]

    9CL: “Anoint”? What, is Edda giving birth to a future Pope?

    JP: “Dammit, Sanchez, we have rules around here! People who want to throw money at us have to make an appointment. Otherwise, it looks tacky when everyone shows up and hurls fistfuls of cash at my feet!”

    FW: I knew I should’ve brought by armor-plated umbrella today.

  104. LP2004
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:26 am [Reply]

    @Spotts1701 (#103): 9CL: Since this is McE we’re dealing with here, I’m guessing Edda’s offspring is supposed to be much further up the theological chain of command.

  105. bats :[
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:28 am [Reply]

    @Roto13 (#56): I think Rusty is staging a quiet revolt to Mark’s constant excuses, by hennaing his hair.

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#68): “If you like slimy coladas…”

    @gkl (#85): maybe just hit with a stick.

  106. Sequitur
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:31 am [Reply]

    @gkl (#85): Is that the stick on which Edda’s suppose to pee? Excuse me, anoint!

  107. Chyron HR
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:40 am [Reply]

    Wow, look at the caboose on Ms. Marmaduke’s Mom. Who would have thought that on a day where Judge Parker is the headline strip, Marmaduke would give us the best eye candy?

  108. Mysterious shirtless lawyer
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:41 am [Reply]

    Congratulations, Josh. You’re running Mark Trail almost as often as you should!

    Re Judge Parker, the good news is that Avery Blackstone’s secretary’s tits are even bigger than Sam’s!

  109. Bootsy
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:46 am [Reply]

    Josh, say it isn’t so! You’ve succumbed to Rampart Apostrophe Misuse! Enjoys. Not enjoy’s. Sorry. I don’t usually correct other people’s grammar, but you’re an editor, and a person whose writing skills I respect. I nitpick because I love.

    And hey, how about that Mark Trail!

  110. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:49 am [Reply]

    Marm vs. G-d – the ultimate trial!

    I don’t see how a kitty jumping from a shelf to a desk is “Bad luck.” Our elder statesman Renoir looks like the GA cat, and we go through stuff like this daily.
    (Oh, and our youngest male cat woke me up this AM by scratching my nose-gently, but I still have a small mark on my Pif!)

    MT – since when did Howdy Doody become a cast member?

  111. Shrug
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:51 am [Reply]

    @Calico (#110):

    MT: Well, they were going to add Dilly-Dally to the cast instead, but he made Mark feel too intellectually inferior.

  112. Here come da Judge
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:52 am [Reply]

    I love Sam’s face in the last panel: “Stupid Avery Blackstone and his Stupid jet! How come I don’t get a jet?” I predict we will soon be treated to two to four weeks worth of strips devoted to Sam lowballing a comically-facial-haired, sweating jet salesman named Uncle Aloysius, or Uncle Hubie, or something like that.

  113. Islamorada Girl
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:53 am [Reply]

    MT: Judging by his red scarf, Rusty has his pals in the Young Communist League to fall back on when Mark ducks his duty once again. Does anyone here remember Howdy Doody or I am beyond my sell by date, just like MT?

  114. bats :[
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:53 am [Reply]

  115. bourbon babe, unbuckled
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:56 am [Reply]

    @NotThatGuy (#96): & @Tom D. (#101): The “plot” could also have worked just as well if Mark and Rusty had just returned from their fishing trip, and Mark got the call from Trish. It seems that Elrod is deliberately tormenting Rusty and portraying Mark as a jerk—which brings us to that age-old question: Mark Trail: dick or douche?

    (Some authors are famous for tormenting their characters, of course, such as Larry McMurtry. But I’m not sure why Elrod hates Rusty—and Cherry—so much.)

  116. Comcis Fan
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:58 am [Reply]

    MW: Pugfuggly may be right and next Mary will baptize them all in the pool. There’s a pool, right?

    Now a repost of what I believed at 3 .a.m. to be my insightful prediction and clever commentary:

    MW: I think this is supposed to be a big moment, with violins, bells and/or thunder as Mary and some long-lost love from her past — Robert Cummings? — set eyes on each other. Meanwhile, is it right that a female wedding guest has a very sophisticated do and is showing a hint of cleavage when the bride is wearing the same pony tail she pulled atop her head at age 12?

  117. Gringo
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:00 pm [Reply]

    @Liam (#30): Luann-Ann, get on the counter, hike up your skirt, and let Ox eat some pie

    The spirit of Dingo lives on?

  118. Gringo
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:05 pm [Reply]

    Mark Travail: One look at Rusty gave me hideous flashbacks to the Michael Redgrave segment in Dead of Night.

    Juggs Parker: So Judge Parker Sr. wrote a book, fell off a roof and got a Hollywood movie deal? Why couldn’t Les Moore replicate the middle part of that journey, only without the survival part?

  119. Ned Ryerson
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:09 pm [Reply]

    Of course Mark can’t “take Rusty fishing”. Haven’t you heard? Don’t move firewood.

    You’re going to have to stay in Lost Forest, Rusty. Even the experts can’t always see a couple of pin-head sized insect eggs, or a few microscopic fungus spores, in a pile of wood. These tiny threats are enough to destroy an entire ecosystem. Never assume wood that “looks safe” is OK to move- it is next to impossible for anyone to inspect firewood that closely.
    Okay, Mark. I think I understand…
    Sure you do, Rusty. Now say goodnight to the nice people.
    Good night, nice people!

  120. Spyglass
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:09 pm [Reply]

    Clovia also believes that pandas are black bears.

  121. Canton
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:14 pm [Reply]

    GA: As far as black cats are concerned, the “one drop policy” is clearly in play.

  122. Gringo
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:14 pm [Reply]

    @TheDiva (#84): Add golden showers to the list of uncomfortable fetishes Brooke indulges in his strip

    Wait until he comes up with a storyline that addresses “scat.”

  123. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:19 pm [Reply]

    @Here come da Judge (#112):
    “How come I don’t get a jet too, with a lifetime supply of champagne, caviar and fuel?”

    @bourbon babe, unbuckled (#115):
    Have you ever listened to James McMurtry’s (Larry’s son) music? He’s written some very nice stuff, moody dusty “Texicana” music that would resonate well in MT or Hootin’ Holler.
    “Bullet holes in the mailbox … key holes in my mind … “

  124. gnome de blog
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:25 pm [Reply]

    MT: There is no fishing with Rusty. It’s just a dance they do between episodes, like walking with Toby, or the Charterstone Pool Party.

    MW: “There were higher forces at work.” Mary declares herself to be God’s instrument.
    “It was Fate.” The non-believers counter that we are controlled by giant impersonal forces.

  125. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:25 pm [Reply]

    “OO” COMICS: Ann Eiffel doesn’t suspect that Oxford Oop has been sent by his father — Alley Oop — to take back the Girdle of Hippolyta that the Queen of Mean stole from the Queen of the Amazons. Or that her secret plan to team up with Marmaduke the Hellhound against Yahweh has been foiled by the Omnipotent One.

  126. odinthor
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:27 pm [Reply]

    Candorville. — What’s fun is to compare this scenario to one’s human relationships!

    Frazz. — Ha ha! It’s funny because Caulfield doesn’t know what “amusing” means!

    Heathcliff. — Whereas I applaud the reference to one’s obliques, wonderful and interesting muscles too often ignored, it’s hard for me to picture just how one could strain them at a hot dog stand. Hmmm. Maybe, having received one’s order, one is so filled with excitement and anticipation of the feast to come that one turns to leave the counter much too vigorously, muscular disaster ensuing. Or perhaps, to pass time waiting in line, someone said, “Hey! Let’s all do The Twist!”, and things got way out of hand.

    JP. — . . . And this is your hand on drugs!

    Ziggy. — God help me, I laughed.

  127. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:28 pm [Reply]

    @Ned Ryerson (#119):

    The Emerald Ash Borer has become a threat in the Northeastern States and Canada, and other location as well. Signs and handouts at each and every Border security checkpoint between QC and the US have warnings about not transporting any firewood due to a potential proliferation of this destructive pest.

  128. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:30 pm [Reply]

    @Calico (#127):
    Aaaaah, I did some cute tagging that didn’t come through!
    That was my take on the Mark Trail ™ Sunday nature lecture/vignette.

  129. Marc
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:32 pm [Reply]

    @Esther Blodgett (#53): It’s like the kids in the same sex couple in question don’t even go to school there. If this is the senior prom, and Summer and her sister/lover are seniors, wouldn’t it stand that one of them would have at least some awareness of who the kids are and what their names might be?

  130. gnome de blog
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:34 pm [Reply]

    I hate to say it but:

    McEldowney 1, Curmudgeons 0

    He got us all stirred up over peeing on a stick when it was his plan all along to expose Edda as a hapless drama queen. Credit where it’s due. Well played, sir.

  131. Écureuil Écumant
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:37 pm [Reply]

    9CL: Wasn’t it too much of that freeform “anointing the stick” that got her in this potential predicament to start with?

  132. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:40 pm [Reply]

    @Canton (#121): That’s just crazy talk. Next, you’ll be saying a black cat only counts as three-fifths of a regular cat.

  133. DAS
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:40 pm [Reply]

    MT: Mark Trail owns a suit?!?!? Next thing you know, he’ll be wearing a tie.

    DtM: wow, Dennis is finally being menacing — looking over the not-even-half conscious body of Mr. Wilson whom he has presumably drugged about 0.5 hours prior to this, explaining “Mr. Wilson loves his naps, doesn’t he Joey?” and laughing sinisterly knowing that one day he’ll overdose Mr. Wilson leading to a permanent nap … either that or Mr. Wilson will be so hooked on hypnotics, he’ll not be able to sleep without their aid and will thus, when Dennis suddenly stops giving him drugs, not be able to take his beloved naps for a very, very long time.

  134. Marc
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:42 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#92): Don’t think too hard about it. I would just chalk it up to the fact that Evans is a moron and leave it at that.

  135. Marc
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:45 pm [Reply]

    Mark Trail- Now, here is the crux of the whole Rusty/fishing issue, at least for me; If the Trail’s live so close to water, why can’t A) Rusty go fishing on his own or B) Doc or Cherry take the little mutant out?

  136. bats :[
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:46 pm [Reply]

    @Écureuil Écumant (#131): elegantly stated (I’d been thinking along the same lines)!

  137. bbofun
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:47 pm [Reply]

    @seismic-2 (#32): Uh-oh! Joey’s been watching that VIDEODROME channel again!


    Anyone? Anyone? Just me, then… (sigh)

  138. commodorejohn
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:50 pm [Reply]

    9CL – We feel your pain, Seth.

    Agnes – Yeah, the library hasn’t had a private room and computer camera since the last “hobo on ChatRoulette” incident.

    A3G – Not that I’ll ever complain about Margo being Margo, but Nina was your best contact? For what, sullen, reclusive dismissal?

    A&J – I have a sneaking suspicion this will be eleventy trillion times better, saner, and more romantic than anything anybody said leading up to the Foobocalypse.

    Buckles – “Beef-’N-Byproduct Lover’s.” Give yourself a gold star for that, David Gilbert. (Actually, I think the cafeteria at one of the colleges I attended served that.)

    C&B – God I love this strip.

    DT – Hey, Not Rize makes a surprising amount of sense. Lady, don’t you realize you’re in a comic strip? Sensible villainy isn’t allowed!

    FC – Going for the Inspector Gadget look there, Thel?

    FW – It’s not so much that that many of them feel strongly about the issue, it’s just that Westview is a town where there is quite literally absolutely nothing better to do.

    Heavenly Nostrils – Aww.

    H&L – Wait, hasn’t Chip been shown with a turntable before?


    Lola – I’m pretty sure today’s Lola is implying a reference to mustelid sex.

    Mandrake – That’s the ghost of Lee Falk, he wants this storyline to get a move on.

    MT – EEYAUGH. I think the reason Mark never takes Rusty fishing is he’s afraid of being drowned by the demonic dummy.


    NAOQV – A Michael Bay screenplay, of course, is just that one broadsheet.

    Peanuts – Aww…

    Phantom – “Now I’m going up to my room, to blare music that you hate.”

    Plugger – I do not want to know if “Jiffy Lube” is a “Plugger euphemism.”

    RMMD – So what you’re saying is that your dad had no balls.

    SF – “Besides, my Valentine’s Voltron project is nearly complete and I don’t want you to upstage me.”

    SM – Yeah, I suspected lines of blow had to be involved in this storyline somehow.

  139. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:50 pm [Reply]

    @bourbon babe, unbuckled (#115):
    Oh, and Annie Proulx & Lisa Alther are pretty good at the tormenting thing too – sometimes with redemption as a result, sometimes not.

  140. Government Cheese
    May 11th, 2012 at 12:58 pm [Reply]

    MW: Ahh jeez Mary, just bring the pulpit with you everywhere you go. So, higher forces at work? Hmmm, I hope there’s a philosophy PhD at the party so that person may enter a cosmological argument with Mary. Then we’ll really see how erudite Mary is:

    Philosopher: Well I doubt the prime mover has very little to do with wedding…
    Mary: Who’s the prime mover? Joel Osteen?
    Philosopher: Umm well, no, Aristotle…
    Mary: Aristotle, you mean that guy from A3G? What does he know?

    Luann: Some great parenting is at play here. Give the obese high school kid a credit card and send him to WeenieWorld for lunch everyday. His dad must be Lou from “Hot Tub Time Machine”.

  141. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm [Reply]

    @Bootsy (#109):
    Put up the Ramparts, it’s Greengrocer’s ‘ Day! : D
    Damned apostrophes, haunting us by day, stalking us by night.

  142. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm [Reply]

    @Calico (#141):
    Or the other way around. *heh*

  143. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:03 pm [Reply]

    GA – That’s not a black cat. A black cat is all black.

    The belief in the middle ages was that a mostly black cat with a tuft of white fur had received an “angel’s touch”, blessing it, and was thus not bad luck. Most “black” cats today have some form of this tuft, due to the policy of exterminating all black cats without one.

    I had a part-siamese rescue share my home for a few years who was almost all black, with just the faintest hint of a white tuft. My theory was that “Midnight” had clawed up the angel before it could get a good touch in.

  144. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:05 pm [Reply]

    @Islamorada Girl (#113): “Does any one here remember Howdy Doody, or am I beyond my sell by date?”

    Yes, I remember Howdy Doody! When we got our first TV set, in 1953 on our farm in upstate NY, I was a little kid younger than Rusty. All that was on TV most of the time was what was called a test pattern. Then, around 4pm, I think, the programing would begin. That consisted of The Howdy Doody Show! followed by the news and then a couple of evening shows like, “I remember Mama”, the Firestone Music Hour and the Diana Shore Show and maybe a western like, “Lash Larue” or “Hopalong Cassidy”. Then the TV sceen would go back to the test pattern until the next day. You don’t even want to know how poor the inernet connections where back in 1952! By 1955 TV had come a long way, we had moved to Fort Lauderdale Florida where we had THREE channels with all kinds of good stuff to watch! No reality shows, no fox news, no cable bill, just Popeye’s Playhouse, Andy’s Gang and a The Dungeon Creature Feature show with your host, M.T. Graves! ANYBODY OUT THERE REMEMBER THAT? If not, then at least say, “I REMEMBER MAMA”, this Sunday!

  145. tallyHO
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:05 pm [Reply]

    @Marc (#135):

    Especially Doc.
    Unless, the reason why the kid’s physical appearance has been constantly changing is the result of Doc’s maniacal experiments. hmmmmm…..

    Even though Mark is smiling in panel one while explaining chucking up another excuse he does have his hand on his belt. It sorta looks like he was prepared for Rusty to act up and give him a whupping. Rusty knows the score though. He wears a mask that makes Mark smile and hides his facial deformities. He then ties his clownish look all together with a giant hanky and, voila, Rusty is alone again, naturally. He only needs to deal with broken promises and no punishment.

    (damn you, mark trail. damn you. You’re listening to the wrong cries for help, man!)

  146. rembrandt36
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:07 pm [Reply]

    9CL: Seth – Edda, is Brooke an idiot?
    Edda – Ummmm…
    Seth – Just nod your head yes.

  147. tallyHO
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:08 pm [Reply]

    @Illustrator Steve (#144):
    I remember Howdy Doody, too. I haven’t seen anything more than clips from the TV show, interviews with the guy called Buffalo Bob*, the old cartoon version and probably some comic book pages, but, it isn’t an unknown cultural character.

    * I just have to remind myself that he was not in “Silence of the Lambs”

  148. seismic-2
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:11 pm [Reply]

    JP: “He was on another business trip in the area… and he thought he’d divert the jet and be here for lunch! Yeah, the other 87 passengers were pissed, and so was United Airlines, but then you can get away with that sort of thing when you’re Avery Blackstone!”

  149. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:15 pm [Reply]

    @twg (#97): @Downpuppy (#99): Okay — but if it’s “gut,” why was it censored? Where’s the sense in that?

  150. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:16 pm [Reply]

    @gnome de blog (#130): Oh, I doubt it was intentional. He makes this strip up as he goes, partially in response to the critics he claims he despises, but to whom he devotes so, so much attention. So I am fully prepared to believe that confirming the pregnancy first slipped his mind (because, really, it’s not like her mother’s lover, her mother, her grandmother, and her grandmother’s lover, and her own lover, couldn’t have asked the same question Seth has) and this is all hasty backpedaling disguised as intentional cleverness.

  151. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:18 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#149): I don’t think it was “censored” so much as cut off by Ox’s interruption.

  152. Mister Steak
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:20 pm [Reply]

    Yahweh the sky-god may currently have the upper hand in his battle against Marmaduke, Insatiably Bloodthirsty Lord of the Underworld, but his family is not taking any chances. They are, quite wisely, hedging their bets by feigining ignorance to Marmaduke’s unholy reign of merciless, unbridaled carnage… at least until they can be sure how this whole situation is going to play out.

  153. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:20 pm [Reply]

    Since Poteet hasn’t done so already, I’ll fill in with regards to Gasoline Alley. The non-blackness of this “black cat” has been well addressed, so I’ll rant instead about this strip perpetuating the trope that black cats are unlucky and Satanic. This stupid belief is why it’s hard for shelters to adopt out black cats (and dogs); given this strip’s earlier irresponsibility about spaying and neutering, I shouldn’t be surprised, but it still makes me angry.

  154. MySpoonIsTooBig
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:21 pm [Reply]

    Theory as to why we haven’t seen the gay kids since the first strip in the arc nor know their names- they don’t exist. They were hallucinated by the crazy lady because she hasn’t felt properly outraged in a long time. This explains their stilted “So you don’t mind that we’re buying prom tickets even though we are so very, very gay?”

  155. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:22 pm [Reply]

    Oxford looks like Rulon Gardner, bless his heart! : )
    I wonder if he will become a “Moose” – type character, but it would be fun if he turns out to have an i.q. of 175 or higher.

  156. Sequitur
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:25 pm [Reply]

    I keep looking at the Abbey Road Studios webcam (thanks, [Old Man] Muffaroo) hoping to see Baka Gaijan running across the road being chased by an EVILSCARYCLOWN!

  157. commodorejohn
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:26 pm [Reply]

    @Calico (#155): Well he’s certainly not as much of an imbecile and tool as the main characters, that’s for damn sure.

  158. S. Stout
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:26 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#92):

    “goddamn stereotype.”

  159. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:28 pm [Reply]

    @Gringo (#117):

    I wish I knew him.

  160. Rixtremism in the Defense of Libertines
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:35 pm [Reply]

    MW Everyone, take cover! Mary is about to unleash a salvo from her arsenal of wisdom. She’ll have at least two panels tomorrow, and then a quote box, more panels, and a final clear shot to fire the Mother of All Platitudes at us on Sunday.

  161. Downpuppy
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:42 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#149) @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#151): Maybe he realized that if she said “gut” out loud she’d be revealed as 80 years old?

  162. Artist formerly known as Ben
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:44 pm [Reply]

    JP: So Blackstone is some kind of Hollywood wheeler dealer. I know it’s a lot to expect him to look like the documentary guy from Mark Trail, but I have my fingers crossed.

    MT: Does Rusty have inside info on when Hell is freezing over? Because that’s when Mark will take him fishing, and yet Rusty is still grinning like a maniac.

    M-Dawg: His oldest and fiercest enemy, after all.

    Ziggy: Note to Tom Wilson. Most restaurants with wine will have more than one variety. Wine is not a species of fish that somebody caught the day before.

    FW: Isn’t it embarrassing when you organize a homophobic protest and you’re the only one who forgets to bring a placard? Well, let’s not forget the real point here, which is that old Mrs. Whassername sucks.

    9CL: “No sir, I was deliberately wasting your time.”

    Popeye: Olive’s sudden and completely unearned good fortune almost qualifies her to be a Judge Parker character. She’s missing a couple of important attributes, though.

    RMMD: The ribaldry of “two hot women drink coffee while wearing almost nothing” is starting to lose out to the blank horror of “trapped in a room with a whiny and vindictive drunk.”

    HtH: Apparently there was a mixup at Walker-Browne Amalgamated Laffs and they dropped a Lois Flagston realtor gag into the Hagar file.

    Curtis: Gunther and I live in different worlds. As far as I know, shooting gang signs for photos is pretty much just something white chicks do on prom night.

    DT: To be fair, just getting caught—as opposed to, oh, I don’t know, being eaten by rats—is an achievement in itself for criminals in Dick Tracy’s orbit.

    GT: I guess when you take showers with your teammates you get some insight on whether or not they’re “small”, but Bobby doesn’t need to go around telling everyone.

    6C: Great Expectations: The Sitcom.

    Luann: A word from TJ a|k|a “Mr. Sincerity” on keeping it real.

    S-M: Not only is Hardy adlibbing like there’s no tomorrow—and for this show there probably won’t be—but if you see the way his cape is flying, he’s also standing on an air grate. And judging from the audience’s expressions, he’s also wearing a kilt.

    SFx: The rooster looks pretty plucked, and they usually do that for a reason, so I’m impressed at his high spirits.

  163. Inexplicable Bear Tongue
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:48 pm [Reply]

    @TheDiva (#84): MT: But he’s ugly and smelly and he’ll never have any ham. It’ll make the sawdust in his stomach explode.

    @gnome de blog (#130): I think he strained credibility way too much over the last couple weeks to claim that what he’s doing now is clever, or zinging his critics. In fact, since he’s obviously aware of this little plot hole, indeed, it’s going to serve as his reset button, the dance he’s done over the last few weeks is even more pathetic.

  164. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:50 pm [Reply]

    @Liam (#30): How about a Mincemeat Tart with a side of TJ?

  165. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:57 pm [Reply]

    @gnome de blog (#130):

    He got us all stirred up over peeing on a stick when it was his plan all along to expose Edda as a hapless drama queen. Credit where it’s due. Well played, sir.

    No, sir, I do not accept that. He was obviously playing it in such a way that he actually expected his audience to forget the fact that she hadn’t confirmed her pregnancy, and then did a surprise reveal at the end that came as a surprise to no-one (except possibly his faithful followers). It’s like casting Charles Napier as a rich oil executive in a cop show. The entire audience is saying, “Oh, he’s the killer,” but then they have to wait through an hour of “suspense” before the writers finally admit it.

    And if, by chance, McEldowney was writing this arc with the idea that his audience was sitting there saying, “Did she pee on a stick,” that’s not suspense, that’s just plain bad writing.

    Sorry. No credit on this one.

  166. RavenHawk
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:59 pm [Reply]

    MT: “When you comming home, Dad?

    I don’t know when.

    We’ll get together then dad. You know we’ll have a good time, then.”

  167. Der Schnärkïnätör
    May 11th, 2012 at 1:59 pm [Reply]

    “demonically possessed ventriloquist dummy”

    Spot on Josh! Spot ON!

  168. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:01 pm [Reply]

    McEldowney’s Pibgorn comments summarized: “I read Shakespeare, and Shakespeare references come into my dialogue because I read Shakespeare. Also? I read Shakespeare.”

    (I read the Pibgorn comments so you don’t have to.)

  169. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:03 pm [Reply]

    @Marc (#134): No question about the moronic status of Evans, but this seems to go above and beyond all standards of moronicity.

  170. Mike Lukash
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:03 pm [Reply]

    9CL: You know- I have to admit, “Anoint the stick” actually fits rather well with Brooke style of pseudo artist elite society. It certainly a way to get around editors.

    And I’m laughing because I wonder if Brooke actually knows how to troll his audience.

  171. Artist formerly known as Ben
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:03 pm [Reply]

    @Marc (#129):

    If this is the senior prom, and Summer and her sister/lover are seniors, wouldn’t it stand that one of them would have at least some awareness of who the kids are and what their names might be?

    Oh, everyone knows those two. One’s Gene, the other’s Eric. They’re the Gene-Eric gay couple.

  172. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:04 pm [Reply]

    FW-Quick Summer grab another girl and have sex with her in front of the protesters.

    MT-I wish they still had Mark smoking. I could imagine him buying cigarettes as an excuse to avoid fishing with Rusty. “I’m sorry, Rusty, I can’t go fishing with you. I have to buy some cigarettes.”

  173. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:06 pm [Reply]

    @Illustrator Steve (#144): I not only remember Howdy, I had a stand-up cardboard store display of him. A shop keeper in Windsor gave him to me for winning a prize in a violin recital. Loved that thing.

  174. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:09 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#151): As a general rule, when someone is cut off in a comic, it’s because the writer is trying to slip past a bad word that the audience will understand was meant to be said — such as, “He’s got a fat a-” “Hey, treat him with respect.”

    (And yes, that’s a really convoluted sentence up there, but I don’t have time to fix it up.)

  175. Comcis Fan
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:10 pm [Reply]

    FW: Well, you must admit that Batiuk’s timing for this strip is on target.

  176. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:11 pm [Reply]

    @S. Stout (#158): I’d accept that. Except it would require Evans being aware enough to know that he was perpetuating a stereotype, and I don’t think that’s possible.

  177. gnome de blog
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:14 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#150), @Inexplicable Bear Tongue (#163), @Frank Lee Meidere (#165):
    If y’all put it like that, I’ll partially recant. I think Brooke intentionally postponed the pregnancy test until the end. There’s no story if he doesn’t. And he did get our collective knickers in a knot over it, which may or may not have been an unintended consequence. However, I concede that it does defy logic to think that her mother of all people (and who is both Brooke’s self-confessed “me” character and the real Nazi in the strip) wouldn’t have put the Question to her straightaway.

  178. Artist formerly known as Ben
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:18 pm [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#74):

    3G – Margo must be starting to perspire. Blue is seeping out of her hair. Left unchecked, it would turn her into just another background nobody.

    So it’s not just the similar names, then. Margo and Marge derive their power from the same source.

  179. Fashion Police
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:18 pm [Reply]

    @gnome de blog (#177):

    [Juliette,]…who is…Brooke’s self-confessed “me” character…

    One wonders about Mr. McEldowney’s taste in underwear.

  180. word-doctor
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:19 pm [Reply]

    MT: “It’s ok, Mark. I’d scare the fish anyway.”
    WHAT THE…?!!! What is THAT?

    GA: Who knew that Roky Erickson is a guest cartoonist?

  181. Ben Jonson
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:26 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#168):

    “McEldowney’s Pibgorn comments summarized: “I read Shakespeare, and Shakespeare references come into my dialogue because I read Shakespeare. Also? I read Shakespeare.” ”

    Sirrah: I knew Shakespeare. Shakespeare was a friend of mine. Thou art no Shakespeare. By my troth, ye are but a stinkard and a beefwit.

  182. hogenmogen
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:28 pm [Reply]

    Fresh off her meddlegasm, Mary Worth gets into a laborious debate over a conscious “higher force” or a powerful, but ultimately random “fate”. She almost loses the argument when the unnamed gentleman points out that any Universe ruled by an intelligent being would never permit some old biddy the success she has enjoyed for these many decades. “You don’t understand,” replies Mary ominously. “I am God.”

  183. Shrug
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:29 pm [Reply]

    @Liam (#172):

    “MT-I wish they still had Mark smoking. I could imagine him buying cigarettes as an excuse to avoid fishing with Rusty. “I’m sorry, Rusty, I can’t go fishing with you. I have to buy some cigarettes.” ”

    He could still do it, thus:

    “I’m sorry, Rusty, I can’t go fishing with you. I have to buy some cigarettes.”

    “But Mark, you don’t smoke!”

    “Er, they are not for me. They are for the fish. I have to buy some cigarettes for the fish. After all, when we DO go fishing, when we catch a fish it would not be polite to watch it die without first letting it have a last smoke. You learn about kindness to dumb creatures that way when you are a Famed Nature Writer.”

  184. Calvin's Cardboard Box
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:30 pm [Reply]

    9CL – I think Brooke intended all along to reset by revealing that she never actually took a test. I think he intended to create dramatic tension by racing the plot along as if all involved believed she was pregnant, and for us to not notice all the evasive wording and the lack of any actual confirmation.

    Hence, the wordless confrontation with her boyfriend, the potential father. She gestures, he gestures, hands are intertwined, fluids are exchanged, and she announces that her biggest worry has been put to rest – not, as it turns out, the worry about whether she is actually pregnant, but the worry as to whether Amos would still fuck her if she was.

    I can’t speak for women (though that hasn’t stopped me from trying), but as a male, if presented with my lover’s grappling with coming to terms with the possibility of being pregnant, my first question, even before she finished her convoluted phrasing and hand gestures, would be “how do you know”? In Amos’ case, I might continue “Remember two months ago when you missed your period and weren’t pregnant? Or six months ago when you did the same thing? Or a year ago, when you just forgot that you had already had your period? Did you bother to take a test this time before flying to Vienna? The money you used for those tickets was supposed to be our emergency fund for the possibility we have to come to terms with the idea of being unemployed, you know?”

  185. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:32 pm [Reply]

    GA-Looks like Marmaduke has competition for demonic hellbeast pet.

  186. Shrug
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:33 pm [Reply]

    @Illustrator Steve (#144):

    Well, we didn’t get TV until 1955, and if I recall correctly PINKY LEE came on just before HOWDY DOODY. (But it may have been “just after,” it’s been a while.)

    Somehow though I didn’t learn until a couple of years ago that there had also been a HOWDY DOODY radio show:

  187. Dale
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:37 pm [Reply]

    @Calico (#155):

    Luann – I considered that Ox is just running a scam. Either way, who gets the blame when it turns out he doesn’t have a credit card (a real one)?

  188. Artist formerly known as Ben
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:37 pm [Reply]

    @TheDiva (#84):

    9CL: Of course Edda does not do anything so base as “pee” or “urinate” on something, she anoints it. Add golden showers to the list of uncomfortable fetishes Brooke indulges in his strip.

    Dammit! Now whenever I see Amos with wet hair I’ll have to wonder.

  189. Calico
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:39 pm [Reply]

    @Dale (#187):
    Oh ho, good idea.
    You know what would be awesome? If widdle Shannon was behind said scam. *Snicker*

  190. Gladly, the cross-eyed bear
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:40 pm [Reply]

    “It doesn’t surprise me that little evocations of the Shakespeare dialogue would pop out unconsciously as in the above…”
    Good God.

  191. Tess
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:47 pm [Reply]

    It occurs to me that the current Mary Worth Storyline was possibly Ghost Written by Chuck Palahniuk.

  192. Liam
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:50 pm [Reply]

    Agnes-The Underpants Monkey Dance is that like the Naked Mommy Daddy Dance?

  193. TheDiva
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:51 pm [Reply]

    @Calvin’s Cardboard Box (#184): In short, the entire 9CL pregnancy scare is classic Idiot Plotting, with Edda not doing the one obvious thing to resolve the tension and every other character refusing to ask any of the obvious questions that would reveal her lapse in judgement. The fact that Seth is now calling Edda out on her stupidity does not make the weeks of enduring said stupidity any less aggravating.

  194. Hibbleton
    May 11th, 2012 at 2:58 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#156):
    Holy cow! I clicked your link 5 minutes ago and saw someone get hit by a car. No injury but crap. It looked like a woman walked into the intersection without looking or rather while looking at her camera. Doesn’t seem like a minute goes by without someone pausing in the middle of the road to be photographed or take one. The utterance rate of “fuckin’ Tourist!” must be off the charts.

  195. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:02 pm [Reply]

    @Calvin’s Cardboard Box (#184): I think he intended to create dramatic tension by racing the plot along as if all involved believed she was pregnant, and for us to not notice all the evasive wording and the lack of any actual confirmation.

    It’s like how the cliffhangers resolve in “Billy the Fish” —
    • Billy is on trial for killing his wife and kids, but it turns out they were out shopping, and when the policeman didn’t find them at home, he naturally assumed they’d all been murdered. It was an honest mistake.
    • The train Billy is on somehow takes them into the Old West, and Billy get into a gunfight. He’s shot! [next strip] He wakes up. “I’ve been asleep!” “Yes, Billy,” his manager says, “All that shit about cowboys was just a dream.”
    • Then the train crashes, and Billy wakes to find that to save his life, he had to be given cyborg parts, so that he is now half-man, half-fish, and HALF-MACHINE! [next strip] “I’ve been dreaming again!” “Yes, Billy. Very much like last time.”
    • Someone comes out on the field and fires the whole team, or buys the stadium for a parking lot. [next strip] It turns out they were just a cardboard cut-out with a tape recorder! (This happens repeatedly.)

  196. Poteet
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:03 pm [Reply]

    @Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket (#153): Thank you for saying it so I don’t have to. I am also very irritated by the attitudes of these two fools. There are various reasonable ways of dealing with normal kitten desires to climb, jump, and get attention, but doing nothing to prevent or redirect the undesirable behaviors and then just yelling at the kitten is not one of those ways. And adopting a kitten, which can be a twenty-five year commitment, deserves forethought and planning. I’ve always known Slim was stupidity walking, and now it turns out Clovia is too. What a pair of tools. I’ll follow this story long enough to make sure that Lucky doesn’t get bumped off, and then I’ll quit GA (again).

  197. Poteet
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:15 pm [Reply]

    9CL — What really grinds my grits is the strong suspicion that Brooke sees Edda’s idiotic behavior as kind of adorable. Awww, poo widdoo Edda, she was so woowied dat she flewed awww da way to Vienna, yes herrums did! Don’t woowy, Edda, oo isn’t pwegnant aftoo aww! A worse suspicion is that he thinks a lot of young women would behave the way Edda did. Gaaaaah!

  198. Alter Ego
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    love is… Oh screw it, just go as you are.

  199. Der Schnärkïnätör
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:17 pm [Reply]

    MT – Rusty is not of this world…or universe for that matter.

  200. twg
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:26 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#149): Oh, I just thought she got cut off because he came back over and started talking.

  201. Baka Gaijin
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:34 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#156): You missed it. Time zones and all. Ran all the way to Swindon I did. Turns out it was drag queen trying to return the wallet I left at Nandos. Damn if he could run fast in those Manolo Blahnik heels.

    @gnome de blog (#177): I’ll have you know my knickers were not in a knot. I have a professional knicker-unknotter on staff.

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#92): “Guzongas.” She was going to say “Guzongas.”

  202. Johnny S
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:48 pm [Reply]

    Black cats are unlucky, and huge red demon cats are even worse!

  203. GeoGreg
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:49 pm [Reply]

    MT: “I’m afraid we’re going to have to postpone our fishing trip, Rusty…”

    “That’s okay. Now that my soul is inhabiting this puppet, I no longer need food, water, sleep, or companionship like you pathetic meatbags. I merely await the arrival of the Old One. Have you not seen the giant talking animals and other signs of his coming?”

  204. Mcbain
    May 11th, 2012 at 3:57 pm [Reply]

    love is…probably illegal.

  205. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:17 pm [Reply]

    @tallyHO (#147): Mt – Howdy Doody…..
    Buffalo Bob’s real name was Bob Smith and, for some odd reason, people commonly called him, “Buffalo Bob Smith”. He lived near where I grew up in Fort Lauderdale. During my first year of college (1965) Buffalo Bob Smith was a guest speaker at one of the lecture halls. He started the hour lecture off by remindng us, the audience, that WE were the ORIGINAL “Peanut Gallery”. (That was the term he used on his TV show for the sceaming kids who made up the studio audience). Buffalo Bob was asked if they would ever have re-runs broadcast on TV of the Howdy Doody show. Buffalo Bob said the problem with that was most of the early Howdy Doody shows were broadcast live from the studio but were not recorded. He said that was due to video taping being in it’s infancy in the early 50′s. Some later shows were video taped, thus the clips you have seen. We also found out that day that Buffalo Bob was a memory expert. At the begining of his lecture he asked each of us to tell him our first name. At the end of the hour he pointed to each of us one at a time and called us each by our first name with 100% accuracy! I still remember that. …Of course, if I DIDN’T remember it, then I couldn’t be telling you about it now, 47 years later! (BY the way, I guess everyone knows by now that the original Clarabell the Clown on the Howdy Doody show was Bob Keeshan, known a few years later as, Captain Kangaroo! Clarabell didn’t talk,he just honked a bicycle horn to answer questions. HEY! …MAYBE MARK TRAIL SHOULD START DOING THAT!)

  206. Here Come ole Flattop
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:28 pm [Reply]

  207. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:31 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#173): “I won a stand-up cardboard store display of Howdy Doody. It was given to me for winning a prize at a volin recital.”

    I have a similar experience, (and this is NOT mean as being sarcastic, honestly). I acually have a life-size cardboard store display of ELVIRA, Mistress of the Dark, and my son, Cody, is a fiddle player who has won fiddling competitions at old time music festivals. How ’bout THAT for a coincidence?
    Also, plasaccept my belated congradulations to you on your prize winning violin playing!

  208. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:41 pm [Reply]

    @Der Schnärkïnätör (#167): “Demonically possessed ventriloquist dummy”.

    Aren’t ALL ventriloquist dummys demonically possessed?

    I always thought they all were. ….After all, I used to watch Twilight Zone, still do!

  209. Downpuppy
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:41 pm [Reply]

    @Alter Ego (#198): “love is” + “first date” = boiled rabbit

  210. Marc
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:44 pm [Reply]

    @Artist formerly known as Ben (#162): RE: Curtis; My hockey team won our league championship last year and one of my dumbass teammates did that gang sign thing that Gunther is doing in one of the post game team pictures with the trophy. We lost in the first round of the playoffs this year so he didn’t get a chance to do it again. Anyways, when we got the pictures, I asked him what he was doing and he couldn’t even remember why he did it or what it even is. So it seems like everybody but gangs are the ones who flash that.

  211. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:46 pm [Reply]

    MT – If Rusty the dummy ever gets to go fishing he could always carve out some wood from one of his wooden dummy arms and whittle a keen looking fishing lure!

  212. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 4:55 pm [Reply]

    @word-doctor (#180):
    Word Doctor, my congradualtions. You have found the answer to the timeless question of WHY Rusty can NEVER go fishing! ……HE WOULD SCARE THE FISH AWAY!

  213. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 5:00 pm [Reply]

    @Shrug (#186): “PINKY LEE came on before the Howdy Doody show”.

    Didn’t PINKY LEE get busted big time for holding a one dollar bill up to the TV camera on his show and asked the kids watching to go get one of those green paper things out of their parents wallets and purses and mail it to him?
    WHY IN HELL DIDN’T I EVER THINK OF THAT? Oh yeah, it’s because my TV camera was a home video camera. Crap!

  214. GeoGreg
    May 11th, 2012 at 5:37 pm [Reply]

    @Illustrator Steve (#213):

    I think that was Soupy Sales. Too lazy to try to look it up right now, though.

  215. Alison
    May 11th, 2012 at 5:38 pm [Reply]

    At first I was angry at “Gasoline Alley” for using that disgusting stereotype that black cats are bad luck. I work at an animal shelter and so many people pass over perfectly nice black cats just because they are black cats. The last thing we need is some has-been of a comic strip preaching the evils of black cats.

    …Except, then I realized it doesn’t matter since nobody actually reads “Gasoline Alley” anyways.

  216. tallyHO
    May 11th, 2012 at 5:42 pm [Reply]

    @Illustrator Steve (#212):
    He’d scare the fish? Well then Mark Trail is doing wildlife a favor by not taking the lad fishing. It also allows for Mark to fish on his own and actually catch something.

    Which leads me to a quick pun (which I’ll probably regret typing and posting):

    Boy, Rusty sure does look draw-matized!

  217. Hardy Laurel
    May 11th, 2012 at 5:43 pm [Reply]

    I don’t understand why I get such a bad rap around here! Speaking of which, I’d like to rap my critics in the head…with my cane (if i had one)! Or maybe wrap them up with my scarf! HAHA! COMEDY TONIGHT!

  218. Señor Tortilla
    May 11th, 2012 at 6:27 pm [Reply]

    @Jocelyn Knockersbury (#61): From what I know, it’s very complicated and unusual. Not like others, at least. Point being: Batiuk doesn’t get out very much, does he?

  219. Mr K Martin
    May 11th, 2012 at 6:30 pm [Reply]

    FUNNY WRINKLED BEAN: Becky’s mom is protesting The Flintstones.

  220. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 7:51 pm [Reply]

    @GeoGreg (#214):
    THAT’S it! SOUPY SALES! Thanks :)

  221. Illustrator Steve
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:00 pm [Reply]

    @Hardy Laurel (#217): Don’t let it get to you. Keep ‘em on their toes! Keep ‘em guessing! Go out there and break a leg! If they don’t get it, then have those UPS guys break THEIR legs!

  222. Dartpaw86
    May 11th, 2012 at 8:33 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke: I am now absolutely certain they the writers read Josh’s blog and are actually inspired by his jokes.

  223. Sgt. Stoned
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:17 pm [Reply]

    MT: We now know that Rusty’s real father is Alfred E. Neuman.

    MW: Then, Mary regales the wedding party with: “Did I ever tell you about the time I rescued a child kidnap victim?”

  224. Gunslinger
    May 11th, 2012 at 9:30 pm [Reply]

    “A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths, together discovering a horrible, liberating truth.”

    This is the Dennis the Menace/Mysterious Skin mashup noone asked for. Keep one eye open Mr. Wilson, Dennis will do the rest.

  225. Johnny Q
    May 11th, 2012 at 11:45 pm [Reply]

    Rusty looks like something Mark Trail would use as bait!

  226. Lee
    May 12th, 2012 at 11:12 am [Reply]

    “I don’t know what Marmaduke did, but God is out to get him!”

    A little editing, is all it takes.

  227. derpypenguin
    May 14th, 2012 at 1:00 am [Reply]

    Does nobody else notice that Mark has managed to check his E-Mail not on a computer, as normal people do, but rather by conversing with this “Trish” over an outdated corded telephone? I think Elrod tried to hop on the smartphone bandwagon with the intent of Mark using one of them newfangled pieces of gadgetry to check his ‘electronic mail’ (or e-mail, as the kids are callin’ it) but got sidetracked by 1) not knowing how to draw a ‘smartphone’ 2) not knowing how to draw a computer, either, now that he thinks about it, and 3) not really understanding how the whole ‘email’ thing works, what with the text on a glowing screen and all. Best to just cut to Mark speaking with a mysterious woman on the phone; with a full sleep cycle separating the two strips the readers will not recall the mysterious reference to this ‘email’ magick and Mark can yet again successfully postpone fishing with his horrific ward.

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