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In defense of Dagwood’s food

Blondie, 1/21/08

I don’t want to come across as some kind of elitist food snob (and anyone who’s ever seen me cook and/or eat is no doubt enjoying a hearty laugh that I would ever have to preface anything I write with that sentence). But I have to say that Dagwood’s armful of foodstuffs doesn’t strike me as all that unhealthy. It’s hard to see at this resolution, but most of it appears to be the kind of fresh ingredients (including actual vegetables) of the sort that you’re really supposed to be eating, and not the boxed and/or frozen heavily processed and low-grade-corn-based stuff that most of us (myself included) actually eat. Who would have guessed that Dagwood’s love of food ran to quality, not just quantity?

Dagwood’s rejection of the modern industrial food chain might be a sign of a broader Luddism that has extended to more troubling dimensions, though. For instance, his insistence on carrying his bounty rather than putting it in a more convenient cart points to his rejection of that devil’s tool, the so-called “wheel.” Unrelated but also unsettling is the coloring error that rendered the word balloons in this strip an icy blue. As if today’s weather didn’t leave me cold enough!

Apartment 3-G, 1/21/08

Real-life chances that, in New York, a city of 8 million or so souls, a lonely, horny Margo would show up at the same bar where a lonely, horny Alan has decided to fall off the wagon with gusto, and the two would end up drunkenly making out: practically zero. Chances in Apartment 3-G’s New York, population approximately 50: very high, especially when you consider that Alan and Eric look essentially identical. If Alan’s hair settles into whatever color Eric’s was when Margo last saw him, all bets are off.

For Better Or For Worse, 1/21/08

As several faithful readers wrote me to point out, Grandpa Jim’s hand gesture in panel three is essentially the British version of giving someone the finger. While I’m not sure if the Brits left their rude hand signs in the Canadian psyche as a legacy of their Empire, it’s true that Grandpa spent most of WWII fixing up planes in the UK — plenty of time to learn how to flip off folks like a local. Once again, this poor man, trapped both in the half-responsive shell of his body and in the floundering final days of this comic strip, expresses what we’re all really feeling.

Mary Worth, 1/21/08

Dr. Drew manages to neatly combine surprise and smugness into one facial expression in panel two. “Ah, to be young and Drew Corey!” he seems to be thinking. “To be so gosh-darn irresistible that the ladies can’t even wait for you to sit down together before their need for your sweet young body becomes irresistible!” His narcissistic glow should last another five or ten seconds, until Vera starts eating his face.

They’ll Do It Every Time, 1/21/08

If my record-keeping is right, “Bob Bennett” is none other than faithful reader benro, and truly by now we should have come to expect that any TDIET that features newfangled advances like cell phones or e-mail would be from a Comics Curmudgeon reader. Cell phone glued to his ear or no, Hossbutt may have some problems hearing his wife when he calls her, considering that he and the nameless URGEd individual are apparently riding in a tiny, roofless go-cart in the middle of a multilane highway.

Pluggers, 1/21/08

You’re a plugger if your intimate life becomes a terrifying Oedipal nightmare by the time you hit 45.

61 responses to “In defense of Dagwood’s food”

  1. Johan
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:39 pm [Reply]

    FBOFW: Gramp: “Only two cookies? girl, if I could hold a knife I’d cut you.”

  2. Weaselboy
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:41 pm [Reply]

    So is Drew Corey going to tell Vera that he’s the new host of The Price is Right? Oh wait, I’m one letter off.

  3. Obélix
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:43 pm [Reply]

    You’re a Plugger when your wife’s face starts looking like your mother’s purse when you were 16 years old.

  4. Quix
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:46 pm [Reply]

    MW – Judging from the expression on his face and the quiver lines around his head, methinks the hug may have had an extreme effect on the good doctor. Quick, someone get him some tissue.

  5. Dingo
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:46 pm [Reply]

    I would like to thank Lois Flagston for reminding us that Dr. King died so that suburban bitches could spend the day in bed and let the maid take care of the children. I’m sure that Beulah would pour her a bath of ass’s milk, but can Lois produce that much?

  6. ScienceGiant
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:47 pm [Reply]

    FBOFW:” I can also beg for the sweet release of death, and roll over in my grave if I ever get it…”

  7. Rainbird
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:48 pm [Reply]

    Regarding Pluggers, I don’t think I remember what purse my mother had when I was a child, nor even what purse I had last year.

    I do recall my first purse, in Junior High, but only because I hated it so much (I needed to carry ID for the first time).

  8. Uncle Lumpy
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:49 pm [Reply]

    A plugger? With the correct diacritical marks in “déjà vu”? I think not!

  9. One-eyed Wolfdog
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:50 pm [Reply]

    That’s right, Weaselboy. Despite the typographical similarity, there is a vast gap personality gap there. It might be summarized as “Dirty Jokes & Beer” versus “Self-Absorbed Drivel & Pomade.”

  10. El Santo
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:51 pm [Reply]

    I don’t know British gestures, but even here — sitting in the good ol’ US of A — Grandpa Jim’s hand gesture looks more than a little obscene.

    Mainly because it’s a pinky finger away from being a shocker. And not the totally inept Spidey villian, either.

  11. Galactic Emperor Chennux®™©
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:53 pm [Reply]



  12. Hero120499
    January 21st, 2008 at 3:57 pm [Reply]

    Perhaps the lumbering weight of the Maryworthasaurus Rex and its brobdingnagian timelines has finally collapsed on itself and created a warp in the space-time continuum and we will be subjected to this diner meeting over and over and over as the universe loops in on itself with the appropriately named Junction Road Cafe as its focal-point because apparenty Vera is now in two places at once since in panel one it appears that she is outside the cafe preparing to enter at the same time she and Drew are exchanging pleasantries inside.

  13. Niall
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:05 pm [Reply]

    (I’ve saved my snark all day to be able to post it!)

    Monday snark – I’m still here yet!

    A3G: “WHy do I feel that he’s gone… forever?” Oh, that we should be this lucky! And panel 3: it fills me with dread as Margo Magee contemplates litereally breaking through the fourth wall and invading our world. On one hand, I wouldn’t blame her escaping the world of A3G, but on the other, we don’t need more disasters here.

    BC: Yes, Mason has now cut all ties with the late-period Hart. (There better not be reports of this strip being cut from papers.) Also.. Grog is a throwback??

    BB: Panel 1 is a godsend to shippers. Panel 3 features that most rarissimus of humour in Beetle Bailey: military humour.

    Blondie: Is this a continuation of the Sunday health food store joke?

    DtM: If he’s making up that excuse on the fly like many kids do, then +5 menacepoints.

    Edge City: Practicing a shimmy while doing household chores is something told all newcomers. Zills are strictly intermediate level because they are annoying as hell. Details aside, though, the enthusiasm and fun of a newcomer to the dance form is perfectly portrayed. :)

    F-: Many a hit song has been penned from that need.

    Garfield: And funny again!

    GF: One more day of this and the strip goes off my rotation list.

    H&L: The depression of this strip is strangely compelling.

    JP: Steve: don’t ask for a second cup, no matter how good the coffee is!

    MW: ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

    MC: …that reminds me, I should pay off my card before leaving on my vacation.

    Phantom: Ah. I fleetingly thought that a storyline focussing on the Phantom’s wife would show her worth to the modern Phantom mythos, but she’s only a vehicle for an Origin Recap. Sigh.

    SlyFx: Alas, Mr. Weber! That’s two mysteries in a row relying heavily on details not legible in any actually-published strip, due to the extreme reduction size. Also, I thought that the black outside meant it was 8pm and no paper is delivered at that time (though why the beaver would still have papers would be a good question). Finally, why is Shady Shrew called “‘The Schrew’” then a simple “the schrew” would have done the job? Is it a title he gives himself? Is he trying for Batman-level villain status? Admittedly, he tends to do the most actual damage, and often has higher-level crimes committed, and really, really delights in the criminal mindset. Unlike Weirdly, who may not be sane enough to understand the consequences of his acts.

    TDIET: I’m not quite to that level – I don’t see myself as having enough of a need to get a cellphone to myself, and will only borrow one if absolutely necessary (stuck in traffic is a good reason). I still think too many people have cellphones and aren’t using them correctly (see idiots loudly talking of very personal details on a crowded bus, and when politely requested to lower the volume of their voice, loudly berates the interrupter that this is personal and they should not listen in).

  14. Niall
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:06 pm [Reply]

    On TDIET: Looking at it again, I’m fairly amused. “Hossbutt” is basically Horse’s Ass, but a very nice way of saying it. :) And riding the roofless go-kart seems preferable to what the poor person to their left has to do – namely, cut off his head above the eyebrows in order to fit in his low-roofed car…

  15. Meanwhile
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:07 pm [Reply]

    MW: Am I the only one who thinks Dr. Drew appears to be recoiling in horror at Vera’s slightly buck-toothed advance? And who among us wouldn’t be taken aback, faced with some sort of pony-tailed vampire beaver?

    Heehee, now I’m thinking about the movie Teeth, and though I haven’t actually seen it, it sure makes me laugh.

  16. Flipper
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:09 pm [Reply]

    FOOB: Grandpa Jim’s family would be impressed if he could do simple dog tricks, but he can’t. Instead of dispensing homespun witticisms through his inner-monologue, he’s written to be a self-pitying ass towards the people who love him enough to wait on him hand and foot. Lynn must really loathe men.

  17. Dr. Pants
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:10 pm [Reply]

    I would think Eric, highroller that he is, might be able to afford a private jet or even a name-brand carrier. Instead, we see Margo walking away from “Airline.”

    Let’s hope she doesn’t go home and get trashed on Vodka-brand alcohol and then fall down on the tile, made and installed by the good people at “Floor.”

  18. GotFuzzy
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:10 pm [Reply]

    What self-respecting male Plugger has ever noticed what type of handbag any wimminfolk carry, whether it’s his mother or his wife? He may hold it when his wife is shopping (god forbid the little lady ever go anywhere on her own) but the shape/style/color does not imprint on his brainpan. Noticing details like that is for nancy-boys.

    And that is not Vera about to enter the cafe–it’s some other limp-ponytailed denizen of the Biddyverse. As the exploding voice balloons indicate, our lovely(?) couple is already inside.

  19. Lord-z
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:12 pm [Reply]

    So, you are a plugger if you are a twenty something hipster couple? I think that both groups would protest at being compared with the other. Pluggers, because they don’t like all that there newfangled subcultures, and hipsters because no body wants to be compared with pluggers.

  20. Sharona
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:12 pm [Reply]

    #12 Hero, I think in the first panel Vera is overhearing Drew inside the cafe, rehearsing how he thinks the reunion will go. Apparently hearing herself imitated in a high, squeaky voice drives Vera mad with desire.

  21. skapuis
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:17 pm [Reply]

    It looks like Vera, as any normal person would, needed to down a bottle of vodka to talk to Drew and has now stumbled through the door and is clinging to him so as not to end up on the ground. All this to tell him she’s over him.

  22. folby
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:17 pm [Reply]

    To be fair, though there are 8 million people in NYC nobody hangs out with all of them. People tend to stay within their neighborhood, and even within that there are a limited number of places that you hang out, divvied up according to the type of place / target age group / quality/ price etc. If Margo wants to drown her sorrows she isn’t going to go to Park Slope to do it, you know? SO WHY DON’T YOU CUT MARGARET SHULOCK SOME FUCKING SLACK.

  23. nerowolfgal
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:20 pm [Reply]

    Sharona: Vera may be driven mad with desire but all that really accomplishes (sp?) is that her coat changes colour. Either that or she has a twin who is standing guard outside CAFE.

    (Sorry about spelling, I am whooped on pain pills for a bad knee.)

  24. The Original Steve-Dave
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    Vera changes jackets rather quickly, too.

  25. teenchy
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    Pope Josh: If I were Dagwood, I’d be concerned that Mr. Dithers was having his purchases tracked in order to jack up his health insurance premiums:

  26. The Original Steve-Dave
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:28 pm [Reply]

    Drat! Too slow. :-\
    I don’t even have pain pills as an excuse. ;-)

  27. teenchy
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:31 pm [Reply]

    # 10: El Santo, you are correct. Grandpa Jim is essentially giving April the finger.

  28. teenchy
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:32 pm [Reply]

    Drat, too slow indeed. Josh, you’re editing on the fly!

  29. Grover Cleveland
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:52 pm [Reply]

    Don’t give TDIET too much credit for cautiously approaching modernity — everyone is still dressed like its 1958.

  30. Girl Randolph
    January 21st, 2008 at 4:55 pm [Reply]

    RE: Foob – “While I’m not sure if the Brits left their rude hand signs in the Canadian psyche as a legacy of their Empire”

    No, mostly we swear like Americans, add an ‘eh’ on the end and phrase it like a question.

    Basically we’re americans who have a simplier nomination process for our political leaders and sometimes like vinegar on our fries.

    Oh and the Queen. But she’s like an old friend from abroad. When she visits, we throw a party. But we’re happy when she leaves.

    RE: Pluggers – does this count if you aren’t that old but your girl really likes vintage things. I have purses nearly the same age as my mother.

    Perhaps you’re a plugger (at any age) if you whine about how things were made better back then…

    Oh god! I’m a plugger. Can this process be halted in some way?

  31. Zaq
    January 21st, 2008 at 5:03 pm [Reply]

    Reuters: (Charterstone, MW) The debate-filled world of the science of figuring out what the hell year Mary Worth is supposed to exist in was rocked today with the discovery of Vera’s Hypercolor jacket…

  32. Ranger
    January 21st, 2008 at 5:15 pm [Reply]

    That must be Vera’s “booty call” jacket. Or maybe its really Von in Vera’s clothes. Either way, Drew’s gonna get lucky!

  33. Muffaroo
    January 21st, 2008 at 5:20 pm [Reply]

    DT – Seeing the Governor’s finger-to-the-sky gesture today is a tip-off that he’s guilty. Evidently, he escaped from the “Cathy” strip, and for punishment, he should be sent back. (By contrast, the guy in Gasoline Alley is pointing at someone, so he’s off the hook but should watch himself anyway.)

    MF – Labeling those inept caricatures is a real good idea. It would probably also be a good idea to have boxes with arrows to point out other stuff that’s too obscure to be discerned unaided, like “talking point,” “liberal,” and “joke,” when it has them.

  34. Muffaroo
    January 21st, 2008 at 5:26 pm [Reply]

    Phantom – Rule Number One of Jungle Patrol: Do not talk about Jungle Patrol!

  35. CCJunkie
    January 21st, 2008 at 5:35 pm [Reply]

    Congrats benro. I grew up in Sayville — nice to know that the CC is popular there too!

  36. emby
    January 21st, 2008 at 6:35 pm [Reply]

    MW: I don’t know if Vera is quite giving a smooch. Looks more like she is smelling him for some reason. Maybe the Cedar closet/Mothball smell from the jacket has intoxicated her.

  37. jvwalt
    January 21st, 2008 at 7:08 pm [Reply]

    If Elly Patterson is the embodiment of Lynn Johnston, and Elizabeth is the manifestation of Lynn’s secret hopes for her real-life daughter, then can we presume that Jim is the graphic representation of Lynn’s creativity? A pathetic shell containing only a dim flicker of energy; barely able to communicate coherently with the outside world; and full of ambivalence about whether to cling furiously to the dying embers of life, or simply to let it all go?

  38. Lolsworth
    January 21st, 2008 at 7:24 pm [Reply]

    Damn, Scaduto was well ahead of schedule. All the way up to February 2nd.

    I never thought I’d say this, but I’ll miss They’ll Do It Every Time.

    That still looks weird.

  39. snork3455
    January 21st, 2008 at 7:29 pm [Reply]

    Curtis: “My swagger’s in full tilt!” My swagger’s in full tilt? My swagger’s in full tilt? My SWAGGER is in FULL TILT?


    Pluggers: You’re a plugger when your wife’s purse starts looking like your mother’s [joke recalled]

  40. gnome de blog
    January 21st, 2008 at 7:33 pm [Reply]

    Gwandpa Jim is merely expressing Lynn’s appreciation for her fans. Especially her Curmudgeon ones.

  41. Garrison
    January 21st, 2008 at 7:48 pm [Reply]

    Is it me or is there alot of detail work on Blondie’s box of corn flakes? I can almost even make out the kellogg’s rooster in the box’s illustration. Is there such a thing as comic strip product placement?

  42. Smokey Stover
    January 21st, 2008 at 8:45 pm [Reply]

    Mary Worth: I like that the narration box tells us that Drew and Vera meet “at a local cafe.” Very NPR. Was there a creative struggle between the narrator and the artist? Like, the artist wanted them to meet at the remote (or at least remote-sounding) “Junction Road Cafe,” but the narrator insisted that it be a local place, and they reached a compromise?

    Also I like how the place looks like a pod distribution center from “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.”

  43. Filthy Assistant
    January 21st, 2008 at 9:24 pm [Reply]

    Scaduto died but — heh heh, — his terrible comic lives on.

    <— Urge to Kill The Roaming Zombie Comic by Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain

  44. Niall
    January 21st, 2008 at 9:56 pm [Reply]

    FIlthy: actually, every strip has a backlog of strips, usually of two months at least. This gives time for syndicates and papers to find replacement in case of cancellation or, in this case, unexpected death. It also gives papers time to see if a strip is objectionable and alert readers a day ahead if they want. Like it or not, the strip will continue until the end of the month.

    (You are of course completely free to not like a strip others do; it’s rather a prerogative of this site. :))

  45. sally
    January 21st, 2008 at 11:24 pm [Reply]

    MW — OH, that’s her PURSE strap! For a moment there I thought she’d discovered that Drew literally kneads a noodle, and it turns blue to boot.

  46. Albert Camus
    January 21st, 2008 at 11:30 pm [Reply]

    You’re a plugger when you get the accents right. Quelle nuance!

  47. dbp
    January 22nd, 2008 at 12:02 am [Reply]

    Panel 1 of today’s MW seems to have Doonesbury’s George W. Bush recognizing Drew and Vera in the cafe. Perhaps he’s just given that large briefcase full of cash to the suited man leaving on the left.

    Meanwhile, in panel 4 of FBOFW, Gramps appears to be possessed by Pazuzu.

  48. Squeak
    January 22nd, 2008 at 12:26 am [Reply]

    Vera looks like she’s barely holding back a laugh. Maybe she’s just about had enough of being stuck in a Mary Worth story, and trying to act all serious.

  49. Canaduck
    January 22nd, 2008 at 1:56 am [Reply]

    “Hossbutt” is the best TDIET name that ever was or ever will be.

  50. Luprand
    January 22nd, 2008 at 4:52 am [Reply]

    18 Got Fuzzy: Yeah, I guess I’m a nancy-boy, then. One of the few memories I didn’t repress from childhood involves what my mother’s purse looked like back then. It was a blue leather purse with a couple of side pockets.

    Granted, nowadays she’s got about fifteen different purses and handbags of varying stages of tastefulness and tackiness (honestly, the city of Venice outlined in sequins? There are better ways of subtly letting people know how well-traveled you are). Makes it a little weird when she wants to send me on an errand and says, “Get my wallet out of my purse,” since I’m not always sure which one.

  51. regnaD kciN
    January 22nd, 2008 at 6:52 am [Reply]

    If I were Margo, I’d be overwhelmed with dread, too…mainly because Eric’s flight appears to be a Boeing 727, which hasn’t been flown in this country for a decade or more. On which godforsaken third-world airline has Eric managed to get himself booked? Undoubtedly, one whose only service department expense is for rolls of duct tape. Face it, Margo…the guy’s a goner.

  52. regnaD kciN
    January 22nd, 2008 at 6:54 am [Reply]

    And, if I were Dr. Drew, I’d be more alarmed that Vera’s evil identical twin seems poised to make her appearance in the same diner a moment later…only clad in a blue jacket instead of Vera’s purple one.

  53. Chance
    January 22nd, 2008 at 7:40 am [Reply]

    FOOB: Not to be insensitive, but I was under the impression that the whole point of the stroke is that he can’t beg or roll over.

  54. Worm
    January 22nd, 2008 at 8:33 am [Reply]

    #18 GotFuzzy, that’s obviously the intent after the bubbles were added but I can’t imagine an explanation for the art itself unless the artist accidentally drew two Vera.

    Odd that in the second panel she won’t even drop her bag to properly hug Drew, an action which would probably make the duplicate Vera less glaring.

  55. thecrock
    January 22nd, 2008 at 10:24 am [Reply]

    TDIET isn’t showing any technological advancements. As someone pointed out – look at their clothes.

    But also look at the fact that they are yelling at their cell phones. It’s almost as if Scaduto threw phones onto a poor group of 50′s folk just to mess with them.

  56. Sarah Marie
    January 22nd, 2008 at 10:41 am [Reply]

    I gotta admit, I found today’s Garfield funny.

  57. Ginger Yellow
    January 22nd, 2008 at 11:00 am [Reply]

    There’s a typo in panel three of FOOB. Grandpa Jim is actually saying “Stop fucking patronising me.”

  58. NightRaven
    January 22nd, 2008 at 2:47 pm [Reply]

    Remember that A3G is basically a period piece. I’m not quite sure when it’s supposed to take place, but it’s obviously not in todays world. Notice the hairstyles, clothing, language, character types and tech level.

  59. Lolsworth
    January 22nd, 2008 at 4:24 pm [Reply]

    TDIET isn’t going to be a zombie strip. King Features appears to have grown a vestigial sense of respect.

  60. Wynne
    January 23rd, 2008 at 4:57 pm [Reply]

    Dr. Drew looks more hypnotized than arrogant if you ask me- like Vera’s become a vampire and her TRUE purpose in meeting him was so she could quell her insatiable thirst for human blood with someone no one would really care about, should they be sucked dry. Look, she’s even bending over his neck with a Dracula-like glint in her eye.

    Mary’s next boy-toy will obviously be Van Helsing, come from Netherlands to drive a stake through Vera’s black, vampiric heart.

  61. stinkybisquits
    January 24th, 2008 at 7:35 am [Reply]

    I’m just glad Dagwood’s pants didn’t fall down.

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