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Everybody wants to be a foob

Maybe it’s the approach of yet another announced “sell-by” date, or the challenge to “knock [its author] off the page”, but suddenly everybody in the comics is trying to muscle in on the territory of For Better or For Worse. And since the funny page is such a vicious nest of vipers, every strip has picked out its own vulnerability to exploit:

Judge Parker, 7/1/2008

“Twenty-five thousand and one dollars, Sam, not a penny less! Real money, too — I mean Canadian dollars.”

Spider-Man, 7/1/2008

Meanwhile, Spidey hones his use of wordplay as a substitute for plot development. With his back to the audience and botched delivery, he looks like a strong contender to snatch Foob‘s crown.

Sally Forth, 7/1/2008

The Forths’ strategy targets the famed Foob flashback technique. Sorry, Forths — yours is still far too effective to compete.

Mandrake, 7/1/2008

Hey, look who’s here! Mandrake retains the egregious stereotyping of founding author Lee Falk, but it’s not aiming for The Phantom, or even Foob. With its dapper hero, hot babe, and low-water-pressure storyline, this strip has Rex Morgan, MD squarely in its sights.

Hey! Too much comic goodness for just one post today — stay tuned!

– Uncle Lumpy

48 responses to “Everybody wants to be a foob”

  1. The Spectacular Spider-Brick
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:02 am [Reply]

    Ooh, I’m up late! A chance to be first! But what to say…?

    I love the comics… no, been done.

    Snark something… no, damn, Chron’s not up for another minute! Think… think… think….

    Boy, that Mary Worth sure is a meddling old biddy, ain’t she? No, too generic…

    Aha! FW: Actually, despite the smirks, that’s not a joke at all. Florida has no state income tax. To take advantage of that, you would have to be a legal resident, which requires you spend half the year plus one day living in the state. Funky Winkerbean: It’s Not Funny Because It’s True.


  2. Miss Mollie
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:08 am [Reply]

    As I wore out my poor little paws typing this comment just as the previous thread was ending, I am re-posting it here with apologies for the repetition and in reference to post #128 from the aforementioned previous thread.

    To Truman Fable, as to your ‘Cathy’ comment:

    Humbly, sir, if I may add to your astute observations regarding the irresponsibility of Cathy and Irving toward their pets, it would appear that the source of humor in this particular comic strip is derived from the notion that the couple has vowed to adhere to strict budgetary constraints in these lean times yet they appear to be throwing fiscal caution to the wind as they rush to a ‘professional groomer’ in some madcap attempt at situational irony. However, wouldn’t a pet owner possessing the necessary faculties to make proper decisions regarding pet care take into account the financial burden of pet ownership and include the necessary funds in their budget thus rendering today’s installment of ‘Cathy’ humorless?

    But then what the hell do I know? I’m just a dog.

  3. Tom Bombadil
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:12 am [Reply]

    I find the first panel of Judge Parker disturbing, as if something terrible is about to happen. Must be the beard combined with too much Mark Trail.

  4. Mike Podgorski
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:12 am [Reply]

    Where are you reading Mandark, Uncle Lumpy? Not to mention Flash Gordon.

  5. CanuckDownSouth
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:14 am [Reply]

    Wouldn’t that be a minimum number of days in Florida? That really doesn’t make sense. He’ll lose the tax benefit if he spends more time in the low-tax state?

    Funky Winkerbean: you’ll spend so much time thinking about whether the final smirk is true or not that whether it is or isn’t funny won’t matter – your sense of humour will have fallen asleep before you decide whether it’s OK to laugh.

  6. Yaanu
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:17 am [Reply]

    Wait, since when did Sally Forth start breaking the fourth wall?

    This could get interesting.

  7. GarrisonSkunk
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:20 am [Reply]

    Re: the second panel in Mandrake – sometimes a faucet is just a faucet.

  8. Mibbitmaker
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:20 am [Reply]

    Starting with the above…

    JP: Who are those people in the first panel? They’re drawn like they’re supposed to be somebody (famous?), but they’re irrelevant! …And I thought the extras in Mary Worth were too distracting!

    S-M: Of course you just thought of something funny — that punnery in the previous panel sure wasn’t. (Actually, it made me groan, but in the way a good pun should. Unlike all the puns in all the other strips these days, which just suck)

    S4th: That, my dear bats:[, is meta! — my favorite style of humor. — However… I’m not sure why they all went Goth for a second there.

    Manduck the Magician: The Oriental stereotyping (I haven’t been thinking it’s been so bad in “Marvin”, but here — hoo boy!), the dull as … dishwater… plotline, the obvious “take” from What’sherface that’s meant to cue the “He’s a horse’s ass” musical sting — If we all “gesture hypnotically”, it may all disappear (God willing!).

  9. BigTed
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:24 am [Reply]

    Are we supposed to believe that Hilary has any idea what the Bicentennial was? Unless she heard it mentioned on “That ’70s Show,” in which case she must think of it as a day in ancient history during which her parents smoked pot and had sex in a van. (Which, come to think of it, is probably why they canceled the flashback.)

  10. BigTed
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:31 am [Reply]

    It’s pretty smart of Judge Parker to have Sam negotiate his publishing advance, instead of, say a book agent. Because someone actually in the business might notice that Cheatham House’s only other titles are “My Memoirs” by Ed Crankshaft, “The Big Book of Dog Poetry” by Cathy, and “A Million Little Pieces” by that drug-addict guy from “Apartment 3-G.”

  11. True Fable
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:34 am [Reply]

    A3G Of course you believe in spirits, Margo. You also believe in wine.
    BB Yeah, at Camp Swampy there’s no such thing as policing the barracks grounds. No wonder these bozos are never sent overseas, too embarrassing to admit they are ours.
    BF These people are every bit as churlish as the denizens of Foobville, and that’s truly awful.
    Cathy (Must Die!) What Miss Mollie in #2 said. ;-)
    Curtis *sigh* The Asian kid loves math. Gee, how fucking original is that, just real Comedy Gold material right there. And if he’s not Asian, then the Coloring Gnomes think he is. /sarcasm
    (WT)DT “simple as gulping chocolate”. I never, NEVER would have come up with that without the help of a thousand typewriters, a thousand monkeys and some good booze.
    FC Jeffy asks the question I always wanted to ask but never did. If you put your best foot forward, then that means you can’t go any further without using your worst or at least, Lesser foot.
    FW Bwahahaohfuckit, I’m not amused.
    (WTF)GT Yeah, Gil, the kid’s getting deported so why don’t you make him feel worse by booting him out for being untidy? Sure, it will probably make it so he can get picked up by the majors but Gil’s still an asshat at the moment.
    H&J He looks like Herb’s wife. What are you trying to say?
    JP So… he HAS been talking to Mikey Patterson! Hey, Alan: if they are a small publishing company, they might not be able to extend a bigger advance to you. In fact, you’re lucky to get an advance at all so STFU.
    Luann And this house is insured, too! I hope.
    MT What a vicious, manipulative, cold-hearted woman! What is Margo doing in this strip?
    MW Ron no doubt knows all about the Bum Boat so hell no, he doesn’t want to go there just so Mary can wave him under Jeff’s nose. Guys gotta stick together, you know.
    MC That just makes too much sense, Norm!
    Phantom … this makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Guess I’m in for the ride just to find out what living on an oil platform has to do with justice or watching people sleep and shower.
    RMMD Mr. Mallory FINALLY gives up his flowers.
    S4th OMG, I truly enjoyed today. Thanks, Ces!

  12. skullcrusherjones
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:34 am [Reply]

    The blonde in the first panel of Judge Parker is delighted by the encouraging comments from her personal, bearded angel.

    “Go on, eh,” nudges the tiny transcendental being, “Once we find you a good man, I can get my wings. Nice denim ones to go with my Canadian tuxedo.”

  13. skullcrusherjones
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:36 am [Reply]


    “Biography? More like My-ography”- E. Crankshaft, New York “Grimes” Best Selling Author

  14. GarrisonSkunk
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:42 am [Reply]

    SF – Better “Break the ‘forth’ wall” punchline … Peter Griffin in the last panel saying “Oh, I am SO suing them!”

  15. Peter S. Conrad
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:47 am [Reply]

    Well, you may not do the COTW, Unca Lumpy. But one thing’s sure. You turn it out EARLY in the day–not like a certain Curmudgeon who, jeez, is it evening already? Jeez.

  16. Uncle Lumpy
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:47 am [Reply]

    #4 Mike –

    The Albany Times-Union has a generous offering of King Features comics — click “See Comics” for a (somewhat annoying) pictorial navigation tool. Some are Sunday-only.

  17. bats :[
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:47 am [Reply]

    3. Tom Bombadil: I had the same unsettled feeling…then again, it might be the shrimp burrito I had for dinner…

    8. mibbitmaker: that’s what I thought! “LOOK! meta!” Thank you for confirming my hunch — I get it now. :)

    Mutts: hah! hybrid!

    RMMD: It’s not MRSA…it’s the anxiety attack from hell…

    MW: dang, if this thing with Rod gets serious, Mary’s going to have to rely on Fancy Feast-salad sandwiches to get her seafood fix.

  18. Mibbitmaker
    July 1st, 2008 at 2:19 am [Reply]

    9CL: Well, there goes Thorax’s GLAAD award hopes. And, am I wrong, or are all those adjectives applicable to Thorax as well? Except, unfortunately, “doomed”.

    A3G: Hey, if Margo possessed powers like those, wouldn’t she’ve layed waste to 3 quarters of the earth already — even unknowingly?

    Archie: The joke’s decidedly lame, of course — But that little Jughead wisecrack in panel one? That’s the little witty touch that makes the comic books (at least my copies/collections that cover the ’60s and early ’70s) so enjoyable – unlike the strips we keep getting.

    BBailey: EEWW!! That doesn’t belong on the funny pages. That belongs in “Ren & Stimpy” — and by that, I mean the “Adult Cartoon Party” version!

    Curtis: Speaking of Oriental stereotypes… If that kid’s so much the Eastern caricature whiz kid, what’s he doing in summer school? For fun??

    FOOB: So, not only is Mikey a jerk, he’s also a pig? How in hell did that turn into Mr. Wonderful St. Mike the Fragile Genius in Lynn’s eyes? And I thought the book deal was impossible!

    HotC: I thought a “sad meal” was only available in Batiuk strips.

    MT: Last time Kelly the Wacky Gal tried a trick like that, 5 stuntmen were killed. Oh, that minx!

    MW: “…so you’re eating seafood, GOT that, Sonnyboy?!” Meanwhile, we see through a porthole into an alternate universe where Mare ‘n’ Jeff are still together, and Mary’s not a bitch.

    Ghost-Who-potrzebie-axolotl: “Your fight for justice?? Hey, who’s the costumed superhero here?!”

    Popeye: Wow, she’s easily amused. Besides — isn’t she breaking her own law here?

    RMMD: “HWARRRRGF!!” That ain’t water!

  19. Joshua
    July 1st, 2008 at 2:36 am [Reply]

    Mibbitmaker: The most plausible explanation of the math fan in “Curtis” is that he is trying to do the equivalent of a full year of math in summer school so he can place into an even higher math class in the fall.

  20. Frank Parsnip
    July 1st, 2008 at 3:00 am [Reply]

    Jugs Parker, Zapruder-film analysis:

    Panel 1: We see that Judge Parker has his offices in the second floor of some old stone house, as if he were a magistrate in Wellington, New Zealand, instead of whatever exciting metropolis this is actually situated in. And it’s the sort of neighborhood where blonde women run for their lives from bearded loners wearing the kind of leather motorcycle jacket normally seen on the Vespa-riding wing of the French Hell’s Angels.

    Panel 2: Judge Parker isn’t getting that advance, which was precisely the amount of money he was going to need to get in order to go on vacation. The horrible Hawaiian shirt stays on until the money’s in his account.

    Panel 3: Sam Driver gives the secret two-fingered salute signal that he’ll do whatever necessary to ensure that a novelized version of his cartoony self will see the light of day.

    Mandrake: I’m surprised that nobody else caught on that July is National Water Pressure month. Just think how soapy we would all be if it weren’t for water pressure. I’ve already gotten a few cards from well-wishers.

    Funky Pantysniffer: Ha! Tax reasons! Ha! Oh, the mirth continues…

    Mallard Fillmore: Tinsley, where does a six pack of beer an hour leave you? Spending significant periods of time on the hood of your own car?

    Family Circus: Jeffy, your best foot is the horribly swollen one on the left that is stable enough to allow you to stand. The other one is a horribly swollen twisted appendage already sticking out at an angle. If you follow Grandma’s instruction to put your “best foot forward” at this moment, cruelly, you will fall on your face.

    Crankshaft: That little rust spot? Mailbox cancer.

    Gil Thorp: Why does today’s exchange between Elmer and Gil remind me of “Red Meat”?

    Elmer: “I forgot to tell you, coach, but I’m staying!”

    Ted Johnson: “And I forgot to tell you that I pawned your baseball equipment to buy dope. Adios!”

    Herb und Jamaal: “Mister Jay” is new territory here — for once they didn’t just refer to “that clothing critic everybody’s been reading about.”

  21. Mike Podgorski
    July 1st, 2008 at 3:43 am [Reply]

    Thank you, Uncle Lumpy. I’ve been interesting in reading Mandrake for a while now. What this says about me, I have no idea.

  22. Nil Zed
    July 1st, 2008 at 6:09 am [Reply]

    re: funkyretirementbean
    given that the state requires a minimum number of days in residence, don’t you think a joke, haha, about having to spend the maximum days there is just the sorta lame joke an old guy who retired there from Ohio would make?

    Not a good joke, but a joke you’d expect to hear. In fact, I suspect TB did overhear it, and all of this, Tony’s retirement, the timeshift, everything, was just in order to fit this joke into the strip.

  23. Nil Zed
    July 1st, 2008 at 6:14 am [Reply]

    dangit! wrong thread!

  24. Shoshi
    July 1st, 2008 at 7:30 am [Reply]

    Looks like there will be no trips to the Bum Boat for Mary and Ron. Naturally, the memories of all those great Bum Boat experiences with Dr. Jeff will drive her back to him. Even if they are in black-and-white.

  25. Hogenmogen, of the Jungle Patrol
    July 1st, 2008 at 8:40 am [Reply]

    JP: I love the way that Sam is making a finger pistol and pointing at his temple. It is as if to say “I blew off an important client for a rookie author griping about his advance not being big enough. I’m going to shoot myself now.”

  26. mojo
    July 1st, 2008 at 8:49 am [Reply]

    Judge Parker–When I was in grade school, a friend of mine used to pose just like Sam does in the last panel in order to surreptitiously give an authority figure the finger. That way she could pretend to be rebellious without getting into actual trouble.

    It was amusing when we were ten, but when an adult does it, it’s just sad.

  27. Hogenmogen, purveyor of angst ridden commentary
    July 1st, 2008 at 8:58 am [Reply]

    Rex Moron: Why does Max Mallory think that flowers are an appropriate gift for a teenage boy? Get the kid a Gameboy cartridge or given that Rex is in a time warp, a Rubix Cube.

    Mary Worth shows who she is lusting via floating circular pictures. Using the same logic, Moss in Mark Trail has the hots for Jack Elrod.

    9 Chickweed: That’s one happy chick looking at blank paper. Maybe it’s a porn mag that she’s covered up out of modesty.

  28. ScubaSteve
    July 1st, 2008 at 9:26 am [Reply]

    I’ll be honest, I can’t believe you passed on FOOB today. I saw it in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and started rolling. I was hoping for some commentary, oh well.

  29. anonymous
    July 1st, 2008 at 9:48 am [Reply]

    …..Mandrake. The. Magician??? This thing from the 1930′s is still being printed in a newspaper??? I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t looked it up on wikipedia. Son of a gun. But then, my head still spinning with disbelief, they are going to make a movie version…with Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Mandrake!

    EEEEEE!!!!!!!!! I’m so there!

  30. James
    July 1st, 2008 at 10:04 am [Reply]

    It is kind of fitting to take shots at FOOB on Canada Day.

  31. Muffaroo
    July 1st, 2008 at 10:45 am [Reply]

    A3G – “…I believe… in CAKE!”

    MF – What the duck doesn’t seem to realize is that time spent inside the bathroom goes at a different rate. What seems like just a couple of minutes to an encanned person is like a half hour to the guy pacing outside. Much as ten seconds reading Mallard Filmore feels like five minutes. Five minutes you’ll never get back, no matter how much coffee you drink.

    MT – Welly agitates the bronc. She’s the Horse Fluffer.

    MW – Marv just failed the “bum boat” test. I can’t tell if that means he knows that “seafood lover” is a code phrase or not.

    Phantom – “I stay on this godforsaken oil rig to guard it against INTRUDERS like YOU! Four years, I been guarding the damn thing. Hey, you folks don’t happen to have any Hostess Twinkies, do you?”

    Shoe – A good cop arrested a bad cop? Man, that must have been one fun interrogation!

    Frank Parsnip @20 – Great insight on Mallard. Mister Jay, on loan from Doonesbury, sure looks different in Herb & Jamaal. (ps: That’s because nobody’s been talking about him.)

  32. Steve the Pocket
    July 1st, 2008 at 11:26 am [Reply]

    #6: If she keeps knocking like that, she’s gonna break the third wall too.

    I can’t believe they stooped to stealing a gag from Family Guy. Which was only funny then because Family Guy is known for having a ton of flashbacks. *sigh*

  33. Paul1963
    July 1st, 2008 at 11:49 am [Reply]

    Wow, Mandrake the Magician. I wonder how many papers that’s in nowadays?

    I used to do gag cartoons and sell them at SF conventions. Did it for years. Many of them were genre parodies. The one that never, ever sold was “Mandrake the Used Car Salesman.” I figured it was because Mandrake hasn’t appeared in a Baltimore or Washington paper in decades.

    “Tarzan of the Accountants” and “The Phantom at the Opera” both moved pretty quickly, though. :-)

  34. trey le parc
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:21 pm [Reply]

    JP: At least we can reasonably expect these random citizens frolicking outside the offices of Driver & Parker office are on their way to an event that will unfold far quicker than the turgid storyline unfolding behind those somber brick walls.

  35. Uncle Lumpy
    July 1st, 2008 at 1:46 pm [Reply]

    “The Phantom at the Opera” Hee!

    Pagliacci, no doubt. It’s always Pagliacci with these guys.

  36. Little Guy
    July 1st, 2008 at 2:55 pm [Reply]

    JP: Although I would have preferred something more sheer and less opaque, I have to give them props for the Gratuituous Blonde NPC Shot.

    Spidey: Let’s cut to the chase. Peter Parker is a eunich. Spiderman is a eunich. Therefore, Peter Parker is Spiderman.

    Candorville: So, this is the male version of Roxann. I guess.

    S4th: I demand a ‘special’ character on a lunch table.

    GA: I can’t get enough of Happy Kitty.

    RM: Ha ha! Scumbag Lawyer’s gonna die a horrible death!

  37. Paul1963
    July 1st, 2008 at 3:00 pm [Reply]

    Family Circus, 6/30/08–I swear to God the elder Keane did this exact gag 30-some years ago, possibly even with the same panel composition, except that the caption ended with “Johnny Carson” instead of “Leno.” I’m reasonably certain it was in a paperback FC collection (possibly “I Can’t Untie My Shoes!”).

  38. Hogenmogen & Jamaal
    July 1st, 2008 at 3:17 pm [Reply]

    JP: I think it is from the opening episode to “24″, season 2, where a bearded Jack Bauer confronts his daughter Kim. Maybe Sam will be caught up in an international web of intrigue involving a plot to blow up the city with a nuclear device. Trudi and Abbey save the day when their gigantic bosoms knock the terrorists on to their ass. Or, JP will simply substitute an equally exciting yarn about book publishing.

  39. Mountain Mama
    July 1st, 2008 at 5:26 pm [Reply]

    I can’t y’all failed to recognize Chuck Norris in panel one of today’s JP!

    His tears cure cancer, you know.

  40. carter
    July 1st, 2008 at 6:13 pm [Reply]

    It looks like Sally Forth actually did flash back… to that time the family was all in Kraftwerk.

  41. Mountain Mama
    July 1st, 2008 at 6:45 pm [Reply]

    #39–me. Can’t believe. Damnit.

    BTW, Uncle Lumpy, magnificent job as always.

  42. elianah
    July 2nd, 2008 at 1:47 am [Reply]

    Something I can’t stand about the art in Sally Forth the freaky ‘everything is black except their heads’ thing. I don’t understand it…!

  43. yeff
    July 2nd, 2008 at 2:10 am [Reply]

    Sally Forth is going all meta? Is nothing sacred? Nothing at all?

    - yeff

  44. yeff
    July 2nd, 2008 at 2:11 am [Reply]

    (premature post)

    I shake my tiny, tiny fist in frustration at how everything is changing around me.

    - yeff

  45. Worm
    July 2nd, 2008 at 8:15 am [Reply]

    Cheatham House? Like ‘cheat ‘em house’?

  46. Grumpy Young Curmudgeon
    July 2nd, 2008 at 11:44 am [Reply]

    Oh, good lord! The Forths have become self-aware, like Skynet! Only without the intelligence. Or humor. But the relentless pursuit and efficient killing of joy is still there.

    Run, Sarah Connor, ruuuuuuuuunnn!

  47. Wynne
    July 4th, 2008 at 12:20 am [Reply]

    Shouldn’t Judge Parker’s crime-fighting judge be stopping the rape that is about to be committed in front of his house? And in broad daylight too?

    And why is he whining about his allowance? He’s a Judge for heavens’ sakes, not a starving artist! HE goes to work in a Hawaiian shirt!

    This is why Perry Mason should have his own strip… no major crime-fighting or Fists ‘O Justice, perhaps, but even if he spent a month breaking down the guilty party it would be entertaining, with Real, Actual Courtrooms in a legal serial soap strip (say that three times fast!), unlike the Good Judge here (Not that I don’t love the Judge, too).

  48. Karpacz
    July 5th, 2008 at 5:11 am [Reply]

    Very sweet Blog!

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