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Comics whiplash

Momma, 8/3-4/05

If you’re wondering why I didn’t post yesterday, it’s because I’ve spent the last 48 hours trying to wrap my head around the fact that Wednesday’s Momma made me laugh aloud in what most experts believe was the first incident of its kind to date. I mean, it’s not earth-shatteringly amusing or anything, and it continues the strip’s baffling trend of setting the action at the beach for no discernible reason (though the seaside scene is much better drawn this time around), but I like Francis’s casual attitude towards his own sister-comforting incompetence.

The intricate network of assumptions and prejudices that make up my worldview was however strengthened by today’s Momma, which makes no sense and isn’t funny. I do kind of like the single wave of what I presume to be panic radiating out from Francis’s nose in panel three, but everything else about the strip (What the hell is a “Mothers Club,” anyway? And are we supposed to think that Momma considers 22-year-old Francis an “older child”? And what possible interest does she have in laxatives for him? And are we expected to find the “punchline” funny solely because it evokes the image of Francis crapping uncontrollably?) blows. In fact, the strip is so extremely not funny that it has retroactively quashed most of my goodwill towards the previous installment, leaving me disgruntled about Mary Lou’s wildly spewing tear ducts (is she crying so vigorously that tears are actually coming out of her chin and the top of her head?) and, of course, Francis’s tiny buy still unfortunately visible nipples.

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