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Sinister squirrel (not in Mark Trail for once)

Archie, 9/16/09

You know that scene towards the end of Stanley Kubrik’s version of the Shining, when everything’s going all crazy and Shelly Duvall is running screaming through the demon-haunted Overlook Hotel, and she suddenly turns and sees two figures in a side room, one in a tuxedo and one wearing some kind of bear suit? Apparently exactly who or what these people/ghosts/things are is discussed in detail in the novel (which I haven’t read), but their weird, jarring, unexplained appearance in the movie was unspeakably creepy to me.

Anyway, I think it’s pretty obvious why I’m bringing this up, which is because HOLY CRAP WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS THAT GIANT SQUIRREL FURRY DOING LURKING BEHIND ARCHIE IN PANEL ONE? As if its unexplained presence weren’t unsettling enough, we also have to deal with those eyes peering silently out of its neck-hole, and the fact that it appears to be carrying a truncheon of some kind. Does this hell-monster exist only in Archie’s mind, lurking on the periphery of his subconscious? Is he savagely smacking his own skull in the hopes that the shock will drive the nightmarish vision back into the depths from which it came? It’s all so unsettling that I almost didn’t notice Betty’s t-shirt, which appears to depict a fork-tongued devil-cat. Jesus, this strip is terrifying.

Hi and Lois, 9/16/09

I really don’t watch a lot of TV, and I’m always hesitant to say that because I don’t want to be One Of Those People who smugly says, “You know, I don’t watch a lot of TV, which makes me better than you.” Really, I don’t! I mean, my mindless evening entertainment generally consists of reading and correcting Wikipedia articles about obscure European nobility and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes, which I in no way think of as being morally superior to, say, watching According To Jim. I only bring this up because I have no idea what Hi and Lois are on about as they stare numbly at their TV set and talk about “pop-up ads on TV.” What can this even mean? Like, do little ad-bubbles actually appear on screen in mid-show now, obscuring part of the programming you’re watching? When did that start? Why didn’t Americans, well known for their TV-loving ways, rise up in violent revolt against it?

But, casting that aside for the moment, the second panel of today’s Hi and Lois indicates that the Flagstons live in a Matrix-style computer simulacrum, and are probably themselves either poorly programmed AI constructs or Cheeto-encrusted gamers sitting in a dark room somewhere playing the most boring MMORPG imaginable. How their mysterious puppetmasters intend to monetize in-game ads aimed at infant avatars ought to be a troubling question for the venture capitalists providing the funding for this enterprise.

Gil Thorp, 9/16/09

Huzzah for the now annual scene of fiery anarchy that will apparently be heralding the arrival of football season each fall! Remember, it doesn’t matter if your team is terrible if you get to immolate half the town before any games are even played. Then you can blame the losses on the third-degree burns covering the bodies of most of the starters!

305 responses to “Sinister squirrel (not in Mark Trail for once)”

  1. Das Storminator
    September 16th, 2009 at 2:56 pm [Reply]

    H&L: Maybe they have a TiVo? Although I would be surprised if they are that with it.

  2. UncleJeff
    September 16th, 2009 at 2:57 pm [Reply]

    GT: This year’s bonfire is not as good as last year’s bonfire where a fist-shaking Cully Vale, outlined against the flames emitting from Hell’s Gate vowed vengeance on all of Milford’s enemies.

  3. AeroSquid
    September 16th, 2009 at 2:59 pm [Reply]

    H&L: Click here for THICKER GIRTH ! Ancient Mayan secret !

  4. Mela
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:00 pm [Reply]

    GT: Um… weren’t those nationally banned after that bad one at Texas A & M? Wait, it’s Milford. It might as well be on Mars.

    H&L: I think they’re referring to those things that appear in the lower-thirds of the screen. They’re usually ads for other shows and are guaranteed to interrupt whatever you’re trying to watch. We’ve tried to make it clear that we hate these, but apparently the networks think this is justified punishment for the high crime of skipping their sponsors’ commercials. It’s one of the reasons I now have a disturbingly large DVD collection, so I can watch what I like without those ads.

    FW: Everything I have to say about Batiuk’s latest entry in “Art V. Mudges” is here at my LJ. (Yeah, I’m old school.) My inner English Major came back out, so it’s kind of long.

  5. Rob
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:04 pm [Reply]

    They don’t know what they are talking about because that TV is off, they haven’t payed the cable bill in years so they stare at the blank screen and make delusional comments while they ignore their impending bankruptcy.

  6. Naked Bunny with a Whip
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:04 pm [Reply]

    I also don’t watch TV either because I spend my evenings taking lewd screenshots of my Second Life avatar.

  7. Sed
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:04 pm [Reply]

    My God – Betty’s demonic cat shirt changes expression between panels 1-3. It’s laughing at Archie’s misery!

    Then again, that’s probably the funniest thing about the strip anyway.

  8. Grant
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:05 pm [Reply]

    I think it’s pretty clear that the AJGLU-3000 has entered late-stage alcoholism and begun suffering delirium tremens. Look for tomorrow’s strip to feature nothing but black spiders and a lot of moaning and foaming at the mouth.

  9. BigTed
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:07 pm [Reply]

    From the looks of that weird “Archie” scene, it seems clear that a robot is attending Riverdale High. It tried to join the football team, but, as often happens to outsider types in teen movies, it was forced to become the mascot instead.

  10. Calvin\'s Cardboard Box!!
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:09 pm [Reply]

    Bravo, among other networks, has taken to putting pop-up ads for other Bravo programs on-screen. This started a few years ago when Fox starting running promos across the bottom of the screen for upcoming shows. But Bravo’s ads pop up, animated, in the middle of the screen, obscuring the show that IS on and remaining up for a long time. I assume this is what H&L are talking about.

  11. Baron Bizarre
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:09 pm [Reply]

    RE: Archie – It looks as though they might be at school. Maybe the squirrel-person is the Riverdale High mascot, on its way to practice cavorting unamusingly on the sidelines?

  12. UncleJeff
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:11 pm [Reply]

    MW: 2nd panel. Rick James was right: that cocaine is one helluva drug.

  13. commodorejohn
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:12 pm [Reply]

    Y322 Niall – Yep, the geek girls are out there…the problem is finding them before they’re attached…

  14. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:12 pm [Reply]

    Archie – It’s actually a Fun Anti Radioactivity suit. Betty and Archie are gonna die.

    H&L – I clicked there and nothing happened.

  15. Slightly
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:14 pm [Reply]

    Heh heh, Milford High’s football team is loaded with “receivers”. Seems Gil is having second thoughts about pimping them out though.

  16. BigTed
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:15 pm [Reply]

    TV shows frequently do employ a form of pop-up ads these days, usually promos for other shows on the same network that appear at the bottom of the screen. But that “sunbeam” ad suggests that the Internet world actually is taking over the “real” world here, and that Hi and Lois’ house is about to be flooded with counterfeit Viagra.

  17. Larry Fine
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:15 pm [Reply]

    Given the 50′s-era morality that pervades most comic strips, Gil Thorp included, shouldn’t the football player in panel 3 be wearing a leather helmet?

  18. R in CT
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    Also, huzzah for the annual hand job from Mrs. Thorp on the car ride home!! Cause that’s what’s going on there, right? I mean, she’s leaned that way, he’s got his eyes closed …


  19. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    The bear and tuxedo guy at the end of THE SHINING. Great. Thanks so much for reminding me of one of the scariest scenes in a movie that forced me to hide behind a pillow when I rented it. And since the nightmares are inevitable anyway, can some kindly Mudge please give me a very brief explanation of who the bear and the tuxedo guy were? I also wondered at the time, but given what the movie did to me, I’m sure not going to go buy the book.

  20. jambo
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:17 pm [Reply]

    Unfortunately the Hi & Lois comment is true. Most networks now have pop-up graphics that obscure part of the screen to advertise some other show. It’s extremely annoying and I don’t know why there hasn’t been more of an uproar. Probably because TV is dying.

  21. Steve S
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:17 pm [Reply]

    That traditional Milford bonfire is of Gil’s house by everyone he’s screwed over. Marty DeJong was just a little early this year.

  22. commodorejohn
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:18 pm [Reply]

    Josh, I’m going to have to take issue with your contention that Hi & Lois might be “the most boring MMORPG imaginable.” Exhibit A: The Endless Forest. Compared to that, Suburbia Online™ or whatever the Hi & Lois MMO might be called is downright scintillating.

  23. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:18 pm [Reply]

    I think if you have one of the new high definition TVs like BluRay inside your internet then they can route the popup ads to that over Twitter with the google unless you have a firewall on your iphone firmware.

  24. Little A and his Verkokte Magic Ball
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:19 pm [Reply]

    MT: to go on, how can you march off into a swamp at night not knowing where go are going, with no flashlight, towards somebody who has just shot a rifle at least twice? This guy must be dumber than Zero (q.v.). With alligators all over the place.

    Actually, I take that back. Zero isn’t bright, but he has some common sense.

    And if there are alligators, there are cotton mouth snakes. And bears. And maybe coral snakes. And rattle snakes. And mosquitoes.

    This guy is even dumber than Brad before he got humanized a little.

    The definition of q.v. can be found on the internet.

  25. Dennis Jimenez
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:19 pm [Reply]

    I have had nothing to add about the strips of late, thus I have been absent. However, I recently learned from a reliable source that Thel’s mom from Family Circus was a huge Commodore’s groupie in the 1980s and the inspiration for the song, Brick House – well that’s what I heard. DJ.

    Dennis Jimenez appear courtesy of the Peter Wood-Johnson Foundation.

  26. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:20 pm [Reply]

    I think I just wrote a whole week’s worth of syndicated strips there.

  27. MaryAnnTheRest
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:22 pm [Reply]

    Batiuk’s gone off the deep end AGAIN, I see. I love today’s PTA meeting where all the parents show up to demand that their kids get LESS education. Demand, I tell you! As in “Lady, I didn’t take off work early and come here exhausted to hear about you trying to teach my kids drama in a drama class!”

  28. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:22 pm [Reply]

    20. jambo
    Not according to Ted Forth.

  29. Rob
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:22 pm [Reply]

    And what a great depiction of a pop up ad it is, every advertiser wants a giant click here arrow pointing at the X that will close the ad. Seriously has the guy who wrote/drew this ever even seen a computer.

  30. Larry Fine
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:22 pm [Reply]

    The expression on Betty’s face in panel 3 seems to say she’s having second thoughts about the torch she’s carried for Archie, and is wondering what it would be like to have hot giant squirrel sex.

  31. Mythical Monkey
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:25 pm [Reply]

    Re: Pop-up ads on television. Just tune into the World Series on Fox this October — they pop up ads for their shows, run banners across everything, and have different graphics and stats swooshing in and out, invariably accompanied by annoying sound effects.

    Occasionally, you can even see the game behind all the clutter.

  32. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:25 pm [Reply]

    And I think Archie should just go ahead and reboot as a funny animal strip if that’s what they want to draw. Go ahead, let them get married, say “OK, that’s it!”, and the next morning they’re all squirrels. I believe it’s what nature intends.

  33. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:25 pm [Reply]

    GT — That’s quite a fire, made even more dramatic by the Defiant Thrusting of the Deformed Hands. No way are those thumbs. The 2-Way Wrist TV adds a special touch.

  34. Calvin's Cardboard Box!!
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:26 pm [Reply]

    H&L actually reminds me of the early “Futurama” episode where the character enter “the internet” and have to fight their way through a series of pop-up ads.

  35. Patrick
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:26 pm [Reply]

    “Always allow content from the outside world? (Y/N)”

  36. buckyswife
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:27 pm [Reply]

    It makes sense that Archie’s “Harvey” would come in the form of a school mascot, actually.

    y324 Poteet: How about a crossover with SM’s Sandman and today’s Get Fuzzy?

    y327 Niall: That kids’ joke does exist in English; I didn’t know it came in other languages, too!

  37. Alan's Addiction
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:29 pm [Reply]

    I like to think that Archie has come down with “Alien Hand Syndrome,” in which debilitating brain trauma or stroke results in limbs being controlled by the subconscious. I’m hoping this is the case, because next he could be strangled by his own hand, or we could see a traditional campfire story played out on the funny pages, or, best of all, we could see the cast of “Archie” reenact “Dr. Strangelove.” I admit that I’m biased toward the last one, but that’s only because I like to see humor in my funny pages, as opposed to bad puns and sight-gags.
    It’s an intriguing statement on the part of “Hi and Lois” that in modern American society, everything is so commercialized that even something as theoretical as beams of light can be harnessed and enslaved to the purpose of advertisers. I can only pray that this trend continues and the family gets matching tattoos on their foreheads advertising ISPs or the latest model Fords.
    Once again, Milford is lit up by the bright flames of the neo-pagan/Satanic holiday of “The Start of Football Season.” I can only hope that they got fresh virgins to use as kindling this year, last year, the smell didn’t get out of those jerseys for weeks. Also, I’m wondering what happened to the other great Milford football tradition: the boring, public service announcement-themed subplot.

  38. Carly
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:30 pm [Reply]

    I do watch a lot of TV and I’m still baffled by the reference to pop-up ads.

    Also: the devil cat on Betty’s t-shirt changes between panel 1 and panel 3, which is either terrifying or an indication that the AGLU3000 (I know I got that wrong and I’m too lazy to look it up) doesn’t understand static objects.

  39. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:30 pm [Reply]

    32. One-eyed Wolfdog
    Great! If they’re animals we can chain ‘em to a log!

  40. Laocoon
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:31 pm [Reply]

    A giant..invisible, club-wielding squirrel mascot? Of course! Now my severe migraines make perfect sense!

  41. Uncle Lumpy
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:32 pm [Reply]

    Ahem: Simulacrum.

    My mindless entertainment is priggishly correcting Latin grammar in comics blogs. And since you ask, why yes, this does make me morally superior to anyone who has ever had anything to do with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

  42. Laocoon
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:32 pm [Reply]

    On a random note..I wonder if H&L is referring to the phenomenon wherein during a show, an ad will appear in the corner of the screen for another show. It happens a lot on stations like FOX and TNT

  43. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:33 pm [Reply]

    Incidentally, ‘a Matrix-style computer simulacra’ doesn’t really work what with the singular article and the plural noun.

  44. Soccerhead
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:37 pm [Reply]

    I’m puzzled by the way Batiuk, who’s depicting this mob in FW devoid of fashion sense or art appreciation, puts a smirking Michelle Obama into the mix.

  45. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:38 pm [Reply]

    I don’t believe there’s any reason we shouldn’t go ahead and chain the cast of Archie to one or more (according to preference) logs in their present incarnation.

  46. Brent
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:40 pm [Reply]

    I really wish Betty would stop looking at me in panel three. Archie’s over there, Betty, I don’t need you looking condescendingly at me just because it’s 3:30pm and I’m just sitting around the house in my underwear.

  47. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:44 pm [Reply]

    46. Brent
    Betty’s wondering boxers or briefs.

  48. Wisconsinite
    September 16th, 2009 at 3:55 pm [Reply]

    Regarding the first panel in Archie – isn’t that the robot Maximilian from Disney’s “The Black Hole?” After getting sucked through the black hole at the end of the movie, it makes sense that Archie’s universe is what exists on the other side.

  49. Brent
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:00 pm [Reply]

    47, Sequitur: She’s looking hard enough to know that they’re boxers.

  50. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:00 pm [Reply]

    That first panel of Gil Thorpe is what it should look like outside Les’ house in FW.

  51. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:02 pm [Reply]

    49 Brent

    ..hard enough..

    C’mon man. Betty’s a cartoon.

  52. Sock Puppet
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:03 pm [Reply]

    #19: The tuxedo guy and furry (it’s a dog suit actually) were lovers, of a sort. They were among the characters Jack heard being talked about when he sort of time-warped into the hotel’s past. Tuxedo Guy was bisexual and indifferent, while Dogman was fully gay and in love with Tuxedo Guy. Tuxedo Guy told Dogman that if he showed up at the costume party as a “nice doggy” he might have a chance at rekindling their affair.

    At one point the little boy encounters the Dogman, who raves about his rabid obsession with his former lover in terms that the boy can’t possibly understand, and is terrified by. He sees fragments of the hotel’s many spooky inhabitants throughout the book, whereas his mother only sees them near the end. So her perspective on them is much like the movie audience’s when they see these two unexplained characters.

  53. Canaduck
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:03 pm [Reply]

    That is exactly what I was thinking about the pop-up ad, Rob (29). Either he’s never seen a computer or he’s perpetually upset by them. Good grief.

  54. gnome de blog
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:04 pm [Reply]

    I’m wondering about the Wolverine-style claws popping out of the upraised fist in the middle of the bonfire crowd. And more Wolverine-style claws popping out of heads. MIlford’s defense could be fearsome this year.

  55. Niall
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:05 pm [Reply]

    You realise, Josh, now that you’ve made fun of it, the JGLU3000 will make sure Squirrel-Thing makes an appearance again. In, oh, three months or so.

  56. Larry Fine
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:06 pm [Reply]

    MT — I’d be pretty freakin’ grateful someone nearby had a rifle, if I saw an owl that size.

  57. Dingo
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:06 pm [Reply]

    Something to ponder: Mary Worth, Margo Magee, and Sophie in a community theatre production of The Vagina Monologues. Discuss.

  58. Sock Puppet
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:08 pm [Reply]

    That line about receivers is fantastic; it yields multiple interpretations.

    “You’re right, I am so loaded with receivers right now I don’t even know what’s going on …” — “OH MY GOD YOU’RE GONNA HIT THAT TREE!”

    Gil is really “loaded with receivers,” if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

    Okay, so that’s only two.

  59. Muffaroo
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:14 pm [Reply]

    Michael Kinsley wrote a piece for Slate about having a brain tumor. He said he gave out cards that said “You Too can have Brain Surgery! ASK ME HOW.” What I took away was what he described as the perk of the whole thing, which basically works like this: “Was that your cab? Sorry… oh, did I mention I have BRAIN CANCER?” In short, a useful card to play from time to time.

    archie – Back in 1973-4, Dave Mattingly and I did a comic for the high school paper called “The Wolverine.” Yeah, Marvel totally robbed us. I did layouts, and Dave generally did the finished art. Our Wolverine had a stylized animal face on the chest, and in the layouts, I had it looking this way and that, and Dave kept that in. So sooner or later, every idea I ever have will be assimilated into some big work-made-for-hire media conglomerate.

  60. ksilver
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:16 pm [Reply]

    While the first panel of Gil Thorp is a terrifying image itself, for some reason the third panel caught my attention more. He’s just floating in space for no reason. Completely unhinged. There’s a joke in there, I just can’t find it.

  61. Brent
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:17 pm [Reply]

    FW: Tom, Tom, Tom… I get that you’re trying to take things out on your critics for them saying that the strip is all death and cancer now by taking the high road and claiming it Art ™ by associating with Wit. But, really, I have to side with angry mob here… in these rough economic times, where people have been knocked out of their jobs, savings, and homes, people just aren’t up for stories of death and cancer. Now really is the time for fun and relaxing diversions that sooth and don’t confront… and that goes doubly so for things like high school plays. So, please, get over it and move on.

  62. Ed Dravecky
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:19 pm [Reply]

    Foootball rally? I thought the Milford town hall on health care reform had gotten just a little bit out of hand, its citizens taking to the streets with torches and pitch forks.

  63. JH Pants
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:19 pm [Reply]

    Squirrelly McMascot makes a return appearance in today’s Archie.

    (I had to look this up to prove to myself that I wasn’t losing my mind. Yeah, I know.)

  64. the good ship thetis
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:19 pm [Reply]

    You’d think Americans would also rebel against commercials in movie theatres…but no. Alas, I am always the only one hurling defiant comments at the screen.

  65. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:20 pm [Reply]

    # 52 Sock Puppet — Thank you very much for that excellent explanation. I always knew I didn’t want to be psychic, nope nope nope nope nope.

  66. Perky Bird
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:21 pm [Reply]

    Hmmm, a man in a tuxedo and a man in a bear suit. So Masky McDeath comes for furries, as well?

  67. Pozzo
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:23 pm [Reply]

    I’ve talked with Craig Boldman, who writes Archie. Evidently, he writes his little scripts and sends them off to the artist, who does his own thing. Craig seemed to be completely unaware of the AJGLU references that are periodically peppered into the background, so I imagine that the artist goes his own merry way when it comes to illustrating the strip. All of which is to say, Fernando (if I’m reading the signature right) sees giant-squirrel furries and forked-tongue devil cats as a normal part of the high school experience.

  68. Sixpence
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:23 pm [Reply]

    I assumed that Archie was a tribute to the squirrelization that has taken over the internet.

    Squirrelizing web site.

  69. Josh
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:25 pm [Reply]

    #41 UL/#42 OEWD — ARRRGH! Fixed.

    I my defense, I actually do know how to correctly decline neuter second declension Latin nouns (10 semesters or so of Latin, thankyouverymuch).

    What happened (if anyone cares) was that, as originally written, the joke of the thing was going to be that Hi and Lois and Trixie were actually the simulacra, but then I got the idea that they might be avatars for MMORPG players, so the sentence got extensively reworked — but the crucial word was not changed from plural to singular as the thing(s) to which it referred changed. This actually happens to me not uncommonly with English nouns, and perversely that’s actually less embarassing.


  70. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:25 pm [Reply]

    FW — I still think the high school should consider REEFER MADNESS. Dancing, songs, camp, the protagonists are the right ages… Wait, there’s the potentiall-offensive religious content. Oops. Sorry. Back to MUSIC MAN.

  71. Mibbitmaker
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:25 pm [Reply]

    I really appreciate your attitude about TV, Josh. I do disagree with one thing: the stuff you do does make you superior to watching According to Jim. But you aren’t superior to watching, say, The Office or How I Met Your Mother. Meanwhile, watching According to Jim IS superior to watching most “reality” shows. Individual ‘Mudgeons’ miles may vary.

    H&L itself: I like this one, and others already mentioned pop-ups on TV — which are on almost every chanel nowadays. But there’s an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, way back when I still used to watch Adult Swim (I’m not superior to anything, I just couldn’t take the growing blood & gore anymore), that went much further than H&L in satirizing the excess of pop-ups on the internet. It was my favorite ATHF in spite of Carl getting his arm severed at one point; even that was a pointed part of the satire.

  72. bluepencil
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    MW: My head hurts from all the anvils falling on it.

  73. Niall
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    66. Perky Bird: Speaking as someone who’s been in that fandom for 20 years: I would almost wish so on a few particular cases…

  74. buckyswife
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    y322 Niall: “my inner grammarian keeps running off with my inner prankster and making little grammar joke babies.”

    There’s an image I’m going to hold on to and perhaps steal; I think I have the same breeding ground in my brain.

    68 Sixpence: Excellent! Really, which comic wouldn’t benefit from more squirrel?

  75. mvg
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:27 pm [Reply]

    FW: Since we already know Susan has a history of suicidal proclivities, & (hard as this is to say) even Bathos isn’t dumb enough to have Creepy Les wooed away from his new black girlfriend by a white woman even though she’s into cancer & death, the 2 things dearest to his twisted shriveled heart, my guess is Susan is being set up to be so devastated by these protests against her chosen play that she is going to be offered up on the Winkerstain altar as a Martyr to Art. Any takers?

  76. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:29 pm [Reply]

    Man, I hate the word ‘neuter’.

  77. StrangeRover
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:29 pm [Reply]

    Archie: Josh, you’re right on as usual, but a close look shows the furry in question (mascot?) is carrying a stack of papers or a book. Maybe it’s his manuscript: hundreds of typed pages of “All work and no play makes Squeaky a dull rodent.” Terrifying.

  78. nescio
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:31 pm [Reply]

    Hi, I’ve never posted before but have been reading for more than a year. (Though last year I sent Josh a picture of an ad in which Brian Stokes Mitchell looked eerily like T.J. from Luann, which he later posted.)

    I’m loath to admit it, but:

    1) I don’t get today’s B.C. comic (about a theoretical bar fight between Washington and Lincoln)


    2) I still would like to understand the comic. Can anyone explain it to me?

  79. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:32 pm [Reply]

    # 41 Uncle Lumpy — I watch JUDGE JUDY on occasion, so I have to peer way, way up to even catch a glimpse of your moral superiority:-). All hail, Latin grammarian!

  80. tb4000
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:33 pm [Reply]

    Archie: Betty is looking at us because she knows how futile their shitty existence is….she knows we know, and we know she knows we know. The AGLU will come after her first.

  81. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:34 pm [Reply]

    78 nescio
    Check out your one and five dollar bills.

  82. toxic
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:36 pm [Reply]

    Someone probably already mentioned this, but tldr— Dish network at least will have pop ups during some ads. For instance, once will say “Hit Select (on your remote) to go to the Man Cave).

    I don’t know what happens after that, because it scares and bores me at the same time so I ignore it.

    But they aren’t crazy. They just have Dish.

  83. Lawyerbob
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:37 pm [Reply]

    That cat on Betty’s t-shirt isn’t a drawing or decal. It’s a living, breathing parasitic hell-being that is peering out of her chest, looking for its next host after it devours Betty from inside and leaves her a dead empty husk. Of course, Archie is not an option, as no hell-being in its right mind would even consider invading an idiot like Archie (or maybe it looks at him and assumes one of its mates has already devoured and abandoned him, which would certainly explain a lot).

  84. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:38 pm [Reply]

    # 70 — And my potentially-offensive spelling.

  85. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:39 pm [Reply]

    83. Lawyerbob
    So, you’re saying the parasitic hell-being is really Marmaduke?

  86. Farley's Revenge
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:39 pm [Reply]

    SisterSestina @YT#310:

    [OK, was the FUCKING ENTIRE UNIVERSE EVEN THEN trying to tell me I was supposed to marry the guy?]


    Good thing you listened before the Universe hauled out the big guns to get your attention. Trust me, you don’t want that to happen. Ever.

    Loved your story. Found myself nodding several times, in a BTDT way. Isn’t it interesting how different lives can have such similar experiences?

  87. AirForbes
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:41 pm [Reply]

    FW: Batuik’s obsession with depressing death-and-cancer themes is annoying. But being lectured, directly through his characters, about how I should appreciate the art of his ham-handed death-and-cancer themes, is margo-ing irritating.

    If you’re going to tackle a serious subject in a lighter medium like the comics, you better do it well. And you, Batuik, just plain suck. That’s your real problem, not your audience.

  88. buckyswife
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:44 pm [Reply]

    71 Mibbitmaker: Hmmm…. Your superiority index is too confusing, I’m afraid. Love The Office, love Mad Men, love 30 Rock, love Glee, love(d) Arrested Development—but also love Project Runway, Amazing Race, Top Chef…. So does that make me a mess of taste contradictions, or just someone caught on the superior/inferior rollercoaster?

    Or, just someone who watches too much TV?

    78 nescio: Can’t explain, but can say, “Welcome!”

  89. nescio
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:44 pm [Reply]

    81. Sequitur

    Wow, that joke really, really sucks. No wonder I couldn’t figure it out.


  90. commodorejohn
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:45 pm [Reply]

    #75 mvg – Ooh, that would definitely be sick enough for Batiuk to pull. And he hasn’t cruelly killed someone in about six months, so he’s about due for another melodramatic death with no plot value or tact. On the other hand, it would mean that this limp-wristed, half-assed love triangle wouldn’t be open for him to milk for misery points in the future. I’d say there’s roughly even odds.

  91. Perky Bird
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:47 pm [Reply]

    My high school used to have a sort of bonfire before the big homecoming game. We called it “The Burning of the T”, and we burned a giant letter T. If that isn’t odd enough, we were the Fighting Texans, and the T was our emblem. I never understood why we burned our letter. Shouldn’t we have burned a giant B, for the Buccanneers, who we always played at homecoming? Maybe, back when this all first started, the principal actually told the custodian to construct a giant B. However, the custodian was hard of hearing and instead heard “Build a giant T.” Everyone was too polite to correct the custodian, so the T remained.
    Either that, or we burned our own letter as an offering to Satan, sacrificing ourselves to him in order to win the game. Six of one, half-dozen of the other…

  92. Mibbitmaker
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:48 pm [Reply]

    #64 (good ship thetis): Sadly, I think we may be fairly powerless to get rid of abominations like commercials at movies and pop-ups elsewhere (please, God, no pop-ups in movies!!!). They know nobody likes them. A year or two ago, on the Emmy Awards, Lewis Black did a scathingly funny and spot-on rant against TV pop-ups. But the networks just go on their merry way regardless.

  93. Ista
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:49 pm [Reply]

    The worst example of ‘pop-up TV ads’ I’ve seen has been when Food Network had the original Iron Chef. Every time Chairman Kaga would be saying anything, and since he’s not dubbed there were subs on the bottom of the screen, they would cover it with a show ad. So, you couldn’t really understand what he was saying.

  94. Dingo
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:49 pm [Reply]

    nescio, welcome to the clan. I’m still trying to figure out why a comic strip that supposedly takes place years ago makes references to Lincoln and Washington.

  95. Lael
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:51 pm [Reply]

    It seems to me that our mistake with analyzing Hi and Lois is to assume that it matters whether or not pop-up ads appear on tv or not. The writer may say they are because that isn’t the punch line. He just has to set up the next panel. Personally, although I do know about ads that pop up on the bottom of tv screens, I don’t believe that if we were to ask the writer that he would say, “Oh yeah, that’s what I meant.” I’m not sure he ever questioned the reality of the situation, just as we are not meant to question the sanity of a baby who thinks her beloved sunbeam is an animate entity that has somehow received monetary payment for putting a 3d pop-up add in it’s beam to sell some sort of forehead oil to the baby.

  96. P
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:51 pm [Reply]


    I think Hi & Lois is referencing one of these two things:

    1: The fact that networks like ABC, NBC, FOX, etc, put up annoying ads that block a tv show to promote another show.


    2: The fact that some cable providers & Tivo have started putting in pop-up ads when people fast forward in an effort to get more money (Like AT&T’s U-Verse)

    An article about that is here:

  97. Farley's Revenge
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:52 pm [Reply]


    but given what the movie did to me, I’m sure not going to go buy the book.

    That’s probably for the best. The book goes into far more detail on many more incidents than were included in the movie.

    You may want to skip the miniseries as well. Not because it was more frightening than the movie, however, but because it sucked. Let’s just say that whoever-his performance was so forgettable that I can’t remember his name-it was who played the lead was no Jack Nicholson.

    That mascot thing in the background reminded me of the “Barky the dog” commercials from a few years back. Barky was an amusement park mascot with serious Issues, which he took out on the park patrons. Since younger offspring works at an amusement park, we howled with laughter.

    I have no idea what the commercials were pushing. I just remember howling with laughter at Barky’s snark.

  98. Jeremy K
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    “Let’s see: Burn_effigy.jpg , driving_car.jpg , football_kicker.jpg … that’s all I got?”

    Gil Thorpe’s “assemble three pieces of clip-art and pretend you aren’t stalling for time” strategy is showing.

  99. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    89 nescio and 94 Dingo

    Yeah. Back then they had coins. They should have said “I’ve got 25 to 1 on Washington.”

  100. bats :[
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:03 pm [Reply]

    Ten semesters of Latin?!? Cripes, that either qualifies Josh to become a Jesuit priest or a major cast member in the traveling production of I Claudius: The Musical.

  101. Darkefang
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:05 pm [Reply]

    A3G: It looks like Frank Bolle finally stumbled on a way to differentiate one male character from the others: Progeria!

    DT: That weight-lifting he-she better be the killer or else I’m going to be pissed that Dick Locher made us look at that nightmare fuel for pretty much every day for the last month.

    GF: Take note, Marvin: That’s how you do a poop joke.

    MT: I’m not sure which idea is worse:

    1. Leaving your eight-year-old special needs child alone in an alligator-infested swamp; or

    2. Announcing your location to mysterious shooters in the middle of an alligator-infested swamp.

    Are there any legitimate reasons for shooting things in swamps in the middle of the night?

    MW: How ironic it’ll be when Adrian – google-eyed from shooting so much smack directly into her retinas – will be unable to save Scott from his heroin-dealer-induced gunshot wounds.

  102. Mibbitmaker
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:05 pm [Reply]

    #88 (buckyswife): Well, I love American Choppers, so mileage really does vary. It’s my only reality show, though (unless you count the demolition part of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition)

  103. Rob
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:05 pm [Reply]

    @61- I ALWAYS side with the angry mob

  104. Jeff Soesbe (yeff)
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:07 pm [Reply]

    Boy, if there was ever a Gil Thorp panel that called out for a little creating Photoshopping, it’s the second one of today’s strip.

    Erase Mimi from the frame, move the direction of her voice bubble to down and to the right and “preseason doubts” is followed by another annual tradition: stoking Gil’s fragile ego, so to speak.

    - yeff

  105. Dingo
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:19 pm [Reply]

    The Lottery

    At first, there wasn’t what could be called a crowd. A few people, here and there, standing in the town square. As the night progressed, more and more entered the park, each greeting the other as old friends who had long passed into the “head nod and smile” realm. Miles Jackson was there and so was Esther and Bill Podgett. Over by the elm tree stood Wilson Whackett and his childbride of seventy years, Tilda. From the muted mutterings of a few, the noises of the night became a din of chattering nabobs. By 8:30, almost all of Milford had sequestered themselves into Buchanan Park.

    Among those attending stood Coach Thorp and his wife. Passersby would come up to the coach and shake his hand. “Tonight’s the night, eh, Coach?” they’d say and tip their hats and gleam their teeth in his direction. Students from Milford High began placing large bundles of hay around the staging area. Each chortled and laughed as they flung the bales.

    A van pulled up alongside the park. Marty Moon and his audio engineer emerged and looked at the size of the crowd. He walked over to Coach Thorp. “Say, Coach, what’s all this then?” Marty queried.

    “Oh, it’s a ritual.” said the Coach with a glint in his eye.

    “A ritual?” asked Marty.

    “Yeah. See, back in the day, when townsfolk saw their crops turning to dust or their women barren, they had to find someone to blame. It was never their fault that these things happened. It was always THE OTHER. A witch, a goblin, the man from out of town. Somebody or something to blame for their troubles. They’d go through a trial, find them guilty, and then drag ‘em off to meet their demise. Rains came, babies were had, and all was righted in the world. Didn’t matter if it was gonna happen anyway. They needed the ritual.”

    “And you’re gonna have some ritual here tonight, eh?” demanded Marty.

    “Sure’nuf. Milford’s T-wing formation last year didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. This year is startin’ off bad, too. I need something to get the boys riled up. I was gonna let them tag team me and the wife on the 50-yard line but she’s against it. So I thought about the ol’ time rituals and came up with an idea.”

    “What’s that?”

    “Well, Marty, you’re the main reason things don’t go right around here. You report badly, you act badly, and you have the worst beard outside of a Mark Trail comic strip. I got to talkin’ to people and… well, you make an excellent scapegoat.”

    “What do you mean?” Marty asked, nervously.

    “Get ‘im, boys!” Gil shouted. Seven boys grabbed Marty, knocking his microphone to the ground. He squealed like a little pig as they dragged him toward the stage.

    “Who wants a Milford win?” Gil shouted. The crowd roared. “Who wants our bad luck to go up in smoke?” The crowd cheered.

    Marty Moon was stripped of his clothes and his hands were tied behind his back. He struggled and called for help but none came.

    Gil stepped upon the stage. “Let there be the fires of Hell to bring our enemies down!” he cried and the football team lit the bales of hay. Marty was brought forth and placed next to Gil, held by four strapping linesmen. “This man. THIS man is responsible for our team’s bad breaks. He ridicules me on the radio. He puts down our boys. He mocks our town and its principles! The time is now to rid ourselves of him!”

    The crowd roared their approval. Marty began to wet himself. “I’m just a journalist,” he cried.

    Gil looked him in the eye. “You are to journalism what Perez Hilton is to celebrity news.” he snarled.

    Marty hanged his head. It was true.

    to be continued

  106. Mibbitmaker
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:20 pm [Reply]

    #102: I meant Chopper in singular.

    Internet Explorer hates me today.

  107. Roto13
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:22 pm [Reply]

    I guess when a baby spends so much time staring into the sun, she starts to see things that aren’t there before she ultimately goes blind.

  108. Gal Friday
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:27 pm [Reply]

    Archie Darko.

  109. Jesse C
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:31 pm [Reply]

    Josh, glad I’m not the only one terrified by that scene.

    Don’t even get me started on Donnie Darko…

  110. Vince M
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:32 pm [Reply]

    78 – nescio: Thank you, I’m totally stumped myself. Lincoln is less dead by some sixty years? What?
    And if someone could explain ‘Ballard Street’ too (today’s strip, not the strip in general)

  111. True Fable
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:32 pm [Reply]

    I was watching some cop drama on TNT (we know drama!) and during a street scene, I noticed a character from a sister show (Law & Order: Bicycle Cops Division or some damn thing) over in the lower left hand corner, moving around and gesturing. He was just the right size and angle to actually fit in the scene, so I was really tripping out until the damn logo appeared with him, obscuring the action I missed on the screen because I had been wonder what the hell he was doing there.

    Ever since then I have REALLY hated pop-up ads, especially when they interrupt a really intense scene. They may know drama but they do a poor job of knowing appropriate timing. Damn it, I don’t want to watch The Closer in the first place because I don’t want to look at Kyra Sedgewick’s scrunched-up, pulled-drawstring face, why would I enjoy seeing her pop up right in the middle of a Mariska Hargitay moment?!?

  112. zerowolf
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:35 pm [Reply]

    Ah, nothing like a good witch burning to kick off the football season.

  113. Calico
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:35 pm [Reply]

    Did the AJGLU3000 overdose on crack or something? God.

    Josh, definitely read “The Shining.” Pseudo-spoiler alert – the end is at least 75% different than in the movie.

  114. Violet
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:38 pm [Reply]

    Okay, Mary Worth, when are you going to stop fucking with my head? The cavalier dismissal of “a few weeks” in a strip wherein the unwrapping of a stick of Juicy Fruit would normally span two to three Sunday installments is beyond disorienting. So this is like three weeks of the rich mosaic of Charterstone life that will forever remain enshrouded in mystery? With what unknowable foodstuffs did people poke themselves about the face and neck? What ottomans bafflingly morphed into potted ferns and back? And most importantly, was Ian naked for any of it?

  115. rodent
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:40 pm [Reply]

    “Jesus, this strip is terrifying.”
    Not to mention the half-swastica in the 3rd panel

  116. Calico
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:40 pm [Reply]

    #111 – Ah, Mariska.
    Sweet relief. : )

    Regarding Pop-up ads on TV, does anybody here remember that horrible thing they used to do on MTV – while playing a video, all these annoying and forgettable “facts” about the video and performers came on-screen in a “soap” bubble, with an equally annoying “bloop” sound?

    If you don’t remember, then lucky you.

  117. PeteMoss
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:43 pm [Reply]

    So Riverdale High is like the Shining crossed with Donnie Darko. Milford High School is some kind of superstitious, medieval rave. Westview High and its Cancerous Scapegoats is a whirl of misery, bad puns, and smirks. Together they make the best argument I’ve heard for supporting school voucher programs….or, for that matter, eliminating secondary education all together.

  118. Calico
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:47 pm [Reply]

    I think Betty’s shirt is the “Archie” version of Le Chat Bleu/Death Cat from FW.

  119. commodorejohn
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:47 pm [Reply]

    The increasing intrusion of advertising into actual show time is yet another great entry in the list of reasons I don’t pay for cable. It’s bad enough that websites, which I don’t have to pay to view, do it, but to pay for a service and still have it interrupted by demands for more money? That is the ultimate insult.

  120. bad wolf
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:59 pm [Reply]

    78, 110–BC: I’m guessing the relative values of US paper currency containing their portraits: Lincoln $5, Washington $1.

  121. Calico
    September 16th, 2009 at 5:59 pm [Reply]

    #117 – Milford somewhat resembles this, I think:

  122. Kweh
    September 16th, 2009 at 6:18 pm [Reply]

    Oh yeah! I remember now – that giant squirrel is alive! ANd it’s going to ea-!

  123. bats :[
    September 16th, 2009 at 6:25 pm [Reply]

    113. Calico and 114. Violet: The AJGLU3000 and Mary Worth will never stop fucking with your heads.

  124. odinthor
    September 16th, 2009 at 6:37 pm [Reply]

    110. Vince M.

    And if someone could explain ‘Ballard Street’ too (today’s strip, not the strip in general)

    It’s a “window table” . . . but a seated person can only see out the window if he or she pulls him- or herself up via the rope. (Never mind that it’s a desk-seat rather than a table.)

  125. Mibbitmaker
    September 16th, 2009 at 6:42 pm [Reply]

    The giant squirrel in Archie is a school mascot for sure. But could it also be a sly reference to our own mocking of “giant” squirrels in Mark Trail? The artist (as revealed a ways above) already tweeks us over the laugh-generating unit joke, so why not?

    That guy’s my new comics hero — and the polar opposite of Tom Batiuk.

  126. MolyBendum
    September 16th, 2009 at 6:46 pm [Reply]

    #116 Calico – Pop Up Video. Think it was VH1. Loved that show. Then I could watch Rock & Roll Jeopardy and know half the crap they were asking. Not that that’s a good thing, but it’s something.

  127. Violet
    September 16th, 2009 at 6:58 pm [Reply]

    A lot of people may regard Hi and Lois as pretty conventional, but I for one have never seen a couple of non-junkies so consistently committed to ignoring their baby.

  128. Mac
    September 16th, 2009 at 6:59 pm [Reply]

    I think it’s a beaver, not a squirrel.

  129. Dr. Weird
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:00 pm [Reply]


    I was in high school drama… there was one play/event per semester. While the parents and family and others who attended were there to support and be entertained, it is beyond belief that anyone would consider filling a major part of their escapist entertainment needs with high school drama productions.

    And to address the author as directly as he is addressing us, the readers: Serious issues DONE WELL belong on the comic pages. Doonesbury does a consistently good job with them. For Better or For Worse has done a better job than your strip. Even UNNAMED DUCK COMIC does a better job than the trowled-on tragedy you present, Batuik.

  130. The Enemy
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:07 pm [Reply]

    Funky Cancerbean hate mail must have reached a critical point and driven Tom batty. “DAMMIT THIS IS SERIOUS ART YOU MUST APPRECIATE IT. ALL YOU HATERS ARE JUST IGNORANT SUBURBANITES, WANTING YOUR COMICS TO BE “FUNNY”

  131. AeroSquid
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:07 pm [Reply]

  132. Joe Blevins
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:13 pm [Reply]

  133. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:20 pm [Reply]

    # 100 bats:[ — I CLAUDIUS: THE MUSICAL? I might be willing to travel to another planet to see that. Heck, I might travel to another planet just to watch the intergalactic tryouts for the role of Livia.

  134. Ovyron
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:20 pm [Reply]

    Pop up ads on TV? Here at México we’ve had them for more than 10 years so they don’t bug me much, I take them as a given, and they self close after some dozens of seconds. It’s OK as long as they don’t take half the screen or mess up the aspect ratio (some do both.)

    That’s better than cutting what you are seeing so they have more space for ads, though they do that too, and you may not notice it if it’s the first time you’re watching it (I pity the kids of this generation that watch The Sword in the Stone and don’t get to see the any of the squirrels scene…)

  135. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:28 pm [Reply]

    Aerosquid 131 – Damn stink bugs.

    Hey! Pig! MORE COWBELL!!!

  136. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:31 pm [Reply]

    Poteet 133 – I’d travel to another planet just to get away from Funky Winderbean.

  137. GarrisonSkunk
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:34 pm [Reply]

  138. ralph
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:37 pm [Reply]

    Hello all, the AKC (American Kennel Club) is conducting a poll to find out everyone’s favorite cartoon canine. You really don’t want Marmaduke to win over Snoopy, do you? Please vote.

  139. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:46 pm [Reply]

    110. Vince M
    Ballard Street. Okay, I’m gonna explain it but be prewarned, IT’S NOT FUNNY!

    A guy goes into a restaurant and asks for a window table. They give him a little school desk with a rope that when he pulls on it it will lift him to the window. FUNNY, HUH?! (And the correct answer is “No!”)

    Ballard Street and Herman. Sometimes you look at them and ask yourself, “Why did those guys waste ink on this?”

  140. giraffe-o
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:49 pm [Reply]

    That furry in Archie is akin to the ’3 Men and Baby’ ghost

  141. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:53 pm [Reply]

    138. ralph
    Looks like Snoopy has a safe lead. I voted for Gromet. Just my opinion but I feel he’s the best cartoon dog ever.

  142. gnome de blog
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:53 pm [Reply]

    138 Ralph
    Their list of candidates is sadly lacking. What about Beauregard? Farley? Edgar? Grimmy? Huckleberry Hound? Puddles? Satchel? Sandy (Arf!)? Barfy and Sam? The Evil Yorkies? Duke (from Kelly and Duke; he’d be my second choice)?

    I’m writing in Abbey the Wonderdog.


  143. AeroSquid
    September 16th, 2009 at 7:54 pm [Reply]

    139. Sequitur: I agree that Herman sucks toe lint…but Ballard Street ? C’mon ! Every new single panel is an INSTANT CLASSIC ala Gary Larson ! For instance: Remember that one where the senile uncle was doing something with that lap dog and the old lady made him stop ? HAHAHAH! =D

  144. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:08 pm [Reply]

    143 AeroSquid
    Well, Ballard Street is meant to be totally and utterly wacko. And sometimes he misses the mark. But then again, it must be hard to every day come up with a totally worthless and stupid comic on purpose. Just ask Tom Batiuk.

  145. AeroSquid
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:12 pm [Reply]

    144. Sequitur: Too many winches and pulleys and hoses and fat dogs licking themselves lately.

  146. ralph
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:13 pm [Reply]

    141., I got worried when I saw FB comments urging votes for Marmaduke. If anyone can help with an online poll, it’s the friendly and funny folks here! :-)
    138. Hurray for Abbey the Wonderdog!

  147. ralph
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:15 pm [Reply]

    sorry gnome de blog, I meant 142, hurray.
    I even checked preview. If I’d had Abbey the Wonderdog here she no doubt would have corrected me.

  148. Sheila Sternwell
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:16 pm [Reply]

    Maybe I’m confused (snrk) but I think those pop up ads are called “bugs”.

    I was so sure H&L was stuck in the 50s that I read this strip as a complaint about those in-show ads for Carnation Evaporated Milk during the George Burns & Gracie Allen Show.

  149. commodorejohn
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:20 pm [Reply]

    While I’m not going to defend Ballard Street as a whole, I do have to say that it did produce what I consider to be one of the most truly confounding works of surrealism ever.

  150. odinthor
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:25 pm [Reply]

    I know that not everyone is into Ballard Street; but I have to stand up (um, metaphorically) and say that I consistently find it hilarious—hilarious, I’m tellin’ ya!

  151. Jesse C
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:40 pm [Reply]

    LOL @127, Violet.

  152. Black Drazon
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:41 pm [Reply]

    Given the time it takes to get a comic to print and the additional time it takes a mainstream strip to register current events, I’d say pop-up ads started to appear on TV during the 1940′s. …Wait, hold on, I forgot to carry the one. In actuality: for the timeline to check out, pop-up ads must have started appearing during the lyre-strumming minstrel performances of the middle ages. We apologize for the earlier misprint.

  153. buckyswife
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:46 pm [Reply]

    138 Ralph, 141 Sequitur: Wait, how could Gromit only get 4%? Gromit rules.

    105 Dingo: Excellent! And thank you for bringing back memories of when I taught 8th grade—and that story. So fun to teach! (I used to screw with their little minds by introducing the story with a fake lottery of our own… heh heh…) (Oh, and by the way? “Demented harlot of snark”? One of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me!)

    123 bats:[ : Also excellent—and zingy, too.

    131 AeroSquid: Damned stinkbugs. See, I knew they were up to no good.

  154. Heath
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:50 pm [Reply]

    Actually, I’m quite relieved to see the giant squirrel/beaver furry in Archie, as it seems at least one person has a plan to deal with the giant owl in MT. Let us celebrate this hero who is willing sacrifice his life, distracting the gargantuan night predator long enough for Mark to unleash his fists of fury.

  155. bats :[
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:52 pm [Reply]

    I looked for Satchel, didn’t find him (not surprising…this is the AKC, purebreeds don’t you know?), and went with Gromit, probably the type specimen for Canis sapiens.

  156. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 8:59 pm [Reply]

    153 buckyswife

    Gromet rules.

    Obviously a lady of fine taste and discrimination.

    Stinkbugs! Ya can’t trust ‘em I tell ya. Ya can only trust ‘em to be STINKBUGS!!!

  157. Molly
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:01 pm [Reply]

    Yes, those oddball characters in The Shining movie always confused me too! I’ve read the book several times but I don’t think they’re ever really explained–other than there’s always a nightmarish new year’s eve party going on.

  158. zooby
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:06 pm [Reply]

    I honestly thought the second panel in Gil Thorpe today was going to be something like “Followed by another tradition… condomless sex in a car resulting in teen pregnancy” or “… drinking and driving resulting in plunging over a cliff to certain death.” But then I remembered, this isn’t Funky Winkerbean or Mary Worth. Sadly.

  159. JP (not Judge Parker)
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:32 pm [Reply]

    Dear Moy and Giella,

    You may have observed us on the CC mocking narration boxes that we deem to be ridiculous or unnecessary. However, please note that not all narration boxes are bad. A few weeks have passed? What the hell?


  160. Brent
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:39 pm [Reply]

    129, Dr. Weird:

    It isn’t the percentage of total entertainment that matters… it’s the fact that it’s a captive audience. Save the dismal stuff for the real theatres where people have more choice over whether they’re going to go.

  161. Écureuil Écumant
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:39 pm [Reply]

    Arch: It looks like the hell kitty has a feather sticking out of his mouth in panel 1, which is gone in panel 3. So I attribute his satisfied look in the latter panel to his having swallowed the remaining chunk of bird that was attached to said feather.

  162. Mr. O'Malley
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:42 pm [Reply]

    Y240. Muffaroo. Yes, it’s the same kind of place. There is a fair amount of overlap in their catalogs but both have some the other doesn’t.

    148. Sheila Sternwell. The 1940s equivalent of popup ads was when you were listening to the exciting adventures of Bulldog Drummond or the like and suddenly you would hear “Housewives! Save your beef tallow for our boys overseas! Your grocer will collect tallow in half gallon tins to help defeat Hitler.”

  163. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 9:47 pm [Reply]

    buckyswife and Niall
    I just Googled Chocolate Stink Bug and look what I got. 8th entry down.

  164. Mooncattie
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:09 pm [Reply]

    Yikes…working late and very late to comment…but I owe thanks to kind folks out there!
    Y#157 mollificent – Thanks SO MUCH for the MP/ST YouTube. My gosh, I laughed out loud. It’s wonderful!
    YBaron Bizarre – Many thanks for the origin of The Sandman, although I’m still having WTF? moments watching him in action. (Yes, as if Spider-Man itself isn’t a WTF? strip as a whole) Haven’t figured out why the cop is trying to arrest him. Maybe for having a gravelly voice?ahem

    I was trying to think of a FW shot along the lines of “Wait ’til the parents find out that High School Orchestra Night has switched its program from The Magic of Disney to Gorecki’s Symphony No. 3″, but I quite love Gorecki’s #3 and others here have expressed far better the distaste I feel for the characters misportrayed in this storyline.

    MW – I love it all! We all know what’s in store, and it’s just so much fun to watch. I’m hoping we don’t switch scenes to Operation Granny Pants. I want a week of Dr. A holding the fort on her own there, looking at that blinding ring, maybe with a radio on in the background…we have reports of shots being fired in Santa Royale’s Dangerous Warehouse District…we now return to our regular feature, Music For Lovers After Midnight

  165. True Fable
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:18 pm [Reply]

    Day is done. RIP Mary.

  166. RMG
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:24 pm [Reply]

    This has nothing to do with anything, but Deep Space Nine owns.

  167. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:26 pm [Reply]

    165. True Fable
    She’ll now be blowin’ in the wind and be the puff in the magic dragon.

  168. Jumper
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:27 pm [Reply]

    I clicked the vortex and nothing happened either.

  169. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:30 pm [Reply]

    # 138 ralph — Thanks. I went immediately to the site and voted for Gromit. Now I see that a few other Mudges did the same. But I wish Huckleberry Hound had been an option. I have fond memories of him.

  170. Poteet
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:32 pm [Reply]

    # 157 Molly — See # 52. And your description of those *shudder* figures as “oddball” makes me think that you perhaps have an unusually sunny and optimistic outlook on life:-).

  171. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:44 pm [Reply]

    It doesn’t have to be a fond memory any longer!

  172. Comcis Fan
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:53 pm [Reply]

    Perky Bird, were y’all burning a capital “T” or a lower-case “t?” Because if it was a lower-case “t,” well, are you sure it really was a T-burning? In either case, I would have found the scene a bit frightening. Then again, I was mildly freaked by the scene at UT when I was a student and Gerald Ford visited and we must have sung “The Eyes of Texas” because a throng of thousands made the “Hook ‘Em” salute and it looked, well, a bit “heil”-ish.

  173. NoahSnark
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:57 pm [Reply]

    Years later Trixie would discover that her hallucinating pop-up ads was due to her dad surfing for porn with an unprotected browser.

  174. Chromium
    September 16th, 2009 at 10:58 pm [Reply]

    Tomorrow’s FW: “Art challenges our beliefs and makes us uncomfortable! We don’t need to deal with that!” “Yeah, art shouldn’t exist!” “We hate art!” “We are idiots!” “All we know how to do is bitch and complain!” “If we’re so smart, how come WE don’t have a famous comic strip? Huh? Huh? ANSWER US!”

  175. Sequitur
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:10 pm [Reply]

    Suppose Huckleberry Hound took Marmaduke’s place?

  176. Johnny Knuckles
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:25 pm [Reply]

    The obscured swastika in Archie’s 3rd panel and the torchlight rally launching Gil Thorp illustrates the end of Weimar socialism and the rise of national socialism in the American newspaper.

    One shudders to consider Mary Worth’s role in this New World Order.

  177. Brent
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:29 pm [Reply]

    166, RMG: The thing I find remarkable about DS9 is that when I do catch an odd episode now, I need to remind myself that the entire thing was written in the post cold war 90s, because some of it’s themes have actually become more poignant in the post 9/11 world.

  178. Jeff
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:44 pm [Reply]

    Regarding the pop-up ads on TV, Family Guy recently made fun of this
    “Family Guy” Mocks Annoying Banner Ads On Fox (VIDEO)
    Direct link to Hulu video from above article

  179. mollificent
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:49 pm [Reply]

    Y250 Niall: Can you turn your eyelids inside out? Me too!

    (oh, and regarding Y192: You’d have to understand how the Kanye thing unfolded, then became a meme, then the President got involved–seriously!–and it’s just gone from the sublime to the ridiculously hilarious.)

    Y310 Sister Sestina…dammit, you made me cry again! *sniffle*

    #78 nescio: Welcome to snarking!

    #111 TF: Mariska Hargitay rules.

    #141/153: yeah! I put my vote in for Gromit too. :)

    Banner ads: There was at least one Simpsons episode where Marge noticed a banner ad with some football players forming at the bottom of the screen, and took them out with a can of RAID. God, I love the Simpsons.

  180. ChristianPinko
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:52 pm [Reply]

    I think the furry in Archie is really Buddy the Book Beaver, on his way to a storyline in Unshelved.

  181. Poteet
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:00 am [Reply]

    # 175 Sequitur — AUGH! But I have to forgive your second post about Huckleberry because of your first. Thank you.

  182. commodorejohn
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:02 am [Reply]

    #165 True Fable – *removes notional hat*

    I’ll have to throw on The First Ten Years tomorrow in remembrance…

  183. migellito
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:09 am [Reply]

    The scene: Milford High, about a month from now.
    Gil: The season’s not going so well Kaz.
    Kaz: Well.. we better give a couple more students to Baal.
    Gil: heh.. hehe.. oh… you mean the other Baal.

  184. bats :[
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:18 am [Reply]

    Some Thursday observations:

    MT: oh, no, Mark! Mark! Oh why? Why why why why why?

    MW: kinda hoping Scott can hit the head before they move out — looks like that bean burrito he had for dinner isn’t sitting too well…

    Phantom: ze man! Wiz za curlee goatee! He eez danger!
    (Meanwhile, Kit grabs a donut.)
    I was wondering, with Kit always in dark glasses and Devil for his pet dog/wolf/canine, he might “blend in” better if he pretended to be blind…yeah, right. I’m talking about a guy who wears a purple unitard…

    Rex: Rex, Rex! Come back!

  185. Poteet
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:23 am [Reply]

    9/17 MT — When Mark needs to see what’s going on, Nyx herself removes her cloak for him.

  186. True Fable
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:29 am [Reply]

    Fist O Justice Theater Holy Mackrel, Mark’s Fist O Justice has been trumped by the Barky Stick O Stealth!

    Sam Driver’s Pretty People Posse Doesn’t look like anybody is going to come any time soon.

    Mary, Bringer of Meddle As we lurch toward the awkward inevitable, it is disturbing to learn that Mary finds out Scott is going to get married, before Scott does. Damn, but can that woman meddle!

    RMMW Rex, PLEASE come back! All charges have been dropped!

    Apartment of Doom Shit yeah, Ari; it’ll be a kick taking over for the Cryptkeeper!

  187. Poteet
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:38 am [Reply]


    MC — I find this view of incipient parenthood a very refreshing change from the usual. Har.

    MW — Clearly the economic downturn has made drug cartels far more desperate for business than I had ever imagined.

    PHANTOM — Hey, it’s Mandrake The Magician’s evil cousin!

    FW — Oh, for a good supply of spitballs.

    FC — Oh, for a blowgun and a net.

  188. Poteet
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:40 am [Reply]

    9/17 — Yeesh, I’m even starting to miss Widdew Sawah.

  189. Poteet
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:41 am [Reply]

    # 188 — In RMMD, that is. Good night, Poteet.

  190. Catbus
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:46 am [Reply]

    64: Thetis, no you are not the only one. We try to time our arrival in the theater after the commercials and before the trailers. If we’re too early, my husband makes a point of chatting with me in the loudest voice he can get away with in a movie theater.

  191. Mibbitmaker
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:49 am [Reply]

    9/17 FW: Batiuk strikes again. Jeez, if that guy’s wall-of-text pomposity were truly punctured, he’d pop and blow away in a steady steam of air all over the sky until he flops down in a truly one-dimentional, tiny, flat strip of rubber like Bluto near the end of “Too Weak to Work”.

    You want communication, Batty, you got it!

  192. True Fable
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:50 am [Reply]

    The Amazing Sandman Two notes: (1) They take their private beach policy very seriously here. (2) With that shirt, it must be taking place at Fire Island.

    Flashy Winkerstinker Cool. The five people who will show up for the play is gonna love it, then. And Summer is going to star in it, right? Well, that ought to send Les off fwapping into the wings.

  193. MornDew
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:01 am [Reply]

    FC-Why in God’s name is Thel cooking eggs flat on the stove??? Doesn’t their round world have room for frying pans, or at least a griddle?
    The woman is spending way too many mornings waking and baking if you ask me.

  194. Marion D
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:10 am [Reply]

    Toni’s turnaround was clearly Day One of Brad’s schizoid break with reality. Hope the real Toni is still alive. Anyway, my Batiuk Does Luann speculation is becoming reality:

  195. Hobbes Fan
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:20 am [Reply]

    And if the school refuses to put on that play, Les will build Summer an opera house!

  196. True Fable
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:22 am [Reply]

    Cathy Must Die Any minute now, Irving is going to sprout moobs and pop Midols like candy.

    I still don’t care what happens in Dick Tracy Honest, I don’t.

    Children of the Circle Grandma knows she’s doomed to become the entree section of the Soylent Green factory.

    WTF GT And Ty has found Bloom’s tight end.

    I, Platypus Lovin’ Ashley’s little mad flatback ears in panel two.

    OMG Heh, it IS Mrs. Roper’s outfit!

  197. Mr. O'Malley
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:27 am [Reply]

    A-3g: What kind of medical procedure is available upstate that is not available in NYC? Being put in a lunatic asylum?

    FW: Spamalot is sounding better and better all the time…

    MT: Curses! A clean-shaven poacher! I am powerless!

    MW: Does Scott’s jacket have “POLICE” in big letters on the back?

    RwO applies some Venusian Aikido to Batiuk.

  198. bats :[
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:36 am [Reply]

    197. Mr. O’Malley re MW: no, Scott has the *special* jacket, the one with the target on the back.

  199. Spiderman Defense League
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:40 am [Reply]

    You know, now that the Wolverine guest shot in Spider Man is over, it occurs to me that absolutely nothing happened during it. I mean, it took all summer, right? And poof, nothing.

    *sigh* I guess I need a new screen name…

  200. Mibbitmaker
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:57 am [Reply]

    th’ 17th:

    9CL: Why doesn’t a band of commies just overthrow the bastard? Oh, right — looks like they already did.

    A3G: “I will, Colonel Potter — I mean, Dr. Bryant!”

    DT: Louise Trapeze’s real name was Bunny Gunny.

    Doones: Okay, Trudeau’s turn to stay at the Hanoi Hilton.

    FC: Grandma reads Funky Winkerbean.

    H&L: Li’l Margo or Li’l Nixon — YOU be the judge.

    Luann: Remember who?

    NS: His LSD trip never wore off.

    OBH: Okay, you two, now go and don’t have sex.
    Tomorrow’s OBH — They play the Al Bundys.

    S4th: Looks like Sally needs a lecture on the arts from Tom Batiuk.

  201. Jason1981
    September 17th, 2009 at 2:13 am [Reply]


    S-M: That guy is actually tryin to arrest the Sandman?

    Heck with that, ask him to make a really huge sandcastle or other things–that’s what I would do! ” Castle Grayskull–cool! Ooh, now do the Cat’s Lair from ThunderCats! Now try the Dragonzord!”

  202. MolyBendum
    September 17th, 2009 at 2:36 am [Reply]

    Poor Santa’s Little Helper, only 2%. Well he got my vote.

    Y289 Little A re Mark Trail – I’m probably not old enough (38) to have been around when Mad did Mark Trail. I’ve probably read it though, I had an uncle who had every issue from the 60s on and I read them all. My dad also had old copies of the Mark Trail boy’s magazine from the 50s and I’ve always had a soft spot for Mark Trail since I was a kid. It was the kind of “wholesome” thing that was foisted on me, along with Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Kiwanis, church, mission camps, etc. They are all filled with well-intentioned people who are just a little off and stuck in a time warp. Just like Mark Trail.

  203. Jack Parsons
    September 17th, 2009 at 2:46 am [Reply]

    GT: You’re loaded with deceivers.

  204. Citric
    September 17th, 2009 at 3:04 am [Reply]

    MW: I love the “Cartel Update” pamphlet. I prefer to think that the police merely intercepted the drug cartel’s weekly newsletter. “Not only have they changed warehouses, but it’s big Pauly’s birthday! Be sure to wish him a hearty congratulations as you arrest him.”

  205. Artist formerly known as Ben
    September 17th, 2009 at 3:07 am [Reply]


    BB: You know, fun’s fun and Camp Swampy does have a wild reputation to live up to. But salad tossing in the kitchen? That’s just plain unsanitory.

    JP: Well, Godiva is sure cranky for someone who just had an orgasm.

    GA: I’m catching on that this is an extended dream/nightmare sequence, unless Walt has finally succumbed to the big A. It seems safe to say that nothing has actually happened in Gasolin Alley in some months.

    MW: It was good thinking subscribing to the Drug Cartel Family Newsletter. Still, maybe they should have waited til the October edition came out. It has the updated floor plan, and a delish pumpkin pie recipe.

    9CL: Realistically, even wiretapping government spooks lose interest at some point. Just sayin’.

    Luann: Remember you? Um, vaguely.

    H&J: My heart goes out to Herb. I don’t know how long it took his mother-in-law and his mother to get naked together, nor how far along they were when he brought the soon-shattered cocoa mug into the guest room. But I can only imagine it’s not an easy thing to walk in on.

  206. Sparky AKA Able Bodied Seaman Craggy Fjord
    September 17th, 2009 at 3:17 am [Reply]

    As to Archie – Betty is wearing the wombat who graces the Necrowombicon. And it is probably sentient. But since Betty is known to wear Rusty’s Iron Maiden super villain duds – she’s likely to reappear.

  207. Sheila Sternwell
    September 17th, 2009 at 3:53 am [Reply]

    MT: The memory of that big pile of red gooey formerly living alligator in panel 2 will haunt me for days.

    A3G is horning in on Funky Deatherbean’s turf. And I’ll bet you many dollars to many donuts that Dr Bryant’s illness will be handled with more grace, dignity, and realism than Batiuk has ever managed.

  208. MolyBendum
    September 17th, 2009 at 4:03 am [Reply]

    9/17. Golf, hahahahaha. Technology, hahahahaha. Phhhlllllbt.

    Beetle – Too easy. Nobody said, “Hey, Mort, here’s something you probably didn’t know…..” Whatever.

    Cathy – It’s good to see the economic crisis isn’t affecting Cathyworld. She’s a….desk jockey of some sort…and he’s….an accountant, maybe, if I remember right….I don’t know how they afford all this shopping. I’m sure more information on Cathy is available on the internet, but I refuse to look for it. If ONLY Cathy and Irving would blow all their money on the requisite 1,095 pairs of jeans, declare bankruptcy, get foreclosed on, move into a box on a street corner and forage for food in dumpsters while being spit on by passers-by. I’d buy that compilation book.

    Dennis – They’re playing “Brokeback Mountain Cowboys” and heard ranch dressing has better lubricative properties than mayo.

    Gil – In case you didn’t already think football commentary was boring, here’s Gil Thorpe to drive the point home!

    Pluggers – Reed Hoover again. Screw you, guy. I do enjoy the idea of a Plugger logging onto the big, scary internet…fighting their way onto Ebay clicking clicking clicking to their Beanie Baby sale…oh-so-hopeful their minimum bid of $10 has been met only to be topped again and again until it sits at $13,569.78 with 24 hours to go…..just to be let down when there’s been nothing. Nothing at all. And they realize their hopes and dreams are unattainable, they will die broke and alone, and that nobody loves them or ever has. I also totally believe a Plugger thinks $13,000 is enough money to retire on and I find that hilarious as well.

    Spiderman – Why, within 2 minutes of Sandman showing up, are there 3 cops in full uniform there to arrest him? Maybe there’s a donut shop near the beach. I get it, they remember him and know he’s bad. But they don’t remember he’s made of sand and they can’t kill him? I give up. I’m not into the superhero comics anyways and this is why.

    Ziggy – No. The post office will guarantee it. “Safer than throwing it away”? How is throwing a package away unsafe? Is it a bomb? Then throw it away, by all means, you’ll be safe. This makes my head hurt. Maybe she’s just trying to confuse Ziggy. Inflicting intentional emotional distress on him. “Sir! 47% of 13 dentists recommend you put the ball on the shortstop line and take the 8:15 to the city!” And Ziggy’s head explodes. Funny.

    Once, at the Grand Canyon, I sprayed GLADE into the ABYSS. I had to TINKLE while I was there, and I thought of BAKING BIG STEAKS while I peed over the edge. I’m just sayin’…..

  209. jamoche
    September 17th, 2009 at 5:42 am [Reply]

    I voted for Gromet, but where are the Looney Tunes dogs? Charlie the con artist, Marc Antony the bulldog and his kitten Pussyfoot, and Chuck Jones’ Two Curious Puppies?

  210. True Fable
    September 17th, 2009 at 5:53 am [Reply]

    Jumble Hints from Yesterday: It took a Big Damn Spoon to take away the Pain at the Roof Off My Mouth caused by the Salmon Squares also known as Charterstones, an appropriate sobriquet.

  211. Sister Sestina
    September 17th, 2009 at 5:55 am [Reply]

    (in a still small voice) Thank you, thank your again for the warmth of your responses.

    Niall@322: If only my father’s behavior was a product of “North American culture”. No, his was the hardcore high-proof swill of OId World Eastern European terroir. My family escaped from Yugoslavia (and I do not use that verb loosely, but that’s a tale for another time) in the ’50s, and I may well be the only member of my entire family tree to have sprouted in American soil. Complicate that with his own private demons — one hospital psychiatrist diagnosed him with narcissistic personality disorder — and “happily ever after” was never going to be an option.

    I am not truly a “geek girl”; call me rather a “geek sympathizer”. I’m not naturally drawn to the comics and sci-fi that entrance him, but I can certainly appreciate them. I loved getting him the R2D2 wastebasket for his birthday and the Green Lantern statue for last Valentine’s Day. I keep his schedule straight for him at ComicCons. And I realize that a girl who’s done time in Elizabethan corsets and sworn fealty to a decade of SCA kings ain’t in a position to cast stones. Though if he mentions the Antman movie one more time…..

    Man, he loves his comic book movies. I am contractually obligated that when he dies, I am to continue to see every suitable Marvel and DC theatrical release in his name. (If I should predecease, similarly for him and every Jane Austen adaption, no matter how tenuously connected — did I hear Bridget Jones coughing?) Normally we do as Catbus and Co at 90 do, strolling in fashionably and ad-avoidingly late into the cinema, but for the comic book and sci-fi releases we often wind up there ten minutes ahead of time, propelled by the fear that some difficulty in parking or ticket-booth snafu might make him miss one iota of the movie should he dally. So we’ve sat though a LOT of ads.

    I remember waiting for the last “Star Trek” film to start. This was at one of those theaters that fill up the time between showings with yet more commercials bloated to infomercial girths. There was a particularly annoying one about a car creating Jackson Pollocky art by skidding and turning through splashing gallons of paint; it lasted about 5 minutes, a number that ironically matched the amount of seconds it took to get the whole idea and be tired of it. Finally showtime arrives, with a batch of commercials as its herald — and the third one in was the official “ad” version of the Abstract Expressionist motoring extravaganza –

    At which point my husband BELLOWED, “Scottie, beam me five minutes into the future!” (SFX: rest of audience cheering.)

  212. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 17th, 2009 at 6:18 am [Reply]

    Sandman: Shoot me in the shoulder.
    Cop: No way!
    Sandman: I said DO IT!
    Sandman: *rrrrrrrrggggh* Yes! Do it again! Do it HARD!
    Sandman: Yeeeeessssss!
    Other cop: Whoa, that was cool.

    September 17th, 2009 at 6:26 am [Reply]

    MT: if we are lucky, that guy will skin Mark (although I don’t think his skin will bring more than about 19c on the market. And if we are really lucky, they’ll skin Rusty and stuff him and sell him to the Believe it or Not Museum on West 42nd Street in New York, where he will be the star attraction.

  214. Little Guy
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:03 am [Reply]

    GT: Bonfire? I thought that was a{CENSORED TO COCKPIT}.

    MT: Says nothing, sneaks up, and bops Mark on the head. SMARTEST. VILLIAN. EVAH!

    MC: Okay, Ed, you got your Mendel books out for this?

    FW: I never thought you could stretch out “Fuck you all!” to three panels.

  215. 8th Man Fan
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:11 am [Reply]

    Re: Wed. H&L‘s “TV pop-up ads”: According to the N.Y. Times, bugs and snipes are here to stay. Trixie’s gone way ahead of the curve, though, stumbling across one of the first cases of augmented reality spam.

    Btw, I’m voting for Sassy.

  216. Big Sims
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:19 am [Reply]

    DeGroot perversity watch
    Brad’s dreaming about his dad about to make-out with TJ?
    Twisted, but I can’t avert my eyes.

  217. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:37 am [Reply]

    MW: I’d like to see the front of that pamphlet: “Violent Factions and You”…. “Know Your Cartels”….. “Why Does It Feel Good When I Touch Me ‘Down There’?”—oh, wait, that’s the one that Adrian’s been reading….

    Meanwhile, Mary and Adrian start the traditional celebratory tango!

    BB: Silly Zero. Anyone can tell by looking at Cookie that he’s a “pitcher,” not a “catcher.”

    A3G: Yipes! Funky W has metastasized!

    I do understand now why the A3G men are generally cut off in their vigorous prime, if this is what happens to them when they get old: they dwindle into shriveled dotage.

    JP: Okay, we get it: Pretty people have problems, too. But couldn’t they have more interesting problems?

  218. 8th Man Fan
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:40 am [Reply]

    S-M: Today’s scenes didn’t look quite right to me, so I checked:

    NYPD Firearms Training Manual, p. 82: “When pointing a gun at close range, make sure to hold it level with your shoulder, with the non-shooting hand choking the life out of your gun-gripping hand for stability.”

    NYPD Police Training Manual, p. 243: “If a smirking, unarmed suspect who formed himself out of beach sand cheerfully directs you to shoot him in the shoulder, fire at will.”

    I stand corrected.

  219. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:48 am [Reply]

    MT: Dawn breaks, and Rusty slowly wakes up. Groggy, he looks around the tent. “Sassy, where’s Mark?” Stumbling sleepy-eyed outside, he begins to worry. “I don’t see him anywhere, Sassy. I hope an alligator didn’t get him! Or a poacher!” Sassy licks herself sympathetically. “I’d better go look for him! Come on!”

    Rusty marches courageously through the swamp, until the buzzing of flies catches his attention. “Wow! What is that?” Rusty moves closer. “I wonder if that’s one of the skinned alligators that the poachers killed? But it’s awfully small for an alligator, Sassy.”

    Sassy sniffs cautiously and whimpers a little. “Sassy, that…. that alligator has dark hair…. and there’s Mark’s shirt… But where’s Mark’s skin?”

    Rusty’s screams echo through the swamp for some time.

    And that, boys and girls, is the story of how Gator Boy came to be. Today, he wanders the swamps with his unnaturally colored hound, vacant-eyed, drooling and calling out with inappropriate boldface, “Where’s Mark’s skin? Wow!

  220. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:50 am [Reply]

    ….And what I really think will happen in MT: Mark will be tied up, and the poachers will argue over what to do with him. Bob, who lacks sideburns and the propensity for crime, will turn from the Dark Side of Facial Hair to the Good Forces of Punching, and he will help Mark escape. In that way, he will be the Andy surrogate, except, you know, not as smart.

  221. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 7:54 am [Reply]

    163 Sequitur: I don’t know if I’m more impressed at the high ranking of that link, or at the fact that there are more than 29,000 results for chocolate stinkbug.

    I’m off to California this evening for a family wedding, where I’ll get to do something that I love and almost never get to do: dance dance dance (at least, as much as I can drag the unwilling buckyhusband on to the dance floor).

    Anyway, I’ll be in Santa Rosa for the weekend, so, Dingo!—it’s Stephan Pastis country. Should I happen to run into that comics cutie pie, do you have any message you’d like me to pass on to him?

  222. Whippersnapper
    September 17th, 2009 at 8:12 am [Reply]

    FW: Tomorrow, Batiuk won’t even bother drawing the pathetic Winkervillians. Tomorrow’s strip will just be a self-portrait of Batiuk shaking his finger at us.

    MW: If you wanted Scott to find out first, maybe you shouldn’t have flashed that ring at the state’s biggest busybody. Just sayin’.

  223. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 8:13 am [Reply]

    222 Whippersnapper, re: MW—True, but Adrian’s not quite as dumb as we think; after all, it IS a good idea to tell a guy he’s marrying you before you tell your father.

  224. Little Guy
    September 17th, 2009 at 8:16 am [Reply]

    220: Mark will goad the poachers that they are cowards in tying him up. The poachers will untie him enabling Mark’s Fo’J to come into play.

  225. Whippersnapper
    September 17th, 2009 at 8:20 am [Reply]

    buckyswife @223: Meh. Details.

    ‘Shaft: Back in the mid-nineties, I was a non-cancer-ridden high school senior in Ohio (they do exist outside the Winkerverse!) looking into colleges, and Kent State was one of my front runners. When I visited, there was no longer a National Guard presence on campus, and I’m pretty sure they’re still gone. I think it will be safe for Mindy to go outside occasionally.

  226. redliner
    September 17th, 2009 at 8:36 am [Reply]

    I wish someone would load a gender-stereotype update into the AJGLU-3000. Yes, in most cheesy comic strips you can use a “women don’t like to be called old” joke and call it a day. But it really makes no sense for high schoolers. Most high school girls want to be older, not younger.

  227. Amateur
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:03 am [Reply]

    MT: If thinking the third panel is hilarious is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

    Curtis: Cartooning 101: When someone changes his mind — say, from loathing chicken salad to deciding chicken salad is not bad — his facial expression should reflect that. And if there’s not enough room to show a new facial expression, he shouldn’t change his mind.

    FW: All right, I realize we’re all supposed to get the meta-message here, but honestly, does he really expect us to believe adults are going to storm a high school over a depiction of cancer? AIDS, maybe, but CANCER??

  228. Niall
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:17 am [Reply]

    211. Sister Sestina: I apologise for the assumptions I made as to your background which I could not possibly know. (I really should know better than to do that, too.) As for “I keep his schedule straight for him at ComicCon”, that’s love and devotion right there. :)

  229. un_malpaso
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:21 am [Reply]

    I am sure I’m not the first person to notice this, but… why is Betty leaning at a 20 degree angle away from Archie? Is it due to his intense post-locker room man funk, or just a reaction to the blandness of the impending punchline? (I would think that Betty would actually lean towards blandness, so maybe it is the body odor.)

  230. un_malpaso
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:23 am [Reply]

    Also, just wanted to mention…


    Today’s strip brought to you by the letter “C” and the number, “CANCER!” Special thanks to CANCER! Hell, ALL the strips are brought to you by CANCER!

    Did I mention…

    Catch it! It’s the new anti-buzz.

  231. mvg
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:29 am [Reply]

    MW: “I want Scott to be the first to find out.” Uhm, but Mary already knows. As does probably every employee and patient in the hospital, the way you’ve been waving around your little bit of glass, Adrian, you goggle-eyed ring-whore.

    DT: “How did she find me?” Gee, maybe it had something to do with you standing in front of huge crowds every night with a spotlight shining on you, dingus.

    MC: Wouldn’t they be more likely to have a litter, rather than a single offspring?

    138 Ralph, 141 Sequitur, 153 buckyswife: I agree that Gromit rules, but I’d also like to give a shout for Bitzer, the dog from Aardman’s “Shaun the Sheep” series.

    Hobbes Fan 195: “And if the school refuses to put on that play, Les will build Summer an opera house!”

    After he’s had native slave labor drag a riverboat over an Amazonian mountain. (Just assuming that was a “Fitzcarraldo” reference…)

    S-M: That a pretty feeble weapon if the round is dropping after traveling all of 3 feet. I’m thinking a little flag that said “Bang!” might have been just as effective; you could maybe poke an eye out with it.

    8th Man Fan 218: Exxxxcellent…

    MW: Judging by Scott Rustysuit’s expression, he was really hoping they were going to go after the nonviolent Quaker faction of the drug cartel. I think the man knows he’s worm-fodder.

    FW: If Bathos’ true “talent” could be harnessed & marketed, I think we’d have a blockbuster fitness accessory. Just picture the ad on HSN: A muscular 40something guy strides briskly along a palm-shaded street, a ream of F—y Winkerstain comics in each fist; he pants cheerily, “I walk … with heavyhandedness…”

  232. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:34 am [Reply]

    DT: You can’t really fake a trapeze act, can you? I mean, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and, to be totally nonmetaphorical, the proof of trapezing is in the failure to plummet, which is a fairly binary condition. Another thing I would consider quite difficult (and inadvisable) to fake is ‘having proper elephants’, but they seem to be having a go at that, so what do I know.

  233. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:38 am [Reply]

    The little surprise lines coming out of the bullet in Spider-Man remind me of the dum-dum bullets from Roger Rabbit. “Duhh… which way did he go?” That makes this scene mildly humorous, at least by association, and it’s a pity to see what’s undoubtedly going to be a long, long story arc hit its peak so early on in the run.

  234. commodorejohn
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:44 am [Reply]

    A3G – “You know, I think it was the year I spent in Ohio that did it to me. Damn that town…what was its name again? Oh yes, Westview. Damn Westview.”

    Crankshaft – Yes, yes, we get it, Tom. All your wounds are too deep to ever heal, and you must make sure that all your characters and the entire rest of the civilized world suffers along with you. How about you go listen to some nice, soothing music and we’ll write the comic strip? There’s this band called Linkin Park that I think you’ll relate to…

    Curtis – Can I just take a moment to express my honest love for the “Eat right Beat blight” sign in today’s Curtis? Because as much as I have to agree with Curtis, that sign is awesome.

    FC – Grandma is remembering when she used to get all hot and bothered over Flash Gordon serials. When the hell are they going to invent ray guns? She’s been waiting for seventy-five years now.

    FW – And here’s the “all other objections are rendered invalid if the work in question can be classified as ‘thought-provoking’” argument. One more and I’ll have a Pretentious Hack Bingo!

    GT – I dunno, it sure doesn’t look like he’s ignoring the “deep route…”

    Lio – Eva learns the first basic lesson of dealing with nerds: girls who kick ass are hot.

    Luann – Brad is so intensely dull that even the voices in his head have richer, more interesting lives than he does. I can’t really say I’m surprised.

    MT – I will treasure this strip for the rest of my life.

    MW – You can tell Scott is going to get it because he’s the only person on the force not wearing a mustache. It’s common knowledge that facial hair protects you from bullets; this is why Mark Trail deals with all the bearded villains in LoFo instead of the police.

    MC – Yep.

    NS – See, Wiley? This is the kind of thing you’re good at.

    OBH – And we wonder where Ruthie gets it from.

    Pluggers – Pluggers are really, really, really stupid.

    SF – This is probably the first time the concept of outsider art has been mentioned in a newspaper strip, ever. Bravo, Ces. (Also, are the little candy-corn guys doing semaphore? I can’t quite figure out at this size.)

    SM – Okay, either something is drastically wrong with that gun, or Sandman’s sand is actually particles of neutronium. There’s no other way to explain the sudden loss of virtually all momentum by the bullet upon exiting his shoulder. Also, do cops in the Marvel Universe always shoot people who ask them to? They must have a pretty lenient review board.

  235. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:52 am [Reply]

    FC: “Now she’s saying the walls are made out of people and they want her to make P.J. go to sleep under the towels. And there’s a lot of empty bottles in there.”

  236. StoutHearted
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:55 am [Reply]

    Of course, in the Funkyverse the villains are people who don’t embrace the veneration of cancer. The last panel is not only a lecture to the outraged parents, but to the strip’s critics who claim it’s too depressing. “Too depressing?,” Batiuk counters, “You just don’t get it. You have to love the cancer. Love it in all it’s thought-provoking, smirking, husband-haunting glory!”

  237. TheDiva
    September 17th, 2009 at 9:58 am [Reply]

    Cathy: This strip takes place on another planet, right? Or possibly some twisted parallel universe? Because I don’t know anyone, female or otherwise, who does anything like this.

    C’shaft: Okay, let me work the numbers on this: The Kent State shooting was in 1970, thirty-nine years ago. We’ll guestimate mom and dad are twenty at that time, a good round college-age number, making them 59 today. Mindy is starting college, meaning she’s 18 and was conceived when her parents were 41. Yet in the “state fair” flashbacks of a couple weeks ago, they look to be about the average parents-of-young-children age–mid-20s to early 30s. My theory: the years for the Funky Winkerbean time jump were taken from this comic, resulting in an unnatural compression of recent history.

    FW: Whoops, hard hats on people–it’s getting a little anvilicious in here.

    And it’s been said, but one more time for the record: misery and angst =/= “thought-provoking” or “exploring our common humanity.” Thank you.

    GT: Why is the play-by-play being broadcast from a storage crate?

    Marvin: It was funnier when Terry Pratchett did it.

    MW: My Emily Post is a little fuzzy on the subject: shouldn’t the people who are getting engaged be the first to be notified, followed by the parents and then the meddling old biddy next door?

    Also, it was nice of the police station’s ComRel department to print up those lovely informative flyers for the drug bust.

    Pluggers: That’s because you’re sitting in front of an old black & white television with an Apple IIe drive propped up next to it.

  238. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:00 am [Reply]

    9CL: I hope his first customer is a direct descendent of Yakov Yurovsky.

  239. TennesseeJed
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:01 am [Reply]

    Wow, so brad daydreams about his dad and TJ getting it on? That is so twisted. He better tell Toni this so she can make up her own mind.

  240. mvg
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:02 am [Reply]

    FW: Annnnd … what if, rather than provoking thought, it only provokes aggravation & nausea at its utterly hamhanded execution & preening self-importance? Is it still art? Or is it simply “writing”?

    Ah ha, I know the answer: Sorry, that’s PHANTOM information.

    September 17th, 2009 at 10:03 am [Reply]

    FW- If you really want some sane, thought evoking expressionist art that will make those PTO naysayers uncomfortable, I say the Vagina Monologues is what your looking for.

  242. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:04 am [Reply]

    Serious Necker Cube action in GT panel 2 today. “He’s in a booth! No wait, he’s standing beside a large box! No wait, he’s an old lady! No wait, he’s a duck!”

  243. mvg
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:08 am [Reply]

    GT: I work w/2 ex-newspaper sports guys, according to whom there are actually still a few hick towns (this is Ohio — really hoping I’m outside Westview’s cancer radius) whose high school pressbox is little more than a raised plywood crate.

  244. One-eyed Wolfdog
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:13 am [Reply]

    FW: In other news, this year’s band concert will be George Crumb’s Black Angels. Never mind that it’s scored for just four performers using instruments not found in a marching band, IT’S A SERIOUS WORK OF ART. WHY DON’T YOU APPRECIATE THAT?

  245. Professor Fate
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:14 am [Reply]

    FW: and it is important that the thought provoking content be handled in a clumsy heavyhanded overripe melodramtic way so that people begin to bang their heads against things seeking the bliss of unconciousness.

    Batiuk – go piss up a rope.

  246. T. Chicana
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:19 am [Reply]

    #237 The Diva: You’re so right about the weird time-space continuum Hippie parents thing happening. My mom was at Kent State in 1970. I’m 31 and have a baby of my own. The parents do look older than my mom, though. With that old-lady bubble haircut, she looked old even at the State Fair flashback.

    MW: Um, Adrian. Typically, when people get engaged, they both “find out about it” at the same moment. You know, the moment when the proposal happens, and tears of happiness are cried and you jump up and down with that ring! Not with Mary Worth knowing before your fiance. Mary is totally going to tell your dad…what do you think?!

  247. Muffaroo
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:30 am [Reply]

    A3G – It’s good to see [cancer] that someone else [cancer cancer cancer] is living up to the high standards [carcinoma melanoma] set by Smirky Schadenfreude. How soon before Archie starts faunching after a bald chick, or the ants in BC start recounting old TV jokes in a state-of-the-art oncology clinic, or Rose Gumbo finally learns the downside of sniffing those highlighters?

    Dick – Faking a trapeze act? You just go up there and pretend you’re swinging from one trapeze to another over the heads of the audience. Happens all the time. They do it with a squirrel, two Q-tips and a flashlight or something.

    Smirky Schadenfreude – Good thing that wasn’t four panels long, or the patronizing self-justification would have squeezed the art out completely. And the art, at least, is tolerable.

    Luann – Okay, this is amusing, but I feel sad that pretend-Dad never had an ounce of love. Good thing TJ’s there — whoa! He stopped smiling! Brad, you might just want to turn off your thoughts for a while. I hear there are drugs for that. Check the dosage and take a little extra.

    Mary – Tonight! Tonight!
    It all comes down tonight!
    A violent cartel fights in the rain!
    Tonight! Tonight!
    She’ll see her love tonight
    Coming in on a gurney in pain!
    Today, tonight has been foreshadowed
    In panels creeping slowly,
    As sweet potato blight.
    Oh Moy, just write
    And bring Detective Scott
    To the light

    Momma – Three o’clock yesterday afternoon… in strip time, that means… good Lord, she’s Louise Trapeze! No wonder Momma looks depressed. She’s already read Dick Tracy.

    Pluggers – I wonder if Reed Hoover is starting to realize that he’ll never get a cent for writing 1/3 of the entries in the past five years.

    Prickly – Ow.

    Spidey – I’m guessing suicide-by-cop is really, really easy in this neighborhood.

  248. Muffaroo
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:31 am [Reply]

    P @96 – Years ago, I pondered the implications of fast-forwarding through commercials, and speculated that somebody might come up with commercials that still managed to deliver their message in fast-forward mode (I’ll skip the details here).

    Farley’s Revenge @97 – I have the miniseries of The Shining on tape. Not because I’m that much of a fan, but because they actually shot it at the Stanley Hotel, which inspired the book. I love to see the place. When I lived in Estes Park briefly, 30+ years ago, I’d ride my bike there and they’d let me practice on a grand piano that had John Philip Sousa’s autograph inside. (Why didn’t I ever take a picture, eh?)

    commodorejohn @119 – Back around 1980, cable companies used to claim that you wouldn’t have to watch ads on cable stations, because we’d already paid for them with our subscription money. That lasted until enough people signed up that somebody finally bought an ad on one of them. A couple of years later, I started to see ads inserted by the local cable companies (the technical ineptness of the company made it pretty obvious when it happened). And the suck goes on.

    gnome de blog @142Best comic dog ever. Yeah, Snoopy was the funniest, but if I had to choose one living creature from the comics to have in MY corner…

    Sheila Sternwell @148 – I used to call the unwanted intrusion in the lower corner of the screen a “brand.” Then others started calling them “bugs.” Now that they’re working up to being half the screen, with sound and motion, maybe they should be called “trucks” or “plagues.”

  249. LP2004
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:42 am [Reply]

    One-eyed Wolfdog @ 244: I’d love to hear a group of high school musicians – using the correct instruments – take on ‘Black Angels’. For the larger ensembles at Westview, I’d suggest that any of Allan Pettersson’s symphonies would be appropriately depressing.

  250. mojo
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:50 am [Reply]

    #217 buckyswife: That’s no tango! Mary Worth is obviously about to perform an Aikido take-down on Adrian! (I forget what it’s called; it’s been a while.) In tomorrow’s strip Mary’s going to step behind Adrian and direct her wrist around and down in a flowing, circular fashion with her other hand on her shoulder, locking out her arm. Adrian will be tasting industrial hospital carpet before she knows it.

  251. Lorem Ipsum
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:53 am [Reply]

    BB: Zero looks just like Simple Jack™. Is Ben Stiller making a sequel?

  252. Dingo
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:55 am [Reply]

    buckyswife #221: Shower him with kisses and run your hands through his chest hair while screaming at the top of your lungs! It may not be exactly what I’d do, but I’d pay to watch you do it, my demented harlot of snark!

  253. anonymous
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:58 am [Reply]

    PLUGGERS: Pluggers are stunned to learn that the world is not yet ready to fork over big bucks for smelly wads of cloth and stuffing. (The very same items that can be found stuffed in the back of the closet in, like, EVERY OTHER house in the USA!)… Pluggers, the day of cashing in on Beanie Babies has not arrived. Maybe in 50 years you can get some money for them, they probably make excellent tinder for campfires if nothing else. Pluggers, if you want to make real cash, start selling some of your prescription meds, that’s what REAL life Pluggers would do.

  254. gnome de blog
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:13 am [Reply]

    Mark Trail: Chain him to a log, what else!?

  255. Vladhed
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:15 am [Reply]

    Gil Thorp, 9/16: I’m still trying to work out the euphemism in panel 2 – everything I can think of can’t be repeated here and seems very off-topic.

  256. Calico
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:16 am [Reply]

    #138 – I’ve always liked Buckles, but as my Mom said when I told her about this ‘toon a few years ago, she said “Oh, another cartoon featuring a dog and his bird friend. How original.”

    She’s a die-hard Schultz fan, I tell you!

    But, I still like Buckles. : )

  257. Sequitur
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:17 am [Reply]


  258. Calico
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:18 am [Reply]

    Re: BBailey – I thought that was Beetle’s job.

  259. Calico
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:20 am [Reply]

    #230 – DtM – “I’ll have Cancer on that sandwich, Ma’am.”
    Joey: “Yeth.”

  260. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:24 am [Reply]

    252 Dingo: Got it—and I’ll have a full report for you, of course, on the hot-n-heavy, panting, clothes-ripping, moaning, thrusting result.

  261. hogenmogen
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:24 am [Reply]

    Pluggers: I thought it has been brought up that a Plugger’s eBay is a yard sale. Liars.

    A3G: Aristotle suggests that he pays a visit to a Dr. Rex Morgan MD. If he has only 6 months to live, he can play it out for decades. In the Antarctic and on Rex Morgan each day lasts for six months.

    Funky: “Exploring our common humanity” ha ha! what a knee-slapper! Actually, I’ve never had cancer, but I regularly participate in the snark here at the CC. So if you want to explore your common humanity with me, you’d have to put on Wit, but with the two geezers from the old Muppet Show in the balcony heckling them incessantly.

  262. Pozzo
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:26 am [Reply]


  263. Chip Whittle
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:30 am [Reply]

    B.C. is funny today because the teacher asked for an example of poetry, and the student identified a kind of poetry! See, it’s…it’s…uh…

    Silver Age Baldo: To be a spoilsport about this I’m pretty sure NASA provides you with the spaceship. They run a little pricey.

    Crankshaft: Ah, finally the real Batiuk touch: Horrific bloodshed and angry old people wondering why we can’t get more of that these days.

    “Rock, I haven’t seen you in four months! And the way time moves in Judge Parker that means we haven’t met since before the Big Bang!”

    Wait, Luann’s holo-dad never felt love? This could put a new cast on the whole strip.

    You know the poachers are tough when they’re able to whack Mark Trail into a different facial expression.

    Wasn’t this a Gil Thorp hilarity a couple years back?

    Momma alert: child detected involved in fun, recreational activity! Must shut down! Quickly make her sit in uncomfortable chair and watch cupcake be put in 1940s leaf incinerator!

    I am looking forward to Momma’s daughter being horribly gored while Dick Tracy squints uncomprehendingly at her.

    I know the end of the new Popeye story will disappoint, but at least we got “I wish I had the royal rubber ducks” out of it.

    Six Chix has an inquisitive elevator button. This shows how some Mark Trail word balloons have adapted to the urban environment.

  264. hogenmogen
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:35 am [Reply]

    For an angry mob of parents that stormed the office and demanded to speak with the teacher in charge of the play, they’re pretty patient, listening to a three panel diatribe about what their kids should be learning in school and in a play. To wrap the story line up, I suppose the angry mob will simply give up. “Hmm. She made some salient points. We’ll agree. Just tell Creepy Les to stop smirking at us!!”

  265. Dingo
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:43 am [Reply]

    buckyswife, do you own a bodice? I haven’t experienced any bodice ripping reports lately but one with Pastis could be interesting. Then again, you’ve told us you’re very, very short. Putting you in a bodice could make him mistake you for a piñata. Not sure if being beaten with a long stick is a fetish of yours.

  266. hogenmogen
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:45 am [Reply]

    Spidey: I’m amazed that so many cops hang out on the beach after Labor Day. I’m also amazed that they’re taking such a particular fascination in Sandman. They usually aren’t too interested in solving crimes. Even Spidey just webs up his opponents and leaves them. A few months later, they’re tearing the place up again.

    I can guess that the two backup cops are coming just to see Sandman do his thing. “Hey, Sand-guy, make your fists into hammers again! Cool! Woah, careful where you swing that thi– ow! Sandy, cut it — ow!”

  267. Niall
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:53 am [Reply]

    153. buckyswife: I admit if Dingo’s Lottery story fragment made a reference, I don’t know it… (And I loved his “demented harlot of snark”, something I could never come up with or use on someone.)

    179. mollificent: *blinks* Uh, no, it’s not turning my eyelid inside out. That’s… creepy. creepier than me.

    190. Catbus: I usually come in with a book and read until the movie starts. I generally try my best to disregard the trailers, unless it’s for something I actually want to see (then I close my eyes and keep plugging/unplugging my ears and humming low to drown out the noise) – or it’s for something so hideously horrid and cliché-ridden, I keep not believeing how low they can go – and seconds later they break expectations once again. And groan, loudly. Then hear many young people around me go “OMG, I can’t wait to see that, it looks so cool!” and weep for our future.

    221. buckyswife: have fun at the family wedding! May your dance card be full! (Though that would be with others than your husband unit, and that makes rumours fly at weddings… so maybe not… I’m not sure I could marry someone who doesn’t like to dance.) …on 260: yow. or yum? hmmm. This may break Dingo’s mind if you do. Especially with photographic evidence. *grins and runs*

    265. Dingo: If you really want bodice-ripping, you can send buckyswife to Ottawa… my Ottawa, that is, not yours… I’m not sure your Ottawa would know what to do with a bodice. Whereas mine seems to know what to do in such situations.

  268. Jonny T
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:58 am [Reply]

    Re: Hi and Lois. I know full well that I’m not better than anyone, as I watch endless hours of TV. But it does give me the advantage of being able to confirm that TV shows do in fact disrupt programs with “pop-up ads” at the bottom of the screen to make sure you know about the other shows on their lineup. So in the area of mindless information, hell yes! I’m BETTER than YOU!

  269. Dingo
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:04 pm [Reply]

    Niall, the reference was to a classic story learned by all American junior high students called The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. You can read it in its entirety here.

  270. Calico
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:09 pm [Reply]

    #269 – Yes, one of the most “Burned-into-our-Brains” Short Stories of all time in American Lit.

    Creepy but mind-bending stuff, along with Poe, Faulkner and O’Connor.

  271. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:10 pm [Reply]

    Dingo & Niall: Isn’t a bodice just the front of one’s shirt/dress? (Where’s Fashion Police when we need her?) So I hope I have one—could be a bit of a distraction in the classroom if not! As for the bodice-ripping and, um, long sticks, well….. Huh? Sorry—I just sort of distracted myself there….

    267 Niall: “The Lottery,” by Shirley Jackson. Quite a good short story, often anthologized for schoolkids here.

    And as for the dancing: I actually have little problem dancing with people other than the husband, partly out of necessity and partly out of “why the hell not?” (And it’s pretty funny, isn’t it, that you’re more concerned about my dancing with other people than you are with my jumping Pastis! =-) )

  272. idathefossil
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:12 pm [Reply]

    Uh-Oh, looks like trouble for Gil and his autocratic ways. Those crazy Milford kids are apparently raising their proletarian fists at a Communist Party Workers Unite bonfire.

  273. buckyswife
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:18 pm [Reply]

    So I still need to teach one more class, run back to my office and drop off stuff, drive home, change clothes, finish packing, take the dog to doggy jail, and get to the airport—all in the next, oh, 3 hours or so.

    And what I really care about is this: Will Scott Hewlett die while I’m without internet access? Because I really, really do not want to miss that.

    What am I thinking? I’ll only be out of e-touch for three days; Adrian will still be standing at that desk waving her left hand about, and Scott will only be on the second paragraph of his “Five Easy Ways to Bust Up a Cartel” pamphlet.

  274. mollificent
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:19 pm [Reply]

    Argh…no time to catch up on all comments this morning. I’m at about #217, so apologize if i repeat/step on anyone’s snark.

    #105 Dingo: Your “Lottery” story was so compelling I actually gave a little start when I saw Marty Moon in today’s GT. *grin*

    On the other hand…

    Luann: BRAINBLEACHBRAINBLEACH I really, REALLY did not need the mental image of TJ and Mr. DeGroot gettin’ it on. (Dingo, please take note and have mercy on me. ;))

    MT: D’OH! And now he’s going to fall forward right on top of the skinned carcass. Ewww.

    MW: Oh, for the love of…Yes, we know. Scott is going to be HORRIBLY MAIMED/WOUNDED/KILLED. Get on with it already! What is this, Dick Tracy? (on which, I might add, I have given up snarking…I’d probably delete it from my Chron page if I could be bothered.)

    Momma: Don’t do it! You’ll get shot!

    My Cage/OBH: LOL! Awesome.

    A last note, if I may, on high school productions: I had a fairly ambitious high school drama department, with teachers who both liked to entertain and provoke thought. So, yes, we did “The Boy Friend” (it don’t get any fluffier!) but we also did “The Good Person of Szechuan” (Brecht, for God’s sake…eat your heart out, Tom Batiuk!) and a host of other rather dark plays, including a musical penned by one of the teachers called “Roach Motel”.

    High schools can handle some pretty serious material. That still doesn’t make “Wit” an appropriate choice, nor does it justify Batiuk’s condescending, lofty attitude toward his critics.

    Rant off. Have a great day, everyone!

  275. Dingo
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:19 pm [Reply]

    Calico, I just reread the entire story after finding it for Niall. What I really love about it is that Shirley Jackson kept the writing so sparse. The detail is mainly in your mind. Perhaps we need to sit Moy & Giella along with Batiuk down in chairs, tie them with rope, and allow buckyswife to run them through the story.

  276. Al of the Christian Singles Jungle Patrol
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:20 pm [Reply]

    MW – Foreshadowing, the hallmark of quality entertainment.

  277. Lorem Ipsum
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  278. Anonymous
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    Dear lord, oh dear sweet baby jesus, Betty’s shirt is laughing at the ‘joke’ IT IS LAUGHING AT THE JOKE!

  279. Perky Bird
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:36 pm [Reply]

    In a cruel twist of fate, Mark Trail is brought down by a piece of the very Nature he has long worked to protect. Et tu, Barky Stick?

  280. ladadog
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:37 pm [Reply]

    A3G: Upstate? Sloan Kettering doesn’t have the facilities to do one more procedure? I wonder what that upstate procedure entails. Going over Niagara Falls in a barrel? Perhaps, the extra hot sauce on the chicken wings is a secret Buffalo cancer-remedy.

  281. Pharmacistrix
    September 17th, 2009 at 12:57 pm [Reply]

    MW (Y): Adrian is wearing the Ring ‘o’ Rogaine.

  282. bats :[
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:02 pm [Reply]

    211. Sister Sestina: I gave up swearing fealty to kings years and years ago. It has made my alternative life so much easier…

  283. Brenda Starr Destroyer
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:06 pm [Reply]

    I know that the art in Gil Thorp is generally pretty awful, and the object of frequent mockery, but today’s strip looks like something by Hieronymus Bosch. In Panel One, there is some sort of riot going on in Hell, as angry demons wave their Wolverine-claws and watch-clad flippers in the air, and a single, anonymous tortured soul with a tree growing out of his head stares from the flames at the ravenous crowd. According to Dante’s “Inferno”, this tree-man must have committed suicide, and is condemned to watch silently as the trees of the underworld are gathered as fuel for the bonfire. In Panel Two, the drugs (or “receivers”) start to kick in, and Coach Mrs. Coach Thorp pitches forward as her car begins to float like an ethereal cloud. She tells herself out loud that she is loaded, and is happy that a Nice Robot Chauffeur appears to be driving her home. “Of course it makes sense to build on the reality created by the receivers.” In Panel Three, an athlete faces his daily torment in Hell: each day, he must try to simultaneously kick both a football and a racquetball, but with a tiny, stubby leg that can never reach the ground. He knows that in a thousand years, he will never make the playdowns.

  284. queek
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:07 pm [Reply]

    51: So are Ashley, Bridget, Omaha, Jessica Rabbit and Minerva Mink.

    what’s your point?


  285. mvg
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:08 pm [Reply]

    Sister Sestina: Been meaning to ask, vis-a-vis sestinas, do you read ‘em or write ‘em or both?

    GT: Our paper doesn’t carry Gil Thorp (thank the gods), so arriving here a month or 2 back is my 1st real exposure to the strip. Someone pray tell, are we actually going to be subjected to an ENTIRE high school football game over the course of the next several days??

  286. Sequitur
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:19 pm [Reply]

    An ant teacher from the comic BC
    Didn’t know what a limerick should be
    She counts it as recess
    Which is quite the wrong precept
    So in detention young Johnny we’ll see

  287. Chip Whittle
    September 17th, 2009 at 1:35 pm [Reply]

    Lorem Ipsum – Thank you; that’s most kind of you.

  288. Niall
    September 17th, 2009 at 2:01 pm [Reply]

    269. Dingo: …wow. We certainly never learned stories like that in grades 8-9. Reading the Wikipedia entry (demon that it is), I’m saddened yet not surprised at the initial reactions – which only reinforce the tale’s message. Now I can see how your satire really skews, well, everything, as always. :)

    271. buckyswife: Growing up in Quebec in French, those were definitely not the stories we read… mind you, Guy de Maupassant can also be somewhat disturbing, and we have our share of rural nastiness disguised under a veneer of Tradition with stories from Manitoba. As for distractions, well, if you followed the link, I’m thinking of going to the “exploratorium” which is a kind of introduction… don’t know of that kind of bodice will be in play or not. (For the dance/Pastis thing, I just go with what makes for funnier teasing. :) The long stick is strictly Dingo’s contribution.)

    275. Dingo: …I admit I let my own mind provide the details of that scene and, um, that was also distracting…

    285. mvg: Pretty much yes. The first game of the season is gone through in loving detail.

  289. moopot
    September 17th, 2009 at 10:31 pm [Reply]

    Is… is the cat on Betty’s shirt winking at me?

  290. The Restless Mouse
    September 18th, 2009 at 5:32 am [Reply]

    Betty is “breaking the third wall”. So yeah, I think her cat is winking at you.

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