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Metapost: COTW, podcasting, fly fishing, horror

OK, your comments of the week coming … eventually! But this week I have an unusual number of items to share with you!

First off: if you’ve ever wanted to hear me jaw with Tall Tale Radio podcaster Tom Racine and Sally Forth writer/Medium Large creator Ces Marculiano, well now’s your chance! We take on the hard-hitting questions in the world of comics, such as “If Tommie from Apartment 3-G had an iPod, would that tear a hole in the fabric of space-time?” and “Has Josh ever made Ces cry?” and “Can you you do a successful podcast when one party is standing on the street in Brooklyn talking into his cell phone?” (The answers are probably, yes, and barely, respectively.)

Also! This Marmaduke is presumably burned so deeply in your brain that you probably can’t remember a time when the image didn’t haunt you. But as faithful reader Jake points out, it’s merely another entry in the awful cycle of Marmadukean eternal return. Here’s the strip from April 1, 2009:

Marmaduke can barely wait a whole year before it decided to just re-hash the same joke,” Jake says. “Don’t ancient strips like these usually take old material from the 50s, and not from twelve months prior? Oh, and it still kind of looks like the owner-man is trying to have sex with Marm. It has simply gotten worse with time. Much, much worse.”

And yet perhaps we are lucky that the Marmaduke creative team has chosen not to go too deep into the archives! After all, their fancy might have settled on this entry, which faithful reader Brian saved when it first ran in the late ’90s for his own inscrutable purposes:

OK, uh, let’s clear that out of our mind, shall we? Today’s Mark Trail features Mark beginning to discuss his overpowering love for canoeing and fly-fishing in blessed motor-free silence. Thus it may come as a shock to learn that in 1971 he served as the narrator for a book offering “tips” on operating the very motorboats whose noise pollution he claims to abhor!

1971 was of course a very different time. Check out Mark, stone-cold smoking a pipe, engaging in a little battery maintenance while a comely swimsuited lass who may or may not be Cherry looks on in obvious arousal. (Mark is ignoring her, proving that 1971 wasn’t that different.)

Curious otters! Jovial portly dudes in inner tubes! Uh, yeah, I have no idea either.

Thanks to faithful reader Randy for this stunning find.

And now, after all that delay: your comment of the week!

“Remember when Mark was going on about finding a solution to this Paradise Lake problem that would make everyone happy? It looks like the ‘everyone’ Mark was referring to is himself and the Justice Twins, Lefty and Righty. I look forward to tomorrow’s episode, when one of the paper-pushing weenies in glasses tries to interrupt Mark to ask a clarifying question about fly fishing and gets an up close and personal meeting with Righty, followed by a closing remark from Lefty. Sit down, geek, a real man’s talking about nature!” –Krazy Kat

And your runners up! Very funny!

“Yes, Roberta used her maiden name: ‘Bobbie.’” –Aesahaettr

“I think that Tobey is actually jealous that Mary is meddling someone else, and is trying to get some attention. ‘Excessive shopping, is that all? Look at me, I don’t even know how to pick up a teacup. See, I’ve dislocated my shoulder and broken several fingers during the attempt! I need your help, Mary. Help ME!’” –peabody

“‘The Professor agreed to keep the police out of the matter.’ Wait, the Professor had to be persuaded? He more than anyone should want the police way the hell up out and away from his little fraud sex dope skank party. Also, the NYPD now takes orders from shrinks? This is Bloomberg again, right?” –Uncle Lumpy

Martin’s smile is a dazzling mix of Crest, Bobbie’s leftover happy pills, and ‘Ding, dong, the witch is dead!’ Ah, the blissful highs of institutionalizing loved ones, ammirite?” –Black Drazon

“Of all the insane depraved mutant animals and plotlines that Mark Trail has put out, a career politician profusely sweating under questioning HAS to be the most absurd and unlikely. The affection between Mark and Cherry is more realistic.” –Pingu

“Too bad the Hitler family does not have a sectional to accommodate the missus in what could have been a menage-a-trois of hellish, poorly-drawn proportions. As it stands, she just has to wait her turn with arms crossed and looking thoroughly bored/disgusted/misshapen.” –Skeltometer

“Confess, Senator! You’ve been illegally trapping spotted owls and turning them into fabulous bow ties.” –One-eyed Wolfdog

“The neat thing about basing a movie on a pre-existing franchise is the knowledge that the franchise brings its own fans, who simultaneous serve as guaranteed seat fillers and unpaid viral promoters. Whoever greenlit the Marmaduke movie apparently didn’t realize that this is not the case with Marmaduke and rushed to correct it by forcing Mr. Anderson to appeal to whatever grim demographic is drawn in by the horror presented today.” –bunivasal

“In Mark Trail news, the Honorable Senator Badguy McSweatballs sure did grab that hanky fast. Where was it, spring-loaded in his sleeve?” –Paddy

“It looks like the Senator’s political career will soon be over. Luckily, he’s already dressed for his next job, Ice Cream Man! ” –Digger

“Oh, that’s rage alright in Funky Winkerbean. Just entirely internalised rage. The kind of rage that smoulders inside you, pulling you tighter and tighter, burning you from the inside out until you’re nothing but an exhausted hollow human-shaped casket full of ashes and despair. (I may have just spoiled the eventual final Funky Winkerbean storyarc.)” –Lolsworth

“Stripey butt is just a random collection of muscles flying a helicopter. It’s like the artist carefully cut out every muscle from several anatomy books and then sprinkled them over a torso-like shape, making a collage of them where they fell. He’s the John Cage of newspaper comics.” –Les of the Jungle Patrol

“I don’t read Funky Winkerbean except when it appears here. It seems like a sitcom with a ‘very special episode’ that just won’t end.” –Dingo, the Essence of Purity and Virtue Incarnate™

“And to think we all scoffed when the FAA had us drill for an attack by a purple-clad ghost flying a helicopter.” –skullcrusherjones

“Good God, I know the despair never really lets up, but this week, FW has been RELENTLESS. Are barbiturates Funky’s ‘secret ingredient’ in his pizza sauce? Well, actually, that doesn’t make sense, since drug-laced pizza would have been a hit in New York (Boom! Fancy city-types are all junkies! I gotta write to Pluggers!).” –bartcow

“Of course, as everyone knows, too-bad-your-crazy-ass-girlfriend-whom-you-unethically-enabled-and-who-nearly-killed-our-friends-and-was-sent-to-a-‘facility’-‘upstate’ sex is the best kind of sex.” –bourbon babe, unbuckled

“School of bad choices: those earrings.” –Cooby

This does explain why Bonnie doesn’t have the ready cash to tip her stylist, which is an object lesson in itself as we can all see the terrible havoc a pissed-off and resentful hairdresser can wreak on one’s orange helmet-head coiffure.” –curlyfries

“What’s the problem? An addiction to shopping or a morbid obsession with clothing the color of baby shit? Either is bad, but one is worse. ” –Who Is Dick Player?

Big thanks to everyone who put cash in my tip jar! And we must of course give thanks to our advertisers:

  • Neverland: In a shack they call Neverland, two boys learn that all gods demand sacrifice. From NYT bestselling author Douglas Clegg comes a gothic tale of family secrets and games of innocence turned to darkness.

To find out more about how you could be thanked in this spot — and how you could sponsor our RSS feed — click here.

37 responses to “Metapost: COTW, podcasting, fly fishing, horror”

  1. curlyfries
    April 27th, 2010 at 1:43 am [Reply]

    EEEE! I made the float! And it’s my birthday today, too – no kidding!!! I love you all!

  2. Hi There
    April 27th, 2010 at 1:47 am [Reply]

    FW: The students reported hearing someone scream from within the teacher’s lounge. “I was on my way back from study hall in trailer classroom,” said Frankie as he fiddled with the buttons his shirt. “I didn’t know what to do.”

    Samantha chimed in: “It sounded like a stuck pig.”

    Officers responded quickly. They found an elderly man embracing a substitute teacher.
    “Call Funky at Montoni’s,” said the man as he wiped his eyes. “He can explain everything.”

    The police were well aware of Montoni’s. The restaurant had no visible means of support, yet it had been on a hiring binge.

    The D.A. had just ordered an investigation into complaints regarding Montoni’s. Wally Winkerbean had recently been observed washing dishes in the nude while muttering about his trombone and Cory Winkerbean had been caught stealing purses.

  3. Not Greg Evans
    April 27th, 2010 at 1:57 am [Reply]

    I love the boating tips. FTR, though, please do not follow MT’s example of working on your lead acid battery while smoking a pipe or without proper eye protection. The ensuing explosion caused by hydrogen gas buildup will cause quite a nasty acid burn to the ol’ corneas, assuming the shrapnel doesn’t get you first.

  4. curlyfries
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:07 am [Reply]

    Josh? Cherry is merely making sure Mark takes very good care of her steady boyfriend, Mr. DieHard. To this day Mark still doesn’t know why he couldn’t keep one charged past 5 weeks, tops – nor, indeed, where his spare alligator clamps disappeared to.

    9CWPAIN: Really, I doubt whether any former Nazi would be that well acquainted with the English verb “propitiate”, let alone ever apply the concept to his own actions.

    A3G: Ruby describes how her new job as a phone sex operator just sort of developed! Professor Pillpoppagorus knows a “happy ending” when he hears one.

    MW: Mary is so overjoye horrified at how much meddling is in store for her here that she involuntarily voids her bladder and is unable to keep herself from announcing the event. Will there be an encore? Depends.

    FW: My first thought was that Batiuk was trying to suggest these students suspect a teacher might be actually having an orgasm behind that door, but then I realized that since those are joyous things, no one in this comic could ever have heard one before so they’ll just be looking for mousetraps instead.

  5. boojum
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:08 am [Reply]


    “The original plan was different. But once I started talking, the person on the phone got real excited, and… Well, after that, things just evolved.”

    Hey, everybody! Ruby’s opening a Herb and Jamaal’s franchise in New York City!

  6. KarMann
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:10 am [Reply]

    Brewster Rockit: “…their would be snacks”?!? Somebody light up the Didactic-signal! Editors sleeping on the job again!

    EC:CUT!! No, Abby, your line is, ‘You’ll put your eye out! You’ll put your eye out!’ Now, take it again from the top, and. . . ACTION!”

    FC: Obviously recycled artwork, today, no bones about it.

    Groovy Blinkerlegume: Those poor kids now think they know what it sounds like when Suzy (or whatever her name is) climaxes, and that she’s doing it with Les in the teachers’ lounge. And they’re probably right.

    MC: Oh no, and he’s a rabbit. Does he. . . you know. . . like a rabbit?
    And where’s Pinky? Narf!
    (I don’t know if this is a new thing for MC or not, but it’s nice to see a female version of the. . . what was the special term for it?. . . in Norm’s head.)

    RMMD: Toots, you don’t really think those pliers and other hardware on that pegboard behind you are just for show, do you? If I were you, facing June, with all that around me, I’d start talking, and fast!

    S4th: Ted Forth is a ferret. Who knew?

    Strange Brew: Margo-style air quotes today! Whee!

  7. Krazy Kat
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:15 am [Reply]

    Holy smokes! Today isn’t my birthday, but my birthday is going to suck compared to this!

    Congrats to rest of the float! Great week for comments! Exclamation point!

  8. Mibbitmaker
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:23 am [Reply]

    4/27 preview:

    BC: The last line is a euphamism for today’s Archie, right?

    FW: That last bit was Les, of course.

    Phantom, AKA Mr. How To Win Friends.

  9. Mibbitmaker
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:25 am [Reply]

    @Mibbitmaker (#8): “Euphamism” is a euphemism for “euphemism”.

  10. KarMann
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:26 am [Reply]

    And, now that I’ve had time to actually read the floating contents, and clean up the coffee spray afterwards, congrats to the floaters! [*] And extras for Krazy Kat! (I sometimes feel that lengthier comments get slighted for COTW, but not so much this time!)

  11. curlyfries
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:37 am [Reply]

    @Krazy Kat (#7): Krazy, Kat! Kongrats on the KOTW win, and kudos to everyone else on the

  12. Uncle Lumpy
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:42 am [Reply]

    … way the hell up out and away from his little fraud sex dope skank party

    COTW ProTip: extra prepositions.

    Also: “skank”.

  13. Sheila Sternwell
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:55 am [Reply]

    Back in the 1980s, possibly early 1990s, “The Far Side” got slammed for a strip where a dog was shown on top of a car, howling at the moon in victory. Apparently some people thought it looked like the dog was having sex with the car, causing a bit of an uproar. So how in the crazy ass hell does “Marmaduke” get away with these “accidentally” deliberate depictions of that drooling doofus humping on humans?

  14. curlyfries
    April 27th, 2010 at 3:00 am [Reply]

    @Sheila Sternwell (#13): Because dogs humping people’s legs and other body parts is a given. Auto-eroticism? Not so much.

  15. acm85
    April 27th, 2010 at 4:01 am [Reply]

    3AG 4/27 – PLEASE tell me that Ruby has taken up moonlighting as a phone sex operator. That is the only (best) thing that that conversation could possibly mean.

  16. acm85
    April 27th, 2010 at 4:01 am [Reply]

    @acm85 (#15): oops, A36. I was so excited that I typoed.

  17. Lucky
    April 27th, 2010 at 4:24 am [Reply]

    Fred Basset – I thought you were auditioning for a choir rather than porn. Also, weren’t Fred’s owners already in a choir practice a week or two ago? You can’t print arc strips in a completely arbitary order, this isn’t Gasoline Alley!

    Marvin – Oh, great, another week of lame themed jokes. Even Grandma looks bored out of her mind.

  18. John C Fremont
    April 27th, 2010 at 6:33 am [Reply]

    @Krazy Kat (#7): Congrats, you crazy cat!

    @curlyfries (#1): Congrats and Happy Birthday!

  19. yellojkt
    April 27th, 2010 at 7:22 am [Reply]

    Dingo once again hits upon an Unrefutable Truth. Except that Funky Winkerbean is a bizarro afterschool special where the moralizing epiphany just never happens.

  20. Mela
    April 27th, 2010 at 7:23 am [Reply]


    9CL: The Nazi would be ESL; no one who’s first language is English uses “propitate” in casual speech, let alone ESL speakers. I don’t care if it’s Art, McEldowney, this is just ostentatious. See? I can use word-a-day words, too.

    Archie: Holy God, what the hell is Archie doing in that corner?! Don’t tell me, PLEASE don’t tell me!

    Baby: Raped & killed by European settlers. Where else? Wait, sorry, you slept through that part of history class.

    Bizarro: … What? Seriously, what?

    Blondie: Cursive is a writing skill that’s taught so that your coworkers’ handwriting will always be nearly illegible, which for some reason denotes maturity in writing skill. Never mind that most people writing cursive look like they’re mental patients writing with the pen between their teeth – for some reason, loopy scribbly writing is considered a necessary skill. In short, text away; it will have no bearing on the future readability of your cursive handwriting.

    ‘Shaft: Great, you had to go and ruin your bad knockoff of a TV show by jamming in one of your unlikable characters. Thanks, Batiuk.

    Drabble: EWWWWWW!!

    Edge: Didn’t someone suggest this would happen? Good call, whoever.

    FC: They’re already growing melons. Wait, no, those are their heads. Sorry.

    ReFOOB: Do it! Spare us the finale!

    FW: I’d say the students would think Susan was having an orgasm, but those are expressions of joy and thus banned within twenty feet of Westview. So clearly, she’s being murdered with cancer.

    GA: Now, let’s settle in for a whole week of a supposed nurse fretting over rare medical reactions that are only mentioned out of fear of lawsuits. That’s Gasoline Alley, folks!

    H&J: Wuss.

    Luann: Wearing shirts that don’t match might help throw off that reaction.

    MW: For God’s sake, she’s neater than me, there’s nothing dead or rotten under the boxes, and you can still find the sofa! She is NOT a hoarder!

    MC: Yay, female lust! Someone finally acknowledged it!

    NS: And complaints from elderly Catholics start pouring in at five, four, three…

    OBH: Buggy is a budding fursuiter.

    Pluggers: Pluggers are bitter about techology advancing beyond Bulova and will scorn their relatives for embracing anything more complex than a rotary phone. No surprise there.

    R&R: Aw, how cute, he’s denying his dog a basic necessity of life.

    RwO: Cute.

    Slylock: I won’t hold that dog responsible when he inevitably mauls those kids for leaving him out in the storm.

  21. Mordock999
    April 27th, 2010 at 7:53 am [Reply]

    Scenes in Luann I’d Like to see:

    Tiffany – “Escort to me to my next Class, Gunthie?”

    Gunther – “Well, I don’t KNOW, Tiffany…,”

    Quill – “Oh, LOOK! Its Gunther and Tiffany, the two Loveturds, uh, I MEAN BIRDS!”

    Tiffany – “WAIT! You’re NOT even JEALOUS, Quill?!?”

    Quill – “Of YOU!?! HELL NO! I’ve been trying to get the HELL away from YOU ever since I was introduced in THIS strip! NOW, Thanks to You, I’m free to DEFLOWER Luann with EXTREME Prejudice! THANKS to you too, Gunther! Well, I’ll LEAVE you two LOVEMONKEYS alone!”

    Gunther – “SO! You were just USING me to get to Quill. Well, it DIDN’T work! Get AWAY from ME Witch from Hell! ATTICA, ATTICA!!!”

    Tiffany – I’ve FAILED, I’ve FAILED, WAAAAAAAH!”

    Bernice – “Oh my GAW! Tiffany just JUMPED out the 3rd Floor window and splattered into the parking lot! And she CRUSHED TJ (who was breaking into student’s cars time) in the process!!”

    Luann – “Its OKAY, Bernice! She MISSED MY car by a MILE! EEEEEEW, what a MESS! Walk me to class, Quill?”

    Quill – “SURE and later, I’ll SHOW you My ‘pet’ dingo!”

    Luann- “GIGGLE!”

    DEATH to TJ!!!

  22. Vince
    April 27th, 2010 at 8:07 am [Reply]

    @Sheila Sternwell (#13): Not leaving bad enough alone, uses this image as their link to the strip. Ach und Himmel!

  23. Lolsworth
    April 27th, 2010 at 8:12 am [Reply]

    Yay, I’m on the float! And I didn’t even have to post a hagiography of Margo to do it this time!

  24. wossname
    April 27th, 2010 at 8:28 am [Reply]

    Congrats to Krazy Kat and all the funny floatriders! And happy birthday, curlyfries.

    DT – I’ve been thinking a lot about this story arc (which probably means I should seek psychiatric help) and trying to figure out why the play is being performed at the Science Museum. I hereby predict that there is something at the Science Museum that will be important later in the purported plot – a T. rex skeleton, or a medieval crossbow, or a Van de Graaff generator, or a blunderbuss.

    MC – Ha – I love the little hormone character (even though she’s dissing Norm).

    OBH – pure win, partly because this is, what, about the fifth time we’ve seen Buggy, but we still don’t know what he looks like.

    RMMD – Welcome to Exposition Theatre.

  25. Les of the Jungle Patrol
    April 27th, 2010 at 8:48 am [Reply]

    Um, so that scene in the Marmaduke movie where the dog crashes into Macy’s crotch is clearly just a veiled reference to the unspeakable zoophile references sprinkled throughout the strip. The unrated director’s cut version of that movie will be the stuff of nightmares.

  26. John Small Berries
    April 27th, 2010 at 9:19 am [Reply]

    What the heck is that in the background on the cover of Mark Trail’s Boating Tips? A crashed spaceship? Hmmm… that might explain Mark’s total lack of interest in Earth women.

  27. Ned Ryerson
    April 27th, 2010 at 9:28 am [Reply]

    Oh yeah, Mark, the cover of that boat battery is very, very dirty. What are you gonna do to that dirty old battery, Mark? Are ya gonna give it a good scrubbing? It’s dirty and it needs a good scrubbing! You should probably scrub that terminal right there, that pert and dirty terminal. Yeah, there ya go Mark, work that brush all around that dirty terminal. C’mon Mark, scrub that dirty terminal with mild baking soda solution until it’s clean and slippery! Now don’t forget that other dirty, dirty terminal, Mark. Look at it, it’s jealous and it wants the brush, too. Ooo, yeah scrub that battery Mark, scrub it, scrub it! Oh yeah, it’s nice and clean and shiny now, Mark. What are ya gonna do with it now, Mark? Are ya gonna strap it between those cleats? C’mon Mark, strap that battery between those cleats! Strap it in good, Mark! Not so close to the engine Mark! We want this battery to last a long, long time.

  28. vanya
    April 27th, 2010 at 10:46 am [Reply]

    @curlyfries (#4): It makes total sense that a Nazi fugitive who has learned English from a textbook might use a dictionary only word like “propitiate.” It makes no sense for a native speaker of American English writing a comic strip for other native speakers of English to use this word. Brooke, who are you really?

  29. curlyfries
    April 27th, 2010 at 12:04 pm [Reply]

    @vanya (#28): Not unless said Nazi had access to “Pretentious Vocabulary Words That Are Only Flashed To Highlight The Wonderfulness That Is Brooke McEldowney”.

    Soon after Chamberlain proclaimed “Peace in our time”, the one “textbook” word every English speaker became quite familiar with was “appease”, not “propitiate”. Look, I love language and a $25 word just as much as the next person, but there are times when it’s not part of the flow, when it’s obvious you’re shoehorning it in and trying to pull a James Lipton. This is one of those times.

    My other point was that propitiaton is an instinct that’s alien to Nazis anyway, so Kiesl probably would have asked the waitress if she had relatives living in Germany, taken her tips, checked her racial background for “purity” and then annexed the restaurant.

  30. Randy
    April 27th, 2010 at 1:43 pm [Reply]

    @Not Greg Evans (#3): Ironically enough, there is another tip in the book that says the same thing. Continuity was not a big thing, apparently.

  31. Crankenstank
    April 27th, 2010 at 2:11 pm [Reply]

    I’m shocked that my discovery of Dennis giving Margaret a Filthy Sanchez didn’t merit a runner up for COTW, but then again, it’s just possible that I exceeded the bounds of decency that must surely exist even for the Comics Curmudgeon.

  32. Dos Ocho
    April 27th, 2010 at 5:10 pm [Reply]

    I think what seals the deal for that 90s Marmaduke is the motion lines around the tail.

  33. Aviatrix
    April 27th, 2010 at 5:45 pm [Reply]

    @Mela (Y20): In my experience, German ESL speakers learn and correctly use words that native speakers have never heard of. Two different German nationals served as editors of my college newspaper and both wrote editorials in impenetrably obscure vocabulary. My theory is that because in German you can create portmanteau words for any occasion, they felt fettered by the normal English vocabulary and just kept learning new words.

  34. dale
    April 28th, 2010 at 3:21 am [Reply]

    @Aviatrix (#33):
    I wish the writers and copy editors at my local paper (no names – capital of a southeastern state) would learn that words have meaning. One reporter actually told me the paper does have a dictionary, but it was so bad that she bought her own.
    I suppose part of the problem is they hear a word and assume they know the meaning.

  35. chinese tea supplier
    June 1st, 2010 at 2:52 am [Reply]

    I wish the writers and copy editors at my local paper (no names – capital of a southeastern state) would learn that words have meaning

  36. justin
    June 6th, 2010 at 3:57 pm [Reply]

    I was just looking around for pictures to prevent my family from going to the marmaduke film. I knew I could stop when I found a picture of marmaduke straight up fucking a man in public (and in front of children!).

    Thank you!

    You have made thier lives better and are a credit to the human race.

  37. Liam
    March 17th, 2011 at 9:07 pm [Reply]

    If that is what happens when Marmaduke likes you I would rather have him hate me.

Comments are closed for this post.