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Innocent-seeming gingers

Wizard of Id, 5/15/10

I must give reluctant kudos to the Wizard of Id for not only acknowledging its medieval setting, but using it as a springboard for an anachronistic play on words. The modern expression “fell off a truck,” a euphemism for stolen goods, would of course be meaningless to the inhabitants of Id, who are wholly ignorant the internal combustion engine, so “fell off a wagon” is the closest equivalent; but this in turn is itself a modern expression, denoting an addict whose attempts at reformation have failed. The combination of the archaic and the modern results in a commendably multilayered gag that ought by rights to be the stock in trade of these period strips.

The Wizard of Id also holds true to its milieu by depicting human beings being bought and sold like chattel.

Mary Worth, 5/15/10

Ho ho, we’ve spent all this time focusing on Bonnie’s piddling little compulsive shopping problem, and only now does she confess that she has “many bad habits”? I can’t wait to see how Mary reacts when she realizes that she’s spent all her meddling energy on a red herring. Does she have the strength left to deal with the cross-country bank robbery spree? The ketamine distribution ring? The dismembered drifters neatly packaged in Charterstone’s communal storage space?

Family Circus, 5/15/10

Soon Jeffy’s possessed demon-hand will lead to a string of gruesome stranglings. “Now, Jeffy, tell us why you did what you did,” the court-appointed social worker will ask. “I’m sorry!” he says. “It was my fingers! My fingers got away from me! My bloody, murderous fingers!” [GENTLE LAUGHTER FROM ELDERLY NEWSPAPER SUBSCRIBERS ACROSS AMERICA]

56 responses to “Innocent-seeming gingers”

  1. Stu
    May 16th, 2010 at 9:48 pm [Reply]

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen Thel this pissed off. Maybe she’s going to break his hand clear off. We can only hope.

  2. bourbon babe, unbuckled
    May 16th, 2010 at 9:49 pm [Reply]

    Mid-Atlanticon looming deadlines! I’ll need to get a final number to Cap City in the next day or so, so if you’d like to come to the snark event of the season, please drop me a note at

    And Écureuil Écumant will need all t-shirt orders in by early this week, so let me know if you want to order one (if you check the discussion boards, you ‘ll find a link to the image so you can DIY).

  3. Buck Ripsnort
    May 16th, 2010 at 9:49 pm [Reply]

    MW: Least-convincing drag queen in comics. Is one of her habits occasional giantism?

  4. GarrisonSkunk
    May 16th, 2010 at 9:54 pm [Reply]

    The most horrifying thing in the FC panel is that apparently Jeffy’s left arm has been chopped off at the elbow for previous misdeeds.

  5. turquoise cow
    May 16th, 2010 at 9:56 pm [Reply]

    I am most disturbed by the fact that the knight whose name I can not recall is willing to fork over an undetermined amount of money for something which he has not yet seen. He must have assumed that the object in question was something very valuable, but I have no idea what that might be. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a drunken court jester.

    Also, I think the phrase “fell off the wagon” does not work in this case, as I don’t recall ever seeing said drunk ever attempt to not be drunk.

  6. Digger
    May 16th, 2010 at 9:56 pm [Reply]

    Mary is so giddy about the prospect of meddling helping with Bonnie’s other “bad habits”, her pupils have fully dilated. She looks forward to weeks of controlling another person helping a friend overcome her problems. And that’s really, really creepy swell.

  7. The Ghost of Jarrod
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:02 pm [Reply]

    I’m just praying Bonnie’s other bad habits don’t include chronic masturbation. There. Now you’ve all got that image stuck in your heads.

  8. Lael
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:03 pm [Reply]

    But are we to believe that our favorite alcoholic jester was ever on the wagon?

    Also, I find FC amusing as I was just shown this site today:
    Def makes me cringe a little. That poor cat! This site could be the muse for several strips…especially good ol’Dennis who needs some help finding himself…

  9. Byeynyn
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:05 pm [Reply]

    MW: Many bad habits, you say? It’s perfect… for a meddling montage!

  10. Andy L
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:06 pm [Reply]

    Today’s blog post was such a tease. “Innocent-Seeming Gingers” on a day when Tommie Thompson admits to herself that she enjoys yelling at her roommates?

  11. cj
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:08 pm [Reply]

    Apparently, one of Bonnie’s bad habits is frequently switching places with a male stunt double.

  12. commodorejohn
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:09 pm [Reply]

    Well, uh, one finger certainly got away from him. Or is he really the secret lovechild of Mickey Mouse?

  13. Rusty
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:10 pm [Reply]

    Jeffy could solve that problem by keeping both hands jammed in his ass crack.

  14. AhClem
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:12 pm [Reply]

    @The Ghost of Jarrod (#7): Chronic masturbation isn’t necessarily a bad habit, as long as Moy and Giella don’t force us to watch.

  15. Oregonian
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:14 pm [Reply]

    What the hell are “gingers”?

  16. demoncat
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:17 pm [Reply]

    Thel’s look is saying that Jeffery is in for a world of pain for doing that to the wall. and also why did she let him be born. Mary smile means one thing Bonnie is now snared in her web and will be in her power for a long time to come another victim of Mary’s power

  17. Carly
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:18 pm [Reply]

    I can’t wait for the plot where Mary replaces meddling with, say, working at the soup kitchen.

  18. boojum
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:21 pm [Reply]

    @Oregonian (#15): Redheads.

  19. Shawn S.
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:22 pm [Reply]

    Somewhere in the world today’s Family Circus has been pasted on a fridge by a very disturbed family. “Haha, my children are possessed as well!”

  20. Byeynyn
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:22 pm [Reply]

    Jeffy’s hand has to be demonically possessed! How the hell did that kid’s stubby little fingers tear through the wallpaper? Perhaps it’s not wallpaper. Maybe the Keane household walls are covered in paper towels on a daily basis.

  21. Anonymous
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:23 pm [Reply]

    @The Ghost of Jarrod (#7): Since Baka Gaijin already ruined our sanity last night at Y149 with a full list of Bonnie’s transgressions, ruining chronic masturbation for us is the least of it.

    Because now compulsive necrophilia just seems so…wrong.

    @Oregonian (#15): “Ginger” is the new blonde. It’s Britspeak for red hair, so a ginger is anyone with red hair, freckles, pale skin – and presumably a firecrotch as well. Since Bonnie’s hair is a tone of orangey sepia crossed with oxidized Old English Scratch Cover Furniture Polish it scarcely seems to quality, but whatevs.

  22. curlyfries
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:24 pm [Reply]

    #21 was me and I don’t know what happened. Probably too much chronic masturbation.

  23. Silvermink
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:33 pm [Reply]

    Speaking of bad habits, I’m sure Bonnie would have us believe she was just scratching her nose.

  24. Byeynyn
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:35 pm [Reply]

    @Silvermink (#23): She’s signaling the mob, isn’t she?

  25. FE
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:38 pm [Reply]

    FW: So the rivals for Les’s affection are going to start a catfight over who gets the first sip of champagne to celebrate the book about his dead wife? The only thing that could be in worse taste would be for Lisa’s ghost to step in to settle matters, which we can expect next Sunday.

  26. Nekrotzar
    May 16th, 2010 at 10:53 pm [Reply]

    The notion of Bonnie’s of other bad habits certainly has the potential for dramatic and compelling narrative, but from the artwork I’m pretty sure that the authors are just going with the old stand-by ‘nose-picking.’

  27. soapy
    May 16th, 2010 at 11:07 pm [Reply]

    I’m looking forward to the new Family Circus ghost, “Devil Made Me Do It”

  28. CW
    May 16th, 2010 at 11:20 pm [Reply]

    My wife saw Jeffy picking at the wall and assumed meth habit. Which would explain a lot, or at least make Family Circus more interesting.

  29. fillmoreeast
    May 16th, 2010 at 11:31 pm [Reply]

    “Jeffy, who gouged out PJ’s eyes and painted ‘THE BLACK GOAT IS RISING’ on the walls over and over with the blood?”

    “NOT ME! Technically.”

  30. Canaduck
    May 16th, 2010 at 11:54 pm [Reply]

    Since I can’t believe that any normal child would claw at wallpaper to the point of tearing it, I have to accept that Thel is visiting Jeffy in the underground dungeon they keep him in. He’s either going mad or he’s trying to escape. And so Family Circus did actually make me laugh for once, kind of.

  31. Kangra
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:08 am [Reply]

    “Jeffy’s not here right now, Mrs. Keane.”

    I can’t wait to see the axe coming through the wall from the other side.

  32. Sophie
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:24 am [Reply]

    Well, at long last the real propaganda behind this Mary Worth storyline becomes clear. We haven’t seen her from a side angle before, so I guess we hadn’t realized that “Bonnie” is, in fact, SCOTUS hopeful Elena Kagan. Sure, she may materialistic clothes horse with a slew of mental problems, including but not limited to a lack of self-control and an inability to find non-shitty counsel, but what do you expect? She’s a woman! On the plus side, she’s straight, everybody. She is straight.

  33. Poor Thompson
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:26 am [Reply]

    I don’t know, Josh. Asking if Mary has enough strength to continuously meddle is like asking if the sun is hot enough to light a birthday cake.

  34. Indichik
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:27 am [Reply]

    Thel should be glad that at least Jeffy’s getting an early start on things — those drifters don’t dismember themselves, as I’m sure the Keanes well know.

  35. NoahSnark
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:39 am [Reply]

    The possessed fingers Jeffy is showing don’t bother me as much as the other fingers, which appear to be engaged in pocket pool.

  36. dyslexic dog
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:45 am [Reply]

    @Oregonian (#15):

    I thought Josh was referring to Jeffy and typoed.

  37. Donkey Hotey
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:52 am [Reply]

    @turquoise cow (#5): Rodney. And the jester is Bung.

    And now I’m going to go and flagellate myself for knowing both of their names.

  38. Spiderman Defense League
    May 17th, 2010 at 2:09 am [Reply]

    Jeffy Keane in NOT ME: The Hands Of Fate. Sounds about right, quality-wise.

    Hey, even I can only take so much. Stan Lee’s narrative power has degenerated to the point where he’s effectively copping Nude House Of Wacky People plotlines. Anybody wanna help me come up with a new nom de ‘mudge?

  39. Black Drazon
    May 17th, 2010 at 2:15 am [Reply]

    It would appear that soap opera strips use stunt doubles for dramatic scenes, as seen here in Mary Worth, where Bonnie’s actress had to make a “thoughtful” pose so striking that it risked putting her in a coma. Thankfully the studio hired some guy off the street and slapped a garish wig on him or they might be short a guest star today.

  40. Kibo
    May 17th, 2010 at 4:34 am [Reply]

    So, we’re supposed to be concerned about a little hoarding in “Mary Worth”, and yet it’s the nameless knight in “Wizard of Id” who has the real compulsive shopping problem.

    “Pssst. Wanna buy something that fell off a wagon?” “SURE!” He doesn’t know what it is, nor does he care. In fact, the strip’s joke only works if he doesn’t care, and thus the “Wizard of Id” universe reinforces this behavior. The knight must keep compulsively buying items unknown to him, or people will stop laughing at him, and when that happened to the jester, he started drinking himself to death.

  41. Steve
    May 17th, 2010 at 6:43 am [Reply]

    Jeffy is obviously suffering from Pica. He is eating the paper and drywall in an attempt to get the calcium that is lacking in the non-nutritive gruel his mother feeds him.

  42. Beetle Bumstead
    May 17th, 2010 at 7:45 am [Reply]

    Looks like Jeffy was trying to rip open a glory hole with his bare hands–one level with his mouth.

  43. Patrick
    May 17th, 2010 at 8:07 am [Reply]

    “If you want to stop a bad habit, you have to replace it with a better one. For instance, I stopped killing hookers and leaving them in a ditch by concentrating on making beige foods and intruding on the personal lives of others. Easy-peasy!”

  44. Megan (Best of Fates)
    May 17th, 2010 at 8:27 am [Reply]

    Though I normally don’t hold with conspiracy theories, I think today it’s obvious that Mary Worth and Family Circus have joined powers, combining to let those who pay enough attention know the dreadful truth – Jeffy and Bonnie are related. The red hair, the inability to control their actions, the prominent placement of their hand in today’s strip – it all makes sense. Clearly Bonnie once bartered her son, while on a frantic shopping binge, and Mrs. Keane jumped at the chance to add another child to their broad, the better to make dotted lines across the yard. What neither realized at the time was Jeffy and Bonnie both carry the dreaded destructive gene, and soon all of humanity will be at their mercy. Well played, Satan, well played.

  45. Molly
    May 17th, 2010 at 8:59 am [Reply]

    Bonnie has a serious debting/shopping problem and telling someone to just “stop it” is like telling an alcoholic to just “stop it.” Oh really? That’s all I have to do? Where have you been my whole life!!?

  46. a post-Marxist French Structuralist literary critic
    May 17th, 2010 at 11:30 am [Reply]

    Maybe Jeffy is actually a split-brain patient. That would explain a lot of his bizarre behavior. Undoubtedly the operation was done early in the child’s life when doctors realized that was the only way to stop the swelling of his enormous head.

    Of course, it also could have something to do with the fact that Jeffy is actually 89 years old, yet still draws cartoons like a disabled pre-K student.

  47. Sciencegiant
    May 17th, 2010 at 12:38 pm [Reply]

    @Stu (#1): Demonic fingers? Breaking the kid’s arm? Sounds like the Family has vacationed at The Overlook Hotel

  48. Crankenstank
    May 17th, 2010 at 1:14 pm [Reply]

    His fingers got away from him? You DON’T want to know what Jeffy is holding in his other hand, the one hidden behind his back. You don’t.

  49. RedSonja
    May 17th, 2010 at 2:10 pm [Reply]

    RE: FC Anybody else remember the episode of Angel where Lindsey gets a hand transplant, and it’s an evil hand? Perhaps that’s what happened to Jeffy – the evil cabal he works for replaced his hand with that of a serial killer.

  50. Robin
    May 17th, 2010 at 2:34 pm [Reply]

    “I have many bad habits…for example I sometimes turn into Bruce Campbell with a pageboy haircut when I am deep in thought.”

  51. Mollie
    May 17th, 2010 at 6:10 pm [Reply]

    And then there’s the way The Wizard of Id evokes the first half of the twentieth century with its “har har, alcoholism!” gag. There are so many levels to this strip. So many times in which it wouldn’t quite make sense.

  52. lil McGill
    May 17th, 2010 at 6:53 pm [Reply]

    But… maybe Jeffy was tearing at the wallpaper because WHO THE HELL PUTS UP SOLID WHITE WALLPAPER, ANYWAY?

  53. AG
    May 17th, 2010 at 9:08 pm [Reply]

    Just look at how Mary’s little eyes light up with mad, terrible, jackpot glee at the prospect of months of meddling in panel two. “‘Many bad habits,’ you say, dear?”

    Bonnie could save a lot of time if only she were paying attention to Mary’s meddle-gasm rather than herself, but…chicken, egg.

  54. Analyzer
    May 18th, 2010 at 1:17 am [Reply]

    Mary’s full powers are revealed in horrifying fashion in the second panel, where she transforms herself into Bill Kristol.

  55. TruthOfAngels
    May 18th, 2010 at 12:47 pm [Reply]

    ‘Want to buy something unspecified that fell off a wagon for a random amount of money?’

    ‘Look, we do this every week. Here’s fifty dollars, now give me the fucking jester.’

  56. TIM
    May 19th, 2010 at 4:29 pm [Reply]

    I notice that two of the comic strips that I look for are never examined in
    your site are most likely the best bar none: Mutts & Zits.

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