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No exit … for Pluggers

Pluggers, 7/11/06

Boy, you read a strip for a while and you think you know it pretty well, but I have to admit that I’m shocked by how quickly Pluggers has gone from “smug and self-satisfied” to “soul-wrenchingly depressing.” Rhino-Man (not to be confused with the Rhino) must be very, very hard up for cash if the $7.50 or so he’ll get for his Carter-era 13-inch is going to get him out of some bind. That’s bad enough, but what’s really bringing me down is his incredibly glum facial expression. Presumably he’s thinking about the long trudge back to his tiny, barely furnished apartment, where he won’t even have broadcast TV to distract him from the fact that he’s broke and he’s going to die alone.

I know Pluggers doesn’t usually do continuing storylines, but I’d like to see the new, bleaker Pluggers follow Rhino-Man for the next few days:

  • “Plugger venture capital.” (Rhino-Man is rooting through a dumpster, looking for bottles or cans he can return.)
  • “Plugger Zoloft.” (Rhino-Man is passed out in his battered easy chair, surrounded by empty cans of Milwaukee’s Best.)
  • “Plugger liquid assets.” (Rhino-Man is selling his blood.)
  • “This is how a Plugger’s wages are garnished.” (Two Bear-Men are cutting off one of Rhino Man’s thumbs.)
  • “Plugger therapy.” (Rhino-Man has a shotgun in his mouth.)

Gil Thorp, 7/11/06

It’s kind of interesting that Von and the legendary Marty Moon are now palling around on the golf course, considering that it was Marty’s arrest that started Von’s mediocre radio career. It’s good to see that Marty is leading a young and impressionable fellow DJ down a dark path of illegal sports betting, and also good to see that Gil Thorp still has it when it comes to incomprehensible sports jargon. Here’s the definition of a “Nassau”, if you’re curious; I’m not even going to attempt to parse the third panel. Instead, I offer the following philosophical question: Is there a parallel universe Marty Moon, and if so, does he spend all his spare time ministering to sick children and not have a goatee?

Marvin, 7/11/06

Marvin, you may have heard, is dispensing with its long-standing “whites only” policy and has introduced a new character: “Ming Ming,” a Chinese baby adopted by Marvin’s aunt. So far, Ming Ming has spent her time engaging in a strange internal monologue about the alien beings that have kidnapped her and taken her to a mysterious planet. As opposed to the homeland that she’s gotten to know and love so well over, you know, so many years. She’s also, as you can see here, been sitting completely motionless and staring forward with her creepy, expressionless eyes. So, um, yay diversity.

Mary Worth, 7/11/06

Topographical-Map-Shirt-Girl is walking briskly for her life away from the raging game of “Bad Touch, Worse Touch” that Mary and Aldo have going here. Aldo at first looks forlorn and slouchy, his arms in the C3PO position, as Mary essentially asks him if he likes things that are alive. But with her gentle and uninvited touch on his shoulder, it’s Aldo who comes alive, and begins, and he suddenly moves to poke Mary in the face with his finger, as if he thinks that the living image of his late wife standing before him must be some sort of mirage. Who knows, maybe we’ve got it all wrong — maybe these two lonely middle-aged widowed folks are going to find comfort with each other this summer. Or maybe they’ll continue to make confusing hand gestures that have never accompanied actual human interaction in the entire history of bipedalism.

Mark Trail, 7/11/06

I’m pretty sure that in the last panel, Mark is leaning down to take a big, healthy whiff of bear scat.

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