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The qwink and the dead

Dick Tracy, 1/6/07

Now, the number of you who have followed the current storyline in Dick Tracy in as much detail as I have can probably be counted on one hand. This is because this storyline, like Dick Tracy in general, is kind of bad. But I have to admit that I found this strip, in which things are brought more or less to a triumphant conclusion, to have a kind of quiet charm. From Dick’s dialogue which, while not quite poetic, at least has a certain pleasing alliterative rhythm to it (“made our minds his prisoners”, “now we’ve neutered his neurons”) to the sad, defeated look on Dr. Froid’s face, to the tiny little QWINK his sinister device makes as it’s powered down for good, the whole thing has a certain dignity that pretty much everything that’s happened up to this point has lacked.

For Better Or For Worse, 1/6/07

Speaking of lacking in dignity, I haven’t commented on FBOFW this week, mostly because I’ve grown so disgruntled with the plot direction that I don’t even know how to feel about Elizabeth’s inevitable discovery of Paul’s philandering. On the one hand, it provides an easy way for Elizabeth to be driven into the dull, reassuring arms of The Mustache, without any even slight lowering of her status as the strip’s incomprehensibly elevated Noble Goddess. On the other hand, a Patterson will experience emotional pain and anguish. So there’s that.

One thing I know exactly how to feel about is the strip’s patented and increasingly phoned-in punny punchlines: Bad. Bad is how I feel about them. “I’m going to say my boyfriend’s last name for no reason other than to supply a pun for my little sister’s ensuing thought balloon!” Bad.

Judge Parker, 1/6/07

Many faithful readers with a better grasp of geography and typical travel schedules than Judge Parker have pointed out that transatlantic flights simply do not land in Europe at 1:30 in the morning, ever. Still, based on her creepy white eyes in panel three, it’s no mystery why Neddy wants to go to the Champs-Elysées before sunup: to feast on the blood of the living.

101 responses to “The qwink and the dead”

  1. George
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:10 am [Reply]

    In the comic “Dick” Tracy, a Dr. “Froid” took “Dick’s” “Package” and was promptly “Neutered.”

    I’ll get back to you with my analysis of its true meaning.

  2. True Fable
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:11 am [Reply]

    I’m telling ya, you just can’t mess with Dick Tracy’s package. The man squints for a REASON, hoss.

  3. True Fable
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:18 am [Reply]

    And of course, no one ever simply neutralizes a situation, not when they can neuter it instead.

    which reminds me….

    Run, Theodore! Run! You haven’t seen misunderstood hostility like this before!

  4. Daisy
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:22 am [Reply]

    “Q” is to Dick Tracy sound effects as “squid” is to any and all situations in TDIET…

  5. Uncle Lumpy
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:24 am [Reply]

    Well, hm. Since Abbey’s talking about her own sleep/wake cycle, she might be using Parkerville Standard Time. That would make it between 7:30 (Parkerville, CT) and 10:30 (Parkerville, OR) Central European Time. And those are pretty reasonable arrival times for Paris.

    But either way, the lady’s going to be sleeping alone until Eduardo Baretto gets back. Get well soon, my friend!

  6. doughy lawyer Roy
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:29 am [Reply]

    Abby has got to be loaded, look at the size of those seats and even a table! When I fly, my seat in the plane is about that size ot the table. And it’s not between Abbey and Neddy, it’s between Celeste Black and Joline Raptor.

  7. majolo
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:31 am [Reply]

    All right, so Funky Winkerbean. I’m starting to get a feel for this comic. Helmet hair guy is happy that there is going to be a snow day. This of course means there will be a terrible blizzard, many killed, etc. I’m just wondering how far it goes. Will people be forced to eat their own pets to survive?

  8. Mike P
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:35 am [Reply]

    Is anyone else the least bit concerned that it seems that Dick Tracy just erased that man’s mind? That seems like a bit of extreme justice, no matter how poetic it may be.

  9. Anonymous
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:41 am [Reply]

    The button on the mind control device is labeled “power off” in one panel and “shut down” in the next? I get really tired of artists paying no attention at all to technical details.

  10. Boomer
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:53 am [Reply]

    *Fingers crossed*

    Oh please, oh please, oh please, if there’s anybody up there, let there be a plane crash followed up by something involving the Dharma Initiative.

    I’ve been good all year, so please….

  11. Ian
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:00 am [Reply]

    You know, I don’t think we’re going to see Paul be a cheater. This entire sequence is setting Paul up to break up with Lizardbreath in a jealous fit because he can’t handle his girlfriend getting free helicopter rides from her ex-boyfriend.

    I’m casting aside all “Paul cheats” accusations from here out – It’s “Paul accuses Liz of cheating” for this little black duck!

  12. Artist Formerly Known as Ben
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:05 am [Reply]

    Boomer, I’m wondering what obnoxious nicknames Sawyer would come up with for Abby and Neddy. “Red Carpet” would probably make an appearance.

  13. BEG
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:09 am [Reply]

    “Package”? He said “package”?? Oh. My. … Oh. My. Gah!

    As far as the Europe flights go, I dunno. I always seem to land in Britain at oh-fuck-thirty in the morning…

  14. Freezer
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:10 am [Reply]

    Mike P.: You forget that this is a strip that treats any death of a criminal, no matter how petty the crime or gruesome the death, with a shrug and a “Sucks to be him”.

    Hell, Tracy’s probably mad that the force showed up when they did, so he couldn’t shoot Froid and claim the machine made him do it.

  15. Susan
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:12 am [Reply]

    So I wonder how the betting odds compare: Paul gets jealous, or Chipper n’ Suds action?

  16. reader-who-posts
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:16 am [Reply]

    DT: I lost any thought of a dignified engine when Dick started off saying that Dr. Froid took his package. Yeah, baby!

    FBOW: This is going to kill two mustache-less birds with one stone. Not only will she find Paul with some little native chickadee, but then it will be revealed that Warren knew and that’s why he brought her back early. After realizing this I threw up in my mouth a little.

    Hi & Lois: Does that “electronic scoreboard calendar” have vacuum tubes? I guess if she said “with my blackberry” that wouldn’t have been funny. But then again, neither was this.

  17. looks2ce
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:16 am [Reply]

    dang Ian beat me to it.

    There is simply no other reason for Warren to be here.

  18. reader-who-posts
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:17 am [Reply]

    damn. I meant ‘dignified ending’ not engine.

  19. Gabe
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:25 am [Reply]

    Dignified engines rule.

  20. Black Card
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:30 am [Reply]

    Forget the vampire girl, what scares me is that Abbey’s (that is unnaturally red-hair’d woman’s name is, right?) two lines of speech rhyme and scan. It’s so easy to read them as some kind of hip-hop freestyling, doubtless followed by a heartfelt “chunk-ah-unh!”

    If it were Curtis, they’d go ahead and do it, too.

    The telepathic otter would make them.

  21. Uncle Lumpy
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:30 am [Reply]

    #7 Majolo -

    Think darker – much darker. The snow day helmet-haired Les has been nattering on about for an f’n week fer Chrissake will come. And his wife, Cancer Gal, will be unable to get to the hospital, for essential blah blah blah and life-saving blah blah blah.

    But she will not die! Because that would end her suffering – and the iron law of Funky Winkerbean is that suffering never ends.

    And the puppies are just an appetizer.

  22. taotu
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:31 am [Reply]

    Oh god. Why did you do that to me? I realize that my faith that Lynn Johnson could ever make one of her characters look even slightly flawed has been proved wrong time and time again, but I liked Paul. Honestly, I did. I believed, for a short while, that he might be the only compelling FBOFW character ever.

    But he’s totally going to be cheating on Liz with some woman who will be portrayed as stupid, promiscuous, and generally worse in every way when compared with our patron saint Liz Patterson. And Elly will make some bitter, spiteful comment berating Paul not only for his infidelity, but also because of his idiocy in not choosing Liz over his Mtigwaki hussy.

    God, this whole situation is just made 10 billion times worse by the fact that I know that it’s bland, whiny, and subpoena-answering Anthony that she’ll be going home to. Lord, save his child from her soon-to-be-step-mother and father’s passionless love life.

  23. Uncle Lumpy
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:37 am [Reply]

    #22 Audrey!

    Loved you in Amélie! The Da Vinci Code, not so much.

  24. rich
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:38 am [Reply]

    Thank God Ella Byrd alerted Mary to pay closer attention to her psychic dreams!! Jeff, apparently, has developed a taste for unusually risky “watersports” during his sex-holiday in Cambodia … I’m picturing handcuffs, a large tub, and lots of underage boys.

    That’s my considered analysis, anyway.

  25. Professor Fate
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:41 am [Reply]

    Liz discovers Paul cheating, and heartbroken rents a car, buys a bottle of Johnny Walker and then…wait a minute.

    I have no words for how much I hate this stupid plotline -. Hell my boss hates this plot line – a beaver on crack could do a better job.

    I’m not going to read this strip for a while because other wise I’d gouge my eyes out with a spoon and I need to save that for when Liz and the mustache get married.

  26. Prehumous
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:50 am [Reply]

    This is sort of off-topic, but why is For Better or For Worse referred to as FOOB. I thought it was an acronym, but no permutation of that title could render those letters in that order.

  27. Uncle Lumpy
    January 7th, 2007 at 2:09 am [Reply]

    #26 Prehumous -

    FOOB is a fake-slang contraction of “fool” and “boob” introduced in For Better or Worse and widely used to refer to the strip.

    And yes, the characters on the official FOOB site blink. Aldo Kelrast looks a bit like Captain Kangaroo. (DT)GT means “Death to Gil Thorp.” And Josh is on vacation. Again. These are the constants against which we measure our brief lives.

  28. Rhekarid
    January 7th, 2007 at 2:39 am [Reply]

    Did…did Dick Tracy just turn off somebody’s brain? Wow. What a hero. Nothing less than the most abominably evil execution method ever conceived for the people who dare to touch his stuff!

  29. Tabby Lavalamp
    January 7th, 2007 at 2:44 am [Reply]

    Isn’t it likely that Paul is deliberately sabotaging his own relationship with Liz because he’s realized that staying with her would require being part of the Patterson family, and he’s just not ready for that kind of heavy medication?

    As for the FOOB website, damn, those blinking eyes are creepy. It gives credence to the theory that Lynn Johnston doesn’t actually draw her characters, but instead traps the souls of poor, unsuspecting hobos on paper and rearranges their appearance to match the appropriate Patterspawn.

  30. Edward
    January 7th, 2007 at 2:56 am [Reply]

    Hey, Abby, I’m not too far from Paris, I can be there in an hour by train, so if you need someone to help you overcome your jetlag…say, with a bottle of Bollinger and a foot rub, just let me…

    Shit. I forgot. You’re just a cartoon hussy. Never mind.

  31. Plots the Mad-Mad
    January 7th, 2007 at 3:03 am [Reply]

    #25 – “a beaver on crack could do a better job.”

    Lucky was confused why the humans hated his Paul & Liz break-up plotline….

    #29 – “It gives credence to the theory that Lynn Johnston doesn’t actually draw her characters, but instead traps the souls of poor, unsuspecting hobos on paper and rearranges their appearance to match the appropriate Patterspawn.”

    It explains Anthony’s looks, at any rate.

  32. KenM
    January 7th, 2007 at 3:34 am [Reply]

    I hadn’t read fbfw in a long time, but with everyone talking about how bad the plotting had become, I went to check out the website. And read 4 years of FOOB in one sitting.

    I don’t recommend it.

  33. Donald The Anarchist
    January 7th, 2007 at 4:34 am [Reply]

    DT Wow, I’m glad I didn’t trust Dr. Froid! He told me he just wanted to hold my package for a little while, and then he’d give it right back. Most awkward Greyhound ride of my life…

    FOOB OK. Liz catches her man ‘in the act’ with some hussy, and, this not being Penthouse Forum, does not enthusiastically join in, but runs straight to the arms of Anthony. What a fitting closer it would be if it were revealed that Anthony has no idea what ‘the act’ is. His mom had him exempted from Sex Ed for religious reasons and just never told him, and his ex, hugely relieved, told him ‘doing it’ meant, oh, cleaning each other’s ears out w/Qtips or some other damn thing. Anyhow, Liz is then either horrified or relieved to find out that through a freak mutation Anthony doesn’t even have any external genitalia. Thus she will have to take a lover if she wants to bear children, something she planned on doing anyway. Oh, and she has to make sure Anthony never views any porn. She couldn’t survive the conversation THAT would provoke. And he starts calling her “Mommy.”

  34. vanya
    January 7th, 2007 at 4:39 am [Reply]

    Yeah, we all want Paul to be fooling around on Liz, what red-blooded man wouldn’t? But I think Ian (#11) is right, it will be something much stupider – like Paul being too emotionally immature to handle Liz being “friends” with Warren or something. After all, it says clearly that Liz has called ahead so Paul has advance warning to tell his raven-haired girlfriend to clear out. Honestly who has any idea where the hell this strip is going, it just keeps taking 90 degree right turns every two weeks.

  35. Binky Betsy
    January 7th, 2007 at 5:33 am [Reply]

    # 34: Not quite. Liz’s exposition speech in panel 2 is so poorly worded, but parse it carefully and you’ll see that she means she called “everyone” (whoever “everyone” is) days or weeks ago to let them know that she would be visiting. A firm day of arrival was set then, but she forbore to follow that up with another call to tell people she’s going to be a day early. (And they let this woman teach?)

    And according to the monthly letters, Paul is supposed to meet her in White River, but either the strip writers are not in sync with the letter writers, or Liz thinks it’s AOK to let Paul hang around White River checking his watch. And of course it’ll be a glorious surprise for the Mtigians for the White Goose to show up a day early!

    Also, some people think this is a scheme Paul contrived at with Warren, and when the chopper lands, there will be a huge banner saying “Marry Me” and Paul will be waiting with flowers and a ring! (I’m not kidding; someone actually said this.) And you can glue a picture of Santa to him and he could be a Christmas rock*!

    *I will be utterly astounded if anyone gets that reference.

  36. tekende
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:16 am [Reply]

    #32: I did that once. It was the greatest night of my life.


    Dick Tracy: It simply cannot be an ironic coincidence that a strip containing a character named Dr. Froid could have that many sentences simply begging for Freudian interpretations. Package? Neuter? Qwink? Whoever writes this strip is a delightful pervert.

  37. Baby D’oh
    January 7th, 2007 at 7:49 am [Reply]

    Every time I go back to read about a Patterson experiencing emotional pain and anguish, I am filled with what I can only call warm fuzzies on steroids. I don’t think this kind of feeling is legal.

  38. Frank Drackman
    January 7th, 2007 at 8:49 am [Reply]

    #36 what do you expect? His names “Dick” for heavens sake.

  39. Olaf glad and big
    January 7th, 2007 at 9:10 am [Reply]

    elizabeth looks exactly like that other girl who’s not elizabeth. i forget her name. june, or may, or something.

  40. commodorejohn
    January 7th, 2007 at 9:18 am [Reply]

    You know, I thought I knew where FOOB was going with this. It seems pretty clearly telegraphed (as in bludgeon-you-with-the-keypunch telegraphed) that the popular interpretation (Studley Do-Right is banging some other chick and Liz walks in, hopefully while they’re, er, “going there,” runs back to Moustache-Man, yada yada,) is the one that will play out, but after reading some of these alternative theories, I find they’re just as viable, and (if you can imagine) even stupider. (I don’t know about the “marry me” one, though; then it would be up to Liz to do the ditching, and such a saintly girl would never bail out on a relationship for no good reason, right? Yeah, like there’s any internal consistency in this strip anyway.)

  41. Basil Wrathbone
    January 7th, 2007 at 9:50 am [Reply]

    #35: I didn’t get the reference so I asked my wife. She couldn’t believe that I didn’t get it and has made fun of me with a “superior dance” for most of the morning. So, thanks for that.

    As for FOOB, here is my theory. Warren has been working up in the north with the mining guy, so he has heard the rumors about Paul and whatsherface in Mtigwaki. He has hatched a plan to get Liz up there early to break her and Paul up. He will then swoop in and pick up the pieces. This will almost work, but Liz will learn about Warren’s plan and accuse him of deciet and treachery. Only then will she run to the noodly arms of Anthony.

    On a related note, I have found it is fun to read the FOOB official site, while downing innumerable Molson’s and listening to Weird Al’s “Canadian Idiot.”

  42. Ribinin
    January 7th, 2007 at 10:07 am [Reply]

    #41 – You are spot on. Having Warren be devious guarantees that Liz will not consider Warren as the rebound guy for longer than a few “foob” minutes.

    Further, I bet it is Warren himself who lets it slip.

  43. Joe
    January 7th, 2007 at 10:11 am [Reply]

    I’m sorry, but I just can’t get behind a hero who electronically lobotomizes his opponents. What next? The courageous Dick Tracy starts a compulsory sterilization program to aid the US in the War on Terror!

  44. Mr. Groovy
    January 7th, 2007 at 10:25 am [Reply]

    People, people, don’t you understand the basic rules of FOOB-land? Once someone is established as a Good Person, he or she stays good forever. Paul Wright is a Good Person. He is not cheating on Liz.

    Here’s what’s coming: the chopper will crash and Warren, after heroically battling to keep the bird aloft, will die. Liz will be alone in the snow, death creeping toward her, looking into the light and seeing three grandparents and a dog named Farley. As Farley (or maybe Grandpa P.) says, “It is not your time yet”, a rescue team led by Paul the Mountie will find her and take her to safety.

    He will then propose marriage and she will accept. Just before this hideous strip breathes its last, there will be a big wedding in which Moustache-man meets Liz’s inexplicably beautiful cousin from Regina (provide your own limerick here) and they will fall deeply in love.

    Sorry folks, in the end, everyone is going home happy…

  45. Kate
    January 7th, 2007 at 11:12 am [Reply]

    #27, Uncle Lumpy: These are the constants against which we measure our brief lives. Would it be too meta to make that COTW?

    #35, Binky Betsy: I thought your name was Blinky Betsy at first, after the FOOBs. I don’t know now whether I’m sad or happy that it isn’t.

  46. treewelller
    January 7th, 2007 at 11:13 am [Reply]

    “Beaver on Crack” would be a good name for a band.

  47. rockindude
    January 7th, 2007 at 11:24 am [Reply]

    Speaking hopefully, perhaps this plot ends in some sort of hand-to-hand combat between the despised Anthony and Paul or Warren, either of whom would wipe the floor with the moustached one. Maybe the helicopter pilot and the mountie, disgusted at losing Liz to such a doofus, will even join forces and take turns smacking Anthony with a pool cue, or, better yet, a two-by-four. There’d be nothing like a good thrashing of Anthony to put this strip back in my good graces.

  48. Loki Motive
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:51 pm [Reply]

    Neddy looks like one of those creepy ass old psychic kids from Akira in the first panel. Creepy. Ass.

  49. Elizabeth J. Anderson
    January 7th, 2007 at 12:58 pm [Reply]

    Am I the only one who has issues with naming a pretty(ish) girl “Ned”?

  50. fishmorgjp
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:09 pm [Reply]

    Isn’t “Qwink” the name of some obsolete soft drink? “Qwink, the Sassy One — from Canada Dry!”

  51. Johnny Q
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:16 pm [Reply]

    Actually, that Canada Dry drink is Wink, and you can still get it here in Toronto. (Canada Dry really comes from Canada!)

  52. Frank Drackman
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:20 pm [Reply]

    So is MW Rambo now? She’s just going to traipse into the Nam and locate her doctor boyfriend?

  53. Uncle Lumpy
    January 7th, 2007 at 1:59 pm [Reply]

    #41 Basil -

    More information on your wife’s “superior dance”, please! Is it anything like Dancing Dent? Are veils involved?

  54. Nora
    January 7th, 2007 at 2:36 pm [Reply]

    OK, try this one on for size:

    Everything goes as described above–it IS a plot! Liz arrives early, Paul is there with the rock and the “Marry Me’ banner. They get engaged, return joyously to Toronto, and get an apartment. Paul gets progressively meaner and more unhappy in the big city. Liz selflessly breaks off the engagement, sends him back to Mtigwaki and raven-haired GF, leaving the field wide open for Granthony.

    How does that grab y’all?

  55. Kate
    January 7th, 2007 at 2:52 pm [Reply]

    Nora, your scenario contains two fatal flaws:

    1) It is predicated on Lynn Johnston’s being able to create flawed yet loving characters with human complexities and moments of glory.

    2) Paul would be getting meaner and more unhappy because Liz is not a “hands-on” girl. She wouldn’t be “going there” because she knows “you don’t come back.” And in the big city, if you’re not “roadside,” you’re left at the “side of the road,” if you know what I mean, and I “think you do.” A strip where Liz discusses whether she should put out or not would make us all long for nuclear winter.

  56. commodorejohn
    January 7th, 2007 at 2:54 pm [Reply]

    44 – I’d find that plausible, and you make a good point about the Good Person Rule, except that Lynn has gone to great pains to set up this “get there early” plot point, which I can’t see having any other result than Liz walking in at an akward moment. I’m afraid the running theory is probably the one that’s going to play out, even if it is an utterly transparent and ham-handed ploy on Johnston’s part to make things end the way she wants, rather than the way things would end in the real world.

  57. Dean Booth
    January 7th, 2007 at 3:19 pm [Reply]

    DT: I thought I recognized Dr. Froid. I found an image on Google that shows he is a ripoff from a German comic strip in the early 30s.

  58. Cornwhacker
    January 7th, 2007 at 3:45 pm [Reply]


    Maybe Locher was drawing this strip with a fountain pen, looked around his studio and suddenly thought “Hey! What a great sound effect!”

  59. Spotted HØrse
    January 7th, 2007 at 3:51 pm [Reply]

    #57 Dean: You are mad, Sir! MAD!

    #55 Kate: I commend you, Madam, for some of the best MARGOing finger quoting action I’ve seen!

    #50 fishmorgjp:

    Isn’t “Qwink” the name of some obsolete soft drink? “Qwink, the Sassy One — from Canada Dry!”

    Nawww…. it’s a cereal. Remember Qwisp and Qwink? Or maybe it was Qwink and Qwake.

    #33 Donald The Anarchist: “Wow, I’m glad I didn’t trust Dr. Froid!”
    Me too, Donald. Hope the package is okay.

  60. Ukulele Ike
    January 7th, 2007 at 5:14 pm [Reply]

    Wait till Tracy remembers that the stolen package was full of Tess’s five million dollar inheritance. He’ll probably suck Froid’s brain right out of his skull, and chop it into fine dice.

  61. Vince M.
    January 7th, 2007 at 5:38 pm [Reply]

    57: Now is the part of Sprockets where we dance!

  62. Binky Betsy
    January 7th, 2007 at 5:43 pm [Reply]

    #41: Did your wife really get the reference, or was she funning you? I mean, if she did, great, but it was from a kiddie book by some generic author, not like a Sid & Marty Kroft show that everyone saw a million times. Doesn’t rate a “superior dance”, IMO!

    #45: No, I had the name long before the FOOBs started blinking. Binky Betsy was Susie’s doll, that Calvin kidnapped and held for ransom.

    Re: FOOB. I think that, no matter how exactly it shakes out, at some point “One of your OWN kind! Stick to your OWN kind!” will come into play.

  63. Victor Von
    January 7th, 2007 at 5:53 pm [Reply]

    I pretty much assumed that Dick Tracy was somehow destroying Dr. Froid’s brain when he shut down the machine. What else can “neutered his neurons” mean?

    Also, is he tied up with phone cords? Is there any way for that to work on anyone over the age of six? If it’s important that he’s tied plugged into the machine, couldn’t he just walk away?

    I guess the world will never know.

    Also, when did Neddy become a teenage forehead monster? She used to be such a nice girl.

  64. Bill James
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:23 pm [Reply]

    Uh-Oh! In FW today (Sunday) they are out making snow angels, and helmet-hair says to bald-one, “You’ll catch pneumonia.” That’s foreshadowing with a large blacl Magic Marker folks.

  65. Mibbitmaker
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:30 pm [Reply]

    Another Theory About The Lizardbreath Storyline:

    Being a day early, Liz and Warren indeed discover Paul and the other woman “doing it”. Liz’ll be all, “Y-YOU’RE CHEATING ON ME!!”, but Paul notices her companion. “Hey, wait a minute, Liz…Why’s the old boyfriend there!?”, he’ll say jealously. Both men angry, they’ll start fighting. Brutally. Liz will be disgusted with both of them. Meanwhile, somewhere Eric will get a twinge of mixed-up emotion, but he doesn’t know why. (…Nah! Lynn’ll be in “men are cowboys” mode here, not her “evil independant women” mode)

    Going back home, she’ll realize her real love is… Blanthony!

    But none of this happens until another storyline altogether will show up tomorrow, making us wait a week or two for the coming disaster.

    My money’s on Grandpa Stroke.

  66. sandtarts
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:31 pm [Reply]

    37 Baby D’oh – that warm and fuzzy feeling is schadenfoob.

    Liz apparently never read the interview with Liza Minelli, in which Liza described the breakup of her marriage with Peter Allen. She said since then that she NEVER EVER goes home early and uexpectedly.

  67. merchmesh
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:39 pm [Reply]

    Okay… Liz goes to Paul, finds him messing around with Lucky the Beaver’s mate, and comes home in horror to Granthony, who tries to pull the passive-aggressive nobility routine one more time by saying that they can’t get together until they have put the trauma of the trial behind them. However, once upon the stand, he folds under the pressure of cross-examination and admits that he had actually interrupted Liz’s intended rape because he had hoped to find her alone and assault her himself. At that point, Dick Tracy erases Grandthony’s mind as well as all menory of him in the rest of the FOOB cast, and he’s sentenced to Exile in the Living Hell of Funky Winkerbean, where he’ll contract leprosy from eating out of Crankshaft’s lunchbox. As for what happens to Liz after that, I really don’t care.

  68. Mibbitmaker
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:44 pm [Reply]


    DT: “Quink” now? I think Locher’s Q-cuckoo.

  69. Basil Wrathbone
    January 7th, 2007 at 6:46 pm [Reply]

    #53- No, not really. Her dance just entails lots of jumping around and the deriding of my knowledge of minutiae.

    #62- In our world it is worth a superior dance. We are both librarians, well I’m a former librarian. She is still an elementary school librarian. Thanks for the hint. Now that I know the source, that explains why she got it. She has read every children’s book ever.

    #42- You make a good point, but I’m sticking with the prevalent theory. If the plan is to meet her at the helicopter with a sign, why the big heavy-handed plot shenanigans to get home early.

  70. FBOWer
    January 7th, 2007 at 7:03 pm [Reply]

    FOOB: how about this:
    Liz doesn’t actually come across anything when she goes up to visit her mountie, but the fact is, she senses that those two, the mountie and schoolmarm up there, are really good for each other. It gets hammered on her head when the li’l kid who used to adore her, now doesn’t notice her really in the same way, and he hangs with the “couple” all the time. So she is realizing and resigns in a graceful way, steps out of the way – heartbroken but big of her.

    And Warren is there, knowing that she would get the general drift of what is going on if she came a day early. And he has second chances.

    Oh and for the day early trick being used – there is a party planned for the actual day Liz announces she is coming. But since she comes a day early, and all this discovery will play out in that day (which takes about 7 of our days) she will leave before the party happens, even more wistful and melancholic. Warren able to fly her out of course.

    …Then on the ride home, she will screw the hell out of Warren.

    What!? some ending at least…to get rid of the inevitable Granthony one.

  71. SharonK
    January 7th, 2007 at 7:07 pm [Reply]

    I like the rhyming of “Ned…bed” and then
    “No way…Champs Elysees”!

  72. Dean Booth
    January 7th, 2007 at 7:11 pm [Reply]

    #52. Frank, from a few days ago: Marbo!

  73. Dean Booth
    January 7th, 2007 at 7:23 pm [Reply]

    Binky, Christmas Rock is also a song by Toby Keith. It kinda fits: “She wants a Christmas rock but Santa’s pockets ain’t got no roll.”

    (I didn’t know that, I looked it up. I have a very Froidian view of the internet, and hope that someday we’ll have technology that makes the difference between knowing something and looking it up negligible.)

  74. Dean Booth
    January 7th, 2007 at 7:29 pm [Reply]

    #61. Vince, I love the Sprockets.

    A tip for Sprockets fans: Never pull your t-shirt in out in little-girl-Sprockets-fashion to make a joke to a woman about her young daughter. She will not find it funny. Trust me.

  75. What\’sUpWithThat?
    January 7th, 2007 at 7:39 pm [Reply]

    Has no one else noticed the ridiculously poor artwork of late in Judge Parker? Some days the characters look like refugees from an anorexia clinic, other days, more “normal”…who the heck is drawing this strip recently???

  76. Wayne
    January 7th, 2007 at 8:46 pm [Reply]

    FOOB: I’ve been a bit confused about the current sequence; maybe I’ve missed something. Why is Liz going to Mtigwaki? Has she ever said she’s going to visit Mr. Wright? And most important of all, doesn’t she have a job teaching? How can she find the time to take off?

  77. AhClem
    January 7th, 2007 at 9:12 pm [Reply]

    Paul and all his neighbors will be waiting with the “Marry Me” sign in Mtigwikipedia as the helicopter is about to land. Suddenly, a drunk Mallard Fillmore will fly into one of the chopper’s engines, causing it to crash into the waiting throng. The End.

    Lynn, if you write it that way, I’ll make it worth your while.

  78. Rusty
    January 7th, 2007 at 9:47 pm [Reply]

    The breakfast cereal was Quisp, of Quisp and Quake fame.

    MW: If the meddler is going to Nam to look for Dr. Jeff, she apparently should bring her SCUBA gear.

  79. UncleJeff
    January 7th, 2007 at 9:51 pm [Reply]

    #77 — Writing in, of course, that Elly, John, Apwil, St. Michael and the kids and Gwampa Scrotum and Iris all flew up to Mtigitakiwaki ahead of the chopper. That leaves Deanna for a future sorrowful FOOB storyline.

  80. Harry Paratestes
    January 7th, 2007 at 10:25 pm [Reply]

    FOOB: Another overlooked plot line is that maybe Paul and Warren are gay lovers, united in their hatred and despite of Lizardsnatch. That’s why Warren is setting up Lizardsnatch to find out in the most vile and pernicious way possible: he’ll have a DVD of their rancid sexcapades in the helicopter so that she can watch, as a captive audience, for hours. The trauma will drive her into the arms of Granthony and the rest of the dominos will fall from there.

  81. Binky Betsy
    January 7th, 2007 at 10:48 pm [Reply]

    #69: Wow, I’m still impressed!

    It could be that after Liz accepts Paul’s proposal and flies off back to Milborough, with everyone waving goodbye, Jesse will stumble into the general store and inform the assembled townspeople, “Lieutenant Colonel…Warren Blackwood’s helicopter…was shot down…over Lake Ontario…It spun in…There were no survivors.”

  82. JR
    January 7th, 2007 at 11:32 pm [Reply]


    Jeff should have packed a wife.

    Or so Jello Biafra says.

  83. hesterlein
    January 8th, 2007 at 6:12 am [Reply]

    I can’t resist adding to this seething debate about the current FBORFW storyline. Apologies for the fact that I seem to have written a short essay about this (no, I do not have anything better to do).

    For me, the current story goes back to when Liz decided, on an apparent whim, to leave Mtigwaki – taking what seemed to be such a step in reverse as she returned not only to her hometown but to her parents’ house! (“until she finds a place of her own”… but, it’s been a while, and she’s still there!)

    I found this to be so unexpected since Johnston had been devoting so much of the strip to Mtigwaki’s daily life, history, culture… this didn’t always make for thrilling plot development, but I was more than happy to endure it since it meant that Johnston was bringing a very non-traditional subject to the attention of readers worldwide. She almost seemed to be sacrificing her punchlines in order to educate readers about Canadian Northern Native culture (albeit in her oft- punny, syrupy, didactic way). She even won a Native Journalism award for her contribution to this area. More importantly, she was setting a precedent for comic-strip writers everywhere by using her strip as a venue for a subject she seemed to sincerely care about.

    Then Liz ditched the North, and we haven’t looked back. I thought Paul Wright would turn out to be mr. Right, not only because it was spelled out for us, but because he was connected to the part of the story where Lynn’s heart seemed to be. I wrote a little essay last year (forthcoming sometime this year) about the increased Canadian content in FBORFW (ie: early strips never left the (generic) neighbourhood setting – later strips deal at length with overtly Canadian subject matter (Michael & Weed’s trip to Quebec; Mike’s novel about Alberta (which, I confess, I was kinda sorry he saved from the fire… what the heck does Mike know about life in Alberta 100 years ago?); Liz’s life at Nipissing U, etc, etc.). Johnston’s love of the North was a subject she didn’t have the freedom to explore as a younger cartoonist, but now that her long-standing status ensures that we’ll read whatever she writes – no matter how much it makes us groan – she can indulge herself with a story about Mtigwaki, the village which seems to espouse those fuzzy values FBORFW is all about.

    So why did Liz leave? That seems to be the real question behind the situation she’s got herself into now. She went up there to challenge herself, and by returning, it’s as though she failed the test. If Johnston really wanted to get her back together with Anthony, she could have contrived it by forcing Liz to return for the trial – without Liz choosing to leave Mtigwaki of her own accord.

    Johnston knows that “Liz’s love story” is the big interest-getter in the strip (alas, it doesn’t have much competition with other FBORFW storylines anymore) – it’s been that way since the days of Eric. So of course she’s going to milk this one and try to leave us guessing until we’re all envisioning a three-way shootout a la “the good, the bad, & the ugly” between Warren, Paul, and mr. Mustache.

    As it’s been pointed out, Johnston’s gone to great lengths to set it up – Paul was already getting cozy with Liz’s replacement before Liz was gone; now we all know she’s arriving unannounced. It doesn’t look good for Paul.

    But is the mustache the only alternative? I know it’s all about the saccharine happy endings, but Johnston plans all this stuff out meticulously. A family in which not one, but two of the children grow up to marry their childhood sweethearts – I don’t think Johnston herself would buy it.

    Right now, it seems to me as though any of the three suitors is as likely to win Liz’s heart as the others – she has been keeping her distance from all three of them for some time (usual pattern: she utters a throwaway phrase; Anthony/Warren interprets said phrase longingly in a thought bubble; Liz acts oblivious). I don’t think she seems really infatuated with any of them. The only time she seemed to really be thriving and evolving was when she was learning to live in Mtigwaki. Think about it – back then, every strip was about the challenges of her work and lifestyle – now, back home in Milborough, have we even seen one strip about her current workplace? She’s putting in time (and so are the readers). I think the way she’ll find fulfillment will be if she gets out of her ancestral home and goes back adventuring up north or somewhere where she’ll feel she’s making a difference. I think she would find that any one of those suitors – even Anthony – would be willing to follow her there. Maybe she’ll have a good cathartic fight with the mountie after all those months of empty emails. My money’s on Warren at the moment (probably just wishful thinking because 1) it would show that Johnston still has a plot twist up her sleeve, and 2) I’m filled with dread that Liz will use this impending crisis as an excuse to collapse into the suburban arms of Anthony) – but whoever she hooks up with – and it may be that she ditches all of them for the fireman who knocked on the door a couple of days ago – I think she’s being set up for, not necessarily a relationship crisis, but a crisis that’s more about what she’s doing with her life. I think her love affair was with the north – and that’s the unresolved relationship that’s beneath Liz’s current state of limbo. She hasn’t made any promises to any men, but she promised Jesse that she’d go back to Mtigwaki. After she’s resolved that, she’ll be in a position to think about her messed-up love life.

    Thanks for indulging my rant (the length of this ramble is directly proportional to the looming deadlines for the things I’m actually supposed to be writing about).

  84. Calico
    January 8th, 2007 at 9:17 am [Reply]

    #83 – …don’t forget the new fireman who cleans and launders things either!
    And then there were four…ah, I mean three…no, wait, four…hold on, two…ahhhh, forget it.

  85. Shlomo
    January 8th, 2007 at 11:34 am [Reply]

    Dick Tracy and Bob Barker must be related. They want to help control the pet population by neutering neutrons. Dick Tracy must have been confused with the term “giving head” and he thought he could spay Dr. Froid by wiring his head. Once he realizes the folly of his way, I am sure he will use one of the more conventional methods of castration, either a rusty coat hanger or sand paper.

  86. kingklash
    January 8th, 2007 at 1:06 pm [Reply]

    A very informed post, I must concur. And, you raise a valid point: Johnston has knowledge about her strip that we aren’t privy to. Now, from my own point of view, as a Native American, I do have one bit of insight you might be interested in. As family/tribal units go, we are all close. Aunts and uncles are treated as if they are your parents, and nieces and nephews are the same as your own children. Which means that your cousins are your brothers and sisters. Two reasons for this could be, it prevents inbreeding (not really good for purebred dogs, and certainly frowned upon for humans, royalty be damned.), and the fact that due to hunting or war parties, the men could die at any time. There was always family you could go to. Now, what if the chick was not past girlfriend, but his cousin? The hugging, the use of youthful nicknames, all stuff you see with close family members. But, the sudden introduction of a new female and the unexpected familiarity, could be planned by Johnston to throw the readers off. Judging by the tons of theories tossed about by CC regulars, I’d say it worked. Of course, this is based on my experience as a Kiowa, so I could be wrong. I’m just sayin’….

  87. King Folderol
    January 8th, 2007 at 1:46 pm [Reply]

    Nice little wrap up in DT, but I’m turned off by how Dick is talking to no one. Or he’s talking to me, but then that implies he knows he’s a cartoon character, which makes me wonder why he would get up off his ass every morning to even bother living in that Salvador Dali universe of his.

  88. lascauxcaveman
    January 8th, 2007 at 1:55 pm [Reply]

    #86 – Well, unlike the noble Kiowa, then Mtgiwakians love themselves some sweet, hot incest.

    (Sorry, the snark level here was getting dangerously low, so I had to throw that in)

  89. Williebark
    January 8th, 2007 at 2:04 pm [Reply]

    RE. Liz and Paul plot

    Don’t bother with any more speculation on what will occur in the great white north.

    Liz will find that Paul has moved on. There have been hints made that Paul does not meet with the parental FOOB’s approval. Therefore he is scum and will be revealed as such.

    Lynn talked about how her first husband betrayed her in one of her interviews and I have a feeling that she needs to play this out again and again.

    It’s a psychological bordering on pathological thing with her I’m afraid.

  90. Northed
    January 8th, 2007 at 3:58 pm [Reply]

    #83 – great arguments, I am even convinced enough to consider the fireman-angle for Liz, excep wasn’t he married? I won’t flip back in the FBOFW website to look, but I thought he mentioned something about how they know about families. Anyway, yeah it is true that the odds could be against two kids marrying childhood or youthful sweethearts – but this being FOOBland I don’t know, I wouldn’t also risk too much on that bet.

    I like the point about FBOFW having made such work to layout the North campaign, and now something is a bit askew going on as it feels suddenly dropped off as soon as Liz went home, and Liz is mostly tying up loose ends rather than discovering anything new (no new home, no new friends, dealing with the trial, nothing about the job to discover, etc…).

    But it could also be they closed that chapter and now it’s a new one, and FBOFW is an industry at this point, I doubt these are written daily in linear mode, one after the other, but chapters developed in parallel, so sometimes the North storyline isn’t going to be directly referred to in the later ones because these are being developed parallel and they can’t keep up the inter-references so easily. Just a thought.

    In my opinion, someone working for the other comic universe should hijack the April character once the strip is closed, and let her live on in what could be a really interesting character. She is just the right age to rebel against the whole FOOBian closeted world view.

  91. Cafangdra
    January 8th, 2007 at 5:21 pm [Reply]

    Part of me wonders if Liz is destined for Warren. I was thinking about this recently because…didn’t Lynn herself marry a helicopter pilot and move up north? Anthony has been portrayed as SUCH a miserable weasel that, even though everything seems to point in that direction, I just can’t force myself to believe Liz is destined to marry the creep. My preference is still Paul but I’d be relieved if it was Warren instead of Anthony. Really relieved. Sigh.

    Still, I think Basil Wrathbone said it best: Warren has been working up in the north with the mining guy, so he has heard the rumors about Paul and whatsherface in Mtigwaki. He has hatched a plan to get Liz up there early to break her and Paul up. He will then swoop in and pick up the pieces. This will almost work, but Liz will learn about Warren’s plan and accuse him of deciet and treachery. Only then will she run to the noodly arms of Anthony. That’s how it’s gonna be. Why else would Warren be so blithe and smug while clearly pining for Liz? Ugh, and Paul will be a jealous schmuck in order to make us Not Like Him Any More. Ugh ugh ugh. Damn it.

  92. Neilando
    January 8th, 2007 at 7:18 pm [Reply]

    I find it more than a little odd that in sunday’s ‘Slylock Fox’, the cardinal hooligan is punished for stepping in a wet cement sidewalk, and yet Max Mouse is allowed to write his name in the same cement.

  93. LouieLouie
    January 8th, 2007 at 9:24 pm [Reply]

    What is the magazine that Abbey is reading on the plane? It looked to me, at first glance, that it was “Crash” and the cover art was of an airliner in a body of water. They surely wouldn’t hand those out in First Class?

  94. Booper
    January 8th, 2007 at 10:21 pm [Reply]

    Binky Betsy, et. al. — Sadly, I am one of the foolish people who think that Paul will be waiting to surprise Liz with a proposal. I hope that Warren will reach out with his left arm and give Liz a little shove from the copter, but I’m frequently overly optimistic.

  95. Loppie Scaduto
    January 9th, 2007 at 6:46 am [Reply]

    83 hesterlein: I wish I had your faith, I really do. It would go a long way toward redeeming LJ as a writer… but considering the strip’s level of plotting, character motivation, dialogue, and attention to the details of “how real life works” over the last couple years, that requires a hella lotta faith.

    My personal theory is that LJ et al have begun reading the posts here and at other FOOB snark-sites, and are hurriedly re-plotting on the fly, trying to avoid the pitfalls we see coming up, or hand-waving away the ones they’ve already fallen into that we’ve been lamenting… in other words, they don’t know exactly how it’s gonna turn out until they know how it’s going over with readers. Which is why they rely so heavily on retconning [a sucking way to write fiction, I think].

  96. Never teh Bride
    January 9th, 2007 at 11:59 am [Reply]

    Ack, I hope Liz doesn’t catch Paul in the act…because she’s already had that happen to her once, during college, with the dude she moved in with. Of course, she strikes me as the perfect combo of nice and indecisive that is a magnet for cheaters, so…

  97. Ran
    January 10th, 2007 at 9:08 am [Reply]

    When Mary gets to vietnam, I bet its all rice paddies and bamboo huts, and smiling little yellow people.

    Its amazing, in some non european foreign countries, they have electricity! Running water! Modern roads and auto-mobiles!

    I hope she catches the black clap.

  98. Dungarees
    January 10th, 2007 at 12:17 pm [Reply]

    My two cents on FBOFW:

    The Warren offer for a helo ride was simply that; it wasn’t going anywhere out of his way and he could provide the ride to someone he liked and still likes. Nothing more except he knows it will give him presence.
    There is no Warren knowledge of Paul’s activities, not does he have any reason to know/suspect.
    Paul, on the other hand is in his home area, his “girlfriend Elizabeth” is distantly away in two ways; physically and socially (e-mail and IM don’t count); he’s living his day-to-day life while he’s at his home and she’s away. His day-to-day life included the arrival of an old “friend” who he got to see daily/frequently, and it was a simple matter of being together. And what happened when he was living his life at home, happened. Knowing when Elizabeth was scheduled to arrive, he could have just left his stuff where it was (assuming it was at his “friend’s” house) or have her leave his house and stay at her own home for the few days that Elizabeth would be visiting; the “friend” already knew the Paul-Elizabeth relationship when she restarted her relationship with Paul, in Elizabeth’s absence. And, when Elizabeth left Paul and returned home, Paul would be free to do whatever he wished until Elizabeth’s next visit (probably at the end of the school year).

    As for Elizabeth, transportation opportunity came from Warren, and that’s it; Elizabeth simply decided to take the offer, arrive a day early, and surprise Paul. And, maybe, in the back of her mind (we’ll never know), thought that they could quickly marry/elope over the few days there. But I have no problem with her accepting the transportation offer, knowing that she thinks of Warren as a friend (regardless of what Warren thinks).

    While I liked Anthony a while back, and everyone accepted his marriage; that’s passed. What I hope is that Elizabeth doesn’t rant and rave (which she has every right to do if what I think is happening with Paul and his “friend”) and then return home and feel she’s a jilted woman, and Anthony offers her comfort.

    First, I’ve read and liked FBOFW a long time; I don’t want to see Elizabeth taking ‘comfort’ and then becoming a quick stepmother. I’d rather the series end with her on her own and there not be closure to the series.

    But, as suggested before, I’d like to see the FBOFW team, even if not under Lynn, carry on a series with April as the lead and the collective family as background. It could be interesting.

    But then, I’m a traditionalist; I like FBOFW, Mark Trail, Prince Valient (sometimes), Family Circus, Peanuts.

    I’m open to comments, being dismissed, slings and arrows, etc., if anyone wants to e-mail me and say I’m right or wrong. Again, only my two cents

  99. Crankenstank
    January 10th, 2007 at 6:26 pm [Reply]

    Hey, I think I saw that episode of ‘Pimp My Camel’! It was great! Just don’t ask where the subwoofers go.

  100. Loony Lil
    January 11th, 2007 at 9:33 am [Reply]

    Absolutely no way should Liz be sentenced to spend the rest of her days with Blandthony Draine. But I do see this happening.
    After the bust-up with Paul, she’ll start to lose her grip on reality, affecting her job performance at the school back home and her relationships with her friends and her family. An intervention will be staged, forcing her to go into a psychiatric hospital for several months to seek treatment. Blandthony will not be able to handle her illness and will bail on her; Paul will not give a damn, having moved on to Silly Susan; but Warren will be there to the bitter end. But Liz will not marry Warren.
    She will come to the place where she decides she does not need a romantic relationship to be happy, and she will focus on being well. And out of that, she will discover artistic talents and expound on them. How’s that for a plot twist?

  101. Roger M. Wilcox
    January 22nd, 2014 at 2:35 am [Reply]

    Oh, look!

    In panel 2 of the Dick Tracy strip, the cord connecting the machine to Dr. Froid is plugged in to the LEFT of the off button. But in panel 3, it’s suddenly plugged in BELOW the off button.

    I’d say they need to fire their continuity checker, but come on — two adjacent panels drawn by the same artist? That’s not just a continuity error, that’s just plain apathy.

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