Main content:

An offer you could refuse, but I’d prefer if you didn’t

Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/25/16

The novel I finished last year, The Enthusiast, is about, among other things, surreptitious marketing — marketing that doesn’t look like marketing, things that come together behind the scenes, things that look like coincidences but are secretly orchestrated by cunning agents working to push their clients’ wares. So, for instance, in the world of The Enthusiast, the fact that a beloved soap opera strip character is suddenly selling her book right around the time that I’m trying to sell my book, which has an entire plot about soap opera comic strips, would be no accident, but would’ve been carefully orchestrated in secret. In real life, of course, it’s a total coincidence. Do you think we’d be talking about Sarah’s dumb horsey book and not neighborhood pinhead Franco Wallace if I had that kind of pull? Come on now.

But, since the topic has been presented to us, I might as well talk a little about book marketing. Namely, my book was funded by a Kickstarter and I don’t really have a marketing team! Sarah and Dolly Pierpont don’t have a traditional marketing team either, of course, just a network of thuggish mob enforcers wandering into museums everywhere and noting idly that this new horsey book is available and would be real good seller if it were displayed prominently in the gift shop and it would be a shame if someone accidentally soaked all those Dutch Masters hanging in the east wing in kerosene and set them on fire. My only mob enforcers are you, my faithful readers, and I implore you to spread the word about The Enthusiast not with violence, but with enthusiasm! Tell your book club! Post the link on your Facebook wall! Have me on your podcast, or radio show, or daytime television program! I promise I’m pretty funny and personable. And come to my book tour, if you’re in Washington, D.C., (tomorrow!) or Baltimore (Thursday!) or New York City (next Monday!) or Buffalo (next Wednesday!), and bring a friend or three! Let’s show these gangsters the right (i.e., significantly less profitable) way to market a book.

The Lockhorns, 4/25/16

Oh, don’t worry, Loretta, he meant it in a weird “alone together in a featureless void where time has no meaning and your very corporeal form begins to bleed into nothingness around the edges but your soul remains eternally locked in a hateful relationship with your spouse who you can never leave or avoid or be apart from for a single moment” way!

Sunday fast takes

Family Circus, 4/24/16

Animals definitely pick up on the social mores of the humans they live with. Why else would Barfy be dreaming of scaring off this filthy, bearded intruder? Clearly he’s seen Ma Keane clutching her purse closer to her body every time she passes by a man who doesn’t have the decency to shave.

Panels from Judge Parker, 4/24/16

Hey, have you guys heard of Skitter? It’s just like Twitter, except the name makes you think about diarrhea.

When he dies, they’ll leave him in there, entombed like a baseball-loving pharaoh

Blondie, 4/23/16

There are any number of perfectly good reasons to resent the comic strip Blondie, but the one I’m going with today is that it’s forced me to become familiar with the fact that “He Sheds” are in fact A Thing, as are “She Sheds,” naturally. I guess I don’t resent the concept per se as much as I do the twee terminology. Anyway, now that there’s a TV show about the trend, we can look forward to it spiraling completely out of hand, as it clearly already has for the Woodleys, who apparently thought it was good use of time and energy to dig two or three feet down into their back yard to create a partially subterranean one-man he-shed where Herb can watch baseball in blessed isolation.

B.C., 4/23/16

I’m on the record as being baffled as to why B.C. will go with entirely new art for its highly structured jokes like “Wiley’s Dictionary” or “Advice” or really any of the several gags where the whole point is to provide a minimalist structure within the world of the strip for the characters to deliver some joke that doesn’t really have much to do with the characters or the world of the strip per se. The structure seems like it’s invented specifically as an opportunity to reuse clip art, and drawing a new panel to depict the scene at a new and different angle seems entirely pointless, like meticulously reconstructing a fast food hamburger out of fresh, organic ingredients. I mean, knock yourself out if you really want to do it, I guess, but maybe don’t do it in a way that emphasizes that Curls’s character design is dominated by his grotesque, protruding upper lip.