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Spider-Man, 7/22/17

Ah, Newspaper Spider-Man, always striving to be “hip” and “with it” but always falling just a bit behind! I’m sure over at Newspaper Spider-Man HQ it feels very of the moment to have MJ’s studio publicist svengali barking about a major blogger waiting, but since I’m a major blogger myself, let me assure you that blogging is pretty much over, and has been since about 2011. The new hotness is “influencers,” which is a code word for social media stars with 500,000 Instagram followers or 4,000,000 pageviews on each and every one of their YouTube makeup tutorials or whatever. Newspaper reporting has been over and done with for a lot longer than blogging, obviously, so a more accurate scene would just be this publicist talking about how he’s got three influencers waiting, and since they’re all millennials (or, what’s the thing after millennials? Gen-Z? UGH) their attention spans are notoriously short.

Dennis the Menace, 7/22/17

I love the knowing smiles that Henry and Alice are flashing here. I’m not sure what secret they’re sharing — that Henry is a terrible liar? that in the white-collar professional world, business and pleasure mingle on the golf course, helping consolidate the wealth of the upper class? that this “business trip” is an opportunity for them both to rendezvous with their secondary partners before reuniting and reaffirming their loving bond within the a context of consensual polyamory? — but whatever it is, it holds menace in the sense that it means that the world isn’t as simple as Dennis believes.

Slylock Fox, 7/22/17

Hey, kids! Remember Grimace, the beloved character from the McDonaldland commercials? Well, he’s dead now. He got bit by a snake and he died.

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It’s your comment of the week! Enjoy!

“Ok, I was wrong that Melvin would have needed super strength to carry so much gold. He got his giant worm to do it, so his ability is actually having friends, or at least being able to work with others. But those are still special powers in this comic, right?” –pachoo

It’s also your runners up! Enjoy these too!

That’s my surprise — my son, Johnny. See, Johnny, I said ‘surprise’ this time, not ‘mistake.’ That’s better, right?” –BigTed

“Runaway trains hurtle, careen, or crash. They do not throb.” –Lorne

“Sure, it was exciting when they announced that the next star of Doctor Who would be female. But it’s only when Mark Trail announces that previously-unmentioned bank robbery accomplice #2 is also a woman that you see what a truly golden age we live in for female representation in the arts.” –Schroduck

“So the Rapid City FBI office is on the 7th floor of the Regional Hospital? Of course! That’s where the male pattern-baldness treatment program does business.” –Dennis Jimenez

“And that, friends, wraps up another thrilling Spider-Man adventure. Aunt May is going to marry an international criminal. ‘Melvin’ looted the national treasury of billions in gold and jewels. Aunt Anna has gotten laid by a real Hollywood publicist. That damn fire escape has been pulled down and destroyed. Welp, off to San Francisco, to meet new friends and new challenges!” –handsome Harry Backstayge, idol of a million other women

“Even though I grew up there, seeing South Dakota mentioned over and over in Mark Trail gives me the sense that it’s a fictional place.” –Naked Bunny with a Whip

“It appears that Rex is enjoying being a part of this strip just about as much as I enjoy reading it.” –Red Delicious

‘And there are other mentions of you elsewhere on the internet’ could be a very menacing phrase of it weren’t directed at the two most dull people on earth. ‘TWO WASPS RAISE MILQUETOAST CHILDREN! WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WILL BORE YOU.'” –pugfuggly

“Seems to me sending a birth announcement to the hometown newspaper is more like something June’s mom would do. Which leads to the thought: why don’t we ever see June or Rex’s parents? I mean, I get it, Rex is an incredibly lifelike man machine, but June is presumably a normal human female? Or does the uncanny valley defined by Sarah repel even the strongest of meddling grandparent?” –pastordan

“It could explain why no one ever ages. Dennis, Mr. Wilson, everyone, they’re all clones. Normally they’re released as needed to replace their older selves but the mechanism is breaking down. It’s sending out more and more Dennis clones. It’s time to begin the culling.” –WLP

“Look, Mark Trail, I read the comics to escape. Continuing to feature a series of middle-aged office workers becoming increasingly confused about a series of rapidly changing facts is a little too close to home for my liking.” –James Dowd, on Facebook

“The strip needs to get back to its roots, showing random wildlife lovingly drawn in close up for no reason at all. There’s plenty of room on these guys’ foreheads to place a duck or raccoon.” –Rusty

His name is John Carter — his daddy’s choice. Well, actually I don’t know who his daddy is, but we had sex in a theatre screening John Carter, because it was empty.” –Ettore

It’s for work! I’m a grape.” –Ukulele Ike

“What I love about that old Mark Trail you linked to is how the ponytailed bank robber is fretting about the FBI. ‘They have that facial recognition software!’ When we in the audience know that that it took the FBI several weeks of obsessively re-watching the video to even figure out that one of the robbers is a woman. I think you’re okay, guys.” –Rita Lake

“C’mon, Jeffy. He’s wagging his ass in your face again. It would so easy to just reach up and push him over. Do it. Dooooooo iiiiiiiiiit.” –The Mighty Untrained FOOZLE

‘They remember even longer than mommies!’ ‘That’s because they don’t have access to sweet, sweet booze,’ Thel whispers, as she reaches for her flask to take a few ladylike nips.” –Voshkod

“While I appreciate the inclusion of a Johnny Cash/Carter Family cameo, the artist has denied us the opportunity to see Rex’s face at the exact second he learns his smug supposition was incorrect.” –Joe Blevins

“In spite of the romantic turn the strip is taking I’m going to hold on to the belief that all the characters reproduce asexually, like corals or sponges. It helps explain their appearances.” –Spunky The Wonder Squid

“He killed himself driving drunk and left his boy to be raised by a single mama. Now, that’s taking a country music obsession a little far.” –Where’s Rocky

“Fortunately, he’s dead now, although I’m still feeling guilty for thinking that, so let me compensate by feeling sorry for myself. And how are you, June? Do you ever feel bad about being vastly overpaid for whatever it is that you do?” –But What Do I Know?

Jaquan ‘The Don’ Case was a very transparent stand-in for LeBron James back when LeBron was still a high school phenom. Trey Davis ended up going to College of Charleston and I am pretty sure was drawn to be black back in 2003, and Hadley V. Baxendale discovered that Jaquan really loved studying and convinced him to go to college for 4 years and not make a trillion dollars in the pros, in the days before the NBA’s age minimum, when his school, Bishop James Tardy, replaced one of the lesser Valley Conference foes (Goshen?) when their entire team was suspended for drinking in the Drinking Cave. Look, I hate that I can recall all of these plot points with ease, but in my defense, I know absolutely nothing about Funky Winkerbean, so I can continue clinging to the remains of my self-esteem.” –Drew Funk

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Gil Thorp, 7/21/17

AHHHH TREY DAVIS! Trey Davis is the ex-Mudlark who got name-dropped last December, which sent me into such public paroxysms of joy that I have to assume that his appearance now is entirely fan service, which is to say service for me, one of Gil Thorp’s twenty or so fans. I’m thrilled that we’re going to find out about his last decade or so of backstory! Did he get recruited to play college ball? Did he join the army? Did he dye his hair blond as part of the total transformation of his identity that accompanied his military service? Did he found Mudlark Force, an elite, secret special-forces unit comprised entirely of former Milford athletes who wage an undercover war against America’s enemies and learn lessons along the way? Are Heather and Kevin going to be in the Pakistani Federally Administered Tribal Areas less than 24 hours from now? I’M SO EXCITED!!!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 7/21/17

“Ah yes,” says Rex. “People who were popular in high school and got involved in ‘music scenes’ might be charismatic, but they’re generally bad people. You should really tell everyone you named your kid after the the sci-fi character who went to Mars to make love to their sexy princesses. It’s much more respectable.”

Gasoline Alley, 7/21/17

Oh, goody! One of Gasoline Alley’s least appealing regular characters will be engaging in some good old-fashioned sexual competition with a thoroughly unappealing newcomer! It’s a story that will have audiences saying “let’s talk about scrapbooking for seventeen weeks again!”