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Spider-Man, 3/23/19

Welp, here it is, folks: the last in the current run of Newspaper Spider-Man! This feature, which began its run in 1977, ends like this: Peter and MJ are going on vacation. And that’s it! They’re not even on vacation, they’re just talking about how much fun vacation is going to be. The only real closure we’re getting is that Peter seem to have finally gotten over his endless macho panic about MJ making more money than him. Congrats, Peter, you and your wife now have a true partnership! She makes the money as a movie star, which gives you the freedom spend your time and energy fighting crime. Oh, what’s that, you’re going to Australia and never coming back to fight crime again? Well, enjoy! Hope your next newspaper incarnation is slightly less dumb and pissy!

Mary Worth, 3/23/19

Mary Worth has been telegraphing “ESTELLE IS BEING CATFISHED” with decreasing subtlety all week, and I think today’s strip really seals it. Not only does “Arthur” not know how to spell his own name, but instead of chatting with Estelle on the balcony of his suite at the Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur, his voice is coming at you from some dark room with a laptop and a dirty table that sports a plebeian can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

I like the fact that the phone is on speaker, because it implies that there isn’t just one “Arthur,” but rather she’s being catfished by committee, and they all need to hear what she’s saying so they can put their heads together and come up with a suitably romantic response. They started out in it for the money, but now they’ve really come together as a team and are increasingly excited by how good a job they’ve done as Cyranos!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/23/19

There’s a classic Mark Trail strip that’s somewhere in my archives that I spent way, way too much time just now trying and failing to dig up, in which a villain pledges to reform his ways and immediately goes off panel and shaves his beard, much to Mark’s approval. (If you can find the link, please email it to me, I love it so much!) Anyway, I guess the Rex Morgan, M.D., equivalent is to discard your garish clothes and swap them for a sensible, muted jacket-and-shirt combo. Not a tie or anything, you’re not putting on airs, but this is a way to show that you’ve been “scared straight” and are ready to rejoin civilization!

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 3/23/19

I think we should definitely listen to Jughaid when it comes to the food that he knows his body needs. Look at his discolored tongue! That’s presumably due to a serious vitamin deficiency.

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Folks, your COTW in a moment, but first, a note: I am making an appearance at a live comedy show not my own (whatttt????) tonight! It is the always fun and hilarious Game Night, hosted by Laser Malena-Webber of the Doubleclicks and Joseph Scrimshaw of Rifftrax! The show is at Geeky Teas & Games in Burbank, and I’m jazzed about it! See you there!

And now, your comment of the week:

“The Keane Kompound originally experimented with the Dervish’s method of spinning as prayer, but that proved way too high energy for their American physique. So now they just hang upside down until they black out, as god intended.” –Escape Zeppelin

And your runners up! Very funny!

“I didn’t know ‘Excelsior‘ meant one last gratuitous crotch shot.” –Zerowolf

“Peter Parker is one of those annoying tourists who will quote stereotypes at every local during his vacation. He will die after the 100th time he says, ‘That’s not a knife!’ and an Aussie snaps and stabs him.” –Dread

“I really like how the watercooler seems to have spigots like 6 inches off the floor. I guess everyone’s a dick in this universe, up to and including office supply companies.” –pugfuggly

“Okay, okay, so Rex’s hair is just … like that all the time. It comes out of the shower that way. All right. That negates, like, a good decade of fan theories I had been formulating, but I can recalibrate.” –Joe Blevins

“I was going to make a joke about tuning in in-room porn, but I guess to Rex news stories about his heroics are in-room porn.” –Pozzo

“The rock concert was probably something like ‘Municipal Symphony Plays Hits by Bob Dylan.’ Which would explain why Leroy, himself a connoisseur of dickishness, looks perplexed as this guy shouts so deeply from his sternum that he has to lock his back and dig his feet in.” –Handsome Harry Backstayge, Idol of a Million Other Women

“Let me make myself clear, no hubub! I don’t want things all cattywompus, full of kerfuffle after boondoggle, and all hurly burly. Am I perfectly clear? Bob’s your uncle.” –Joe

“I was looking forward to Kadia moving into Skull Cave. ‘Oh, this is my friend’s house. He’s out of the country and ours is under renovation. Guran runs the school. You’ll enjoy learning differential equations — in the Bandar Tongue. Babudan teaches archery and tracking.’” –Downpuppy

My girls will love it here! They’ve always wanted to be green-screened into an architectural software rendering.” –Peanut Gallery

“Sure, Leroy’s got the big-city office, the briefcase, the overpriced to-go coffee, the suit and striped tie, the extremely expensive degree that serves no purpose but to indicate his monetary and cultural power, but class anxiety never goes away.” –Schroduck

“The rude passengers, the news anchors, it’s all the same — Rex doesn’t care who he feels contempt for, just as long as he can feel contempt for someone.” –TheDiva

“Ha ha ha! Fuck the 8th Amendment! Over to you, Chip, for Sports!” –Little Guy

“If you think this sounds like a lot of bureaucratic red tape for a husband and wife organizing a pick-up softball game, you should see what Gil and Mimi have to go through to have sex. They can’t even get to third base without twenty pages of forms and a notary public.” –jroggs

“Billy’s expression disturbs me. He doesn’t have a smug smile that indicates ‘I just successfully hurt my sister,’ or a furrowed brow or frown that indicates ‘I’m going to get in trouble’ or (ha ha) ‘I hope my sister is OK.’ His perfectly neutral mouth and raised eyebrows of curiosity read as ‘So these humans are upset when pain is inflicted on them. I shall store this information away for later use.’” –matt w

“If Billy had farted, then the half-assed wordplay would have actually made sense, which would be very off-brand for Family Circus. What’s very on-brand is Thel not giving a shit that those melon-headed monsters are playing basketball inside the goddamn house.” –Rosstifer

“Three demerits to random Dick Tracy guest character for bumbling his line. It should be ‘Was she a math teacher?’ ‘Yes, it all adds up.’ The judges would have also accepted ‘Was she a grammar teacher?’ ‘Yes, it all parses out’ or ‘Was she a science teacher?’ ‘Yes, just as I hypothesized.’” –Dmsilev

“If you go gallivanting around with my father searching for hidden gold, don’t even bother coming back! Unless, of course, you find it.” –BigTed

Mark Trail makes a lot more sense once you realize the characters are all reading pre-selected text off the inside of their eyeballs, Terminator-style.” –pastordan

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Mark Trail, 3/22/19

Ruh roh, looks like Mark is about to be pulled into a crazy world of adventure and vanishing gold mines! As usual the real victim in this storyline, other than whatever rented vehicles Mark is going to blow up, is Cherry, who is once again going to be separated from her husband for weeks or possibly months as he gets trapped underground of whatever. “Mark!?” she asks, incredulous, pointing at herself. “Remember me!? Your wife, Cherry!? This is my face!? This is what a human face looks like when the human that face belongs to is upset!? We talked about this!?”

Hagar the Horrible, 3/22/19

It feels weird saying this about a strip where the main characters are the perpetrators of a century-long reign of mayhem and terror taht snuffed out the nascent Carolingian renaissance and set European civilization spiraling back into a grim, dark age, but today’s Hagar the Horrible, in which one squirrel is dying, leaving its partner panicked at the prospect of imminent starvation, is pretty grim.