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Dick Tracy, 11/29/23

The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I stayed on campus to do an independent study and worked part time at the library in their book repair lab. While I didn’t get to handle rare books like Dick Tracy’s sinister bibliophile/stab maniac X. Libris, I did learn how to handle the various tools of the trade to get more prosaic volumes back on the shelves, including some knives and knife-like implements. Did I become enough of an “expert” in this “work” to neatly stab someone through the ribs, killing them instantly? No, no I did not, and frankly I kind of resent that.

Hi and Lois, 11/29/23

When Winnie-the-Pooh got his head stuck in the honey jar, it was of course of a matter of fairly serious import to Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, although it was obviously quite funny to those of us who read and enjoyed his adventures. The Flagstons seem to occupy an intermediary space, one in which they take on the role of both the observed and the observer, simultaneously laughing at the antics of others while engaging in antics of their own that discomfit them and amuse us. What would our own predicaments look like from an outside vantage point, if our lives were grist for narrative? Would episodes of anxiety and irritation elicit cruel laughter, rather than sympathy? Something to think about, the next time you get your head stuck in a jar of some sort.

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Dennis the Menace, 11/28/23

I guess the joke here is that Dennis is too stupid to know what “Uncle Sam” means, and has mistaken this metonym for America and the federal government for one of Mr. Wilson’s actual uncles, and thinks maybe the whole financial system is based on avuncular largess? This would work better if we already knew that “Uncle Charlie” is a real uncle in his family, and who knows, maybe there was a panel published sometime in the last 62 years that establishes this, but I’m reasonably sure that when it comes to Dennis the Menace Lore Knowers I’m in the top 5%, so if this is news to me, it probably is to most other people as well.

Blondie, 11/28/23

I think this strip does a pretty good job of capturing the energy of being trapped in a small, enclosed space with a crank (and for once, Dagwood is not the crank). I particularly like the way this guy’s waving his wallet around, as if that proves something about his wife’s spending. Clearing out your bank account has nothing to do with how much cash is in your wallet, my friend! Money’s all just numbers in a computer now, for the most part. You clearly have even less of a grasp on your financial situation than you think!

Mary Worth, 11/28/23

Speaking of being trapped in a small, enclosed space with someone, Kitty and Keith are trapped in a small, enclosed space (Keith’s Jeep) romantically, as Kitty’s ride back from the stables conveniently ditched her so Keith has to give her a ride home. They’re belting out Stevie Wonders’s 1984 hit, “Love Light in Flight,” and are definitely going to fool around when they get back to Kitty’s place, which is big news for those who are rooting for these two to reconnect. I’m not one of those people — in fact, the whole prospect repulses and disgusts me — but I take seriously my mission of reporting on the comics and wanted to pass the information along to all the K/K shippers out there.

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Gil Thorp, 11/27/23

Happy postprandial Monday, all, and welcome to The Misdirect, Chapter 4 of the Barajas Era of Gil Thorp, America’s #1 newspaper comic for confusing sports action. After besting Valley Tech’s football team (I think?) by injuring one of their key players, Coach Thorp is ready to move on to basketball season, while Coach Ochoa is handing [squints] lacrosse (…?) duties. Coach Martinez, meanwhile has realized that the success of the [squints harder, eventually gives up] TBD team on the [shorthand for the TBD team’s playing surface or arena] matters less than branding, which is why he’s installed an enormous Milford/Martinez M in ominous red and black to loom over the gym, emphasizing to student-athletes and fans alike that they constitute One Team, One School, One Volk.

Pluggers, 11/27/23

Remember a million years ago, when, during a Super Bowl halftime show, Justin Timberlake tore a small piece of Janet Jackson’s outfit off, semi-revealing her breast, which was still mostly covered by an elaborate nipple ring appliance, and there were huge raging debates over whether this was intentional or a “wardrobe malfunction?” Like many incidents we all have to pretend are meaningful in some way, it sounds insane if you describe it in hindsight, but anyway, pluggers definitely remember. Pluggers remember, and to pluggers, their head is a boob and the slow work of time and decay is Justin Timberlake’s dextrous hand, about to free their head-boob for their loved ones and all of America to unexpectedly see.