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Beetle Bailey, 4/7/20

Way back in the mists of time, like the late ’90s and early ’00s, many people looked at the Internet on primitive CRT screens that could only display 256 different colors, which gave rise to a limited “web-safe color palette” made up of shades that you could be sure all your users would see properly. I’m reasonably certain that when I first started this blog in 2004, the colorized comics from King Features still used that palette, which would explain some of the odder coloring choices, like the electric blue sports coats so beloved by the square gentlemen of my late beloved Apartment 3-G.

Anyway, I assume that the anonymous, underpaid comics colorists long ago shifted to accommodate the literally millions of distinct shades that modern monitors and touchscreen devices are capable of displaying, which is why I’ve come to the inescapable conclusion that what Cookie is serving up today isn’t a “sloppy joe” as most of us would understand it, i.e., ground beef in a dark red sauce. No, the men of Camp Swampy have their plates running with bright, red, fresh blood, its color picked out of a near-infinite spectrum to indicate that they’ve been offered the still-steaming viscera of something — or someone — who’s been freshly killed.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 4/7/20

Wow, I have to admit some deep-rooted prejudice that I wasn’t even conscious of holding: I’ve always assumed that Doc Pritchard was a flatlander who ended up in Hootin’ Holler as part of a federal rural medicine program to clear his loans from med school, or maybe he’s just lying low to avoid multiple active malpractice suits. But no, it looks like he’s actually from this place, or at least is tied to its rocky soil via kin; since he’s familiar with their down-home rural ways, that may explain why he’s cheerfully moonlighting as a large-animal vet today.

Six Chix, 4/7/20

Look, the world’s a little crazy right now, so if you have the modestly prominent platform of a day’s share in a nationally syndicated newspaper comic strip, why not use it to air out your most petty and specific grievance? Do you believe not only that deep-dish pizza is garbage, but that those assholes from Chicago don’t even really like it? Go ahead and tell the world! What are they going to do, violate “safe at home” orders to come get you?

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Pluggers, 4/6/20

A rule of classic horror, which has somewhat fallen by the wayside in this era of all-too-perfect CGI effects, is to never quite let the audience get a good look at the awful thing you’ve been hinting at all movie, because their imagination will inevitably fill in something far more terrifying than anything you could depict in practice. That’s why I respect what Pluggers has done today, allowing us to dream up our own image of what that greasy slice of pizza, which just landed cheese-side-down on this plugger’s nasty-ass floorboard and is now covered by a thick layer of matted fur speckled with gravel, will look like right before he shoves it into his greedy maw.

Gil Thorp, 4/6/20

It’s finally baseball season and we can move on from the utter snooze-fest that was the basketball plot, though we’re still in the early stages of this storyline, which is to say that Gil is just rattling off the names of various players to his compliant, favored media outlet. Still there are hints of fun to come: the outfield will feature unapologetic fraud artist Tiki Jansen and violent scissors criminal Chance Macy, so I assume that by “a lot of speed” Gil means they’ll be running a amphetamine-dealing ring from the dugout.

Dennis the Menace, 4/6/20

“He’s still sittin’ there watching it, though! Dad says old age has really turned his brain to pudding.”

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Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/5/20

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic cast the world into crisis, everyone’s been asking themselves one question: “How will Rex Morgan, M.D., the number one medical-themed newspaper comic strip, grapple with the one of the most rapidly spreading and economically devastating plagues of the past century?” And no doubt it’s a little soon when it comes to this strip’s publication lead time, but if we’re about to start a plot about a beloved old rockabilly roots country performer who became a “super-spreader,” shedding coronaviruses as he toured and personally sold merch to fans for days while asymptomatic, then I for one will be impressed. And if this plot happens to kill off Buck, one of the strip’s least appealing recurring characters, in the process? Truly a bonus!

Dustin, 4/5/20

Dustin is of course about the seemingly eternal battle between Millennials and Baby Boomers. But every once in a while, it reminds us that there is another, younger group out there, called variously “Gen Z” or “Zoomers,” and they are pissed at all of us and biding their time, and their wrath will be terrible.