Post Content

Funky Winkerbean, 2/22/17

The great wave of Prestige Television Dramas that started in the late ’00s often presented us with morally compromised antiheroes, like Don Draper or Walter White. These gave rise to a wave of thinkpieces on the topic of “Hmm, Rooting For These Popular Television Characters Is Actually Problematic”, followed by smug counterthinkpieces that informed us that “Oh, Were You Rooting For The Protagonists Of These TV Shows? That’s Not What The Writers Want You To Do”. The problem is that the way these narratives are structured makes it difficult for you not to root for them, now matter how bad they are as people: individual episodes and season-long arcs are about the protagonists trying to overcome obstacles; they serve as our viewpoint characters in the show’s world, and so it’s almost impossible to not want to see them succeed, if for no other reason that failure might mean an end to the pleasure of watching the show.

Anyway, anyone who wants to really work at writing an antihero protagonist that their audience will eventually turn on could do worse than read the last couple weeks of Funky Winkerbean. The title character is up against the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, perhaps the easiest bureaucracy to use as a punching bag, and yet in every single conflict he encounters, he comes off looking worse than the dead-eyed functionaries who oppose him.

Mark Trail, 2/22/17

Oh snap, it looks like Chris is travelling back to the U.S. to do a little hunting of his own … hunting the most dangerous game, i.e., Mark Trail. Since we spent all last week learning how trophy hunting in Africa is Actually Good, I’m sure we’ll see an even-handed description of how, while the majestic, wily Mark Trail is much beloved, he can be a danger to humans living near his territory and must be occasionally culled to preserve ecological balance.

Mary Worth, 2/22/17

AHHHHH PICTURE OF YOUNG MARY WITH LONG HAIR AND HOOP EARRINGS AND HER HUSBAND AHHHH! AND POSSIBLY A PICTURE OF YOUNG MARY WITH BELL-BOTTOMED JEANS ON THE NEXT PAGE??? Remember, Mary is canonically 60-something, which means that her young womanhood was spent in the in the 1970s, presumably smoking weed and listening to Led Zeppelin, which in turn means that you — yes, you — are impossibly old. Sorry, I don’t make the rules!

Dick Tracy, 2/22/17

Is your special plan to give it back to the people who the Brush and his accomplice tried to steal it from? Much as I would love to see Dick and the Spirit suddenly become dirty cops, that … that probably should be the special plan.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/22/17

Oh no! I shouldn’t have said that an old man dozing off on a plane was boring! I didn’t want it to end like this! I didn’t want any of this!

Pluggers, 2/22/17

Now that you can’t smoke indoors anymore, pluggers have had to work harder and harder as committing suicide slowly.

Post Content

Dick Tracy, 2/21/17

Ugh, OK, fine, Dick didn’t just shoot the Brush in the face, like I thought yesterday. But on the bright side, if you’re just tuning in and don’t know what the deal is with his freaky hair, you might think he just got his face blown off?

Rex Morgan, 2/21/17

Hey, let’s get re-invested in what’s going on in Rex Morgan, M.D.! [sees today’s strip is about an old man settling in to take a nap on a plane] Let’s get re-invested in what’s going on in Rex Morgan, M.D., in, like, a month or two, maybe!

Spider-Man, 2/21/17

Rocket’s been walking around on his hind legs this whole time, so strictly speaking it seems pretty clear that Ronan, the Accuser doesn’t know what a quadruped is, actually.

Mary Worth, 2/21/17

Oh, man, Mary’s going to take Iris on a magical journey to show what the world will be like if she and Zak had never met. It’ll be like It’s A Wonderful Life! Alternate-universe Santa Royale will be pretty much the same, of course; the main difference is that alternate-universe Iris still won’t know what an orgasm is.

Post Content

Blondie, 2/20/17

The Singularity is a sci-fi idea that’s bled over into futurist circles (or maybe vice-versa, I can’t remember). Basically, it’s a prediction based on the increasing rate of technological change: someone who lived in, say 100,000 BC would feel right at home in 10,000 BC, and even someone from 200 AD would be able to understand the world of 1200 AD pretty easily. But around the time of the industrial revolution, new technologies started emerging and changing society fast enough that we could see their impacts within a human lifetime, and the rate of change is increasing in disorienting ways. The Singularity is the moment when the graph spikes to infinity, when tech changes so quickly that it’s impossible for us today to understand what our society on the other side of it would look like. Maybe our minds will transcend our physical existence, or maybe we’ll be wiped out by the superintelligent machines we create. A lot of critics have poked holes in the theory, calling it “the rapture of the nerds,” and I tend to agree with them, but you can really see the underlying mechanism at work in this strip. You can tell that the idea is “it’s fun to have children tell jokes about new-fangled technology,” and the writer thinks mass emails are a new-fangled technology. Simple, right? Just nobody tell him that no eight-year-old has ever used email in their life. They’re all on … YikYak now? Is that right? Kids love YikYak?

Family Circus, 2/20/17

I guess the joke here is that … sometimes driver’s license photos are out of date? Like, probably Thel’s was taken before any of her kids were born? And they think that’s funny? Honestly the real lesson here is that these poor children, cloistered behind the barbed-wire-topped walls of the Keane Kompound, are desperately starved for any form of entertainment.

Dick Tracy, 2/20/17

Last week as Dick and the Spirit got ready to head into battle, our masked guest star demurred when Dick offered him a gun. Bad choice, Spirit! You’re over there spending all this energy wresting a bad guy to the ground while Dick just up and shot the Brush in the face!

Marvin, 2/20/17

Ha ha, it’s funny because Marvin is smug about sitting out in the snow with a diaper full of frozen urine! Jokes on you, kid: notice how we don’t see your parents anywhere? That’s because they’ve left you out there in the cold, to die!