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Mary Worth, 12/9/19

Say what you will about this “Wilbur & Estelle & Zak & Iris” storyline, but it keeps zagging when I expect it to zig, by which I mean I never in a million years would’ve guessed that Wilbur and Zak, both heartbroken because their ladyfriends dumped them for wholly baffling reasons (because they’re public embarrassments with serious alcohol problems who aren’t over their ex and menopause, respectively), would end up bellying up to Santa Royale’s one vaguely seedy bar together and engaging in some good old fashioned male bonding. Anyway, Zak is nursing what’s presumably a local craft beer and Wilbur’s obviously on day twelve of a scotch bender, so Wilbur having what’s Zak’s having will actually sober him up a bit, hopefully keeping him coherent enough so we hear every detail of the restraining order Estelle got against him post-boombox incident. “The Charterstone laundry room is less than 150 yards from her apartment so I haven’t been able to wash any of my clothes for weeks, Zak. Weeks!

Gil Thorp, 12/9/19

Welp, we’ve wrapped up the Chance Macy/Chet Ballard/Charlie Roh story, and, uh, it seems the football team is not headed for the playdowns, despite the revival of the bonfire this year, because we’ve just rolled right into the winter storyline, which seems to be about … a girl named Alexa, like the popular electronic assistant from Amazon, and all the other kids are making jokes about it? This seems fairly realistic, as teens are generally pretty shitty and also much less funny than they think they are, but I’m not sure it’s actually that great a basis for a months-long comics plot.

Dick Tracy, 12/9/19

You know what is a great basis for a months-long comics plot? A washed-up narcissistic old actor, whose enormous office is decorated with larger-than-life posters of himself, following up his successful production of Our Town with a wildly ill-conceived plan for stage version of Metropolis starring a woman transformed via alien DNA. This is a million times better than Steve Roper and Mike Nomad tracking down rogue carnies or whatever.

Crock, 12/9/19

I’ve always understood “entertainment center” to mean a big piece of furniture that has spots for your TV, DVD player, stereo, etc., which more or less went out of fashion when flatscreen TVs came onto the scene in the mid-to-late ’00s, and never would’ve been much of a gift item anyway. But I guess I’m overthinking this strip, where the punchline is that the real entertainment center is an old man’s dick.

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Dennis the Menace, 12/8/19

I have so many questions about what’s happening in today’s Dennis the Menace! Like, what goes on at “Club 21” that has inspired George and Martha to go out and make a night of it with the young folks? Live music? Dancing? Is there a DJ? And why is this bouncer writing something down in his little book as he ostentatiously fails to check the Wilsons’ IDs? Is that where he keeps track of the number of old fogeys who’ve been admitted to the club, making sure it doesn’t hit a critical mass that would keep young, hot people away? Finally, why are we being treated to a George and Martha Wilson excursion in which Dennis is not even present? Did someone want this? Did someone ask for this? Is the comics section’s rapidly aging readership increasingly unable to relate to children, and so Dennis is going to be gradually eased out of his own strip, replaced by the Wilsons and their septuagenarian antics?

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 12/8/19

In my heart of hearts I sincerely hope that this strip was written with Snuffy, finding himself facing yet another stint in Hootin’ Holler’s pokey, deciding to hurtle himself to his death, taking his sad-eyed stolen chicken down with him, rather than give Sheriff Tait the satisfaction of capturing him. Sadly, this Thelma and Louise-style ending of the strip was nixed by the syndicate, and so another cliff’s edge on the opposite side of the gorge was added to the last panel just before publication.

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On the Fastrack, 12/7/19

I hate to be the guy who fact-checks the punchline of a comic strip, but … oh, who am I kidding, I absolutely love to be that guy, that’s literally why I started this blog in the first place, and anyway, while wearing a helmet is of course an important safety precaution, I strongly doubt that, in an accident that removed a scooter rider’s head clean at the neck, a helmet really would’ve made much of a difference one way or another. A more appropriate depiction for the statue would’ve been of a guy with his head still attached but a really disgusting head wound, but apparently On the Fastrack, which prides itself on being the most goth syndicated comic strip in America, isn’t willing to “go there.” Sad!

Funky Winkerbean, 12/7/19

Ah, yes, who could forget the “Lord of Late,” the supervillain personification of Mopey Pete’s writer’s block who we last saw, I think, seven years ago? I know that newspaper comics have just straight up given up on trying to win new readers, but it’s absolutely wild that they’ll just throw up punchlines like “I’m sure he was a first ballot inductee into the hall of the ‘Lord of Late’” that will have a tiny percentage of obsessives nodding and saying “Right, that bit from 2012, we all remember it, great callback” and literally everyone else wondering if they’re having a stroke.