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Dick Tracy, 3/26/19

Oh, huh, I must be losing it, because a couple weeks ago when we were introduced to a new character, a cocky local sports reporter and columnist, it had already slipped my mind that a couple weeks before that we had already been offered a glimpse of a stab-happy sports reporter! I guess this is all just some kind of intra-jock feud. Anyway, this is part of the Dick Tracy narrative M.O. in which the perp is always the most obvious person and the “drama” comes from the MCU’s dogged and violent pursuit of the that person, not any kind of clever “solving” of “crimes” or anything like that. Meanwhile, I can’t tell if “It wasn’t you, was it?” is meant to signify “Oh no, I married a murderer, how could I have been so blind?” or “Ugh, you promised you wouldn’t murder any more gym teachers, can’t you just do this one little thing for me?”

Gil Thorp, 3/26/19

I certainly all this mysterious talk of “family stuff” is referring to the Human Family, a local doomsday cult who’s been heavily recruiting Milford teenagers this year. “Well! That explains things,” says Mohawk Guy, around hour four into the Patriarch’s sermon in which he blames the failure of the Cleansing to arrive on the appointed date on the corruption of the “real” Mayan calendar by Spanish conquistadors.

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Curtis, 3/25/19

Curtis is one of those strips that spends most of its time circling around the same 10 or so jokes, and it does it with such workmanlike skill that I read and enjoy it daily even though I don’t really talk about it much here. I will say that after so many years it clearly gets tougher coming up with variations on the template, which is why I’m excited that this installment of “Barry is disgusted by Curtis mooning over Michelle” is about to take a turn into surrealistic body horror, with his intestines bursting through his OshKosh B’goshes and flailing all over the place.

Dick Tracy, 3/25/19

Well, the press has finally settled on its nickname for the serial killer who’s murdering all those teachers, and it’s … “The Teacher’s Pet”? Do … do they know this name usually signifies an affectionate relationship with a teacher? I dunno, maybe it’s OK that the newspapers are all going bankrupt.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/25/19

“I have to say, this is quite the odd coincidence, of the sort that might lay the groundwork for an intriguing storyline!”

“I can see why you might think that at first glance, but let me assure you that the actual explanation is entirely banal.”

“Oh well! I suppose I’ll just sit here facing forward in silence for the rest of the flight, then. Good luck to you!”

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Rex Morgan, M.D., 3/24/19

Oh my god, shoutout to Rex Morgan, M.D., for pulling off the first weird plot twist that I didn’t see coming a mile away in years. I’m not sure which possibility is funnier: that crude lout T.J. really is the evil half of a pair of identical twins and Rex is about to have an extremely civilized conversation with his brother on his flight home, or that T.J. was so embarrassed by his own behavior and subsequent run-in with the law that he’s made up a wildly improbable story about being someone else.

Spider-Man, 3/24/19

Whoops, you guys, I misread that article somehow and it’s actually today that’s the last day of Newspaper Spider-Man. Sorry if I made you mourn prematurely! Anyway, this is an amazing final strip, I think we can all agree. Again, there are two almost equally hilarious possibilities. One is that the ousted creative team, out of a sense of professionalism, decided to do a final strip that quickly resets the last 30+ years of continuity so that today’s strip will flow seamlessly into the coming reruns, setting aside for the moment the fact that a minute ago the Parkers were on their way to Australia. The other is that the writer and illustrator have simply come to feel as much contempt for this iteration of Spider-Man as I do, and wanted to ensure that, when the curtain closes on his universe, he’s left in a state of misery and poverty.

Mary Worth, 3/24/19

Oh my goodness, “Arthur Z” is really … beloved TV star Danny DeVito? This is quite the scandal. What will Rhea Perlman think?

Family Circus, 3/24/19

Much as I make fun of the Family Circus for blatantly rerunning cartoons, I do enjoy some of the older ones just to catch a glimpse of the ways everyday life was different 30 or 40 years ago. There are a few nuggets embedded here — that people’s dogs used to just roam freely around upscale suburban neighborhoods, for instance, or that heavy-duty wooden crates were standard moving gear. The biggest tell that this is from another age, of course, is that Dolly is sitting in this kitchen at all. “Where’s Dolly?” Thel wonders as she looks out the window. “Enh, must’ve wandered off again. She probably can’t have gotten very far — not on those stumpy little legs!”

Panels from Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 3/24/19

I know that the inhabitants of agricultural communities are more prone to be “early to bed, early to rise” types than us city folk, but it’s a little weird that Snuffy and Loweezy are all snug in bed and it’s broad daylight outside, right?