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Family Circus, 5/4/06

So why do you suppose that this panel is completely devoid of background details of any kind? And yet why is Barfy’s mangy little head poking in at the bottom of the frame, despite the fact that he’s not involved in this “joke” at all?

My theory about the first question: The utter blankness is supposed to cue us off that the Keanes live in an archetypical existentialist meaningless void — like Waiting For Godot, with more malapropisms.

My theory about the second question: Mom has grown so enraged by Billy’s awful horn-tooting that she’s trained Barfy to kill, kill, kill at sound of the first note. Thus the little hint of a smile on her face.

Can these two theories be reconciled with one another? I leave this as an exercise for the commentariat.