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For Better Or For Worse, 12/19/06

Betting on what this smoke portends shall now commence! Here are your odds:

  • The apartment building is on fire: 2 to 1.
  • The fire was started by one of Mr. Kelpforth’s aromatic cigars: 4 to 3.
  • Mike’s horrible novel only exists in that paper manuscript and on that laptop: 3 to 2.
  • Mike must choose between saving his horrible novel and one of his horrible children: 3 to 1.
  • Mike realizes that he has two kids but only one novel: 5 to 1.
  • Mike must carry a sleeping child to safety: 2 to 1.
  • Mike must carry a sleeping Deanna to safety: 3 to 1.
  • Mike must carry a sleeping Lovey to safety: 4 to 1.
  • Mike must carry a sleeping Kelpforth or two to safety: 10 to 1.
  • Even after burning down the house and being saved by Mike, the Kelpforths are still insufferable: 4 to 1.
  • Lovey plotzes: 3 to 1.
  • Deanna’s awful mother attempts to force them to move in with her: 5 to 1.
  • Mike and Deanna actually end up back at chez Patterson while their digs are being reconstructed/they search for a new home/indefinitely: 3 to 1.
  • Friction among the siblings occurs, but the true meaning of Christmas is learned by all: Even.
  • Liz sees Mike and Deanna’s strained, child-ruined, sexless marriage and realizes that Anthony is The One: 7 to 6.
  • Mike’s manuscript is thought to be lost, but is eventually recovered miraculously on Christmas day: 3 to 1.
  • Mike’s slightly charred manuscript is snapped up by Canada’s biggest publisher and becomes an instant best-seller and critical darling: 2 to 1.
  • Mike and Deanna continue to live with his parents anyway: 5 to 1.
  • The house isn’t on fire at all; the smoke is from the massive bong hits Deanna needs to keep from murdering her husband and children: 100 to 1 (but it would be awesome.)

Slylock Fox, 12/19/06

Wow, Slylock Fox’s “six differences” is exceptionally grim this week. I wonder if earlier versions featured a cat instead of a fish, or perhaps a baby, and had to be ratcheted back a little bit so as to not traumatize all the youngsters who read this feature. Still, Mr. Jones’ look of total devastation belies the notion that this is just some cartoon fish that we don’t have to care about: it was clearly his only friend, which may explain why he’s been in denial about its deaths for the weeks it would take to skeletonize.

My favorite difference between the two panels is the rabbit’s facial expression in the background: at left, it just stares forward with numb incomprehension, while at right it gives a sidelong glance to the viewer, establishing a rapport in which both cartoon bunny and comic reader share a moment of awful comprehension of their own mortality.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/19/06

Now I know why June keeps up this loveless sham of a marriage with Rex: he’s such a colossal prick that she actually seems to be capable of a shred of empathy by comparison.

Mark Trail, 12/19/06

Yes, the beavers are excited about being with each other. I could not make this stuff up if I tried.