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Judge Parker, 1/24/07

Sometimes I like to imagine what would happen if you came from another planet or something and were given a cursory education in the usual sort of comics, with jokes and whatnot, and then you encountered a gem like today’s Judge Parker. Would you stare in horror at the third panel for hours, trying to figure how “You see, I have cancer … and the doctors are not optimistic!” might qualify as one of these “jokes” or “punchlines” you’ve heard about? Would you connect your Interstellar Space Radio to Central Command on Planet Zyvex and say, “Call off our invasion fleet! These Earth humans … they laugh at suffering and death! They find the painful passing of their old ones a source of amusement! Surely they would throw all thoughts of their own safety aside and fearlessly engage even our most deadly trained Sau’dukar Warriors in bloody combat! For Melkar’s sake, turn those ships around!

It’s not likely, I know, but I’m just saying. Judge Parker may have just saved us all from being forced to dance for the Galactic Emperor Chennux’s amusement until we dropped dead from exhaustion.

Alien invasions aside, the phrase “I’m an old woman and I’m going to die” may be the most depressing ever uttered in a comic strip, and I’m including Funky Winkerbean in that assessment. At least Funky gives you some sort of pun to cut the gloom. In fact, based on that first panel, I’m not convinced that Rachel is still alive at the moment; she looks an awful lot like Norman Bates’ taxidermied mother. Which doesn’t speak well for Abbey’s sanity. Not that anyone with that haircut could truly be called “sane.”

Beetle Bailey, 1/24/07

This Beetle Bailey storyline of barely closeted homosexuality has been winding along like a third-rate Tennessee Williams knockoff for weeks now. First Beetle finally realizes that his attempts at physical intimacy with women are a sham, then starts to subtly acknowledge his abusive relationship with an older man. Today, having finished with his beard, he’s decided to pawn her off on the village idiot.

Miss Buxley, of course, isn’t consulted about her own sex life, because she’s a pretty girl and this is Beetle Bailey, duh.

Luann, 1/24/07

To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the only way this storyline is going to make any sense is if it involves a faulty contraceptive and a time machine.

In case you haven’t been following Luann, our flat-topped adoptee is supposed to be in Iraq. Now, never having been either adopted or in a war, I may not know what I’m talking about, but I think I’d have other things on my mind if I were him.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 1/24/07

What’s it going to take to revive this painfully tedious storyline? A horribly burned, foul-mouthed, halfwit-criminal-dating meth cook? I for one am ready to take that chance.

Archie, 1/24/07

Yeah, so Jughead wants to eat Archie’s eyes. The look of stunned horror on Veronica’s face in panel two is actually pretty much justified.