For the no doubt depressingly large number of you who are biblically illiterate, the ’Shaft here is deploying a variation of the Judgement of Solomon, as described in 1 Kings 3:16-28. Two women came before King Solomon with a baby, both claiming to be its mother.
Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” The woman whose son was alive was filled with compassion for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to the first woman. Do not kill him; she is his mother.”
Interestingly, many historians see this episode, which came early in Solomon’s reign, as being a metaphor and veiled warning to his enemies. Solomon’s father was King David, who had usurped the throne from King Saul; now that David was dead, Saul’s family felt that they should rule, not Solomon. In the parable, the baby is the Kingdom of Israel, and Solomon is the false mother: he’s willing to tear the kingdom apart with civil war if his rule is challenged, so if you love the country, you should keep your mouth shut about who the legitimate ruler is.
Using this interpretation, Crankshaft clearly believes that he’s the king of everything (the strip has his name on it, after all) and that the comics belong rightfully to him. He’ll probably tear that comic book in half in front of everyone else’s horrified eyes, then take the collection home and let it decay in his moldy basement, just to be a dick. He’s like a Solomon of spite.
Mark Trail, 5/17/07
I know I keep coming back to Mark Trail this week, but I don’t know how you can expect me not to fall head-over-heels in love with this awesomely hilarious conversation. I don’t know what makes me happier: the image evoked in the first panel of Commissioner Tweedledumb and Commissioner Tweedleverydumb wearing ski masks and carrying huge bags of birdseed, flinging handfuls of the stuff around as they run around on the tarmac one step ahead of enraged TSA agents, or the description in the third panel of a hunting guide who would do “just about anything for enough money” — up to and including, one hopes, putting on a bird suit and getting run over by a Boeing 717.
Apartment 3-G, 5/17/07
Wait, are we about to find out that It Was All A Dream, the lamest, dumbest, clichéest cliché in the history of modern narrative? I think I liked it better when it didn’t make any sense.