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Gil Thorp, 1/7/08

One of my favorite terrible things about Gil Thorp is the way its narration boxes and exposition characters just hurl the full (and almost invariably WASPy) names of characters at you willy-nilly. I guess it’s supposed to keep you up on who’s doing what, but for me it has the opposite effect, as anyone who isn’t the main thrust of the storyline invariably gets lost in a sea of badly drawn faces. Was Grant Sanders an important player in the recently concluded football storyline? Has Bill Hawkins ever appeared in the strip before? Who the hell knows? I’m not very good with names in real life, and generally the people I encounter there don’t have facial features that move around and change shape from moment to moment. The only thing I’m sure of is that the dude at left in panel three was a prominent member of the Lollypop Guild.

Five bucks says that “Let’s get the A-Train involved here” also features prominently in Andrew Gregory’s foreplay banter.

Hi and Lois, 1/7/08

Hi is regarding his son with goggle-eyed horror not because they actually had some kind of upcoming vacation to St. Moritz — after all, this is the family whose idea of a dream trip was a week in cheesy faux Old West mining town, and even that apparently drove them to the verge of bankruptcy. No, the Flagston patriarch is stunned that Chip can actually summon up a phrase in a foreign language. For obvious reasons, they had always pegged him as the dumb one, and long ago spent his college fund on trips to cheesy faux tourist attractions.

Slylock Fox, 1/7/08

I hate to sound like I’m kissing up, but today’s Slylock is really a perfect little noir vignette — and while Reynard Noir is on vacation, too! I love the look into the Rats’ depressing home, with crumbling plaster covered over with Reeky’s wanted posters. The neat stack of photocopied bill sheets on the stool and the paper cutter in the foreground remind us that counterfeiting is exactly the sort of crime that fits the manic, obsessive energy of a meth fiend like Reeky. And I love the way Mrs. Rat is sitting at her vanity in a sexy slip (no doubt it’s 95 degrees and they don’t have AC), while her loutish hubby bellows commands from the other room. If only it ran in my newspaper, I could see it in black and white as it was clearly intended to be.

Funky Winkerbean, 1/7/08

Ha! It’s Funky Winkerbean! Even the exposition is cruel!

Judge Parker, 1/8/07

“So, I masturbated into your underwear drawer. Hope you don’t mind!”