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Gil Thorp, 2/25/08

Every once in a while Gil Thorp is seized by some sort of conviction that it is read and beloved by teenagers across the land. The reality, of course, is that its audience surely consists mostly of ironic twenty- and thirtysomething hipsters, which is why new artist Frank Bolle’s decision to draw all the teenage characters as if they were in their twenties and thirties is actually quite clever. But anyway, sometimes the strip feels a need to churn out an afterschool special style Very Special Storyline to educate and enlighten its imaginary high school aged audience. Longtime readers of this blog no doubt remember homeless high school basketball star storyline from a couple of years ago; during the period in the late ’90s and early ’00s when the strip was written by Jerry Jenkins (yes, that Jerry Jenkins), there were also plots involving abortion and a Jewish football player who wouldn’t play on the Sabbath.

Anyway, for some time now the A-Train storyline has been transparently leading up to this shocking revelation: Andrew’s been raising his little siblings alone, for some reason! I’m really looking forward to finding out the why of this, and one can only hope it involves Andrew murdering his parents with an axe. Whatever it is, it still won’t explain why he’s a spit-curled horse-faced egomaniacal jerky jerk.

Herb and Jamaal, 2/25/08

Some might see this bizarre reference to “girly-girl troopers” as more typical Herb and Jamaal nonspecificity, but I believe that instead it’s an attempt to avoid angering the Girl Scouts with any implication that they might be drug dealers. Which, frankly, is a smart move. You do not want to piss off the Girl Scouts. You’re liable to wake up with a bunch of Tagalong crumbs in your bed and a blood-red fleur-de-lys spray-painted across the front of your house.

Mark Trail, 2/25/08

WHAMMO! Another fine fist o’ justice dished out by Mark Trail! And a particularly artful one too, I must say, with his jacket billowing out manfully behind him as beardo Brice goes down in defeat. I am curious, though, about just who these Mark-allies are circling the scene in their Pan Am Clipper flying boat. They’re clearly familiar with his knuckle sandwich work, as that’s how they’ve managed to identify him from their great height. Could it be that Andy and his hastily scrawled note has already managed to reach The Community, and this is the rescue squad? Since it’s been, what, about twenty minutes since Andy fled into the woods, one would have to question why Mark’s rescuers couldn’t have simply walked there.

Apartment 3-G, 2/25/08

Woo-hoo, Jones the Beatnik is back! Ever since his first appearance, Jones has been one of A3G’s greatest supporting characters, not least because his soul patch and super-groovy vest make it easy to distinguish him from other males in the strip. Plus his appearance always presages some kind of binge on Alan’s part — another reason to root for him.

Slylock Fox, 2/25/08

Good lord, it’s another representative of the sexy Cat clan! Although Keesha spells her last name with a “K” and is apparently on the side of good (or at least on the side of victim rather than perpetrator) so perhaps she’s trying to keep her distance from Cassandra and Carla. Also, I’m not sure exactly what kind of life form the “witness” is supposed to be, but he’s clearly evolved extra-long arms and index fingers for more effective snitching.

Marvin, 2/25/08

Five days after it began, the grim death march that is “Belly Laffs” continues. So far, every single one of these priceless gems of humor has boiled down to “You know you’re pregnant when you get fat.” I can’t believe I’m writing this, but: hey, Marvin, I’ve heard that pregnant women also get weird food cravings and have morning sickness and sometimes are constipated! Perhaps you could cover some of that territory?