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Rex Morgan, M.D., 8/16/08

I am sadly far removed from the good, honest, manly work that goes on aboard boats, so the only association I have with the phrase “cabin boy” is “teenage sexual plaything for lonely sailors.” Presumably there’s something nautical that a cabin boy would be making himself useful for, but if thirtysomething landlubber jerkface Rex Morgan could actually do something productive on board other than show off his manly chest so that Lenore and/or her crew can get their jollies, I’d love to hear it.

For Better Or For Worse, 8/16/08

Oh, also, Grandpa Jim is dying or something. I’m going to pass over the tiresome melodrama here for the moment (if he really didn’t want to spoil her day, then why did he go and have a heart attack in the middle of it?); I mostly want to comment on Uncle Phil’s creepy, glowing eyes in the next-to-last panel. Though it’s not entirely clear what they’re supposed to denote, this is a very striking effect, so much so that I immediately remembered the last time I saw it in this strip: the day that Liz and Anthony half-assedly got engaged. One can only assume that it denotes the imminent death of something wonderful and precious (e.g., Liz’s grandfather, Liz’s carefree existence as a human being who thinks and feels).

Marvin, 8/16/08

Here’s a question that has puzzled generations of professional humorists. Imagine that you have a terrible, terrible joke. This joke has nothing to do with the interests or concerns of babies. If that joke were stretched out over three panels, and thought-ballooned by three near-identical drawings of a heavy-lidded, sullen, unlikeable infant, would it become funny, or at least less unfunny? Thanks to the bravery of this Marvin, we now know that the answer is a resounding “no”!

Dick Tracy, 8/16/08

Another philosophical conundrum: Is depicting a mangled human being, his flesh torn to ribbons by his own savage dogs, somehow acceptable for the comics pages if an onlooker makes some half-assed wordplay comparing the poor soul to a pork chop or t-bone steak of the sort that you’d see for sale in your local supermarket? Based on the absence of outraged letters demanding the removal of Dick Tracy from all newspapers everywhere, the answer is apparently “yes”!