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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/24/08

When I first read this comic, I missed the joke, reading the dialog of the last two panels like this:

“Really? Your dad’s a traveling salesman?”

“No, just kidding! He’s just the regular kind of dad you’d find in this blighted hillbilly shantytown: a toothless, semi-literate chicken thief with no visible means of support and a terrible gambling problem! He’s never home because he’s usually in jail, or at a whorehouse!”

I did get my head around the punchline in short order, obviously, but then, because I’m a fancy east coast urban elitist (if that wasn’t obvious from my initial interpretation), I became resentful about being befuddled by a strip about rustic morons. Damn you, you clever mountain folk!

Gil Thorp, 9/24/08

You know, if Cully Vale had been caught looming menacingly over the shattered form of one of his hapless backyard wrestling victims like monstrously large defensive back (or something?) Jeff Ponczak is doing in panel two here, he’d have been put away for life. But because Jeff’s assault took place in the context of a school-sanctioned athletic competition, he gets the cheers of thousands, and everything is A-OK! Instead, it’s the third panel of today’s Gil Thorp that’s really disturbing. Let’s count the ways!

  • Jeff is gazing rapturously heavenward with the sun (or possibly the stadium lights) beaming down on his face, as if he were in a propaganda poster urging the workers and peasants to redouble their efforts to meet the goals of Stalin’s latest Five-Year Plan.
  • Some sort of terrifying bandage-wrapped hand is resting on Jeff’s shoulder, as if he were being accosted by a leper or a mummy or, worse, Spider-Man.
  • Jeff is being showered with approbation in the form of a series of epithets that reference his quarterback-tackling prowess, all of which will unfortunately force you to contemplate Jeff’s scrotum.

Mark Trail, 9/24/08

And with the arrival of a mustache, we now have this storyline’s sinister villain, in the form of the random white dude attached to the aforementioned mustache. I can’t wait until we find out that the “right people on our side” are the lawyers who have meticulously worked with state and local governments and environmental groups to get the permits necessary to drain the grassland and build something nice on the land legally owned by Mr. Mustache and Mr. Guy He’s Talking On The Phone To Who Probably Also Has A Mustache. “But, Mr. Trail, I think you’ll find that all our paperwork is in order…” “Paperwork does not impress me! You drained a friend of mine’s land’s neighboring wetlands!” *PUNCH*