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Dick Tracy, 12/14/08

Dick Tracy has moved on from the “lives shattered and corpses mangled” section of the storyline to the “valuable lessons learned” portion. Liz’s ham-handed soliloquy — “Yes, Tracy, robots have a place in police work” — sounds like the sort of self-congratulatory statement you’d hear when someone in an after-school special overcomes terrible prejudice, though in this case that prejudice is against improbable, l33t-speaking robots that despite their crime-fighting value will have only occasional appearances in future installments of this strip.

Meanwhile, in typical Dick Tracy mangled-time fashion, the final panel of the last three strips has consisted of Diet Smith offering then refusing to help Dick’s wife over the phone. This is unfortunate, because it has forced us to repeatedly look at the inventor’s grotesque baby-like face.

Beetle Bailey, 12/13/08

Say, what’s more embarrassing than having only three comics acknowledge your 90th anniversary? Having a fourth add its own feeble contribution nearly three weeks after the fact, of course! That 19-day gap is, to the best of my knowledge, shorter than the lead time for strip publication, so it’s not like Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Enterprises LLC saw those tribute strips on November 24 and suddenly lurched into action, but I can’t offer an alternative explanation for this delayed tribute. Perhaps there’s some dispute as to the actual launch date of the strip back in the mists of time, and we’ll be seeing tributes to Gasoline Alley’s continued zombie existence dribbling out over the comics pages for weeks to come.