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Shoe, 1/13/09

Not to wax rhapsodic about the decline of any sense of community in American life beyond the bounds of commerce, but … shouldn’t this cartoon, in which someone ambushes a baffled person behind a desk with a pointless faux koan, be taking place in a library? Isn’t the venerable reference desk the place where corny unanswerable questions are thrown at stereotyped librarians? (In this case, for instance, we could have also gone with “Why do we drive on a parkway but park in a driveway,” or any number of other stupid things that your aunt may have forwarded you from her AOL account.) My first impression was that this little scene was instead playing out at your local Enormous Chain Bookstore, because … I’m not sure why. Maybe because the books have their covers facing out whorishly, practically shouting “Buy me! Buy me!” instead of being demurely tucked spine out onto the shelves like they are in the library stacks, where you can take them out or not, doesn’t matter to us. I see upon further examination that this place-where-books-exists is actually just labelled BOOKS, so it may in fact just be the books ghetto of your local Enormous General-Purpose Chain Store, where remaindered copies of Twilight and The Purpose-Driven Life and Oprah’s Book Club picks from 2006 go to die.

Wherever it’s taking place, it sheds no light on when exactly this wizard’s (whose name in the strip I think is merely “Wizard”) status as a wizard, which was once some kind of metaphor for his prowess in computer-fixing, actually became just, you know, a wizard. Doubtless it’s another random aspect of the Shoe universe, where bird-reporters and wizard-birds fly, or drive, or live in trees, or shop in BOOKS, because whatever, why not, who cares.

Beetle Bailey, 1/13/09

Never mind for the moment that Beetle and Sarge “play for the same team” or that Sarge has a “habit” of pushing Beetle down onto the ground from behind with a hardy (W)HUMP. No, I’m more concerned about the lower half of Beetle’s body … or rather, the lack of a lower half. In panel one, Sarge has squashed everything below about mid-thigh into two-dimensional nothingness; in panel two, it all seems to have just vanished entirely. Normally I’d blame this on the colorists, but given that Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Enterprises LLC has seen fit to only provide two vaguely football-player-like blobs floating in some kind of featureless void to work with, you can hardly blame them for doing thirty seconds of desultory clicking with Photoshop’s Paint Bucket tool and then moving on in disgust.

Funky Winkerbean, 1/13/09

Oh, Bull, you and your “supportiveness” and “fairness” and “hard-working athletes.” Don’t you and your feminazi friends realize that the whole point of high school sports is so that everyone concerned can secretly view the interaction of the boys on the court/field/what have you and the girls cheering on the sidelines as some sort of elaborate mating ritual? (They will view it this way repeatedly in their minds, later, in private.) Get ready for a treatment of teenage gay panic with that extra dash of bleak that only Funky Winkerbean can provide!

Mark Trail, 1/13/09

Jeez, Cherry, I dunno, maybe she left so quickly because she got within good viewing distance of your enormous, terrifying head. I’m sure if I were confronted with the vision in panel three, and then the hairline started talking to me, I’d get the hell out of there with considerably less politeness and aplomb than Patty did.