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Funky Winkerbean, 3/26/09

You know, I’ve gotten into a nice little groove here on this blog, but sometimes I have a crisis of faith. I wonder if my analysis gets more repetitive than the material warrants. Are the running jokes (which have their own section in this site’s Wikipedia entry!) getting overdone? Should I stop pointing out that Herb and Jamaal is ludicrously non-specific, that Marmaduke is a terrifying, all-devouring demon-thing, and that Funky Winkerbean is a black hole of bleakness and depression and cancer from which no joy or laughter can escape?

Then along come strips like this to reaffirm my central mission. For those of you not in the know, elevated PSA levels could indicate prostate cancer, and that biopsy will probably involve a scalpel in close proximity to Funky’s junk. This, naturally, is the only result that you can reasonably expect when you dare to beg God for relief from your ceaseless troubles. If there’s any consolation, it’s that Funky is a much less likable character than the last one who died of cancer here, and the strip’s admirable commitment to authenticity means that he’ll just get angrier and less pleasant as his slow march to death continues.

The dude sitting in a wheelchair a foot away from a TV blaring out grim economic news is really the strip’s pièce de résistance. Because there was a chance that you might read this and think “Hey, I don’t have cancer”; obviously you need to be reminded that you’ll soon be warming your hands over a trash-can fire and eating beans out of a can, probably after having become wheelchair-bound in an unrelated incident.

Dick Tracy, 3/26/09

It’s a sad day when America’s greatest comic-strip detective starts borrowing plot themes from Mary Worth, but the difference in how the two strips handle these identity theft storylines ought to be instructive. When Mary tackled it, we saw a lot of weeping and panic and forgiveness and easy-to-follow instructions from helpful experts. Dick Tracy’s take will no doubt involve weeping and panic as well, but a lot more broken bones and flayed skin, and definitely no forgiveness.

Mary Worth, 3/26/09

“Yes, the donation will be the last thing he’ll be thinking of … ever, once my plan to poison him is completed! MOO HA HA HA! Oh, wait, did I just say that part aloud?”