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Spider-Man, 7/17/09

God bless the newspaper Spider-Man strip; it’s more powerful than even I could have imagined. Its ability to suck the drama and excitement out of any storyline it touches and replace it with its own imperatives — cheesy jokes, endless domestic scenes, and totally pointless, neurotic fretting about the revealing of secret identities — is truly impressive. So overwhelming is this anti-dramatic forcefield that here we have Marvel Entertainment, Inc. uber-badass Wolverine sitting with Peter and MJ at some terrible no-star restaurant and making his first-ever friends.

I seem to recall a bit in the first X-Men movie where Wolverine admitted, in an emo but manly way, that every time his claws popped out, it was painful, so naturally he’s using them here to manipulate the brown globby food slabs that he’s ordered. Look at MJ, Logan! You should cut your slabs up into blobs and eat them with a shrimp fork.

Ziggy, 7/17/09

You might think that the joke here is that a toaster is not, in fact, fun for the whole family, and thus the sign is deeply misguided. But it goes deeper: Since Ziggy has no family, and nobody loves him or ever has, he has no context for what might constitute family fun. Thus, he stares at the window display, expressionless. Is this the sort of device that families use, to enjoy themselves? He may buy it just to find out; when it fails to alleviate his soul-rending lonliness, he’ll just take it into the bathtub in an attempt to end it all that will end up failing, furthering his humiliation.

Marvin, 7/17/09

Ha ha, Marvin is going to be pecked to death, by seagulls! I take back everything bad I ever said about birds.