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Crock, 7/6/09

When you have a narrative form like a syndicated comic strip that runs on and on for decades, there are some interesting results. For instance, there may be features of your strip’s universe that made some sort of sense, or were at least explained, at the time of their introduction, but which have either slowly mutated with time or had all knowledge of their significance lost, and whose existence today is taken as a given by all concerned despite their baffling nature. Take, for instance, today’s Crock. Obviously the presence of tiny hotboxes just outside the Legion’s fort, in which prisoners condemned for some forgotten crime sit hunched over day after day for years, slowly going mad from the hot sun and the isolation, is easily parsed. But why exactly are the sides of these portable torture chambers marked with giant keyholes? Wouldn’t the key required to operate such a lock be over three feet long? Wouldn’t the mechanism for such a lock intrude onto the prisoner’s already miniscule living space? Is it perhaps not a real lock at all, but just some sort of symbol of the State’s ability to imprison on a whim, and indefinitely? Perhaps this reminds the cook of his complicity in the workings of this monstrous dictatorship, which would explain his otherwise baffling anger at having to walk approximately five feet outside to dump some greyish glop into the prisoner’s bowl.

Gil Thorp, 7/6/09

Oh, Gil, if you’re going to openly acknowledge what I asserted last week — that summertime is for wackiness in Gil Thorp — then you’d better be prepared to follow through on your promise, or you’ll just break my heart all the more. Gil having lunch with vintage clothing aficionado and former teen hobo Ted Pearse is a good start; having some kind of gangland shooting happen right outside the Thorps’ front door (involving Marty Moon? please?) is even better.

Mary Worth, 7/6/09

You know, every once in a while even Mary Worth can surprise me. For instance, yesterday I could have only thought of two possible outcomes to Mary’s weeks-long attempt to browbeat Delilah back into her loveless marriage: acquiescence or suicide. Never did I imagine that she had the strength of will to shrug off the onslaught, put on her sexiest/most insane halter top-yellow fishnets combo, and go cruising the Charterstone grounds for all her ex-boyfriends, determined to rip their stripey shirts off and have her way with them right there on the concrete (which is already cracking only a few years after it was poured, thanks to Mary’s insistence that they go with the lowest bidder). Mary looks like she’s having a stroke in the second panel, and why wouldn’t she: she’s discovered someone immune to her meddling powers! I’m surprised she isn’t just melting into a puddle.