As you may have noticed, many comics are earnestly pushing a pro-volunteering agenda this week, with results that range from the “so irritating that even people who like volunteering will come to view it with scorn” (Luann) to “so cynical that they seem to be actually making fun of the very concept of helping one’s fellow citizens” (Archie, Wizard of Id). Probably the best of the lot is today’s Marmaduke, in which the titular hell-beast takes some time out from burying the bones of his victims to help his serial killer neighbor prep some backyard graves.
Mark Trail, 10/21/09
You know, Mark Trail has always been kind of David Lynchian, but things seems to be accelerating this week. I missed it Monday when a word balloon clearly containing dialogue for Bob emerged from the head of Mr. Sinister Sideburns; today, the same phenomenon recurs. Is Rusty just passing the time in the swamp by practicing his ventriloquism? Is “Rusty” just one Mark’s many personalities, and panel one a brief hint of the real world of Mark Trail, in which an isolated man spends days nattering on to nobody in particular? Or is the whole universe of the strip simply collapsing, with the very identities of the various characters becoming increasingly fluid as their reality dissolves into nothingness? The last possibility would explain the ominous, world-consuming mist pooling around Mark and Rusty’s feet in the final panel.
To Westerners, one of the most striking aspects of Hindu deities is that they are portrayed with more than the usual complement of limbs. Now, most Hindus do not in fact believe that, say, Vishnu is a blue-skinned man with four arms; rather, since arms and hands are the methods that humans use to impose their will on the world, the depiction of Vishnu as four-armed represents his power, which is beyond that of mortals. The characters in Cathy are also occasionally portrayed with many arms, and by analogy I have always taken this to be metaphorical, generally representing their flailing, desperate, and ultimately fruitless attempts to control themselves or the world around them. Today, however, we learn that they are in fact literally becoming monstrous, tentacled hell-beasts — and frankly not a minute to soon when it comes to piquing my interest in future developments in this feature.
Gil Thorp, 10/21/09
So Duncan Daley has spent this fall storyline by turns refusing to drink, brooding manfully, and injuring his fellow football players in uncontrollable bursts of rage. And today, the big reveal: he’s doing it all because his brother’s in prison, which makes total sense. “Gah, I told Danny I’d be in jail in time to celebrate his birthday with him! How many people do I have to maim before they lock me up?”