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Mark Trail, 11/17/09

Hello there, faithful readers! I think it’s been a little too long since you were last treated to the dimension-warping horror that is apparently the natural configuration of Rusty’s face when he’s excited about Sassy. So, enjoy! Take a good look at his eyes bugged out in terror! Against your better judgment, try to look down his maw, only to see darkness, infinite darkness! Watch each of his blue-black hairs rippling across his huge, bulbous head! And then maybe you’ll understand why Mark doesn’t let Rusty go to school with the other children.

Mary Worth, 11/17/09

So I’m guessing that someone over at King Features told the Mary Worth creative team to use the interweaving and ongoing Apartment 3-G storylines as a model, rather than this strip’s typical self-contained plots. The grinding of the plot-shifting gears are still loud and obvious; it’s just that we appear to be revisiting older plots rather than allowing them to vanish into Mary’s Successful Meddles file. Thus, we had “Adrian gets flim-flammed” followed by “Delilah in Charley’s sex den” followed by “Adrian’s boyfriend in a coma,” and now we’re back to Delilah again.

But! Perhaps Mary Worth needs to learn when a beloved character from the past should be revived! For instance, Adrian was a prime candidate for a plot sequel, since her previous storyline had ended with her emotionally devastated and in the process of being wooed by an unethical cop who was the son of Dr. Jeff’s secret schoolboy crush. EXCITING! When we last saw Delilah, meanwhile, she had rejected Charley’s lustful advances and was reconciling with her boring husband. We certainly don’t need to see any more of that. It’s possible that Delilah is calling to beg for advice on her compulsive need to rapidly change clothes, having somehow gone from a canary yellow number to an even more hideous salmon-colored tracksuit in just a few seconds; but more likely she’s just calling to let Mary know that she’s finally decided to embrace her womanly destiny and pop out a kid. If so, I hope for entertainment’s sake she at leasts brings the little squaller over to Charley’s no-children-allowed pad, to humiliate him further.

Blondie, 11/17/09

Most everyday objects in Blondie, like Herb’s weirdly top-heavy little car, are in a sort of boring version of the uncanny valley: while not cartoonish enough to be funny or interesting, they’re also not particularly realistic-looking if you really examine them for any length of time. I have to say, though, that in panel two pretty much nails that lonely exurban freeway off-ramp and overpass. The dark sky makes for quite an evocative scene, as these four white-collar drones head back to their identical houses, bickering in a desultory fashion about their hated jobs, in that incongruously cheery pastel car.

Family Circus, 11/17/09

Normally I’m against any and all premature expressions of the Christmas spirit, but if Dolly is humming her little tune slowly and creepily off-key while staring at Billy with that blank expression as a prelude to strangling him with a garland of tinsel, I’ll let it pass.

Marmaduke, 11/17/09

It probably shouldn’t come as any surprise that Marmaduke has harnessed the slower, plumper inhabitants of his community so as to more efficiently drag them off to his blood-drenched devouratorium. The question is, how did he get these poor damned souls to ingest the powerful tranquilizers that have made them so complaisant and easily led to their own doom?