Dick Tracy, 11/3/09
For me, the trajectory of a Dick Tracy storyline goes something like this: first it’s interesting because it’s so hilariously wacky and surreal; then the strip refuses to in any way engage in traditional “storytelling” that “makes sense” and I get irritated and start ignoring it; then the climax, with its promise of unspeakable violence, looms, and I get interested again. In this case, obviously-guilty-from-the-beginning evil clown Mr. Pops is about to be strangled, or ripped in half, or thrown down into a tiger cage and eaten alive, by circus giant/strongman Fee Fi. While it’s true that bad guys in Dick Tracy inevitably die in agony, they generally either perish in ironic accidents while trying to escape or are killed by Dick himself. I wonder therefore about the legal issues that might arise from this act of freelance vigilantism. Or will Dick merely praise the behemoth for his perp-mangling skills? “I like the way Pops’s enormous shoes kicked in terror right before you hurled him to his death! That was a nice little flourish.”
Dagwood should not be worried about the complexity of Elmo’s sidewalk diagram here — after all, what is childhood for if not the creation of elaborate and impractical systems? No, the real issue is his concern for Dagwood’s safety. Any self-respecting American youngster ought to be over the moon with joy at the prospect of two adults running pell-mell into each other face-first and then collapsing to the sidewalk in a heap of slapstick pain. Yet Elmo is determined prevent this hilarious event from recurring. Is this the end result of a generation raised on play dates and non-violent cartoons?
Mark Trail, 11/3/09
Oh my goodness, in my recap of possible Mark Trail plot points, I completely neglected the obvious: Sassy used as gator bait! I certainly hope we continue along these lines when Rusty inevitably comes out in his pajamas to look for his mewling pup. “We may be in luck, fellows … alligators love hideous, deformed little boy meat!”