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Gil Thorp, 12/20/09

OH MY GOODNESS! It turns out that Valerie hooked up with the slightly cross-eyed band geek that Jamaar paid to keep tabs on Valerie, in a turn of events that could only be predicted by anyone who has ever had even rudimentary experience with narrative of any sort. Now, since I’m a slightly lazy-eyed former band geek myself, I’m a fan of band geeks finding love with Amazonian girl jocks, but I’m an even bigger fan of things not turning out as you’d expect in Gil Thorp, so I’m hoping that Valerie has merely turned the tables on Jamaar and is just paying Deion to pretend to be her boyfriend. That would explain why he’s rubbing his face ecstatically against her hand in panel two, as if this is a singular, unique experience that he wants to treasure every second of, while she just glowers meaningfully at Jamaar. Thus, the unseen dialogue: “I think we finally did it — we made ‘the Ghost’ disappear! Here’s $50. Never talk to me again.”

Dick Tracy, 12/19/09

Say what you will about Dick Tracy, but the art will never fail to baffle and delight. Today we learn that the enormous, bleak entry plaza to this concert hall is just part of a larger modernist architectural horrorshow, with the nightmarish structure apparently being topped by a rotating restaurant, or perhaps an attacking UFO. In panel two, we’re reminded that Dick Tracy never phones it in when it comes to shocking violence; while another, lesser strip might simply depict an enraged father strangling his son, here we see our crazed elder longhair attempting to literally rip off his son’s face. Finally, panel three offers a curious juxtaposition between Tess’s dialogue and facial expression, unless we’re meant to understand that she finds ingesting copious amounts of cocaine “peaceful.”

Beetle Bailey, 12/19/09

More proof that the soldiers of Camp Swampy really do represent the military’s dregs: they can’t even maintain interested consciousness when being instructed on the use of what looks to be some kind of terrifying futuristic radioactive death ray.