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Mary Worth, 12/20/09

Wilbur is reacting to the revelation that he may have sired a young person named “Kurt” in a way totally at variance with the way in which a normal human would respond, which I guess is another way of saying that he’s reacting exactly like a Mary Worth character would respond. He seems to be treating the possibility that he has an unknown son not as a shocking revelation or a potential scam, but rather as part of the unpleasant memories of his college years. “You know, once I graduated, I never really wanted to revisit that part of my life — the drugs, the embarrassing politics, the creation of other human beings using my naughty bits, my obsession with prog rock…”

Marvin, 12/20/09

Today’s Marvin is another strip whose entire tone is changed by the throwaway panel in the top row. Without it, we have a simple, tragic story about a young boy whose selfless gift to Santa was pillaged by a greedy dog. But with those panels in place, we know that Marvin himself stole those cookies, and thus his moral indignation at this little drama’s denouement must be seen as rather ironic.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/20/09

This is pretty much a near-perfect Rex Morgan, M.D., containing as it does June wildly oscillating between supercilious rage and mortifying self-doubt, a groggy Rex desperately trying to soothe his wife and so he can get some sleep but still expending enough energy to be kind of a dick about it, and copious amounts of skin and sex appeal all around. (I’m assuming that “mortifying self-doubt” is the emotion we’re supposed to be seeing in the second panel, as “face-melting” isn’t an emotion per se.) Panel three is a particularly delight both for June Morgan boob fans and aficionados of general ridiculousness, as June seems to have carefully positioned herself before waking up her husband. “Brook thinks you’re too cute for me … I mean, has she even seen my impossibly perfect breasts? I’m gonna cut her!”