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Mary Worth, 12/14/09

Mary Worth’s decision to ignore the rich visual storytelling possibilities of Wilbur’s swinging past and instead present us with the soul-crushingly dull visual storytelling possibilities of Wilbur’s chair-bound present persists, to the point that I fear the whole plotline is supposed to be some deliberately reader-hostile piece of avant garde art. Today’s strip captures the electrifying moment that occurs when you get a message from someone who might be your bastard son via Facebook. Wilbur’s canny “Your mother probably would have told me if I had knocked her up” gambit has been deftly parried by a “Yeah, except maybe you did knock her up though” maneuver. In panel two, Wilbur, brow furrowed, carefully plots his next move. As a result, this panel looks like the only thing less visually interesting than somebody playing chess, which is somebody playing metaphorical chess, over the Internet.

Funky Winkerbean, 12/14/09

Now, my first thought upon reading this was “Ah ha, homophobic bullying — the next frontier of Funky Winkerbean-based misery!” But I realized upon reflection that in the Winkerverse it is no doubt literally against the law to refer to a mornin’, or day, or really any time-based interval, as “beautiful,” or to imply in any way that a moment of our existence in this world can or should be enjoyed.

Mark Trail, 12/14/09

Mary Worth may be taking a promising sex scandal story and drowning it in a bathtub full of Wilbur’s typing fingers and serious expressions, but Mark Trail is spinning a pedestrian premise — oh, no, flat tire! — into panel after panel of visual delight. Did this dude just manage to somehow hit Mark in the forehead with a wrench while gripping it from the bottom and standing behind him? Sure, why not?

It’s interesting to note that Mark’s usual total invulnerability to fisticuffs seems to be slipping. Is it possible that, despite all his “oh, it’s for the greater good” talk, Mark’s powers are useless when he’s engaged in anti-social behavior?

Crankshaft, 12/14/09

Today will go down in history as the day that the word “amphetamines” appeared in Crankshaft. I have no idea what if anything this presages, but it makes me simultaneously giddy and uneasy.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/14/09

Aw, little Sarah is learning how to be judgmental! That’s how she was raised, after all. Don’t look sheepish, girl; it’s your birthright.