One of the interesting aspects of following a decades-old comic strip as it runs through its mildly lucrative paces is that you’ll start to notice all the visual and conceptual cruft that is kept in place for reasons nobody can really remember. For instance, once upon a time, a prominently cleft chin à la Cary Grant or Rock Hudson was sort of a stereotypical marker of an especially handsome man, so naturally comically attractive Crock character Captain Preppie was outfitted with one. His chin cleft has only grown more exaggerated with time, even as society’s appreciation for cleft chins has waned, and one wonders if the artists remember what exactly that is at the end of his chin or what it signifies. At least the anatomically alarming bulbs depicted in panels one and two today are somewhat within the bounds of comic-strip stylized chins; but the two growths dangling asymmetrically off the bottom of Preppie’s jaw in panel three … well, let’s just say that they don’t speak well of the Foreign Legion’s medical care, or of the aesthetic judgement of the local ladies, who are generally depicted as being unable to get enough of the captain’s tumor-ridden face.
Of course, you always have the option of just ignoring long-running visual features of your strip. Look, Wiley’s other leg grew back!
Mary Worth, 1/18/10
Mary Worth does nothing better than shattering our expectations for excitement and fun, but I’ve been really disappointed by the lack of drama in this bastard-son storyline so far. So, Wilbur and Kurt reconnect via the Internets, and, after a little initial awkwardness, bond over fishing and … all is well? NOT HARDLY! Look at that crazed, murderous expression on Kurt’s face in the final panel as he describes his mother’s lovers coming and going out of their lives, if you know what I mean, and I think you do! In a transparent bit of Freudianism, Kurt never got over the jealousy he felt when confronted with his mother’s sexuality as a child, and now has decided to track down every man Abby ever slept with and kill them one by one. Better start waddling for your life now, Wilbur!