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Apartment 3-G, 1/31/10

Margo has been largely absent from the A3G panels of late, privately mourning the death of her fiance in her own way (which way I assume involves equal parts cocaine and fisticuffs). While Sunday installments of this strip usually just consist of recaps of the previous week’s action, today we at least get a welcome Margo cameo. Her mind clouded by grief and/or drugs, she takes the opportunity to berate Tommie for no good reason, just screaming things at her that may or may not actually be responses to anything Tommie is actually saying.

Meanwhile, Professor Papagoras, realizing the implications of his sexy affair with a pill addict, contemplates two asprin and wonders if they’ll be a gateway to the hard stuff. Will he be on the street in a few weeks, desperately seeking a connection who can supply him with some black market Nuprin?

Mark Trail, 1/31/10

Mark extols the cleverness of the fisher without really dwelling on what its plans for that adorable old porcupine are now that it’s been flipped over on its back. The Wikipedia article on the subject assures us that stories that the fisher will “scoop out [the porcupine’s] belly like a ripe melon” are exaggerated; however, actually observed behavior, in which the fisher kills the porcupine over the course of half an hour by biting it on the face, is no less unsettling. Such a scene would be inappropriate for the Sunday funnies, though it might be amusing to depict Rusty watching on and weeping in terror at the end of the gruesome process.

Judge Parker, 1/31/10

Today’s Judge Parker is pretty much all about fucking! Sam, who lived in sin with Abbey for years before she made an honest man out of him, shows further hypocrisy by fulminating about Neddy’s sexual autonomy while crowing over Rocky and Godiva re-energizing their Hollywood sham marriage out in the guest house’s bed. Meanwhile, Randy Parker has arrived at April’s, for sex. Unfortunately, his disastrous new brush cut and ill-advised decision to pair a brown jacket with a black t-shirt may mitigate against this desired outcome; April is already openly fantasizing that he had decided not to show up.

Panels from Blondie, 1/31/10

Dagwood’s odd gait, with his unnaturally low shin-to-thigh ratio and his knees perpetually bent even in situations where normal people would stand upright, is one of this strip’s most striking artistic conventions. I believe it was a commentor on this blog who suggested that Mr. Dithers at some point had Dagwood’s hamstrings cut to limit his mobility and prevent him from fleeing his sinister employer. However, in this final panel, we see that his unusual leg structure may be an evolutionary adaptation that allows him to sleep comfortably on the family’s too-short couch.

Panels from Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 1/31/10

The throwaway panels of today’s Snuffy Smith offer an explanation of the strange mixture of modern and archaic that defines the strip’s universe. At some point, perhaps several generations before the action began, the America we know was destroyed in some terrible cataclysm, possibly a nuclear war, leaving behind a ragtag, malnourished group of survivors attempting to rebuild their civilization, using their dim memory of the previous golden age as a guide. The disaster has also left its mark on the language these characters speak; just as the English language changed rapidly in the Middle Ages, when the ruling Norman aristocracy spoke French and English was used only by uneducated peasants, so too have these hardy survivors been too busy over the past decades rebuilding their smashed world to worry about the niceties of a bygone era’s grammatical rules. Thus, it’s not too surprising that the polity just beginning to arise in the aftermath of this destruction has the neologistic name of the “Newnited States”.

In unrelated news, the Smith (or “Smif,” in the new orthography) family gene pool is lousy with criminality.