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Beetle Bailey, 3/1/10

I swear I’m not making an effort to find the secret dark heart of Beetle Bailey lately; but doesn’t it just seem like the strip has just been getting kind of grim? Today’s installment appears to have been first written as an almost unspeakably bleak scenario: Beetle being dragged off by scowling MPs for treason or some terrible breach of the military law, to Fort Leavenworth or Gitmo or just a summary execution by firing squad. He weakly proclaims that it was all a mistake, he didn’t do anything, but the fact that he’s, against the grain of his usual character, put on a vaguely presentable uniform indicates that he knew the gig was up and decided to go out with a modicum of dignity. Sarge, meanwhile, can only look on in heartbroken shock. “Beetle!” he cries. “What have you done?! For the love of God, what have you done?!

Presumably the editor for this strip, after putting his or her head down on the desk and crying quietly for a bit, sent it back to Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Enterprises LLC with a scrawled note to “wacky it up a little bit, with, I dunno, some Keystone Cops or 19th century U.S. Cavalry officers or some shit like that.” Then back to the weeping.

Gil Thorp, 3/1/10

Dang, Gil Thorp, I know you’re written by jocks for jocks, but can you tone it down a little bit with the anti-nerd hate speech? You know, Coach Kaz, maybe Mr. Kessler doesn’t have the “jailbait problems” you’ve encountered because he’s an urbane, witty gentleman who exudes class and intelligence, and therefore doesn’t attract the high school girls the way your mullet does.

Mary Worth, 3/1/10

“…and he took the bottom two-thirds of my pants with him! My God, my pale, tender leg-flesh … gleaming in the bright light of day … DON’T LOOK! DON’T LOOK!”