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Gil Thorp, 7/8/10

“Oh, hey,” you are almost certainly saying, “What’s going in Gil Thorp?” (Yes, you are definitely saying this, in your minds, don’t try to deny it to me, I know you too well.) Well, Milford’s star pitcher Slim Chance’s band got the “chance” to open for their alt-country heroes, Backyard Tire Fire (they are a real band who actually exists, and who apparently have spent some extremely ill-conceived product placement money), which gig happened the day before Slim was supposed to start in the team’s opening game of the playdowns, but the team van broke down on the way home, and Slim had to take a cab the last 150 miles, and he arrived just as the third inning was starting, ready to be the hero…

…and he lost, terribly. This is one of the reasons why I like Gil Thorp. It isn’t afraid to have plots that fly in the face of the sort of narrative arcs you’d expect! This is especially the case when such contrarian plotting ends with the Mudlarks having their hopes and dreams ground to dust.

Beetle Bailey, 7/8/10

The soldiers at Camp Swampy have any number of good reasons to hate and loathe Sgt. Snorkel (mostly involving their relentless physical abuse at his hands), but it does seem kind of cruel of them to mock the broken shell of a man that he’s become, thanks to his harrowing food addiction. “Oh, God, a delicious brown blob of some sort, right there on my tie … uh, it doesn’t count if I don’t use my hands, right? Come on, tongue…”

B.C., 7/8/10

There are a lot of puzzling concepts in today’s B.C., but let’s start with the most obvious: the phone, built into the tree. I guess much of the visual humor of the strip comes from putting modern things in ancient settings, but the tree-phone is a really baffling mishmosh. I mean, I get why you have to build it into a natural feature, I suppose, but why do the phone-parts look like they’re from the early 20th century? “Oh, they’re in caveman times, so it would make much more sense to have a phone that’s from 9,900 years in the future rather than 10,000 years in the future.”

Then there’s the question of whose phone-tree this is. The Cute Chick and the Fat Broad (gah, I know their names, their terrible, offensive names) just seem to be casually strolling by it when it rings. In this primitive era, did people not “own” phones per se, but rather just answer the ones that were scattered around the landscape, or, if they were feeling sassy, pick one up and dial a number at random, then start talking dirty to whoever picks up at the other end?

Mark Trail, 7/8/10

In addition to having a mustache and threatening cute animals, our current Mark Trail villain appears to be a dirty communist, or at least that’s my assumption based on his complete inability to understand basic market economics. Sassy only has value as a beloved pet to a lonely, malformed orphan boy; but the baddie’s “What he’s offering may not be enough” implies, wrongly, that there is some kind of market demand for this irritating, mewling pup. Someone is about to be very disappointed by the results of an eBay auction.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 7/8/10

With Toots and Brook’s problems solved by a little TLC and karate, we can at last move on to the next plot, which should be hilarious, as we find out how Rex’s “be a supercilious dick to everyone” bedside manner works out when he has to drop the c-bomb on the mayor. Whether you’re powerful and influential, or have a serious illness, or both, Rex will be a jerk about it, and by “it” I mean “pretty much everything.”