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I have a pet theory that newspaper comic strip characters are dimly aware of who and what they are, and more than a little embarrassed about it. Sometimes they just flat-out admit it:

Rrrhymes with Orrrange, 9/19/10

Frankly lady, with the fashion choices, urban landscapes, and body styles on display here I wouldn’t go hatin’ on the tag.

Other strips are up front about wanting to be something — dear God anything — else:

Funky Winkerrrbean, 9/19/10

This is one of those unsettling Sunday insertions of Funky Winkerbean characters into the comic-book settings the artist would plainly rather draw. Other than Mr. Potato Head® in the big collar there, it’s a nice rendition of D.C. Comics’ Deadman volume 1 number 7 cover from November 1985. Of course, Deadman was happy about his resurrection, but then he didn’t have to go back to Westview.

You can ignore the prattle at the lower right: just another catalog of the characters’ ailments. But hey, “dead man’s singles” isn’t a real thing, so what’s it doing there in the punchline? I’m guessing it was dialed back from “sudden death” — and if I’m right, we’ve just seen something judged too bleak even for Funky Winkerbean. Cormac McCarthy, the field is yours alone!

But for real nightmare fuel, imagine coming back to life as newspaper Spider-Man:

Spiderrr-Man (panels), 9/19/10

Spidey, self-awareness is not a path you want to go down. Trust me on this one.

Avast, me hearties — happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day from the Comics Currrmudgeon!

— Cap’n Lumpy