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Judge Parker, 1/31/11

Oh my God, you guys, Judge Parker, I can’t believe I’ve been so slack in keeping you up to date on what’s happening in Judge Parker! One of this strip’s less charming M.O.s goes something like this: first it introduces a sexually attractive woman, then it makes her evil, then it destroys her, then everyone is smug about it. Apparently this is getting a bit dull, because in this latest storyline this sequence has played out entirely off-panel, as we heard a whole lot about the sexy publicity lady who was going to make Judge Emeritus Parker’s unreadable book a best-seller and also seduce him, then heard that she had been hit by a bus. And all this without us ever laying eyes on her and learning whether her breasts were ludicrously large or just very big!

Anyway, while we might not get to see our evil temptress, we will see all the rich people who rule the strip being smug about her downfall, because that is the Judge Parker version of the money shot. Look at Sam talking smugly on the phone in his hotel room! Look at Abbey trying to display a shred of human decency, but physically unable to suppress a smirk at a harlot getting her comeuppance! Aaah, that’s the stuff.

Mary Worth, 1/31/11

Say what you will about Mary Worth, but at least you can’t accuse it of presenting us with sexually attractive characters of either gender. Today’s weird diptych is a case in point. In both panels, the lavender clad ladies on the right are particularly mush-faced and deformed looking, while the orange-shirted gentlemen on the left look marginally more appealing, or at least like non-mutant humans. Thematically, though, the panels are mirror images: Dr. Jeff is making a final push to get Mary into the e-book age, while Wilbur seethes inwardly as his daughter flees the dinner table to eat in her room so she can play Angry Birds on her iPhone in peace. Look at how tightly Wilbur is squeezing his eyes shut! Is he imagining a world where Dawn loves him, and is eager to talk to him about her hopes and dreams as they share the orange spheroids he’s so lovingly prepared?

Beetle Bailey, 1/31/11

You might find it baffling that Beetle would consider a joke-telling robot an aid to America’s combat operations, but keep in mind that he’s been in the army over the course of five wars and hasn’t seen combat once, so his ideas of what would “help the war effort” might be a bit off. Also, you might find it strange that “Two young ladies met two guys” could be considered a “joke,” but remember that this is Beetle Bailey, which isn’t funny ever.

Funky Winkerbean, 1/31/11

Oh, yes, let’s introduce some other seemingly normal lady who wants to have sex with Les, that won’t be gross and distasteful at all.

Marmaduke, 1/31/11

“I think someone wants you to dig your own grave.”

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Panels from Dennis the Menace, 1/30/11

In one of his most menacing acts in recent memory, Dennis taunts a snowman about its imminent demise.

Panel from Apartment 3-G, 1/30/11

Sunday’s A3G pretty much just rehashes the past week’s action, but I like this panel because it illustrates that Lu Ann has finally found someone to date who’s dumber than she is. “Now I’m not so sure. What do you think, Lu Ann? My thinks aren’t coming out of my think-place, for some reason. Maybe if I tap at it with my thumb? Come out, thinks! Come out!”

Panel from Beetle Bailey, 1/30/11

Is that … is that supposed to be a fax machine? Have the artists behind Beetle Bailey ever seen a fax machine, or any other object that occupies real physical space?

Panel from Dick Tracy, 1/30/11

The Crimestoppers Textbook makes it seem that not giving out your personal information is just a simple matter of, you know, not giving out your personal information, but the look of total devastation on this poor sap’s face tells a different story. “Oh no, they asked for my Social Security number! I guess I have no choice but to give it to them. Soon my credit rating will be destroyed! Curse you, clever identity thieves!”

Narration box from Mary Worth, 1/30/11

If you ever find it impossible to adequately describe the heart-pounding roller coaster ride that is Mary Worth, just refer to this narration box, which pretty much encapsulates this week’s thrills in a neat package.

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Apartment 3-G, 1/29/11

It’s fun to watch Lu Ann’s high hopes for this relationship rapidly vanish. I imagine that her big dreams for a working-class guy who just up and kissed her the second time they met involved lots of hot sex and not really talking much. Now he’s whining about how he’s finally realizing at age 30 that maybe he shouldn’t live with his parents and that he’s fallen in love with some mouldering shanty in Losertown, N.J.; he also appears to be threatening to drop the L-bomb on Lu Ann, so you can see why she’s decided to fake a heart attack in the hopes that he’ll go away.

Spider-Man, 1/29/11

The Spider-Man arc just now wrapping up has been utterly delightful in its ridiculousness, but the final panel promises something even better. Perhaps, having seen up close what true love can be, Mary Jane will realize what a loser her husband is and finally dump him. How will our superhero deal with heartbreak? Presumably he’ll spend weeks moping around the house, complaining ineffectually and watching TV and … oh, wait.

Wizard of Id, 1/29/11

I once speculated that the Wizard of Id supported legislated health-care reform, but it’s now clear that the strip is taking a much more radical and troubling approach.

Family Circus, 1/29/11

Jeffy only has to ask this two more times, and if Daddy still doesn’t answer he gets to eat him!