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Beetle Bailey, 5/13/11

Now that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been repealed, the love between Sarge and Beetle that Dare Not Speak Its Name is no longer the most poignant human relationship in this strip. That title now belongs to the Halftracks’ marriage, aka The Love That Could Freely Speak Its Name Were It Not Cold And Dead And Shriveled Up At The Bottom Of A Ravine. At one level their relationship is fairly simple: he drinks and makes doomed passes at younger, prettier women, she nags him, and neither of them would think about leaving the other because what else is there in life but this? And yet within these basic parameters, endless permutations of pain and hatred are possible.

Today’s skirmish is particularly amazing. Can you imagine the trouble Mrs. Halftrack must have gone through to have an enormous liquor bottle custom made? The expense? The meticulous attention to detail needed to get label just right? Not to mention the hours and money spent pouring gallon after gallon of scotch into the thing. And yet, by the way her expression of feigned helplessness in panel one smoothly transforms into a hardened glare in panel two, we can tell that every minute and dollar was absolutely worth it, just to rub her anger in the pathetic old drunk’s face. Good luck moving it out of the living room where your guests can see it! Oh, wait, you don’t have guests, because nobody likes either of you.

Funk Winkerbean, 5/13/11

Uh, Summer is aware that Les’s book is about her mother’s slow, agonizing death, right? Or maybe she knows how Hollywood works and realizes that by the time Lisa’s Story hits theaters in three years or so, it will be about a sexy, ruthless secret agent dedicated to tracking down and capturing a terrorist mastermind code-named “Cancer.”

Mark Trail, 5/13/11

“Yes, it’s wholly possible that John is a dangerous armed lunatic! That’s why I’m going to let you walk six feet in front of me, Andy. Try not to get shot or fall into any pits or whatever!”