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Gil Thorp, 1/4/12

So far this basketball season storyline has been all about the epidemic of tattoo-getting among Milford’s student-athletes at a sketchy tattoo parlor that occupies the extremely small part of the Venn diagram where “Pays rent on a downtown storefront” and “Will tattoo minors without parental permission” overlap! It promises to be the most laughably ham-handed look at serious teen issues since The Great Sexting Hilarity Of Ought-Nine. Today, Coach Kaz makes a desperate plea for sanity by pointing out that his own barbed wire tattoo is a constant embarrassment to him and everyone around him. The biggest tragedy about it is that its presence makes him conflicted about rolling up his sleeves to show off his awesome biceps, so he only does that about 60 percent of the time! But anyway, he’s neglecting an important point, which is that barbed wire tattoos are tacky and gross, while getting a tattoo of your high school’s old-school sports logo is cool. Sorry, Kaz, you’re just humiliated yourself for nothing!

Crankshaft, 1/4/12

I’m pretty sure that Rose (mother of Jeff) was introduced to Crankshaft when Crankshaft (father of Pam) accidentally became marginally likable, thus offending the strip’s core anti-old-people fanbase. I’m not sure how exactly her complaining about her new bedroom smothers out anyone’s joy, but maybe Jeff just hears “something something your mother is terrible something” and goes into his rote, dead-eyed spiel.

Hi and Lois, 1/4/12

Oh, look, Lois the Realtor was just about to close a sale — not an easy task in the wake of the housing bubble bursting — when Ditto just had to talk to her about, I don’t know, his homework or his feelings or whatever. Hope you enjoy generic mac and cheese and community college, Ditto! His sister is much more practical and cold-blooded. The sight of her narrowing her eyes and muttering “She has business to do” ought to terrify you.

Ziggy, 1/4/12

Uh oh, looks like the Ziggy’s fish is finally launching his longawaited war against the wretched air-breathers that he hates so much! I thought we had a chance, but that was before today, when we learned that the tentacled and terrible Great Old Ones were on his side.

Dick Tracy, 1/4/12

Ever since the Dick Tracy reboot, we’ve been forced to contemplate whether it’s been true to the spirit of the strip’s history, and today we have our answer. The Dick Tracy I know would never follow up “Spike Jr.’s different from most” with anything other than “and that makes him a dangerous subversive who must be neutralized.”

Archie, 1/4/12

As Archie Andrews awoke one morning after disturbing dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into an enormous insect.