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Curtis, 1/3/12

I do need my Christmas-to-New-Year’s break from the site to recharge my comic-mocking jets, but it does always make me sad that I end up missing most of the Curtis Kwanzaa madness. For those not in the know, each Kwanzaatime (note to self: find out if “Kwanzaatime” is a word; if so, attempt to register the strip takes a break from its main characters to offer up a tale, generally set in a stylized pre-modern African locale, built around some kind of lesson. It also usually features hallucinatory madness, with bat-winged bears and giant telepathic otters and whatnot. This year’s story has been not quite that level of insane, though it has featured a protagonist so traumatically ugly that his features cannot be drawn, lest the newspaper comics readership be driven mad by the hideousness. Today it appears that we’re learning the tale’s moral: even if you are mind-warpingly ugly, people will like you if you’re rich.

Apartment 3-G, 1/3/12

Since I am now becoming as mired in nostalgia as the comics I mock, there’s nothing that thrills me more than when continuity strips bring back random minor ancillary characters from the past. Take Mim, for instance! She was Lu Ann’s teenage niece who showed up at the apartment one day after she got knocked up by some dude named Chuck and then Margo tried to sell the baby but it didn’t work and then she had the baby and that’s the last we saw of her, I’m pretty sure? Along the way we learned about Margo’s unreasoning hatred of the New York Public Library. Anyway, that was in 2005, because I’m super old, and so that baby is seven now and Mim is an adult and has shorter hair and probably has some nice comforting things to say to Lu Ann or whatever. I can’t wait!

Mark Trail, 1/3/12

The last Mark Trail adventure ended with Mark not only refusing to write about the hot story that led him (presumably on his employer’s dime) to the Canadian woods, but also erasing Kelly Welly’s camera so she couldn’t write about it either. Looks like Mark finally screwed Kelly — just not the way she wanted! Ha ha! See, because Kelly desperately wants to have sex with Mark, but he finds anything have to do with “those parts” “down there” confusing and scary.

Anyway, Mark’s line in panel two would be pretty high on the extensive list of Things Said By Characters In Mark Trail That Would Never, Ever Be Uttered By Actual Humans (Ranked In Order Of Improbability). Mark’s facial expression also strikes me as just a wee bit smug. “Tommy and his wife are struggling to scrape by on a dog-trainer’s salary in this ongoing, grinding recession! But don’t worry, honey, since I write for a print magazine aimed at outdoorspersons, we have all the money we need. I can even refuse to write articles if I want to protect the privacy of weird bear-domesticating hermit ladies!”

Crankshaft, 1/3/12

I really love the look of shock on and guilt on Pam’s face! I assume that it means that the family is in fact building a prison cell for their hated matriarch.