Since you are all comics scholars, probably you are well aware of the Blondie origin story: Blondie was a carefree flapper girl who fell in love with Dagwood, the aimless son of a wealthy industrialist, and when the two decided to get hitched, Dagwood’s snooty family disinherited him for marrying a commoner, forcing him to get a job and become the suburban drone we know and
love feel occasional twinges of mild affection for today.
Anyway, I have this theory that one of the secrets of the strip is that Mr. Dithers is in fact Dagwood’s father, the son having defiantly changed his last name to “Bumstead,” signifying his expulsion from the Dithers family’s monied Eden. This explains a number of the strip’s anomalies: Why Mr. Dithers employs Dagwood despite the Dagwood’s obvious incompetence and Mr. Dithers’s just as obvious contempt for him; why the families occasionally socialize, awkwardly; and why Dagwood, despite his bluster and hostility, is so nakedly desperate for Dithers’s approval. There have been few scenes in the comics more heart-rending and pathetic than the last two panels of this strip, in which Dagwood collapses into his chair in exhausted happiness after receiving such a minor display of affection from his boss.
Judge Parker, 5/20/12
Ooh, we’re the opening stages of this Judge Parker storyline, so let’s use the little details we’re being given to predict how it’s all going to go down! My guess: Sam gets invited on an impromptu fishing trip, Sam turns out to be surprisingly deft at fly-casting, Sam so impresses Avery Blackstone that Avery Blackstone hands over millions of dollars of his studio’s money for the film rights to Judge Parker Emeritus’s unreadable books, because rich guys who are good at awesome hobbies need to look out for each other. It’s slightly less certain, though still decently likely, that Peaches, being a sexy lady of dusky complexion who has a difficult relationship with her boss, will turn out to be a terrorist and/or spy.
Mark Trail, 5/20/12
It’s hard to tell from Mark’s exposition whether the horrifying vision in the final panel here depicts two slugs having sex or attempting to devour one another, but either way it’s easily one of the most scarring thing I’ve seen this week. Once again, fun facts about nature reinforce my long-held philosophy of avoiding nature in all its slimy, horny and/or carnivorous glory.