The Phantom, 9/4/12
Hey, everybody, the Phantom is starting a new plot! This one’s of the type that fascinate me the most, where the strip genuinely tries to grapple with the sociopolitical realities of post-colonial Africa. In this plot, the Llongo, a tribe living in rural Bangalla, are negotiating with some businessdudes over a treasure trove of rare earth metals sitting under Llongo land. Today we learn that, like many African people, the Llongo suffered from violent attempts to expropriate their resources during the colonial era. Will the new multinational elite treat them badly in their own way? I’m guessing “yes,” since otherwise there’ll be no plot! Still, the best thing about this strip is the Phantom talking about “the law!” while putting a large book on a shelf with dozens of other volumes that look just like it, making him appear to be The Ghost-Who-Advertises-Legal-Services-On-Local-TV. No doubt he will eventually be enforcing various contract provisions and environmental regulations … with his fists.
Since Francis’s predominant personality trait is sloth, we must determine how his flailing energetically about in a backyard pool fits in with his larger plans to never do any work whatsoever if he can avoid it. Does Francis believe that if he sends this photo to Michael Phelps the swimmer will invite him to become part of his posse and possibly put him in charge of bong maintenance? Or are we seeing another side of Francis’s character — the side where he wants nothing to do with Momma in non-Momma-giving-money-to-Francis contexts — and this is an attempt to appear so aggressively deranged that Momma stops hanging out with him?
I thought at first that Jughead looked so pissed in the final panel because of his contempt for low-calorie foodstuffs, but then I decided that he rightfully believes that the terrible sub-pun he’s being forced to recite is beneath even his dignity.