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B.C., 4/1/14

B.C. was groundbreaking in a number of ways when it debuted in the late 1950s, but if you were born in the ’70s or ’80s, probably your chief memory of it is how it came to reflect creator Johnny Hart’s sincere and also somewhat aggressive Christianity. Hart died in 2007, with a new creative team led by Hart’s grandson taking over, and after a rough start B.C. has settled back into the groove as a perfectly serviceable legacy syndicated comic strip that will continue to extract declining revenue from the print newspaper industry until that industry inevitably collapses in the next 10 to 15 years.

Anyway, while I have no clue as to the religious convictions of the current strip creative team, the universe of B.C.’s cavemen has been free of Christianity or indeed any other identifiable religion from our own world over the past seven years. But today’s strip reveals that the characters are still subject to the whims of a capricious and cruel deity — specifically, of MASON, whose signature stands in for the ineffable godhead like the flaming Aleph of Jewish mysticism. “APRIL FOOL’S” the god-name announces, as one of its puny creations, expecting only a pleasant swim, plummets to an agonizing death, his final moments spent in confusion and terror.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 4/1/14

Meanwhile, poor Uriah the mailman, the only representative of the hated Federal government who dares to set foot in Hootin’ Holler, is about to be subject to a much more human prank. What lurks in that mailbox? An angry baby rattlesnake? A rabid raccoon? A low-grade explosive device? Whatever it is, it’s bound to be hilarious, for people who aren’t Uriah!