Say what you will about the art in Momma, but I actually appreciate the subtle shift in Francis’s facial expression between panels today. In the first, he seems genuinely excited about his new employment — sure, he hasn’t struck it rich, but it’s a job, and as perks go, free food is nothing to complain about. Everyone needs food! In the second panel, though, you can see he’s just absorbed his mother’s snarky comment, and his face is frozen in mid-smile. He’s disappointed her again. Oh, serving hamburgers isn’t good enough for Momma, huh? It’d be better if he were selling these … flat … things … seriously, what is that pile on the table? Pancakes? Has Francis rolled up a steaming hot pancake to eat with his hands? If so, I take everything I wrote above back, he deserves all the ridicule we can throw at him.
If there’s one character that epitomizes Heathcliff’s shift into increasingly aggressive whimsy, it’s the Garbage Ape. He started as a riff on one of the core assumptions of the Heathcliff universe — that real cats will eat things out of the trash sometimes, so it’d be funny if the cats of Heathcliff were really obsessed with garbage and city sanitation infrastructure, and even funnier if there were some kind of benevolent trash-related magical beast — a garbage ape, say, who delivered garbage, for whatever reason. This was … fine, not particularly funny per se, but not terrible either, but then the Garbage Ape started metastasizing, dressing up like a pilgrim, and now … this, transformed into a menacing mechanical walker, simultaneously terrifying and a violation of the intellectual property rights of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC (a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios). Why? Why did it have to be this way? How did it get to this point, where someone might think this is an image that might legitimately tickle readers’ funny bone, rather than confusing and alarming them?