As regular readers of this blog know, I have a cruel double standard when it comes to Newspaper Spider-Man. On the one hand, I cheerfully mock the strip’s treatment of the superheroic combat one expects to be the staple of the superhero genre, which is extremely infrequent and underwhelming when it actually happens. On the other, I actually don’t care that much about actual superheroic combat, which is why Newspaper Spider-Man is definitely my favorite superhero genre work of all time. I love it because it allows me plenty of room to follow my own personal obsessions, like the Daily Bugle’s place in the modern media landscape, and now the geopolitical situation of Subterranea! I am thrilled to learn more about how the Mole Man lost his position as ruler — did he flee a violent revolution one step ahead of the guillotine? Was there a peaceful grass-roots political movement that eventually rendered the Mole Man’s position untenable? Did he make the mistake of sharing power with an elected Parliament, which eventually voted depose him and declare Subterranea a Republic? And — why has he ended up in Los Angeles? Did the US offer him asylum in return for decades of rule marked by extremely friendly relations with ExxonMobil and a blind eye to literally Subterranean CIA black sites? Or is he just too gross for even Saudi Arabia to take in?
Six Chix, 5/30/17
Six Chix is, for better or worse, a gag-a-day comic. Each strip is a self-contained little world, and I feel like the “joke” here is too big for just one punchline out of nowhere. You really need to explore a theme like this — namely, that for two unlucky seniors a lifelong marital commitment has turned into a terrible prison in which each serves as the other’s jailor — over years using longstanding characters. It has to be earned, damn it.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/30/17
Fellas, maybe don’t laugh so vigorously and tongue-lollingly! it’s all fun and games until someone gets fatally hexed.