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Judge Parker, 1/31/18

Oh, man, I’ve dropped the ball on keeping you up to date on the doings in Judge Parker, haven’t I? Well, it seems that April busted out of prison with her dad’s help, then came to Randy’s to sweep him and Charlotte off into a life on the run with her, but he didn’t want to go, so she fled without them, after vaguely promising to be reunited with Charlotte, some day. Now we learn that as a result Randy has become a shut-in, refusing to leave his child or his home lest April come spirit her away. Far be it for me to force an emotionally devastated dad to go back to work before he’s ready, but does Randy know that the courthouse is probably the most heavily guarded structure in all of Parkerburg? He could go back to dispensing justice (presumably he’s the town’s only jurist, so suspects have been languishing in jail without trial for months while he works all this out) and Charlotte could coo adorably in the arms of the bailiff. Everybody wins!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 1/31/18

In keeping with this strip’s new hard-and-fast “no conflict whatsover” rule, I assume this court appearance will go off without a hitch, with Rex and June cementing their hold on little Johnny while his last living blood relatives look on with submissive adoration. But it’d be pretty great if they were just setting things up to snatch Johnny away in the most dramatic way possible, like showing up to object with an incredibly high-powered lawyer at the last minute, or possibly just bursting into the court room with a gang of former Special Forces troops to extract the grandchild from his kidnappers.

Mary Worth, 1/31/18

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is a tragedy, but isn’t centered on the title character, who, like Janet Leigh in Psycho, is stabbed to death about a third of the way through the play. No, the protagonist is Brutus, a decent man whose fatal flaw is that he is all too aware of his own decency, and so he allows himself to believe it when other people convince him that only he can save the Republic, and the only way to do it is to help murder his friend. Mary of course can’t be lured into Ted’s muffin scam by riches or glory — she has a comfortable pension and is the manager of her condo complex, so what more could she want in those departments? But when she’s presented with the fact that currently most of the world’s 7 billion people will live and die without ever getting to enjoy her muffins — well, you can hardly expect her to accept that sad state of affairs, can you?