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Gasoline Alley, 10/1/20

A thing I often wonder when reading Gasoline Alley is, “Who is this for?” Like, are we meant to identify with its cast of stylized mid-century rustics and diner denizens? Are meant to laugh at them? Are we meant recognize them as a faint echo of a time almost gone from living memory now? Should we be reading the footnote in today’s second panel and thinking “Ah yes, I there was once a time when a real American would refuse a latinate word like instrument and instead simply call these music-producing boxes what they are, and that time was better than the corrupt era in which we now live”? Or are we supposed to be thinking “A music box is the thing with a ballet dancer on top that you wind up, what an absolute bunch of morons these guys are, I certainly hope they get sent back to prison?”

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 10/1/20

Meanwhile — and I say this not on the basis of any insider industry knowledge, just a gut feeling — Barney Google and Snuffy Smith feels, well, more established. More sure of itself. Who is Snuffy Smith for? Well, at some point it was for people who enjoyed the Depression-era vogue for cruel jokes about hillbillies, but those people are all dead now, so it’s actually just for people who enjoy, or at least cannot imagine a world without, Sniffy Smith. And so it gets to do what it wants. If it wants to do a strip about starving hillbilly babies turning to cannibalism, can it do it? Sure. Why not? It has nothing to prove and nothing to lose.