Baby Blues, 12/21/21
Video is an illusion, a series of still images run in sequence so quickly that your brain can’t perceive them as individual pictures and instead smooths them together to create what appears to be movement. In animation, a smear is a trick that can heighten this sense of motion by using an individual frame that itself contains a blur or multiple still images of the moving figure. You can see some great examples here or follow this Twitter feed for more. The technique is also used in comics, sometimes to great effect! But sometimes it implies that a comic strip mom’s face is a nightmarish mass of writhing tentacles just barely contained by a protective mask, and by “protective” in this case, I don’t mean that the mask reduces transmission of the novel coronavirus, but rather that it holds back these awful and presumably slimy face-limbs from bursting out and squeezing the life out of us while we scream in terror.
Mary Worth, 12/21/21
I’m beginning to suspect that the larger point of this Mary Worth storyline is to tap into a near-universal situation: almost all of us have a loved one who is in a relationship with an obviously and objectively terrible person, and it interferes with our own friendship with them. Rather than trying to break them up, Mary implies, we should just accept that people come together for mysterious reasons of their own that we can’t understand. Which is a real cop out, considering that the reason Estelle and Wilbur got back together is because Mary told Estelle to take him back! It’s Mary Worth who’s responsible for your friend’s bad relationship decisions! Here, take this pitchfork and map to Charterstone.
There’s so much about Marvin the comic strip and Marvin the character I find objectionable, but at the top of the list, maybe even above the shitting, is when he gives the audience a smug, knowing look to accentuate some terrible punchline. “Eh?” he seems to asking us today? “Eh? Women be shopping? Sexism? Eh?”