Rex Morgan, M.D., 4/23/23
Like all industries, the newspaper soap opera strip game is inevitably prone to jealousies and copycat moves when one strip has a true breakout moment — like, say, when a character falls to his death off a cruise ship, except it turns out that he didn’t really die, actually. Still, it’s hard to top the original, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I feel like Wilbur earned his not-death, in that we had quite a bit of lead-up involving him getting drunk, feuding with Estelle, doing the “King of the World” thing, etc. Whereas this storyline seemed to be hinting instead at some battle of wits between Rene and Hank Jr. that might eventually escalate to a battle of fists, but instead we just get Rene going from 0 to murder in a single panel, and Hank foiling said murder attempt two panels later by simply stepping out of the way, an act that can never be spun as “exciting” even if the narration box describes it with an exclamation point. Anyway, I’m not sure if Rene is actually dead or just Wilbur dead, but I do hope that either way a few hours in the bosom of the sea dissolves a lot of that spirit gum so that, when they fish him/his corpse out, his dumb chinbeard is only halfway attached.
Mary Worth, 4/23/23
Speaking of people who died, but then didn’t die, but then died a much more crushing death, which is to say a romantic and emotional death, here’s Wilbur, sob-singing his way through 1976 banger “Don’t Cry Out Loud” in front of a karaoke crowd that I assume is cringing so hard they’re sustaining internal organ damage, and then we smash cut to Dr. Ed and Estelle publicly canoodling and declaring their love for one another. It’s perfect, and now that you’ve read it, you can go do some lawn work or spring cleaning or just lie down and have a nice little Sunday nap, because all is right with the world.