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Beetle Bailey, 1/14/24

I know I spend more time thinking about the logistics of what happens in-universe in newspaper comic strips than just about anyone else, up to and including the people who write and draw them, but I gotta say I find today’s strip kind of baffling. Under what circumstances would Cookie, who has to serve hundreds of people multiple meals a day, be inconvenienced by a freezer full of easy to prepare and tasty meatballs and find himself wanting to get rid of them somehow? My guess is that the original joke was something about forcing Sarge to eat his literal garbage, but some voice of editorial sanity decided that was too gross even for this strip.

Hagar the Horrible, 1/14/24

Today’s throwaway panels actually strike me as a genuine narrative innovation in comics, showing you what happens before and after the main action of the strip. And they definitely change the vibe of things: sure, we can all get a good laugh out of Hagar finally going to jail for one of his many crimes, but it is kind of sad knowing that his wife, to whom he promised a nice meal that he planned to pay for with the proceeds of his plunder, is gradually realizing that some misfortune has befallen him and is increasingly bereft about it.

Family Circus, 1/14/24

Remember, folks: the distinctive stench of the Keane family lingers on everything they touch. It’s extremely vivid.