The Advanced Archive found 220 posts!

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Hagar the Horrible and Hi and Lois, 3/17/22

Most people would say that the Irish Potato Famine is the worst tragedy that has befallen the Emerald Isle; an extremely not-fun fact is that the population of the island of Ireland is still 20% short of where it was in 1848. Mostly forgotten, but no doubt similarly traumatic, were the waves of Viking attacks that battered Ireland for much of the 9th and 10th century, leading to widespread death, destruction of cultural heritage, and even the establishment of short-lived Norse kingdoms that disrupted Irish political life. And sure, nobody ever accused Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC of being “woke,” but it’s truly offensive on St. Patrick’s Day for Hagar the Horrible to do a joke about some Vikings making an object of fun out of a furious and disheveled looking Gael, whose tavern they have presumably forcibly commandeered. More subtle anti-Hibernian sentiment can be found in Hi and Lois, where Hi’s drunken neighbor seems to be claiming an Irish identity, despite the fact that his name, which literally means “Stone of Thor,” is pure Norse. For shame, sir! For shame!

Curtis, 3/17/22

There was a great essay I read recently about the omnipresence of the “trauma plot” in modern storytelling, in which there’s basically a Big Reveal about a character’s Painful Past that Explains Everything about why they’re Like This. The essay specifically takes on the new movie version of Death On The Nile, in which it’s revealed (and, uh, spoilers I guess) that Poirot has (a) turned to detective work and (b) grown a silly mustache because of his suffering in the trenches during World War I, whereas Christie’s original detective watches and learns about people and what they do because that’s the sort of thing he enjoys, which is one element of what we used to call “having a personality” but doesn’t create a dramatic back story per se. This is a long way of me saying that one of the things I’ve always loved about Curtis is its cheerful sitcom sameness. Curtis perceives his dad as cheap because the family is lower-middle-class and Curtis’s ideas for how much money he as an 11-year-old should be given are unrealistic! I don’t want to know about how Greg’s beloved grandmother used to smoke and now he can’t quit because the smell reminds him of the times they stayed at her house after his dad got evicted again! I swear, if we learn a single thing about Derrick and “Onion”‘s sad home life I’m going to be furious.

Family Circus, 3/17/22

One of the conceits of the Family Circus is that Big Daddy Keane is simultaneously the patriarch of the family within the strip and also the artist and writer of the strip itself, which is why the strip occasionally gives him “time off” and “Billy (age 7)” fills in. I guess the fact that half the kids (where are the other two?) have been dumped at his mother’s means that he’s on vacation, which tracks with the complete lack of jokes this week. Like, the last couple days were just about the kids being really annoying to their grandmother’s downstairs neighbors, because they don’t understand the concept of apartment buildings? Anyway, I don’t think there’s a joke today either, but Grandma and the maintenance man are definitely fuckin’, that seems pretty obvious and the kids are right to say it.

Dick Tracy, 3/17/22

In the first draft of my commentary on yesterday’s Dick Tracy, I speculated that the villain’s name would be “Tastebud,” which I decided was too on the nose even for Dick Tracy and changed to “Tayste Budd” before I posted it. I apologize for failing to keep up with just how extremely on the nose Dick Tracy actually is.

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Blondie, 2/21/22

You all hopefully know my strong feeling on putting a hat on a hat, which is to say combining two jokes together in a way that each of them detracts from the other. Well, I am afraid that comics are at it again, in this regard! The idea of Dithers building a golden idol to himself is … well, not funny, per se, but is a perfectly acceptable joke-like Blondie punchline. Meanwhile, the thought of Dagwood’s cranky old boss becoming obsessed with 3-D printing has the potential to be actually funny, like if we really saw him getting into it, but since we don’t, this is an Elmo wants to save his bitcoin to buy a drone-level “have you heard of this technology?” joke. Anyway, two crappy hats on top of each other don’t make a good hat. Also, is that statue gold? I’m pretty sure you can’t 3-D print with gold.

Hagar the Horrible, 2/21/22

Look, Hagar, the whole thing about being a Viking is that you sail far away from your icy Nordic home and seize loot from from the wealthier and weaker kingdoms in Europe, then come back to live high on the hog. You don’t steal from petty nobles who live on the next fjord over, and this is exactly why!

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Mary Worth, 2/7/22

OK, I’ve been agitating for a while for another Toby and/or Ian storyline, so I’m hoping that today’s strip heralds a transition to a glorious Toby and/or Ian storyline and isn’t just another opportunity for someone else to react to Wilbur by chuckling “Ha ha! That’s our Wilbur!”

Assuming this is, in fact, the end Wilbur Winter and the beginning of a Cameron Springtime, I feel like we’re laying some good groundwork with this sad little birthday party for Toby, which is taking place in the Camerons’ frankly cramped living room, where the spread consists entirely of a bottle of champagne and three muffins, with the only attendees being Mary and Wilbur. I guess Wilbur and Estelle haven’t made up enough for her to be his date to this shindig, eh? Or maybe she just never cared for Toby. Either way would make perfect sense, to be honest. Too bad Toby has literally no other friends to invite! Not even anyone from the downtown art center! Overall the whole party is clearly a disaster, and that’s going to take a lot of emotional unpacking for Toby, which I anticipate that Ian will be unwilling and frankly unable to help with.

Crankshaft, 2/7/22

True old-head Crankshaft readers remember that, years ago, there were a bunch of rowdy kids on Crankshaft’s bus who he called “the rough riders,” and one day he promised to pay for their college education if they would just shut up and leave him in peace, which they did, and which he mostly forgot about until they reminded him right before they graduated, so he cashed in his retirement savings to fulfill his vow, which I guess is why he’s still driving a bus for a living despite being a million years old. Anyway, Ed’s never been what you’d call a pious man, but in light of all that I suppose it shouldn’t be too surprising to see him beseeching whatever higher power may be to please let him have some paid time off of work, just for a day or two.

Hagar the Horrible, 2/7/22

I’ve always thought it was kind of odd that there aren’t any strongly defined recurring characters in Hagar’s warband other than Lucky Eddie, but it only occurs to me now that this is maybe because they all get killed on a regular basis and he has to find new people to replace them.

Dennis the Menace, 2/7/21

TIRED: Ha, that Dennis sure is a menace! Why won’t he leave poor Mr. Wilson in peace?