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Rex Morgan, M.D., 7/5/22

Say, were you feeling a little on edge rolling into our four-day week? Need your nerves soothed? Well, remember how beloved (?) ancillary Rex Morgan character Andrzej was about to die of a heart attack? Turns out he just had heartburn. False alarm! Ha ha! But it’s a false alarm that Rex can definitely still bill Medicare for, so all’s well that ends well.

Gil Thorp, 7/5/22

A fun aspect of the baseball season Gil Thorp plot is it’s been all about comically blind Gregg Hamm and his media circus and we only hear in passing about how the other pitchers on the team are also doing great. Gregg (and these other, less interesting pitchers) got the team into the playdowns this year but, just in case that’s too much excitement for you: Gregg blew it and they lost in the first round. Whew! One less thing to worry about there!

Gasoline Alley, 7/5/22

I know I’m going against theme here but it may excite you to learn that some characters in Gasoline Alley are going to have some post-fireworks sex tonight. One of them is named “Boog.” Does that excite you? Or disgust you? Is disgust a kind of negative excitement? Much to think about.

Dennis the Menace, 7/5/22

Damn, Dennis, one minute you’re humiliating your dad in front of tough guys by pointing out he’s insufficiently masculine, and the next you’re humiliating him while he’s trying to fit into a masculine milieu by pointing out traditional masculinity’s violent, toxic underpinnings. It’s almost like you don’t care one way another about society’s construction of gender roles and are willing to say whatever will most efficiently ruin your father’s attempts to make friends, which is truly the most nihilistically menacing move of all.

Mary Worth, 7/5/22

Wait, would Jess “like to see more” of Jared as a romantic interest … or as a medical caregiver? Wait, it’s both, you say? That seems extremely healthy all around. Please proceed!

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Mary Worth, 7/4/22

Happy Fourth of July, everyone! Did you bake a cake for America’s birthday, like Mary did? No? Well, I guess you don’t love America enough, do you? (This sentiment still stands if Mary bought a sheet cake for America’s birthday at the supermarket, which at second glance she probably did. It’s the thought that counts!)

Dick Tracy, 7/4/22

For America’s birthday, Dick Tracy is reminding us that only AMERICA has sent manned spacecraft to the moon, where they discovered that the moon was inhabited by Moon People, one of whom, in this classic storyline, eloped with his son and Dick chased them there and then he did the extremely American thing where he’s shocked, shocked to learn that other countries (or planets) also have immigration laws and they apply to Americans. If I were in prison on the moon, I personally would want it to be an electric prison, because I’m pretty sure you need electricity to generate the oxygen I need to live, but that’s just me.

Pluggers, 7/4/22

Sorry to get political on here on the Fourth of July, everybody! Don’t get too mad at me! Reed Hoover also got political by claiming that hip-hop, an American-born art form that is one of the U.S.’s most popular cultural exports, isn’t welcome at a plugger’s Independence Day celebration. You can get mad at him all you want, but sadly it won’t do you any good.

Beetle Bailey, 7/4/22

Beetle Bailey is here to remind us that like any ideology, patriotism and nationalism are shaped by material conditions. When urging the U.S. to ease starvation in post-WWII Germany, General Lucius Clay, head of the occupying forces, famously said, “There is no choice between being a communist on 1,500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on a thousand.” The quantities here have shifted somewhat, but the point stands.

The Lockhorns, 7/4/22

The Lockhorns, meanwhile, invert the classic aphorism and make the political personal, every day. There’s no room for ideology in Leroy and Loretta’s world: everything gets crushed into interpersonal misery by the intense gravitational field of their mutual loathing.

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Panel from The Lockhorns, 7/3/22

This one gets even better when you think about the backstory. Presumably the lifeguard jumped down out of his chair and dashed off into the surf to save someone struggling out in the water. The rest of the beachgoers watch the drama, praying for a safe ending and admiring the lifeguard’s prowess. Leroy, meanwhile, sees an opportunity to do a bit. “She’s gonna hate this,” he thinks, chuckling to himself.

Dennis the Menace, 7/3/22

Alice’s look of genuine surprise in the next to last panel really makes this one for me. “Wait a minute … the stringbean arms … the scrawny legs … did I marry a nerd? Oh, no, I married a real dweebus! I can’t believe it!”

Dustin, 7/3/22

I can’t believe I’m about to type the following phrase, but I really respect today’s Dustin. A lesser strip would’ve made the kid character the butt of the joke and had him dumbfounded by metaphors, whereas instead we have him slowly realizing that everyone in this family is a jackass, not just Dustin.