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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 8/14/23

Recessions are grim in a barter economy. As scarce goods are consumed or worn out, folks commence to hoardin’, losing opportunities for mutually advantageous exchange. Service exchanges could rise to fill the gap, but in a semi-literate society with poor communications infrastructure it’s hard for folks to find anyone who both can do what they want and wants what they can do (there’s an exception, but ew).

Despite his brave little smile, Snuffy is hard-hit. He is shif’less, owns nothing of value, and has no talents besides cheatin’, thievin’, an’ feudin’. King Features even took away his moonshine business! In an economic downturn, when people stop gambling, keep a closer eye on (or move in with) their chickens, and start conserving ammunition, he’s stuck. So he commandeers the Hootin’ Holler Lost’N’Found, hoping that a) someone will misplace an item of value, b) someone else will return it, and c) he can use or trade it. A precarious value chain, to be sure!

In reality, kind-hearted neighbors use the “Lost’N’Found” ruse to bring him “lost” clothing and food items—even the occasional chicken—to help the Smifs keep their heads above water, and their pride. Heartwarming, really. Everyone in the holler hopes things will get better soon, at which point Snuffy will go back to cheating, robbing, and shooting them.

Luann, 8/14/23

Aaaaaaaand jump-cut from “Pool Party” to “Gun and Bets on the Road.” Doesn’t look like they sprung for the Subaru engine conversion, does it? But hey, those rollup flatbeds charge by the mile: how far did you two get—downtown? Second base?

Blondie, 8/14/23

Are newspaper comics rushing autumn all of a sudden? First Tuesday Chik gets her pumpkin ready for Halloween and now Blondie here is hawking its precious spice. Is August so terrible? Sure it’s hot (“Dog Days,” duh) and doesn’t have any holidays, but the corn and watermelon are ripe, and it’s a great time for a lake vacation. I think these strips could learn to live a little more in the moment, is all.

Crankshaft, 8/14/23

Perestroika (перестройка) was Mikhail Gorbachev’s largely ineffective restructuring of the Soviet economy and bureaucracy. It started in May, 1985 and petered out around 1987—the first year of publication for the largely ineffective comic strip Crankshaft.

Well, that’s it for me! Stay tuned for Josh’s Triumphant Return—the elephants, trumpeters, and palanquin bearers are already warming up, and the largesse pots are brimming. I had a good time; thanks, everybody!

—Uncle Lumpy

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“Hello kids, and welcome back to World of Animals—I’m your beloved host, Carl. My goodness, it has been such a long time; let’s dig right in to those fascinating Nature Facts from the wonderful World of Animals!

Speed Bump, 8/6/23

“Say, do you ever feel taken for granted? Well, then, you just might be a turtle!

Mark Trail (panel), 8/13/23

“See what I mean? Ahem! Did you know that the Ohio River also supports snapping, spotted, painted, northern and Ouachita map, river cooter, pond slider, smooth and spiny softshell, eastern musk, Blanding’s, and box turtles? And that it wouldn’t kill you to mention a few of them?”

Shoe, 8/13/23

“Did you know that birds have vasa deferentia? It’s true!

“It’s still a bad idea to get your avian reproductive facts from Shoe, though; just sayin’.”

Arctic Circle, 8/13/23

“Did you know that squid eat mackerel? It’s true!”

“Did you also know that penguins don’t eat mackerel but do eat squid? It’s true—these guys are just waiting.”

Mary Worth (panels), 8/13/23

“If Mary Worth has taught me anything, it’s that dogs are good, but fish are delicious!”

“Hey you guys, how about a to-go box for your old pal Carl?”

That’s all for today—time to get outside and explore the wonderful World of Animals!

— Turtle Carl

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So ends the 2023 Comics Curmudgeon Summer Fundraiser! Thank you, generous readers one and all!

Blondie, 8/12/23

Herb may not be much of a neighbor, but he’s one heck of a negotiator.

Judge Parker, 8/12/23

I realize that Pavel here is being set up as a villain, but anybody who gets Sam to shut the hell up is OK in my book.

Phantom, 8/12/23

The “Death of the Phantom” story arc started way back in 2017, and said death is being strongly foreshadowed here. But hey waitaminute, you ask. Well, so do I! We’ve seen that Phantom-alias John X shows up in the Sunday strips after these events, and my Heloise-centric fantasies notwithstanding, killing off the strip’s eponymous hero seems like a stretch. So either he puts some magic Bandar powder on that through‑and‑through or they’re going to pull some Marvel-style multiverse crap, in which case I am outta here.

Sally Forth, 8/12/23

Hey, it’s been established that Ted Forth reads The Comics Curmudgeon, so why shouldn’t everybody in the strip? It would save them a lot of exposition.

We have a special guest host tomorrow! See you Monday!

—Uncle Lumpy