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Mark Trail, 8/11/23

OK, so we’re retconning Mark and his Dad Happy into the February Norfolk Southern derailment in East Palestine Ohio, taking substantial liberties with the facts as we go. Mark provoked Ohio Senator Smalls (not N&S CEO Alan H. Shaw) with a couple inflammatory “isn’t it true” type questions, even implying that the derailment was intentional. Smalls escalated by accusing Mark of inciting a riot and ordered the cops to arrest him. Mark and Happy beat up a couple of the cops and are now on the lam courtesy of Rex Scorpius, his model/race driver/activist/Mom Sally, and (his? their?) sweet 1976–1981 vintage Pontiac Firebird. A little bridge-jumping, a few campfire stories, a week of Varroa mite bee colony collapse exposition, and here we are.

So assault and battery with an enhancement for assaulting a police officer for Mark and Happy, accessory after the fact for Rex and Sally, assorted traffic violations for Rex, then back to the mites. Sure hope they don’t impound the Firebird. The cops, I mean, not the mites. They’re bad, but they’re not that bad!

9 Chickweed Lane, 8/11/23

I was educated in Catholic schools before heading off to Georgetown. So I’m familiar with the mystique surrounding nuns that 9 Chickweed Lane exploited so successfully before beginning its long decline. Distant, enigmatic, and with authority drawn from God Himself, YOU DO NOT MESS WITH THE NUNS and we children all knew it.

Alas, Sister Gwen here has messed with Top Nun Sister Steven, nicknamed “Sister Caligula” by young Amos and Edda. We see Gwen “confessing” her “sin” by griping that the old bat made her feel bad. The priest “absolves” her by minimizing her offence and complaining that the old bat made him feel bad, too. Apparently nobody has any idea how this sacrament works, and they’ll all wind up in Hell, by mistake.

Gil Thorp, 8/11/23

Relationship Week continues with a little impromptu marriage counselling from Girls’ Softball Coach Cami Ochoa. Say, Gil’s getting around a lot these days, isn’t he? Bartender Bethany, mysterious airplane companions, Cami here. And we’re supposed to be worried about Mimi? But I bet Gil’s voice rose two octaves on “…FRIENDS?” watching Ericka “correct” Mimi’s “stance.”

The Wizard of Id, 8/11/23

Even without seeing his face you know that’s Bung.

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—Uncle Lumpy

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Mother Goose and Grimm, 8/10/23

The Marvin crossover we never hoped we’d see.

Gil Thorp, 8/10/23

Meanwhile it’s Relationship Week over at Gil Thorp, establishing or recapping its myriad cross‑cultural, ‑gender, ‑institutional, and other conflicts in advance of the fall season. Here, Sluggin’ Girls’ Softball right fielder Inma Rimsha and disgraced Valley Tech import hurler Kwan Tak “The Korean Nightmare” share a tender moment. Protip, Inma: if you want to win Kwan’s heart, bring a sack of Haitai Honey Butter Chips along to your next picnic. Although signs suggest his heart is as far as you’re gonna get.

Daddy Daze, 8/10/23

Gah, is there a more relentlessly wretched comics character than Paul Daze’s Goth Pal Chuck Chuck? Yes! Imagine his children, cruller-stuffed and sugar-high, rolling around their dank rooms writing abuse memoirs and plotting his murder.

Pearls Before Swine, 8/10/23

Chuck Chuck has one thing right, though: the donuts always find a way in.

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—Uncle Lumpy

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Baby Blues, 8/9/23

C’mon, Darryl, you don’t need Wren for a three-legged race; just tie a shoe on that nose.

Crankshaft, 8/9/23

They train surgeons not to say “Oops”, but Ed’s dermatologist missed the class on “Holy $#%!!”. I hope she took the Continuing Medical Education unit on “Get me the belt sander.”

Between Friends, 8/9/23

Don’t get too relaxed there, Susan—Lucky Eddie could be lurking just around the corner, looking to get lucky.

Luann, 8/9/23

It’s not unusual for authors to tire of their main character—I mean, Arthur Conan Doyle is a famous example, and look what happened to Barney Google. Judge Parker turned into Sam Driver, Action Lawyer and stayed that way for decades. Team Luann has done a lot to sideline their protagonist: shunted her off alone to Community College, gave her dweeby thrall Gunther an actual girlfriend, introduced secondary characters (Tara, Stef) with far more robust backstories, etc. So why keep Luann around? Waiting for readers to get as sick of her as her creators have? I have news: that ship is a mere dot on the far horizon.

Anyway, former hottie Tiffany is hosting a pool party at her Dad’s house (persistently and annoyingly called “the Manse”). Tiffany covets and covertly ogles Stef’s boyfriend Kip, who is staying at the pool house because of the reasons, and complains that she doesn’t have a boyfriend. But Tiffany has never had a boyfriend; her Whole Deal was that she was “popular” in the abstract, i.e., she had a world of choice but never made one. It seems pretty clear that she “wants” Kip only to shore up her sagging, um, confidence, because Kip is so dull and dimensionless he couldn’t get cast as a Ken in that Barbie movie.

Sherman’s Lagoon, 8/9/23

Your son, Herman, Megan, c’mon, get with the program.

In an echo of February’s “Chinese Spy Balloon” incident, Sherman ate a bunch of helium balloons found in a crate of derelict property that fell into Kapupu Lagoon en route to Whacko’s Party Store. The Kapupu Self-Defense Forces seem a lot more on the ball about territorial integrity than our own armed forces were, for which their reward will be a deluge of shark guts.

Josh has sworn a Blood Oath not to cover Luann. A Blood Oath. Worth more than a few bucks, wouldn’t you agree? Make a generous contribution to the Comics Curmudgeon today!

—Uncle Lumpy