Archive: Arctic Circle

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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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Judge Parker, 8/5/23

Poor Sam looks so hangdog there trying to mumble his way out of a jam. But Abbey sees the glimmer of a Business Plan, and she’s intrigued: “You … you would have paid us to kill someone? Damn, murder for hire sounds easier than running a B&B out of a horse barn, and with no cooking or messy arson! I bet April could give me some pointers!”

Rex Morgan, M.D., 8/5/23

Hey Buck: If that earworm bothers you, just put the nail back in.

Mark Trail, 8/5/23

“Nothing can distract me—except maybe my phone and these daily smash-cut scene changes! Woooo … squirrel!

Arctic Circle, 8/5/23

Part of the Comics Curmudgeon mission (Reading the Comics So You Don’t Have To) is keeping track of developments in under-the-radar strips like Arctic Circle here. For years, this strip has been sounding daily pollution and climate-change alarms, with “punchlines” never straying too far from “Ain’t It Awful?”

But that changed suddenly and without warning last week, when we started getting charming but off-message strips about singing in elevators, dogs and Frisbees, “Bears Like Ice Cream,” and such, and I wondered if the strip was having some sort of crisis. So it’s reassuring to see its return to catastrophe-themed humor, even if they had to swap out the existential threat.

Blondie, 8/5/23

I don’t know what the Blondie creative team is going for with the label on that suave lothario’s sweet turquoise crew-neck. “Thirsty’s” is a Hi and Lois brand, and it’s obviously a bar, not a sandwich joint. If those wild accusations by former franchisees of Dagwood’s Sandwich Shoppes LLC soured you on using that brand, you could at least go with “Hungry’s.”

Hi there! I’m sitting in through Monday the 14th while Josh takes a well-deserved break at scenic Undisclosed Location. Let me know at if you have any issues with the site, your subscription, or email delivery and I’ll do what I can to help.

—Uncle Lumpy

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Arctic Circle, 8/27/22

Arctic Circle boldly swerves out of its lane (preachy environmental half-jokes) directly into the oncoming traffic of toilet humor. Meanwhile back over in Marvin, Jeff and Jenny Miller return the tribute by composting their son.

Funky Winkerbean, 8/27/22

Hey, anybody remember Roland Mathews, the curly-haired “activist” hypocrite with a belligerent father and a blind spot for women’s rights? No? A solid number-three character during Funky Winkerbean‘s first year, Roland faded out during the strip’s evolution from political themes to high-school hijinx, reappearing once in 2008 for a reunion cameo (back row, second from right).

But the 50-year mark is a time for tying up loose ends, so here’s Rolanda! Will she recount the harrowing yet heartwarming details of her life’s journey? Will she at last unpack her complex issues with Roland’s old nemesis “Wicked” Wanda Waskowski, Westview’s no-nonsense sign-wielding “Girls’ Libber”? Most of all, will she deliver anything even remotely resembling a punchline?

Jury’s out on those first two.

Curtis, 8/27/22

On The Mickey Mouse Club of my longago youth, my least favorite day was Wednesday—”Anything Can Happen Day”—because, well, anything could happen. Mondays reliably delivered Fun With Music, and Thursday predictably brought in clowns, acrobats, animal acts, and circus paraphernalia. Wednesday? Total crapshoot, and very unsettling to the young psyche: these were the Cold War years, after all, and nuclear annihilation was on the table:

    Today is the day that is filled with surprises
    Nobody knows what’s gonna happen!
    Why you might wake to see the Russian missiles raining down
    Each one with several warheads to obliterate your town!
    When they hit their mark
    You will glow in the dark—
    On the Mouseketeers’ Anything-Can-Happen Day!

So it is whenever Gunk arrives from Flyspeck Island to disrupt Curtis. His current gimmick is a self-filling salad bowl backed up by a salad-bowl-replicating suitcase, so that no one need ever again want for salad, or for that matter bowls. In today’s strip, Upper Manhattan’s Big Salad cartel predictably launches a witch-hunt to protect its business. But the kindly hardware-store owner begs off, since he… wait, what? “Ma! The writers murdered that kindly hardware-store owner for no good reason!” Anything can happen: this is what it looks like, people.

Many thanks to the indispensable ComicBookHarriet over at for character histories of Roland, Wanda, and poor, dead, “I coulda been Lisa” Livinia Swenson.

–Uncle Lumpy