Archive: Arctic Circle

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Gil Thorp, 3/26/20

Hey, remember Gil Thorp? Comic about teen sports? Usually pretty reliably nutty? This basketball season plot, about how Chris and Alexa are both basketball players and also only a fraction of a GPA point away from one another in the race for valedictorian, has been so boring that I haven’t talked about it in a month, so here, let me catch you up: the mean bullies who have it in for Chris tried to trick him into studying off a stolen chem test, but Chris didn’t use the stolen test and Alexa exonerated him, and it turns out they only had it in for him because Chris had ignored one of the mean bullies being bullied, three years ago, and anyway Chris had already told the administration that he wanted to be co-valedictorians with Alexa before all this happened. And that’s it! Everything’s fine! Everything’s fine and all drama is over. Except: Chris’s girlfriend from another school is about to make an appearance! Will she hit it off with Alexa, or possibly Phoebe? Does she exist at all? Is she just part of Chris’s long-running lie that he “has a girlfriend” but she “goes to Mercy, in Goshen” and everyone will meet her at his “end-of-season party” and now he’s finally going to run out of room to continue the charade? Why hasn’t this been the engine of the plot for the entire basketball season instead of this extremely dull valedictorian business?

Arctic Circle, 3/26/20

My read on this strip is that the penguins of Arctic Circle and the polar bears of Arctic Circle are friends, but what if they aren’t? I can’t stop thinking about the (I assume polar bear?) hand/paw reaching in from the left of panel three. I really adds to the sense that these polar bears, being obligate carnivores, are about to follow up their unsatisfying vegan shoe snack with some delicious penguin meat, having surrounded and corralled these poor birds before tearing them to bits in a savage, bloody frenzy. And sure, real polar bears don’t hunt in packs, but they don’t drink coffee or talk either, so I think I’m not off-base in imagining some real horror in store here.

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Dustin, 2/29/20

I’ve beat this drum before, but it continues to boggle my mind that Dustin, a strip deliberately dreamed up to poke fun at the foibles of millennials, constantly goes to the well of jokes about its millennial characters’ dating life without ever even mentioning Tinder or other dating apps and instead having them go cruise for love at the local fern bar as if they were characters in Shoe. But I also feel it’s important to note that, once you get past this oddity, you get to the actual theme of these strips, which is that Dustin and Fitch, two of the recurring characters whose life the strip offers up to us to experience, are completely unfuckable, just an utterly dogshit pair of dudes who women reject literally on first sight.

Arctic Circle, 2/29/20

The whole deal with Arctic Circle is that its characters all live in the Arctic, and while I’m not sure what the tone of the strip has been over the full 12 years of its run, I can tell you that today it’s about a group of characters living in an Arctic biome completely collapsing due to climate change. This is of course always pretty grim, but today’s strip, in which it appears that a mountain of beaver corpses has been piled up in a futile attempt to hold back the tide of rising sea levels, is really something else.

Mark Trail, 2/29/20

“Normally we don’t let Rusty interact with other children because his face would frighten them, but these kids have seen all kinds of savage beasts in the forest! They’re tough! Maybe if we keep his mask strapped on tight, he can join them!”

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2/29/20



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Arctic Circle, 1/31/20

Another one of the new strips I’m reading, in addition to weird tales of stir-crazy dads, is Arctic Circle, and before you smugly say “Hey, what are these penguins doing in the Arctic,” know that their migration there is part of the bit. Anyway, the strip mostly seems to be the penguins looking on his horror as ecological collapse leads to narwhals savagely impaling each other, so it should be a hoot to follow!

Pros and Cons, 1/31/20

Pros and Cons, meanwhile, promises to extend the Law and Order model by including not just cops and prosecutors but defense attorneys and psychiatrists in its examination of the criminal justice system. Or so the King Features site would have you believe; this week features people who without that intro would read as generic white collar professionals making extremely broad social commentary in various eating and drinking establishments. Still, you can see the strip’s highbrow aspirations here: where else on the comics page will those fat cat modern architects, who greedily demand payment for the professional services they provide, get what’s coming to them? In Blondie? In Hi and Lois? I think not.

Dennis the Menace, 1/31/20

Damn, this strip is having a particularly non-menacing week. “America’s lovable late night clown prince, Jimmy Fallon, is keeping me from getting the rest I need to excel at school” isn’t quite as non-menacing as “These onions are bullying my eyes!”, but it’s pretty close.

Six Chix, 1/31/20

As a certified public transit enthusiast, I’m very glad the influential comic strip industry is weighing on one of my pet peeves. While many people who don’t routinely take transit focus on point-to-point speed, they fail to take waiting time into consideration, and often don’t see the point of funding frequent service. [low muttering] But headways low enough to allow passengers to “show up and and go” at the time of their choice [muttering grows louder, shouts of “get him off” become audible] are often more important [I am physically dragged off stage, but break free] than express service when it comes to [a net falls over me, leaving me unable to flee] the passenger exper[a single tranquilizer dart hits home and I lose consciousness]