Archive: Barney Google & Snuffy Smith

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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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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2/28/20

Sure, this seems like yet another Snuffy Smith where a forced bit of wordplay serves to remind us about how Hootin’ Holler doesn’t have the modern mores and problems of us flatlanders (frankly, if in the local dialect “trophy” can modify “wife” in such a way as to denote not that the wife is a trophy but rather possesses a trophy, Hootin’ Holler is clearly more isolated from the mainstream English-speaking world than I thought). But it also tells us something else important about the strip’s setting, which is that no institution in this lawless town can be counted on to hand out honors or benefits in a fair or meritocratic manner; rather, status is conferred by a combination of clan loyalty and open corruption.

Pluggers, 2/28/20

Sure, this seems like another panel informing us that pluggers are both different and possibly better than non-pluggers, in this case because instead of taking pictures of themselves that they think look attractive and posting them on social media, they look in the mirror to apply cosmetics in a way that they looks attractive before participating in social interactions in real life. But it also tells us something else important: that wildly prolific Pluggers contributor Reed Hoover maintains his dominance over this strip even from beyond the grave.

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Mark Trail, 2/8/20

Oh my god, “Harvey completely made up the story of a yeti ripping his leg off and actually he just had juvenile diabetes” is a so much better ending (?) to this story than I could have possibly imagined. I don’t know what I want more for Monday: Harvey digging his way out of the avalanche and yell-growling “The yeti was a METAPHOR! … a metaphor for JUVENILE DIABETES, my greatest foe!” or just a smash cut back to the cabin in Lost Forest with Mark saying “Yes, Rusty, I did see some unusual animals in Nepal!”

Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/8/20

Oh my god, I had forgotten that June mentioned Aunt Tildy had been married to a man “she called the Count, but he didn’t seem to be rich.” Shoutout to Rex Morgan for surprising me for the first time in literally years: “Andrzej and Tildy are destined to be together” seemed so obviously set up that I entirely missed “Andrzej and Tildy were together once and will be in the future, time is a flat circle, all of this has happened before and will happen again.”

Judge Parker, 2/8/20

Oh my god, what if Sophie decides to not run the campaign of her old family friend but instead puts her considerable political skills to the service of one of his rivals? From what we’ve seen of it, Alan’s campaign is focused on prison abolition and left-leaning NIMBYISM from a perspective of noblesse oblige, and I’m interested to see if his opponent, aided by Sophie’s inside information and all-around smarts, attacks him from the left (“Alan Parker should be put in jail as a class enemy”) or the right (“Alan Parker should be put in jail as an actual criminal, who broke several laws”).

Crock, 2/8/20

Not to be all “poor me” over here, as making fun of comics is something I obviously enjoy and I appreciate getting to earn part of my income from it, but let me just tell you that I read this strip and thought “Huh, I bet conditions on the plantations where they grow pepper are pretty dire, I wonder if there’s some joke to be made out of that,” and ended up opening multiple browser tabs, learning that, for instance, the bottom has fallen out of the Vietnamese pepper market, and that India attempts to protect its native pepper industry with tariffs and price controls but this has led to a a pepper smuggling pipeline from Vietnam via Sri Lanka. Meanwhile, big American companies like McCormick are investing in sustainable pepper operations, at least according to this advertorial “hosted by” The Guardian. I wasn’t really able to mine a lot of laffs out of all that, unless you count the meta-explanation of it I’m doing in this post, but I 100% guarantee that I put a lot more thought into this than was put into this joke.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2/8/20

The Smifs have lost track of their baby as he crawls through the knee-deep trash that completely covers the floor of their filthy hovel! Ha … ha?