Archive: Barney Google & Snuffy Smith

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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/20/17

Times may be tough for newspapers elsewhere, but in largely illiterate Hootin’ Holler the editor of the Gazette is settin’ purdy. Not only did the recent subscription drive vastly expand the paper’s distribution area, but judging from the contents of Jughaid’s satchel, it also raised circulation a solid 50%. Far away in the flatland of Tysons Corner Virginia, a Gannett regional manager selects Bowtie McPencil for the quarterly sales award and a shot at the President’s Club cruise to Barbados.

Judge Parker, 9/20/17

Oh look, it’s chesty newsminx Toni Bowen from the factory-collapse story, and she’s going to save her national-desk job with an exclusive scoop of April’s video!

But hey waitaminute it was Sam holding April’s SD card — how and when did Toni meet him? He wasn’t at the factory collapse, so it must have been later, during his paranoid yarn-on-the-bulletin-board period? Or when he sent her all those nasty emails? She certainly doesn’t know April, even to look at. So Toni is staking her career, and making an enemy of the CIA, based on an unverifiable video sent by a guy she knows only as a belligerent raving lunatic. Cynical, streetwise career move, or first step on the way back to covering mall openings and/or extraordinary rendition?

Haha Randy’s lampshade looks like a Disney elephant huddle.

Mark Trail, 9/20/17

And now we arrive, as ever we must in Mark Trail stories, at the Bear in the Cave. But in truth, faithful readers, the Bear sleeps within us all. In our deepest Cave, far beneath our civilized façade, out of sight or even waking awareness — but angry when roused, and eager to strike. Consider then what great Bear must slumber within Mark Trail: a mountain of an animal, primitive, grizzly, and possessed of Biblical strength.

Asleep through countless months of slights, insults, and indignities by Baldy and his accomplice, through the endless ride across the great prairie, through fistfights, thunderstorms, and tornadoes, Mark’s Bear now stirs — beware his mighty paw! He will not be stayed by the facile trick-riding of Johnny Lone Elk, nor beguiled by the candy and Barry White CDs in Sheriff Don Stober’s saddlebags. No weapon can wound him. He plods upward, consumed with rage and thirsty for blood. O Baldy! You have wronged a Man of Nature; now tremble at Nature’s wrath!

I’m fully prepared to accept that Lone Elk, Stober, and Samson embody the ego, superego, and id, and that we’re entering a new, metaphysical phase of the Mark Trail mythos — one in which the mere idea of Mark Trail conquers evildoers. But I’m gonna miss the fistfights.

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Mark Trail, 9/13/17

Now look, folks, I’m just a simple city boy. I’m used to God’s honest American landscape, where you never have to walk more than 10 minutes to get to a bus stop and you can get Thai delivery anywhere. So forgive me if I’m a little naive about how things work out in the countryside. But … when there’s a tornado coming, it doesn’t affect horses more strongly than other creatures or objects, right? It doesn’t pull them upright with mysterious force and leave humans standing around just feet away unaffected? Horses don’t stand on their hind legs in mysterious circles, whinnying up to their Wind God to take them up to the Sky Pasture before smiting the earth and the Saddling Ones upon it with His mighty hoof? That’s … not a thing that happens, right?

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/13/17

Lukey claims Elviney’s going to give him the business about spending the day goofing off. I think he’s honestly more worried that, once again, she’s going to make him feel like a fool by gently reminding him that, in order to catch fish, you have to actually cast your line into the water, not out into the bushes in the complete opposite direction.

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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/2/17

Usually Snuffy’s brushes with the law are depicted with the same jocular gloss as the rest of Hootin’ Holler’s dysfunctional culture. The crimes are generally relatively low-impact stuff like bootlegging and chicken thievery, and Snuffy goes to jail for a few days and there’s tongue-lolling hilarity all around. Today … today is different. The Holler’s judge, the only real representative of outside authority in this lawless community, looks genuinely horrified by the case he’s just finished presiding over: has his previous indulgent attitude led to this? Even Snuffy and Loweezy look like they’re suffering true shame. My assumption is that the generations-old Smif-Barlow fued finally escalated to the point where Sheriff Tate stumbled upon a ramshackle cabin on the creek where Barlow corpses were stacked like cordwood.

Spider-Man, 9/2/17

Wait, Kala and Mole-Man were engaged? You know, for a gnomish, homely, nearly blind cave-dweller, he still gets his fair share of attention from the ladies! This makes Kala’s insistence that her husband not disrupt the Mole-Man/Aunt May wedding all the more poignant. Why can’t everyone in this strip be as emotionally advanced as her?

Pluggers, 9/2/17

It’s no “Rhino-Man hocks his TV,” but “pluggers feel overpowering shame over something that’s entirely harmless and increasingly socially normalized” is pretty high up there in the pantheon of Extremely Grim Pluggers Punchlines, in my opinion.

Judge Parker, 9/2/17

“To the CIA! Once we turn in your wife, we can stop worrying about this — and, here’s the best part, probably get a big reward!”