Archive: Beetle Bailey

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Dennis the Menace, 2/19/17

OK, so, the logical reading of this strip, up until the punchline, is that Dennis and Alice went to the bookstore, bought a book to correct Ruff’s bad behavior, then returned home to discover evidence of said bad behavior. But in the final panel, we learn that the book was already in the house, which means that between the second and third panels of the middle row, the two of them brought the book home, left it there, then went somewhere else, then came back again. Right? That’s the only way this sequence makes sense? Unless Ruff chewed the book to bits off panel, as Dennis held it in his hand! The dog’s gone mad, I say! Mad with rage! He won’t stop until he destroys everything his family owns!

Beetle Bailey, 2/19/17

Say what you will about General Halftrack’s leadership qualities, but in the last panel in the second row and first in the third row he proves his skill in dealing with the press by cheerfully answering the questions he wants to answer, not the ones actually asked. The punchline leaves him hanging on his greatest challenge yet.

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Spider-Man, 2/16/17

One of the arguments for the idea that advanced alien races visited Earth in the distant past is drawn from our own mythologies. Detailed stories of gods and goddesses, and other beings far more powerful than ordinary men and women, aren’t just made up out of whole cloth, the theory goes; they represent garbled cultural memories of the visits of extraterrestrials. These creatures left such a lasting imprint on our preliterate ancestors that we unconsciously not only remember them but reproduce them in our beliefs and art. And I think panel two is indisputable proof that, tens of thousands of years after it was buried beneath a New Mexico volcano, the Kree Sentinel is still well remembered by humanity:

Gil Thorp, 2/16/17

Over in Gil Thorp, Gil is getting in on the Downward Socioeconomic Mobility Sleuthing action, prompted by this extremely respectful student detectives! See, Aaron’s mom used to be in the lucrative actuarial trade, back in sixth grade, so now it makes no sense that Aaron is living in a dumpy apartment complex like a common poor. Gil decided that the best way to get to the bottom of this whole dilemma would be to show up at Aaron’s mom’s office, unannounced, presumably during the workday, when he should be, like, coaching students or whatever, and asking, “Hey, just wondering if Aaron’s OK? There’s not anything happening at home that would upset him? Like the fact that his mother is doing some kind of white collar job in an office with cracked plaster walls, which basically is like a giant sign that says ‘CALL SOCIAL SERVICES IMMEDIATELY’? I’m just asking questions!” And indeed his visit has prompted an extremely productive family conversation at home. Another win for Coach Thorp!

Beetle Bailey, 2/16/17

Oh God, in one strip, we have explained so much of what makes Beetle’s character baffling: his seeming narcolepsy, the physical abuse visited upon him by Sarge without consequences, the way he appears fatally mangled in one strip and then back to normal in the next. “Beetle” is really a series of artificial beings, clones or androids or something, presumably being developed by the military to replace all-too-fallible humans in war and create an unbeatable army. The program is … not going well, with none of the Beetles scattered around Camp Swampy living up to expectations. And despite the fact they look like humans and talk like humans and (let’s consider Miss Buxley’s part in this experiment) love like humans, they are not treated as humans worthy of respect. Sarge is no doubt about to pummel this one into goo, like he has so many others, and then go find one that’s actually up and walking around, just like you might rummage through your desk drawers looking for a functional pen.

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Beetle Bailey, 2/12/17

I think anyone reading this blog at this point is pretty aware that daily strips are colored for online publication by syndicate hired hands (with sometimes hilarious results) while Sunday strips are colored by the actual artists. Beetle Bailey, though, has a problem that dates back to print: Miss Buxley’s dress has always been colored solid black in the dailies, leaving us with the canonical image of her coming to work every day in a classic little black cocktail dress. It’s only during her occasional Sunday appearances that we learn that her dress is actually supposed to be red. Red! Really shifts the whole vibe, doesn’t it? Unless we’re meant to believe that she usually wears black but has put on red today because it’s “casual Friday.” Honestly, it’s kind of odd that Miss Buxley doesn’t have a separate date outfit that she’s changed into after she came home from work. It’s also kind of odd that Beetle and General Halftrack are wearing their uniforms off duty, though since the strip’s military is stuck in a Korean War-era mode I guess that’s not terribly surprising. The general at least changed up his facial expression, from workplace wistfulness to date night suicidal despair!

Mark Trail, 2/12/17

Hey, kids, did you know that there’s more to nature than just alive things? Did you know that there are also … rocks? Some of those rocks are pretty! Some of those pretty rocks are right in the ground! Some of the people who own the ground will let you dig for the pretty rocks! Go ahead, rent a front loader and just start digging! The ground owner won’t mind, probably!

Mary Worth, 2/12/17