Archive: Between Friends

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Between Friends, 10/5/23

Many years ago, when I first started this blog, it was called “I Read The Comics So You Don’t Have To,” and sometimes I feel I’ve lost sight of that missions, so, here you go: Between Friends has been doing an on-again-off-again plot for it seems like weeks where Susan here is on Zoom with a coworker who has young kids and is very excited about getting away from them for a few days on a work trip. This is, I do not deny, hashtag relatable, but there’s just been so much of it, and if you’re just seeing this strip in isolation, you’re probably like, “I don’t see why it’s worth complaining about,” but trust me: I have read the comics so you don’t have to, and I’m here to tell you that it’s gotten real old and shows no sign of not getting older. I feel like today’s strip, which is just a bunch of dialogue coming out of a computer screen while a person makes various facial expressions in response, is particularly egregious. There’s a lot to say about the post-lockdown persistence of white collar work-from-home jobs, and as a longtime home office worker I’m generally in favor of the trend, but it’s a real problem for comic strips that rely on people interacting at work for visual interest.

Hi and Lois, 10/5/23

Man, I wish I could get as excited about anything as this child is hearing an old man talk about the last 30 years of technological progress! Or, well, given the medium and its current readership, I guess I should say I wish I could get as excited about anything as this child is in this fantasy deliberately engineered to make old people feel like children might be interested in what they have to say.

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Beetle Bailey, 9/5/23

A lot of Beetle Bailey’s M.O. boils down to “We thought of a joke, which of our long-ish list of one-note characters that we’ve accrued over the years can we assign it to?” Reading panel one, I though Rocky, as the camp’s resident rock-and-roll loving bad boy, was a bad choice for this, but once I realized it was about one of the soldiers being rejected by his family and forced to make a home in a cruel institution that doesn’t want him either, I changed my mind, this is a good one.

Dick Tracy, 9/5/23

Look, this may be a “Minit Mystery,” but do we have time to spend a whole strip on some Grade A Wholly Innocent [change this later if necessary –Eds] Beefcake? Yes, yes we do.

Dustin, 9/5/23

“Ha ha, get it? Wait, no, actually, that metaphor doesn’t really make sense. Sorry, I’m still workshopping this bit. Anyway, long story short, you’re dying.”

Judge Parker, 9/5/23

I’m sorry, Gloria, are you keeping meticulous accounting records of a criminal fucking conspiracy?

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Baby Blues, 8/9/23

C’mon, Darryl, you don’t need Wren for a three-legged race; just tie a shoe on that nose.

Crankshaft, 8/9/23

They train surgeons not to say “Oops”, but Ed’s dermatologist missed the class on “Holy $#%!!”. I hope she took the Continuing Medical Education unit on “Get me the belt sander.”

Between Friends, 8/9/23

Don’t get too relaxed there, Susan—Lucky Eddie could be lurking just around the corner, looking to get lucky.

Luann, 8/9/23

It’s not unusual for authors to tire of their main character—I mean, Arthur Conan Doyle is a famous example, and look what happened to Barney Google. Judge Parker turned into Sam Driver, Action Lawyer and stayed that way for decades. Team Luann has done a lot to sideline their protagonist: shunted her off alone to Community College, gave her dweeby thrall Gunther an actual girlfriend, introduced secondary characters (Tara, Stef) with far more robust backstories, etc. So why keep Luann around? Waiting for readers to get as sick of her as her creators have? I have news: that ship is a mere dot on the far horizon.

Anyway, former hottie Tiffany is hosting a pool party at her Dad’s house (persistently and annoyingly called “the Manse”). Tiffany covets and covertly ogles Stef’s boyfriend Kip, who is staying at the pool house because of the reasons, and complains that she doesn’t have a boyfriend. But Tiffany has never had a boyfriend; her Whole Deal was that she was “popular” in the abstract, i.e., she had a world of choice but never made one. It seems pretty clear that she “wants” Kip only to shore up her sagging, um, confidence, because Kip is so dull and dimensionless he couldn’t get cast as a Ken in that Barbie movie.

Sherman’s Lagoon, 8/9/23

Your son, Herman, Megan, c’mon, get with the program.

In an echo of February’s “Chinese Spy Balloon” incident, Sherman ate a bunch of helium balloons found in a crate of derelict property that fell into Kapupu Lagoon en route to Whacko’s Party Store. The Kapupu Self-Defense Forces seem a lot more on the ball about territorial integrity than our own armed forces were, for which their reward will be a deluge of shark guts.

Josh has sworn a Blood Oath not to cover Luann. A Blood Oath. Worth more than a few bucks, wouldn’t you agree? Make a generous contribution to the Comics Curmudgeon today!

—Uncle Lumpy