Archive: Curtis

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Curtis, 8/27/17

One of the things I truly appreciate about Curtis is its eternal return to its timeless tropes, like how Curtis doesn’t want to go back to school, or, in this case, how Curtis is ritually humiliated every year as he tries on back-to-school pants. These recurring gags, pegged as they are to the academic calendar, emphasize the fact that Curtis is trapped in amber in eternal comic book time: if he was going into sixth grade in the first of those strips I linked to above, he ought to be starting his third year of grad school now! But no, he and his mother are still shopping for those same back-to-school jeans. And yet: the world has changed. Parents as likely to buy jeans for their kids on Amazon or at Wal-Mart as they are to go to a traditional department store. More and more, malls are empty wastelands. And yet some things stay constant: though the cast of characters staring at his underwear change, the sense of sexual panic that Curtis can barely understand is still overpowering, and will last, dreamlike, forever.

Spider-Man, 8/27/17

I am genuinely tickled by the idea that Spider-Man really thought he had a handle on things here, keeping all eight tentacles at bay, eight tentacles he could deal with, before being blindsided by the dectopus’s secret ninth and tenth appendages. I’m also genuinely tickled that Tyrannus is content to watch this whole battle play out on TV. Truly, Spider-Man has met the foe he deserves.

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Mary Worth, 5/7/17

Derek strides determined onto the smoking deck, the new pack in his fist a taut miracle of cellophane, paper, foil, and promise — of hours of pleasant anticipation, indulgence, and satisfaction. Unguided, his hands repeat the practiced rituals that release the first cigarette of twenty — twenty, by God — fresh, firm, fragrant, perfect. The match glows in his cupped hands as the head burns off, and the flame kisses the tobacco into life.

Confusion of fire, ash, and ember as the tip catches, then blessed smoke, warming his lip as it passes over, bathing his mouth in electric mist. Teasing himself, he savors the pungent earthiness and the cascade of memories recalled from half a lifetime of such moments — in terror, bliss, bitter cold — before drawing it deeply in. Relishing the familiar catch in his throat, he closes his eyes to bathe in his first deliberate, fully conscious breath in what seems like months.

Full, rich, warm, radiant, held, and released softly as a sigh, his spent breath scrolls effortlessly back into the sea air. The shimmering silver column pauses for just a moment at the rail, then streams abaft to dissolve in the tropical sunlight.

The old, remembered music rises in his ears, an impossibly high-pitched sostenuto from a faraway violin, along with a placid warmth and golden lightness radiating throughout his body, and keen appreciation of every sensation etched into this moment: sun hot on his arms, breeze soft on his cheeks, whisper of scent from a woman now at his side.

“Oh, hi — Esmée, isn’t it? Nice day, huh?”

Curtis, 5/7/17

OK, this strip is a knockoff of the “Curtis is humiliated trying on clothes” series in which a dressing-room door flies open to reveal Curtis in his underwear before a sudden storeful of jeering spectators. But hey waitaminute – what is this crowd laughing at? Chutney’s an attractive girl, and has been drawn even more so over the years – surely “boyfriend” and “date” aren’t laughably out of the question.

So they must be laughing at Curtis — so selfish, shallow, and incapable of love or friendship that they snap pictures of the famous monster to show their friends. Curtis is headed toward a really dark place — no pepperoni for you, jerkwad!

Phantom, 5/7/17

Hey, I know I plug this strip like it’s my job or something even though folks like Josh aren’t feeling it. But c’mon, people: Jungle Patrol! Minions of ‘The Python’ Chatu! résumé-building “Leopard Print” Hawa and “Full Auto” Kay! Captain “Jimmy Olsen” Weeks in full “Golly, Colonel” mode! Colonel Worubu himself rocking his fourpack in that breechclout! That’s some quality entertainment right there.

But as long as the evildoers (evilsayers, really) are all lined up on their knees like that, I’d avoid saying things like “brilliant execution” — somebody in this crew could easily get the wrong idea.


Hey, that’s it for me — Josh will be back early tomorrow, continuing the great circle of whatever this is. Thank you for a lovely time!

–Uncle Lumpy

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Crankshaft, 5/1/17

Crankshaft, 5/2/17

Sure, Ed — those moms are chasing your empty bus.

Just look at the lovingly detailed bricks and rain, Ed’s meticulously randomized blackheads (4‑2‑3 — thank you, click-to-zoom feature!), and that enormous block of overwrought dialogue. Say what you will, a lot of time goes into making this strip. Leaving no time to read it, I guess?

I was vaguely unsettled by Monday’s Crankshaft even before Tuesday’s contradicted it, and this morning I realized why — Ed is smiling. Normally his face is a mask of aggrieved belligerence even when he’s doing things he enjoys, like gardening, barbecuing, or watching his beloved Cleveland sportsball teams. So if you ever need to get on Ed Crankshaft’s good side, God help you, start him bragging about what a thoroughly accomplished asshole he is.

Curtis, 5/2/17

So, tell us — did the guy rebuild his broken life or not? Sounds like he made a pretty good start! Don’t try to sell the moral ’til you’ve finished the fable, Aesop.

Pluggers, 5/2/17

Hey Andy, if social and family relationships baffle you, try making sense of Pluggers.

Spider-Man, 5/2/17

Before the doorman got in the way, Peter was driving straight into the lobby to save himself a couple steps. And check out the terror-font when Aunt May shows up — he knows she’ll get him up at the crack of dawn all week to make her damn chamomile tea and serve it up on the lovely balcony. Between the galactic defenders and widowed aunts, how’s a guy supposed to catch a nap?


OK, so it seems my superpower is finding logical errors in Crankshaft dialogue — still more useful than anything we’ve seen from Spider-Man!

–Uncle Lumpy