Archive: Curtis

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Mary Worth, 3/19/22

It’s been a while since we had a good Ian storyline, and the Ian I know is not a guy who sees that his wife isn’t having a great day and says, “Dear, please, let me pour your a glass of your favorite mid-list wine and not ask you any probing questions and then blow the answers out of proportion whatsoever.” Frankly, I don’t know if he’s had hours of therapy or a court-ordered lobotomy or if he’s just finally looked into this newly legal “marijuana” stuff that his students keep telling him about (specifically, they tell him it’s necessary for enduring one of his lectures), but he’s changed, man.

Curtis, 3/19/22

You know who hasn’t changed? Curtis’s dad! The only use of a trauma plot that I will accept is a lie spun to get your kid to stop asking you for money for at least a week.

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Hagar the Horrible and Hi and Lois, 3/17/22

Most people would say that the Irish Potato Famine is the worst tragedy that has befallen the Emerald Isle; an extremely not-fun fact is that the population of the island of Ireland is still 20% short of where it was in 1848. Mostly forgotten, but no doubt similarly traumatic, were the waves of Viking attacks that battered Ireland for much of the 9th and 10th century, leading to widespread death, destruction of cultural heritage, and even the establishment of short-lived Norse kingdoms that disrupted Irish political life. And sure, nobody ever accused Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC of being “woke,” but it’s truly offensive on St. Patrick’s Day for Hagar the Horrible to do a joke about some Vikings making an object of fun out of a furious and disheveled looking Gael, whose tavern they have presumably forcibly commandeered. More subtle anti-Hibernian sentiment can be found in Hi and Lois, where Hi’s drunken neighbor seems to be claiming an Irish identity, despite the fact that his name, which literally means “Stone of Thor,” is pure Norse. For shame, sir! For shame!

Curtis, 3/17/22

There was a great essay I read recently about the omnipresence of the “trauma plot” in modern storytelling, in which there’s basically a Big Reveal about a character’s Painful Past that Explains Everything about why they’re Like This. The essay specifically takes on the new movie version of Death On The Nile, in which it’s revealed (and, uh, spoilers I guess) that Poirot has (a) turned to detective work and (b) grown a silly mustache because of his suffering in the trenches during World War I, whereas Christie’s original detective watches and learns about people and what they do because that’s the sort of thing he enjoys, which is one element of what we used to call “having a personality” but doesn’t create a dramatic back story per se. This is a long way of me saying that one of the things I’ve always loved about Curtis is its cheerful sitcom sameness. Curtis perceives his dad as cheap because the family is lower-middle-class and Curtis’s ideas for how much money he as an 11-year-old should be given are unrealistic! I don’t want to know about how Greg’s beloved grandmother used to smoke and now he can’t quit because the smell reminds him of the times they stayed at her house after his dad got evicted again! I swear, if we learn a single thing about Derrick and “Onion”‘s sad home life I’m going to be furious.

Family Circus, 3/17/22

One of the conceits of the Family Circus is that Big Daddy Keane is simultaneously the patriarch of the family within the strip and also the artist and writer of the strip itself, which is why the strip occasionally gives him “time off” and “Billy (age 7)” fills in. I guess the fact that half the kids (where are the other two?) have been dumped at his mother’s means that he’s on vacation, which tracks with the complete lack of jokes this week. Like, the last couple days were just about the kids being really annoying to their grandmother’s downstairs neighbors, because they don’t understand the concept of apartment buildings? Anyway, I don’t think there’s a joke today either, but Grandma and the maintenance man are definitely fuckin’, that seems pretty obvious and the kids are right to say it.

Dick Tracy, 3/17/22

In the first draft of my commentary on yesterday’s Dick Tracy, I speculated that the villain’s name would be “Tastebud,” which I decided was too on the nose even for Dick Tracy and changed to “Tayste Budd” before I posted it. I apologize for failing to keep up with just how extremely on the nose Dick Tracy actually is.

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Hello everybody! Welcome back to the Comics Curmudgeon, your #1 blogging website for syndicated newspaper commentary! How was your holiday experience over the past week or so?

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/25/21

Did you manage to arrange your facial features to indicate some modicum of holiday cheer, like June and the Morgan children, or did you spend the whole time looking like you wanted to die, like Rex?

Dick Tracy, 12/25/21

Did you spend Christmas cuddling on the couch with a loved one, like Dick Tracy, or were you shivering out in the cold staring jealously at the righteous, like a bunch of deformed criminals?

Mary Worth, 12/25/21

Did you get that special gift you had been waiting for all year? In Dr. Jeff’s case, that gift was his one (1) allotted annual open-mouth kiss from Mary Worth.

Anyway, let’s do our annual roundup of what the soap and soap-adjacent strips got up to in my absence!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/26/21

We’re all looking for some good news for 2022 and it looks like we got it with the return of … Rene the art forger, baby!!!!

That’s right, everybody! Rene might do fake art and new age spirituality and COVID cures, but the love for him in our hearts isn’t fraudulent at all. It’s very real!

Gasoline Alley, 12/27/21

Oh, wow it looks like Hollywood — or [squints at kerning in headline] “Holly Wood” — is coming to Gasoline Alley! Will this turn out to be interesting? No, it won’t, and we won’t be revisiting the subject in this post.

Mary Worth, 12/27/21

DECEMBER 27, 2021: Syndicated comic strip Mary Worth reveals that Wilbur Weston will be taking a cruise.

DECEMBER 30, 2021: The CDC advises everyone to avoid cruise ships.


Gil Thorp, 12/28/21

Over in Gil Thorp, it looks like the Valley Conference’s refs are taking a “kill ’em all and let God sort ’em out” attitude towards calling fouls this season. Looking forward to a winter and spring of basketball carnage!

Mary Worth, 12/28/21

Good luck, Estelle! I say that with total and complete sincerity. You are absolutely going to need it!”

Mary Worth, 12/29/21

“You’re not inconveniencing me! Jeff won’t be able to come over due to his allergies, which I don’t consider an inconvenience at all! Quite the opposite, in fact!”

Curtis, 12/29/21

Oh hell yes, Curtis is delivering another Kwanzaa tale for us this year! We all of course remember previous fables, which involved bat-winged bears and telepathic otters and trunkless elephants and creepy masks and, uh, social media. Anyway, this year’s story involves a girl in a drought-stricken village who has discovered a magical source of infinite water. The villagers who are mad that she’s hoarding all the water for herself are apparently the bad guys in this situation?

Dick Tracy, 12/30/21

Hey, remember the lady who didn’t want to manage an escort service? Well, Liz is pretending to be her, and is going to learn the ins and outs of managing an escort service, everything from recruiting sex workers to keeping detailed records of their financial transactions! The goal is to combine boredom and titillation into a new and hitherto unexplored emotion, which I think is a really innovative thing to do in the comics.

Mary Worth, 12/30/21

Let’s do it, Wilbur! I’m just going to keep shouting things at the top of my lungs to convince myself that I want to do them! Fake it till you feel it, baby!”

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/31/21

An actually interesting Rex Morgan medical plot would be a deep dive into how narratively convenient amnesia works, biologically and psychologically! And if the Morgans are utterly ruined financially in the proces, I won’t complain one bit.

Funky Winkerbean, 1/1/22

Funky Winkerbean is doing a supposedly heartwarming storyline about Harry Dinkle getting to march in the Rose Bowl Parade with a bunch of other retired band directors. Anyway, I know I spent a lot of time during the Great Los Angeles Fire plot complaining about this strip’s wild misunderstanding of Southern California geography, but that doesn’t mean I want a dry recitation of various Pasadena intersections, either.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 1/2/22

God damn, he’s doing a whole press conference, you absolutely love to see it. I particularly appreciate the hand gesture he’s flashing in the next to last panel. “I want three million dollars. My left index finger represents one million dollars, and the three raised fingers on my right hand represent that I want three of those one million dollar units.”

Dick Tracy, 1/3/22

Ha ha, did I say that boredom was going to be leavening the titillation in this Dick Tracy storyline? How wrong I was! I’m not sure exactly who’s hitting on who here, but it’s all extremely erotic.

Hi and Lois, 1/3/22

Is Hi and Lois a soap opera strip? No. Do I feel compelled to show you today’s installment, just to let you know that Lois has absolutely given up on 2022 less than 72 hours into it? Very much yes!

Mary Worth, 1/3/22

But we haven’t given up on the year yet, and why would be, with wonders such as “Wilbur has a manic episode and makes an extremely ill-advised marriage proposal” to come? I will be comics blogging this year and every subsequent year as long as I have strength in my body, so thank all of you for coming along for the ride!