Archive: Dennis the Menace

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Dennis the Menace and Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 11/11/19

An online pal of mine pointed out to me the other day that many of the characters from the comics are not who we think of them as, generationally speaking. Mark Trail and Rex Morgan, who began their existence as adults in the 1940s, remain in the prime of their manhood today, and are thus almost certainly Gen Xers or maybe even older Millennials. That’s right! Whenever you hear about how Millennials are ruining everything today with their safe spaces and their avocado toast, remember that people are talking about Rex Morgan when the say that!

Normally this doesn’t really matter, but nothing creates an uncomfortable intersection between real time and comic book time like a fixed historical event, so we probably need to think about what wars various honored comic strip veterans are veterans of as of 2019. Mr. Wilson was an old man when Dennis the Menace debuted in 1951 and was probably supposed to have been a veteran of the trenches of the Western Front; today I suppose he’s a Vietnam Vet, incongruous as that seems. Snuffy Smith offers an even more difficult case, because I don’t think anyone has a real clear sense of how many years old Snuffy Smith is supposed to be, forgetting for the moment of what year he was supposed to be born in. Like, he and Loweezy are weird wizened potato-people who kind of look like they’re super old? But they also have an infant son? Presumably Snuffy is like 35 years old and a veteran of the Iraq War; Lukey, despite his Rip Van Winkle-esque long white beard, is maybe 50 and served in the Gulf War in ’91. Sadly, life in grindingly poor Hootin’ Holler has aged them much faster than their combat stints did.

Gasoline Alley, 11/11/19

Meanwhile, Gasoline Alley keeps aging its characters in real time, which means that Walt is now the the last living veteran of World War I. He reminds us that they used to call it “Armistice Day,” because at the end of four years of unfathomable carnage everyone thought the horrors they had endured meant that we wouldn’t fight any more wars. Sorry, guys! Sorry we fucked it up!

Mary Worth, 11/11/19

Speaking of people who fucked things up, look at Wilbur’s face in panel one here. He doesn’t think he fucked anything up at all! He thinks that date went great. He got to make fun of Zak and eat some yummy noodles, and now a lady who’s pretty like his mommy is tucking him into sleep. What’s not to like? This good feeling will probably last forever, and will certainly still be suffusing his body when he wakes up in the morning, that’s for sure!

Dustin, 11/11/19

Dustin the comic strip launched in 2010, which means it’s basically an infant in the world of newspaper syndication, but it’s already accrued a character typical to legacy strips: a little kid who’s not related to the any of the other main characters but hangs around with them all the time and you never seem to see their parents or other family members! Where do these children come from? Do they just kind of show up up one day in comic strip character homes if you leave food uncovered, like mice? Anyway, shoutout to Dustin’s mom for figuring out how to get rid of this particular pest, by convincing him that the toilet paper they use has other people’s poop on it still.

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Mark Trail, 11/9/19

Genie isn’t just a font of fun Nepal facts, guys! She also understands and respects the privacy rights we all have under HIPAA.

Family Circus, 11/9/19

Ha ha, look at Ma Keane’s face, you guys. “Sounds like a real firetrap!” That’s what finally snuffed out her will to live.

Dennis the Menace, 11/9/19

Damn it Mr. Wilson, unless Dennis is deliberately trying to cut through a gas line, or digging a little torso-sized grave for a dismembered torso, you are way overstating things here.

Pajama Diaries, 11/9/19

Meanwhile, over in Pajama Diaries, everyone is achingly starved for physical affection! Ha ha, what a pleasant thing to read about, in the funny papers!

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Mark Trail, 11/8/19

Sorry I haven’t kept you up to date on what’s been going on in the month since Mark and Dr. Camel and their crew got attacked by a rhino, but honestly trust me when I say that it hasn’t been that interesting! There was an elephant ride but even that was more boring than it sounds, and as you can see they’re still in Nepal’s semi-tropical lowland zone and not in the rugged, mountainous region, which I assume is infested with yeti. Sorry, Mark Trail, you can’t promise me yeti and then just show me a bunch of boring-ass animals I can see in any zoo and expect me to remain engaged! In today’s strip, Genie desperately tries to liven things up by giving everyone cholera, but Mr. Mark “No Fun” Trail is gonna put a stop to even that.

Mary Worth, 11/8/19

An underrated thing about human beings — which is often borne out by, say, the oeuvre of Sacha Baron Cohen — is that we try our hardest to maintain illusion that everything is going fine and normally even when one participant in a social situation is behaving bizarrely and inappropriately. I both appreciate and find it fairly realistic that Zak, Estelle, and Iris are cheerfully going around the table saying what they liked about their meal while Wilbur is literally smearing himself with noodles. It’s magnificent.

Six Chix, 11/8/19

Sorry, I refuse to believe that this supposed slacker would have a framed picture hanging at a weird angle but then leave his cans neatly placed upright on the floor. And what are you going to stain your shirt with that’s grey? I feel like he’s protesting a little too much, like he wants a girlfriend who’s going to whip him into shape, literally, as part of some slovenliness dom/sub play.

Dennis the Menace, 11/8/19

So … instead of pretending to do yard work, you’re instead going to pretend to have a big dispute at the condo board meeting about the various estimates on what it’s going to cost to fix the elevator? I think we can agree both of these games suck ass.