Archive: Dennis the Menace

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Dennis the Menace, 7/13/19

Usually the whole deal with this strip is that Dennis blabs something unpleasant that one of his parents said directly to the person who his parents blabbed unpleasantly about behind their back, and they always look real embarrassed about it but they never stop talking shit about other people in front of their big-mouth kid, now do they? The shy little smile on Henry here today shows that he’s finally admitting to himself that he secretly loves it when Dennis says the things that he dares not, and now he’s instigating these episodes deliberately, starting with Mr. Wilson, who seems safe because if he were going to attack Dennis or Henry physically, wouldn’t he have done it years ago at this point?

Funky Winkerbean, 7/13/19

“So he was only an accessory to murder, which is barely being a criminal at all!”

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Gil Thorp, 7/2/19

Now let’s just hold on a darn minute here! I may not have the photographic recall of soap opera plots that I used to, due to me being old and/or having like 15 years of them to remember at this point, but I am reasonably sure that this Gil Thorp strip gets multiple facts wrong about the backstory of these characters?

  1. Jaquan made what I thought was his first appearance in the strip a couple of years ago, accompanied by Trey Davis, who was a heavily recruited Mudlark college basketball prospect back in 2006. By 2017, he was an “an absurdly high-priced personal coach and trainer” and Jaquan was his client, not a Milford alum, and just tagging along?
  2. Meanwhile, Hadley V. Baxendale definitely hasn’t reappeared in the strip since 2005, which I know because she was one of my favs and I would’ve remembered her return! I got extremely excited about her ex Steve Luhm’s 2009-2010 reappearance, but alas, no Hadley.
  3. The one who helped Jaquan “defect” from the NBA, in the sense that she put the terrible idea of going to grad school in his head, was Heather Burns, who you might remember as the girl who quit the soccer team to very briefly become a third-string tight end and play an extremely few downs back in 2016.

So what’s all this “reconnect” business? I’m genuinely wondering if whoever’s in charge of continuity over at Gil Thorp HQ was like “enh, didn’t Jaquan have a thing with, what’s her face, the feminist,” and then we got this? Because it would make me very sad if I suddenly became more up on Gil Thorp continuity than the actual creators of Gil Thorp. I mean, it doesn’t even look like Gil is paying very much attention to this backstory, to be honest. He’s just slurping down a giant glass of Long Island iced tea and trying to not let his eyes glaze over too much. “All great schools, congratulations!” he blurts out, once he’s been given a list of proper nouns he can recognize.

Mary Worth, 7/2/19

Meanwhile, we’ve had exactly one (1) strip not about Wilbur before coming back to the subject of Wilbur. Don’t forget, in addition to the hacky advice column that he sends Dawn to fob off onto Mary whenever he’s busy, Wilbur also writes “Survivor Stories,” in which he demands that poor people in developing countries perform their trauma for an American audience. You might think it’d be kind of strange for Wilbur to jet off overseas so early in his relationship with Estelle, but I guess even Wilbur realizes that a little bit of Wilbur goes a long way.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/2/19

Speaking of forcing poor people to perform their trauma, Snuffy Smith has “ha ha, all these characters live in one of America’s most deprived and forgotten communities” lurking in the background of literally every strip, but it’s rare that this bubbles up to the surface level of a punchline like “ha ha, the Smif house consists of a single room, with living and sleeping spaces only divided by a worn, patched curtain.”

Dustin, 7/2/19

I was about to make some smug joke about “what sort of fascist police state does Dustin live in where chalking a sidewalk is considered a crime” but then I did a little research and it turns out it’s, uh, America? (Although the cops are apparently much more likely to enforce rules against sidewalk chalking when you use sidewalk chalk to protest police brutality, who could’ve guessed!) Anyhoo, I’m pretty torn here, because I’m strongly against pointless overpolicing of public spaces but also I’d definitely like to see Dustin go to jail.

Dennis the Menace, 7/2/19

Dennis, that’s a … dog? That’s clearly a dog. There’s absolutely no circumstances where anyone would mistake that dog for a cat or for [extremely heavy sigh] a Pokemon. This isn’t so much “menacing” as “profoundly concerning.”

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Dennis the Menace, 6/30/19

There’s a lot going on here — Martha is power-walking wearing a sweatshirt over a buttoned shirt when it’s apparently warm enough outside for Alice to be in short sleeves? Alice, who’s never hung out with the Wilsons socially and one imagines has no plans to any time soon, perhaps means “I’m just too busy” as a polite blowoff and is not, in fact, too busy? Dennis is apparently making a ping pong ball levitate in mid-air over the palms of his hands and nobody seems to notice? — but for my money the best part is that Mr. Wilson has ordered a pizza at a time of day when nobody else appears to be eating a meal. Martha went off on one her damn walks again and he got hungry and you don’t expect him to cook, do you?

Pluggers, 6/30/19

“Participation trophies” are one of those things old people love to trot out as evidence of how the kids today are soft and the reason, along with avocado toast, why they’re falling behind economically (and not because, say, housing, education, and healthcare costs are rising faster than wages). Today’s Pluggers has a particularly incoherent take on the concept, though. Aren’t people who take vacation days … not showing up at a job? In fact, if you get paid vacation, aren’t you specifically getting a trophy (which is to say, a paycheck) for not participating? I guess the point is supposed to be that people who actually take the vacation days they’re eligible for — which, to be clear, are part of the compensation your employer offers you in exchange for your labor — are just doing the bare minimum, just “showing up” at the job and nothing else? But the virtuous plugger is getting paid overtime! If he really didn’t want a “participation trophy,” he should be agreeing to work extra hours at no charge! That’s what being a good employee is, right? God, I want to be angry at the labor politics of this strip but they’re so confusing I can’t figure out exactly what they are! DAMN YOU PLUGGERS

Gasoline Alley, 6/30/19

This is a perfectly nice strip depicting the Gasoline Alley cast in Revolutionary War-era costume that has its vibe completely upended by the [extremely spooky voice] ~dark eagle~ in the lower left panel. Who or what is this terrifying bird? What does he portend? Is America doomed? America’s doomed, right?