Archive: Dennis the Menace

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Mary Worth, 5/23/23

We don’t know a ton about Saul’s past, but we do know that he was forced by his family to abandon his true love and enter into some kind of arranged marriage, presumably in order to consolidate their feudal landholdings and take advantage of agricultural efficiencies of scale. It was a loveless relationship and Saul bought a bigger tombstone for his dog than his wife, so I’m not sure how blessed any children would’ve felt being raised in that environment.

Pluggers, 5/23/23

I had a professor in college who once told me that “Ptolemaic Egypt was a theme park, and the theme was death,” a sentence I think about all the time. Anyway, pluggers are, like many of the Egyptian deities, half-man/half-beast creatures, although they lack pretty much any degree of those Gods’ dignity; still, it may be appropriate that they live their lives defined by an ever-growing army of the deceased.

Dennis the Menace, 5/23/23

I respect Mr. Wilson’s quest for perfect, unbroken silence, but I have serious questions about what exactly are in those things under the “Audiobooks” sign. Are they … CDs? Cassette tapes? Nobody actually listens to audiobooks off of physical media anymore, do they? Perhaps the Wilsons are shopping at The Big Warehouse For Old People Who Haven’t Figured Out What “Streaming” Is And Don’t Plan To In The Future, fighting against menacing changes in the media landscape the only way they know how (by keeping their VCRs working through dutiful maintenance).

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Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/21/23

We all know that newspaper comics in general and newspaper soap opera comics in particular are being kept alive by a readership that skews old enough that it is imperative that everyone involved in producing said soap opera comics do everything they can to keep said readership alive, for their own sakes. The tactic Rex Morgan, M.D., has taken to meet this goal is to make everything as low stakes as possible, because even the smallest degree of surprise could cause unpleasant cardiac complications, which is why everyone is treating the fact that an attempted murderer has managed to escape custody and is now at large like a funny little “Oopsie! Ha ha, that’s our Rene!” This cruise ship is still at sea, which means that the killer and his intended victim are stuck together in a limited space, a premise that has powered any number of successful suspense films — but don’t worry, there’s no suspense here! It’s Rex Morgan, M.D. Everything is fine.

Beetle Bailey and Dennis the Menace, 5/21/23

I get and honestly respect that one of the biggest advantages of writing a syndicated newspaper comic is that you can run into one of life’s little modern annoyances and say to yourself, “Hey, you know who else probably finds this annoying? All the old people who read my comic strip.” Of these two examples of the genre, I have to say that Beetle Beetle is by far the more successful, in that it’s integrated the inciting annoyance into a character-driven joke, whereas Dennis the Menace just has Mr. Wilson yelling the things that we all, admittedly, want to yell.

Gasoline Alley, 5/21/23

Not to be a know-it-all, but the average price of a gallon of milk in the U.S. has been higher than the average price of a gallon of gasoline for 19 of the past 23 years! I’m also hung up on why Clovia says that gas AND postage is high and that’s why it’s cheaper to mail something than drive it. Still, I get that inflation can be a confusing economic phenomenon that doesn’t affect all regions or products equally, so I want to reserve my harshest criticism for Slim, who in the final panel reveals that he thinks an oil barrel is some kind of animal or maybe plant that, when properly fed and cared for, produces more oil.

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Gil Thorp, 5/10/23

Still not sure what a “Milford juvenile sports program manager” is or does, but apparently it pays pretty well, enough to get a penthouse at the Gaston (?) Building in Milford’s hip, historic warehouse district. Although based on the anecdote we’ve stumbled into, which involves a teen singing Cab Calloway music, it’s possible that Kaz and Gil are just immortal and eternally young and have been coaching youth athletics for at least 80 years, and Kaz might simply derive his riches from decades of compound interest.

Dennis the Menace, 5/10/23

So if I’m interpreting this right, Henry is getting a birthday cake at a “party” attended only by his wife and son, who he sees every day anyway, and his son proclaims that he “took care of the icing!” for a cake that fairly obviously has no icing. The overall bleakness is in fact quite menacing!

Hi and Lois, 5/10/23

In a conference room at Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC, a grim-faced business analyst is pointing at a PowerPoint slide with a graph on it. One line, labelled Marvin, keeps going up; another, labelled Hi and Lois, is in steady decline. Several of the assembled staff members are weeping openly, but others are clearly resolving themselves to do what they must.

Mary Worth, 5/10/23

Wow, this is quite a large boat that Jeff’s purchased, one that could accommodate a good number of passengers. Too bad they don’t have any friends! Seriously, who’s going to get an invite? Wilbur? Ian? Dr. Jeff’s son Dr. Drew lives with him so I’m sure they see quite enough of one another for everyone’s tastes. Guess he should’ve thought of that before he emptied out his 401k just to feel like a big shot for a single moment!