Archive: Dennis the Menace

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Mary Worth, 5/24/18

OK, so all of us [checks comments] some of us [digs deeper into comments and also into Facebook and Twitter replies] I for one have been enjoying this Wilbur humiliation/unearned redemption arc over the past several … weeks? Months? Time has no meaning, here inside Wilbur’s troubled psyche! But anyway, I’m glad things seem to be wrapping up, because, warmly as I feel towards the Weston clan, we’ve been seeing an awful lot of Wilbur and Dawn lately. Mary Worth has traditionally been about the random one-off nobodies who get their lives meddled and then promptly walk off into the narrative sunset, but if we’re not going to do that next time around, let’s at least get into some of the other Charterstone regulars. Like Toby and Ian! God, I love Toby and Ian, and we haven’t had a good Ian story since that time Toby almost left him, so I’m really looking forward to him being eased back into the strip in a context where he’ll almost certainly say something really cutting and demeaning to Wilbur at a dinner where the ostensible goal is to cheer him up. The “promise” Mary is about to extract from Wilbur is that he wear tear-away clothes so that at the first sign of conflict he and Ian can settle matters in the greco-roman wrestling pit she’s conveniently set up in Charterstone’s rec room.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/24/18

Heather is of course merely a nanny, and isn’t capable of running an aerospace company like Avery International. But if there’s some disaster — well, that’s when you need to turn to a nanny to run your aerospace company, obviously! A good example of a disaster would be if someone were to try to sell the company to a high-tech Indian firm, boosting shareholder value in the process. You’d definitely want to call in a nanny to prevent that sort of thing from happening.

Marvin, 5/24/18

Marvin has spent the week doing an incredibly unfunny series of jokes about Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, which for some reason they’ve decided to refer to as “Alfafa” … because of the popular Little Rascal, I guess? The Little Rascals, the incredibly current cultural reference that’s always at the top of everyone’s minds? Anyway, that’s just the an unfunny structure providing the base for the unfunny jokes, and you really have to keep reminding yourself as you read that at least they aren’t making unfunny jokes about shitting.

Dennis the Menace, 5/24/18

Dennis definitely has measles, an alarming number of his schoolmates are vulnerable thanks to anti-vaccination hysteria, and this is clearly his most menacing move yet.

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Mary Worth, 5/16/18

“Doctor, I have some things to get off my chest… I want to talk about the women in my life! Iris … Fabiana … Dawn, who it will probably squick you out that I put her in the same category as the first two but you ain’t heard nothing yet … and Wendy, the elusive Wendy. I want her, I need her wisdom, but she’s always … just out of reach. Is it possible to love a woman who doesn’t exist? To make love to a syndicated advice column persona? Will I have to quit writing the column in order to consummate my life, and also purchase some elaborate VR equipment?”

Crankshaft, 5/16/18

Very briefly I thought that Crankshaft’s adventure in this mysteriously hostile and empty bank was supposed to be taking place in some kind of empty parallel dimension, like the Upside-Down from Stranger Things, and that he had been exiled from our reality as part of a twisted science experiment gone actually right, for once. But then I spotted the little triangles in the corner of the first frame, denoting that we should be thinking of it as a photo in an old-timey album, an affectation that used to call us back to the distant past in this strip when Crankshaft was young, but now just means “time that took place at some previous to the current narrative, perhaps as little as a week ago.”

Mark Trail, 5/16/18

Oh, wow, I apologize for saying yesterday that Mark was going to brutally pummel this poor schmo with nature facts. Nope, our hero will just sassily waggle his weirdly tiny index finger at him and get on with the business of whale-saving. Still, I’ve got to imagine that some day — he won’t know when, but the day will come — this gruff tourist will awake and find himself strapped to chair, forced to watch Mark Trail Sunday strip full of nature facts after Mark Trail Sunday strip full of nature facts, his eyelids pried open Ludovico Technique-style.

Spider-Man, 5/16/18

Oh, boy, it’s Spider-Man vs. the TSA, that recurring Newspaper Spider-Man plot point beloved by everyone somebody, somewhere presumably. Anyway, Peter is nervous about his secret identity being blown, as usual, but presumably they’re just about to pull out something really embarrassing, like a canister of cotton-candy flavored vape juice that’s over the legal 3 ounces.

Dennis the Menace, 5/16/18

The only thing menaced by Dennis is the oppressive machinery of the modern state. NO GODS NO MASTERS

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Beetle Bailey and Blondie, 5/14/18

You know, I’ve spent the [consults notes, pauses a little bit as the unsettling realization sinks in] majority of my adult life shitting on the hard work of legacy syndicated newspaper comics and the mostly anonymous hired hands who toil on them, but I’m going to start my week by announcing that I really enjoyed these two strips today! And not in the “lol, this joke is stupid and for rubes but here, allow me to weave a 500-word essay on how, if you read it on a much deeper level unintended by the artist, which anyone who’s familiar with the Death of the Author theory of literary criticism knows is the only way you should read things, it’s actually good” sense that I usually go in for. Nope, these are just two solid and well-executed gags that combine text and visuals perfectly to make maximum use of comics as a medium. So kudos to Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC and whatever hedge fund acquired the Blondie intellectual property at fire sale prices after the whole sandwich shop bankruptcy and fraud thing!

Crankshaft, 5/14/18

Huh, that got a little mean-spirited towards the end there, didn’t it? Apologies, but speaking of mean-spirited, let’s see what Ed Crankshaft is up to! Oh, look, there’s a rude sign at the bank. I know I just said that I go in for the Death of the Author theory but I’m still genuinely trying to figure out if the intended joke here is “ha ha, banks sure are rude” or “ha ha, everyone hates Ed Crankshaft and wants to avoid interacting with him if they possibly can.”

Dennis the Menace, 5/14/18

Now that I’m fully back on my bullshit, I’m going to try to figure out what the real menace in today’s Dennis the Menace is. I can’t decide if it’s “Dennis loudly extols his mother’s gendered position in the household” or “Dennis has already internalized society’s unrealistic beauty standards and is fretting about getting fat.”