Archive: Dennis the Menace

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Beetle Bailey, 2/22/24

Beetle Bailey has always added new characters to cash in on the latest fads, and a fun fact is that “Rocket ’88’,” considered by some to be the first rock ‘n’ roll record, was released 6 months after the first Beetle Bailey comic strip, so rock ‘n’ roll was in fact one of those fads that they cashed in on by introducing us to “Rocky.” He’s been many things since then, of course — like a nihilist from an impoverished background — but I like today’s strip, which decides to dig back into Rocky’s origins to find new material, and dares to ask the question “What if Rocky is really into playing rock music, but is also really bad at it?”

Judge Parker, 2/22/24

Uh oh! Judge Parker Senior’s wayward daughter got caught by some tough criminal dude she owes money to, and he’s going to drag her to the Parker residence to get that money, like she tried and failed to do herself over Christmas. Except, oops, Judge Parker Senior himself is waiting for them in the doorway! That guy went to prison! “What was I thinking,” thinks the tough criminal dude “At first I wanted to extort money from this guy, but now that I see him, he’s kinda scary. I gotta get outta here!”

Mary Worth, 2/22/24

“Sure, Sonia really wanted to establish a connection to her biological father — that’s what started this whole journey — and I’m not that. But, on the other hand, I already won her affection. I won! You don’t give up and admit defeat after you already won!”

Dennis the Menace, 2/22/24

You might look at this panel, with the lettering all smooshed up to the right there, and think it looks like absolute shit. But how else are people supposed to know that it’s Mr. Wilson who’s talking, smart guy? By a basic understanding of body language, social cues, and character dynamics? I think you’re overestimating the hardcore Dennis the Menace fandom by quite a bit.

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Dennis the Menace, 2/19/24

Let me tell you, as a guy who writes jokes for a living, that no matter how bad you think the jokes on this website are, there many more that I’ve thought up that are much worse. It’s OK, your brain should be constantly generating jokes more or less involuntarily if you’re in this biz, but it is important that you be able to filter through them. Like, if you looked at a grandfather clock, and thought to yourself “Ho, ho, this thing is the grandfather of TikTok,” that’s fine, it’s perfectly normal, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But should you tell that joke to somebody else and expect them to enjoy it? No. Should you put that joke in the mouth of a very young child, someone who would never come up with it or enjoy it if they heard it, in a syndicated newspaper comic strip? Also no.

The Phantom, 2/19/24

So, it turns out that the current Phantom storyline really has been mostly the big purple guy forcing his family to listen to him go on and on about this weird dream he had, which is about one of his ancestors who was taking his bride back from Europe (?) to his African lair, but they got captured by a bad guy for a while and he was chained up but figured out a way to break free, after … well, it’s not clear how long, but weeks or possibly months, and then he took the chains home with him, as a reminder. Anyway, it was mostly boring but today’s strip is very funny because apparently they’re having a big fight about this on their wedding day. Ha ha, I guess you shouldn’t have agreed to an arranged marriage (?) to the heir to a line of African-based superhero vigilantes if you aren’t up for this sort of symbolism-laden bullshit, random Victorian-era European lady! Now you’re trapped in “the Skull Cave” with no way back home! I myself would not have agreed to anything that would end with me living someplace called “the Skull Cave,” personally.

Blondie, 2/19/24

This one is a real missed opportunity, in my opinion. If Dagwood had simply said “Not really” in the first panel and then the next two panels consisted of his barber cutting his hair in awkward silence, it would have been the funniest Blondie strip created in the last 50 years.

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Hi and Lois, 2/17/24

In a happier family, Hi would relay this story with a rueful smile on his face, acknowledging that it was a disappointing game while still emphasizing that bowling is hard for little kids and everyone had a good time hanging out together. In a kinder family, if Hi were going to tell this story with a facial expression implying that the experience made him miserable and his youngest son inspires nothing but shame and contempt in his heart, he’d at least do it where Ditto couldn’t see or hear him.

Beetle Bailey, 2/17/24

Speaking of the unhappy Flagston-Bailey clan, I like that today’s Beetle Bailey doesn’t trust readers to understand that these two older characters talking about how “Beetle doesn’t write letters home anymore” are supposed to be Beetle’s parents. I’d like to think that the original draft only had one parent-themed coffee mug but the syndicate sent it back and said “No, this needs to be twice as obvious.”

Dennis the Menace, 2/17/24

Margaret should not be looking so happy here, she should absolutely be thinking to herself “I can’t believe this moron doesn’t even know the word ‘candelabra.’”