Archive: Dustin

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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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Blondie, 11/4/19

I was going to say that Dagwood, who is apparently willing to stick his tongue into some sort of measuring/scanning apparatus and have the details of his mouth biology stored indefinitely in the cloud in order to prove his “loyalty” to a restaurant and get few percent knocked off his bill, represents the ultimate version of the modern human, willing to trade away his privacy for pennies. But then it occurred to me that restaurants could just do this with facial recognition, which makes me assume that this is actually just some kind of sick fetish idea on Dagwood’s part.

Mary Worth, 11/4/19

I fully expect that I’m going to be bringing you my close analysis of Wilbur’s Drunken Double Date multiple times this week. Today, as we learn that Zak does not subscribe to the cult of the grind prevalent among so many tech founders and game industry execs, we should pause and appreciate Wilbur’s facial expression in panel two, which is a pretty good illustration of a very, very drunk guy trying and almost succeeding in holding it together.

Dustin, 11/4/19

One of the core bits of Dustin lore that I already hate myself for knowing is that Dustin is a temp who gets assigned to generic white-collar office jobs from which he almost immediately gets fired because he sucks at them, but somehow his temp agency keeps finding him more work. Anyway, it’s definitely out of character for him to suddenly be given a job in the skilled trades, and I’d like to believe that it represents some narrative shift in the strip, but I’m assuming the cartoonist saw the phrase “Quick Lube” and thought, “Ha ha, you know who wouldn’t be quick at lubing things? That incompetent millennial Dustin!” We should probably be glad the strip ended up like this and not about sex stuff.

The Lockhorns, 11/4/19

My favorite thing about this strip is that Leroy has turned away from his wife and is heading into the bar while she narrates her disdain for him to some passerby. “Wife making mouth noises, but no time to process them,” he thinks. “Daylight waning, along with it opportunities for day drinking.”

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Pajama Diaries, 11/1/19

Ha ha, remember when an innocent discussion with her daughter about social media profile pics led to Pajama Diaries Mom Whose Name I Forget chattily bringing up the constant intrusive thoughts she has about her imminent kidnapping? Well, tonight, when she’s just out having some fun drinking wine with her gal pals, she talks about how one extremely normal recurring worry she has is that for some reason in the future she’ll be in a coma indefinitely, technically alive but insensate and trapped in an interminable kind of living death, yet still subject to the crushing demands that the patriarchy makes on women’s personal appearance. Imagine your mind trapped in a useless husk of a body, screaming endlessly but silently because you think the doctors who occasionally stop by your room to change your feeding tube will think “gee, this one has really let herself go”! They say people want to see representation of others like them in the media, but as a guy with anxiety, this all just makes me increasingly uncomfortable and I’d honestly rather not!

Hagar the Horrible, 11/1/19

I was going to point out that taking a dog for a walk for “exercise” is generally a euphemism for getting him out of the house so he can pee, but then I remembered Hagar is a uncultured Viking living in a tiny dirt-floored hut in rural Norway. He probably pees on the floor himself if it’s cold out!

Gil Thorp, 11/1/19

Oh wow, it turns out Chance only threw scissors at another kid because he hates injustice so much. C’MON MAN. I’ve now totally revised my opinion on this plot, Chet is absolutely right to air as much of Chance’s dirty laundry as possible to put this self-righteous jerk in his place and get his stepson that starting RB job.

Dustin, 11/1/19

“Like, I don’t want cereal that helps me poop! I want cereal that I want to fuck.