Archive: Dustin

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Judge Parker, 2/28/24

Judge Parker Senior’s wayward daughter Ann, having escaped her captor when he decided that Judge Parker Senior was too scary, has apparently decided to try to escape the loving embrace of her family as well. Specifically, she appears to be fleeing into the hedge maze that the Parkers maintain on their grounds, and I for one think it would be very funny if Randy attempts a flying tackle only to miss and end up waist-deep in the shrubbery.

Dustin, 2/28/24

Ring is manufactured by Amazon, and with the close collaboration between the company and law enforcement, I’m afraid that Dustin’s dad use of “police” as a verb here is anything but metaphorical. As a defense attorney, the man is probably already on the local cops’ shit list, and while I don’t usually root for the carceral state, after years of reading this strip I can’t say the thought of him getting violently tased for trying to sneak a midnight snack doesn’t warm my heart a little bit.

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Gasoline Alley, 1/29/24

One of the central and increasingly untenable contradictions of Gasoline Alley is that it is and always has been a strip where the characters age in real time, but it’s also a strip that’s been continuously published since 1918, and Walt Wallet, one of its central characters, is now improbably someting like 130 years old. But they can’t let him die, or even retire gracefully to the semi-fantastical Old Comics Character Home like they hinted they would back in 2006 and 2013, I guess because extensive market research showed that once Walt is allowed to stop suffering, the few remaining Gasoline Alley trufans will simply abandon the strip and do something more interesting with their lives. Anyway, that same research showed that nobody gives a shit about Slim, so, uh, RIP Slim, 1970(?)-2024, you taught me that it’s pretty easy to freeze to death in your car.

Dennis the Menace, 1/29/24

Saw what you will about Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC not being innovative, but they were the ones who had the nerve to say, “Hey, I know in the ’80s they made us stop doing jokes about some of our characters being drunks, but what if we start doing that again, just to see if anybody still cares?” The experiment proved that, in fact, nobody did care, and now other comics are reaping the benefits. Ha ha, it’s funny because Mr. Wilson drinks to escape the pain of Dennis ruining his retirement, but now he’s old and he can’t really handle it anymore!

Dustin, 1/29/24

“Sure, yes, I have a device in my pocket that would grant me immediate access to health information, the lastest in journalism, the complete archives of Highlights magazine, and even soothing videos of fish swimming free in their natural habitat rather than suffering in a tiny, dirty tank. But I’m not going to take it out and look at it, on principle” –the Dustin dad philosophy distilled into its most potent and unpleasant form

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Dustin, 1/18/24

I think my record on the themes and narrative content of Dustin is pretty clear — I find them extremely objectionable, perhaps more than any other comic in my daily rotation — but I generally don’t say much about the art. It’s — well, “good” might be pushing it, but it’s generally perfectly workmanlike and occasionally shows flashes of charm. The one thing about it I don’t like is the weird way that the character’s eyes switch back and forth between stylized pupils-and-sclerae (as in panel two here) and simple black dots (as in panel three). Maybe this doesn’t jump out at you in black and white (which I still consider the canonical format for a daily strip), but in today’s scenario it honestly feels like we’re going from them talking normally about teenage boy trouble to their eyes suddenly going inky black and their voices shifting to an ominous thrumming as they say in unison “THE HANDSOME LAD, THE PRETTY ONE … HE HAS WRONGED US AND HE MUST BE DESTROYED.”

Gil Thorp, 1/18/24

Keri has been selling the “Pedro ghosted me!” sob story to anyone who’ll listen for a while now, but honestly it feels more like “Pedro is experiencing a major depressive episode that isn’t actually about me”? This is, I imagine, a fairly accurate example of a teenage reaction, though.

Mary Worth, 1/18/24

My immediate reaction to this strip was “Oh my god was this just setting up a MARY WORTH HAS A SECRET DAUGHTER PLOT????” Now, obviously, you’re going to dismiss that as anatomically impossible, but remember that Mary firmly believes that you can overcome past trauma simply by refusing to remember that it ever happened, so it’s more likely than you’d think!