Archive: Family Circus

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Dick Tracy, 3/11/24

OK, fine, after my uninformed joking yesterday, I am back to reading the comics so you don’t have to and can inform you that (a) these strips are a flashback and (b) these two “dumb housecleaners” are actually retired FBI agents/Little Orphan Annie’s biological parents (you can tell by the lack of pupils, I guess?), who are somehow involved in thwarting the attempt to kidnap Oliver Warbacks. This is exactly what I don’t like about these kinds of retcons, honestly: now we have to believe that Warbucks and Annie were somehow tied together before she was even born — that’s her in utero there in panel two and three — when there was already a perfectly good origin story to their relationship (Warbucks bought her from a crooked orphanage to burnish his public image so he could keep selling defective artillery shells to that commie FDR).

Judge Parker, 3/11/24

Judge Parker artist Mike Manley is having health issues, and I have no insider information beyond that, but even though his name is on the strip a series of guest artists have filled in for him intermittently over the past few months. Today is the first showing from Gil Thorp’s Rod Whigham — I recognize those meaty hands and shocked eyelines anywhere. (This feels a bit like an echo of when then-Apartment 3-G artist Frank Bolle briefly filled in on Gil Thorp back in 2008.) Get well soon, Mike, but until then Rod’s going to be guiding us through a storyline where I assume the Spencer-Driver clan puts aside their differences and closes ranks to prevent Ann, last seen having a heated argument with this guy, from going away for murder.

Family Circus, 3/11/24

Aw, look how happy Jeffy looks here! He’s very sure he was born a whole person and isn’t an eldritch abomination assembeled out of various parts, and we should let him continue to hold that impression, even though it isn’t true.

Slylock Fox, 3/11/24

Look, the newspaper comics need all the help they can get, so its actually totally fine when Slylock Fox decides to cash in on all that SLICK SMITTY NUDE SLICK SMITTY GETTING OUT OF SHOWER SLICK SMITY DRIPPING WET search traffic.

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Gasoline Alley, 3/7/24

Man, here’s a story of our modern world for ya: You head down to City Hall, because they’re trying to rename your town, because of woke, and you wanna give those politicians what-for, but then you end up running into some dumb rustic who’s banging the mayor and he wastes your time with a bunch of “Why do we drive on a parkway but park in the driveway” bullshit. Eventually you get annoyed and give up and go home. This is why ordinary people don’t want to get involved in our civic institutions anymore!

Family Circus, 3/7/24

Obviously the joke here is that this is a bug and Jeffy is too stupid to realize it, but I do like that they just drew it as a featureless black dot. It’s like we’re seeing through his eyes! Maybe his universe really is unravelling around him! What a glorious day that would be, for all of us.

Blondie, 3/7/24

Today’s Blondie features two teenagers hanging out and playing video games, an extremely normal scenario that I am absolutely flabbergasted actually appeared in a legacy newspaper comic strip. I think I may actually have to go lay down somewhere.

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Family Circus, 2/24/24

The Family Circus was originally drawn by Bil Keane, with the characters all being thinly veiled versions of him and his real family, and the Bil analogue character in the strip also worked as a cartoonist; the narrative layers only got more tangled when real-life Jeffy took over, making the occasional guest stints by “Billy, age 7” a true semiotic swamp: originally these panels were Bil pretending to be his son pretending to be him, and now they’re Jeff pretending to be his brother pretending to be their father. Anyway, here’s today panel, which features said father vividly writhing on the floor in agony!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/24/24

I guess it’s probably good that soap opera comics, a form of entertainment primarily enjoyed by the elderly and infirm, are increasingly targeting those readers with PSA-style messages about how they need to have a plan for the inevitable upcoming incident when they will have fallen and won’t be able get up, but in their shoes I personally would find it a little insulting. Dagnabbit, these older folks get plenty of bad news in the rest of the paper! When they turn to Rex Morgan, M.D., they want to see our heroes get a fat check or prance around in their underwear for a bit. They very much do not want to stare into the wizened face of their own mortality, in the form of Aunt Tildy and the “Count” here.

Mary Worth, 2/24/24

God I love this strip. Recent events have sent Keith into turmoil, but Mary? Mary is doing great. Thriving, even. Walking alone around the Charterstone grounds, serenely meditating on some of her favorite zero-content aphorisms. Truly living her best life.