Archive: Gasoline Alley

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Mary Worth, 1/20/20

Well, Thyroid Awareness Month has wrapped up nicely, with Zak doubling down on his grim determination to be the most supportive boyfriend possible by buying Iris healthy food and not making her feel bad about doing less volunteer work so she can conserve her Hashimoto’s-sapped energy. Now we’re shifting gears: did you know that January is also There Are No Good Men Left Once You’re In Your 60s So Just Settle For Whoever Or You’ll Die Alone Awareness Month? It’s true! And Estelle and Wilbur are going to make you ever more aware of this over the coming weeks, as Estelle forces herself to laugh at Wilbur’s terrible jokes and tries to forget his appalling behavior and just generally unpleasant personality.

Gasoline Alley, 1/20/20

I’m not even going to bother bringing you up to speed on Gasoline Alley, but I am going to say this: if you’ve given one of your characters a “whimsical” name like “Baleen,” I think it’s kind of weird to milk laughs out of other characters finding it strange? I dunno, it just seems kind of overdetermined to me. Long story short, I hope our salty waitress has a long and serious talk with this young man about the difference between baleen whales, which use bony plates to filter food out of the water as it passes through their mouths, and toothed whales like the orca.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 1/20/20

Back in the days when Woody Wilson wrote this strip, people used to give the Morgans stuff all the time: free tickets to SeaWorld, steeply discounted vacation homes, and so on. But under Terry Beatty’s watch, the gravy train has been slowed somewhat. Sure, June and Rex scored some free toddlers a couple years back, but her best friend had to die to make that happen. Fortunately, the Morgans don’t care about other people’s well-being, really, so Aunt Tildy’s transparent hint that she’s gonna drop dead soon really ought to have June’s ears pricking up. What are they going to get in the will, do you suppose?

Crankshaft, 1/20/20

Man, I am mesmerized by whatever is in Crankshaft’s spoon here. Sure, he could easily make himself some kind of soggy off-brown slurry to eat at home for much less money, but then he wouldn’t be able to trade bon mots with his friends as he chokes the tasteless stuff down, you know?

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Gasoline Alley, 12/12/19

You know, I don’t talk about Gasoline Alley a ton here but I really have come to respect its utterly shambolic narrative style. Like, none of the other continuity strips are what you’d call tightly plotted, but Gasoline Alley lurches from event from to event without any clear sense of purpose or direction, much like real life itself, in a style normally associated with European arthouse movies from the ’70s. Over the last few … weeks? months? time has no meaning in this context, honestly, so let’s just say “the last little bit,” the town’s resident psychic physician’s assistant diagnosed the diner’s waitress with a heart condition so she had to take time off, and then a tough-talking sailor woman wandered through town and took the job, and then a train full of little kids on their way to see Santa broke down near the diner, so then they got Slim to dress up as Santa and come entertain them, and now it turns out that the little kids are … mostly assholes? And the tough-talking sailor woman, in her crusty, non-PC way, is threatening to murder them? Not really sure if this kid is claiming his father actually is a gamma radiation-mutated superhero or just a guy with a terrible anger problem, and honestly, in classic Gasoline Alley fashion, we’re probably never going to find out for sure! This is just one in series of vaguely connected things that happen, and will keep on happening, forever.

Crankshaft, 12/12/19

Crankshaft has been doing a whole series of strips this week about hawking your book at a book fair and nobody buying it, maybe because print media is dying or maybe just because nobody likes your book or maybe a little of both, and the whole thing has a definite “pulled from real life” vibe. Anyway, I’m a particular fan of today’s strip because of the Christmas decorations, which really create a mood, you know? These people could all be spending precious time around the holidays with their families, but instead they’re here, in what appears to be a hallway of some sort, staring at their phones, not selling books.

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Mary Worth, 11/29/19

Well, Iris has decided to consult a doctor for the symptoms she’s been experiencing. This guy kind of looks like Dr. Jeff, except younger, so maybe it’s supposed be Dr. Jeff’s son Dr. Drew, who two-time Dawn and got smacked around for it but hasn’t been seen since the new art team took over. Anyway, remember years ago in Funky Winkerbean when Les’s wife Lisa was told her cancer was in remission, but it really wasn’t and she was only told that as a result of some kind of paperwork mixup, and then she died? Well, it looks like Iris’s obvious pregnancy is currently being misdiagnosed as a typical case of old-broad-itis, which should lead to wacky results. As Marx put it in his Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon: “Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”

Gil Thorp, 11/29/19

Ha ha, Chet thought he could trust Marty Moon to help him with his plot to undermine Chance Macy and win his stepson’s love, but that’s too far even for Marty, so Marty narc’d him out, probably ruining his career and his marriage! Good times, good times. When the Mudlarks fail to make the playdowns yet again, Marty and Gil will be able to agree that at least nobody likes Chet anymore, so the season hasn’t been a total loss.

Gasoline Alley, 11/29/19

Is … is this really a great story? I know that the economic collapse of many small-town and mid-market media outlets has been devastating, removing an important check on political power in those communities, but I’m starting to wonder if they maybe deserved it.