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Dennis the Menace, 6/8/24

“Dennis shit-talks his mother’s cooking” isn’t my favorite trope in this strip, but I feel you at least have to respect the form: he should either be poking sullenly at his food, glowering at everyone, absolutely ruining the energy of the family meal, or he should be making some witty quip that emotionally devastates Alice while Henry barely conceals a smirk. But while the dialogue here works, the art is all off: Dennis looks extremely pleased by the high-nutrition meal that’s been prepared for him, and his parents are all smiles. This frankly is so un-menacing that it loops all the way around to menacing again because it’s so deeply uncanny.

Judge Parker, 6/8/24

OK, since I’m embracing being a cranky old man who hates change, I’m just going to say it: “eloping” is supposed to mean that you sneak off and get married without telling any of your friends and family, often without even being formally engaged first. But more and more people are just using it to mean “We’re going have a small wedding, actually, even though we told some people we were planning to have a big one at some point in the future,” and I hate it! The secrecy is the point! You don’t just wander in and announce it while your fiancee is in the middle of a Zoom call with her mother!

Blondie, 6/8/24


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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/29/23

Believe me, if there’s one bit of empathy doing this blog for multiple decades has granted me, it’s the understanding that it’s actually really a grind to come up with a new joke every day indefinitely, so I don’t blame comics writers for latching onto whatever they can as a a prompt. Blondie in particular loves to use fake holidays made up for marketing purposes to hang their jokes on, and that’s what I assumed was going on here, but a little Googling shows that “Contrarian Day” simply is not a thing — it mostly seems to occur in the phrase “contrarian day trader,” which is a sort of person who, if some very sad Reddit threads are any indication, frequently loses a lot of money. Anyway, you’d think he could’ve just said “Opposite Day?” That isn’t any kind of official holiday either, but at least it’s been sanctified by numerous cruel teens, right after they tell you that your clothes look nice.

Dennis the Menace, 9/29/23

What’s the menace here? That Dennis is revealing to his mother that his father has a comely assistant? That Dennis is accusing his father of being bad at his job and needing help? Neither: it’s that his father has violated their community’s WASP code and hired [shudder] an Italian.

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Hi and Lois, 9/2/23

If you want a glimpse of how in mid-century America, syndicated newspaper cartooning used to be your ticket to a comfortable life, consider the central position the great suburban participatory leisure sports of golf and tennis hold in our legacy strips! It’s a different time now, but these strips can still teach us a lot about the folkways of suburban Connecticut and similar communities, and if I’m reading today’s Hi and Lois right, those places are on the verge of civil war. Hi thinks he can just ride this one out on the golf course, but there will come a time, and soon, where he’ll have to take a side.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/2/23

Oh ho, it looks like Rene, aka “Professor Mirakle,” is back to tie up some loose ends, possibly by murdering his erstwhile disciple Mud! Ha ha, everyone will be real sorry they didn’t accept his apologies, once they find his bullet-ridden corpse in this hotel room three days from now! Honestly, though, it seems much more likely that Rene is just trying to get a cut of the money from Mud’s apparently quite lucrative Li’l Fergus character and the songs he co-wrote and/or inspired through fake guru powers. It would be funny to see an attempted murderer make use of the legal system to enforce his intellectual property claims, but honestly, it’s not like he hasn’t done it before.

Between Friends, 9/2/23

Sorry to this lady who is being abandoned by all her friends and family, but I will never get over the phrase “We live in a global world.” Do we? Is it a global world we live in? Is it really? Is that why you can use a globe to depict the world with such uncanny accuracy?

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