Archive: Gil Thorp

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Spider-Man, 2/16/17

One of the arguments for the idea that advanced alien races visited Earth in the distant past is drawn from our own mythologies. Detailed stories of gods and goddesses, and other beings far more powerful than ordinary men and women, aren’t just made up out of whole cloth, the theory goes; they represent garbled cultural memories of the visits of extraterrestrials. These creatures left such a lasting imprint on our preliterate ancestors that we unconsciously not only remember them but reproduce them in our beliefs and art. And I think panel two is indisputable proof that, tens of thousands of years after it was buried beneath a New Mexico volcano, the Kree Sentinel is still well remembered by humanity:

Gil Thorp, 2/16/17

Over in Gil Thorp, Gil is getting in on the Downward Socioeconomic Mobility Sleuthing action, prompted by this extremely respectful student detectives! See, Aaron’s mom used to be in the lucrative actuarial trade, back in sixth grade, so now it makes no sense that Aaron is living in a dumpy apartment complex like a common poor. Gil decided that the best way to get to the bottom of this whole dilemma would be to show up at Aaron’s mom’s office, unannounced, presumably during the workday, when he should be, like, coaching students or whatever, and asking, “Hey, just wondering if Aaron’s OK? There’s not anything happening at home that would upset him? Like the fact that his mother is doing some kind of white collar job in an office with cracked plaster walls, which basically is like a giant sign that says ‘CALL SOCIAL SERVICES IMMEDIATELY’? I’m just asking questions!” And indeed his visit has prompted an extremely productive family conversation at home. Another win for Coach Thorp!

Beetle Bailey, 2/16/17

Oh God, in one strip, we have explained so much of what makes Beetle’s character baffling: his seeming narcolepsy, the physical abuse visited upon him by Sarge without consequences, the way he appears fatally mangled in one strip and then back to normal in the next. “Beetle” is really a series of artificial beings, clones or androids or something, presumably being developed by the military to replace all-too-fallible humans in war and create an unbeatable army. The program is … not going well, with none of the Beetles scattered around Camp Swampy living up to expectations. And despite the fact they look like humans and talk like humans and (let’s consider Miss Buxley’s part in this experiment) love like humans, they are not treated as humans worthy of respect. Sarge is no doubt about to pummel this one into goo, like he has so many others, and then go find one that’s actually up and walking around, just like you might rummage through your desk drawers looking for a functional pen.

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Blondie, 2/3/17

Today’s Blondie is a great illustration of how dictatorship is degrading even to the dictator. Here’s Mr. Dithers, having thought up a sick but lyrical burn on his least favorite employee, and all he wants to do is unleash it, you know? Get a genuine laugh out of it. But no, this bald sycophant is terrified of what would happen if he isn’t praising his lord and master at all times, so he just blurts out “nice poetry, boss!” the moment it becomes clear that Dithers is getting a little adventurous with his language. Dithers reacts really the only we he can — by just plowing forward with his cruel little monologue, and acting as if he never even heard his subordinate’s premature praise — but you have to think he feels pretty undermined by how it all played out.

Gil Thorp, 2/3/17

Oh man, it looks like this winter’s Gil Thorp plot is taking on issues of social and economic class in our society! Presumably in order to make a big impression on Tweedle-Dee here Aaron’s dad came to school on career day wearing a top hat and monocole and shouting “I COULD BUY ALL OF YOU CHILDREN AND PUT YOU TO WORK POLISHING MY GOLD IN MY SOUTHEAST ASIAN GOLD-POLISHING SWEATSHOP IF I WANTED TO.” Now, though, just a few years later, Aaron lives in a mildly rundown apartment building. This makes his mom sad, which in turn makes Aaron inconsistent at basketball. If anything, it makes too much sense.

Anyway, in panel two, we see Coach Thorp and Mrs. Coach Thorp and Coach Kaz and Coach Kaz’s girlfriend/hype woman whose name I forget enjoying a delicious meal out at someplace fancy enough to serve wine but in touch with American values enough to serve burgers and fries. That’s America’s meritocratic socioeconomic system in a nutshell right there! Get with the program, panels one and two, with your implication that our class position affects every aspect of our lives!

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Marvin, 1/25/17

This comic about how Mavin’s dad Jeff is getting lavishly praised for using his well-outfitted kitchen to create palatable food is a little undermined by the fact that the food depicted is one of the most disgusting entrees I’ve ever seen in the comics, and I read Mary Worth daily. “I can’t believe you made this!” exclaims Jeff’s mother-in-law, and it’s true, it’s hard to believe that anyone would present a writhing mass of sheet-white tentacles topped with a viscous blob of ink-black goo to his family and expect them to eat it. “And you didn’t even burn anything!” his father-in-law adds, perhaps unaware that this awful feast absorbs all heat energy without getting any warmer, because it was forged in the infinitely hot bowels of hell.

Anyway, the “punchline” here is that Jeff, a man, has managed to produce an unburnt meal, in contrast with the typical efforts of his wife, Jenny, a woman. As a result, Jeff will take on family cooking duties from now on, since he’s clearly better suited for them will hold this over Jenny in their long-running marital oneupmanship, forever.

Gil Thorp, 1/25/17

Oops, it only took a day to solve the mystery: Aaron Aargard is terribly inconsistent because his mother (?) won’t come see him play, because she has the vapors or something. It’s enough to drive anyone into the welcoming arms of electronic dance music, and maybe drugs!