Archive: Gil Thorp

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Pajama Diaries, 1/4/20

Aw, man! Pajama Diaries, which became my go-to strip for vaguely enjoyable obsessive-neurotic stylings when Edge City went out of business, is also folding up shop. RIP Pajama Diaries, you were pretty good! If anyone else has a line on a strip featuring secular Jewish characters whose playful performance of anxiety masks some really profound terror about everyday life, please let me know, as I find that sort of thing intensely relatable.

Dustin, 1/4/20

Meanwhile, the insufferably smug gentiles of Dustin will just continue to move through their lives without spending a moment worrying about anything or examining their own terrible behavior and attitudes. These two feel justified getting in this little dig despite the fact that we’ve never seen them praying, going to church, or doing anything even vaguely religious in the strip. God is dead, which is just as well because now He doesn’t have to learn about Instagram, you know?

Dick Tracy, 1/4/20

Apparently someone has tasked the Dick Tracy creative team with adding more “psychological depth” to the strip’s villains so we can understand their “motivations” or whatever, so, here you go: Mr. Roboto robs banks not just because he loves the money, but because bank robberies provide a thrilling change of pace from his otherwise dull life. It’s not clear what he feels like dressing up as a Styx robot adds to the whole process, or why cyber-cosplay isn’t enough to alleviate the ennui and why he has to bring crimes into the mix, but I think we know enough for us to feel a twinge of empathy when Dick inevitably shoots him in the face.

The Lockhorns, 1/4/20

I find it particularly challenging sometimes to construct a narrative setup to make sense of the Lockhorns panels where non-Lockhorns characters interact (always silently) with Leroy and Loretta. Like, today: who is this lady? Why is she at the Lockhorns’ house at what I assume from context is no later than 10 am to watch Leroy day drink? Is this some poor unsuspecting acquaintance Loretta has dragged over on a flimsy pretext just so she could have a witness to her husband’s alcohol problems? Whatever the case, her fixed facial expression as she stares off into the middle distance indicates that this will be her last visit, and indeed her last interaction with either of these two of any kind.

Gil Thorp, 1/4/20

You know, we make fun of Gil a lot for not doing much by way of actual coaching in this strip, but honestly it turns out that watching someone coach in a comic is boring as shit, and maybe we shouldn’t complain so much.

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Mary Worth, 12/9/19

Say what you will about this “Wilbur & Estelle & Zak & Iris” storyline, but it keeps zagging when I expect it to zig, by which I mean I never in a million years would’ve guessed that Wilbur and Zak, both heartbroken because their ladyfriends dumped them for wholly baffling reasons (because they’re public embarrassments with serious alcohol problems who aren’t over their ex and menopause, respectively), would end up bellying up to Santa Royale’s one vaguely seedy bar together and engaging in some good old fashioned male bonding. Anyway, Zak is nursing what’s presumably a local craft beer and Wilbur’s obviously on day twelve of a scotch bender, so Wilbur having what’s Zak’s having will actually sober him up a bit, hopefully keeping him coherent enough so we hear every detail of the restraining order Estelle got against him post-boombox incident. “The Charterstone laundry room is less than 150 yards from her apartment so I haven’t been able to wash any of my clothes for weeks, Zak. Weeks!

Gil Thorp, 12/9/19

Welp, we’ve wrapped up the Chance Macy/Chet Ballard/Charlie Roh story, and, uh, it seems the football team is not headed for the playdowns, despite the revival of the bonfire this year, because we’ve just rolled right into the winter storyline, which seems to be about … a girl named Alexa, like the popular electronic assistant from Amazon, and all the other kids are making jokes about it? This seems fairly realistic, as teens are generally pretty shitty and also much less funny than they think they are, but I’m not sure it’s actually that great a basis for a months-long comics plot.

Dick Tracy, 12/9/19

You know what is a great basis for a months-long comics plot? A washed-up narcissistic old actor, whose enormous office is decorated with larger-than-life posters of himself, following up his successful production of Our Town with a wildly ill-conceived plan for stage version of Metropolis starring a woman transformed via alien DNA. This is a million times better than Steve Roper and Mike Nomad tracking down rogue carnies or whatever.

Crock, 12/9/19

I’ve always understood “entertainment center” to mean a big piece of furniture that has spots for your TV, DVD player, stereo, etc., which more or less went out of fashion when flatscreen TVs came onto the scene in the mid-to-late ’00s, and never would’ve been much of a gift item anyway. But I guess I’m overthinking this strip, where the punchline is that the real entertainment center is an old man’s dick.

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Gil Thorp, 12/6/19

Say, remember way back at the beginning of this storyline, when the first inkling that something was odd about Chance Macy was that he’d rather stay home and chill than party at The Bucket? We never quite got any explanation of if or how that tied into the problems with aggression he had as a little kid, but the surprise lines around his head in panel three here indicate that he’s still wary of partaking in this seemingly harmless social ritual. Will all the hubbub turn out to be too much for his fragile brain? Will some poor waiter end up with scissors embedded in his face? Will Chet finally be vindicated?

Crankshaft, 12/6/19

Say, remember when, less than three years ago, Crankshaft managed Ralph’s mayoral bid, and fixing potholes was literally the entire campaign platform? Well, it’s a good thing they lost, because they clearly lacked even the most basic understanding of governance necessary to deliver on their promises, or, worse, they’ve rapidly gone so senile that they’ve forgotten the election even happened in the first place.

Matts, 12/6/19

Say, remember the adorable lisping pets of Mutts? What’re they up to these days? Uh, fucking deer, it looks like.