Archive: Hi and Lois

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Dustin, 5/6/22

Dustin is a truly amazing strip, one whose whole purpose is to poke fun of the foibles of young people despite clearly having no real sense of how young people live their lives, and one of the ways this manifests, as I have frequently griped, is that the young people characters go to fern bars in order to seek out romantic entanglements, like it’s the god-damned Reagan Administration or something. I guess some garbled communication has filtered back to Dustin HQ that modern hookup culture is entirely focused on dating apps now, which could explain why this young lady is at a fern bar but also on her laptop for some reason.

Hi and Lois, 5/6/22

I was going to make fun of Hi for seeming so shocked that Chip and his date might go dutch, but then I realized he has that same slack-jawed befuddled look in panel one as the conversation begins, too. Honestly, he looks like that a lot of the time! That Hi Flagston, just a befuddled dipshit stumbling his way through life on the funny pages!

Pluggers, 5/6/22

Ha ha, I absolutely love the look on that dog-man’s face. It’s gonna be real horror show in that house and this guy knows it.

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Gil Thorp, 4/8/22

Gil Thorp generally hews pretty closely to the holy trinity of football, basketball, and baseball/softball, but every once in a while it tries another sport out for size and I always appreciate it. Today the Milford baseballers are coming out to support tennis star Charis (?) Tompkins, and going on a journey of learning about when and where it’s appropriate to cheer in different sports. A fun fact is that my niece was a pretty high-level gymnast in high school and I went to one of her meets once and very quickly discovered that you are not supposed to loudly boo your team’s opponents, who knew, ha ha! You can’t blame me, my sole experience with competitive gymnastics at the time was a 2006 Gil Thorp storyline where one little girl just starts punching another little girl in the face in the middle of a meet.

Mary Worth, 4/8/22

Ha ha, yes, this dream sequence is shaping up to be exactly as bananas as I’d hoped! Cal looming erotically/threatening over Toby, staring into nothing with dead heart eyes, while the salmon sky burns behind him? The best part is that it’s Friday and we’re really just getting started, which I hope means we have another solid week of this.

Hi and Lois, 4/8/22

The newspaper comics are essentially an art form created by, and mostly for, those middle aged and older, so a lot of it ends being about how the kids today aren’t as cool as the kids used to be. Normally that’s not my jam, but I gotta admit, when they’re right, they’re right.

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Hagar the Horrible and Hi and Lois, 3/17/22

Most people would say that the Irish Potato Famine is the worst tragedy that has befallen the Emerald Isle; an extremely not-fun fact is that the population of the island of Ireland is still 20% short of where it was in 1848. Mostly forgotten, but no doubt similarly traumatic, were the waves of Viking attacks that battered Ireland for much of the 9th and 10th century, leading to widespread death, destruction of cultural heritage, and even the establishment of short-lived Norse kingdoms that disrupted Irish political life. And sure, nobody ever accused Walker-Browne Amalgamated Humor Industries LLC of being “woke,” but it’s truly offensive on St. Patrick’s Day for Hagar the Horrible to do a joke about some Vikings making an object of fun out of a furious and disheveled looking Gael, whose tavern they have presumably forcibly commandeered. More subtle anti-Hibernian sentiment can be found in Hi and Lois, where Hi’s drunken neighbor seems to be claiming an Irish identity, despite the fact that his name, which literally means “Stone of Thor,” is pure Norse. For shame, sir! For shame!

Curtis, 3/17/22

There was a great essay I read recently about the omnipresence of the “trauma plot” in modern storytelling, in which there’s basically a Big Reveal about a character’s Painful Past that Explains Everything about why they’re Like This. The essay specifically takes on the new movie version of Death On The Nile, in which it’s revealed (and, uh, spoilers I guess) that Poirot has (a) turned to detective work and (b) grown a silly mustache because of his suffering in the trenches during World War I, whereas Christie’s original detective watches and learns about people and what they do because that’s the sort of thing he enjoys, which is one element of what we used to call “having a personality” but doesn’t create a dramatic back story per se. This is a long way of me saying that one of the things I’ve always loved about Curtis is its cheerful sitcom sameness. Curtis perceives his dad as cheap because the family is lower-middle-class and Curtis’s ideas for how much money he as an 11-year-old should be given are unrealistic! I don’t want to know about how Greg’s beloved grandmother used to smoke and now he can’t quit because the smell reminds him of the times they stayed at her house after his dad got evicted again! I swear, if we learn a single thing about Derrick and “Onion”‘s sad home life I’m going to be furious.

Family Circus, 3/17/22

One of the conceits of the Family Circus is that Big Daddy Keane is simultaneously the patriarch of the family within the strip and also the artist and writer of the strip itself, which is why the strip occasionally gives him “time off” and “Billy (age 7)” fills in. I guess the fact that half the kids (where are the other two?) have been dumped at his mother’s means that he’s on vacation, which tracks with the complete lack of jokes this week. Like, the last couple days were just about the kids being really annoying to their grandmother’s downstairs neighbors, because they don’t understand the concept of apartment buildings? Anyway, I don’t think there’s a joke today either, but Grandma and the maintenance man are definitely fuckin’, that seems pretty obvious and the kids are right to say it.

Dick Tracy, 3/17/22

In the first draft of my commentary on yesterday’s Dick Tracy, I speculated that the villain’s name would be “Tastebud,” which I decided was too on the nose even for Dick Tracy and changed to “Tayste Budd” before I posted it. I apologize for failing to keep up with just how extremely on the nose Dick Tracy actually is.