Archive: Judge Parker

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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/20/17

Times may be tough for newspapers elsewhere, but in largely illiterate Hootin’ Holler the editor of the Gazette is settin’ purdy. Not only did the recent subscription drive vastly expand the paper’s distribution area, but judging from the contents of Jughaid’s satchel, it also raised circulation a solid 50%. Far away in the flatland of Tysons Corner Virginia, a Gannett regional manager selects Bowtie McPencil for the quarterly sales award and a shot at the President’s Club cruise to Barbados.

Judge Parker, 9/20/17

Oh look, it’s chesty newsminx Toni Bowen from the factory-collapse story, and she’s going to save her national-desk job with an exclusive scoop of April’s video!

But hey waitaminute it was Sam holding April’s SD card — how and when did Toni meet him? He wasn’t at the factory collapse, so it must have been later, during his paranoid yarn-on-the-bulletin-board period? Or when he sent her all those nasty emails? She certainly doesn’t know April, even to look at. So Toni is staking her career, and making an enemy of the CIA, based on an unverifiable video sent by a guy she knows only as a belligerent raving lunatic. Cynical, streetwise career move, or first step on the way back to covering mall openings and/or extraordinary rendition?

Haha Randy’s lampshade looks like a Disney elephant huddle.

Mark Trail, 9/20/17

And now we arrive, as ever we must in Mark Trail stories, at the Bear in the Cave. But in truth, faithful readers, the Bear sleeps within us all. In our deepest Cave, far beneath our civilized façade, out of sight or even waking awareness — but angry when roused, and eager to strike. Consider then what great Bear must slumber within Mark Trail: a mountain of an animal, primitive, grizzly, and possessed of Biblical strength.

Asleep through countless months of slights, insults, and indignities by Baldy and his accomplice, through the endless ride across the great prairie, through fistfights, thunderstorms, and tornadoes, Mark’s Bear now stirs — beware his mighty paw! He will not be stayed by the facile trick-riding of Johnny Lone Elk, nor beguiled by the candy and Barry White CDs in Sheriff Don Stober’s saddlebags. No weapon can wound him. He plods upward, consumed with rage and thirsty for blood. O Baldy! You have wronged a Man of Nature; now tremble at Nature’s wrath!

I’m fully prepared to accept that Lone Elk, Stober, and Samson embody the ego, superego, and id, and that we’re entering a new, metaphysical phase of the Mark Trail mythos — one in which the mere idea of Mark Trail conquers evildoers. But I’m gonna miss the fistfights.

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— Uncle Lumpy

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Funky Winkerbean, 9/5/17

You might remember my attempts from this past spring to untangle the nature of the “trilogy” Les has been working on for years now. I guess my real problem was that I was assuming that this was an intra-universe narrative question, that the graphic novels under consideration only existed within the fictional Funkyverse. But last week people started tweeting me pictures of actual, physical copies of said books, because of course this is a tie-in to a real series of ultra-depressing Lisa novels you can buy in real life. Just as with, I guess, the in-universe version, the middle volume of the trilogy, Lisa’s Story, was published more than a decade ago, and consists of collected strips about Lisa’s original cancer diagnosis and its later recurrence, along with “resource material on breast cancer, including early detection, information sources, support systems, and health care.” I have no idea if the prequel and sequel books are just collected comics from the strip or have new material or what, or if the third book, still apparently called The Last Leaf, has much by way of the promised Cayla material. On the one hand that looks like Cayla on the cover, but on the other it’s subtitled “Lisa’s Story Concludes,” so! Anyway, I can’t tell you any of this because for whatever reason I am not among the elect few to have received a review copy, despite my tireless efforts over the years to make the world aware of Les’s deep emotional commitment to his dead wife. If you’ve snagged a copy, let us know what you think!

Judge Parker, 9/5/17

Oh, so it’s Godiva who’s taking the public blame for the great factory implosion now? Even though it was Neddy who insisted on building a wobbly stack of shipping containers and calling it a factory and who bribed the building inspectors when they started asking too many questions? Uncle Lumpy suggested that she’d pin it all on Hank, but Hank has his, ahem, uses, so Godiva was always the more likely and less likable target for Spence-Driver PR jujitsu. Was Sophie’s kidnapping just part of a larger plot to build up sympathy for Ned?

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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/2/17

Usually Snuffy’s brushes with the law are depicted with the same jocular gloss as the rest of Hootin’ Holler’s dysfunctional culture. The crimes are generally relatively low-impact stuff like bootlegging and chicken thievery, and Snuffy goes to jail for a few days and there’s tongue-lolling hilarity all around. Today … today is different. The Holler’s judge, the only real representative of outside authority in this lawless community, looks genuinely horrified by the case he’s just finished presiding over: has his previous indulgent attitude led to this? Even Snuffy and Loweezy look like they’re suffering true shame. My assumption is that the generations-old Smif-Barlow fued finally escalated to the point where Sheriff Tate stumbled upon a ramshackle cabin on the creek where Barlow corpses were stacked like cordwood.

Spider-Man, 9/2/17

Wait, Kala and Mole-Man were engaged? You know, for a gnomish, homely, nearly blind cave-dweller, he still gets his fair share of attention from the ladies! This makes Kala’s insistence that her husband not disrupt the Mole-Man/Aunt May wedding all the more poignant. Why can’t everyone in this strip be as emotionally advanced as her?

Pluggers, 9/2/17

It’s no “Rhino-Man hocks his TV,” but “pluggers feel overpowering shame over something that’s entirely harmless and increasingly socially normalized” is pretty high up there in the pantheon of Extremely Grim Pluggers Punchlines, in my opinion.

Judge Parker, 9/2/17

“To the CIA! Once we turn in your wife, we can stop worrying about this — and, here’s the best part, probably get a big reward!”