Archive: Lockhorns

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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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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 12/18/19

Barney Google was absent from his namesake strip for literally decades, but he started making occasional appearances back in 2012 that have become frequent enough that his presence in the strip — and in Hootin’ Holler — have ceased to be noteworthy. Why, he’s even participating in the ordinary of rhythms of the community, by, for instance, getting the absolute shit beat out of him for no good reason, it’s just a thing people do out here, we guess.

The Lockhorns, 12/18/19

The thing I love about this panel is how comprehensively miserable Leroy looks. Like, do you think he wants this? Do you think he wants any of this? But despite Loretta’s snide remark, he knows his duty. He’s going to wrap up that box of tube socks and give them to somebody, by God. Don’t let anyone say he didn’t do what was expected of him, even though it kills him inside.

Mark Trail, 12/18/19

The “proof” Harvey is talking about is definitely yeti turds, right? Harvey’s gonna make Mark look for yeti turds? Very excited for the rest of this week!

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Shoe, 12/15/19

Ha ha, you know what’s a novel part of modern life? A “drive-thru” window, assuming you consider the 1970s and ’80s, when drive-thru windows became omnipresent on fast food restaurants, to be recent enough that someone might find their existence noteworthy! Anyway, what today’s Shoe asks you to imagine is this: what if there were a mortuary that had a “drive-thru drop-off window,” and while drive-thru windows are usually a means by which you can access an establishment’s goods or services without leaving your car (something already available to funeral customers), the implication of “drive-thru drop-off” seems to be that you’d drive up to the mortuary with a corpse in your car, and just heave it out your window and into the funeral home, then drive off, presumably to have your car’s upholstery cleaned, because of the dead body smell. Pretty funny, huh? Yes, this is definitely the juxtaposition of two discordant ideas for comical effect!

Panel from The Lockhorns, 12/15/19

One would assume that whatever gelatinous off-green mass is on everyone’s plates here is the evening’s main course, so it’s honestly weird that Leroy is only now pulling out this even more inscrutable selection of appetizers. Presumably their preparation was terribly botched even by Loretta’s standards and the decision was not to serve them, but then Leroy fished them out of the trash and stashed them at the ready on the off chance that a wordplay opportunity like this would present itself. Dinner with these two must truly be among the most tiresome things anyone could imagine.

Marvin, 12/15/19

I revisit the concept of comic book time, in which characters always exist in more or less the current calendar year but never age, a lot on this site, but today’s Marvin in some ways reverses it. Usually I imagine characters like Hi and Lois’s Trixie frozen in time, aware of their eternal infancy but unable to break out of it. But today we learn that for Jenny, Marvin’s birth wasn’t that long ago, and her pre-motherhood life is still recent enough that she can catch up with an old friend from those days without much oddness or awkwardness. Sure, he’s a terrible baby who brought her to tears, but she’s confident that will pass, as he naturally moves on to other stages of life, learning to speak, read, and, of course, use a toilet. Meanwhile, in real life, I’m the one who’s trapped. I’m the one who’s been making jokes about Marvin shitting himself for nearly thirteen years now. The characters in these strips are just scribbles on paper, and the prison of the comics is a prison for me and me alone.