Archive: Lockhorns

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The Lockhorns, 7/31/21

A fascinating thing about longstanding legacy comics is that many of their running jokes are built on cliches pulled from the broader culture at large, and then they keep on using those cliches for decades, even as they completely lose all real-world relevance. For instance, The Lockhorns posits a world where opera still holds a place in the cultural sphere that leads downwardly mobile middle-class suburbanites like Leroy and Loretta to occasionally attend, even if enjoyment of the form is strongly gendered for joke purposes. Maybe this was true in 1968 when this strip debuted, or maybe adults in 1968 had memories that this was true for their parents’ generation, but I would strongly disagree with anyone claiming this is true in the year 2021. Opera today is very niche, and I think its shrinking modern audience is probably a fairly specific slice of intellectual urbanites, and older ones at that, whereas Leroy and Loretta are are somewhere in the 30-50 range (that’s right, folks: with each passing day, Leroy and Loretta are more and more likely to be millennials).

Now, you could probably do a more realistic version of these jokes with “the philharmonic” rather than opera, but, you know what? The Lockhorns has been doing opera jokes for more than 50 years and it’s not going to stop now just because “no real-life version of Leroy or Loretta today would ever be caught dead at the opera” or whatever! And they’re not going to dumb it down for you, either! Did you know that Nabucco was a Verdi opera? I definitely did not! I definitely had to look it up! Is there any other way you would know that it’s opera specifically that Leroy is griping about in this panel, if you didn’t know that off the top of your head? Not as near as I can tell! They could’ve thrown us a bone and used Aida or The Ring Cycle or something ore obvious, but no, if you’re not intellectual enough to “get” this Lockhorns panel or do the research to bring yourself up to speed, then that’s your problem, friend.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/31/21

“Ha ha! Overswept! But seriously, a child under our care has collapsed into exhausted unconsciousness because she’s done too much manual labor. That seems … not great?”

Beetle Bailey, 7/31/21

Sadly, that night an enemy unit was able to ambush the sleeping soldiers of Camp Swampy, killing most and capturing the rest. RIP Beetle Bailey, 1950-2021.

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Shoe, 7/9/21

A few weeks ago, faithful reader Tabby Lavalamp raised questions in a COTW runner up about why the notoriously heard-hearted Shoe would accompany the Perfesser on a tender-hearted errand. It stuck with me and was definitely the first thing I thought about today, as Shoe has not only accompanied his employee to the latter’s uncle’s grave (signs of multigenerational newphewism?), but has brought a bouquet of flowers along as well. Anyway, the reason Shoe actually goes along on these trips is that there needs to be another bird-person present so that the exchange of dialogue that creates these joke-like utterances can happen, but today’s strip did make me wonder if he’s actually there as part of his journalistic mission. There isn’t a lot of news in Treetops and anything sensational could make a good story that would get people sharing links to treetopstattler.bird on Facebook, and he’s always had a gut feeling that there was more to this uncle business. So the guy died in some unexpected and perhaps shocking way due to a terrible mistake he made, huh? Sounds interesting. Putting that gruesome tale into the newspaper might be a cruel thing to do one of the paper’s longest-suffering employees, but don’t let the flowers fool you: Shoe’s no softie.

The Lockhorns, 7/9/21

Meanwhile, it looks like the Lockhorns’s Featured Brands program is off to a great start! Congrats to Ann Taylor for partnering with this universally beloved feature, which is bound to portray their brand in a positive light!

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Funky Winkerbean, 7/3/21

You might recall (or you might not, because why would you, honestly) that “Flash Freeman” and “Ruby Lith” are two unjustly forgotten (fictional) figures from the Golden Age of Comics (or honestly maybe the Silver Age, I don’t have a firm grasp on either when the various Comics Ages were or where the current Funky Winkerbean timeline stands relative to actually historical dates) who came back to work at Batom Comics with Darrin and Mopey Pete. Anyway, the good new is that now they’re being recognized more and more, and honestly it’s an extremely Funky Winkerbean thing to make up a character out of whole cloth and then try to spin approbation they receive as a feel-good triumph-of-the-underdog story. It’s also an extremely Funky Winkerbean thing for that approbation to attract sinister, unwanted attention, so I assume that’s what’s going on here.

The Lockhorns, 7/3/21

Well, it looks like they finally imprisoned the Lockhorns in that plastic jail where they put Magneto in the first X-Men movie, just like I’ve been urging all this time!

Mary Worth, 7/3/21

Yes! That’s right, ladies! Don’t attack each other! FIGHT THE REAL ENEMY