Archive: Middletons

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As America’s Thanksgiving weekend winds up, I just thought I’d give thanks for a few things:

Panel from Apartment 3-G, 11/28/08

I’m thankful for the greatest Apartment 3-G narration box ever. “As Margo’s despair deepens…” should be placed at the top of every panel in which Margo appears, and at the top of many in which she does not.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 11/28/08

June is thankful that Sarah hasn’t noticed that “loud older people alone time” mostly happens when Daddy is out “playing golf.”

Luann, 11/28/08

I’m thankful that we got to see T.J. talking to his parents, swatches of whose scalps he keeps in his wallet at all times, about at last finding a new set of victims.

Panel from Spider-Man, 11/28/08

I’m glad to at last see hard evidence that excessive TV watching can reduce your attention span.

The Middletons, 11/30/08

I’m glad to see that America’s funny pages can provide comic relief for those with loved ones suffering from senile dementia. Ha ha, she’s so far gone, she doesn’t even know what time of year it is!

Beetle Bailey, 11/30/08

I’m glad we got to see Beetle in charge of a whole soldier, instead of the dismembered soldier-bits he usually bosses around.

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The Phantom, 11/4/07

I’m not a big defense policy expert or anything, but I’m pretty sure the US Air Force is not in the business of handing out free jet fuel to random Vietnam War-era aircraft, no matter how friendly the country is whose flag is painted on the tail. Perhaps Bangalla is willing to turn a blind eye “enhanced interrogation techniques” (likely, if the slap-happy antics of the Unknown Commander are any indication) and demands payment in sweet, sweet petroleum products.

The Phantom NEXT! boxes are pretty generally awesome, but few have brought me as much pleasure as today’s. “Avast, swabbies! Be sure ye be wearing yer film badge dosimeter, lest ye suffer from radiation sickness! Ahhhr!”

Zits and The Middletons, 11/4/07

At last, two Sunday comics that aren’t afraid to admit the hard truth about teenagers: that they’re nothing but barely controlled hormone-soaked lust-beasts. Today’s Zits honestly hits a little too close to home for me, as one of my high school’s guidance counselors was a primary subject in my teenage fantasy life, which I’m sure was also true for most of the other boys and several of the girls. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately, in the interests of me having coherent conversations about college application essays), I was assigned the other guidance counselor, who was a avuncular fiftysomething dude, and who was very nice but whose naked lower back I was frankly glad to never see unprompted in my mind’s eye.

Today’s Middletons is an instructional example of how the throwaway panels at the beginning of a strip (so named because some newspapers remove them to make layout easier) can really change the tone of a comic. The complete strip today offers a poignant look at that moment when young people are on the cusp of adulthood, beginning to think of grown-up matters while still clinging to childish things. But the version in my paper started with the “Cool clouds” panel, and thus was basically two teenagers talking about girls they want to bang. On the bright side, Baltimore Sun readers were spared the unsettling undertones of the “do you want to see the frog in my pocket” exchange.

Judge Parker, 11/4/07

Speaking of raging hormones, I’m getting pretty tired of every improbably proportioned female in this strip hurling herself at Sam Driver. His wife I can sort of understand (though you think she’d have given up by now), but what Sam’s got that justifies, say, Trudi lunging at him lips-first in the next-to-last panel is beyond me. It’s like he’s doused himself in some chemical that makes him irresistible to women (“reverse alcohol,” in the memorable formulation of Dinosaur Comics) — not because he wants to seduce them, but because he enjoys rejecting and humiliating them. If I want twisted, passive-aggressive psychodrama in a serial strip, I’ll read Mary Worth, thank you very much.

Spider-Man, 11/4/07

Not being evil myself, I wasn’t aware that a lack of sleepiness was one of the benefits of pledging one’s allegiance to the dark side. Think of all the extra sinister plotting — or, alternately, dusting and laundry — you could do with that extra eight hours a day! It does not, however, come as a big surprise to me that Peter Parker would rather snooze than fight evil.

Hi and Lois, 11/4/07

The creators of Hi and Lois do not appear to understand how and by whom municipal tax rates are set.

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Family Circus, 8/7/06

I’d like to think that little Jeffy is finally asserting himself violently, like a Frenchman whose honor has been insulted, while Billy is suddenly whining like a little baby Italian. But longtime readers of this feature know that Jeffy has neither the cojones to take on his brother’s sternum with his forehead nor the leg strength to take the flying leap depicted in the top half of this panel. The only logical conclusion is that he once again is a pawn in someone else’s game: presumably some other Keane who has a gripe with Billy (Mom? Dad? Dolly? Barfy?) has hurled Jeffy at the offending towhead.

Apartment 3-G, 8/7/06

Speaking of red cards, if Tommie doesn’t do something really dramatic tomorrow — I’m thinking suicide, or at least some sort of ritual cutting — then I’m citing her for drama. “Sorry, Professor, I wanted to ask if you’d watch Crossing Jordan with me last night … but now it’s too late! That is, at least until next Tuesday at 10 p.m., on NBC!”

By the way, panel two features a rare example of the King Features coloring monkeys actually making up for a defect in the original drawing. That cool cat Ari somehow lost his mustache between the first and second panels, making him look all too much more like Mary Worth’s Professor Ian “Chinbeard” Cameron. In an attempt to maintain facial hair continuity, the colorists didn’t daub his upper lip with “caucasian peach” in panel two, leaving him looking like he has one of those icky “got milk?” mustaches.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 8/7/06

Something about Rex’s bolded-italicized phrase in panel one makes me want to repeat it over and over again, Zippy the Pinhead style. It sounds like it could be a rhyming catchphrase from a Jesse Jackson speech. “Your life was an escalating deception … as you tried to create a dishonest perception! Now you need to make a whole-hearted correction!

In a comment in an earlier post, faithful reader Laura noted that the little blurb at the top right of the first panel (“As Rex begins to walk away, Troy stops him!”) is, in her words, the “GAYEST. OMNISCIENT NARRATION BOX. EVER.”, which made me chuckle. What I’m wondering is how this so-called omniscient narration box failed to figure out that “Troy”‘s name is actually “Adam,” since everyone in the strip, up to and including Abbey the Wonder Dog, has by now been clued it.

The Middletons, 8/7/06

I suppose it’s strictly accurate to say that it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “rockin’ and rollin’.” Since nobody has actually used the phrase before, any meaning you attribute to it would be “new.”