Archive: Phantom

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Dennis the Menace and Family Circus, 12/7/16

Happy Pearl Harbor Day, everybody, a day that will live in infamy, a day that went mostly ignored in the comics today, even though many of the old-man characters in various strips are anachronistically supposed to be World War II vets, something even Crankshaft is too young for, honestly. Anyway, these two panels taken together pose the question: what’s really menacing in this life? Is it Dennis’s wild and aggressive accusation that Mr. Wilson, a decorated war hero, was secretly in league with Tojo and the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere? Or is something more banal and yet ultimately more terrifying: that even the most dramatic and momentous events in human history can fade, in the course of just a single lifetime, into a misty half-memory that someone like Jeffy will only vaguely have a grasp on?

Dick Tracy, 12/7/16

The fact that the main villain in this Dick Tracy storyline’s name was “Selfy” and that he was obsessed with taking selfies was one of a jumble of ideas that were entertaining even when they didn’t quite gel with each other. It mostly got dropped over time, but it’s fun to bring it back in the end here, as Selfy attempts to take a murder-selfie that turns out to not be quite murder-y enough.

The Phantom, 12/7/16

Fool! The Phantom doesn’t pay high prices for cable or satellite service! He’s already got Internet access in the Skull Cave, and gets his TV via over-the-top streaming services of varying legality! He’s not held down by your rules! He’s … the Ghost-Who-Cuts-The-Cord!

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The Phantom, 11/1/16

Hey, so remember how Kit, the Phantom’s son, journeyed to a Tibetan monastery to receive his Phantom training, which the Phantoms go back to Tibet to get every few generations? Remember how Kit had to study a bunch of old-timey bullshit history facts so that he could hoodwink the Tibetan monks into believing that he was the reincarnated soul of the man they had taught centuries ago? Well, turns out that last part was a bunch of hooey. Turns out the monks know what’s up and are happy to play along so long as the Ghost-Who-Pays-The-Bills deposits hard currency in their tax-sheltered savings account. What are we going to learn next? That the word in the Bandar tongue we’ve been translating as “ghost” all this time really just means “white dude with a pistol who wears spandex for some reason”?

Spider-Man, 11/1/16

I admit to laughing aloud at “we’ve no defense against Starr’s bug-bomb!”, because he’s saying it like the bug-bomb is a high-powered super-weapon developed by an evil genius, and not, say, an ordinary pest control product you can buy at any store over the counter. Anyway, we appear to have gotten to the point in the story where things have gotten quite silly enough, so thank God the original Ant-Man brought his canister of Undoing The Central Problem Of This Plot Potion.

Funky Winkerbean, 11/1/16

Coach Bushka, forced into retirement by incipient dementia caused by the very nature of the game he loves, about to leave for the last time the job that feels like home for him and go off into the gathering twilight of his life, pauses as he remembers his predecessor’s mortal remains, which have been sitting in a darkened corner for years and have been so thoroughly neglected that they’re covered with dust and spiderwebs. I don’t want to say “peak Funkyverse” but I feel like we’re at least on the slopes.

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Mark Trail, 10/15/16

And it’s an invasive wild boar – the very worst kind! What’s more, he’s either a really ROUGH sort, or a real GROUCH – it’s hard to tell from context. Maybe both!

But hey waitaminute: what are wild boars doing on a volcanic atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? I’m guessing they weren’t carried ashore in bundles of firewood like the ants. Maybe the neo-Aztecs who built the mountaintop temple imported boars for sacrifice until the boars figured out the deal and turned the tables?

Most likely it’s all a plot by Abbey Powell’s sinister “U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Alarmed by the invasion of fire ants, they brought in Formosan termites to control them. This turned out to be a terrible mistake. So they shipped in “beneficial” nematodes, which promptly started eating all the coral. The marine iguanas they imported to kill the nematodes quickly overwhelmed the beaches, so they airlifted in packs of boars and here we are. In a desperate attempt, Abbey has conned Mark Trail to come in and punch the boars into submission. I hope it works, because the next step is nuclear weapons.

Dick Tracy, 10/15/16

When someone is killed for persecuting an ethnic group with exactly two members, the police know where to start their investigation. When both of those members are friends or relatives of Dick Tracy, they have a pretty good idea where to stop it, too.

Phantom, 10/15/16

OK, so the Phantom has one of those Lone Ranger-style “see my unmasked face and die” gimmicks going on, and it apparently includes his wife??? Brrr….

Maybe he only goes all shadowy like this when we’re watching, which frankly hurts my feelings a little bit. Dude, we’re your fans. We stuck with you through Hide the Lion. We toughed it out through The College Kid — that’s gotta count for something. How ’bout a little peek at them baby blues?

Judge Parker, 10/15/16

OK, now that Bob Dylan has his Nobel Prize we’d better get used to the fact that Boomer culture is universal culture everywhere and forever.

At 77, ’60’s icon Spencer Davis (Gimme Some Lovin’) is old enough enough to work at Neddy’s factory, but not desperate enough for her starvation wages. From his retreat on California’s Catalina Island, he writes:

Well, the factory’s collapsing, got a hole in the floor
Canes and walkers clacking on their way to the door
Let me through granny, I don’t want to be entombed
And you better hobble quicker, ’cause this place is doomed.

And I sure hope you make it — we olds can’t take it
You’ve got to: gimme some running (gimme, gimme some running)
Gimme some crushing, (gimme, gimme some crushing)
Gimme some shoving everyday.
Hey hey.

Hi there, faithful reader! I’m sitting in through Sunday the 23rd while Josh takes a break. Please let me know if you experience any access or comment-posting problems at Enjoy!

— Uncle Lumpy