Archive: Pluggers

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Dennis the Menace, 12/1/17

Despite the strip’s occasional acknowledgements of modernity, a large part of the appeal of Dennis the Menace, to the extent that such a thing could be said to exist, lies in its depiction of a retrograde, bygone world that is comforting to its elderly readership but would be wholly alien to actual five-year-olds. This is a neighborhood, after all, where children of various ages are allowed to roam unsupervised seemingly at all times, which must seem very weird to any children reading it (fortunately no actual children are reading it). Today’s panel has a whole series of anachronisms:

  1. A door-to-door salesman
  2. A door-to-door salesman arriving in the middle of the day
  3. A door-to-door salesman arriving in the middle of the day wearing a suit and a bow tie and saddle shoes
  4. A five-year-old-child allowed to answer the door for a total stranger
  5. A door-to-door salesman arriving in the middle of the day and at least appearing to entertain the thought that a five-year-old child might have been left in the house alone

Anyway, I guess the joke here is that Dennis has blown his mother’s cover when she’s trying to avoid talking to a salesman, which only makes sense if we find #5 there believable, and which I guess makes Alice the true menace, since she’s sent her child to the door to run interference with some rando while she stays upstairs in the bedroom huffing laudanum or whatever. I think a more modern and menacing version of this joke would be Dennis saying he was home alone and asking the salesman to call Child Protective Services, just because he wanted to go for a ride in a car.

Pluggers, 12/1/17

Today’s Pluggers fascinates me: it tells a whole little story in its caption, but in the panel itself depicts the moment before the denouement, the moment when its plugger protagonist allows herself to briefly entertain the idea that someone might find her desirable, before it all comes crashing down in a moment of internalized embarrassment. In its own quiet way, this is just as grim and heartbreaking as that crushing Pluggers classic, “Rhino-man hocks his TV.”

Family Circus, 12/1/17

Family Circus has a reputation for being one of the most Christian comic strips in the newspaper, and yet here it is depicting a child confusing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with the pagan fertility god whose iconography has, through the corruption of this world, been grafted onto what should be the subdued celebration of His birth, and then playing it for laughs. I guess this is just meant to show us that children really are born sinful and ignorant, doomed to Limbo without the interceding grace of Christ, working through the Holy Mother Church and its variety of reasonably priced educational programs.

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Mark Trail, 11/29/17

Oh my God, it was just yesterday when it seemed like the tornado bank robber storyline had at least until Friday before it limped to its conclusion, but then today, mid-week, BAM, we’re suddenly re-introduced to Chris “Dirty” Dyer, a rhino poacher who died as a result of Mark’s rhino-poaching-busting actions, but then later wasn’t dead at all and in fact planned to come home to America after years living in Africa for the purposes of “sport”, which we all assumed was a euphemism for “hunting and killing Mark Trail, his sworn enemy.” That last linked strip was way back in February and we hadn’t heard from him since, so it’s a true Christmas miracle to see him pop up here in glamorous Miami, thousands of miles away from where Mark is busy foiling the dumbest bank robbery/hostage scheme known to man. I’m very excited for The Hunt to finally begin, but I have to admit that it’d be pretty funny if every eight or nine months or so we just got a day or two of Dirty’s largely uneventful life after his return to the States. Today, for instance, he’s briefly mildly surprised after spotting a newspaper box, since all the US media he read online during his life as an expat in Africa led him to believe that print was dead.

Dennis the Menace, 11/29/17

We get all sorts of menacing in this strip, from the subtle to the overt, but Dennis cheerfully offering to rearrange some poor woman’s face with a rake crosses the line into an outright threat.

Pluggers, 11/29/17

I guess the way I know I’m a coastal elitist and not a plugger is that I have my cat on a pretty strict mealtime schedule and whenever I eat a snack and she’s looking at me accusingly, instead of feeding her I defensively yell “I’M A HUMAN … A HUMAN” through a mouthful of Cheez-Its.

Blondie, 11/29/17


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Slylock Fox, 11/22/17

Ha ha, you simpletons, did you think those lovable pigs just munched on apple cores and such? No, they’ll eat anything that can get their suddenly dextrous hands on, and now that they’ve somehow learned to use tools, that can mean a delicious roast chicken right off your table … or you. You with a noose around your neck, dragged out the window, to be devoured alive by a trio of grinning, squealing, bug-eyed pigs. We joke about the Slylockverse animalpocalypse around here, but it must’ve been more horrible than any of us could possibly imagine.

Pluggers, 11/22/17

Man, can I say that I specifically tune into Pluggers for a complete and total absence of anything that might be an even vaguely topical political reference? Anyway, grandpa’s going to prison for treason, I guess.

Family Circus, 11/22/17

A scene from the upcoming Lifetime movie, Please Mommy Don’t Kill Again