Archive: Rhymes with Orange

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Crock and Rhymes With Orange, 3/2/20

Today we must consider, as we occasionally do on this blog, the anonymous people who fulfill one of the most thankless tasks in the comics industry — indeed, one of the most thankless tasks in our whole late capitalist superstructure. I’m talking, of course, about the people who add color for the online versions of black-and-white daily newspaper comic strips, who seem to have only in-strip context clues as to how to proceed and not a ton of time to decide what colors to use.

Our story today involves two strips: one a longtime legacy strip, now shambling forward forever in zombie reruns, and another that was considered a fresh and different comics page perspective when it was launched a mere 25 years ago. Both have gags today that are, quite frankly, disgusting, though the visual cues signifying what’s happening are quite subtle, and it’s interesting to see how the colorist reacted in each case. In Crock, the joke is that little Otis, assuming that his mother would not allow him to have a pet camel because camels shit so much, has covered the beast’s anus with what appears to be medical tape, an extremely temporary solution that can only end in a lower GI crisis for the poor animal, a fecal explosion, or both. The colorist managed to spot the butthole-covering gauze and colored it white, in contrast with the brownish camel fur, ensuring that we all recognize Otis’s stratagem and anticipate the horror to come.

In Rhymes With Orange, meanwhile, the joke is that if you’re a snowman, a “urine test” isn’t a test of your own urine, but rather a test of urine that others have deposited on you, with the implication being that even sentient snowmen are used as a convenient object on which animals, and possibly people, urinate, much to the snowmen’s presumed disgust. You can see a little triangle at the bottom left of our patient that presumably represents a small section of his body that had been partially melted by a steaming stream of dog piss. This should by rights be a soft yellow color, and the fact that it’s as white as the rest of him means one of two things: either the colorist took stock of all this and said “No, not today, I will not cross this line and spend my workday examining the color choices in Adobe Photoshop and deciding which best represents pee, I have an MFA in graphic design,” or they blessedly just didn’t get the joke in the first place, which really puts them one up on all of us.

Mary Worth, 3/2/20

I’m absolutely in love with the idea that Jared is such an intense Star Wars fanboy that he’d feel compelled to see a parody Star Wars film but would experience great emotional distress while doing so, like he was watching a horror movie. Clearly the most unnerving scene was the “one with the lightsaber,” in which I feel safe in assuming that the iconic laser sword, normally used by noble space monks to fight each other even though they have access to perfectly good guns, became a very on-the-nose visual metaphor for a dick. Jared couldn’t even stand to look at that one! The pleasure of recognition and the pain of irreverence, intermingled in a single cinematic experience! It must’ve been deliciously uncomfortable for the poor lad.

Family Circus, 3/2/20

Ha ha, it’s funny because Dolly is heavily invested in the patriarchy!

Funky Winkerbean, 3/2/20


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Beetle Bailey, 11/28/19

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, everyone! What are you thankful for? I had a whole bunch of bullshit about my family and friends lined up until I read today’s Beetle Bailey, but now I’m most thankful for the fact that I don’t live and work someplace where hungry packs of semi-feral dogs roam freely.

Dennis the Menace, 11/28/19

You have to admit that it’s pretty menacing to cheerfully point out that looking at the faces of the animals we’re about eat would make us uncomfortable and that’s 100% the reason why we don’t actually do it.

Rhymes With Orange, 11/28/19

Still not as menacing as imagining that not only do the turkeys we eat today have souls, but that those souls are being escorted to hell, right now as we’re digesting in front of the football game.

Dick Tracy, 11/28/19

Wow, I had sort of imagined Proof as a hard-hitting publication that took on corruption at the highest levels of our society, but apparently they paid for an undercover story on … carny crime? “Purse-snatching crows, huh? That sounds familiar,” says Dick, smiling slightly as he remembers the time he killed every single crow in Neo-Chicago.

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The Phantom, 2/20/19

You know, usually it’s easy being a supposedly immortal jungle ghost who’s actually a series of dudes handing down a spandex suit over the centuries, in that when do you heroic stuff everyone really appreciates it and when you don’t do it, it’s not like most people 100% believe in you anyway, so they don’t get mad and think “Why did the Man Who Cannot Die let my beloved grandma get eaten by a tiger?” or whatever. Being able to pick and choose your battles is key to the vigilante game! Unfortunately, the danger zone in the Phantom life cycle comes when the kids you’ve had to perpetuate the whole scheme are old enough to understand your heroic mission but not old enough to get the nuances and practicalities, and end up trying get you to go save everybody. Once the Bandar finally perfect that immortality medicine, this isn’t going to be a problem, but in the meantime the Ghost-Who-Would-Rather-Not-On-This-One is about to find himself in a real pickle!

Mary Worth, 2/20/19

Excited as I am about this Older Adult Online Dating plot, I do need to point out that it’s problematic that we’re shifting storylines without an intervening Charterstone Pool Party. But I’m hoping that we will get one, and that Estelle plans to invite all of her potential paramours (clockwise from top left: Skinny Ian Cameron, Wilbur Weston But Not Clinically Depressed, Guy Who Seems Nice But Starts Letting Slip Racist Remarks On Date Three, Dude Who’s Into Fun Outdoor Activities And Is Also A Swinger It Turns Out, and Street Magician) to the poolside soirée so that Mary can help her choose!

Rhymes With Orange, 2/20/19

Squirting water … out his butthole? Because that’s what the gut is attached to? The butthole? This is a comic about a doctor who just got sprayed in the face by a stream of water out a clown’s anus? I guess?