Archive: Rhymes with Orange

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It’s Sunday, folks, the day when newspaper comics include a couple of panels that can be excised based on the vagaries of print layouts. Taken in isolation, these “throwaway” panels can be kind of fun!

Panels from Blondie, 12/3/23

Here’s the panels from today’s Blondie, for instance! It sounds like they’re discussing the possibility of doing some wife swapping, but actually this just leads into a dumb bit about Christmas decorations.

Panels from Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 12/3/23

And here’s the panels from Snuffy Smith! Snuffy looks like he’s going to make sweet love to that radio. In fact, he’s going to listen to horse racing with some horses, which, considering how many horses die as part of the horse racing industry, is pretty grim.

Panels from Dennis the Menace, 12/3/23

On Sundays Dennis the Menace uses its throwaway panel space to do a title block, which is fine, except in this case it seems to be drawn by someone who thinks boy band members wear suits and ties, which isn’t fine at all. Anyway, the main strip is about how Mr. Wilson hates Dennis but his wife forces him to endure the child’s company.

Mary Worth, 12/3/23

For Mary Worth we need the full strip, though, so we can see that Keith and Kitty’s big smooch is interrupted by some cruel soul razzing them! I suppose the razzer is Sonia, whose anti-authoritarian streak is so strong that she calls her own mother by her first name, but it would be very funny if it were just some random acquaintance of Kitty making fun of Keith’s cartoonish physique for no good reason.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/3/23

Oh come on! Are you going to tell me that the whole Mirakle Method was actually stolen wholesale from this old guy, somehow? C’mon! The Method was Rene’s one accidental success! It really worked on at least one guy! You’ve got to give him this! He needs this!

Rhymes With Orange, 12/2/23

Sorry I got so worked up there, I just really care about my boy Rene. Anyway, here’s a comic strip about teen starfish having sex!

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The Phantom, 8/17/23

As noted by me and Uncle Lumpy, the “Death of the Phantom” arc is, after literal years, maybe going to finally end in the Phantom’s death. But not if Babudan has anything to say about it! Look, it’s all dramatic and stuff if you die, O Ghost, but Babudan’s whole deal is that he’s a supporting character in the syndicated newspaper comic strip The Phantom! No more Phantom, no more Babudan! You think he’s going to go out quietly, like Little Orphan Annie, and be satisfied by occasional nostalgia appearances in Dick Tracy? No way, buddy! That’s not how Babudan rolls!

Rhymes with Orange, 8/17/23

Sorry, fellow Gen Xers/Elder Millennials, I know we’re all used to being the “cyber experts” who help our parents download PDFs or whatever, but if you’re going to do jokes about kids, you’ve gotta keep up with the times. These two have never downloaded anything in their lives! This is the streaming generation now!

Mary Worth, 8/17/23

“This beautiful full moon is just making me think of all the people all over the world who are suffering from unjust discrimination, just because they’re werewolves!”


“This beautiful full moon is just making me think of our brave police, who aren’t given the tools they need (silver bullets) to protect law-abiding citizens from werewolves!”

Hi and Lois, 8/17/23

I’m a little unsettled by how proud Hi looks here. “They’re shooting at each other with water guns at point blank range! Kids grow up so fast.”

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Rhymes With Orange, 7/12/23

One of my biggest beefs with several of the more popular religious cosmologies is the concept of hell: the idea that anything you could do in a finite lifetime could be worthy of infinite punishment just seems wildly unbalanced to me. (Honestly nothing we do could possibly be good enough to merit infinite reward either, but I have a lot less problem with that because I’m a big softie.) Theological sophisticates will tell you that the real punishment you get in hell is separation from God’s grace, but I’m willing to bet that most people who believe in hell think it consists of very real and very agonizing endless physical torture, which makes the whole thing even more abhorrent to me.

Now, I’m not such a scold that I’m can’t appreciate cartoonish depictions of hell — like, I don’t think you should drop pianos on people from a great height either, but I still enjoy classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Even in those cases, though, I’m always struck by the extent to which gruesome torment is at the core of the joke. Sometimes it’s in iconography that everyone kind of ignores — does anyone really think about why the devil is always depicted holding a pitchfork? it’s not a fun reason! — but sometimes it’s pretty deliberate. In this strip, I love that the slot machines themselves are fiery hot, leaving the poor damned players in agony as they pull the lever over and over again (and, presumably, never win). Do you think they’re kept in place by some mental block that makes them unable to leave the machine, perhaps mirroring a vice they were guilty of in life? Or are there just some chains or something at their feet that we can’t see, due to all the flames that are eternally burning their flesh?

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 7/12/23

The bad news is that Sheriff Tait, the only law enforcement officer in the community of Hootin’ Holler, died from massive blood loss and organ damage after being mauled by a vicious bear. The good news is that this saved him from an even worse fate: dying slowly and terribly from the rabies that he contracted from a bat who bit him just moments before the bear caught up with him.