Archive: Rhymes with Orange

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Edge City, 8/6/13

Oh hey it’s Edna and Morris Not-Ardin, off to visit America’s battlefields in their new RV. I hope they have fun and all, but what is the deal with this guy’s face? Has he got two mouths? An extra ear, with teeth? Is he some kind of weird Mr. Magoo/Popeye hybrid? Is that an enormous chaw of Mail Pouch parked in what just might be his cheek? For me, his image keeps flipping back and forth like one of those ambiguous figures from Psych 101:

Edna lets it all pass. She’s got her own problems, coping with the oral aftermath of her horrific trombone accident.

Hi and Lois, 8/6/13

And then one day, Hi Flagston just gave up. “Fetch me the gin, Lois.”

Apartment 3-G, 8/6/13

Margo snuffs out an alarming flicker of empathy as she spins around the room.

Judge Parker, 8/6/13

I only read Judge Parker for the articles, but here’s some eye candy — and a challenge — for the oglers in the audience. The challenge is this: do oglers of pretty comic-strip women ogle other representations of pretty women, such as mannequins? If so, would they ogle drawings of mannequins, such as those presented in panel one? Are features like heads and knees essential to this exercise? And how far does it go, the ogling: would it extend to a photo in a cartoon of a sketch of the shadow of a statue of a woman? What role does the quality of representation play, relative to the attractiveness of the original subject? I have to say, Judge Parker wouldn’t have been my first source for a deconstruction of male gaze theory, but there you have it.

Rhymes with Orange, 8/6/13

Lady, your problem is not the obsolete phone — it’s the renegade car.

I’m filling in while Josh is on vacation through next Tuesday. No fundraiser this time around, but contact me at if the site starts acting up. Enjoy!

— Uncle Lumpy

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You almost certainly have noticed that King Features has washed its comics in pink today in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month! How has our favorite art form managed to acknowledge this important issue in the context of its usual light-hearted fare? Let’s take a look!

Rhymes With Orange and My Cage, 10/10/10

Rhymes With Orange is, as near as I can tell, the only strip with the guts to do an actual joke about breast cancer. My Cage at least attempts a Breast Cancer Awareness meta-joke.

Marvin and Curtis, 10/10/10

Some strips did a half-hearted job of trying to explain why they were all pinkish without acknowledging the “you or your loved ones might get terrible cancer” subtext. For instance, Marvin’s parents are apparently giving him psychoactive drugs, and Curtis is attempting to up his enjoyment of ladies’ church hats by literally viewing them through rose-colored glasses.

Apartment 3-G, 10/10/10

Mostly, though, the creators just churned the strips through a Breast Cancer Awareness Photoshop filter, shoehorned a pink ribbon in wherever it would fit, and went about their business. This sometimes had awkward results. Here, the ribbon of female solidarity silently shames Lu Ann and Margo, who are engaged in petty intragender squabbling.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 10/10/10

Breast Cancer Awareness Month had the bad form this year to fall smack in the middle of Rex Morgan’s attempt to raise awareness of prostate cancer. At least the pink ribbon had the good sense to not float right next to June’s word balloon in panel one, stealing its awareness-raising thunder. Still, the noble ribbon is oddly juxtaposed with the mayor’s final-panel threat to decapitate whoever is raising awareness about his own personal tumor-ridden prostate gland.

Blondie, 10/10/10

Blondie deserves kudos for not simply slathering Pepto-Bismol all over everything but rather integrating pink relatively tastefully into the color scheme of the Sunday strip.

Funky Winkerbean and Crankshaft, 10/10/10

Shockingly, the Winkerverse strips are mostly pink-free, though Funky Winkerbean did pair up the boilerplate “Cartoonists Care” ribbon with a hand-drawn “Lisa’s Legacy” ribbon, as if to say “We don’t need to do this crap because we own this issue. We are aware of cancer and suffering and pain 365 days a year, to the exclusion of all else.”

Spider-Man, 10/10/10

And, of course, Spider-Man ignored the campaign completely, the better to reflect Peter Parker’s longstanding tradition of just stone cold not giving a shit.

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I have a pet theory that newspaper comic strip characters are dimly aware of who and what they are, and more than a little embarrassed about it. Sometimes they just flat-out admit it:

Rrrhymes with Orrrange, 9/19/10

Frankly lady, with the fashion choices, urban landscapes, and body styles on display here I wouldn’t go hatin’ on the tag.

Other strips are up front about wanting to be something — dear God anything — else:

Funky Winkerrrbean, 9/19/10

This is one of those unsettling Sunday insertions of Funky Winkerbean characters into the comic-book settings the artist would plainly rather draw. Other than Mr. Potato Head® in the big collar there, it’s a nice rendition of D.C. Comics’ Deadman volume 1 number 7 cover from November 1985. Of course, Deadman was happy about his resurrection, but then he didn’t have to go back to Westview.

You can ignore the prattle at the lower right: just another catalog of the characters’ ailments. But hey, “dead man’s singles” isn’t a real thing, so what’s it doing there in the punchline? I’m guessing it was dialed back from “sudden death” — and if I’m right, we’ve just seen something judged too bleak even for Funky Winkerbean. Cormac McCarthy, the field is yours alone!

But for real nightmare fuel, imagine coming back to life as newspaper Spider-Man:

Spiderrr-Man (panels), 9/19/10

Spidey, self-awareness is not a path you want to go down. Trust me on this one.

Avast, me hearties — happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day from the Comics Currrmudgeon!

— Cap’n Lumpy