Archive: Spider-Man

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Mark Trail, 4/10/17

Welp, looks like Mark’s very self-important reveal of his employer has gone right over the bald head of his kidnapper. Sorry, Mark! Usually when you tell people that you write articles for America’s #1 glossy lifestyle magazine for the aspirational outdoorsperson, they show some respect. Not so when you deal with illiterates and ruffians, it seems. And yet … who’s this gentleman in panel two? Is he the real power behind this criminal gang, one or two steps up the Bald Guy Hierarchy? He’s wearing a suit and tie and has a neatly folded pocket square, which means he no doubt appreciates long articles about, like, new kinds of tents or whatever the hell it is Woods and Wildlife publishes. Anyway, I’m not sure if this guy is really involved in our story, or if he’s just some fellow passing through Rapid City Airport, or if he’s the Kingpin, heralding a crossover event that will establish Mark Trail as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but his little smile shows that he knows what’s up.

Dick Tracy, 4/10/17

I had to laugh at the “YELLOW MASK” label in the final panel, an explanatory box of the sort usually reserved in Dick Tracy for tiny gadgets or whatever. Then I remembered that, in theory, anyway, the primary venue for Dick Tray comic strips is the daily paper, where they’re published in black-and-white, so the need to label the visual joke makes slightly more sense. “Look, it’s, uh, it’s a mask, that matches his coat, which you also can’t see the color of but we assume if you’re reading this you know it’s yellow? Just a mask, for his eyes. We know it’s a little confusing. He’s not supposed to stick his dick in it or anything.”

Spider-Man, 4/10/17

One thing that comics are good for is creating new Homeric epithets out of whole cloth and just pretending they’re things that normal people would say in real life, like “badge-boys!” I also like Spider-Man acknowledging that while being a police officer is a full-time job, being Spider-Man is just kind of a hobby he indulges whenever he feels like it, because with great power comes great responsibility so long as there’s nothing good on TV.

Dennis the Menace, 4/10/17

I’m pretty sure that a young child putting his most treasured possessions in the collection plate at church is … about as non-menacing as you can get? Unless he’s trying to bribe God! That’s fairly menacing, theologically speaking.

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Spider-Man, 4/7/17

One of my favorite shows that died too soon was The Grinder, which on paper was about a famous actor (Rob Lowe), whose long-running TV series in which he plays a lawyer (called The Grinder) has ended, and who moves back home to Boise to live with his brother (Fred Savage) and father, who are actually lawyers; he then decides to help with the family law firm, despite lacking any actual legal training other than starring in The Grinder (the show within the show). This is a cutesy premise that becomes dizzyingly self-referential as Lowe’s character approaches all real-life legal problems as he would on the show-within-the-show, which almost always seems to work albeit in unexpected ways, because applying the logic of the show-within-in-the-show fits right in with the characters’ reality, which is of course also a TV show; Savage’s character becomes increasingly agitated over the course of the show’s single season as the universe seems to come unmoored around him. Anyway, one of Lowe’s character’s trademark moves, both in the show and in the show-within-the-show, was to reply to someone who told him that something was impossible by dramatically saying “but what if … it wasn’t?”, followed by a swelling music sting. Again, within the skewed world of the show, things usually work out so he turns out to be right; but what I’ve always appreciated about Newspaper Spider-Man is its gritty realism. Spider-Man can’t do the impossible, even within the context of his heightened powers, because he’s just some chump making it up as he goes along, and even when he wins, it’s mostly by accident. Spidey isn’t saying “or maybe he can!” with any of Rob Lowe’s preternatural self-confidence. He hasn’t figured out anything at all. He’s just stalling for time.

Mark Trail, 4/7/17

I was going to make some joke about these dudes trying to armed-kidnap Mark in the middle of a crowded airport in these security-crazed times, but then I remembered that time I flew into Great Falls Airport in Montana, which had more mounted animal heads than TSA agents and didn’t even have bathrooms available once you passed security, so I’m guessing maybe you could pull this off in Rapid City? Guess we’ll find out, and also find out if this bald dude is capable of cracking a smile!

Gil Thorp, 4/7/17

“But they don’t call me that anymore. Because if there’s one thing we know about volcanoes, it’s that once they stop erupting, they never erupt again and anyone who treats them as an ordinary mountain and builds a home nearby is never in any danger whatsoever! Say, what do you suppose this spring storyline’s going to be about!”

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Spider-Man, 3/28/17

So MJ has to get Ronan, the Accuser, currently in suspended animation, to Albuquerque to use as a human Kree shield against the violent, nightmarish Shemp-bot. And she’s getting there the old fashioned way: using the free market! No “government handout” needed for this entrepreneurial gal! Yes, it’s completely believable that whatever cash she happens to have on hand is enough for her to buy a large commercial vehicle, which is presumably the driver’s main business asset, as well as pay for several hours of labor from both the driver and four day laborers. The system works!

Mary Worth, 3/28/17

Ooooh, I’m guessing this eager couple are about to have their lives meddled in — for the better — over the course of this cruise! What do you suppose their problem is? Maybe they’ve never actually seen a body of water larger than Lake Michigan, so they’ll immediately start panicing the moment they get on the open ocean! Or, since they seem to believe “Hoosiers” and “Cruisers” rhyme, maybe they aren’t really from Indiana or even native speakers of English, and Mary’s about to blow their sinister spy ring right open.

Dennis the Menace, 3/28/17

Call me a prude if you will, but I feel personally menaced by this open display of Mitchell-on-Mitchell sexuality. I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT HENRY’S EROTIC BATHING FANTASIES, OR, WORSE, HIS EROTIC BATHING REALITES, OK? I DON’T. I DON’T.