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Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/1/23

I like how Rex and June are talking fairly seriously about Rene, a longtime criminal whose various cons have bedeviled them for years, and Rex suddenly thinks to himself, “Hmm, how long has it been since I’ve done a big overwrought theatrical pantomime bit where I show how much smarter I am than all the rubes I have such contempt for? It’s been a while, right? Not exactly matching the tone of this conversation so far but might as well get to it.”

Pluggers, 12/1/23

Pluggers don’t believe in “metaphors.” Why would you say a word when you actually mean a different word entirely? Sounds like something a big city elitist would do and then make fun of you for not understanding. To a plugger, “eye candy” is just candy that you look at, with your eyes. (It’s not candy made of eyes; that would be gross, like something a big city elitist would order in a restaurant and then make fun of you for not liking.)

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Dick Tracy, 11/30/23

I have to admit that it’s a little discomfiting to learn that X. Libris, a wealthy, sinister rare book collector who dresses in a severe black suit all the time and looks exactly like Cate Blanchett, belongs to a Planet Fitness where she goes after work to lift free weights of whatever. I was going to grudgingly acknowledge that this humanizes her a bit, but you know what? Part of Dick Tracy’s whole deal is that its villains are inhumanized, in the sense that their skulls and faces are deformed in disturbing and biologically improbable ways and they die impossibly agonizing deaths, so I’m going to have to give today’s strip a thumbs down.

Gil Thorp, 11/30/23

Welp, it took more than a year, but it seems finally everyone’s acknowledged that Gil is a Newly Divorced Dude, and so the question arises: Is he getting the emotional support he needs as he goes through this huge change in his life Who’s he gonna have sex with? Is it this kid’s grandmother? Apparently everyone in town wants a piece, but this kid was thoughtful enough to get dibs for his grandmother.

Hi and Lois, 11/30/23

“Please, just a few moments of human contact! You usually leave me alone on the floor in the middle of the living rooms for hours at a time. You don’t even close the curtains! I’m so sunburned!”

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Dick Tracy, 11/29/23

The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I stayed on campus to do an independent study and worked part time at the library in their book repair lab. While I didn’t get to handle rare books like Dick Tracy’s sinister bibliophile/stab maniac X. Libris, I did learn how to handle the various tools of the trade to get more prosaic volumes back on the shelves, including some knives and knife-like implements. Did I become enough of an “expert” in this “work” to neatly stab someone through the ribs, killing them instantly? No, no I did not, and frankly I kind of resent that.

Hi and Lois, 11/29/23

When Winnie-the-Pooh got his head stuck in the honey jar, it was of course of a matter of fairly serious import to Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood, although it was obviously quite funny to those of us who read and enjoyed his adventures. The Flagstons seem to occupy an intermediary space, one in which they take on the role of both the observed and the observer, simultaneously laughing at the antics of others while engaging in antics of their own that discomfit them and amuse us. What would our own predicaments look like from an outside vantage point, if our lives were grist for narrative? Would episodes of anxiety and irritation elicit cruel laughter, rather than sympathy? Something to think about, the next time you get your head stuck in a jar of some sort.