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Slylock Fox, 5/16/22

My intense study of the post-animalpocalypse world of Slylock Fox has been ongoing for sixteen years now, but every day we are still learning new things about how this society works. For instance, as we humans understand law and justice, Slylock is surely an agent of the government: he works directly for high regime officials, and has the authority to both investigate and prosecute crimes. Yet here we see him in the process of investigating insurance fraud, something that in our own economic system would be considered a civil matter. This hints that their government and law enforcement have a broader reach than ours do: maybe the regime believes they have an obligation to protect corporate bodies against harm just as they protect animal citizens against violence, or perhaps the insurance industry is itself wholly state-run rather than in the hands of private entities. These are rich avenues for study and more than justify the renewal of my academic research grant, so hopefully that check will be coming my way soon.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/16/22

Sometimes, when you’re the producer of a media product that’s been running literally since the Wilson Administration and whose whole main shtick is a fairly problematic series of running jokes at the expense of some of America’s most economically desperate citizens, you need to spend a week or so getting new readers up to speed on your characters and letting them know why they should care about them. For instance, did you know that Snuffy Smith refuses to help around the house, and is also deeply in debt? Tune in this week for eight more endearing (?) facts about this dwarfish, potato-nosed rascal!

Pluggers, 5/16/22

Pluggers cannot bat away the constant, intrusive thoughts about death, because they’re aging and physically declining and will themselves be dead soon. That’s it! That’s the whole joke!

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Blondie, 5/15/22

There are, as you might guess because you’re reading these words on a website called “The Comics Curmudgeon,” a number of things that irritate me about the comic strip Blondie, and one of them is that we have been repeatedly told that Dagwood’s job title is “office manager,” despite the fact that he never does any office management and what work activity we do see out of him involves working on “contracts” that seem related to the core business of DithersCo and not about buying office supplies or whatever. And now we’re supposed to believe that there’s someone who’s worked at the company for a while and the office manager doesn’t know him? Perhaps the company is meant, for the purposes of this joke, to be so large that there are multiple office managers, with the people “down the hall” not mingling with Dagwood’s bunch? This makes no sense! I protest, do you hear me? I protest!

Funky Winkerbean, 5/15/22

Gotta respect Funky Winkerbean here: a lesser strip would choose to either make a professional school picture photographer the butt of the joke for not knowing what kids mean when they say “gram,” or this lonely nerd the butt of the joke for having no friends. But this is Funky Winkerbean, where they want you to know that all of their characters, even the walk-ons, are contemptible losers.

Mary Worth, 5/15/22

Wow, it turns out Toby understood exactly what it would take to dissuade Cal from his schoolboy crush: putting him in the nuclear blast zone of Ian’s sexuality. This has sent him scrambling for an age-appropriate partner so he can pretend that he’ll never get old, and Maddie, who happens to be nearby, is the lucky (?) winner!

Panel from The Lockhorns, 5/15/22

Well, this strip’s been running for 54 years, and Loretta has finally “gone there,” by which I mean she has threatened her spouse with murder. “You buy that boat and I’ll kill you and set you and it on fire,” she says. “I’ll fucking do it. It won’t even be in the water, just in our driveway. I’ll be long gone at that point, though, Leroy. Long gone.

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Hi and Lois, 5/14/22

As readers of this blog well know, I like that Thirsty has in recent years been allowed to once again be the moderately functional alcoholic he was intended to be when this strip launched in the ’50s. Sometimes this is the crux of the joke, but sometimes it just adds to the strip’s flavor. Like, it’s funny that Thirsty is standing next his friend like, “Doing a chore, huh? Couldn’t be me” but it’s funnier that he’s probably had a buzz on since about 10 am.

Mary Worth, 5/14/22

I certainly hope that Helen has slipped her resignation letter under the door of the School Management office and is heading out of Santa Royale forever tonight. How could you ever show your face around town if people knew you held lifelong feelings for Ian? Toby, of course, is far beyond human shame now, but Helen must still have a shred of dignity.

Pluggers, 5/14/22

You’re a plugger if your life isn’t worth living anymore because the only people who still talk to you are the ones coordinating the elaborate series of pharmaceutical interventions necessary to keep you alive.