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Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 9/20/17

Times may be tough for newspapers elsewhere, but in largely illiterate Hootin’ Holler the editor of the Gazette is settin’ purdy. Not only did the recent subscription drive vastly expand the paper’s distribution area, but judging from the contents of Jughaid’s satchel, it also raised circulation a solid 50%. Far away in the flatland of Tysons Corner Virginia, a Gannett regional manager selects Bowtie McPencil for the quarterly sales award and a shot at the President’s Club cruise to Barbados.

Judge Parker, 9/20/17

Oh look, it’s chesty newsminx Toni Bowen from the factory-collapse story, and she’s going to save her national-desk job with an exclusive scoop of April’s video!

But hey waitaminute it was Sam holding April’s SD card — how and when did Toni meet him? He wasn’t at the factory collapse, so it must have been later, during his paranoid yarn-on-the-bulletin-board period? Or when he sent her all those nasty emails? She certainly doesn’t know April, even to look at. So Toni is staking her career, and making an enemy of the CIA, based on an unverifiable video sent by a guy she knows only as a belligerent raving lunatic. Cynical, streetwise career move, or first step on the way back to covering mall openings and/or extraordinary rendition?

Haha Randy’s lampshade looks like a Disney elephant huddle.

Mark Trail, 9/20/17

And now we arrive, as ever we must in Mark Trail stories, at the Bear in the Cave. But in truth, faithful readers, the Bear sleeps within us all. In our deepest Cave, far beneath our civilized façade, out of sight or even waking awareness — but angry when roused, and eager to strike. Consider then what great Bear must slumber within Mark Trail: a mountain of an animal, primitive, grizzly, and possessed of Biblical strength.

Asleep through countless months of slights, insults, and indignities by Baldy and his accomplice, through the endless ride across the great prairie, through fistfights, thunderstorms, and tornadoes, Mark’s Bear now stirs — beware his mighty paw! He will not be stayed by the facile trick-riding of Johnny Lone Elk, nor beguiled by the candy and Barry White CDs in Sheriff Don Stober’s saddlebags. No weapon can wound him. He plods upward, consumed with rage and thirsty for blood. O Baldy! You have wronged a Man of Nature; now tremble at Nature’s wrath!

I’m fully prepared to accept that Lone Elk, Stober, and Samson embody the ego, superego, and id, and that we’re entering a new, metaphysical phase of the Mark Trail mythos — one in which the mere idea of Mark Trail conquers evildoers. But I’m gonna miss the fistfights.


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— Uncle Lumpy

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Let’s hear it for those fine folks who aggregate, bundle, monetize, and deliver our favorite content on a variety of platforms!

Gasoline Alley, 9/19/17

Love-sick Rufus done got lost in the funnies! But his contract done restricted his wanderings to the premium content offerings from the Tribune Content Agency, LLC! Alas, it’s too late for him to woo Brenda Starr on the rebound, or hit the road with Annie. But maybe he’ll turn up as the twelfth Mudlark on field in Gil Thorp? As a lovable man-goat in Pluggers? Stark naked in Love Is?

Funky Winkerbean, 9/19/17

Hey it’s Funky Winkerbean, beloved product of Batom, Inc., with syndication in North America thoughtfully provided by North America Syndicate, Inc. It’s been a while, because last week was one long, tiresome block of exposition from Buck Bedlow, high-school rival of Bull Bushka here. Bull, of course, is suffering progressive mental deterioration from injuries sustained at the hands, shoulder pads, and helmet of this very guy, and now we learn how it happened: Bull was actually a pretty lousy football player. His memories of high-school glory are therefore false and terrible, and losing them will be no big deal.

“Wow, that takes a load off my mind, heh heh — thanks for stopping by, buddy!”

Andy Capp, 9/19/17

None of your fancy-schmancy chronic traumatic encephalopathy for treasured Creators Syndicate legacy character Andy Capp. He earns his memory loss.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 9/19/17

The Morgans — including newly-minted Morgan John Carter — at home. Rex consumes premium content from King Features Syndicate, a unit of media conglomerate Hearst Corporation, on some kind of antique flat foldy-paper thing; June does so in the normal, sensible way. The narration box reminds us that “time passes,” but I’m pretty sure Hearst has already got that figured out.


All that plugging, and still not a dime from the syndicates! Good thing the Comics Curmudgeon has such generous readers! Thank you!

— Uncle Lumpy

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Faithful readers, we interrupt our usual programming for this important message: it’s time for the Comics Curmudgeon Fall 2017 Fundraiser!

For more than ten years (!) now, I’ve subbed for Josh to keep things going during vacations and breaks, and hosted fundraisers once or twice a year to help out financially. Things have changed a lot over that time — some strips died, new ones arrived, and more than a few old ones got a new lease on life. Online financing has changed a lot, too, mostly by drying up. So your support means more than ever.

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— Uncle Lumpy