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Mark Trail, 2/11/19

You know, I’ve always assumed that the reason Woods and Wildlife Magazine stays in business and even maintains its posh Manhattan editorial offices in today’s brutal media environment is that Mark continues to deliver absolutely gripping tales of adventure that readers simply can’t get in any other outlet. But today we learn that Mark just concluded a harrowing week where his own son was almost kidnapped by a ruthless Mexican criminal gang and he plans on coming back home and filing a story about … lidar, which is like radar but with lasers! This is just like the time he spent months trapped in a cave after that same criminal gang tried to kill him and then dutifully wrote about how all the bats are dying or whatever, which at least has dead bats as a hook. Come on, Mark, you gotta give the people some razzle dazzle if you want to go viral!

Gil Thorp, 2/11/19

Good news! After finally confessing to Gil that he was only relentlessly quoting That ’70s Show at everyone because he had a serious mental illness, Mike Filion finally made a vague promise to go see a therapist or something … and is now unstoppable on the basketball court! Look out, Valley Conference: the Mudlarks have discovered the secret to high school athletic success, and it is emotional self-actualization. Tilden’s gonna have to pull in a whole team of Freudian analysts if they want to have any hope of getting through the playdowns!

Slylock Fox, 2/11/19

It probably doesn’t speak well of the post-animapocalypse legal system that Slylock, the chief investigator in this case, also appears to be the prosecuting attorney — or that he’s just turned the trial into a showcase for his fun riddles and trivia facts. Of course, since none of the criminals Slylock catches ever seem to serve much jail time, you can understand that the stakes are pretty low, which is made pretty clear by the fact that Shady is enjoying this whole scene as much as anyone. “Oh, the sun is a star!” he thinks to himself. “That is clever!”

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Panel from Slylock Fox, 2/10/19

I’m not even going to go into the insane “solution” to this puzzle — Smitty went in and “stole every item he had purchased earlier”? So it’s like he’s helping himself to a two-for-one deal? Also polygraphy is bunk, but not even its defenders would claim that it’s precise enough to indicate unambiguous truth-telling when someone is giving a narrowly tailored answer that is technically true but hides a larger lie? — and instead just want to point out Buford Bull is a well-known member of Slylock’s rogues gallery. How do we know that Buford isn’t making a false accusation of theft as part of some kind of insurance scam? It’s clear how Slylock and the animal regime he represents assesses a criminal vs. criminal dispute: when in doubt, blame H. sapiens.

Panels from Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2/10/19

There’s a lot to unpack in today’s Snuffy Smith throwaway panels, guys. At first, it seems that Snuffy is saying his wedding to Loweezy was a “shotgun wedding,” a term typically used to denote a scenario in which a young woman has become pregnant out of wedlock, and her family uses the threat of violence to coerce her paramour to legally bind himself to her and their future child. This seems to reveal some unexpected details about the world-building of the strip: it implies that Loweezy and Snuffy were unmarried lovers relatively recently, for instance, seeing as Tater is still a pre-verbal toddler. And what about Jughaid, a nephew of one or the other of them? He’s got to be at least 9 or 10 years old: does that mean that he was already dependent on Snuffy or Loweezy before they got together? Or was the orphaned lad put into their care specifically because they had formed a stable home?

But here’s an important detail: what brings up memories of Snuffy’s wedding day isn’t the sight of shotguns, but the sound of them — lots of them. That doesn’t sound like the somewhat ritualized coercion that can precede weddings brought about by unplanned pregnancies; it sounds a lot more like an ambush. In cultures where the authority of a central state is tenuous, kinship is all important, and blood feuds last generations, from the Appalachians to Afghanistan, weddings and other family gatherings are often a site of violence. Maybe Jughaid’s parents died that day, and by Holler Law he was subsequently adopted by the surviving couple.

Panels from Beetle Bailey, 2/10/19

Ha ha, it’s funny because years in the army have left Sarge more comfortable killing his fellow human beings than interacting with them in social situations!

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Dennis the Menace, 2/9/19

Not sure which is more menacing: that Dennis is trying to pull his mother into a pact of omertà, in which mutual silence encourages a downward spiral of crime; or that this alliance implicitly places Henry, who should be Alice’s equal and partner, in the role of enforcer of the morality that both she and Dennis will attempt to evade and undermine.

Hagar the Horrible, 2/9/19

The little detail that really makes this cartoon work for me is the circles under Helga’s eyes that you can see in the final panel. Ha ha, it’s funny because her husband forgot her birthday, and she’s been crying!

Gil Thorp, 2/9/19

And just like that, Marty Moon came up with the idea that would let him leave behind the small-town high school sports radio career he had come to loathe and skyrocket to fortune and fame: college-age Abraham Lincoln erotica.