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Marvin, 6/23/22

Now, I’m not one of those fancy “body language experts” who get paid by Us Weekly to analyze paparazzi pics of Ansel Elgort or whoever, but I can tell you that by sitting there with their arms folded across their chest, these two old coots are telegraphing their anger and defensiveness. They presumably assumed this position unconsciously the moment they started discussing the Kids Today, and how they’d rather watch the new Star Wars show where Yoda is a woke baby on their laptop in their bedrooms instead of sitting next to their grandparents on the couch absorbing eighteen minutes of commercials for reverse mortgages during every episode of Blue Bloods on CBS. Then in panel two there’s a sudden left turn into a … piss joke? I think it’s a piss joke? He “streams” “commercials” in the bathroom? Maybe not a piss joke but it’s Marvin, you can see why I’m suspicious. Anyway, whatever’s going on there, despite mustache guy’s little smile you can tell they’re still mad about it.

Curtis, 6/23/22

Curtis, this is simply the ending of the influential 1987 graphic novel Watchmen, which spawned a popular film and television series. I’m not criticizing you for doing spoilers on a 35-year-old franchise, obviously, I’m just questioning what exactly it is we’re doing here.

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Gil Thorp, 6/22/22

As a certified coastal elitist, I usually take umbrage when someone says “Nobody cares about this outside your liberal bubble, poindexter,” but in this case, Gil is absolutely right: literally nobody cares about some years-ago plagiarism scandal from Gregg’s dad’s days writing for magazines, and in fact if you brought it up to most people, the most common response would be “What’s a magazine?” But Gil is also wrong about Gregg, whose main deal is that he’s going blind and has to wear a weird mask and occasionally pretend he has less control over his pitches than he actually does, which is … unusual, I guess, but certainly not special. I usually also take umbrage when someone says “Well, both sides are at fault, really,” but absolutely both these doofuses are incorrect in this conversation and I’m not afraid to say it.

Funky Winkerbean, 6/22/22

Speaking of being a coastal elitist, I’m always a little wary of declaring some phrase I encounter in the comics pages to be meaningless gibberish, because maybe it actually describes some well known cultural practice in “real America” that I’ve been too busy eating takeout Indian food and worshipping Satan to get hip to, and when it comes to things like a “unification display” I also have to keep in mind that, as someone in his middle age with no kids, I haven’t been to a big blow-out young person wedding in years, so who’s to say that “unification displays” aren’t a thing now? Well, a little Googling shows that they aren’t — the top hit for the phrase is a 2015 press release from the British Museum about four original Magna Carta manuscripts being displayed together for the first time, and it goes downhill from there — so this phrase actually belongs in same contemptible non-word zone as solo car date and vendo, except it has even less pizzaz. Anyway, ha ha, comic books! The characters in this strip simply cannot get enough of comic books, everybody! I’m not sure who the lady at the far right of this panel is, but it really tracks that even one-off characters who we’re never going to see again are willing to ooh and ahh over comic book-themed romantic gestures.

Hagar the Horrible, 6/22/22

Helga’s mother appears in this strip all the time so that the cast can perform tired mother-in-law jokes transposed to the Viking era, but I’m pretty sure we’ve never actually seen Hagar’s mother? Based on today’s strip, I’m guessing that Helga probably killed her, just like she’s about to kill Lute’s mother.

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Mary Worth, 6/21/22

One of the minor world-building things in the Star Wars movies that has always bothered me is how languages work. The humans speak English with each other (side note: I’m sure there are specific in-universe Star Wars terms for “humans” and “English” but I absolutely refuse to look them up); some of the droids and aliens (ditto in-universe Star Wars term for “alien”) also speak English, but then some of the aliens and droids speak gibberish and beep-boop, respectively, but humans can understand them and they can understand humans; yet other times, English and gibberish/beep-boop speakers can’t understand each other, and C3PO or whoever needs to translate. Also, sometimes the gibberish gets subtitles and sometimes it doesn’t, but I think that’s a narrative choice that isn’t meant to represent anything in-universe.

Anyway, my point is that it’s kind of interesting to see Jared addressing his cat as “Mister Solo” and the cat responding in what might as well be alien gibberish that he appears/pretends to understand, which makes me think it would be fun to do an alternate dub of the Star Wars cross-language scenes where the aliens are speaking in English and humans like Han Solo are speaking in gibberish. Thinking about this has both expanded my mind about how communication works in real life vs. fiction, and a franchise that despite its missteps I still have a lot of affection for, and has distracted me from the actual content of this storyline, which is “My boyfriend put me in the hospital but the PA who tended to my injuries was so nice I got horny for him and am going to break up his relationship.”

Dustin, 6/21/22

Speaking of unpleasant horniness, there are a lot of Dustins where Dustin tries and fails to pick up women, but honestly they really just feel like he’s going through the motions — he’s doing it because he thinks he’s supposed to, not driven by any particular romantic or sexual desire. Sadly, our first real encounter with Dustin’s sexuality occurs today, and it takes the form of him talking to his father about how sure, ballet is for nerds, but at least you get to see a bunch of sexy gals in tight-fitting clothes, eh? Eh? You can sit there in your tuxedo with a boner, thinking about banging a ballerina? There are no good Dustin characters, is what I’m saying, and you can sympathize with Dustin for being the strip’s strawman terrible young person character while acknowledging that he is also terrible in every other capacity as well.

Curtis, 6/21/22

Speaking of unpleasant horniness, is June the official month for accidentally walking in on middle-aged dudes in the shower? Like, did a memo go out about it? Will this memo be used at a future civil trial for emotional distress, hopefully?

Beetle Bailey, 6/21/22

But …… it’s not a false alarm at all? Because he is not, in fact, wearing a hat? Perms don’t go “over” hats? That’s now how perms work????? Honestly, we make fun of the Camp Swampy soldiers for never actually being deployed into combat, but I feel like not knowing what “false alarm” means illustrates just what a liability in wartime they would be.