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Blondie, 10/8/18

If there’s any single ingredient we associate with Italian food like delicious lasagna, it’s tomato sauce, so it’s kind of ironic for the purposes of today’s joke that tomatoes are one of the plants that went from the Americas to Europe in the Columbian exchange. All that mass-produced Italian food, slathered in red sauce and dropped under the heat lamps on the buffet of some terrible gigantic cruise ship, would be entirely foreign to poor Columbus, though certainly wouldn’t be the thing that most left him unmoored and terrified by changes in technologies and social attitudes. Good luck, Chris! And though he’s a problematic historical figure, I think Dagwood could use some of his yen for exploring the unknown, as he’s apparently happy to just eat canned lasagna at Lou’s, the only lunch spot he ever goes to, rather than driving the extra five minutes to the Olive Garden that’s inevitably at the next strip mall over.

Slylock Fox, 10/8/18

Ugh, Slylock, water-powered interstellar travel is within your grasp! Finally, you and your compatriots will surpass the human civilization that you’ve been mindlessly imitating ever since you overthrew it! You don’t just hand over the ice and let them leave! And if your animal scientists aren’t smart enough to figure out how this alien craft works, this is the moment where you show up at the prison where they’re holding Count Weirdly and make a deal with the devil.

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Six Chix, 10/7/18

I get what this comic is going for here, I really do, but part of my job (“job”) as the proprietor and namesake of the Comics Curmudgeon is to spend more time than usual thinking about the premises of comic strips, and my friends, when you do that with this one it starts to get dark. Like, sure, it seems that your dog is sitting in your living room, watching squirrels scamper around outside for entertainment, and maybe at some level that’s true. But when you, a human, watch acrobats or lion tamers, you do it out of appreciation of their skills, and maybe get a thrill from imagining yourself in their place. A dog’s emotional arc in that scenario is very different, and when you factor that into the change of setting here — not one dog but a whole uncountable pack, not sitting in some domesticated space with a glass between them and the squirrels but out on the side of a country road in the middle of the night — well, you can’t help but wonder when the moment will come when, by some unspoken agreement, the audience descends on the performers in a howling frenzy and tears them to bits.

Dennis the Menace, 10/07/18

It’s pretty much absolutely necessary for the core Dennis the Menace shtick that he be allowed to wander around through the neighborhood unsupervised, as I’m given to understand that children of earlier generations were, so it can be difficult to remember that he is, canonically, five years old, and so probably in kindergarden. In the bygone days when five-year-olds were allow to roam freely and hassle the neighbors, were they also taught science and history in kindergarden? Anyway, another reason we often forget Dennis’s true age is because he’s so darn precocious, and you have to admit that telling your parents that your failure really represents their own shortcomings is some advanced-level menacing.

Panel from Slylock Fox, 10/07/18

Look at that pelican bait shop attendent, grinning like a big idiot! He doesn’t even realize that the only reason he isn’t being hauled away to an internment camp without trial right now is because Slylock happened to remember some nature facts about tides or whatever.

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Pluggers, 10/6/18

A good example of the stranglehold Baby Boomers have had on American self-image comes from the weird version of real-life Comic Book Time that defines the life history of people in syndicated newspaper comics: young-to-early-middle-aged adults who still have kids at home somehow went to Woodstock or enjoyed disco fever at its peak, despite the fact that real-life humans who fit that demographic were busy being born during those cultural moments. That’s why I have to give grudging admiration to today’s Pluggers, because however you define a plugger, you have to admit that they’re old. You’re old, Boomers! It’ll happen to me someday — some might argue that it’s already in the process of happening — but I just want to hear you admit it, and I will take this syndicated Pluggers panel as a confession.

Mary Worth, 10/6/18

Ahhhhh, it’s a strange little old man slowly loping down a condo complex hallway, past discount art purchased in bulk at Pier One, grouchily refusing Mary’s plea to engage in some emotional processing. Has a more perfect Mary Worth ever been created?