Heathcliff is at the delicatessen. He's wearing a black helmet with the word "ham" written on it.
"Don't order ham." the staff member warns a customer.


Pondering Beetle Bailey

Beetle Bailey, 2013-06-17.
Sarge doesn't know what zombies are. In the real world, everyone knows what zombies are. The only places where people have never heard of zombies are zombie stories. Look at The Walking Dead. They call them "walkers" because they've never heard of zombies. If Sarge doesn't know what zombies are, that probably means Beetle Bailey is the setting for a zombie story, but pre-zombie-outbreak. The fact that Beetle is now watching a show about zombies means that the outbreak is probably imminent and he'll be the first to realise what's going on because he saw that show. It's the only possible explanation.


Fred Basset

"Hasn't it boiled yet?" asks one of Fred's owners.
"A watched kettle never boils, dear!" says the other.
"Neither does one that isn't plugged in!" observes Fred.




An angry woman wearing an elaborate crown is reading something from a manilla folder. Nearby, two men stand talking.
"I know it's not against the dress code," says one, angrily, "but she's my employee. Shouldn't I have the crown?"
The other man clearly does not care.


Pondering Ginger Meggs

Ginger Meggs, 2013-06-13.
OK, Ginger Meggs lives in Australia, and not in the snow or the desert or anything, just your standard Australian weather. Besides, it's winter (so it can't be high temperatures), there's no snow on the ground and it's clearly neither raining nor hailing. And he just walked to school. What could this extreme weather condition possibly be? Is a puddle enough to get his school closed down? Is that supposed to indicate flooding?

I don't think I ever missed a single day of school due to extreme weather. In 40°+ temperatures, in rain, hail, thunder and lightning and one time even snow, not once did my school ever tell us to stay home because of the weather. So what is it that gets Ginger Meggs his day off?


Beetle Bailey

"Gizmo finally found the girl of his dreams" says Pvt. Bailey.
"Where did he find her?" asks Pvt. Diller.
"In the robotics lab!" says Pvt. Bailey.
At this point, Spc. Gizmo arrives with the "girl" of his dreams, which turns out to be a vaguely humanoid robot with claws for hands and wheels for feet. It has two semi-spheres attached to its chest and is wearing a wig. Pvt. Bailey finds this very amusing, but Pvt. Diller reacts, more appropriately, with confusion and concern.


Improving Apartment 3-G

Based on the Apartment 3-G strip of 2013-06-13.


Pondering Snuffy Smith

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2013-06-12.
Loweezy seems strangely happy about Jughaid's poor grades. Proud even. I guess Hootin' Holler is so backward that even doing well in primary school is considered dangerously intellectual.


In lieu of a joke, Liō has simply made reference to the film "Snakes on a Plane". Bizarrely, this seems to be a new strip, not a reprint from 2006.




Heathcliff has erected a small flagpole in his owners' backyard and is flying a yellow flag on which is written the single word "cake".
"He really likes cake." says his owner.


Improving Pooch Café

Based on the Pooch Café strip for 2013-06-23.



"Give us a holler when you get to New York, dad!" says Pam.
"How about if I just use a phone instead." says Crankshaft.
"Whatever." says Pam, disinterestedly, not even acknowledging the joke, let alone bothering to pretend it was funny.


Miss who?

I spent about 25 minutes today setting right a grievous wrong and making the world a better place by helping to improve the veracity of our greatest store of factual information. By which I mean that I verified that Miss Buxley's name is actually Sheila and added a citation to the Wikipedia page.

Some ne'er-do-well had gone and changed the page to indicate that her given name is "Bux", which is plainly absurd. I knew the truth, but I couldn't just go changing it back without proof. That would just lead to an endless war over the Wikipedia page and possibly the universe. But it's surprisingly hard to track down anyone who actually knows (or cares) what her name is.

Google led me first to a couple of pages that mentioned it, but which had probably gotten the information straight from Wikipedia and certainly didn't bother to give any evidence to verify the claim, but then I stumbled upon the DailyINK trivia competition on Facebook. Earlier this year they confirmed it.

To be honest, they probably got their information from Wikipedia too, but since they're somewhat official their word is law and now her name is definitively Sheila, and no one can say it isn't.

Pondering Apartment 3-G

Apartment 3-G, 2013-06-12.
OK, I know Lu Ann's dumb, but really? "Famous stylist? What's that even mean?" And then panel two somehow gets even dumber. No, Lu Ann, he didn't say he loves you. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's making fun of you for being so stupid. Or he really does find your ignorance of the most basic concepts endearing. Either way it's not a great sign.



Ziggy has gone to a shop that sells toasters, and nothing else.
"...one more thing." says the sales clerk, handing him a toaster. "...you have to promise to use it for good and never for evil purposes."
Ziggy's face goes blank as he stares into the distance, whole worlds of possibility opening up before him as he considers the possibility of using a toaster for evil.


Pondering Apartment 3-G

Apartment 3-G, 2013-06-05.
Look at those phones! They are both using flip-phones! In 2013!

And not just that, look how they're holding them. Has Frank Bolle ever seen a mobile phone before? Or any sort of phone? Or a human being holding something in their hand?

Marty doesn't even maintain a consistent grip — she seems to be holding the phone sideways in panel one, then in panel two (three?) she's turned it round and is holding it by the bottom end.

Lu Ann's grip starts out incredibly tenuous — try holding a phone like that without it slipping out of your hand, it's really awkward — but then by the end she manages to get it into a better position. It's not clear how she's actually going to close it like that, but at least she won't drop it.

And what is clicking? Mobile phones don't click when you hang up, and she clearly hasn't shut it yet.

How is Frank Bolle still working? It surely can't be cheaper to keep him on than get some no-name artist who isn't pushing 90. And then Shulock might even stop phoning it in and actually try to make something worthwhile of this comic.


Improving Hazel

Based on the Hazel strip of 2013-06-18.


Heathcliff sits atop a garbage can, holding the skeleton of a fish as a sceptre, expounding to an audience of other cats.
Two waste collectors  observe this strange court.
"Tales of the garbage ape." says one to the other.



Apartment 3-G

Later, at Lu Ann's building...
"There you are, Lu Ann." says Peter. "I've been waiting."
"Peter!" says Lu Ann, blankly. "What are you doing here?"
"We need to have a talk." says Peter, grinning.
"A talk?" asks Lu Ann, going cross-eyed. "About what?"


Pondering Wee Pals

Wee Pals, 2013-06-05.
Take a look at that copyright date. Yes, this was written this year, in 2013.

South Vietnam! In English you have to use nouns and verbs! Unlike Vietnamese, where I suppose they name neither objects nor actions.

It would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that Morrie Turner will be 90 this year and probably really does think that South Vietnam is still a country. Still, you've got to give him credit. Wee Pals is a lot better than most of the old comic strips that are still running in newspapers.


Improving Garfield

Based on the Garfield strip of 2013-06-09.

Moose and Molly

"Babe, put this note on the front door!" says Molly, holding up a big yellow sign. "I'm expecting my brother to arrive soon"
The sign says "Jack, use back door!"

Unfortunately, Molly's Brother Jack has already arrived and is now in a precarious situation vis-à-vis a recently painted floor.



Family Circus

Dolly drops her dolly and glares at her siblings.
"It's okay." says Jeffy, "PJ's a lot stronger than he looks."
Jeffy and PJ are fighting. Jeffy clearly has the upper hand, not showing any signs of effort even when he pauses to explain the situation to his sister. PJ is pretty clearly about to get his arse kicked.


Pondering Mother Goose and Grimm

Mother Goose and Grimm, 2013-06-04.
What game is this? "Scrabble!" you say, wrongly, like an idiot. Scrabble is played on a 15×15 board, using tiles that actually fit on its squares, with racks that hold (at minimum) seven tiles.

The colours on this board seem to be random, there's no markings, and you couldn't fit more than a handful of words on there, even if they didn't have their racks sitting on the board for no apparent reason. And looking at that bucket of tiles. You see how big those tiles are? How many do you think are in that bucket? Three?

Actually the ones in the bucket seem to be much smaller and may have come from a different game entirely. Or perhaps they're the tiles that go with this board and the oversized ones are from something else. That would explain why a four-letter word is taking up five squares.

I don't know what's going on here, but I'm pretty sure they're doing it wrong.


Arlo and Janis

Janis is in her underwear in the back yard doing t'ai chi ch'uan. Arlo pops up from behind the hedge, scowling.
"Call it tai chi," he says, "but I think you're sunbathing!"


Improving Spider-Man

Based on the Amazing Spider-Man strip for 2013-05-30.


Pondering Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace, 2013-05-29.
You know, there's a weird thing about Dennis the Menace. Dennis isn't actually even slightly menacing at all these days, but most of the adults in the strip still act like he is. What possible reason could Dennis's teacher have for wanting to get rid of him? He's polite, respectful, cheerful, obedient and just generally the least troublesome student a teacher could possibly have.

She's not alone in her opinions though. Dennis's parents have the same bizarre attitude, that this perfect child is somehow a handful. Mr. Wilson is the worst by far though, because he's openly hostile to Dennis. And further evidence of Dennis's complete lack of menace, he is still friendly and polite to Mr. Wilson despite that.

Only Mrs. Wilson seems to see Dennis as he actually is. I think maybe she was just always nice to him even when he was menacing though, it's just the one thing that makes more sense now than it originally did.

Dennis the Menace, 2013-05-30.
Ooh, menacing!


Ziggy is visiting his psychiatrist.
"...you have what we call the 'short, bald and fat' syndrome!" says the psychiatrist.



Improving Spider-Man

Based on the Amazing Spider-Man strip for 2013-05-29.


"Mornin' Curtis" sings Chutney.
"Morning, Chutney" says Curtis.

Suddenly Curtis realises something shocking. He turns to look at Chutney.
"Uh-oh!" he thinks.



Dennis the Menace

Mr. Wilson climbs a ladder to clean the leaves out of his gutters. Dennis watches from below.
"Smile, Mr. Wilson!" says Dennis, preparing to take a photograph of Mr. Wilson.
Mr. Wilson is paralysed with fear.


Pondering Beetle Bailey

Beetle Bailey, 2013-05-27.
So I guess it was real violence then?


Apartment 3-G

"What are you doing, Margo?" asks Lu Ann.
"Reviewing the publicity for the Bond film, Lu Ann." says Margo.
"Whoa — is that Greg?!" asks Lu Ann. "Has something happened between you and Greg, Margo?"
"I can't afford to be in love with Greg Cooper." says Margo. "He's a movie star, Lu Ann. That's his job."
"But he loves you, Margo!" says Lu Ann.
"I need to get back to work." says Margo.


Improving Dilbert

Based on the Dilbert strip of 2013-05-27 and the television programme Archer.


Mary Worth

In the Kinley apartment...
"So that's why Beth has been so distant lately!" thinks Elinor. "I guess congratulations are in order... or not!"

After Elinor learns from a gossiping neighbor that Beth is dating Tom...
"She should be back soon..." thinks Elinor, clenching her fist.
She turns to glare at a framed black-and-white photograph of Beth.
"My daughter..." she thinks, scowling, "the keeper of secrets!"
A picture comes to mind of her neigbbour's smiling face.
"She's probably with that Tom Harpman!" she thinks, clenching her fist again. "Not for long, if I can help it!"
The door opens and suddenly Elinor is the picture of frailty.
"Beth!" she gasps. "Oh!"
Beth is concerned.


Pondering Wizard of Id

Wizard of Id, 2103-05-27.
I've previously discussed the fact that Wizard of Id is clearly set in modern times (perhaps in a parallel universe), but the plot thickened last month when we discovered that Id celebrates American public holidays.

But that's not the weirdest thing about this strip. Of all the characters to do a tribute to fallen soldiers, why the king? He's a cruel, selfish tyrant. This message would make more sense coming from any other character. Any at all. Rodney, the wizard, even Bung, it doesn't matter, just not the king.


Beetle Bailey

Pvt. Diller is looking at pictures in an art gallery.
"I think this one is a profound statement on the world situation today" he says slyly to a nearby woman.
"Oh, that is so deep!" she says. Sarcastically? It's hard to tell.
"I have to dig deep for those pick-up lines" thinks Diller smugly, taking the bemused woman's arm and leading her outside.


Improving Spider-Man

Based on the Amazing Spider-Man strip of 2013-05-27.


Moose and Molly

"Jack is going to be late for his job interview" says Molly to her mother.
Molly's mother takes one of the pancakes from the stack she's carrying and brings it with her into Molly's Brother Jack's bedroom, where he's still asleep.
"Wake up, Jack!" she yells, slapping him with the pancake. "Pancakes for breakfast"


Pondering Judge Parker

Judge Parker, 2013-05-26.
Is it just me, or does this look like it was originally supposed to be porn then at the last minute got turned into a boring comic about lawyers and how great it is being rich? I've removed the dialogue so that it wouldn't distract from the pictures. I'm starting to think that's how Mike Manley draws this comic — start with porn then tone it down only as much as strictly necessary to get it into newspapers.

Original Comic


Explaining The Lockhorns

The lockhorns are leaving the bumper cars at some kind of amusement park, fête or fair.
"How did you manage not to hit a single car?" asks Leroy.

Loretta is annoyed, because the implication is that although she has been unable to intentionally hit others while driving she would normally not have any trouble causing traffic accidents as she is a bad driver.

It's not clear whether this is actually true or not, but Leroy obviously makes this claim with enough regularity that she is easily able to infer such meaning from his statement. Or perhaps she has crashed her car recently and it is this incident to which Leroy refers.



Lillian has been standing in her yard having a conversation with the personifications of her conscience, little angel and devil versions of herself. The devil Lillian has grown tired of the debate though and decides to take more dramatic action, leaping from her shoulder onto the garden hose in her hand, diverting the flow of water to spray the angel Lillian.

"Aren't you afraid you'll be punished?" asks Lillian, somewhat less shocked than one would expect by the fact that anthropomorphic manifestations of her own internal struggles can interact physically with ordinary objects in the real world.
"I'm a devil..." says the devil Lillian. "How much worse can it get?"



Moose and Molly

The Crabtrees are in bed.
"I'll put a stop to Moose Miller's cat!" says Chester.
Clara seems worried.
"Meow" says the cat.

"Whack!" yells someone.
"I got him with my shoe! Ha ha ha" says Chester. "Now we can get some sleep"
What he doesn't notice though is that Moose Miller's cat (actually a human-sized bipedal monster) has entered the room behind him and is preparing to take its revenge. Clara has noticed, but is frozen in fear and can give her husband no warning.


Improving Spider-Man

Based on The Amazing Spider-Man, 2013-05-23.


Pondering B.C.

B.C., 2013-05-23.
Further evidence that B.C. is set in the future, not the past.


A man in an old-fashioned suit and top hat is drinking a cup of coffee at Roz's Roost.
"You've had a good business here over the years, huh, Roz?" he says.
"That's because in my business, the customer is always right." says Roz.
"In my business," says the man, "the customer is always dead."
Shocked into silence, Roz can only stare.




"...a 'green' car, eh?" says a mechanic to Ziggy. "I'm afraid we specialize in red and blue cars!"
Ziggy is lost for words. His car is clearly red. What is this mechanic playing at?


Improving Mark Trail

Based on this recent Mark Trail strip.


Pondering Momma

Momma, 2013-05-17.
"One of those pocket-size telephones!"

Look at the copyright on that strip. That was written in the year 2013. Seriously. Boy, those miniature portable telephones sure are popular these days! I bet any young person would be excited to receive one as a gift! I'm sure they'll really take off soon.

Moose and Molly

"Mort says he saw a flying saucer!" says Moose.
"Do you believe in that silly nonsense?" asks Chester.
A cat hides in a bucket, ready to leap out and kill a passing mouse.
"Yes!" says Moose, staring wide-eyed over Chester's shoulder.
Chester turns around and is shocked to see an alien in a little flying saucer harpooning a sausage from his barbecue.



Explaining Scary Gary

"Did you ever want kids, Gary?" asks Leopold.
"Nah —" says Gary. "I never really cared for them."
"Kids are OK." says Leopold. "You just have to add the right amount of hot sauce."

It's funny, because when someone asks if you want children the usual assumption is that they are asking if you plan to procreate, but in this case the discussion is actually about children as a food item.

The joke might work better if it hadn't been done a million times before or if Leopold had not already been established as a character more likely to eat children than care for them. As it stands the punch line is quite evident right from the beginning and that factor most crucial to humour, the element of surprise, is sadly lacking.


Apartment 3-G

"Greg looks amazing, Margo!" says Lu Ann, pointing inexplicably at Margo's face.
"That's his job, Lu Ann." says Margo in exasperation. "He's a movie star."
Maybe it's none of my business," says Lu Ann with concern, "but did something happen between you and Greg?"
"You're right." says Margo angrily. "It's none of your business."



Beetle Bailey

Sgt. Snorkel is standing at the counter in the mess hall. Sgt. Jowls is serving him some food.
"Keep going, Cookie!" says Snorkel. "Load me up!"
"Okay" says Jowls.
Suddenly the floor beneath Sgt. Snorkel gives out, sending him plummeting into the building's foundations.
"I was afraid that would happen!" says Jowls, looking down the hole in concern.


Pondering Family Circus

The Family Circus, 2013-05-12.
Is it just me, or is that creepy? That's creepy, right? Especially since the strip is currently written by Jeff "Jeffy" Keane, so it's the fictionalised version of his own mother he's calling the most beautiful woman ever, through the proxy of the fictionalised versions of himself and his siblings.



Henry is driving a car along the footpath until he comes to a sign that says "Motorists please park on angle". He gets out of his car and leaves it leaning against the signpost.


Improving Slylock Fox

Based on this recent Slylock Fox strip.



"Jenny," says Jeff, with satisfaction, "I've decided to take Friday off to see the new Star Trek movie"
"That's perfect, Jeff" says Jenny. "I need you to watch Marvin for me"
Jeff is somewhat taken aback.
"How is that 'perfect'?" he wonders.


Pondering Apartment 3-G

Apartment 3-G, 2013-05-11.
So, if I'm understanding this correctly, Margo would definitely believe that Tommie's mother had sent her tickets to a monster truck show? Why has Tommie's monster-truck-loving mother never been in the strip before? She sounds way more interesting than Lu Ann's boring relatives (who show up all the time).

Apartment 3-G, 2013-05-13.
Oh, that's why. And I guess this whole thing is just an excuse to ship Tommie off to Italy so she has a plausible reason for not appearing in the comic for a while. It's always some excuse.

Apartment 3-G, 2013-05-20.
Yep. There she goes. Having a good time, enjoying her exciting holiday adventure completely off-screen. Haha, I'm joking. This is Tommie we're talking about. It's not exciting or adventurous. Now all that's left is to write Lu Ann out for a while so we can continue to focus entirely on Margo.