2013-09-29

Beetle Bailey

Beetle Bailey, 2013-09-25.
Focus on the first panel, even on the fact that Gizmo has a sex robot and everyone is just perfectly OK with that and don't even object to him bringing it out in public, whatever it takes to avoid thinking about that second panel, because once you get there you're going to have no choice but to ask yourself just what the "love button" is and that's not a direction you want your thoughts going.

Wee Pals

"I'm doing my homework, Trinh." says Nipper. "By the way, what's the date?"
"The sweet fruit of a palm tree ?" says Trinh, misunderstanding the question.

Wee Pals, 2013-09-24.

2013-09-28

Hägar the Horrible

"I must say, you look terrible, Hagar!" says the doctor.
"I feel terrible, doctor!" says Hägar, and it's easy to see why. His face is bruised, his clothes are torn, his helmet is dented and he has an arrow sticking out of his chest.
"Hmmmmm" ponders the doctor. "Are you getting at least 8 hours of sleep nightly ?"
It's funny because you'd expect a doctor to be better at working out what is wrong with his patient and the injuries Hägar has sustained are quite obvious.

Hägar the Horrible, 2013-09-24.

Mary Worth

Based on the Mary Worth strip for 2013-09-24. And you know, when I made this I thought it was funny because obviously Wilbur wouldn't actually invite Mary over to make him a sandwich, but the next day...
Mary Worth, 2013-09-25.
That is the original, unedited strip.

2013-09-27

Snuffy Smith

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2013-09-23.
What is this sly, knowing smile being exchanged in panel two? Do those three know something? Has the devil been to Hootin' Holler?

Crock

"What did you do before joining the legion, Myers?" asks one legionnaire of another.
"I was a mime," says the other, "but I got fired"
"I never heard of a mime getting fired" says the first.
"Of course not" says the second.

You see, mimes are generally not very high-profile entertainers and the members of the French Foreign Legion are posted in a remote desert, so it's not surprising.

Crock, 2013-09-23.

2013-09-26

Dennis the Menace

"I don't think putting carrots in the cookie jar is very funny, Mom." says Dennis.
But Alice thinks it is very funny. Very funny indeed. She can scarcely contain her amusement.

Dennis the Menace, 2013-09-23.

Mark Trail

Mark Trail, 2013-09-23.
"I'm Mark Trail and I know how to use a telephone!"

You hold to to you chin, right? That's how it works. Or in the air in front of your face. Or just wave it around beside your head.

2013-09-25

Garfield

Based on the Garfield strip for 2013-09-23.

Marmaduke

"Aha!" thinks an old lady as Marmaduke, perched on a skateboard, flies overhead. "That explains the new skateboard ramp."
Her husband seems more concerned, possibly because where he's sitting makes it more likely that the large dog will land on him.

Marmaduke, 2013-09-23.

2013-09-24

Wee Pals

Wee Pals, 2013-09-21.
She will retire cancer-free. Morrie Turner has spoken!

Ziggy

Ziggy is speaking to a psychiatrist.
"...I think my smart car is making fun of me behind my back!" he says.
This is not an entirely unreasonable concern, given that Ziggy's toaster recently became self-aware.

Ziggy, 2013-09-19.

2013-09-23

Garfield

Garfield, 2013-09-20.
"Good evening. Tonight on 'It's the Mind', we examine the phenomenon of déjà vu. That strange feeling we sometimes get that we've lived through something before, that what is happening now has already happened."

Oh wait.

Garfield, 2013-02-16.

Hägar the Horrible

"This is it, stranger !!" says Hägar. "I'm going to pound you, slash you, kick you and toss you in the river!!"
"I'd rather you wouldn't, old chap..." says the knight whom Hägar has just threatened.
Hägar turns to the audience.
"Why do I always feel intimidated when I talk to a Frenchman ?" he asks.
Something of a non-sequitur given that the man he was just speaking to was clearly English.

Hägar the Horrible, 2013-09-18.

2013-09-22

The Lockhorns

The Lockhorns are at a shop looking at cards. Loretta has one in her hand that reads "With Deepest Sympathy".
"Yes, Leroy," she says, "it's a very moving card... but we're going to a wedding."
Neither of them seem to enjoy the joke though. The attempt to alleviate their ennui has failed dismally.

The Lockhorns, 2013-09-18.

Pooch Café

Pooch Café, 2013-09-18.
Pure white. That's what that colour is. Yep.

2013-09-21

Crankshaft

Let me catch you up on what's been happening in Crankshaft lately. Ed has a new co-worker. He doesn't like her.

Crankshaft, 2013-08-27.
Crankshaft, 2013-08-29.
The other drivers do though.

Crankshaft, 2013-09-07.
Crankshaft, 2013-09-16.
But it looks like Crankshaft will get the last laugh, by which I mean he's about to murder an old lady.

Crankshaft, 2013-09-20.
Hey, it makes a change from everyone dying of cancer or losing their minds to Alzheimer's.

Beetle Bailey

"I scrubbed your floor good" says Pvt. Bailey.
"Let me have a look at it" says Sgt. Snorkel, taking out a gigantic magnifying glass and beginning a laborious examination of the floor.
"If you missed a spot," says Cpl. Yo, "he'll find it."

Beetle Bailey, 2013-09-17.

2013-09-20

The Better Half

"The TV I want to buy is $599." says Stanley. "My available credit is $5.99. Do you think they'll notice the difference?"
Harriet regards him with concern. Maybe it's his deadpan delivery, but she doesn't seem to realise he's joking.

The Better Half, 2013-09-17.

Pondering Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace, 2013-09-17.
Well, this is a shocking development. I'm not sure exactly how to describe Dennis's behaviour here. Oh wait, "menacing", that's the word! You don't see that too often.

2013-09-19

Pondering Fred Basset

Fred Basset, 2013-09-17.
Well, this is a surprising development. The twins are psychic. Can they read human minds, or just dogs? What other powers do they possess?

Heathcliff

Heathcliff is helping the dog-catchers and has caught a pug. Rather than simply putting it into the van, he hurls it through the air into the net of one of the dog-catchers.
"He throws a beautiful pug-spiral." remarks the other dog-catcher with admiration.

Heathcliff, 2013-09-17.

2013-09-18

Pondering Blondie

Blondie, 2013-09-16.
Is Blondie about to turn into Mr. and Mrs. Smith? Have the Bumsteads been living under false identities this whole time? If so, you'd think they'd have chosen more believable fake names than Blondie Boopadoop and Dagwood Bumstead.

Ollie and Quentin

Quentin is talking on the phone while mowing the lawn.
"What are you doing, Ollie?" he asks. "Sunbathing? Great! I'll join you on the beach when I've finished my chores".
"Huh?" he asks. "What do you mean you're not on the beach? You said you..."
As he speaks, the lawnmower encounters some resistance and begins to make a grinding noise.
"Hang on..." says Quentin, "I'll have to get back to you..."
The lawnmower lets out one final protest as he switches it off.
"Stupid mower's jammed!" says Quentin.
It is only now that Quentin notices the white feathers floating up from the mower and hears the moaning, realising too late that he has run over his friend who was actually sunbathing on the lawn and has now been badly injured by the machine's blades.

Ollie and Quentin, 2013-09-11.

2013-09-17

Beetle Bailey

Pvt. Bailey is assisting Sgt. Jowls in the kitchen.
"There's a huge line waiting to get in." says Bailey. "Sarge will be mad".
"I know" says Jowls. "I just unlocked the rear window".
At that moment Sgt. Snorkel begins climbing into the kitchen through the aforementioned window in order to avoid having to wait in line for his food. You see, Snorkel is well-known for his voracious appetite and his lack of patience.

Beetle Bailey, 2013-09-12.

2013-09-16

The Better Half

"I wonder if they're already cloning humans." says Stanley. "Ever notice how much I look like George Clooney?"
It's funny because Stanley is short, fat, bald, has a really big nose, and looks absolutely nothing like George Clooney. There's also the expression on his face, quite serious, suggesting that maybe this isn't even a joke and that not only does he really believe that he looks like George Clooney but that he may even be a clone. Harriet says nothing but regards him with a look suggesting concern, as though she's not sure if he's serious or not.

The Better Half, 2013-09-12.

Pondering Pearls Before Swine

Pearls Before Swine, 2013-09-12.
Stephan Pastis does this sort of joke a lot in Pearls Before Swine, where he makes fun of himself for not being funny and how the comic has been going steadily downhill. The only problem is, for this to be a joke it would have to be not true.

It often seems like he thinks that if he acknowledges the problem then he doesn't actually have to do anything about it. "Oh, this strip wasn't funny? Well, I knew that, that's the joke. It was intentional!" But even if it was intentional, it still wasn't funny. "There is no joke" is not a joke. At least, not on its own.

When it first started, the comic was actually pretty good, and the self-deprecating strips were also funny because "I'm not funny" was part of the joke, not a substitute for one, but it seems like Pastis ran out of funny ideas and just resorted to reusing formulas that had worked in the past, but without the essential quality that made them funny.

This is a problem that seems to happen to a lot of comics, and the reason is pretty obvious. In any other medium you don't get to just keep going forever like this. TV shows end. Comics don't. And even established authors usually can't get anywhere with a new strip, they have to keep making the same one if they want to be paid.

But no premise is an unlimited source of material. Everything stops working eventually. Old comics need to end, even if the authors go on to make new ones. I'm sure Pastis is still funny, Pearls Before Swine is just tapped out.

2013-09-15

Crock

The lost patrol find a sign that says "The fort is this way" and voice their solemn agreement. As they leave the text of the sign changes to read "Perhaps".

Crock, 2013-09-12.

Pondering Snuffy Smith

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2013-09-10.
Just to get it out of the way, the joke is that the Smifs will fight and so the sheriff will be called out to break it up. That's not important though. What I want to know is, why is Snuffy advertising his family reunion? Who are the ads for?

If he's just hoping that his family will see the ads and show up, he's left out some important details. Like the location for a start. It doesn't specify his address or even his name, so they'd have no idea which Smif's house to turn up at. So it's obviously not for them.

Is it to warn the neighbours? Snuffy hates one of his neighbours and the other is his best friend whom he sees every day. There's not really any need for signs posted up everywhere. but I can't think of any other possibilities. Who are the signs for?

2013-09-14

Tina's Groove

While taking a shower, Monica is struck by lightning, complete with thunder, that comes through her shower-head. Later at the restaurant she tells Tina and Gus about it.
"Either it's defective, or my rain showerhead has a tempest feature." she says.
Tina and Gus stare wordlessly at her, no doubt wondering why she isn't at a hospital given the Harvey Dent style burns to one side of her face.

Tina's Groove, 2013-09-12.

Pondering Herb and Jamaal

Herb and Jamaal, 2013-09-09.
This strip cost me an hour and a half of my life that I'll never get back. That might not seem possible to you, but let me run you through it.

You see panel three there? Jamaal J. Jamaal. That's his name. The obvious question sprang to mind, and I thought it would be the work of moments to discover if the J did stand for Jamaal. But it turns out that information about Herb and Jamaal is somewhat hard to come by. Or at least it was.

You see, my first stop was Wikipedia. And it told me nothing. There was a Herb and Jamaal article, but it was a stub, with just a bit copied from the author bio on Creators Syndicate. So I searched on. Creators Syndicate had no character listing. GoComics had no character listing.

I scoured Google to try to find someone anywhere who knew the names of the characters. No one did. So I went back through the archives, finding references to each character I could, so that I could fill in some information on the Wikipedia page.

It's infuriatingly difficult. There are characters who show up again and again without anyone saying their names. I couldn't find a single instance of anyone calling Herb's son by name or talking about him in the third person. There's a guy who I thought was a blind priest who turned out to be neither blind nor a priest. And I still don't know his name. I found the names of the taxi driver and the postal worker though, neither of whom I even knew was a character before that.

So now I'm putting the call out. If you know anything about Herb and Jamaal, please add it to the Wikipedia page. Don't let this happen to me again!

Wizard of Id

"I hear the Huns are sending a man to the moon" says Rodney.
The Huns were a nomadic people who existed in the fourth and fifth centuries CE. Rodney is a medieval knight, probably from somewhere between the 12th and 15th centuries. Manned space flight first became possible around the middle of the 20th century. Hold up though, I bet all these anachronisms are going to lead somewhere. There's already a lot happening here and I can feel that this joke is going to have a pretty impressive pay-off.

"I want our space program cranked up immediately!" says the king.
There's never been any mention before of an Idiot space program, but presumably it's been happening quietly in the background.

Panel three takes us to a field. A man holding a purple flag with "ID" written on it is in a cannon.
"You want me to plant this where?" he asks.
"Just focus on your tuck and roll upon landing" says Rodney.
The first known cannon-like weapon was developed in China in the 12th century, but it was not in use in Europe until the 13th. This fits quite well with Rodney's time-line, except for the small detail of the nature of the projectile. The "human cannonball" did not appear until the 19th century.

And that's the joke.

Wizard of Id, 2013-09-12.

2013-09-13

Pondering Blondie

Panels from Blondie, 2013-09-08.
This isn't the full strip, but the rest of it wasn't really relevant to what I wanted to talk about, which is the amount of pizza being ordered here. This is Dagwood we're talking about. He considers a 12" sub a light pre-lunch snack. You're telling me he's going to be happy with a quarter of one large pizza for dinner? Two slices?

Even for the rest of the family that's a pretty light meal. That looks like a pretty big pizza, maybe 18", but even so that's a meal for three people, not four. And again, one of those four is Dagwood. He'd eat that whole pizza by himself. And two of the others are teenagers. As Zits never fails to inform us, teenagers eat a lot.

Plus, I think it's fairly safe to say that Dagwood is the sort of man who would definitely prefer to order too much pizza so that he can get some out of the fridge for breakfast. Honestly, I can't see the Bumsteads ordering fewer than three pizzas for dinner. This scenario is just preposterous.

2013-09-12

Edge City

Abby is on a ladder, looking at a hole in the ceiling out of which dangle three wires. In her hand is a pair of pliers and on the table behind her her laptop is playing a video about replacing light fittings. She looks concerned.

"First, look at your wires." says the video. "White is positive, black is negative, green is ground..."

For no apparent reason, Abby reaches up and grasps the white wire with the pliers.
"Yaagh!!" she screams as a jolt of electricity somehow travels from the single insulated wire, through the insulated pliers to her arm, in violation of everything we know about how electricity works. Seriously, there's no way this can happen.

"Of course," continues the video, "make sure the power's shut off..."
"Abby!" calls Len. "What are you doing?"

Edge City, 2013-09-11.

Improving Crock

Based on the Crock strip of 2013-09-08.

2013-09-11

Beetle Bailey

Pvt. Bailey has sustained serious burns to most of his body.
"What happened to you?" asks Sgt. Snorkel.
"Cookie had a fire in the kitchen" says Bailey.
"What was he cooking?" asks Snorkel, showing a callous disregard for Beetle's safety and well-being. "You smell delicious!"
Apparently the sergeant enjoys the smell of charred human flesh.

Beetle Bailey, 2013-09-09.

Highlighting The Lockhorns

I think this may be my favourite Lockhorns strip ever.

2013-09-10

Beetle Bailey

"Doesn't it feel better to confess and get it off your chest, Rocky?" asks Chaplain Staneglass. "Now say 3 'hail Marys' and an 'our father'. Then I suggest you run for the border immediately."

It's funny because one would not normally expect a priest to encourage a criminal to evade prosecution.

Beetle Bailey, 2013-09-07.

Improving Garfield

Based on the Garfield strip for 2013-09-05.

2013-09-09

Pondering Apartment 3-G

Oh, what a lovely silk dress Lu Ann's wearing. Completely unlike the collared shirts she usually wears.

Moose and Molly

Molly is telling Moose about a conversation she had earlier.
"Jack, I said---" says Molly, "forget baseball and go find a job!"

Meanwhile, Molly's Brother Jack has a job interview.
"Jack, is something bothering you?" asks the interviewer. "You spend a lot of time staring out of the window"
Somehow, Molly's Brother Jack has managed to rig a television up on the ledge outside the window without the interviewer noticing, so that he can still watch the baseball. This is especially impressive as the interview is taking place on one of the higher floors of  a very large building and the television is actually plugged in inside the room.

Moose and Molly, 2013-09-06.

2013-09-08

Dennis the Menace

"I think Mr. Wilson is likable!" says Gina, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.
"Did you say he's like a bull?" asks Dennis.
Gina makes no reply.

Dennis the Menace, 2013-09-05.

Improving Garfield

Based on the Garfield strip for 2013-08-30.

2013-09-07

Beetle Bailey

"You should be thankful, Beetle" says Sgt. Snorkel, standing over Pvt. Bailey's hospital bed, where he lies covered in bandages from head to foot.
"Why?" croaks Pvt. Bailey.
"I didn't bash your nose..." says the sergeant. "You can still breathe."

Beetle Bailey, 2013-09-02.

Pondering Gil Thorpe

Is it just me that finds that last panel super-creepy? I'm just seeing her moving in slow motion, raising her thumb as she begins to smile. That frame catches her just before her mouth opens too wide, revealing multiple rows of needle-sharp teeth...

2013-09-06

Herb and Jamaal

"Yum!" says Herb as he picks up a Candy Bar and begins to read the packaging.
"Serving size: 4. Right." he thinks. "Sometimes I wonder why they write the serving size on candy bars."
It seems that Stephen Bentley has confused "serving size" with "serves per pack" and is unaware that the purpose of those labels is to allow the company to make nutritional claims about "one serving" of the product, knowing that many customers will assume that one serving is actually the entire contents, not merely a quarter of it.

Herb and Jamaal, 2013-08-30.

Improving Garfield

Based on the Garfield strip for 2013-08-29.

2013-09-05

Nancy

"Yay!" says Nancy. "For Maria's birthday party we're going to 'Build-A-Bear'!"
"Or as we 'real' teddy bears call it... 'Doctor Franken-bear's laboratory'." thinks her teddy bear, making reference to that well-known novel Franken-human.

Nancy, 2013-08-31.

Pondering Apartment 3-G

Apartment 3-G, 2013-08-23.
Oh dear, it looks like Lu Ann may actually be rubbing off on this poor girl. Did anyone check if that gas leak in the gallery ever got fixed?

2013-09-04

Shoe

Cosmo, Sho and Roz sit at one end of the bar, looking at a woman at the other end (about a meter away).
"I hear she just moved here." says Cosmo.
"From where?" asks Shoe.
"Silicone Valley." says Roz.
This is in reference to the fact that the newcomer has large breasts, which Roz believes have been surgically enhanced. Which makes one wonder, given that these people are all birds, why do they have breasts at all?
The more disturbing implication though is that the inhabitants of Treetops are so bitter and socially isolated that they see nothing wrong with having this conversation right in front of its subject, making no attempt to hide it. The possibility of speaking to this stranger doesn't even occur. She is merely part of the outside world which they can comment on but not interact with.

Shoe, 2013-08-30.

Pondering Nancy

Nancy, 2013-08-24.
What? No. That is wrong on several counts. Firstly, you don't turn into an angel when you go to heaven, angels are completely separate and distinct entities. You don't change from human to angel any more than you can change from human to shark. They're just different things.

Secondly, fish don't have souls and therefore don't go to heaven at all. So even if angels were dead people there would still be no fish-angels in heaven.

Thirdly, if fish had souls and angels were the souls of the dead, then dead fish would be fish-angels, not angelfish, because it's the last part of the name that is most important. An angelfish is a fish with angel-like properties, a fish-angel is an angel with fish-like properties. An angel that used to be an angelfish would be an angelfish-angel.

And finally, what the fuck is this? This isn't a joke, it's not even a funny observation, it's just saccharine bullshit.

2013-09-03

Beetle Bailey

"What's going on?" asks Pvt. Blips.
"Oh, Beetle called Sarge a big pile of garbage" says Sheila. "Now Sarge is trying to decide what Beetle is a pile of"
Sgt. Snorkel looks slightly concerned as he stands over the mangled body of Pvt. Bailey, perhaps feeling some remorse for having flown into a violent rage over such a mild verbal insult, or perhaps just wondering what sort of pile to call Pvt. Bailey now that he's beaten him senseless.

Beetle Bailey, 2013-08-28.

Improving Sally Forth

Based on the Sally Forth s-trip for 2013-08-24.

2013-09-02

Moose and Molly

Moose is painting a chair. He see Molly passing the doorway and calls out to her "Molly, bring me a rag".
Molly returns a moment later after changing into a purple dress and silently offers Moose the pink polka-dotted dress she normally wears. Moose doesn't seem to know how to take that.

Moose and Molly, 2013-08-28.

Pondering Red and Rover

Red and Rover, 2013-08-23.
Yeah, that grass looks dead to me. You can tell by how it's gone all green.

2013-09-01

Herb and Jamaal

Herb is being given a citation by a police officer for violating the city's air pollution law. You see, Euler is so old that her cake has a very large number of candles on it, and because Herb hates her he has substituted the candles for some things that give off a thick black smoke when burned, and it is this that has caused the police officer to become involved. Euler seems oblivious to this though and actually seems to appreciate the cake, despite the noxious fumes.

Herb and Jamaal, 2013-08-28.

Pondering Apartment 3-G

Apartment 3-G, 2013-08-21.
OK, there's nothing particularly interesting about this (or any) Apartment 3-G strip, but look at Lu Ann's face in panel two. What exactly was that expression meant to convey? I just can't read it at all.