Love and the unloveable

Ziggy opens his front door to find himself on the receiving end of a visit from Homeland Security.
"...but everybody gets email from Nigeria!" he protests.
The DHS agent does not appear to find that very amusing.

Ziggy, 2013-11-25.

The Lockhorns are sitting on a couch.
"You'd lay down your life for me?" asks Loretta, eagerly. "How soon?"

The Lockhorns, 2013-11-25.

Funky Winkerbean, 2013-11-25.
Eww, that's disgusting. Don't do that.


Big cities or young people, which is worse?

If you haven't been reading Mary Worth lately, you're really missing out. It's not quite at Aldo Kelrast levels but it's been pretty great. Allow me to set the scene. Mary Worth went to see an old friend in New York City, but something came up and so Mary has a bit of time to kill by herself, so she's gone for a walk in Central Park. But you know what big cities are like. They're full of young people for a start, and what do we know about young people? They're all criminals and drug users with no respect for their elders!

Mary Worth, 2013-11-18.
Mary Worth, 2013-11-19
Damn kids! Always up to no good, sneaking around and shoving innocent old ladies!

Mary Worth, 2013-11-20.
Mary Worth, 2013-11-21.
But this young hooligan clearly didn't realise who he was messing with! Mary Worth isn't going to lose bag without a fight!

Mary Worth, 2013-11-22.
Mary Worth, 2013-11-23.
And just as all seems lost, who should appear but a reassuringly old man, The young mugger clearly can't stand up to both of them, so he runs away. Young people are kind of like wild animals, you just have to stand your ground and make a lot of noise and they'll back off. They're more scared of you than you are of them.

And once again we learn the valuable lesson that old people are kind and helpful and young people are dangerous and not to be trusted. Thank you, Mary Worth!

A sense of propriety

The doorbell rings while Henry is wearing his underwear, but he goes to answer it anyway. It's the postman.
"Morning, Henry!" says the postman. "Here's a letter from Henrietta!"
In a sudden panic, Henry turns and runs back upstairs. He returns a moment later, fully dressed, to collect the letter.

Henry, 2013-11-20.


Golf jokes and hamster gangs

A police officer and a woman watch as Heathcliff, encased in a hamster ball, chases a number of smaller hamster balls down the street, each of which contains a hamster.
"He's going after that hamster gang." says the police officer.

Heathcliff, 2013-11-19.

Todd the Dinosaur, 2013-11-19.
So, Trent answered the door, met Al Gore, found out that Gore was there to see Todd, and then just shut the door in his face and went to tell Todd about it? Rude.

Henry visits a driving range where they are offering a deal where you can hit a bucket of golf balls for 50 cents. He approaches the staff member at the counter and pays for a bucket. Taking his place at the range, he places the bucket before himself and strikes it with a golf club. You see, he hit the bucket rather than taking the balls out and hitting them individually, following the directions literally rather than doing what was expected.

Henry, 2013-11-19.

Sgt. Snorkel has a sign up beside his desk which simply reads "THINK". Beetle paints over the K, and before the sergeant can react he turns and leaves, pausing only to remark "Now you've got something to think about".

Beetle Bailey, 2013-11-19.


Software updates

Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog, 2013-11-14.
In this universe, robots are sentient artificial intelligences who are bought and sold and forced to work for no pay. They're electronic slaves. But that's just the basic premise of the comic, I haven't gotten to what makes today's strip so crazy yet.

Here's the thing — there are software updates that modify the personalities of these robots. These sentient robots with complex thoughts and emotions. They're people. They're people being held as slaves and who have their personalities rewritten on the whims of their owners.

This comic is pretty dark.


Heathcliff is sitting next to a hard-hatted construction worker. Each of them has a lunchbox. The construction worker is eating a sandwich. Heathcliff's sandwich has wings and is flying away.

"I prefer whole wheat bread." says the construction worker.

Heathcliff, 2013-11-09.


I'm still here

Hey, so... guess who's been really lazy and not bothered posting anything for ages? Oh, it was me. Sorry.


Face the music

"I'm really not in the mood to face the music at work today" says Dagwood.
"Is it really that bad, honey?" asks Blondie.
"It's really bad, honey" says Dagwood.

Later, Dagwood arrives at the office.
"Are you ready for a little get-up-and-go music, Bumstead?" asks Mr. Dithers.
Dagwood looks forlorn. You see, Dithers is holding a piano accordion, an instrument often thought to make a less than pleasant sound. At first it appeared that Dagwood would have to face up to the consequences of some poor action on his part, but it turned out that the music he didn't want to face was quite literal and just of a type that he does not enjoy.

Blondie, 2013-11-08.


Hold on, let me explain it, this'll be good

So here's the idea. What if a waiter was writing orders on their hands? Instead of in a notebook? I know, it's a pretty funny idea, but it doesn't quite work. The readers will just be asking themselves why he's doing that. Got to justify it somehow. OK, let's say he forgot his notepad.

Oh, actually he'd probably just remember the orders. Waiters do that all the time anyway.

OK, well let's say that he's taking so many orders that he can't remember them all.

Wait, why wouldn't he just go get his notepad then? Fuck it, who cares? I can basically write whatever I want and ignore all feedback and somehow still get paid to do this.

The preceding sentences are an accurate portrayal of the process by which Steve Kelley writes Dustin.

Dustin, 2013-11-08.

Terrible coffee

Pluggers, 2013-11-08.
Wait, what? You made coffee yesterday, you didn't finish it all, so you just left it sitting around till the next day when you wanted coffee, and instead of just making some more you took the little bit that was left and mixed it in with some fresh coffee? You're not even saving any time since you don't have enough left to just drink the day-old coffee, you've got to make more anyway. Elmer Fregien of Hurst, Texas, you're a weirdo. Just make yourself some fresh coffee when you want some.



Momma, 2013-10-31.
Firstly I'd just like the acknowledge that Francis is totally justified here. You can't say he's never had a job, he's had lots. That out of the way, the thing I really like about this strip is the fact that Sonja has just brought her friend into her son's bedroom to deride him.

And the whole thing seems planned. Scripted. The friend has to be in on it. But why? What are they getting out of this? It's well established that Francis feels no shame, so this can hardly be for his benefit. But who else could it be for? Neither Sonja nor her friend seem to be getting anything from it. In the last panel it's like they're waiting for something from Francis. What is he supposed to do? What do they ant from him?

Wrinkle-proof ties

Henry is in a shop admiring a display of ties. Above them is a sign proclaiming them to be "wrinkle-proof". Seeing that the sales assistant's back is turned, Henry attempts to test the claim, but the man sees him reaching across the counter and turns to glare at him. Henry walks shame-facedly from the shop.

Henry, 2013-10-31.


The Mitchells' neighbours are arseholes

Dennis the Menace, 2013-10-31.
I guess we're supposed to read this as a sort of poetic justice. Dennis the Menace, terror of the neighbourhood, is denied the treats given to the other, nicer children. There's just one little problem with that. Dennis is not actually a terror at all. Dennis is an absurdly pleasant child. No real child is as thoughtful and accommodating as he is. The title of the comic is entirely ironic at this point.

So what we have here is a comic in which a child is persecuted by his hateful neighbours and bears it with unnatural good grace. He's not even upset. He's just accepted that this is the way it is and if he wants to be treated the same as everyone else then he just has to hide who he is. Is this a metaphor for homophobia or something?

Terrifying costumes

"You're dressing up to hand out candy?" asks Ditto.
"Yeah, what do you think?" says Hi, showing off his cape and fangs.
"I wish you were scarier." says Ditto as Hi quickly removes his fangs and puts on a false moustache.
"Why?" asks Hi.
"If kids are afraid to come to our house we'll have lots of leftover candy!" says Ditto happily.
Neither of them mention Hi's rapid costume change.

Hi and Lois, 2013-10-31.


Snuggie of ennui

The Lockhorns, 2013-10-31.
What I love about this is what it implies about their lives. They've been invited, as a couple, to a costume party. They haven't discussed it with each other since receiving the invitation. Loretta went out and bought the stuff she needed for her costume, brought it home, and didn't mention it to Leroy. He didn't notice when she brought it home, he hasn't seen it in the house. Either that or he saw it and just didn't care. His wife bought a cowboy outfit and he saw it and wasn't even curious.

But it goes the other way too. She hasn't mentioned the party to him. She hasn't talked about her costume. She hasn't asked him about his costume. It hasn't come up in conversation even once.

Now it's the day of the party and she's getting ready, and finally he's remembered. Most people would just try to justify their ordinary clothes as somehow being a costume, but despite everything, Leroy still cares too much to do that, so he desperately searches the house and comes up with a Snuggie. And that's what he's wearing, because going without a costume would just be one step too far and everyone would know that he'd completely given up.

Bus of death!

"Very nice, Mary..." says Andy. "You've got your bus all decked out for Halloween."
Mary's bus has various themed cut-outs stuck to the windows, including a bat, a jack-o'-lantern, a witch and two ghosts.
"I heard that Ed decorated his bus for Halloween too." she says.
At that moment Ed's bus appears, the man himself waving and smiling from the driver's seat. It appears that he has gone to significantly more trouble than Mary though, as he has painted his bus entirely black with a large white skull-and-crossbones on the side. He will probably be reprimanded for this as the bus is not his property and he did not have the authority to make such changes. It's funny because Crankshaft is terrible and it's amusing when bad things happen to him.

Crankshaft, 2013-10-29.



Heathcliff is playing table tennis with three ghosts.
"That cat is spooky." says one ghost to another.

Heathcliff, 2013-10-29.



Marvin, 2013-10-29.
What do you mean "could"? He's already in the costume!

Brewster Hotdog: Lunch Guy!

"I can't decide on a costume." says Cliff.
"Better hurry!" says Lt. Snap. "The Halloween party is tonight!"
Just then Cpt. Rockit arrives wearing a hotdog costume.
"Hey, look!" says Snap. "Brewster's all ready!"
"Ready for what?" asks Rockit.
"The Halloween party tonight!" says Snap.
"Oh, right!" says Rockit. "I'd better go change into my costume!"

It's funny because they thought he was in a Hallowe'en costume, but actually it was a sex thing.

Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!, 2013-10-28.


Truly horrifying jack-o'-lanterns

Wizard of Id, 2013-10-28.
I've got to agree with Rodney on this one. And also wonder what the wizard means by "genetically modified" because wouldn't he just use magic to do that? That's kind of his thing.

The alternative is that he has somehow created some kind of plant-human hybrid that is genetically programmed to instinctively carve a face into itself after growing and being picked. That seems like a lot of unnecessary trouble. Much more effort, in fact, than just carving your own pumpkins.


Ginger picks up a spider.
"Come on, Mr. Spider..." he says. "Bite me!"
The spider obliges.
"Yes!!" says Ginger. "I'm Spider-Man!"

Ginger is lying on a bed in a hospital.
"The anti-venom kicked in just in time, Mrs. Meggs." says a doctor. "He'll be fine."
Somehow, between being bitten and ending up in the hospital, Ginger has managed to acquire and put on a pair of Spider-Man socks.

Ginger Meggs, 2013-10-28.