Sitcom Thursday: Creepy Kid

The Born Loser, 2014-09-23.

"I'm an eternal optimist. A glass-half-full type of person!" says Brutus's co-worker. "How about you, Thorny— are you a glass-half-full or half-empty guy?"
"I'm the born loser, so I'm a glass-completely-empty type of guy." says Brutus.

Is it just me or is it really weird how this comic has its protagonist just come right out and acknowledge his role in it? And this isn't an isolated thing either, he does it all the time. He is "the born loser" and he knows it. Not merely a born loser, the. And it isn't even necessary to the joke, you can remove the words "I'm the born loser, so" and it works just as well. It's more obviously fourth-wall breaking than anything Ted Forth has ever done.

Beetle Bailey, 2014-09-23.

"Can you take this truck to the dump, Zero?" asks Sgt. Snorkel.
"Okay, Sarge" says Pvt. Zero.
Some time later Zero returns with the ute still loaded full of garbage.
"I'm back from the dump, Sarge" he says. "Where do you want me to take it now?"

With that instruction I'd expect Zero to return on a bus, having left the ute behind.

Curtis, 2014-09-23.

"Did any of you children read during the summer vacation ?" asks Mrs Nelson.
"I did, Mrs. Nelson !" says Curtis. "'Vampire Feast,' 'The Thing From the Deep' and 'Mutant Zombie Landlord'!"
Mrs Nelson glares at him.
"Hey, they had a front cover, back cover and pages in between ! Technically that's a book !!"

I'm with Curtis on this. He's constantly getting flack for reading comics, despite the fact that he's apparently the only student in his class who reads any kind of book at all. It's pretty shitty to criticise him for it.

One Big Happy, 2014-09-24.

"Library lady, these tomatoes are for you. My grandpa grew them!" says Ruthie.
"Why, thank you, Ruthie!" says the library lady. "They're beautiful! Thank your grandpa for me, will you?
The library lady takes the tomatoes and begins to leave. James follows her.
"No, James, it's not going to happen."
"I sure enjoy seein' a hefty gal eat!" says James.
The library lady grimaces.
"I know, I know."

Well, that sure is creepy.


Action Tuesday: *For the ghost who is about to kick some arse.

Spider-Man was feeling pretty good about himself after outwitting a man known for being dumb, and decided to push his luck by trying to sneak into Doc Ock's lab. For some reason he felt pretty confident that Octavius wouldn't be expecting him, but it turned out that Octavius totally was expecting him.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-09-19.

"Gotta find out what Doc Ock's planning." thinks Spider-Man as he creeps through the lab. "My Spider Sense is tingling — but that's probably just because Ock's nearby..."
Unseen by Spidey, a metal tentacle snakes around a console and FLIKs a switch.
"ARRRGG" yells Spidey as the floor he's standing on becomes electrified.

Turns out Doc Ock is planning to hold the city to ransom with his earthquake machine. No surprise there.

The Bozz of Time is about to send Mandrake home, but Mandrake somehow knows that he's been noticed missing in the present (even though there is no way he could know that).

Mandrake the Magician, 2014-09-23.

"If you move me back in time-- just before you kidnapped me-- and don't do it--" says Mandrake, "-- then I won't vanish-- my friends won't worry--"
"Clever, ancestor." says the Bozz. "No-- even I, ruler of time, cannot change the past."

OK, never mind the fact that being "ruler of time" doesn't really seem to mean anything if you can't change the past, what about kidnapping Mandrake in the first place? Was that not changing the past? It seemed like changing the past to me.

The Phantom (Sunday), 2014-09-21.

Jungle scouts! Kidnapped by those who would turn them into guerrillas!

"There's going to be a test later!" says one of the kidnappers.
"Test?" asks a jungle scout.
"Your first firefight, stupid! If you survive, you pass! Try not to flunk out!"
He picks up a rifle and takes aim.
"Okay! Moving on! Sniper's rifle! Sight your enemy through the scope! Like this!"
Suddenly the face of the Phantom appears in his crosshairs. He lowers the rifle.
"Who the... !? I could... swear I... saw..."
He looks through the scope again. Nothing. Just jungle foliage. He lowers the rifle again, visibly shaken. The jungle scouts begin whispering amongst themselves.
"Do you think he saw...?
"You know who!?"
"Yeah! I do!"

The daily Phantom is often boring and dumb, but the Sunday ones rarely disappoint.


Melodrama Monday: Endless Tedium

For Better or For Worse, 2014-09-22.

"Michael, you left your socks on the floor again!" screeches Lynn. "Michael, do you hear me?"
Michael's voice can be heard upstairs but it's not clear whether he's responding to her or something else.
"Are you listening?" she yells, starting to climb the stairs.
Michael still seems to be talking, but it increasingly clear that he is not talking to her. She reaches the door to his bedroom to find him singing along to the music he's listening to through headphones while studying. She is enraged at his rudeness.

This is why we don't yell at each other across the house, children. Find the person you want to speak to and get their attention, then you'll know they're listening. You just know Lynn's complained about the kids doing this exact thing, too.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-09-22.

Later that night...

"You said you wanted to talk to me, Jack." says Carol.
"I do, Carol." says Jack. "I'm just not sure where to start."
"Take your time — I'll wait." says Carol.

No, Jack! No! Do not take your time! You have taken too much time already! Why won't this end?

It seems it was all the way back in July when I last mentioned Rex Morgan, so you may have forgotten/not cared what was going on. I'll recap. Sarah Morgan, a small child, has been hired to illustrate a book. Dolly Pierpont, a fabulously wealthy former criminal has taken Sarah under her wing. Now Dolly has brought Sarah and Kelly (Sarah's babysitter) to a run-down warehouse to meet Rene Belluso, an artist who works for her. The Morgans are totally fine with all of this and even know about Dolly's criminal past. Just excellent parenting there.

Rex Morgan, 2014-09-16.

"That painting is called 'Sailing the Catboat'!" says Dolly. "The original is by Winslow Homer!"
"I've heard of him..." says Kelly, "a famous American painter!"
"But why do you paint someone else's painting, Mr. Belluso?" asks Sarah.
"Because I've tried poverty and it's highly overrated!" says Rene.

So obviously Dolly is going to trick Sarah into becoming an art forger, right? Nope! Rene used to be an art forger but now he sells his paintings as reproductions, it's completely legit and his role here is just to give Sarah art lessons. Kelly is going to give Dolly a makeover though, so that could be entertaining, possibly.


Philosophical Phunday: Meaningless Coincidence

Back on the 2nd of September I noticed a weird coincidence in the comics pages. Three of the strips seemed to be thematically linked. First there's Garfield doing a pretty standard Garfield bit.

Garfield, 2014-09-02.
That Mirror-Garfield talking to Real-Garfield thing is a running joke. Then we have Crankshaft in which we see the old "someone sees something weird and then looks at their drink and says they're never drinking again" joke.

Crankshaft, 2014-09-02.
If you've never seen that one before you must have been raised in isolation with no access to television or movies. But then we have the final piece of the puzzle, that links these two strips together.

Curtis, 2014-09-02.
It's Curtis doing a combination of both those jokes (in a too young to drink way). Weird, right? That's all, I didn't really have a point, it's just something I noticed.

Safe Havens, 2014-09-03.
OK, this is the equivalent of a human being terrified of McDonald's because they eat mammals in there! Dodos are not chickens.

Alley Oop, 2014-09-18.
Sorry, Alley, I agree with this guy. Your teeth are perfectly straight, your hair is neatly trimmed, your body is strangely hairless. You look nothing like a caveman.


Sitcom Oneday: Comedy, tragedy, wisdom.

Cul de Sac, 2014-09-16.

"Miss Bliss says she got engaged." says Alice.
"What, to that banjo-playing guy Timmy Fretwork?" asks Petey.
"How'd you know?"
"They keep getting engaged then breaking it off." He gazes into the distance. "Timmy Fretwork is a banjo man! You can't tie down a banjo man!"
"What does that mean?" wonders Alice.
"It means he's a banjo man!" says Dill. "You can't tie down a banjo man!"

It's true, you can't.

Heavenly Nostrils, 2014-09-17.

Phoebe is sitting at her desk in class. Suddenly, the bell rings, startling her.
"The first bell of the school year is always the hardest." she thinks.

If that was the first bell, why is she already in class? Continuity error spotted!

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2014-09-18.

"How's Jughaid doin', miz Prunelly ?" asks Loweezy.
"Jughaid is an exceptional student, mizzus Smif !!" says Prunelly. "He's th' furst student I ever had who flunked ev'ry subject !!"
Both she and Loweezy appear to be terribly concerned about this and also completely at a loss as to what to do about it. They simply cannot understand why Jughaid is having so much difficulty or how to help him. It's tragic.

Beetle Bailey, 2014-09-18.

Sgt. Snorkel is standing on a bench. He jumps off, landing on a pumpkin, which is pulverised by his weight.
"There! I squashed all your pumpkins" he says.
"Good!" says Sgt. Jowls. "I'll get busy and bake the pies!"

Well, OK then.

One-Panel Whatday: In-Depth Analysis

Ballard Street, 2014-09-15.

A group of five men are walking together down the footpath. Each of them wears a headset connected to a little box at his hip and each box is connected to the others. It's the Ballard Street Walking & Talking Club.

F-Minus, 2014-09-15.

A man and a woman are sitting on their couch, inside their house. The front door is open. The man is holding a length of blue cable that trails away outside the house.
"You're really missing the point of the leash law." says the woman.

The implication is that there is a dog attached to the other end of the blue cable and the man is obeying the letter of the law by having his dog on a lead, while in reality letting it wander about the neighbourhood unsupervised and at will. Perhaps he is missing the point, or perhaps this is an act of wilful disobedience, a protest against a law he sees as unwarranted.

Or perhaps there is no dog, the man is simply holding a blue cable which bears no relevance to the conversation he is having, in which he has demonstrated a lack of understanding with regard to leash laws and their purpose.

Who can say?

Heathcliff, 2014-09-15.

Heathcliff and Sonja are floating in the air, suspended by bright pink balloons attached to their faces. A man and a woman stand on the ground watching them pass. The two are long since used to Heathcliff and his high jinks, and are not shocked at the spectacle. But it does cause the woman to reminisce.
"You never buy me gum anymore." she says.

Family Circus, 2014-09-15.

"You never know what's going to happen." says Thel, presumably in response to some dumb thing Jeffy just said.
"Yeah, nobody ever tells me anything either." says Jeffy, assuming that everyone lives in the state of perpetual ignorance in which he lives his life.


Action Thisday: Boring... predictable... HOLY SHIT!

Shit is about to get real in Dick Tracy as the team have arrived to put a stop to Axel's plans, but right now they're just waiting for morning. Anyone else feel like this story has dragged on too long? Early in their run Staton and Curtis were accused of rushing through their stories too quickly, but if that was a problem then, they've over-corrected. Personally I loved the fast pace and quick resolutions, but I guess maybe they were burning through their story ideas too quickly? Whatever the reason, I'm ready for this to be over.

Remember how Mandrake the Magician had been kidnapped and brought to the distant future by one of the rulers of Earth? It turns out she wanted him to put on a magic show for her. To start with she got a robot version of Luciphor (called Cobra) to attack him, and he blasted it with magic, which she loved. Then he got pissed off and "gestured hypnotically" to make her appear to be a child, to demonstrate what he thought of her.

Mandrake the Magician, 2014-09-13.

"Marvelous magic-- made me think I am a little girl" says the Bozz, looking into a mirror.
"Yes--" says Mandrake, "a naughty girl-- who should be treated as such--"
He picks her up and puts her over his knee.
"50,000 years ago-- this was called-- a spanking."
"!" says the Bozz.

Well, that's taught her a lesson. Or not, because it turns out she loved it. And the other two rulers want a spanking too. Seriously. I think this is the point where Mandrake becomes a fetish comic?

At least we can always count on The Amazing Spider-Man being hilariously incompetent. In order to test his suspicions about Doc Ock, Spidey broke into the jail cell where Ox was being held and "tricked" him into revealing that he was hired to commit a crime, possibly by Octavius.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-09-15.

"Ox gave me info he didn't know he had." says Spidey to no-one as he swings away. "Now I'm positive Dr. Octavius is up to no good!"
"I wanna tear Doc Ock limb from limb from limb." says Ox, gripping the bars of his cell's window. "But even I can't bend them cars like Spider-Man did."
Suddenly he stops, looking more closely at the bars.
"But — looks like he might've loosened one when he bent it back in place!"

So now Spidey has accidentally helped a criminal break out of prison. Good job, Peter!

And finally, James Allen shows us again that the new Mark Trail can be as good as the old (although for different reasons). It all started on Sept 9 when "Dirty", fleeing in his car, encountered some rhinoceroses The next day they attacked, and it just got better from there. Actually, don't even bother clicking those last two links, here they are in all their glory:

Mark Trail, 2014-09-12.
Mark Trail, 2014-09-13.

And then Mark dragged him from the flaming wreck.

Mark Trail, 2014-09-17.

Mark, Lori and Taurus are rushing Chris Dyer to the nearest hospital
"We'll be there soon Chris — just hang on!" says Mark.
"Mark, I was only trying to to make things right for me and Lori!" says Chris. "I never meant to ..."

God dammit, Mark, call him "Dirty"!

Melodrama Someday: Why is nothing happening?

Apartment 3-G is still just talk, talk talk. Jack's back now, and there's something wrong with his horse, but who gives a shit? Nothing is happening. Where is Margo? I'd even settle for Lu Ann. Just anything that gets us away from Tommie and Carol. I'm not even going to do a particular strip here, there is literally nothing to comment on. Moving on.

Mary Worth has finally finished the wrap-up and recap of the psychic Olive (prophet of the Lord) story with the conclusion that she's not psychic or anything, just intuitive, and Mary will definitely keep in touch with her (she definitely will not). The new story has started, but nothing has actually happened yet, so...

Nothing is happening in Luann either. We cut away from Rosa and Gunther (thank god), but in their place we got Luann and Bernice doing nothing and not revealing Bernice's mysterious new roommate, and now we're back with Bwad and Toni and TJ's insurance fraud, which sounds fun in theory, but nothing is actually happening. TJ just got the money and Bwad is still being all passive-aggressive about his suspicions, but TJ hasn't actually bought anything yet and Bwad is too spineless to actually confront him, so I guess this is going nowhere.

In Judge Parker, Neddy and Sam have met with Rocky and obviously he is absolutely thrilled to give her free use of his property to start her business because that's just how things work in this comic. And we've heard that there may be some ongoing drama with Godiva, but she hasn't actually been in the strip at all so it's just been boring people talking about something interesting that may or may not be happening off-screen.

But here's something. Sally Forth is actually dipping it's toe into the soap-opera genre this week, as it does from time to time. Alice, Sally's co-worker (and only friend) Alice has been looking for a new job, leaving Sally feeling conflicted. On the one hand, she doesn't want to hold Alice back, but she feels that their friendship probably won't survive if they don't see each other at work.

Sally is at her desk, writing something with a pen on paper like a caveman. Alice walks in.
"Hey, Alice, what's up?" says Sally.
Alice remains silent.
"Did... did the mood just change in this room?" asks Sally, looking around. "Is there a switch for that kind of thing?"
"I got a job offer." says Alice.

OK, it's not much, but honestly I have never seen the soap strips be so boring all at the same time like this before. There's usually something happening!


One-Panel Wednesday: You've got to admire his style

Heathcliff, 2014-09-01.

Heathcliff is piloting a small boat behind which half a dozen cats are water-skiing in a pyramid formation. Each cat (including Heathcliff) is carrying a fish. Sonja is on top of the pyramid. As they go by the fish market, two fishmongers come out to watch.
"You've got to admire his style." says one to the other.


Action Tuesday: Overdue Bills

I haven't been talking about Mandrake the Magician lately, but only because it's been incredibly dumb in a very boring way. Mandrake was kidnapped by an alien in a UFO which turned out to actually be a person from the future in a time machine and brought to the future, where he was given a guided tour of the Earth. Basically, the entire Earth is paved over now and there are replicas of present-day cities in big domes under the sea, and everything is ruled by three women called the Bozz of Time, the Bozz of Paving and Potholes the Bozz of Everything Else.

There was a liquid diamond suit that allowed Mandrake to fly and some zoos full of genetically engineered versions of present-day animals that all lived in harmony. Eventually he was brought to a replica of his own house but made of liquid diamonds, and introduced to robotic replicas of Narda, Lothar and Hojo. But forget that, because this is where the ruler of past, present and future, the Bozz of Time lives.

Mandrake the Magician, 2014-09-02.

"Third ruler of the Earth? You kidnapped me!" says Mandrake.
"I did indeed." says... the exact same woman who brought Mandrake here and gave him the tour. She was pretending to not be the Bozz of Time but actually she was the Bozz of Time.
"This room. Almost like my study." says Mandrake.
"Exactly like your study-- where I found you. -- working on papers just like these."
"My bills -- from 50,000 years ago -- now overdue!"

Yeah, clearly that's what we should be focusing on here, Mandrake. Not the fact that some crazy woman who claims to be the ruler of all of time kidnapped you apparently for the purpose of pulling a weird prank. If you never get home your bills will go unpaid, and that would be a catastrophe.

I also haven't been talking about Popeye at all lately, because it went through a period of unrelated joke-a-day strips, but a new story has begun now. Olive Oyl found a weird crown that gave her super powers and made he think she was Velma of Venus, whoever that may be.

Popeye, 2014-08-28.

"It's wonderful to be able to fly!" says Olive/Velma. "This headpiece gives me wonderful powers!"
She takes it off to admire it and crashes tot he ground.
"But I must remember not to take it off in flight !"

Also, now Popeye and Wimpy have both decided that they're in love with Velma, not realising that she is actually Olive, even though her appearance remains exactly the same when she has the crown on.

"Dirty" somehow managed to get away, even though Taurus had the gun, and drove off. Fortunately there was another car, which Mark and Taurus began pursuing him in. Unfortunately they decided to take a shortcut and ran into a herd of elephants.

Mark Trail, 2014-09-02.

"Taurus, fire your rifle!" says Mark. "Maybe the sound will scare them!"
"Okay, Mark!" says Taurus, hanging out of the sun roof.
Kablam Blam goes the gun.
Beep Beep Beep goes the car's horn.
The elephants turn to run towards "Dirty".

If we're lucky, I think "Dirty" may be about to be trampled by a herd of elephants.

Melodrama Monday: All Talk

It turns out that Dr. Kapuht's drug use led to the death of a patient, so it's a good thing that Mary Worth convinced Olive's parents not to trust him.

Mary Worth, 2014-08-26.

At the hospital, Mary overhears two doctors talking.
"You'd never guess that he's a drug addict by the look of him! Kapuht fooled a lot of people!"
"It's always the ones you don't suspect, isn't it?"
"What a shame about the patient, though!"
"Yes, an unfortunate victim of errant behaviour... I'm glad it wasn't me!"

And "an unfortunate victim of errant behaviour" is just the best phrase. It's written so awkwardly that it sounds like they're not even blaming Dr Kapuht, it was just a thing that happened. You can't even tell they're talking about the fact that someone died. Oh dear, what a shame, glad it wasn't me.

Then a few days later we had this delightful strip.

Mary Worth, 2014-09-01.
I have no idea what's going on with Mary's face, but I love it.

And I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it turns out that Gunther isn't dead. Nor was his departure to Peru an excuse to write him out of Luann entirely. In fact, we just got a whole week of him, with the implied promise of more to come.

It turns out that Rosa's uncle's clinic isn't the underfunded, ramshackle jungle-based operation providing the only source of medical care available to the grateful savages that she had pictured and is, in fact, well-funded and located in a city, and her uncle is a plastic surgeon. You'd think she would have known this. You'd think she'd have made some effort to find out what her uncle did before flying to a different country to work for him. But apparently Rosa heard "clinic in NotAmerica" and leapt to an incredibly stupid conclusion.

Luann, 2014-08-29.

"Here's your cubicle." says Sofia (Rosa's uncles executive assistant). "Read these manuals — phone answering and data entry. Settle in and I'll be back to take you to lunch and perhaps some clothes shopping..."
"Unbelievable." says Rosa. "My uncle's 'clinic' is a nip'n tuck factory!"
"Hey! I know this program!" says Gunther.

God, this is just so dumb. And although we're back with Luann herself this week, I can't help but feel that we're in for more of Rosa and Gunther in the near future. When will the Evanses realise that Tiffany is the best character and make the strip just be about her?

Unbelievably, Apartment 3-G is still dragging out this conversation between Carol and Tommie. The comic has just been the two of them talking since the 14th of July. And that's just going back to when the two of them played their incredibly mild practical joke on Tina, the supposed gossip. If we don't count Tina, it's a whole extra month before we see anyone else, and that was just Jack Riley. Remember him?

Before that point it's just the three of them, Tommie, Jack and Carol, all the way back to the 11th of May when Aristotle left. That was the last time we saw any of the regular cast members other than Tommie. And she's been on Jack's farm since the beginning of April. Why won't this end?

Well, this week Tommie's been telling Carol about her ex-boyfriends (who actually were never boyfriends at all) and it's been exactly as boring as you'd imagine.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-08-29.

"And that, Carol, brings me to doctor Joe Kelly. We worked together in the E.R. Joe was easy tot alk to and fun to be with right up until he..." says Tommie, "tried to kidnap his children, kill his wife and make a run for it."
"Whoa, Tommie — what the..." says Carol, grinning.

Remember when things used to happen in this comic? When it wasn't just the two most boring characters talking to each other day after day forever? Good times.


Philosophical Sunday: See the resemblance?

Alley Oop, 2014-08-25.
No. No I do not see the resemblance.  I would go so far as to say that Ooola looks nothing like Lana. But don't worry, these clever film people have a solution for that. It's a blonde wig. Never mind that their faces are completely different and presumably so are their bodies, a wig will solve it.

Ginger Meggs, 2014-08-29
Uh, so which Batman villain is that supposed to be? I guess maybe he means the Joker, but, well, I do not see the resemblance.


Sitcom Saturday: BB, BC and B.

BC, 2014-08-27.

"You can shove that teacup between your nostrils and smash yourself in the face with a steam pipe." yells Cute Chick, pointing to someone off-panel, before walking away with a black cloud floating above her head.
"That escalated quickly." she comments, to no one.

What escalated quickly? There is literally no context for this. The previous day's strip is totally unrelated. It is a mystery.

Beetle Bailey, 2014-08-29.

Amos is going out to play golf.
"Someday we should play a round together" says Martha.
"I don't think you'd like golf" says Amos.
Martha grins slyly. "I wasn't talking about golf".
Amos is either excited or horrified, it's hard to tell.

Blondie, 2014-08-29.

"Sweetheart, your pancakes are ready" calls Blondie from downstairs.
"But I'm running late and haven't finished shaving!" says Dagwood, establishing the the conflict of the drama.
"Hold on! I just had an idea!!" yells Blondie, coming up the stairs with the plate of pancakes. "I'm surprised I didn't think of this a long time ago"
She begins awkwardly feeding the pancakes to Dagwood while he shaves.
"I know..." says Dagwood. "Think of all the times I could have slept in a little longer"

Well, that is just a terrible idea. His pancakes will be covered in shaving foam and blood from when he cuts himself.


One-Panel Wednesday: Incorrectly sized bodies

Bizarro, 2014-08-22.

A man in a hooded windcheater is walking down the street carrying two bags marked with dollar signs when he is accosted by a large woman wearing a costume modelled on the classic Superman look.
"You're Superwoman?" he asks.
"Fashion models don't fight crime, Mary." she replies.

Kryptonians have super powers though. They don't need to look big and tough because they have super powers. And why does she assume that he's referring to her appearance? Her face is clearly visible, he may just recognise her. And why does she call him Mary? That seems like a fairly sexist way for Superwoman to insult someone. I don't like this comic.

Family Circus, 2014-08-22.

Thel, Billy, Dolly and Jeffy are sitting at the table waiting to eat. PJ begins to climb onto Bil's chair, but Dolly leaps to her feet and points accusingly at him.
"That's not your seat, PJ! Your head's not big enough to sit there."

This would have seemed weird enough by itself, because no one has ever thought that any of the Keane children's heads weren't big enough, but this is the second time in a month that PJ has been told that his head is too small.

Ziggy, 2014-08-27.

Ziggy looks into his bathroom mirror only to see a giant, grinning rabbit standing directly behind him, a rabbit that is only visible in the mirror.
"...uh..." he says, shaking with fear. "...er..."


Action Tuesday: What sound do guns make?

Dick Tracy is still stuck in the past (or whatever), but the rest of the team have finally figured out where he was going when he disappeared and are now researching the island.

Dick Tracy, 2014-08-22.

"Lex Associates holds Thunder Island?" says Tess.
"Fritz Ann, can you tell us about them?" asks Patton.
"Pardon me, Chief Patton, but I think we have all we need to know." says the Asp. "Lex Associates, when partially erased and reversed..."
He takes a marker and begins writing on the whiteboard.
"...spells Axel. He is our primary foe."
"Our records list Axel as missing presumed dead." says Fritz Ann.
"If only, Ms. Dietrich."

And everyone is just going to accept tht as though it means something. Wait a second, Dick Tracy left by car. Cars have wheels, connected by... Axles! Axle... Axel... am I the only one seeing this?

And Doc Ock still hasn't revealed his nefarious plan yet and continues to act as a far better super hero than Spider-Man ever was. In fact, he just foiled a bank robbery.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-08-26.

"Always glad to help, officer, when I can spare time from my research." says Octavius.
"Yeah?" says the police officer. "What're you workin' on these days, Dr. Octopus?"
"I fear I'm not at liberty to say... but I can guarantee it will shake things up a bit."
"Why is my spider sense suddenly tingling?" wonders Peter.

Good question, Peter. It's really hard to figure out what will or won't set it off. I thought the basic premise was that it was a sort of proximity warning, but the number of times you've been hit on the head (both by villains and by inanimate objects just falling on you) tells me that can't be the case. And in the past I've seen it go off because there was some important paperwork nearby, and because someone was talking about you. And not even someone nearby where you could have subconsciously overheard them.

In this case though, it's pretty obvious that Doc Ock is building some kind of earthquake machine. For crime. He's not even being subtle about it.

You know who else could use some help spotting the blatantly obvious? Mark Trail. He has finally discovered Dirty's poaching though, and rather than going to the police decided to just confront him about it. In the middle of nowhere, with no witnesses. Well, Lori and Taurus are there, but seriously, dumb move.

Mark Trail, 2014-08-25.

"You've interfered long enough, Trail!" says Dirty, tackling Mark to the ground and drawing a large knife.
"Chris, wait!" pleads Mark, totally forgetting to call him "Dirty".
Taurus holds a smoking rifle in his hands.
"Taurus!?" exclaims Dirty. "What are you doing?"
"I can't let you do that, Chris - now drop the knife!"

Since when does a gunshot sound like "kapow"? And why won't anyone call him "Dirty"?

And we have a new daily story in The Phantom this week, which is already off to a much better start than the last one. We meet two new characters, Barker and Shotgun, criminals who have a "hijack job" to do in the morning. Surprisingly, Shotgun is the more reasonable of the two, advising his partner not to get too drunk the night before.

The Phantom, 2014-08-26.

Barker and Shotgun walk past an alley and notice a homeless man with a shopping trolley walking along it.
"Hey, Shotgun!" says Barker. "Watch this guy flop!"
With that he pulls out his gun and shoots the homeless man.
"Are you out of your mind!?" asks Shotgun, aghast.

I guess they really needed to make this guy super-evil, just so the Phantom would look like the good guy by comparison.


Weekend Workshop: Photobombing

Based on Nancy, 2014-08-10 (and some other Nancy strips).
It's certainly what Guy Gilchrist is thinking about.

Based on Judge Parker, 2014-08-21.
Just because her eyes already looked kind of like that to begin with.

Based on Mary Worth, 2014-08-22 (and another Mary Worth strip).
Wilbur was feeling left out.

Based on Nancy, 2014-08-22.
It's certainly what Guy Gilchrist is thinking.


Philosophical Friday: Lazy and Dumb

Bewley, 2014-08-18.
Man, what a wasted opportunity. You had the punchline right there in panel two, all you needed to do was stop. You could have made the panels larger and included more detail in the illustration (rather than just flood filling with brown). I know, that's more effort than coming up with a second, less funny joke to fill up that space, but it would have been so much better.

Between Friends, 2014-09-19.
Let me just quote the character description for Kim here: "Kim is creative and introspective. As a feminist, freelance writer, she enjoys the perks of flexible career." I see three grown adults here, and it doesn't occur to any of them that maybe one of the men could cook? Feminist.

Todd the Dinosaur, 2014-08-22.
Forget the joke here (such as it is - T-Rexes have short arms. Ha ha, bet no one's done that joke before) and focus on the first panel. Specifically the narration box. I know that the people who colour comic strips are terrible at their jobs, but come on.


Sitcom Thursday: Whingers

The Born Loser, 2014-08-08.

Brutus is on the telephone.
"I'd like a large pizza with goat cheese, green olives, pineapple and extra anchovies." he says.
"You're joking, right?" asks the person he's speaking to. "You don't really want to order your pizza with those toppings, do you?"
"What's the difference?" asks Brutus. "You never get my order right anyway!"

Where to even start with this? How about the pizza. It sounds pretty good. I'd totally eat that. What the hell is pizza guy's problem? Secondly, if this pizza place keeps screwing up Brutus's orders, why is he still ordering from them? There has got to be another pizza place he could call. Thirdly, maybe they'd get your order right, Brutus, if you ordered something that was actually on the menu.

Buni, 2014-08-08.

Buni is walking down the street when a shadowy figure in an alley attracts his attention. It turns out that the bear (I think it's a bear but it's hard to tell) is selling unicorn horns. Buni is horrified at the thought of unicorns being killed for their horns (even though unicorns are arseholes), but the bear is quick to reassure him. These are fake unicorn horns, and so Buni buys one.

Later we see the bear at home, carving a unicorn horn from a bone. Behind him sits a one-legged panda. The implication is that the fake unicorn horns are actually made from panda bones.

Hi and Lois, 2014-08-18.

"Maybe we could watch a movie later, just us." suggests Hiram.
"That would be nice." says Lois. "What should we watch?"
"There are so many we haven't seen." says Hiram.
"Movie night?!" says Dot.
"Pop-corn!" says Ditto.
"Cartoons again." sighs Hiram.

Jesus Christ, Hi, just watch whatever you want after the kids go to bed. Wasn't that your plan originally anyway? If you don't want to watch the kids movie, do something else while it's on.

Pajama Diaries, 2014-08-19.

"School's starting soon." thinks Jill. "Time to wash Jess's backpack."
She tips the contents from the foul-smelling backpack before bleaching and scrubbing it.
"Yeah... no one uses backpacks at middle school." says Jess. "I'm taking a tote."

That stinking backpack full of garbage just sat around like that all summer? Ew. And is the implication here that washing it was unnecessary because Jess doesn't want to use it? I'm pretty sure you'd want to wash it before putting it away anyway, but I guess if that were the case then you already would have.


One-Panel Wednesday: All hail Heathcliff, for he is our new god-king.

Dennis the Menace, 2014-08-08.

"I was supposed to sit here for 15 minutes, but I think I've gone into overtime." says Dennis glumly.
A very large, creepy-looking cat smirks at him.

Family Circus, 2014-08-08.

"I want you to know that you can be arrested for wearing socks with sandals." says Dolly, pointing at Jeffy's feet.
Jeffy looks suitably chagrined.

Heathcliff, 2014-08-12.

Heathcliff and two other cats are on a stage wearing egg cotumes and playing musical instruments. A crowd of other cats watch them in silence. The drum kit bears the name "Dumpty". Three humans observe from a nearby window.
"His new band." says one.

Heathcliff, 2014-08-19.

Heathcliff is seated on a throne between two flaming torches. Behind him looms a massive cat's head idol. One mouse beats a drum as another approaches with a cocktail on a tray.
"Just another Tuesday night." remarks one owl to another.

Heathcliff, 2014-08-20.

Heathcliff flies over the neighbourhood in a helicopter made in his image.
"It's garbage night somewhere." remarks one man to another.


Action Tuesday: Is the Phantom evil now?

Since I last mentioned The Phantom, he and the president took a trip to Wambesi-land to visit Chatu, the Python. Once they got there the Phantom took off his rings and entered the Python's cell and proceeded to beat the shit out of him.

Just to be clear, the Phantom (ostensibly the hero of the story)  went to the jail cell of someone he already defeated and imprisoned, and beat the shit out of him for no apparent reason.

The Phantom, 2014-08-18.

"Your rings!" says the president, handing them back.
"Thanks." says the Phantom, then turns to the Python. "Let me explain to you why I took this meeting, Chatu!"
"Please do, old friend! I'm listening too!" says the president.

Yeah, I'm also listening, but I can't see any way to justify this.

And Dick Tracy is still apparently in the past, Mark Trail hasn't discovered Dirty's duplicity yet, Dock Ock is still making Spider-Man look like an idiot (like that's hard) and I don't even know what the fuck is going on in Mandrake. He's been kidnapped and taken to the future for a sight-seeing tour or something. It's all been pretty dull.


Melodrama Monday: Insurance fraud and drug abuse

You'd think that in the time since I last posted on a Monday, something interesting must have happened in at least one of the soap opera strips. Well, honestly, not really. Unless you can count anything at all that happens in Luann as being interesting.

Luann, 2014-08-01.

TJ is collecting the day's rubbish and tidying up in his food truck. Finishing up he takes the garbage bag out to the bin. Just as he reaches it,
His truck explodes. TJ is so shocked that his hat flies up into the air and he raises a single eyebrow.

Given that TJ had just that morning been complaining to Brad about how his food truck was not doing well and he hated working there, this explosion seems a little suspicious. When it turns out that the truck was fully insured, even Bwad becomes suspicious. There was a poll on GoComics where we, the readers, got to choose whether TJ would get the money or be accused of fraud. Unfortunately the voters decided to let him off, but I guess there could be some drama to be played out if Bwad continues to believe that TJ has committed fraud, Bwad being the conscientious and upstanding fire-fighter that he is.

But we'll have to wait and see, because now the focus has shifted back onto Luann and her friends. Could be worse, I suppose. We could be following Gunther.

Not much has happened in Mary Worth, because Mary has spent the last two weeks recapping the plot for Olive's parents and then again for Toby, but we did find out what Olive's mysterious powers were warning her about.

Mary Worth, 2014-08-09.

"Agree to it or not, the procedure has to be done." says Ed.
"It won't be with Dr. Kapuht!" says Evy. "I still don't understand why Olive dislikes him! He seemed fine to me!"
"Kids have peculiar likes and dislikes." says Ed. "Mary said Olive's very sensitive. Maybe something about him struck her the wrong way!"
Meanwhile (at the hospital?), doctor Kapuht rolls up his sleeve to inject himself with something.

So I guess he's meant to be a drug user? There are no labels, so it's impossible to tell what he's actually injecting, so it could be something completely legitimate and above board. I guess this means that he isn't going to turn out to be Satan. What a disappointment.


Weekend Workshop: I've been busy

Based on The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-07-18.
J Jonah Jameson has no sense of humour.

Based on Funky Winkerbean, 2014-07-28.
The original colouring made me think Les was shirtless, so I edited it so he was. There's no deeper meaning or joke to this.

Based on Ballard Street, 2014-07-28.
Original caption: "Steve's pretty sure now he's lost his drive."

Based on Red and Rover, 2014-07-31.
None of you are safe.

Based on Luann, 2014-08-01 and Inspector Danger's Crime Quiz, 2014-07-01 and 2014-07-28.
Anyone who reads Inspector Danger can tell you that this is absolutely what would happen if he investigated TJ.

Based on Luann, 2014-08-01 and Jane's World 2014-08-01
But it turns out that TJ was innocent!


Sitcom Thursday: Kids today! Some gizmo!

Crankshaft, 2014-08-07.

Ed, Pam and Jeff are lined up at a food truck called "Dogs of Death"
"We take a hot dog in a glazed donut bun, coat it with butter, wrap it with cheese and bacon, dip it in our special beer batter and then deep-fry it." says the vendor.
"Hence the name..." says Jeff, as though he's being clever in some way.

That sounds disgusting. Iced doughnuts on their own are pretty bad, but what would possess a person to combine one with a hotdog? The butter is clearly gratuitous, but can't improve matters. Cheese and bacon go fine with a hotdog, but again you run into the problem of the doughnut just ruining everything. And then you further compound the issue by deep-frying it.

I tried to eat a deep-fried hotdog once. It was awful. I'm normally a person who enjoys some horrible, greasy food, especially if it's been sitting in a bain-marie for a while. And there are very few foods I won't eat. Off the top of my head, blue-vein cheese is about the only thing (although I do draw the line at anything that could kill me; I don't care how much better raw milk supposedly tastes, I'll take mine pasteurised). But I couldn't finish a single battered hotdog. I had to throw it out and get something else to eat. This sounds far worse.

Ben, 2014-08-07.

Nicholas is lying on the grass staring intently at a plant. Patty comes out to investigate.
"What're you doing?" she asks.
"Watching this bug." says Nicholas. "It's quite interesting ..."
He continues to watch the bug. Patty returns inside.
"And there he was, just lying outside!" she says. "Fascinated! No video games! No screens of any kind!"
"Wow!" says Nathan, who obviously doesn't care.

Drabble, 2014-08-07.

Patrick is sitting on his bed doing something with his phone. Norm is at his desk doing something with his laptop. Penny is on a beanbag with some kind of phone or tablet. June wanders from room to room, observing them in silence.
"I liked it better in the old days, when their bedroom floors were cluttered with toys!" she thinks.

It's interesting that those two previous comics should appear on the same day, not only as each other, but also as this:

The Buckets, 2014-08-07.

"Look at all this ridiculous twaddle people put on Facebook!" says Frank. "I swear..."
Meanwhile in the past...
"it makes..." says a man watching television.
Further in the past...
"me lose..." says a man listening to the radio.
Still further in the past...
"my faith..." says a man reading a newspaper.
And back to the dawn of man...
"...in humanity." says a caveman, looking at a painting on a cave wall.


Philosophical Friday: A new concept in comics that I hope never to experience again

Tina's Groove, 2014-07-14.
OK, you've got to listen to this. Now try to make it all the way through the week. That's certainly... something.

Dog Eat Doug, 2014-07-31.
There's no way that that bird could have been hidden from the dog. It's hidden from us, but the dog is looking at the scene from a totally different angle.


Sitcom Thursday: Strips that annoyed me this week

Family Tree, 2014-07-28.

"Mo-om! No way are we going on a whole week's trip with nana!" says the red-haired girl.
The yellow-haired woman smiles condescendingly. "She'll take you wherever you want to go. Just name it!"
"OK." says the girl. "Let's go on the grand tour!"
"Perfect!" says the white-haired woman. "Grand Rapids, Grand Forks and Grand Junction."
"Not even the Grand Ole Opry?" asks the red-haired girl in disbelief.
The yellow-haired woman stares blankly into the distance, clearly thinking about something else.

First let me address the matter of names. I know that these characters have names, and I know that four of the strip's characters are called Ames, Maggie, Twig and Teddy, but I have no ideas who is called what. I went back through the archives a few months and all I discovered was that the boy (who is not in this particular strip) is named Teddy.

It does sound unnatural when characters call each other by name all the time, but there's a reason comic strips do it. It's not because the authors actually think people talk that way, it's so that the reader can work out what everyone's name is.

But the actual reason I posted this strip was the red-haired girl's bizarre request to go on "the grand tour". That's not a thing. No one would make that request. She clearly only said that to set up the response from the white-haired woman. And the joke only works if we assume that "the grand tour" is some specific thing and the white-haired woman is deliberately misinterpreting, but it isn't.

Also, why did yellow-haired woman volunteer white-haired woman to take red-haired girl and Teddy wherever they want? White-haired woman may already have been planning something, she didn't know. And what's with the emphasis on the word "the"?

B.C. 2014-07-29.

Thor is standing behind a rock on which "travel agent" has been written.
"I'd like to travel to a place that likes Americans" says BC.
"I hear Wyoming is nice this time of year." says Thor.

I don't care whether they're in the past or the future (it's definitely the future though), there is no way this strip makes sense within the setting.

Big Nate, 2014-07-30.

"Ooh, this is one of my favorite 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' episodes!" says Nate. "It's the one where -"
Francis interrupts him. "Hold it! I bet I know! Either there's a disruption of the space-time continuum, or a member of the crew is possessed by an alien entity! ... or both! It's both, isn't it?"
"Lucky guess." says Nate, grumpily.
"And... uh-oh! I feel a warp core breach coming on!"

Do you get the impression that Lincoln Pierce doesn't like Star Trek? Although I like TNG, I admit that there are certainly some things that are pretty easy to criticise about it. Francis's complaint in this strip isn't one of them though. The things he mentions did happen in the show, but not with the sort of monotonous regularity implied. The only episode I can think of that combines the elements mentioned is Cause and Effect from season 5, and I don't think that had a warp core breach.

Freshly Squeezed, 2014-07-31.

"And another thing - - the way mom treats dad." says Liz. "You'd think he was her child instead of her husband, the way she coddles him. Letting him eat whatever he wants, watch any sport on TV, doing his laundry and dishes... honestly, is that any way to run a marriage?"
"Uh..." says Sam.

Apparently Liz thinks that a mother should let her children eat whatever they want and watch whatever they want on TV? And that a wife shouldn't let her husband do those things?


One-Panel Wednesday: Grand Theft Chef

Family Circus, 2014-07-10.

Jeffy is sitting quietly on an endless white plain under a yellow sky playing with a little model of a school, two trees and a schoolbus. Suddenly a wrathful Billy appears, stomping towards him. Jeffy stands up in apprehension. Billy roars, and with a mighty kick he demolishes the school, sending pieces of it flying into the air.
"Mommy!" calls Jeffy. "Can't we send Billy to summer school or camp or somethin'?"
But Thel is nowhere to be found. The two boys are alone in this place.

Family Circus, 2014-07-29.

"Mommy, will you tell Jeffy to stop smellin' my cookie?" asks Dolly.

Is that a euphemism?

The Lockhorns, 2014-07-29.

Loretta is happily playing on the computer. The phone rings, so Leroy gets up to answer it.
"Loretta's not here... she's in cyberspace." he says, to the presumably confused caller.

This may not seem remarkable, but think about it. Leroy actually got up to answer the phone instead of interrupting Loretta to try to get her to do it. Then when he found out the call was for her, he still didn't interrupt her, but told the caller she wasn't available so she could continue having fun. This may be the nicest thing he's ever done.

Pardon My Planet, 2014-07-29.

Two women are sitting on a couch playing a video game. Two men stand behind them looking grumpy.
"All right, made my way through the teriyaki salmon filet and now on to the chicken biryani." says one of the women.
"30 more tiramisu points for me!" says the other. "Woohoo!"
Grand Theft Chef

What? Grand Theft Chef? That's not even a pun. What? It's like GTA, but food, because women like cooking instead of cars? Do you have to steal chefs? I guess GTA doesn't involve a lot of car theft, except incidentally, but still. And player one made her way through the teriyaki salmon filet? Tiramisu points?

And what's with the guys in the background? What's their problem? Do they want a turn and the women are hogging it? Because now that there's a cooking-based game, women can play video games? Is that it? Video games are for boys but imagine if there were cooking games, then girls would want to play?

I know Pardon My Planet is a bad comic, but I feel like I'm really stretching to get any kind of sense out of this one, much less a recognisable joke. Grand Theft Chef?


Action Tuesday: Call me "Dirty"!

It didn't take long for Jane's World to get back to more of a soap-opera style, but since I didn't post when it happened, here's how that cop flashback ended up.

Jane's World, 2014-07-11.

"This is unit 16 calling for back-up." says Chelle into her radio. "Officer down, one suspect dead.."
The dead man lies in the doorway, his gun on the floor beside him. Chelle's hat has also fallen onto the floor. Jill grimaces as she clutches at the bullet wound in her right arm.
".. Second suspect fled through the open window. He's armed, over." says Chelle.
"10-4..." replies the dispatcher. "Black and white dispatched. Ambulance en route. Over"
"Officer James is conscious and on the second level." says Chelle, checking on Jill. "I am pursuing secong suspect on foot... over."

You're tried to apprehend an armed criminal and he just shot your partner, so now you're going to chase after him by yourself, on foot, with no idea how far away your backup is? Chelle was a terrible cop.

Not a lot's happened in Spider-Man, Doc Ock is still pretending to be a super hero and JJJ is still funding him in exchange for the "free" publicity of being able to publish pictures of him doing so. Most recently the Ox has showed up and kidnapped Morton Q Pierport (whose name alone tells you that he's rich), supposedly for ransom money. But he let slip that he's actually acting on orders. Who could they possibly have come from, I wonder? Surely not Doctor Octopus, he's a hero now!

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-07-28.

"Spider-Man and Dr. Octopus are hurrying toward the kidnap scene..." says a television reporter, showing live footage of the chase (which casts serious doubts on the value of Peter's photos).
"Why's that wall-crawler trying to butt in on Octavius' heroics?" demands Jameson, through gritted teeth.
"He's a crime-fighter, Jonah. He fights crime." says Robbie, as though explaining to a child.
"Can't let Doc Ock beat me to the Ox." says Spider-Man to no one, as he swings through the city.

Of course, Spidey and Ock show up at exactly the same time, and I can't wait to see how Peter screws this up. Also, I couldn't let this delightful panel of Peter being put in his place by Jameson slip by without notice.
Panel from The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-07-09.
He's got you there, Peter.

Dick Tracy has been a bit slow of late as well. Punjab and the Asp managed to track down the Butcher of the Balkans by following the guy they were previously interrogating and then Punjab did some kind of magic thing and made the Butcher disappear somehow. See if you can make any more sense of it than that.

Back in 1944 (or the place that someone is trying very hard to make look like 1944), Annie has discovered that the "Belinda" radio show seems to have a hypnotic effect on everyone, so she's asked Dick to meet her "junior commandos" club.

Dick Tracy, 2014-07-28.

Simmons Corners
"Annie, I'd like to meet your junior commandos, but I have another meeting to attend..." says Dick.
"They'll be here soon, Officer Tracy." says Annie.
"Ye gods!" says Dick, looking at his watch. "It's 4:40. 'Belinda' will be on the radio in 5 minutes!"
"Don't worry, you can miss it this once!" says Annie.
"I..." says Dick, standing up and holding a hand to his head. "I don't think I should."
"I bet your watch is fast." says Annie, jumping to her feet. "Sit down and I'll get you some water."

And then she threw the water on him and his memory came back. I think this comic made more sense when it was about moon people.

Mark Trail is still in an undisclosed country in Africa, and travelling around with Chris and Lori, some people he met in the airport. Turns out Chris is into Lori, but she doesn't feel the same, and for some reason Chris has decided that the only possible explanation for that is that Lori must have fallen for Mark. In the few days since they met. Why she didn't return his feelings before meeting Mark is clearly still a mystery.

So Chris decided to take Mark aside and kill him, then try to make it look like an animal attack. But first, get to know him a bit.

Mark Trail, 2014-07-15.

"What's on your mind, Chris?" asks Mark.
"Mark, please call me 'dirty'! My good friends call me Dirty!" says Chris, and this conversation's suddenly gotten a lot more entertaining.
"Mark," continues Chris (aka. Dirty) "I've known Lori for several years now... and I can tell you that I have grown quite fond of her!"
A nearby elephant laughs, presumably at the phrase "call me 'Dirty'!"

James Allen, you're all right.

Panel from Mark Trail, 2014-07-15.


Melodrama Monday: I soon may have to move Mary Worth to Tuesdays

Incredible development in Mary Worth, this week. As you may recall, Olive, the young Prophet of the Lord, has a cyst and her parents took her to the hospital where the Devil (disguised as a doctor) made an appointment with them to remove it. Olive was naturally terrified by this prospect, so the night before the appointment, while her parents slept, Olive snuck out to hide.

Foolishly, she failed to heed the words of the angel who had appeared to her several nights earlier and decided that the swimming pool was the ideal hiding spot. But at that moment, Mary awoke from a disturbing dream, a dream in which Olive flailed helplessly in the Charterstone pool...

Mary Worth, 2014-07-28.

Because of their strong connection, Mary senses Olive is struggling in the pool!

Mary wastes no time but runs out to the swimming pool and dives in, catching Olive by the hand and dragging her back to the surface.

"Mary!" thinks Olive.
"Olive!" thinks Mary.

So Mary Worth is psychic now. Olive was warned by an angel to stay away from the pool, and she failed to heed the advice and would have died if not for Mary magically sensing the danger. This is canon. Either that or Olive is psychic and sent a distress signal to Mary. Obviously I'm hoping that Mary is psychic though, because that could completely alter the premise of the comic forever. Even just the explicit confirmation that Mary Worth takes place in a world in which angels, fairies and psychics actually exist is pretty great though. As is this panel:

Panel from Mary Worth, 2014-07-28.

Remember how Judge Parker was really exciting and involved blood diamonds, disgruntled mercenaries and shoot-outs in the jungle just a few weeks ago? Forget that, that's done now. Now we're onto the good stuff. Rich people making money.

Neddy's back from France, you see, and she has an idea for a new business. She wants to design and make dresses. Sam has doubts about the potential of a clothes factory in America, what with workers wanting to be paid more than $1 a week and all, but Neddy has a plan.

Judge Parker, 2014-07-28.

Neddy explains her strategy to involve Godiva Danube in the new clothing line!

"She's looking for a company to maker her clothes, but doesn't want them made offshore!" says Neddy.
"Sam said it's too expensive to make garments here!" says Abbey.
"Not if you hire senior citizens..." says Neddy. "they already have health care and pensions!"
"Neddy, why didn't you tell Sam all this an hour ago?" asks Abbey.

See, it's fine. She's just going to exploit the elderly. I can't see a problem with that. And for those who may not know, Godiva Danube is a celebrity, whom the Spencer-Drivers met a while back when they sold her a horse. Also she's married to another celebrity with an equally stupid name, Rocky Ledge.

Apartment 3-G is still on this story about Tommie and the horse vet, minus the horse vet, so Tommie been spending some time with Carol. The two of them have gone from hating each other for no reason to liking each other for no reason and they decided to take a mid-morning break. Tommie apparently has never had a margarita before so Carol offers to make her one.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-07-21.

Later, on the shady porch...
"That was delicious, Carol." says Tommie. "I feel great!"
"A margarita on a hot day is perfection!" says Carol, staring vacantly past Tommie.
"So may I have another?" asks Tommie, seriously.
"Sure." says Carol, blankly. "But wait a while, Tommie. You don't want to get loopy."

Leaving aside the bizarre facial expressions (which can be explained away by Frank Bolle's usual level of care and attention), I get the impression that Tommie is totally unfamiliar with the effects of alcohol. Perhaps any drink other than water would normally just be too exciting for her to handle.

The second margarita didn't seem to make her "loopy", but it did get Carol talking. Turns out Jack's wife died. I'm pretty sure we already knew that, but Tommie didn't so we got to hear it all over again. And yes, that was two whole weeks of strips and all that happened was that Tommie and Carol drank two margaritas each and had a conversation that can be summarised as "Jack was married but she died." "Oh, I didn't know that."

Crankshaft has had a bit of an ongoing plot this week as Ed has been chosen for jury duty. In reality, of course, he would be disqualified almost instantly, but that wouldn't be funny. It's not funny anyway, but, you know.

The defendant was accused of starting a fire in his back yard and damaging the neighbours' property, something that Crankshaft does himself on a regular basis, so he interrupted the trial repeatedly to add his own support to the defence. After only one week of strips though it's time for the jury to deliberate.

Crankshaft, 2014-07-28.

"Okay..." says the foreman. "The result of the first vote is eleven guilty... and one not guilty."
Everyone turns to glare at Crankshaft.
"What?" he asks, shrugging.

Given that this is the Monday strip I guess we can look forward to this lasting until Saturday.


Melodrama Monday: Out of touch with reality

Funky Winkerbean, 2014-07-08.

"Crazy Harry and I are going to Comic-Con in San Diego..." says John, smirking. "Why don't you come with us? If you can't find Starbuck Jones #115 at Comic-Con, it can't be found."
"Don't you have to get tickets way in advance?" asked Holly.
"No, you can just show up on the day, it's fine!" replied John.
"You're right, John..." said Holly. "In fact, I probably wouldn't have to settle for a moldy reading copy... In fact, I could probably find a near mint copy... or even a mint copy... or a slabbed copy graded ten!!"
"Whoa!" says Harry, backing away and holding his hands up as though to defend himself. "Pump the breaks, Holly."

The whole issue of just going to Comic-Con on a whim aside, why the fuck is Holly even talking about getting a slabbed copy? She got a slabbed copy of the last issue she was looking for and immediately unsealed it.
Panel from Funky Winkerbean, 2014-06-06.
If she were doing it to give comic collectors heart attacks that would be funny, but since this is Funky Winkerbean it should go without saying that nothing funny is happening. No, she "just [wants her] son to be able to read it". Keep in mind that she is collecting these comics for her son, and we have no idea whether he even wants to read it. He may in fact have preferred the slabbed copy. Or at least might have wanted to open it up himself.

I think collecting comic books is a dumb waste of money and if a real live person with more money than they knew what to do with bought a rare comic and burned it, that wouldn't bother me in the slightest, but this does. This is infuriating.

Foob, 2014-07-10.

Saint Michael and Lizardbreath are playing badminton in the back yard. Lynn comes out of the house.
"What's all the noise out here?" she asks, grumpily.
"Michael hit the birdie onto the roof, an' now it's stuck up there." says Lizardbreath.
"Why don't you use another one? I gave you six! Where are they?" demands Lynn.
They're all on the roof.

Goddamn kids, always creating minor inconveniences for their eternally suffering parents! Sometimes it just makes you want to lock them outside in the snow!

Apartment 3-G actually spent the entire week on having Tommie tricking Tina into thinking Lily was a baby and not a deer, which Carol found hilarious.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-07-12.

Tina drives off in a cloud of dust...
"Giggle-snort-guffaw!" says Carol, looking dazed, or possibly drugged. "Oh, Tommie, I haven't laughed like this in ages!!"
"It was pretty funny, Carol." says Tommie, tilting her head like a confused puppy. "And kind of mean."
"Tina deserved it, Tommie. And by the way, you have a great poker face!"
"Thanks. My roommates think I'm the funny one."

No, Tommie. No they don't. No one thinks that.

And Mary Worth's prophet of the Lord, Olive, has been taken by her parents to the hospital to have a doctor take a look at the cyst on her torso.

Mary Worth, 2014-07-14.

Olive is startled by Dr. Kapuht when he enters the room.
This is understandable as the Doctor is making arcane gestures and glaring and is surrounded by a golden halo of crackling energy. Also, the corridor behind him is pitch black, and for just a moment he had a moustache, but it vanished.
"Gasp!" says Olive.
"Olive... what's wrong?" asks the holy one's father.
"Dr. Kapuht, I'm sorry about my daughter." says the prophet's mother. "She's scared."
"Yes. Of course." says Kapuht, menacingly.

OK, I'm pretty sure that doctor is Satan.
Panel from Mary Worth, 2014-07-14.


Philosophical Friday: Nagging Wives

Freshly Squeezed, 2014-07-07.
Yeah yeah yeah, shoplifting bad, important lessons, etc. but what the hell is that thing he stole? It looks like one of those shitty fake gameboy things that only play one terrible game because the screen just has certain pre-defined shapes on it like a calculator. What those cost is about $2, surely? Do they even make those any more?

Hi and Lois, 2014-07-08.
Marvin, 2014-07-08.
Ballard Street, 2014-07-11.
Husbands, always storing useless junk!
Wives, always throwing away treasured possessions!

Never the other way around, you may notice. And there's no chance of any sort of negotiation or compromise or even just talking to each other like grown adults who respect each other. Because men are disgusting slobs who will happily live in filth and women are joyless nags who exist to impose neatness and cleanliness on men. Obviously.


Sitcom Thursday: Everyone's favourite character returns!

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2014-07-07.

Snuffy stands in the middle of a trashed room. Food, clothes, furniture and miscellaneous items are scattered haphazardly about.
"Loweezy's been gone fer days visitin' her sister !!" says Snuffy to no one. "What's she gonna say when she comes home an' sees th' big mess I made ?!"
"I'll tell ya what she's gonna say..." says Loweezy, walking through the door at that very moment. "Good thing I brought our niece Bizzy Buzz Buzz home wif me !!"
"Unca Snuffy !!" says Bizzy.

Oh, Bizzy Buzz Buzz, we all remember her, right? No? You mean you don't recognise a character who appeared three times in 1964 and never again? Well, surely you remember her four appearances in the Snuffy Smith and Barney Google animated series, also in 1964? No? Well, apparently she's back. And her gimmick is that she likes to clean things. So that's why it was a good thing that Loweezy brought her.

Given that she seems to feature every this week, John Rose has now more than doubled the number of strips she appears in. And it's about time. The fans have been clamouring for her return for fifty years now! I wonder if she'll end up appearing more frequently than Barney Google?

Moose and Molly, 2014-07-08.

The phone rings. Moose answers.
"Molly!" It's a survey!" he calls. "Do you still love me?"
"Tell them I'll give it some thought and call them back!" calls Molly from the next room.
Before Moose can react, Molly is in his arms.
"Just kidding, honey!" she says.

I love this running joke of Molly pretending that she doesn't love Moose any more then instantly taking it back. It's bizarre, and Moose falls for it every time. Also, what kind of survey is this?

Herb and Jamaal, 2014-07-09.

Jamaal has been playing basketball.
"Awesome game, Jamaal." says a child. "You play pretty well."
"That was a nice compliment." thinks Jamaal happily. "And I'm glad he didn't ruin it by saying..."
He scowls.
"for your age."

Jamaal just made himself angry about something that someone didn't say or even imply, but hypothetically could have done.

Hi and Lois, 2014-07-10.

Ditto has set up a lemonade stand.
"How's business?" asks Lois.
"Good!" says Ditto. "Mr. Thurston is my best customer."
"I didn't know he liked lemonade."
"He pours something in it from a little bottle he has in his pocket."

It's funny because "Thirsty" Thurston is an alcoholic.