One-Panel Wednesday: People sure do hate their spouse's mother, right?

The Better Half, 2014-04-24.

"First they told me 2 + 2 + 4." says Stanley. "The  they told me 3 + 1 + 4. After that, I lost all faith in our education system." And if he went through school and failed to learn to count then that would be a pretty harsh indictment of at least the school he went to.

Kliban, 2014-04-28.

An igloo is on fire. Several Eskimos form a line and pass blocks of ice forward to throw on the fire.

Snow job.

The Lockhorns, 2014-04-29.

Loretta's mother proudly shows off a trophy.
"Tennis?" says Leroy. "I thought it was for quidditch."

He's implying that Loretta's mother is a witch. You see, quidditch is the fictional game played by the wizards and witches in the Harry Potter series, so if she had won a quidditch trophy then she must be a witch. Leroy doesn't like his mother-in-law. That's the joke.

Heathcliff, 2014-04-29.

Heathcliff is spray-painting the word "POOP" onto a wall as a crowd of children watch and cheer.
"His graffiti is kid-friendly." remarks a police officer, making no attempt to stop the vandalism or apprehend the perpetrator.


Action Tuesday: Mark Trail fights a bear

OK, you remember how Mark Trail was going to fight a bear? Well, he totally did. Noted animal-lover and nature enthusiast Mark Trail just bashed a bear in the head with a big stick. And then fell down a waterfall.

Mark Trail, 2014-04-26.

Mark crawls painfully from the river.
"My shoulder — feels like it's on fire!" he thinks. "I must have sprained my shoulder when I hit the riverbed!"
He looks up and sees the bear.
"That angry old black bear is limping a bit," he thinks, "but it's still coming after me!"

After that he ran a bit more and managed to climb a tree, but with his injured shoulder he can't hold on for very long...

The current Mandrake the Magician story concerns and English detective who's been sent to seek Mandrake's help in apprehending a criminal who always seems to be able to produce witnesses attesting his innocence, "Alibi Algie". The detective made no secret of the fact that he didn't believe that Mandrake would be able to help, but it's not like he was being a dick about it or anything. Mandrake, on the other hand...

Mandrake the Magician, 2014-04-26.

Inspector Brett suddenly finds himself in his underwear. "My-- clothes--" he sputters.
"Showing you how I'd handle your criminal." says Mandrake. "Comfortable Alibi Algie? Now talk--"
Inspector Brett begins to rise into the air and rotating.
"If he remained stubborn, I'd try to shake him-- harmlessly, of course." says Mandrake, apparently unaware that a confession given under such duress would be inadmissible in court.
"Uh! Uh!" gibbers Brett.

And in Alley Oop, King Tunk's motive is finally revealed.

Alley Opp, 2014-04-29.

"Ooola's not in any shape t'go anywhere," says Tunk, "and you wouldn't leave without her! Face it, you're a Lemmian now!"
"I'll never be a Lemmian!" declares Alley.
Meanwhile Ooola just sort of stumbles around in a daze.

Is the plan to just keep Ooola drugged forever so that Alley Oop can never leave? I really don't understand how this is supposed to work.

Melodrama Monday: Lost in the Wilderness

I haven't talked about Luann recently, and you may think that that's because it's terrible and I hate it, but you'd be totally wrong. It is and I do, but that's more a reason for me to want to talk about it. It's actually because it hasn't been particularly bad lately. It hasn't been good, obviously, it's just that not much of anything at all has happened. But this week that changed.

Luann, Quill, Gunther and Rosa hired a limo to take them to a restaurant and then on to their prom, which got stuck in traffic and then involved in a low-speed collision. Obviously no one was hurt as that might have been interesting, but it did prompt the four to flee the scene of the accident cross a field to get to the bus stop on the other side, where I guess there's no traffic?

Naturally Luann complained about literally every part of that while everyone else remained cheerful. Even Quill, who managed to injure his knee walking across a field. And somehow everyone ended up with their clothes torn and, like, twigs in their hair. And they missed the bus. Somehow this all took so long that they no longer have time for dinner and have to catch a different bus to go straight to the prom.

Meanwhile, at the prom...

Luann, 2014-04-26.

"Wow, this is amazing, Tiff!" says Bernice, not bothering to treat Tiffany like a leper since Luann's not there to see it.
"Thanks." says Tiffany, finishing some last-minute preparations. "Where's the rest of your little gang?"
"Luann, Quill, Rosa and Gunther are enjoying an elegant dinner right about now" says Delta, somehow keeping a straight face while using the words "elegant", "Luann" and "Gunther" in the same sentence.
Meanwhile the four mentioned stand at a bus-stop, glassy-eyed and dishevelled.
"I'm starving..." says Rosa. No one responds.

Judge Parker, 2014-04-28.

April finds a happy Katherine sitting on a log in moonlight!
"Oh April..." slurs Katherine, gesticulating with her martini glass. "Did you ever see a more beautiful moon?"

"No Katherine," sighs April. "but we can't be out here! People are coming!"
"What people, dear?" asks Katherine.
"Bad people! We have to hide... and be very quiet!"

Not that I don't enjoy seeing the already wealthy being given extravagant gifts and expensive products for no reason (and I mean that genuinely), but if that's being replaced by Alan and Katherine bumbling obliviously into dangerous situations while everyone around them tries desperately to keep them alive and fails to persuade them to take the threat seriously, this comic is going to be a lot more entertaining.

As you may recall, Tommie of Apartment 3-G had been keeping a deer in the flat and eventually took it to a vet she heard about. Well, after a small amount of conflict she took him up on a job offer and has now been performing manual labour on his farm, presumably for room and board, because I don't remember any mention of payment.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-04-28.

Three weeks pass and...
"All right, I've had enough!" yells Margo. "There's been no word from Tommie and I can't stand it anymore!"
"What can you do, Margo?" asks Lu Ann.
"I can bring her home by force if needed, Lu Ann!"
"And who will be running the agency?"

Who's running it now? It's not like Margo ever does anything. Also, three weeks? They haven't heard from Tommie in three weeks? She goes to see this vet, suddenly takes a job working for him (without even knowing what the job was) and says she's not coming home, and her friends wait three weeks to think about maybe going after her?

I shouldn't be surprised, really. Lu Ann probably didn't notice she was missing, and Margo's only going after her now because she's run out of clean clothes and doesn't trust Lu Ann to operate a washing machine.


Weekend Workshop: Philosophical Sunday

I haven't done many edits recently, so I only one I have for you this weekend.

Based on The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-04-23.
But I forgot to post on Friday so I'll just use this as a catch-up day.

Blondie, 2014-04-25.
Wait, kindergarten? Elmo is only around four years old? I always assumed he was about ten. And even then, the fact that he's always hanging around in the Bumsteads' house was pretty weird, but if he's four then it's just bizarre.

Why is he always at the Bumsteads' anyway? We never see his parents, and he seems to just come and go as he pleases, so it's not like Dagwood is babysitting. He's just a four-year-old kid who comes around to spend time with his adult neighbour for no apparent reason.

Bleeker the Rechargeable Dog, 2014-04-23.
If you were going to have a robot lift operator, surely it would just be the lift. You wouldn't have a little robot dog actually pressing buttons. The buttons are there because humans have to use them.

And the idea that these robots have dreams and preferences reminds us again that they are sentient, intelligent beings, and Skip's family owns them. This is a comic about slaves. But it's kind of worse than regular slaves, because they've been specifically designed to accept their slavery, and even to have particular attributes that make them better workers. It's like slavery and eugenics. Also, they're consumer electronics, so when they get a bit out of date they just get thrown out. Refurb is already a second-hand bit of rubbish bought only as an amusing novelty.

It hasn't come up for a while now, but there are strips where Karl demonstrates his awareness of these disturbing facts, and Bleeker just brushes it off like it's nothing. But, and this may seem crazy, Karl is actually the sanest character in this comic. Except maybe Lila, she seems OK.


Sitcom Thursday: Signs of Madness

Herb and Jamaal, 2014-04-24.

Jamaal is lying in bed, clutching the covers in apparent fear.
"Sometimes in quiet moments, I believe I hear voices..." he thinks, "... that put ideas in my head. But even though I know the voices aren't real..."
He begins smiling.
"...They still have some pretty good ideas."

Well, that's creepy.

This week Curtis paid a visit to Gunther the barber, where it turned out that Gunther's sister, a fashion designer from Las Vegas (whose name is apparently "Babygirl") was coming to visit. She arrived in a limousine.

Curtis, 2014-04-23.

"I haven't seen you, Babygirl, in a month of Sundays" says Gunther.
"Hhhhow have you been, dear brother?" asks Babygirl.
"Fine!" says Gunther. "And how's life treatin' you?"
"Champagne, caviar and chauffeurs, dahhling! Oh! I take my breath away!" says Babygirl. "I lead a faaabulous life in faaabulous Las Vegas as the premiere fashion designer to only the most faaabulous celebrities and stars! There ain't no bones in ice-cream, honey"
Curtis laughs uproariously, as though something funny just happened. Gunther gives him a confused look.


One-Panel Wednesday: Menace-Off

I've noticed recently that not only is Dennis the Menace decidedly un-menacing, but the kids from The Family Circus may actually have the edge on him, and when you're being out-menaced by the Keanes, you've really lost all claim to the title. So I thought I'd do a quick comparison of the last week's panels.

Thursday, 2014-04-17.

Dennis the Menace.

"Eatin' your cookies and changin' channels is the only exercise Mr. Wilson gets." says Dennis to Mrs. Wilson. Mr Wilson steadfastly ignores him and continues channel-surfing.

Family Circus.

The tablecloth has a large chunk cut out of it and a pair of scissors lie on the floor nearby.
"Maybe this'll just be one of those things we'll look back on and laugh." squawks Billy as Thel drags him out of the room.

OK, Billy has this one in the bag, hands down. Deliberately damaging the tablecloth for no apparent reason is far more menacing than just making a mildly inappropriate comment about Mr. Wilson's health.

Friday, 2014-04-18.

Dennis the Menace.

"What am I doin' wrong, dad?" asks Dennis, trying unsuccessfully to kick a football. "My punts look more like bunts."
Henry observes contemplatively.

Family Circus.

"I sure am glad PJ is still the size of my hug." says Dolly.

Let's call this one a draw. There's no menace in either one.

Saturday, 2014-04-19.

Dennis the Menace.

Alice points accusingly at an empty bowl.
"I didn't throw the carrots away, mom." says Dennis. "I put them outside for the Easter Bunny."

Family Circus.

Water covers the bathroom floor. A dispirited Bil stands over the toilet with plunger in hand.
"If it's easier, you could just buy me ANOTHER little ball to play with." says Jeffy.

OK, Dennis is clearly supposed to have made up an excuse for not eating his carrots, but it's a very cute excuse, so that really mitigates it a lot. And even if it didn't, we once again have a Keane child doing some actual damage for no apparent reason, so it has to go to the Keanes again.

Monday, 2014-04-21.

Dennis the Menace.

Henry steps out of the car, which he has just reversed into a signpost. Dennis is in the back seat.
"It's gonna be hard to blame this one on the post." says Dennis.

Family Circus.

Dolly and Jeffy examine their Easter eggs.
"The East Bunny must have a lot of chickens workin' for him." says Dolly.

I'm almost tempted to give this one to the Keanes as well, just for how well Dennis is reacting to the car crash, and because Jeffy looks slightly disappointed in his egg, but let's just call it a draw again.

Tuesday, 2014-04-22.

Dennis the Menace.

"If anyone knows who threw this eraser, raise your hand." says the teacher.
All the students raise their hands except for Dennis, who tries to act casual.

Family Circus.

"The wastebasket is full." says Jeffy. "Should I empty it or just get a new one?"

Well, Dennis is the clear winner this time. Jeffy's just an idiot.

Wednesday, 2014-04-23.

Dennis the Menace.

"Umm..." sighs Dennis, smelling Mrs. Wilson's freshly-baked biscuits. "Now this is how a kitchen should smell."

Family Circus.

Billy is doing his homework. Thel is watching.
"It's no fair." says Billy. "There's way more history to learn now than there was when you and daddy were kids."

Billy's implying that his parents are old, but presumably not on purpose. Dennis, on the other hand, is clearly paying Mrs. Wilson a compliment, but possibly just because he wants some biscuits. There's very little chance of her not giving them to him anyway though so it's fairly irrelevant. I'm just going to call this one a draw as well.

And so the final scores are two to one. Neither is particularly menacing, but the Family Circus kids aren't supposed to be, so there's no shame there. And they still managed to beat Dennis. I'd say it's definitely time to remove "the menace" from the title.


Action Tuesday: To the rescue!

Alley Oop has made it past the ambush laid out for him and has found Ooola, who is now unconscious from the drugged food given to her by Tunk.

"There's Ooola!" says Alley to himself. "Uh-oh! And there's Tunk headin' her way!"
With his crude weapon in hand, Oop grabs a vine and prepares to swing into action.
"There's not a moment to waste!"

Alley Oop, 2014-04-21.

I've been reading this for a while now, and I'm still not sure what anyone's motivations are. I get Alley Oop, he's going to rescue Ooola. Everyone else though... why does Tunk want to kill Alley? Why did Ooola pretend to be happy to accept Tunk's hospitality when she clearly knew he was a bad guy? Is there some bigger plot going on here or is Tunk just like the sea hag from Popeye, doing evil because that's what he does, and everyone just accepts that?

The new era of Mark Trail is off to a pretty decent start, with Mark being attacked by a bear for no apparent reason. It was between him and his car so he decided to run away, but the bear chased him.

Mark Trail, 2014-04-22.

"There's no way I'll be able to outrun this beast!" thinks Mark, diving to the side.
He reaches for a heavy stick.
"Only one chance!" he thinks.

I've got to say, I'm not keen on a Mark Trail who can think without speaking, because having him narrate his every thought was hilarious, but I am somewhat placated by the promise of seeing him fight a bear over the course of the next week. And I've got to admit, the new art style is an improvement. So I'm not sold yet, but it's got my attention.

As The Amazing Spider-Man and the even more amazing Iron Jonah hurtle toward the stone arch in Washington Square Park, Spidey does everything in his power to try to slow them down and utterly fails to have any noticeable effect whatsoever. The Stark Industries technician who's been acting as Jonah's unwilling sidekick and Robbie Robertson both look on helplessly...

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-04-22.

Spidey and Jonah Jameson are about to crash into a stone arch...
"Wish I could say it's been nice knowin' you, Jameson," says Spider-Man, "but —"
Suddenly Iron Man appears, moving at great speed, and SLAMMs into Jonah, knocking him away from the arch.
"Gotcha!" he yells.

Well, I for one am very disappointed that Robbie isn't the one to save Jonah.


Sitcom Thursday: Two dumb comics and an inappropriate one

Hey, did you know it's tax time in America? Well, for those Americans who forgot about it, fortunately every single comic is here to remind you. Although many of them have absolutely no clue how taxes work. Take Blondie for example.

Blondie, 2014-04-15.

"April 15th is here, Bumstead!" says Julius, coyly. "Did you want to thank me for something?"
"Nope!" says Dagwood. "I have my pride!!"
He returns to his desk and sits down. Julius follows.
"I'd rather get dragged through a carwash by my cowlicks!"
"Oh, just say it!" implores Julius.
"Okaay!!!" screams Dagwood, dropping to his knees in supplication. "Thank you for keeping me in the lowest possible tax bracket!!!"
"Atta boy!" says Julius.

Taxes don't fucking work like that! Being paid less is not better! This idea that higher taxes on higher incomes means it's not worth earning more is utter fucking bullshit that totally ignores the way income tax is calculated!

Beetle Bailey, 2014-04-16.

"What's Miss Buxley doing out here?" asks Gen. Halftrack.
"Attempting to fellate a tank." says Maj. Greenbrass.
"Beetle's driving a tank in today's war games" says Maj. Greenbrass.
"Good luck, Beetle" says Sheila, kissing a tank's gun.
"Thanks Bux" says Pvt. Bailey, from within the tank.

Zits, 2014-04-14.

"Mrs, Duncan! Is that you in this photo?" asks Sara.
"Yes." says Connie. "It's from summer camp when I was about your age."
"I love the filter you used to give it that faded, old-timey look!" says Sara.
"Filter??" says Connie, incredulously.
"Just take it as a compliment and move on." says Walt, resignedly.

Seriously? This is just dumb.


One-Panel Wednesday: Money Money Money

The Family Circus, 2014-04-14.

Bil is sitting at his desk. Papers are spread across it and he has a folder labelled Your Tax Guide.
"Look at all these papers and numbers!" says Billy. "Daddy you must REALLY be thinkin'!"

Apparently it's tax time in America. I can tell by the way every fucking comic is about how difficult taxes are. Now, I'm willing to believe that doing your taxes is more of a hassle in America than it is in Australia, because your country is some kind of third-world dystopia, but come the fuck on. Doing your taxes is not some huge ordeal, you just have to fill out some forms. Get over it you gigantic babies.

Oh, and the number of people who actually think that earning more can be a bad thing because you pay more tax is just mind-boggling. There is no way you can earn just enough more that your taxes go up and leave you with less over all. That is just not how it works. Earning more always means ending up with more.

The Lockhorns, 2014-04-15.

Loretta is depositing a cheque at the bank. Leroy waits just behind her, next to a man who is presumably there to do some banking and really didn't do anything to provoke conversation.
"We have a joint checking account..." says Leroy. "If I don't keep checking on Loretta, we lose the joint."
Although it could pass for word-play, there is no humour in his delivery and everyone involved is just sad.

Pluggers, 2014-04-16.

Andy is at a take-away pizza restaurant.
"Hmm... let's see now..." he says. "2 small pizzas + 1 large pizza, and 2 small are 1¢ less than 1 large, so I want 2 small pizzas..."

Plugger math.

While this may seem like a ridiculous way to save a single cent, I'm with Andy on this one. Firstly, why shouldn't you save a cent? It's not much, but why not? Secondly, if you order two small pizzas then you can have two different pizzas, whereas a large half-and-half pizza usually costs extra.

The real issue I have with this comic is, how does he know that two smalls are the same as one large? Pizzas are usually measured by diameter so working out the actual area of the pizza is slightly complicated. If a small pizza is 9" and a large is 13" then the large is about 133 in² and the small is about 64 in². That's the sizes of the pizzas at the place I usually order from, but the prices there don't work out as favourably as a large is less than twice the price of a small but actually slightly bigger than two smalls.

And many pizza places don't actually tell you the sizes of their pizzas at all, so I suspect that if the prices work out as Andy claims then the smalls are probably actually significantly less than half as big as the larges. That's not to say that Andy is wrong to buy them though, just not for the reasons he thinks.

Andy is noticeably overweight and probably shouldn't be eating a lot of pizza, so if he does end up getting slightly less this way it will be good for his health, and given that the difference is likely to be quite small he probably won't even notice and will still be just as satisfied with the amount he's eaten as he would be if he had ordered more.

So what I'm saying is, nobody tell Andy that his pizza maths doesn't add up. It's for the best.

Action Tuesday: Inappropriately Casual Reactions

A while back in Dick Tracy, before the Little Orphan Annie stuff I mentioned recently, some villains stole the space coupe, Diet Smith's spaceship, and were last seen flying off into space where they would presumably die when their oxygen ran out. Or possibly of dehydration, whichever comes first. These things happen when you're a criminal in Dick Tracy.

Dick Tracy, 2014-04-15.

Two shadowy figures sit in a dark room.
"Dick, when I learned what Dr. Ghote had done to re-create Mysta, I was horrified." says Diet Smith. "His research had to be stopped and the doors to the moon closed for good."
He cracks his knuckles and puffs on his cigar.
"So, I bought him out and decided to purge all our moon tech, including the space coupe. I lied to you about its fate in the storm."
"I know." says Tracy.
"I used the remote to send the coupe into deep space." says Smith. "After the storm, Dr. Ghote and Dr. Sail vanished. I think they may have been on board."
"It looks that way, Diet." says Tracy.

Dick Tracy showing his usual level of compassion there.

Mark Trail, 2014-04-10.

Lost Forest
"Marlin will be going to jail for a long time for poaching sea turtles that lived on the island!" says someone.

"I sure do feel sorry for poor Jessica!" says someone else.
"She'll be fine ... I spoke with her and she told me that she's going to continue her work with injured birds!" says Mark.

She'll be fine. Her husband turned out to have been committing crimes behind her back for years and has been sent to jail, but she's still got those injured birds. Mark Trail honestly cannot understand what she could possibly have to be upset about.

And this, it seems, is the last Mark Trail story by Jack Elrod. Starting on the 11th the dailies are credited to James Allen, whose name I just can't approve of. "Eddodd" and "Jackelrod" both work perfectly as single words, but what can you do with "James Allen"? Nothing. As to whether the comic will get better or worse, that remains to be seen.

And this week in Spider-Man, Iron Jonah lost control of his armour and started flying about erratically. Spider-Man is attempting to save him but there have been hints that he'll prove to be his usual incompetent self and it will end up being up to Robbie Robertson to save his former employer. It's one thing when Spidey is shown up by other super heroes, but for him to be shown up by a grey-haired newspaper editor will be even better.


Melodrama Monday: Tommy and Tommie

Mary Worth, 2014-04-14.

Several weeks later...

"Tommy?" says Iris, arriving home. "Have you been on the couch all day"
"Of course not!" says Tommy happily. "I'm just taking a break from my job search. It's not easy looking for work!"
The speed with which he slams his laptop closed tells more than we want to know about what he was doing during that break.
">Sigh<" thinks Iris. "At least you're not doing drugs."

I'm with Iris on this one. You have a bedroom Tommy, watch your porn in there, not on the couch. And lock the door for god's sake.

In Apartment 3-G meanwhile, Tommie refused to leave Lily the deer with Jack Riley, suspecting that the vet would simply euthanise the fawn as soon as she drove away.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-04-11.

Tommie drives away and...

"My heart is pounding and my hands are trembling!" thinks Tommie. "Slow down — you're losing control!"
In the back seat of the car, Lily bleats.
"It's okay, Lily." says Tommie maniacally. "Don't be afraid. I'll take care of you."

Then she checked into a motel and snuck the deer into her room. I really hope that this is just the beginning of a long descent into madness.


Philosophical Friday: Giving you the creeps

This week Diamond Lil decided to prove that a perfectly good joke can be completely ruined by presenting it in the wrong medium. Look at this:

Diamond Lil, 2014-04-07.
If this were the storyboard for an animated cartoon, I would be right on board. I can see exactly what's happening and it would definitely be funny in motion. But like this it isn't. The next three days just did this same joke again, and if you took the whole lot and made a little animation of them, you'd have something worthwhile. Instead of something lazy that doesn't quite work.

Have I mentioned that The Creeps is fantastic? Well, I'm saying it again. Look at this series.

The Creeps, 2014-04-08.
The Creeps, 2014-04-09.
The Creeps, 2014-04-10.
The Creeps, 2014-04-11.
Comics one, two and four stand on their own merits, but when you're skimming over the day's comics, number three looks like a mistake. It looks like they ran the comic from two days ago again. But the didn't. Look closely. I must admit, it took someone else pointing it out before I spotted it.

The thing that really sets The Creeps apart as a comic is that this isn't an isolated incident. Jean Floch is doing creative stuff like this all the time. Here's one from February:

The Creeps, 2014-02-06.
And another one from the same month (which unfortunately GoComics have kind of ruined). Or, my favourite, this series that ran in December last year:

The Creeps, 2013-12-16.
The Creeps, 2013-12-17.
The Creeps, 2013-12-18.
The Creeps, 2013-12-19.
Seriously, read The Creeps, it's really good.

Sitcom Thursday: Relationship Drama

Beetle Bailey, 2014-04-07.

"Sarge is really mad that Beetle is still in bed" says Pvt. Diller.
"He's going to dump him" says Pvt. Plato.
Sgt. Snorkel kicks Pvt. Bailey's bed, knocking it vertical. Beetle remains in the bed as he has put a large belt around the bed and himself, presumably as a form of protection against this very eventuality.
"It's a good thing he has his seat belt on" remarks Diller.

Well? Don't leave us hanging, Mort Walker. Did Sarge dump Beetle or are they still going out?

Hägar the Horrible, 2014-04-07.

"I sail for England today !!" announces Hägar. "Can I get you something there?"
"Please bring back another wife" says Helga.

Hägar the Polygamist?

B.C. 2014-04-08.

Curls and Peter are sitting on a rock in the middle of a vast expanse of water.
"What?" says Curls, confrontationally.
"This is why we don't go mountain climbing during the spring thaw!" says Peter.

Surely the top of a mountain is the only safe place to be if the water level has risen that high?

Henry, 2014-04-10.

Henry sees an advertisement for some "pure vegetable egg-dye" for colouring Easter eggs. After making up the dye he feeds it to a hen in the hopes that the eggs laid by that hen will be colourful.


One-Panel Wednesday: Pretending to Read

Ziggy, 2014-04-03.

Ziggy sits in his livingroom, smiling out the window, holding some folded sheets of blank paper like as though they're a newspaper.
"... There he is, right there!" says one mouse to another, pointing at Ziggy. "... Still think I'm superstitious?"
The second mouse is nonplussed.

Evidently Ziggy has been out of his house so much lately that the mice had come to regard him as a myth.

Hazel, 2014-04-04.

George, Dorothy and Hazel are in a shop, near a magazine rack.
"Meet you two back here in ten minutes." says Dorothy.
George picks up a porn magazine.
"Make it twenty!" calls Hazel after Dorothy.


The Lockhorns, 2014-04-09.

Loretta comes come carrying several bags.
"What a great day!" she says happily. "I did everything on my to-do list!"
Leroy looks up morosely from the blank sheet of card he's holding as though it were a newspaper.

What is it with newspapers in comic strips being blank? Is it so hard to draw some squiggly lines?


Action Tuesday: Traps, tackles and a true hero

You know who's awesome? Iron Jonah. It was pretty clear almost immediately that he was going to be a strong contender for best super hero ever, but no one could have predicted how strong a showing he'd make in his début appearance.

Jonah hid behind a cloud near some people in danger, hoping The Amazing Spider-Man would stop by. That sounds bad, but he was planning on saving them if no other super heroes showed up in time, so, you know, let's call that even. Fortunately Spider-Man did show up and Triple-J stood back and let him get on with it, until the moment everyone was safe. Then he charged Spidey, shot beams at him and eventually tackled him in mid-air.

At this point he was feeling pretty good with himself, until he realised that poor Spider-Man was actually unconscious and quite a long way up in the air.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-04-08.

"Brody fed this armor full power — and it's still operating —" says Iron Jonah as Spider-Man falls past him. "— So I've got to save Spider-Man if I can!"
"Jameson — No!" yells Brody in the control room, "To catch him you may exceed the speed of sound — — and that could prove fatal!"
"Whatever happens I've got to try!" insists Jonah, a true hero.

Speaking of tackling, Mark Trail finally got to the point in the story where the punches happen last week and surprisingly it was the bad guy who got the first hit in, but Mark Trail doesn't have enough sense to worry about a little thing like blunt force trauma to the head so he just carried on pretty much entirely unaffected. After realising that his punches were useless, Marlin attempted to flee...

Mark Trail, 2014-04-04.

"Marlin!?" thinks Jessica, apparently having difficulty recognising her own husband.
"Marlin, where are you going!?" she yells at him as he runs along the pier.
He stops and turns.
Everyone's having trouble identifying each other today.
Suddenly out of nowhere appears Mark Trail, moving at a full sprint. Marlin is taken completely by surprise (as well he might be) by Mark hurling himself through the air towards him and the two fall together into the water.

And then the police show up and they all go home for tea and cakes.

I've been reading Alley Oop for a while now to try to get into it and figure out what's going on, and here's the plot so far, as I understand it. Alley Oop's girlfriend, Ooola, got lost in Lem, the land where Alley Oop's enemies live. Tunk, the king of Lem, saw this as a great opportunity. The plan seems to be, drug Ooola to use her as bait, separate Oop from his dinosaur, then lay an ambush. So far it seems to be working.

Alley Oop, 2014-04-08.

Tunk and his chef spy to make sure Ooola eats the stew that has been drugged to make her sleep...
"Ah! It won't be long now!" thinks Tunk as Ooola eats a mouthful.

Meanwhile, Oop continues his search for Ooola in Lem...
"There's a clearin ahead!" says Alley Oop to no one. "Maybe I'm finally gettin' somewhere!"

And in Mandrake the Magician there's a man who claims to be an English police inspector but dresses as Sherlock Holmes and may actually be an assassin. So there's that.


Melodrama Monday: Lazy Idiots and Lunacy

Let me tell you about Safe Havens. The protagonist is Samantha, a geneticist. Only when I say "geneticist" I actually mean "wizard". See, she can turn herself and her friends into different animals. She has two dodos that were cloned or something and they sometimes turn into humans for funsies. Her cat sometimes turns into a human as well.

As well as being a geneticist, Samantha is also a RA at the university, and one justification for turning the cat into a human was so that the cat could enrol in classes and eventually take over for her as RA. Can't see any problems with that plan. But then the cat unexpectedly turned back into a cat. This was a while ago. Now it turns out that the merfolk — did I mention the merfolk? One of Sam's friends, Remora, is a mermaid — the merfolk were responsible for the cat being returned to its natural state.

Safe Havens, 2014-04-07.

"Samantha?" says Remora. "The merfolk sent a message that complains of your experiments with our DNA... and that by using it to extend Palmtop's lifespan you 'violated intellectual property rights.'"
"Fine." says Samantha, crossing her arms. "I won't do it again."
The two observe a cloud of bubbles rising from the toilet.
"What now?" demands Samantha.
"They've already reverted her to her 'default setting.'" says Remora with alarm.
"And that's why she changed back into a cat???" screams Samantha.

Did I mention that the cat, Palmtop, is actually the clone of a dog named Laptop who is now permanently a human and is married to a normal guy? Or that Remora's husband and son travel everywhere by trapeze, which is never shown to be attached to anything? Or the magic ring Samantha has that lets use mirrors to talk to her dead grandmother?

But you know what the most astounding thing is? This isn't Bill Holbrook's weirdest comic. He writes three daily strips and this one's about half way between the other two. You're not ready for Kevin & Kell. No one is.

So, you remember how Tommie had that baby deer living with them in Apartment 3-G? Well, when I last caught you up she had just decided to drive off to see this vet, Jack Riley, whom she assumed would be willing to help her. Well, she might end up being disappointed but I'm not.

After demanding that Tommie move her car, call him Jack, and help shoe a colt they finally got around to the reason she was there.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-04-05.

"Don't tell me you're one of those idiot animal lovers who try to save everything ?!" asks Jack, pointing at Tommie's face.
"My little fawn isn't a 'thing,' Jack!" says Tommie indignantly. "Her mother was dead in the road — what could I do?"
"That's easy Tommie —" says Jack resignedly. "Walk away!"

It's about time someone called her out on how dumb it was to keep this deer in the flat.

To the other Tommy now, in Mary Worth. Fresh out of jail and back in Santa Royale, Tommy has been looking for a job for at least two days now.

Mary Worth, 2014-04-07.

As Iris and Wilbur finish their lunch...
"Might as well just say it..." thinks Wilbur. And surprisingly it's not about sandwiches.
"Iris..." he says, "be careful. Don't let Tommy take advantage of you."
"What?" demands Iris, angrily.
"You give him money out of pocket..." says Wilbur. "You both live off your savings... and he hasn't found a job yet! This can easily go on forever if you let it!"

Well, Wilbur's right. If Tommy's not employed by the end of the week then he's obviously not trying and should be kicked out to fend for himself. I'm sure he wouldn't be tempted to return to crime and drugs then!

Weekend Workshop: Monday is still the weekend, right?

Based on Pluggers, 2014-03-31.

Based on Lola, 2014-04-03.
Based on The Better Half, 2014-04-04.


Philosophical Friday: The inevitability of Death

There's a new PE teacher in Curtis, and his job, he says, is to teach "respect for your body, your health, and your self-esteem", and his method for doing this is apparently to belittle the students, terrorise themconflate exercise with punishment, and bully them. And it's not just that he is an angry, bullying arsehole, the whole thing is a carefully orchestrated act. And the rest of the staff are all in on it, and presumably they approve. It's not just me, this is pretty weird, right?

On The FastRack, 2014-03-031.
Hey, you might not be popular, but don't forget, you're going to die one day! So you've got that going for you. Bill Holbrook's comics are weird.


Sitcom Thursday: Gluttony and Failure

Wizard of Id, 2014-03-31.

The wizard and his wife, Blanch, are enjoying a drink together in a restaurant when a nearby man winks suggestively at Blanch.
"That man just insulted me!" she says.
The wizard stands up, walks over to the man and slaps him in the face. The text "-175 hp" appears above the man's head in large, black type.
"What the heck was that?" he asks, apparently more confused than injured.
"The wizard's version of a whoopin'" says the wizard with a grin.

I must confess, I don't understand this strip. The HP loss is obviously a video game reference, but how is it a wizardly thing? And the guy didn't actually seem to be hurt, so a wizard's version of "a whoopin'" is apparently a light slap and some nonsensical numbers? What?

Beetle Bailey, 2014-04-02.

Gen. Halftrack and Sheila Buxley are looking at a large line graph labelled "Camp Swampy's Progress Chart". The horizontal axis is labelled with the years from 2005 to 2014. The line representing the camp's progress zigzags up and downbut remains around the same level, with the exception of one notable dip toward the end of 2005 and a rise around the end of 2011.
"I dunno," says the general glumly, "we just don't seem to be making any progress"
"But you always said 2011 was your banner year" says Sheila.

What is camp Swampy supposed to be progressing toward anyway?

Baldo, 2014-04-03.

Cruz is sitting at a table eating a hamburger. Beside him sits Rayna's telepresence robot. Another hamburger sits in front of the robot. As Cruz finishes his burger hea reaches over and takes Rayna's tray, placing it on top of his own, then begins to eat her burger as well.
"You're the best lunch partner ever!" he says.

I really don't think this would work. I'm assuming that each student gets a free burger (because if they're paying for them then there wouldn't be any advantage to this scheme, he could just buy two burgers for himself) but I doubt the staff would be swayed by the argument that Rayna should be provided with a lunch that she can't possibly eat, given that she isn't physically present.

It's also kind of weird that Rayna has no dialogue in this strip. Her face doesn't even seem to move.


One-Panel Wednesday: Dentist the Menace

Dennis the Menace, 2014-03-27.

Alice is talking to Dennis's teacher, Ms. Duffey.
"Dennis displays great leadership," says Ms. Duffey, "and that makes me nervous."
No reason or explanation is given for her nervousness.

F-Minus, 2014-04-02.

A man lies face-down on a massage table. A man in a white coat lies on  the floor looking up at him and reaching toward his face.
"Ohhh, yeah." says the man on the floor. "Impacted molar. Hand me the forceps, will ya?"
It seems that the second man is a dentist with a very unusual method of examining his patients.

Action Tuesday on Wednesday: Better Late Than Never

Last week the Dick Tracy team teased us with the promise of resolving the final Little Orphan Annie cliffhanger as Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks made a cameo appearance to announce that he had decided to seek Tracy's help, but since then all we've seen is Dick grumbling about Vera Alldid's J Straightedge Trustworthy comic strip, so for the moment I'm pretty much just waiting it out until something interesting starts happening again.

Starting with bragging extensively about his vast cache of stolen treasures, The Phantom seems to be going out of his way to make himself look like the villain of his own strip. After drugging Lara Bell, the woman who found her way to the skull cave with memory-erasing "ancient Bandar medicine" he had some of his pygmies deliver her back to Mawitaan, but on the way there they discovered that her memory hadn't been as fully erased as planned so they brought her, still unconscious, back to the deep woods, along with her guide, Rick Grubber, (on whom the drug seems to have worked as intended).

"For him, our original plan!" says the Phantom, pointing at Rick. "To Mawitaan!"
"Phan...tom..." murmurs Lara in her sleep.
"This one's going to Wambesi-land!" says the Phantom, adding kidnapping to his list of crimes.

And on Saturday the action kicked off in Mark Trail. When Mark demanded to see the contents of Marlin's bag, Marlin decided that enough was enough and punched him right in the face.

Mark lets fly with a mighty uppercut, knocking Marlin backwards and causing him to drop his bag. The bag falls to the floor, spilling a large number of round, white objects.
"Sea turtle eggs!" says Mark, grimly.

But after that Marlin ran away, so there might still be some more punching coming up. Hopefully.