Philosophical Friday: Bring Back DailyINK!

King Features Syndicate publishes their comics online through the website Comics Kingdom. It's one of the two places I read the comics I talk about here (the other being Universal Uclick's GoComics). But before Comics Kingdom, King Features had a site called DailyINK, and it was about a billion times better.

I should point out, when they changed the site they added a bunch of stuff that I really like. They started putting up higher resolution images and expanded the archives so you can see older strips, and they added a bunch of vintage strips, which is nice. So it's not all bad.

But the biggest change for me, on a day-to-day basis, is that everything now takes much longer to load. The way Comics Kingdom works is that all your subscribed comics appear on a single page. And even though it won't display them at full size until you click them, it loads the full-size images anyway. I read a lot of comics, so I basically have to start the page loading and then go and do something else for a while to give it time to load.

That would be an inconvenience, but not a major one. What really annoys me is the fact that even a single strip now takes around 15 seconds to load. It may not sound like much, but it feels like a while when you're just sitting there waiting for it, and if you're trying to read through archived strips then it really adds up.

This ends up meaning that even though you've paid for access to their archives, browsing them is such a hassle that I doubt many people make much use of it. By comparison, the archives on DailyINK didn't go back as far, but strips loaded almost instantly, so you could easily read through old comics.

The other change that makes the archives less useful is the fact that the images are now accessed in a different way. It used to be that you could enter the image URL to go directly to it, and they were named in a straight-forward manner. If today's Spider-Man strip was tas20140530.gif then you knew that yesterday's would be tas20140529.gif, so you could actually write your own scripts to grab a whole lot of comics all at once to read offline. The actual URL I get for today's Spider-Man strip now is http://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/ck3/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9UaGVBbWF6aW5nU3BpZGVybWFuLzIwMTQvMDUvU3BpZGVybWFuLjIwMTQwNTMwXzE0NDAuZ2lm which is obviously not supposed to mean anything to a human reading it and gives no hint of what the previous one would be. I don't even know if that URL would work for anyone else or if it's unique to me.

I've contacted King Features about this issue, and here's what they told me:
We've had a few complaints about speed compared with the previous site, but there's definitely a lot more going on. For example, the new site is responsive and is built with mobile devices in mind. That comes at a price.
Thanks for the feedback.
So it doesn't look like they intend to do anything about this at all. Apparently whatever back-end improvements they feel they've made to the site are worth the fact that the whole thing is worse than the previous version from the perspective of people trying to use it. Still, if you have a Comics Kingdom subscription then I encourage you to complain about the site, because if enough people do then maybe they might eventually feel it worthwhile to do something.


Sitcom Thursday: Horrific abuses of power

Safe Havens, 2014-05-22.

"Samantha's performing her usual ritual before the lab closes for the summer..." says Rosalind, looking out the window. "...saving the lives of the lab rats by turning them into flowers and planting them outside!"
"More! More!" cry the flowers as Samantha sprinkles something onto them.
"Look, guys." says Samantha. "Someone is gonna notice that this is parmesan cheese..."

The lab rats are sentient, they can speak. They were going to be killed, but instead they were transformed into flowers by mad sorcerer geneticist Samantha Argus. They can still speak, but despite this the university has no problem paving over them, so Sam has to transfer them to her own garden. But then she discovers that when they sneeze (which is a thing they can do) their pollen turns animals into flowers, so she seals them in a glass case for their rest of their lives. Is there any part of this that isn't horrifying?

The Barn, 2014-05-26.

Rory has a desk with a sign on it reading "Rory's Classics". Stan approaches and takes a sheaf of papers from the desk.
"'Gone with the breeze'?" reads Stan.
"Global warming." says Rory.

OK, Ralph Hagen, which part of "more extreme weather conditions" are you having trouble understanding?

Retail, 2014-05-28.

"Lunker did these counts awfully fast, Cooper." says Marla. "Are you sure they're accurate?"
"There are 57 packets in this box..." says Cooper. "Observe."
He dumps the packets onto the ground.
"How many, Lunker?"
"57." says Lunker.
"Why isn't he counting everything?" asks Marla.
"I don't abuse the power of Lunker." says Cooper.

No, seriously though, why isn't he counting everything? How would that in any way be an abuse of power? What the fuck is wrong with you?

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2014-05-29.

"Whar's Silas, Elviney ?" asks Loweezy.
"He's in th' back of th' store inspectin' the' canned goods !!" says Elviney. "An' between you an' me -- changin' all th' exp'ration dates !!"
Loweezy is horrified.

Well, now everyone in town is going to know and you're going to be put out of business be run out of town by an angry mob. Nice going, Elviney.


One-Panel Wednesday: Sticky notes and sticky fingers

The Family Circus, 2014-05-16.

Billy has a piece of paper with "8+8=16" written on it.
"Guess what!" he says. "In another year I'll be halfway to driving your car!"
His father just looks at him blankly.

The joke here, of course, is that Billy will never have the mental capacity required to drive a car.

F-Minus, 2014-05-19.

A young man and an old woman cross paths in the street. As they do so, the man grabs the woman's bag and takes off with it. But something seems unusual about this scenario...
"Hey..." he says, "where's my wallet?"
It turns out that the woman has picked his pocket and is now in possession of his wallet.

Pluggers, 2014-05-22.

Earl applies yet another sticky note to a wall already covered in them.

A plugger always uses tape when using a sticky note.

Sticky notes are supposed to be temporary. They're not meant to stay up for year after year. If you want to store notes on a more permanent basis, there are better ways. Why do people do this?


Action Tuesday: Everyone just wants to see Katherine naked

This week Alley Oop has been telling Ooola about how he fell off a cliff and died and was brought back to life, then someone write a book about it. Ooola thinks he's making it up and I haven't been reading this comic long enough to know if it's true or not. But now Foozy has just shown up to return a book Oop lent him, which Alley is implying is the one about his death, but actually appears to be Frankenstein.

Alley Oop, 2014-05-26.

"Did you like the book, Foozy?" asks Alley.
"A gripping tale that's soaked in fear! Best story that I've read all year!"
"Foozy, wh..." begins Ooola. "Wha... what's it about?"
"A man once dead returned to life, while all around are doomed to strife!"
"Toldja so!" says Alley.

OK, that is not the story of Frankenstein. I read it recently, so it's still pretty fresh in my mind. Frankenstein's creature, in the book, is not a reanimated corpse or even made from corpse parts. Frankenstein studied corpses to find out how human bodies work, but he made the creature (by some unexplained method) on a larger scale than a human so the pieces wouldn't be so small and fiddly, so it's not possible that he could have used parts of humans in the construction. I'm beginning to think that this comic about time-travelling, dinosaur-riding cavemen isn't as meticulously fact-checked as one might presume.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-05-27.

"One of the prison's walls has been felled by the quake..." says the newsreader on TV.
"Doc Ock may escape!" says Peter, finishing his coffee. "I've got to get up there — but it's way too far to web-swing to..."
"So this time, take a cab." says MJ, pulling a wad of cash from her purse. "This one's on me!"
"!" says Peter.

So many things I love about newspaper Spider-Man here. First there's the fact that he is once again finding out about potential super-villainy by watching TV, then there's the fact that he can't think of any way to get around other than by web-swinging. Also, he's dressed as Peter, in a public place, loudly talking about being Spider-Man. And I really hope we're going to see him feeling insecure about how MJ earns more than he does again, because that's always funny.

Judge Parker, 2014-05-27.

"Tell me, madam..." says Flaco, "did you know what kind of family your son was marrying into?"
"Mmmphhh!" says Katherine, because she's still gagged.
Flaco removes the gag because apparently that question wasn't rhetorical.
"Are you looking through my dress with those things?" asks Katherine, referring to the night-vision goggles.
"well..." says Flaco, taken aback. "Uh, no... not exactly!"

I can't tell you how much I love the fact that the only thing Katherine has been worried about this entire time is that people might be using surveillance technology to see through her clothes, even after several people have told her that that's not possible, and after she's been taken prisoner by a heavily armed man in the middle of the jungle.


Melodrama Monday: So tell me, how long did it take you to fall in love with Jack?

Well, as we saw last last week, all Tommy needed was for Mary Worth to tell him to redeem himself and for Wilbur to exert some of his immense influence in the sandwich community.

Mary Worth, 2014-05-20.

"I told Tommy he has our support... but we want him to try to do the right thing!" says Mary.
"Your encouragement AKA guilt trip seems to be working!" says Iris. "He's making an effort!"


"I'm going to interview for a job as a janitor!" thinks Tommy, remembering how the prison guards used to force him at gunpoint to try to mop the floors with some sort of weird broom. "I suppose it's familiar territory!"

I'd like to point out again that the only reason Iris or anyone else thought Tommy wasn't putting in an effort before is that she kept seeing him on his laptop and assumed he had spent all day wasting time. For all she (and we) know he spent all day looking at employment listings and sending in résumés. And the reason he got this interview was nothing to do with his effort or lack of it, it was entirely down to Jerry owing Wilbur a favour. But sure, let's pretend that the lesson here is that it's easy to find a job if you just put in some effort, even if you're a convicted criminal with no education or experience.

And of course Tommy did get the job — after all, Jerry knows he'd be nothing without Wilbur. No restaurant can survive in Santa Royale unless it gets in the Good Eats section of the local paper, and the only way you get in there is through Wilbur. But the drama isn't over, because apparently Tommy is not sufficiently enthusiastic about his low-paying, menial, night-shift job to suit his mother. No doubt Mary will have to step in and help him to realise how his poor attitude is holding him back and this will lead to him being promoted to assistant manager or something.

Speaking of new jobs, June has just started hers in Rex Morgan, and her new boss has demanded that in addition to the job she agreed to do she also has to get a PhD. This new job was supposed to be a way for her to cut back on her workload during her pregnancy.

Rex Morgan MD, 2014-05-23.

"So, you'll keep your practice, teach for me, raise a family and get your doctorate?" asks Dr. Golden.
"Will the college pay for my doctorate?" asks June.
"Yes, every dime! Will you do it?"
"Yes, Dr. Golden, you have my commitment!"

So basically, June is crazy. Also there's some drama about Dr. Golden  making all sorts of changes that the existing staff don't like, but since we don't know any of these people I'm just not that interested in it.

And since we're on the topic of people I don't know (Carol) or care about (Tommie), let's talk about Apartment 3-G. Remember the woman in yellow who showed up last week? Her name's Carol and she's totally insane.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-05-25.

Morning at Jack's place...

"Hello?! Who are you?!" demands Carol, gesticulating wildly.
"I'm Tommie Thompson," says Tommie cheerfully, "and you are?!"
"My name is Carol. So tell me, how long did it take you to fall in love with Jack?"
"I hope you're kidding, Carol. I respect Jack, but I'm not in love with him."
"I really get under your skin, don't I, Tommie! If you're not in love with Jack... why do you work like a dog for him?"
"You could say it's therapy."
"So that's what you two have in common!"

Now, that's a Sunday recap strip so it does skip a bit, but I encourage you to read the preceding week, because it doesn't actually make any more sense even with the extra context.


The Return of Weekend Workshop

I haven't done this in a couple of weeks, so here's a catch-up post.

Based on Beetle Bailey, 2014-05-05.

Based on Moose and Molly, 2014-05-08.

Based on Rex Morgan MD, 2014-05-14.

Based on Pooch Café, 2014-05-16.

Based on Dennis the Menace, 2014-05-14.


Philosophical Friday: Poor Execution

Dustin, 2014-05-21.
Look, this is just terrible. This is a one-panel joke forced into four panels. It's a joke that should have been in The Better Half or Ziggy, without the three panels of set-up. And I say "should" but really, it's not that good a joke to begin with. Certainly not so good that it was worth stretching out to four panels.

Barney & Clyde, 2014-05-23.
That guy in the last panel. Why is he there? What is his expression supposed to convey? How is he necessary for this joke? What was the point of drawing him? If they felt like there was too much white space they could have tried something crazy like a background.


Sitcom Thursday: Straight to the Moon

Crock, 2014-05-16.

"Starting today there'll be extra meat rations for all" says Crock.
The men cheer.
"The men love you, sir" says a legionnaire.
"I loved that ol' horse of mine, too" says Crock.

I guess the implication here is supposed to be that the extra meat ration is horse, so, ha ha, it's funny 'cause they're eating horse. But they're in the French foreign legion, and horse meat is actually eaten in France. This strip only works if you ignore the entire premise of the comic.

Beetle Bailey, 2014-05-20.

Sgt. Snorkel examines what appears to be an almost life-size statue of Pvt. Bailey.
"What's that?" he asks. "It sort of looks like Beetle."
"I built it..." says Cpl. Yo. "It's a robot"
"How does it work?" asks the sergeant.
"It doesn't!" says Yo, happily.

Oh, just like the real Beetle. I get it.

Seriously though, Cpl. Yo made a statue just so he could do this joke. That's dedication.

Hi and Lois, 2014-05-20.

Hi is at work when his phone rings.
"Who is this?" he asks.
"Abercrombie. You garbage man." says the person on the other end of the call. "Has your wife talked to you about all this stuff she's throwing away?"
Meanwhile at the Flagston residence, Abercrombie is indeed on the phone to Hi and is looking at a pile of things that have been left out for him to take away, including some records, sporting equipment and an old TV.

People in comic strips have really weird relationships with the garbage collectors. My garbage gets taken away by people I don't know and have never met. I don't even know what time they come around.

Beetle Bailey, 2014-05-21.

Pvt. Bailey and Sheila are sitting on a bench together by the ocean.
"Beautiful moon!" says Bailey.
"Did I ever tell you of my trip to the moon?" asks Sheila.
"You took a trip to the moon?" asks Beetle. "When?"
"The first time you kissed me" says Sheila.

The thing I love about this is that Beetle is absolutely ready to believe that Miss Buxley has been to the moon, he just doesn't remember her being away.


Action Tuesday: Bear fight!

Well, after seeing Mark Trail fight a bear we also got to see that bear fighting another bear. I still miss the way Mark used to say every thought that came into his head aloud regardless of where he was or what he was doing, but new Mark Trail has a lot more bear fighting, and that can't be a bad thing. Also there's this:
Mark Trail, 2014-05-15.

Mark Trail, 2014-05-17.

"Dusty, look, out in that field!" says Cherry, pointing.
"Yeah, that's Mark all right!" says Dusty, looking through a pair of binoculars. "He's crawling away from two fighting bears and he looks like he's in rough shape... we'd better go get him!"
"Mark, Mark, over here!" calls Cherry, running towards him.
"Cherry ... Dusty!" calls Mark, struggling to stand.

And in Judge Parker, April is still holding Franco hostage while Flaco holds Katherine, Abbott has agreed to hand himself over in exchange for Katherine and has promised that Franco will be released as well, and Alan has wandered off into the jungle like a gigantic moron. I can't wait to see what's happened to him. Meanwhile...

Judge Parker, 2014-05-20.

"My whole family, past and future, is out there..." says Randy. "Bring them back!"
"You should be more concerned about the Garda brothers, son!" says Abbott grimly. "They will pay for ruining your wedding... I promise you that!"
"Wear these, Abbott..." says Holland, handing over a pair of night-vision goggles "and circle to the west! We know his location!"


Melodrama Monday: Redeem yourself!

Rex Morgan shifted focus this week onto June's new job, which has been pretty dull so far, but before that June had spoken to Kelly and told her to play along with Sarah for the moment. Presumably some comeuppance is in store for Sarah, but June's given no indication so far of what it might be.

Rex Morgan MD, 2014-05-14.

"That took a long time!" says Sarah, accusingly. "What were you and mommy talking about?"
"We were talking about you..." says Kelly. "and how amazingly talented you are!"
"Really?" asks Sarah. "you were?"
"Absolutely!" says Kelly. "Now let's get to work, shall we?"

So I guess Sarah was totally willing to buy that June pulled Kelly aside to have a quick chat about how talented she is. Also, how great is this panel?
Rex Morgan MD, 2014-05-15.

And in Apartment 3-G, Tommie is still on Jack Riley's... farm? Let's call it a farm. In addition to the deer she is still apparently keeping in the house she's now adopted a horse (a mare she's named Mary — I guess Lily should be glad she didn't get Deirdre). I guess what it takes to get over the loss of a fiancé is adopting every animal you find.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-05-19.

Morning at Jack's place...

"Hello?!" says a woman in yellow. "Who are you and what are you doing here?!"
"I'm Tommie Thompson — I work here. And you are?"
"Jack and I are old friends. Really good old friends!"
"And I still don't know your name." says Tommie.

Is this woman "really good friends" with Jack in the way that Dr Jeff is "good friends" with Mary Worth? It would help if we could tell how old she is, but since she was drawn by Frank Bolle that's impossible. It also makes it impossible to tell how to read the dialogue. Is she angry to find Tommie here? Shocked? Pleased? There's just no way of knowing. We also can't read Tommie's reaction here. Is she being friendly, or confrontational? It could go either way.

Speaking of Mary Worth, Tommy has decided that he will apply for the job of sandwich shop janitor.

Mary Worth, 2014-05-19.

The next day, when Iris pays a visit to Mary...

"My son's applying for a job at Jerry's sandwich shop!" says Iris.
"That's great, Iris!" says Mary. "I'm glad to see he found motivation!"
"He told me you had something to do with that!" says Iris. "If you did... thank you!"

Yes, it's all down to Mary Worth.

Mary Worth, 2014-05-16.
Mary Worth, 2014-05-18.
See? Without Mary, Tommy would still be a lazy slacker sitting at home all day. Maybe next she could help Iris get a job too.

And this last week in Luann has just been her teacher, Mr. Fogarty, talking about how he can't wait to retire because he has always hated being a teacher, has never even tried to do a good job and hates his students.

Luann, 2014-05-19.

"Have you told your students that you're retiring, Mr. Fogarty?" asks Miss Phelps.
"Yes." says Mr. Fogarty. "But they didn't listen, as usual —"
He opens the door and steps into the classroom.
"SURPRISE!" yell Delta, Bernice and Gunther.
A banner reading "FAREWELL MR. FOGARTY!" is hanging off to one side. Tiffany, Luann and Knute are also there.


Philosophical Friday: Makeup For Card Sharks

Sherman's Lagoon, 2014-05-08.
There are just so many ways that this joke doesn't make sense. Firstly, beige? Ordinarily I'd blame the colourist, but in this case they're sharks and there's no way they would ever be beige.

Secondly, lipstick? Do those sharks look like they have lips to you? I know the whole talking animal thing generally relies on the assumption that the talking animals do human things even when they don't make sense (like sharks sleeping in a bed), but the drawing still has to support the joke and you can't have them talking about their lips when they clearly don't have any.

Thirdly, how the hell is beige lipstick even supposed to work for a human? It wouldn't make your face hard to read, it would just make you look like you didn't have lips. Which, again, Megan doesn't.

Dustin, 2014-05-12.
One of the running jokes in Dustin (as seen here) is that Dustin is lazy and doesn't do anything to look for a job. It would work a lot better though if there wasn't the other running joke of Dustin constantly looking for work and taking any job that comes along no matter what it is or how temporary. He works all the time.

So you end up with strips like this where Dustin's reaction comes across entirely differently than intended. He's supposed to be "Argh, I have to actually work and not be lazy any more? OMG!" or whatever but instead he's "Uhh, OK. Why is dad being nice to me this morning?"

It's like there are two comics running simultaneously, or like we're seeing two parallel universes, and none of the characters ever know which one they're in.

Sitcom Thursday: Timely and Relevant

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2014-05-09.

Uriah is delivering the mail.
"Uh-oh..." he says, looking up. "Looks like rain !!"
Fortunately he has an umbrella for himself and a small umbrella which he attaches to his mailbag so that the letters don't get wet. It's just a pity that no one in Hootin' Holler can read.

Retail, 2014-05-12.

"Can I see your I.D., please?" asks Val.
"What for?" demands the customer.
"You wrote 'See I.D.' on the back of your credit card." says Val.
"-Huff- Of course the cashier only looks at it when I'm in a hurry." says the customer. "What a hassle."
"You're welcome?" says Val.

Did you know that writing "See ID" on your credit card is dumb and pointless? Because it is. If you wrote it instead of signing then your card isn't valid and, although most retail staff won't press the issue, they shouldn't actually accept it. If you did sign it then the card is valid and the staff have no right to see your ID regardless of what may be written on your credit card.

Shoe, 2014-05-13.

Skyler is taking a test at school. The first question is "Who was behind the first moon launch?" He thinks for a moment before writing "Ralph Kramden."

This is a comic strip that was published in 2014. Not 1970, 2014.


One-Panel Wednesday: Dumb Jokes and Dumb Kids

Bizarro, 2014-05-12.

A man dressed as Robin Hood is at a doctor's looking at an eye-chart, but instead of letters or symbols it has apples on it.
"Granny Smith, Braeburn..." he says, "um... Red Delicious?"

William Tell's mandatory pre-employment physical

Look, I can sort of see where you're coming from with this, Piraro, but it doesn't work. The pieces don't really fit together properly. William Tell would need good eyesight to shoot an apple off his son's head, but that wasn't his job, and he didn't need to identify the type of apple. And why is he dressed as Robin Hood? You know that was a different guy, right?

Dennis the Menace, 2014-05-12.

"If our spaceship had room for a kitchen, you'd be my first cook in command." says Dennis nonsensically to the horrifying alien masquerading as his mother.

The Family Circus, 2014-05-13.

"Look at this little green apple that was growin' on our tomato plant." says Jeffy, holding an unripe tomato that he's just pulled off the plant.

Oh my god, how are you this dumb, Jeffy? How?

Action Tuesday: That's why they call him "dick".

This week, Dick Tracy has been looking into police corruption.

Dick Tracy, 2014-05-07.

"What's up, Tracy?" asks Sam as Dick pores through stacks of papers. "I haven't seen you hit the files like that since..."
He pauses for thought.
"Heck, I've never seen you hit the files like that. Lizz, Lee and I usually do the digging."
"I don't like what happened with the Kolossal case, Sam." says Dick.
He's probably upset that someone died horrifically and he wasn't there to see it.
"And I like what I'm finding in these related case histories even less." he continues. "I think Tabby Angus may be getting away with murder!"

So we learned that Dick Tracy really doesn't pull his weight. He just shows up in time to watch some criminals die and then leaves the paperwork for his co-workers.

The stalemate in Judge Parker hasn't really moved since last week, everyone's just been caught up on what's going on. And we found out that Flaco's wife, Li Hai, wasn't murdered by April on the cruise ship. Now Abbott's on the radio with Flaco and April's still in the jungle with her hostage.

Judge Parker, 2014-05-13.

"Li Hai's in Acapulco?" says Flaco over the radio. "I don't believe you."
Beside him Katherine is bound and gagged.
"She was detained on the ship and placed in custody in the brig!" replies Abbott. "Travelling under a phony passport is illegal in Mexico, Flaco! I assure you, Li Hai is quite safe with my federale friends!"
Hidden in the jungle listening to both sides on her stolen radio, April smiles.

And J Jonah Jameson has had the most temporary change of heart imaginable. Mere moments after shaking hands with Spider-Man he's begun thinking of ways to spin the story to put Spidey in a bad light.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-05-13.

"What'll the public think when the Bugle's headline denounces Spider-Man —" asks Robbie, holding up the photo of Jonah and Spidey shaking hands, "— above this photo of you two shaking hands?"
"That J. Jonah Jameson's a big enough man to salute a foe —" says Jonah, gesticulating, "— before I expose him for the hypocritical fraud he is!"
"Spidey's a hypocritical fraud!?" thinks Peter.

I know Peter's thought is supposed to be "look who's talking" type of thing, but I like to imagine he's just reacting to Jonah's statement as though it's actually a shocking revelation. "Really, Spider-Man is a hypocritical fraud? But I'm Spider-Man! Does this mean I'm a fraud?"


Melodrama Monday: All the thrills of online shopping

Literally nothing has happened in Apartment 3-G or Mary Worth this week and it's just been an all-round uneventful week in the soaps. All I'm really left with for this Monday is Funky Winkerbean, so brace yourself for disappointment.

Last Monday, Holly put a bid on a comic on eBay, and was feeling pretty pleased with herself until John and Harry at Komix Korner informed her that someone would just put a bid in at the last minute to beat her.

Funky Winkerbean, 2014-05-09.

Holly is sitting at her computer.
"In less than two minutes Starbuck Jones #36 will be mine!" she says to no one. "I should get an email ping if anyone outbids me."
PING! PING! PING! PING! PING! goes her computer.
"Uh-oh...!" she says.

But then she won the auction anyway. No idea how much she ended up spending, but she had to raise her bid over 30 times, so I'm guessing it's gone a bit above the $10 she was hoping to spend.

But don't worry, the exciting "buying comics online" story isn't over yet, she still has several other issues to find! I don't think the exact number has even been revealed, so this could drag on for the rest of the year, easily. I don't know about you, but I'm so excited I can hardly keep my eyes open.


Philosophical Friday: Anger, Disgust and Curiosity

Nancy, 2014-05-06.
WHAT? No. I covered this last week, Fritzi is at least ten years older than Phil, there is no way he can possibly be a year older than her. That does not work. I'm not talking about how the comic's actually been running since 1922 so they should actually be over 100 or anything crazy like that, just going by in-universe evidence presented within the last couple of years. You are blatantly contradicting yourself, Mr. Gilchrist, and I add this to the long, long list of reasons you are terrible at your job. This retconning of Fritzi and Phil would be bad enough even without the blatant inconsistencies.

Turning now to something that horrifies me for completely different reasons, a post on the Something Awful forums recently mentioned the existence of a Kevin & Kell roleplaying game. For those not familiar with Kevin & Kell, consider yourself lucky. This part of the description for the RPG gives some idea of the horror.

A world somewhat like our own, where there are no humans and every animal under the sun is sentient, where predator and prey dance endlessly in a waltz of death, and where the love between a rabbit and a wolf may offer the world's last, best hope.

It's a light-hearted sit-com where people murder each other all the time and the only people who think there's anything wrong with that are considered to be terrorists. But it's OK because none of the main characters get murdered. Some of them do the murdering though. In fact, some of them work for a company that specialises in murder for those who can't be bothered killing their neighbours themselves. And this is just casually mixed in with the usual sort of jokes about tech support and relationships.

So I kind of really want to know what this game is like, but I'm glad it's out of stock, because otherwise I might be tempted to actually buy it, and I'm sure that that would not be a good use of my money.


Sitcom Thursday: Medieval Attitudes About Women

Shoe, 2014-05-05.

"Biz, are you wearing your dentures?..." asks Roz.
"No." says Biz.
"Well, let me get you something you can sink your tooth into."
Both of them are birds.

I know I just covered this with Pluggers yesterday, but come on, birds with teeth again?

Hägar the Horrible, 2014-05-06.

"Sir Knight !" call Hägar. "We haven't seen you in ages ! Come sneak up with us on an enemy castle!"
"I've been out of commission for so long I might be a liability!" answers Knight.
"He's right..." says Lucky Eddie, noticing that Knight's armour squeaks when he moves. "He might!"

Given that Knight is wearing full plate armour and a helmet that covers his face, how did Hägar know it was him? And is his name really Sir Knight? Also, he seems pretty cavalier about joining a group of Vikings to attack some castle.

Curtis, 2014-05-08.

"Number one, never take your lady for granted" says Greg.
Curtis listens wearily.
"Number one, give her little gifts for no reason..." continues Greg. "Number one, never have another woman's number saved on your phone..."
Curtis slumps forward.
"Number one, make her feel that without her, your life would be trash"
"We've been at this for two hours, dad!" complains Curtis. "When does this list end?"
"Hey, we're past the halfway mark!" says Greg, smugly.

On no account should you ever make the mistake of thinking of a woman as a human being like yourself. They're more like robots. You just have to know the rules and follow them to get what you want.

Ah, and one of those rules is that you can't have any female friends, apparently. Or colleagues you might need to phone. Not that that should be a problem, because why would you have female friends? As though a man could ever have any reason to associate with a woman he doesn't want to have sex with. Absurd. And as for the work colleague thing, why would you need to phone your secretary? And if you do, just call your own office and she'll answer.

Marvin & Family, 2014-05-08.

"Where are you going, Jeff?" asks Jenny.
"It's a little too close to Mother's Day to answer that question" says Jeff, leaving the house.
"You told Jenny you're Mother's Day shopping?" asks Ted later at the pub.
"I never actually said that" smirks Jeff.

Hey, he might have deliberately deceived her by making a misleading statement, but there's no way anyone could equate that with lying, right? Besides, how is a man supposed to get some time to spend with his friends if he doesn't lie to his nagging wife, right guys?

Wizard of Id, 2014-05-08.

A prisoner hangs by his wrists in the castle dungeon.
"I'll not talk without my lawyer present" he says.
In the second panel a man in a top hat is hanging next to him.
"Thanks a heap, friend!" says the new arrival.
The implication is that the second man is the first man's lawyer, and so he has been arrested as a deliberate misinterpretation of the prisoner's demand.


One-Panel Wednesday: As rare as hen's teeth

The Lockhorns, 2014-05-05.

Leroy spots a sign in a window — "SIGN UP FOR OUR 10K CHALLENGE". He stops to consider it.
"Forget it, Leroy..." says Loretta, tiredly. "'K' is for kilometers, not 'kegs.'"

Ballard Street, 2014-05-05.

Roger is hanging by his hands from a clamp that he has affixed to a door-frame. At his feet a number of other clamps are scattered about. A dog is investigating them.
"Clamps are not a proper area of interest, Roger." says his wife.

Heathcliff, 2014-05-05.

Heathcliff and Garfield stand facing each other on an empty street.
"ShIt just got real." says one bird to another.

Pluggers, 2014-05-05.

Henrietta Beak is sitting in her car.
"Uh oh." she says, looking at the calendar she keeps on the dash. "I forgot I have a dentist appointment Friday. I better start flossing tonight."
A plugger continues to put a stick-on calendar she got from her bank onto her car's dashboard, even though she has three calendars on her cellphone.

Henrietta Beak is a chicken. She doesn't have teeth. Why is she going to a dentist? She is a chicken!


Action Tuesday: Trust and Friendship

Dick Tracy still hasn't followed up on the disappearance of Little Orphan Annie, but the story we're getting instead is starting to look interesting.

Dick Tracy, 2014-05-06.

"What's going on, chief?" asks Dick.
"Tracy, it's about that death at Kolossal studios." says Patton.
"Are the results back from forensics?"
"Maybe." says Patton, narrowing his eyes. "I don't know because the case was reassigned."
"Reassigned?" exclaims Dick, jumping to his feet. "But the studio is within city limits. That's in our jurisdiction!"
"The higher-ups gave it to Jeff Clark over at county, Tracy. It seems he gets all cases connected with Tabby Angus."

Police corruption! Are we about to see Dick Tracy gun down a corrupt officer? I hope so.

Meanwhile, Popeye has forgotten all about his shameful surname (which we never got to hear) and is now focused on the problem of the toolshed that seems to be locked but shouldn't be.

Popeye, 2014-05-06.

"I told ya it was locked!" says Swee'Pea. "I has ta git the spade!"
"The door mus' be jammed..." says Popey. "I'll have to smash it in!"
Suddenly Swee'Pea leaps into the air in amazement. The spade is leaning against the outside of the shed where moments before there had been nothing.

And shit is getting real in Judge Parker as April heads into the jungle to try to find the men who are attacking the... secret jungle hospital compound thing.

Judge Parker, 2014-05-02.

"Flaco, I have the compound in sight..." says a man wearing night-vision goggles. "The party is winding down!"
"Stay put..." replies Flaco over the radio. "I'm circling to the west!"
"Copy that! I see Abbott standing on the terrace!"
"Look for the girl! She knows what happened to Li Hai!"
Unnoticed, April sneaks up behind the man, knife in hand...

And after that Katherine got captured. Both sides now hold hostages.

And I thought the fun was over in Spider-Man, now that Jonah's lost the Iron Man armour, but I was so wrong! See, it turns out that the reason Jonah hated Spider-Man was simple envy, Spider-Man has the love of the people and Jonah hated him for it, but now Jonah realises that his enmity is misplaced. Spider-Man wasn't keen on reconciliation, but Robbie talked him around as well.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-05-06.

"Robbie's right." says Spidey, abashed. "You reached out your hand in friendship — — and I slapped it down."
"Really —" says Jonah, "I'm the one who should —"
"Jameson..." says Spider-Man. "Jonah... Put 'er there!"
He holds out his hand to shake. Jonah pauses and the world holds its breath...


Melodrama Monday: Realistic characters and plots

Rex Morgan has finally discovered that his daughter, Sarah, is blackmailing her babysitter, and spent the last week explaining it to June, who did not take the news well. But Rex has a cunning plan to teach Sarah a "life lesson". We don't know what the plan is yet, and I don't have high expectations. In fact, I'm betting that Sarah's going to somehow turn this around on them, because she is way sneakier than her parents.

Rex Morgan MD, 2014-05-05.

"Hi Kelly..." says June. "Thanks for staying with Sarah today!"
"It's OK, Mrs. Morgan, I'm glad to do it!" says Kelly, as yet unaware that June knows about the blackmail. "Ms. Lanning is waiting for us! She has everything set up in Sarah's studio!"
"You go ahead, Sarah!" says June. "I need to pay Kelly for her time!"
Sarah gives Kelly a calculating look. Does she know something's up? Does she suspect that June is onto her scheme?

And in Mary Worth, Iris and Wilbur are back together and have returned to the scene of their last attempted date, Jerry's Sandwich Shop. Wilbur is personal friends with Jerry. Only the finest sandwiches for Wilbur. And Jerry pays a visit to Wilbur's table to make sure that everything is satisfactory. After all, Wilbur is a big wheel at the newspaper and Jerry owes his success to Wilbur. It's not easy to get into the Best Eats column of a local newspaper without a man on the inside. In fact, Jerry's been so successful that he may need to hire more staff! Anyone see where this is going?

Mary Worth, 2014-05-02.

"My janitor is leaving soon!" says Jerry with a sly wink. "I'll have to ask the other staff to pick up the slack until I rehire!"
Wilbur looks bored.
"What does he do?" asks Iris, apparently not familiar with the word "janitor".
"Simple cleanup..." says Jerry, pausing to think. "Floors, restroom, sidewalk... and windows, too!"
Wilbur and Iris turn to look at each other and smile.
"We may be able to suggest someone to consider for  that!" says Wilbur.
It's Tommy. In case anyone had trouble following this lightning-paced plot there's a helpful image of Tommy's face in a thought bubble shared by Iris and Wilbur.

Meanwhile, the other Tommie is still on Jack Riley's... farm? Ranch? Whatever it is. He has horses there. And Jack has spent the week making ambiguous comments that could be compliments (or sexual harassment) but turn out not to be because this is Apartment 3-G. Oh, and Aristotle Papagoras is there too.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-05-05.

Later that evening...
"I wish I could stay and talk, but Lily and I are tired." says Tommie.
"I told you I work her hard, Ari." says Jack.
The two men share a sly smile.
"Keep it up, Tommie —" says Aristotle. "You look great!"
"Thanks, professor," says Tommie, "and good night to you and Jack."
Lily the deer stands in the doorway staring into the house.

Oh yeah, she still has the deer and is still treating it like a pet. And apparently exhausting manual labour has done wonders for her appearance. Either that or Aristotle was making a mean joke. Could go either way.

And now that prom night is over in Luann it seems like it's never going to be mentioned again and we're straight back to business as usual.

Luann, 2014-05-05.

"Since you're all seniors, your final essay will be 'What High School Has Meanto To Me'" says Mr. Fogarty.
"Oooo!" says Delta.
"Great topic, Mr. Fogarty!" says Luann.
"So original!!" says Bernice.
"I can't wait to start!!" says Knute.
And not one of them is being sarcastic. Seriously.
"The word 'nothing' counts as an essay, right?" says Tiffany.

Why can't this comic just be about Tiffany?


Weekend Workshop: Did you know I have a Twitter?

Based on the Apartment 3-G strips of 2014-05-01 and 2014-05-02.

And since I only did the one edit this week I thought I'd pad this post out with some stuff I already posted on Twitter during the week. If you enjoy these tweets then you can follow me on Twitter and see even more of them.


Philosophical Friday: Aunt Fritzi the Cougar

Mandrake the Magician, 2014-05-01.
Several witnesses see him, including Mandrake apparently. Is that not Mandrake there at the bank?

Nancy, 2014-04-29.
OK, so Free Fallin' came out in 1989. That means that Phil was born somewhere between 1970 and 1976. But remember that phone call he made to Fritzi when he first arrived back in Three Rocks? Of course you don't because you're not dangerously obsessed with terrible comics, but I do.

Nancy, 2012-11-27.
So Fritzi was presumably a teenager in 1978. I don't know what the age limits or requirements are for Miss Jr. Three Rocks (or what they may have been in 1978) but America's Junior Miss was for highschool seniors, which is what, 16-year-olds? I don't really know how highschool years work in America, But I think it's safe to assume that Fritzi was a teenager at the time and must have been born between 1959 and 1965 and is therefore about ten years older than Phil.

And if that isn't compelling enough for you, there's also this Sunday strip from 2012.

Nancy, 2012-09-30.
The Nutty Professor came out in 1963. If my assumptions about the Miss Jr. Three Rocks competition are right, Nancy must be four years old, and Fritzi must have been born in 1959 and now be around 55, while Phil is 44 at most. He could actually be considerably younger. This explains why he looks like a child and Fritzi looks like an adult.

Agnes, 2014-04-24.
AAAAAAaaaaaaarrrrrrgh! What is that!? WHAT IS THAT!?


Sitcom Thursday: Political Correctness Gone Mad!

Todd the Dinosaur, 2014-04-30.

"Well, these are the last comic books I'll ever buy!" says Todd. "This political correctness stuff has just run amok!"
"Let me see" asks Trent. "'Bat Person'?"
"Yeah," says Todd, "it was on the rack right next to this one"
"'Very Helpful Person'?" reads Trent.
"Yep. They thought 'Superman' would hurt regular people's self-esteem"

God, where to even start with this bullshit. First, I guess, with the fact that this is just fucking dumb as shit. This goes so far beyond straw-manning that surely even the "political correctness gone mad" people must think this is dumb.

Secondly, why is Trent reading out the names of the comics? This is a comic strip, a visual medium, you could just show the covers. You could even fit some additional jokes in on those covers — although I suppose that having additional jokes would require there to be some jokes to begin with.

Thirdly, it's not like the premise of a more PC Batman (or Superman) doesn't have potential. You could do something with Batman not beating up criminals because they're actually mentally ill people who should be treated with care and compassion, but Patrick Roberts hasn't even thought about it enough to get that far.

Also, the idea that super-hero comics are being written and drawn by social justice warriors is laughably absurd to anyone who's seen them. You could probably get a joke out of that, too, but it would also require more effort than Roberts is willing to put into his incredibly easy job that he gets paid real money to do.

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2014-04-30.

"I ain't spyin'," says Roy, holding a pair of binoculars, "I'm keepin' us safe !!"
"Shore ya are, Roy !!" says Snuffy. "From all th' purty gals that go by !!"
Roy grins sheepishly.

You can't even look at pretty girls without being accused of something these days, it's political correctness gone mad!

Beetle Bailey, 2014-04-29.

"Sarge, you really annoy me!!" yells Lt. Fuzz. "You're a ☼ a ♯♯! A ȸȹȸ! And a ⇜!!"
He takes a breath and smiles warmly. "How's that?
"A little better, sir. I felt a slight twinge of anger" says Sgt. Snorkel. "But keep practicing, sir"

Can't even use real swearwords! Political correctness gone mad!

Baby Blues, 2014-04-30.

"No! No! You keep hitting the rim!" yells Wanda. "Try to get a little more arc on it. Good shot!"
"Is mom playing basketball with Hammie?" asks Darryl.
"No, it's just bathroom practice." says Zoe.

No, you're not misinterpreting that, it's a comic about pissing on the floor. Political correctness gone mad? Something's gone mad, of that I'm sure.