Melodrama Monday: Terrible people getting everything they want

Luann and her friends have graduated from highschool and presumably will be starting university soon. Well, except for Rosa and Gunther, because they're going to Peru for some reason. If it were just Rosa it would be easy to understand; I'd want to get as far away from everyone from Pitts highschool as possible too, but that theory's sunk by her decision to bring Gunther with her. Other than Luann herself there's no one I'd be more keen to escape from. No, I take that back. Gunther is the worst.

Luann, 2014-06-30.

"Mom?" says Gunther. "I've made a huge decision. I'm -"
"Going to Peru next week with Rosa" says Mrs Berger cheerfully.
"Yes!" says Gunther. "How-"
"I heard you and Quill talking last night"
"Oh, so what do you-"
"I think it's time fo you to become your own person, Gunthie"
"Would that include finishing my own sen -"
"Remember when you said, 'why do I need a passport?'" she asks, holding it out to him.

Well, I guess that goes some way to explaining why Gunther is like he is. You'd think his mother would be less keen on getting him out of the house/country though. Maybe she's decided she likes Quill better and is planning on taking him in as her new son and forgetting Gunther ever existed. Wouldn't that be nice, if Gunther went to Peru and disappeared from the comic forever and we could all forget he ever existed? Just a strip three weeks from now with Luann mentioning that she missed his funeral with a footnote "Gunther died in the Amazon".

Speaking of people I wish were dead, Les Moore's been in Hollywood this week because his fucking awful book is being turned into an even worse TV movie and as usual he's acting like all this undeserved success and money is just the worst thing that's ever happened to him.

Funky Winkerbean, 2014-06-25.

Les sits in the office of Clay Wallace at Cable Movie Entertainment. Beside him he hallucinates that cat that represents his self-hatred or whatever.
"You've wasted your time creating a beautiful work of art, and you have my sympathy for that." says Clay. "Let me explain something... the folks paying the bills are 'Cable Movie Entertainment... not 'Cable Movie Art'!"
The cat rolls on the floor laughing. Presumably at the idea that anything Les produces could be described as "a beautiful work of art".

Poor Les, he's just too good at writing. What an incredible burden. Sure, he got to write the book and the screenplay and make shitloads of money off both of them, but now it turns out that these Hollywood philistines want to make some minor changes to his perfect, wonderful story about his perfect, wonderful dead wife. Lisa was the lucky one; She just died of cancer, she didn't have to suffer the unimaginable tragedy of being a successful writer.

And do you remember the girl in Mary Worth who seemed to be suffering from some sort of mental illness and hallucinated some fairies? Well, it didn't end there.

Mary Worth, 2014-06-18.

Later that night...
A pale woman in a white robe, with white wings spread behind her, surrounded by a blazing halo of brilliant light appears beside Olives bed. Olive sits up and stares at the woman in rapturous wonder.
An angel gives Olive a message.

The message, it turns out, was to stay away from the swimming pool, which makes sense as Olive can't swim, although it's a bit low-key for a messenger of God. Her parents regard this as a dream and are keen to ship Olive off to spend the day with Mary so that they can spend the day with each other.

The big surprise though is Mary. Rather than the obvious explanations of dream, hallucination or just a child making shit up, Mary's take on the situation is that it was an actual, real angel. I had assumed that this story was going to be about how the parents were too busy and self-absorbed to see that their daughter was mentally ill and Mary was going to save the day by convincing them to take Olive to a psychiatrist, so this development has thrown me a bit.

Now I'm hoping that this marks the comic's transition into the world of the supernatural, that fairies and angels are just real now and are going to start showing up all the time.

Another surprising development, this time in Rex Morgan. Remember Mrs Pierpont, the rich old lady who wanted to meet Sarah? Well, she's decided she likes Sarah and to basically give her whatever she wants, of course. And since Kelly's there she gets free stuff too.

Rex Morgan MD, 2014-06-29.

"Really, you have a chauffeur named Bugsy?" asks Kelly.
"Bugsy worked for my late husband when we were in the rackets..." says Mrs Pierpont. "... I mean the dry-cleaning business!"
Sarah is too young to have caught the slip and Kelly doesn't seem to have noticed either.
"What about Mrs. Lanning?" asks Sarah. "Isn't she part of our book team anymore?"
"Do you want her to be?" asks Mrs Pierpont.
"She's actually been very good to Sarah!" says Kelly. "And I think her job depends on this project!"
"Actually, her job depends on me and my million bucks!" says Mrs Pierpont. "What do you think, Sarah... should I give it to them?"
Sarah looks incredulous.
"You're asking me... a little kid?"
"You're a smart girl! Should I give the museum a million dollars?"
Having never been given any reason to doubt that she is, in fact, a child of unrivalled intelligence and wisdom, Sarah quickly accepts the idea of adults asking her for advice.
"Absolutely!" she says.

And so begins Sarah's first step into the world of organised crime...


One-Panel Wednesday: Cats and Hedehogs

Heathcliff, 2014-06-12.

Heathcliff, pursued by two police officers, waves to Sonja as he passes her house.
"He always makes time to see you." says Sonja's owner.

Kliban's Cats, 2014-06-12.

A woman sits for a painter, holding a cat on her lap. As the painter paints her, the cat sitting on his lap works on the part of the painting featuring the woman's cat.

Bizarro, 2014-06-16.

A woman looks out the front windows of her house. In a row alongside the path to the doorway a line of hedgehogs have been partially buried, forming a decorative border. Two of them have managed to escape and are walking away.
"Chet," says the woman in alarm, "I don't think you buried the hedgehogs deep enough."

Dennis the Menace, 2014-0616.

Alice and Dennis are in a shop. The woman behind the counter is glaring at Alice. Alice is glaring at Dennis.
"But how can I watch my language?" asks Dennis. "It's invisible!"

What did he say? And why is the woman behind the counter so angry about it? The far more interesting part of this story apparently happened off-screen, just before the bit we actually get to see.


Action Tuesday: Police Brutality

Dick Tracy is finally on the case, looking for Annie. He kind of started last week, but this week the whole team's on board. Leapin' lizards!

Dick Tracy, 2014-06-15.

The search for Annie is on!
"Warbucks, I'm assigning your men to work with members of the Major Crimes Unit while you and I check out leads. There'll be more for you after we meet with Am's informant." says Tracy. "Punjab, I'd like you to accompany Lizz and Lee. The informant they'll be interviewing isn't normally cooperative."
"Ha! Isn't getting info from Pouch always a walk in the park?" says Lizz, referring to Pouch's job as a balloon-seller in the park.
"It will be my honor to escort you both to meet this 'Pouch'." says Punjab, bowing.

City Park
"Balloons!" calls Pouch. "Get yer balloons here!"
Punjab approaches him holding a sword that seems little more than a knife in his hands.
"Memsahib Lizz," he says, "is this the miscreant you wish to question?"
"Yi!!" gasps Pouch as the terrifying giant leans over him.

And Mark Trail is in Africa! No specific country, just Africa.

Mark Trail, 2014-06-16.

"Jacob Hickman has disappeared..." says Kaden, an African man, to Mark. "We found his truck — it had been run off a cliff... he wasn'tr inside! I'm afraid we fear the worst!"
He reaches down to take Mark's suitcases.
"Sorry to greet you with such disappointing news... I can take you to a good hotel with fine dining if you wish!"
Mark sits at an outdoor table.
"Poachers may have gotten Jacob because of his conservation work..." he thinks. "Now I'm stuck here!"

He seems somewhat vexed by the news of his colleague's death. It's a real inconvenience for him.

And this week, The Phantom jumped out of a helicopter and almost hit another helicopter on his way down, but managed to miss it by losing some altitude and made it over the fence.

The Phantom, 2014-06-17.

"What was that?" asks one guard.
"You heard it too?" asks another.
A dog growls.
"Well, something was flapping around up there!" says a third.
"If you say so." says a fourth.
As this speculation continues, the Phantom opens his parachute to land unseen beyond all of them.

And remember how Alley Oop left his dinosaur, Dinny, in the middle of nowhere when he went to rescue Ooola? And then they both rode her dinosaur, Pterry, out of there? Yeah, Alley hasn't even spared Dinny a thought since then.

Alley Oop, 2014-06-13.

"Foozy had a great idea!" thinks Alley. "Ooola's gonna love this! Now, I just hafta find her!"
Suddenly he notices Dinny on the road ahead of him.
"Dinny!!"  he calls. "Buddy, I'm glad to see you made it back t'Moo!!"

Glad, perhaps, but not so glad that he bothered to do anything to help.


Melodrama Monday: Bullies are people who hate themselves

This week, Mary Worth met Olive, a little girl who seems to suffer from vivid hallucinations. Mary took her on a tour of the garden and showed her the roses, and Olive saw fairies amongst the flowers.

Mary Worth, 2014-06-11.

"Do you see them? The flower fairies?" asks Olive.
"Sure..." ays Mary, stifling a giggle.
"Flower fairies!" she thinks. "What an imagination this girl has!"

I guess Mary doesn't have much experience with children, because if we, the audience, hadn't been clued in by the art that the girl was hallucinating, here wouldn't seem to be anything remarkable about what that girl said. Kids talk about make-believe stuff all the time.

Combined with the way the fairies are drawn, as though actually in the scene, Mary's ludicrous over-reaction to how incredibly imaginative Olive is leads me to conclude that Olive is actually mentally ill. If this turns into a boring story of a kid who feels neglected by her busy parents I'll be very disappointed.

And the big reveal in Luann, the culmination of Bernice's secret plan with Tiffany...

Bernice got a haircut, then hid it under a wig that looked exactly like her old hair so that she could dramatically remove the wig as part of her graduation speech. That's it. I'm not even going to write this one out, it's too dumb.

In Funky Winkerbean news, Wally and Rachel got married. In the only wedding I've ever seen that could be mistaken for a funeral. And eventually (because of the rain) the ceremony was carried out in Montoni's, because that is literally the only business operating in Westview other than the comic shop.

Funky Winkerbean, 2014-06-14.

"Now, where were we...?" asks the officiant.
"I do!" says Rachel.
"I do too!" Wally replies.
"Done!" says the officiant, understandably eager to be done with this and go somewhere less awful.
"I hope they'll be happy." says Holly.
"I don't see why not..." says Funky, smirking. "They don't call Montoni's 'the wedding chapel of love' for nothing!"

They don't call it that, Funky. No one calls it that.

And in Rex Morgan, Sarah stood up to a bully who then immediately backed down, because that's what happens, right? I don't know how bullies even still exist since all you have to do is stand up to them once and you solve the problem forever.

Rex Morgan, MD, 2014-06-16.

Mrs. Pierpont request to meet Sarah after watching her handle the class bully!
"You handled that pugnacious reprobate quite adroitly, Sarah!" says Mrs Pierpont, presumably in a posh English accent.
"Uh...?" says Sarah.
"Nice job on the way you handled that class bully!" explains Mrs. Pierpont, because it's funny when posh people translate their fancy words into normal-person English.
"Thank you..." says Sarah, "that's what I thought you said."

Sarah actually had no idea, she just always assumes that people are complimenting her.

Safe Havens, 2014-06-16.

Dave and Samantha meet in an airport.
"Happy anniversary!" they yell as they run toward each other.
"Wait." says Dave. "Something's —"
"I know." says Samantha. "Palmtop has a new family, and grandma's ring is on tour with Bambi. For the first time..."
"We're alone!" they say together.

Dave is conspicuously still wearing his "Google Glass device" though, so presumably they're only alone if you don't count all the people watching online.


Philosophical Friday: Ugliness

WuMo, 2014-06-11.
God, this comic is hideous. Not in a Reply All kind of way where it's just pure ineptitude, this looks like it's meant to be ugly. And I mean every single WuMo strip. Reply All can get away with looking like arse because it's actually funny, but the example above is as close as WuMo ever gets.

And it is close, it's almost good enough to be one of the less funny F-Minus strips. Of course, in F-Minus there wouldn't be a caption telling you it was a blood bank, that would be conveyed through, I don't know, putting the Red Cross logo on there or something. I'm pretty sure Tony Carrillo could draw a recognisable mosquito too, so the entire label would be unnecessary. And the manager would have one of those F-Minus grumpy faces. That's how you do this joke.

Even then though, WuMo would still be hideous.

Todd the Dinosaur, 2014-06-12.
How is that even an easier shot? And does every cartoonist play golf?

Finally, here's a selection of Office Hours panels, a comic from the 1960s.

Office Hours, 1966-03-26.Office Hours, 1966-01-14.

Office Hours, 1966-03-14.Office Hours, 1966-02-05.
The past was terrible.


Sitcom Thursday: Eating Disorders and Unnecessary Violence

Wee Pals, 2014-06-10.

Oliver and Randy are standing together when they are approached by Connie and Sybil.
"Where have you been?" asks Oliver.
"At Sybil's house." says Connie. "She has a new beauty kit"
"Didn't she let you use it?" asks Oliver.
Soon Oliver is on the ground and seeing stars. Connie, looking angry, is walking away.
"It was worth it!" says Oliver.

You know what? I liked this one better last time. Still, I do cut the man some slack as he was 90, and it was a good joke. I still laughed the second time.

Side note, how is this comic still going? Turner died at the start of the year and we're not seeing re-runs yet. How far ahead was he working?

Blondie, 2014-06-11.

Dagwood rushes into the house as Blondie holds the door open for him.
"I forgot my briefcase!" he says as he passes.
"What about your lunch, dear?!" asks Blondie.
"That's what's in the briefcase!" calls Dagwood as he runs off.

If it had been some work-related stuff in the case I'd have no trouble believing that Dagwood had forgotten it, but his lunch? Absurd.

Moose & Molly, 2014-06-12.

The Millers are attending a wedding.
"A beautiful marriage ceremony!" says Moose to the woman beside him. "What are we having at the reception?"
"It's been cancelled!" says the woman cheerfully. "They're rushing out of town!"
Moose bursts into tears.
"Moose always cries at weddings" says Molly. But actually Moose is crying because he was looking forward to the reception because he assumed that there would be plenty of free food.

One-Panel Wednesday: Mostly Menacing

Dennis the Menace, 2014-06-05.

Joey and Dennis observe a spider on a web.
"Now that's a web site." says Dennis.

No it isn't, Dennis. It's a web. I feel like this joke was written by someone who never stopped to think about the word "website" and where it came from. Because "web" and "net" are pretty apt descriptions of the way computers and sites are linked together, but Ketcham, Hamilton and Ferdinand just thought "Bah, those computer page things are call 'web sites', but what have they got to do with webs? Nothing!" and then they put their old man griping into the mouth of a five-year-old, because that's not incongruous at all.

Dennis the Menace, 2014-06-11.

"Grampa." says Dennis, sitting in his customary place in the corner of the room, facing the wall. "Your daughter was impossible today. You should make her sit in the corner."
Oliver appears to be giving the suggestion serious thought. Alice looks petulant.

Why do we never see what Dennis did to end up in the corner?


Action Tuesday: Africa⁉

Dick Tracy is finally investigating Annie's disappearance! After teasing it for so long, Staton and Curtis finally had Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks meet with Tracy yesterday, and today they're going to meet with someone who Warbucks believes has information on Annie's whereabouts.

Dick Tracy, 2014-06-10.

The city's finest hotel, The Siam.
"You staying here, Warbucks?" asks Tracy.

"Heh-heh! I can't afford it!" says Warbucks.
"Welcome, Mr. Warbucks, Mr. Tracy." says a hotel staff member. "I'll summon him."
"Tracy, this is my friend, The Great Am." says Warbucks, introducing a man with a long white beard.
"So this is Dick Tracy!" says The Great Am. "Your face is very familiar."

There's a hotel that Oliver Warbucks can't afford to stay in? Oliver Warbucks the "multi-zillionaire"?

Spider-Man's latest story is off to a pretty good start too, with Doc Ock apparently turning over a new leaf and preventing a prison break.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-06-09.

Spider-Man finally reaches state prison...
"That mini-quake didn't do this wall any good." says Spidey to no one. "But I'll make sure no prisoners escape."
"No need, Spider-Man." says the warden. "Dr. Octopus ended the breakout."
"As you might have done..." says Ock, "had you arrived in time!"

Fighting crime and showing up Spider-Man, he'll fit right in with the rest of the city's heroes.

Mark Trail is going to Africa!
Mark Trail, 2014-06-10.

Mark Trail, 2014-06-10.

"My editor, Bill Ellis, wants me to go to Africa!" says Mark.
"Africa⁉" says Cherry, crossly.
"Africa?" says Rusty. "Oh boy ... Mark, can I go?"

Ha ha ha. Of course not, Rusty. Of course not.

And saving the best for last, Judge Parker continues to deliver. After another week of Katherine continuing to negotiate with the man holding her captive, as though she were the one in the superior bargaining position, Alan showed up. Remember how he wandered off earlier? Yeah, he went to find Katherine. And succeeded.

Judge Parker, 2014-06-08.

"You're the man from the ship!" says Flaco.
"That's right..." says Alan. "And that woman is my wife! I demand that you release her at once!"
"What is it with you people making demands all the time?" asks Flaco, understandably confused at the Parkers' utter obliviousness to danger.
"Untie my wife before somebody gets killed!" says Alan, presumably not referring to himself even though he's the one with a gun to his head.
"You have no gun!" says Flaco.
"I don't need a gun!" says Alan, cryptically.
"Flaco, my husband is a novelist!" says Katherine, as though that explains everything. "Perhaps you've heard of him... Alan Parker! He just wrote a best-seller!"
"Alan Parker?" says Flaco, clearly losing control of the situation. "The same Alan Parker who wrote 'The Chambers Affair'? I loved that book! I finished it on the ship just before Li Hai disappeared!"
"I'm glad you enjoyed it!" says Alan. "We're writing the movie script now!"
"You know," says Flaco, "I thought it would make a wonderful movie!"
Meanwhile, nearby a mercenary watches all this unfold.
"Now we have Mr. Parker in the picture!" she says. "What now?"
"Stay on target..." says a voice over the radio. "Wait for Abbott!"

And then Flaco asked Alan for some advice on writing before surrendering to Katherine. Judge Parker is my favourite comic right now.


Melodrama Monday: I probably shouldn't care this much about Luann

Apartment 3-G this week has been nearly incomprehensible. The combination of Frank Bolle's refusal to draw anything but people standing around talking (and only from the shoulders up) with dialogue that more closely resembles random sentences than an actual conversation has made it difficult, but I've mostly managed to piece together what's happening.

It turns out that Jack's wife died several years ago and Carol, his current girlfriend, was her best friend. This sounds like there might be some sort of murder conspiracy going on, but that's way too exciting for Apartment 3-G. Does this look like Judge Parker? No, Judge Parker is drawn competently.

Also Tommie is still around. And so is Lily the deer, who is now apparently "friends" with Mary the mare. Although the only evidence we've seen of this friendship so far is Carol saying so.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-06-09.

In the wee hours of the morning...
"Jack, what are you doing out here and why are you up at five A.M.?" asks Carol.
"Joey and I are taking a trip." says Jack.
"What are you talking about?!" asks Carol.
"You should go back to bed, Carol." says Jack.

Who is Joey? Has Joey been mentioned before and I just forgot? Also, the art in this strip reminds me of that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode where the guy somehow drains Counsellor Troi's youth, because Jack is looking younger than normal and Carol appears to now be about 80.

Luann, 2014-06-05.

"How awesome that you're valedictorian!" says Luann, to Bernice.
"No surprise, though" says Delta.
"I dunno," says Bernice, "you're right up there, Delta. Gunther, too. And Rosa"
"Want us to help you with your grad speech?" asks Delta.
"Nope. I'm gonna get help from Tiffany"
"Tiffany?!" screeches Luann, the only member of her friendship group who still holds this pathetic grudge. She is ignored.
"What, you're doing a cheer routine?" asks Delta.
"It's a secret" says Bernice.

There are about ten students in this graduating class, and apparently four of them were in the running for valedictorian. And notably, Luann was not one of them. I'm really looking forward to this graduation, to see if they actually go ahead with the "Luann is a lazy dumbass who is barely tolerated by her friends" thing they've been building up lately. I'd love to see Delta, Bernice, Tiffany, Rosa and Quill all do well and go off and be successful leaving Luann, Gunther and Knute behind forever. In my ideal version of events, the comic follows Tiffany from that point on, but seeing Luann's inevitable failures would be fine too.

Sally Forth has been focusing on Hilary and her friends this week, and their newly re-formed band. Turns out Hilary's kind of an arsehole.

Sally Forth, 2014-06-04.

"Despite what you may think, Hil," says Faye, "you're not the only one who's been writing songs for this band."
Hilary takes a look at the sheaf of papers.
"Wow, Faye, these are really heartfelt... revealing... personal... all the better to save for your solo album instead."
"I'm gonna kill her." Says Faye to Nona.
"Just channel that rage back into your songwriting." suggests Nona.

But then Nona reminded Hilary that they have to study and don't really have time for this anyway, a fact that Hilary had completely forgotten.


Philosophical Friday: The good, the bad and the ambiguously worded

Edge City, 2014-06-02.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who read that as "You eat as much as possible. Like cave people did." That diet is really popular.

Wee Pals, 2014-06-03.
Oh my god, this is just the best. Especially that last panel, but all of it, really.

Fort Knox, 2014-06-05.
Look at that facial expression. You can really see the anger, can't you?


Sitcom Thursday: Hiram classes it up

Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!, 2014-06-02.

"Smart guns that only work for their owners. Smart cars that steer themselves." says Dr Mel. "Smart gadgets are the future! I'm creating other smart gadgets. Like the smart fork!"
Brewster doesn't reply.
Meanwhile, Cliff is using Mel's new fork.
"I think you've had enough." says the fork.

Mel's a bit behind the times. Those already exist.

Dustin, 2014-06-03.

Meg is writing in her diary.
"Tomorrow I plan to confess my darkest, most closely guarded secret ever." she writes. "A secret so ignominious, that heretofore, I have been unable to risk its disclosure, even here."
Later, as Meg is eating at the kitchen table, Dustin comes into the room.
"Meg, quick question..." he says. "What does 'ignominious' mean?"
Meg is horrified at the realisation that her brother reads her diary.

At first I wondered why Dustin would read Meg's diary. I doubt it can be of any interest to him. But then I realised, he must have known when he asked that question that Meg would realise that he'd been reading it, but he would still have plausible deniability, so the reason becomes clear. He read his sister's diary to annoy her. Fair enough.

Hi and Lois, 2014-06-03.

His is unshaven and dressed casually.
"My book group is coming over." says Lois. "Can you make yourself a little more presentable?"
"OK." says Hi and goes off to do so.
Later, Lois enters the living-room to find Hi seated in an armchair, now dressed in a smoking jacket, monocle and ascot, holding a pipe and a snifter.
"I went for the literary look." he says.

You've got to admire his dedication to the joke. Also the fact that he already owned all those things.

Andy Capp, 2014-06-04.

Andy staggers onto the pitch, hiccuping.
"Fancy turning up for football after being in the pub." says one of his team-mates. "Disgraceful"
"He's in no fit state to play" says another, as Andy collapses.
"Hold on," says the first, "I think he could do a job in goal"
So they get some rope and tie his arms to the top of the goal, hanging him there as a sort of makeshift barrier.

One-Panel Wednesday: Anger and Disgust

Beetle Bailey, 2014-05-30.

Pvt. Bailey is alone, in the middle of the desert when he is approached by Chip Flagston.
"Hey, jerk!" calls Chip.
"You talking to me?" asks Bailey.

I thought Chip liked Beetle.

Hazel, 2014-05-30.

George has built a scarecrow that looks like Hazel.
"If ANYTHING will keep the birds away..." he says happily.
Unseen behind him stands Hazel, glaring. Apparently she isn't taking it as a compliment.

Tina's Groove, 2014-05-30.

Tina is serving a middle-aged couple a large slice of cake.
"Here comes all that extra weight I lost..." says the woman. "Somehow it always finds me..."
She refers not to the cake but to a pink blob of human fat that is slithering across the floor of the restaurant toward her. No one seems to be reacting with the horror and disgust you'd expect. Tina looks a bit worried, but she always does.

Ziggy, 2014-06-04.

Ziggy is at the doctor's, with a thermometer in his mouth.
"Your test results are in..." says the doctor. "Are you trying to be funny?"
Obviously Ziggy is not, he is the punchline.


Action Tuesday: Mandrake the Moron

After a week of Mark Trail expressing human emotion and willingly spending time with his wife, I'm starting to worry about James Allen's style. I mean, Mark fighting a bear and then the bear fighting another bear were great, but this is just not the Mark Trail I know and love. At least one thing doesn't seem to have changed though...

Mark Trail, 2014-06-03.

"Bill Ellis called for you, Mark!" calls Doc.
"Mark, are you going to tell Mr. Ellis about the bear that chased you?" asks Rusty.
"He just wants my next story, Rusty!" says Mark.
"I don't think so, Mark..." says Doc. "Bill said something about you going on a trip!"

Mark is going on a trip! I wonder if he'll promise to take Rusty fishing when he gets back and then never do it? Also, Mark's reaction to Rusty's question is the sort of bizarre non-sequitur that I've always liked about this comic, along with the fact that Mark apparently isn't going to tell Bill about the bear, or, I don't know, write an article about the experience. That seems like something people might like to read.

On the other end of the spectrum, Judge Parker has been delightful this week. After ungagging Katherine for no apparent reason, Flaco has been chatting with her while trying to spot the people sneaking up to kill him.

Judge Parker, 2014-05-30.

"He should be here by now!" says Flaco. "They're trying to trick me!"
"Of course they are..." says Katherine, blissfully naïve to her own mortal peril.  "But you can trick them! Your wife is safe and you have everything to live for now! Why don't you just surrender to me and we'll call it a day?"

And then she convinced Flaco to sit down next to her, which actually made it impossible for Abbott's mercenaries to get a clear shot at him. So it turns out she might actually be helping him, although probably not intentionally.

And Mandrake the Magician and Lothar followed Alibi Algie, the man with the apparent ability to be in two places at once, to his hotel room and discovered...

Mandrake the Magician, 2014-06-03.

"Alibi Algie... identical twins!" gasps Mandrake.
"We should have guessed that." says Lothar.
"Too late to guess --" says one of the twins.
"We never shoot people -- until now." says the other.

Lothar said it all, really.


Melodrama Monday: I don't understand any of this

Basically nothing at all happened in Rex Morgan MD this week. Sarah was told she had to wear a hat and she didn't want to but then Kelly distracted her by suggesting she paint a bus. That is, paint a picture of a bus. Then Kelly went to the museum café and got some apple juice, where she learned from Holly the café worker that part of Sarah's contract is free snacks. So it's been a non-stop thrill-ride, basically.

Rex Morgan, 2014-06-02.

"Don't forget, Kelly..." says Holly, "I want to meet Sarah after my shift!"
"Just come down to the studio..." says Kelly, "we'll be there for a couple more hours!"
As she leaves, Kelly overhears Ms. Lanning talking to an old man.
"Mrs. Pierpont wants to meet Sarah... now?" she asks.
"She's on her way..." says the man, "and she's not very happy!"

I literally cannot imagine what is going on here.

And in Funky Winkerbean, Holly has discovered that the only available copies of the last two comics she needs to complete her son's collection are owned by... I can hardly even bring myself to type this... Chester Hagglemore. Seriously, that's his actual name. Ironically, he's actually easygoing and generous. No, of course he isn't, because this is Funky Winkerbean where everything is terrible always.

So in preparation for meeting Chester "the chiseler" Hagglemore (yeah, he needed that nickname because his actual name being "Hagglemore" wasn't enough) Holly obtains "an original splash page featuring the Amazing Mister Sponge". She does this by just going to the writer and asking because she already knows him. So she arrives at Hagglemore's house, which is a mansion with Batman and Superman logos on the gates and presses the button for the intercom...

Funky Winkerbean, 2014-06-01.

"Hello?" says Holly. "Mr. Hagglemore... I'm Holly Winkerbean... we talked on the phone."
"I'm busy today, Mrs. Winkerbean..." says Chester. "Come back some other time."
"See this?" says Holly, holding up the splash page in front of the camera. "It's an Amazing Mister Sponge splash page."
She holds up a pair of scissors.
"See these?"
The gate opens.

So, they talked on the phone and presumably he agreed to see her, otherwise why would she be there? So he's just being a dick for no reason. But apparently she anticipated this and brought the scissors so she could threaten to destroy her own property if he didn't let her in. And that worked. I'm speechless.

But on the other hand, I ca't say enough about Carol and Jack in Apartment 3-G. They're amazing. Their conversation is basically a sequence of non-sequiturs and ambiguous insults. They're apparently a couple, but Carol's been away for three months and they haven't spoken at all in that time.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-05-30.

"I see you have a new bird with a broken wing." says Carol.
"You met Tommie?" says Jack.
"Yes, I've met Tommie. She insists she's not in love with you, Jack."
"Leave her be, Carol. She doesn't understand your games."

Does anyone? I certainly don't. I am enjoying it though.