Sitcom Thursday: Strips that annoyed me this week

Family Tree, 2014-07-28.

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

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

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

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

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

B.C. 2014-07-29.

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

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

Big Nate, 2014-07-30.

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

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

Freshly Squeezed, 2014-07-31.

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

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


One-Panel Wednesday: Grand Theft Chef

Family Circus, 2014-07-10.

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

Family Circus, 2014-07-29.

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

Is that a euphemism?

The Lockhorns, 2014-07-29.

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

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

Pardon My Planet, 2014-07-29.

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

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

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

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


Action Tuesday: Call me "Dirty"!

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

Jane's World, 2014-07-11.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dick Tracy, 2014-07-28.

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

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

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

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

Mark Trail, 2014-07-15.

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

James Allen, you're all right.

Panel from Mark Trail, 2014-07-15.


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

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

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

Mary Worth, 2014-07-28.

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

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

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

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

Panel from Mary Worth, 2014-07-28.

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

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

Judge Parker, 2014-07-28.

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

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

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

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

Apartment 3-G, 2014-07-21.

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

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

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

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

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

Crankshaft, 2014-07-28.

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

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


Melodrama Monday: Out of touch with reality

Funky Winkerbean, 2014-07-08.

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

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

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

Foob, 2014-07-10.

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

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

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

Apartment 3-G, 2014-07-12.

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

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

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

Mary Worth, 2014-07-14.

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

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


Philosophical Friday: Nagging Wives

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

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

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


Sitcom Thursday: Everyone's favourite character returns!

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

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

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

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

Moose and Molly, 2014-07-08.

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

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

Herb and Jamaal, 2014-07-09.

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

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

Hi and Lois, 2014-07-10.

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

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

One-Panel Wednesday: Misunderstood

Dennis the Menace, 2014-07-03.

Dennis and Gina are sitting together on a log.
"I always try to do what's right," says Dennis, "but I usually end up getting mixed results."
Gina looks incredibly bored.

Dennis the Flawed-But-Well-Intentioned just doesn't have the same ring to it, you know?

Dennis the Menace, 2014-07-07.

Margaret is selling lemonade for 50¢. Dennis and Joey are attempted to buy some. Also they're wearing cowboy outfits, Dennis's noticeably better and presumably more expensive than Joey's.
"I'm a 'barista' not a bartender!" says Margaret.

Margaret, you're not either of those things. Kids are idiots.

Ballard Street, 2014-07-08.

Three men stand on a grassed area using saws and saw-horses to cut some planks. One of them is doing it wrong.

Chuck's sawing club meets every Tuesday.

Oh those wacky Ballard Street people with their strange hobbies!


Action Tuesday: Time Travel, Flashbacks, Ghosts and Mysterious Deaths

Alley Oop and Ooola have travelled to the future (which is, from our perspective, still the past) and have arrived at Paravox Studios, which Alley believes to be the company that made the first film adaptation of Frankenstein.

Alley Oop, 2014-07-07.

Oop and Ooola have travelled to the Paravox movie studio in 1942 Hollywood in hopes of seeing the filming of "Frankenstein." Instead, they find that the movie was filmed in 1931...
"Let's just go home, Alley!" says Ooola.
"Say, don't leave, though!" says a man who apparently works for Paravox. "You've both got jobs as extras here if you want it!"
"Really?" says Ooola, suddenly interested.
"What's th' movie?" asks Alley, less enthusiastically.
"I'm directing a picture called 'Prehistoric World!'" says the man.

This is such a weird comic.

Dick Tracy is still stuck... wherever (or whenever) he was last week, so now we're back with the rest of the team and Sam's taken Warbucks to meet an informant.

Dick Tracy, 2014-07-08.

"You transported 'The Butcher' and Annie to your boss, but can't remember where?" asks Warbucks angrily. "Did you pilot the boat blindfolded, man?"
"Warbucks!" says Sam, holding him back.
"I -I dunno any more!" says the informant.
"I'll help you." says Warbucks. "The Great Am has told me about your boss, Axel! Where is he?"
"The Am knows?" says the informant, sweating as he begins to panic. "No! I can't say! I ca.. Nnggh!"
Suddenly he convulses and falls off his chair.
"What the...?" says Sam, standing up. "We need a medic!"

Was the informant just killed remotely by some sort of supernatural power? Actual time travel is starting to look more likely.

Jane's World is doing a flashback, as is so often the case, but this time I think I actually know how it relates to the current plot and I sort of know who the people involved are.

Jill and Chelle were meeting up somewhere, but somehow two criminals knew about it and were waiting. They kidnapped Jill and demanded money from Chelle. Apparently the four knew each other from some past interaction, and I think this flashback is that. It seems that Jill and Chelle were both cops at some point, and this flashback concerns a time when the two of them were investigating... some place. At night. I guess the kidnappers will show up at some point and this will all link together. But it's Jane's World, so maybe not.

Jane's World, 2014-07-07.

"Come on!" whispers Chelle.
Jill squeezes through the gate behind Chelle... .. and they move quickly to the darkened stairway...

It's moving a little slowly, but it's holding my attention so far.

Panel from Jane's World, 2014-07-04.

And as I mentioned last week, the Phantom managed to get to the president in time and beat up the Python's followers.

The Phantom, 2014-07-04.

"I need to get up to the wire and defuse an armed staring contest!" says the president, helping to tie up one of the terrorists.
"Good idea!" says the Phantom, tying up the other. "Before someone does something stupid!"
"No skull-marks?" asks the president.
"I was never here! Your prisoner, Mr. President! I'll see you soon, old friend! In Mawitaan!"

And then the president got to lead the terrorists out of there at gunpoint and look like a total badass. Of course, they know that the Phantom was there, so they could easily say as much. And at least three members of the Jungle Patrol know that the Unknown Commander was there. Some people could very easily put two and two together here. The Phantom is so cavalier about his secret identities.


Melodrama Monday: It's been a week of surprises

A new character has entered Apartment 3-G this week. The comic that is, not the apartment itself. Tina Grant, a woman whom we're told never shuts up. Tommie mentioned that she was "just getting milk for baby" and Tina instantly showed interest. Tommie, of course, did not bother to clarify that she was talking about a baby deer, even when Tina asked "How old is your darling child?" Apparently it's been four months since Tommie found that thing.

Apartment 3-G, 2014-07-07.

"May I see your baby, Tommie?" asks Tina.
"Oh, sure, Tina." says Tommie. "Lily must be around here somewhere."
"You're joking, right?" asks Tina, growing concerned.

Even knowing that Lily is a deer, I'm still a little surprised that she's just wandering freely around the farm (or whatever this place is).

Also surprising is the fact that Mary Worth continues to accept that Olive is receiving messages from God.

Mary Worth, 2014-07-04.

As Mary and Olive walk Charterstone grounds, Olive suddenly pulls Mary back.
"Watch out!" yells Olive.
"W-what?" stammers Mary.
A few seconds later, a branch suddenly falls.
"Whoa!" says Mary.
"Yeah." says Olive.

Are Mary and Olive doing a Bill & Ted impression at the end there? And is Olive actually psychic and receiving genuine messages from God? It's looking more and more likely!

Panel from Mary Worth, 2014-07-07.
Or maybe there's been a gas leak or something.

Perhaps the most surprising development though is in Judge Parker, where one of the main characters just received a whole lot of money out of the blue. I'm kidding, of course, there's nothing surprising about that at all.

Judge Parker, 2014-07-07.

As Abbey reads Katherine's email to Sam, Neddy returns from a morning in town!
"Are you sure it's a check?" asks Sam, as though there was ever any doubt.
"Yes, it's a repayment for my loan to Ross and Thalia..." says Neddy. "One hundred and twenty thousand smackers... paid in full! Plus interest!"
"That's great, Ned! I'll deposit it for you this afternoon!"

Neddy has never worked a day in her life.

Weekend Workshop: Is that still a thing?

It is! I just haven't done it in a while. I always mean to, but it's the weekend...

Based on the Crock strip for 2014-05-27.
Just one letter...

Based on the Rex Morgan strip for 2014-06-03.
Obviously this could never happen, because Sarah is effortlessly brilliant at everything.

Based on the Arlo and Janis strip for 2014-06-17.
There was originally an actual joke in this strip, so I edited it to be more consistent with the rest of Arlo and Janis.

Based on the Arlo and Janis strips for 2014-06-05 and 2014-06-18.
I don't even know why I did this one.

Based on the Luann strip for 2014-07-03.
Gunther's mum, has got it going on, she's all that Quill wants and he's waited for so long. Oh Luann can't you see...


Philosophical Friday: What even is a bird?

Edge City, 2014-06-13.
According to his official character bio on Comics Kingdom, Len "used to play in a punk rock band ... and stays true to his rock-and-roll roots" so you'd think he'd be a bit more open to this kind of thing.

Bewley, 2014-06-30.
Oh come on, breasts, teeth, hair. Why even make the characters in your comic birds if they're not going to be even remotely bird-like?

Curtis, 2014-06-30.
Well, whose fault would you say that is, Greg? Given that you offer him no other way to get money and asking you actually works around half the time, why wouldn't he do it? You are the cause of your own problem, but you're blaming Curtis for it anyway, because you blame everything on Curtis. Fuck you, Greg Wilkins. Also Ray Billingsley.


Sitcom Thursday: Bad Comics with Bad Opinions

The Grizzwells, 2014-06-30.

"Be honest..." says Pierpoint. "Does it bother you when I'm constantly apologizing for one thing or another?"
"Actually..." says Gunther, "it drives me crazy"
"I'm sorry to hear that" says Pierpoint.

That's not an apology though. He should have jusat said "Oh. Sorry." That would have been an apology. "I'm sorry to hear that" means you feel sympathy or pity, not that you're taking responsibility for something.

Also, you know that thing some people do where they tell you about something bad that's happened and you say "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that." and they say "It's not your fault."? I hate that. The word "sorry" has more than one meaning. I wasn't implying that I killed your grandmother, I was expressing sympathy, you dickhead.

Dustin, 2014-07-01.

Meg is wearing clothes that reveal her arms, most of her legs and her stomach.
"I got this to wear for our fourth of July cookout." she says. "Are we going to have fireworks?"
"Yes..." says Helen. "Right after your father sees that outfit."

It's funny because Meg thought she could spend her own money to buy clothes that she likes and then wear them, but it turns out that she's female. Ha ha!

Freshly Squeezed, 2014-06-30.

"Oh great!" says Sam sarcastically. "My credit card may have been compromised, so they sent us a new one. It'll take me hours to change the number for all the bills I pay online."
"In my day, we had a simple, secure way of paying for stuff." says Irv, smugly. "We called it 'cash.'"
"I've heard of that." says Sam.

Yeah, there's absolutely no way to steal cash from someone. You'd have to have some method of physically moving small objects and a method of coercion, perhaps involving the threat of violence. There's no way criminals could ever manage it.


One-Panel Wednesday: Death, disease and tragedy. But funny.

Heathcliff, 2014-06-19.

Heathcliff leaves a hat shop, wearing a Mickey Mouse ears hat which he has presumably just purchased.
"The exterminator." says one of the hat shop staff members to the other.

I guess he's dressing as a mouse to kill mice? I don't get it.

Pardon My Planet, 2014-06-30.

A man is seeing a psychiatrist.
"A lot of people are not what we call 'morning people' and there are a lot of hidden reasons for that." says the psychiatrist. "However, in your case I'm guessing that 'getting up on the wrong side of the driveway' might be a hint."

It's funny because he's an alcoholic. He has a serious problem that's negatively affecting his life and health. Hilarious. Also, that is a lot of words for such a weak joke.

Family Circus, 2014-07-01.

PJ is eating a rapidly melting ice-cream. Dolly has just finished hers.
"You gotta remember, PJ," says Dolly, "the hotter the day, the faster you need to eat it."
PJ looks up at her sadly.


Action Tuesday: Mystery and Deception

Dick Tracy, having received a coded message somehow sent out by Annie, has gone off by himself to look for her in the middle of the night with no backup and no wrist wizard. I'm not sure if he even owns a mobile phone, given that he normally uses the wrist wizard, but it's probably safe to say that he didn't bring one of those either. So of course he's been knocked unconscious and taken to an unknown location.

Dick Tracy, 2014-06-29.

A calendar on the wall reads "June 1944" and rather than a picture the inside cover bears the slogan "Loose Lips Sink Ships". Dick wakes up in an unfamiliar bed. A woman wearing an old-fashioned nurse's uniform stands beside his bed. Her eyes are white, no pupils or irises.
"Is it morning already?" asks Dick. "Where am I?"
"Officer Tracy!" says the nurse. "You're finally awake!"
"Who are you?"
"I'm Nurse Pardene. You're in the hospital at Simmons Corners. You used to be our police officer. Don't you remember?"
"No..." says Dick, clutching his head.
"You enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor. You were sent home when you were injured at Anzio."
Nurse Pardene opens the door.
"Maybe some fresh baked cookies will make you feel better."
Dick looks up as a young red-haired girl comes into the room.
"Hi, Officer Tracy!" says Annie, apparently totally at ease with her surroundings. "Have some cookies?"

What does this mean? I'm assuming it's not time travel (although given the moon people, clones, space ships, etc. it's not totally out of the question), but why is someone going to all this trouble to make Tracy think it's 1944? Why is Nurse Pardene drawn with Annie-style eyes? If she's an existing character, I don't think she went by this name before since I couldn't turn anything up on Google. Are they still on the island that Dick traced Annie to? What is going on here, and why?

The Phantom, 2014-06-30.

"The Phantom is rough on roughnecks!" - Old Jungle Saying.

Some of those old jungle sayings just don't sound very impressive. There's some awesome violence to distract us in that strip though. Also in today's. The Phantom is so cool.

On the other end of the super-her spectrum, Spider-Man is still being made to look stupid by the apparently reformed Doc Ock. Peter, J Jonah Jameson and Otto were in a car together as JJJ and Ock discussed their proposed business relationship. Jonah hates Spider-Man, but he apparently doesn't have any problem with suddenly repentant super-villains.

Anyway, as they drove they encountered a fleeing carjacker and Octavius decided he'd go after it. Peter tried to convince Jonah to let him out of the car too so that he could take pictures, but JJJ was quick to point out that that was a stupid idea as there was no possible way for a photographer on foot to keep up with a high-speed car chase.

The Amazing Spider-Man, 2014-06-30.

Dr. Octopus goes after the carjacker...
"You wanted me to garner publicity for your paper, Jameson," says Ock, climbing out of the moving car, "will this do?"
"It sure will!" calls Jonah. "Well, what're you waiting for, Parker? Chase after him and take some pictures!"

See, it was a dumb idea when Peter suggested it, but now that Jonah is suggesting it it just makes Peter look even dumber, so everyone wins.