Dennis the Menace, 3/5/15
As a Ginger-American, I spend a lot of time wishing for more positive depictions of my people in the media. Sure, we have the Weasely family, but that’s about it. Thus, I was actively angered when I saw that today’s Dennis the Menace indulged in the sad, stereotypical depiction of redheads as angry, sullen drunks. You know what the real menace is, Dennis? Intolerance.
Hagar the Horrible, 3/5/15
It’s not so much that Hagar doesn’t like tea as he doesn’t respect the property rights of settled agricultural folk who live in castles, Eddie. For now, you’re part of his war-band, and so he considers you a friend and ally. But as soon as you form a marriage-tie to the ruling class of settled, civilized Europe, you become an enemy to any self-respecting Viking who dreams only of bringing plunder back to his family and retainers on the continent’s northern fringes. Inviting Hagar in to your inherited home will mean signing your own death warrant.
We all love the patented Shoe Goggle Eyes Of Horror, of course, but almost as charming are their complement, the patented Shoe Heavy Lids Of Despair. They’re particularly grim to see on the face of ostensible child Skyler, whose youthful love of life has long been crushed under the unshakeable compulsion to answer straightforward questions in school with terrible, unfunny wordplay. “His friends wanted to make sure he got the point,” Skyler says, hating himself. “Eh? Eh? Get it? Because he was stabbed to death?”
I was kind of meh on this storyline for a while, but everything that’s happened after Mysterio was captured has been pure comedy gold. Today, the fiend manages to break free from captivity and … runs six feet to attempt to make a dumb point about Spider-Man’s secret identity! Then he stands around like a jerk while the cop trots over to arrest him again!
Family Circus, 3/5/15
“Yeah, I gazed at the wonder of creation, saw otherworldly sights that have moved the hearts of men for centuries. Turns out the moon’s pretty lame! What’s on TV?”
Funky Winkerbean, 3/4/15
Here’s a confession: despite my boldly assuming the title “the Comics Curmudgeon” back in 2004, I got into this gig entirely from reading newspaper comics and haven’t read the much more popular genre of comic books with any regularity since I was about 10 or so. Nevertheless, I feel like I’ve absorbed a certain amount of information about the business by cultural osmosis, and thus I feel confident in saying that it’s completely believable that some comics publisher would want to take a zany character from the ’60s or ’70s called “The Amazing Mister Sponge” and do a “dark,” “gritty,” “edgy,” “relevant” reboot of him, with the hope of convincing a studio to turn it into a murky movie where everyone is sad all the time. I draw the line at Doctor Centipede, though. You don’t get to call yourself “Doctor Centipede” unless you’re actually a freakish being with dozens of legs protruding from your multiple body segments (and also have either a medical degree or a PhD in one of the hard sciences). Just being a hundred times smarter and stronger than usual? Not okay. The “pede” stands for foot, buddy. How much of this guy’s time is spent snippily justifying his nom de supervillainy? “No, see, the hundred limbs in this conceit are metaphors for the power I wield thanks to my enhanced str–” [is absorbed by The Amazing Mister Sponge]
In even dumber superhero news, Spider-Man has been saved by a timely faked Skype call! That’s the best way to get a hold of your wife on a movie set, straight-up Skype-calling some random laptop that you hope is vaguely nearby, probably. You certainly wouldn’t want to call her on, say, the cell phone she’s holding in panel three. While this cheap trick obviously hasn’t fooled Mysterio, it will probably fool everyone else, because they’re morons, which I kind of love. Everyone will just be all like, “Welp, I guess we’ll never know who Spider-Man really is” and Mysterio will shout “You fools! I just told you! It’s Peter Parker!” and everyone will say “Ha ha, but there was a Skype call!” I also love that even in his entirely justified rage, Mysterio stays on-brand and keeps referring to himself in the third person.
Mary Worth, 3/4/15
“Kids adapt and trust the flow of life more than grown-ups do! Why, the thought of having to baby-sit on short notice makes me fly into a rage, but Gordon is totally fine with suddenly having two new men in his life that he’s been ordered to address as ‘dad’ and ‘granddad!’”
Judge Parker, 3/4/15
Were you worried that this strip wasn’t spending enough time on Neddy Spencer’s burgeoning sexuality and what older, volatile men think of her? Well, the next six to eight uncomfortable weeks are for you, my friend!
How much of our day-to-day life is driven by conscious decision-making based on the sum of our life history, and how much by instinct? That is the question the current Phantom amnesiac storyline asks. The Phantom already has assumed many of his old Phantom-habits — crime fighting, journaling — and now he takes on one of the most important: the urge to reproduce himself! Didn’t realize how much the quest for a suitable mate was part of the Phantom mythos, did you? How many of those volumes in the Skull Cave are just full of drawings of various ladies, surrounded by little hearts and “MRS. THE PHANTOM” and “GOOD BREEDING STOCK” written over and over again?
Hey, remember when Chatu kidnapped the Phantom’s wife but let the Phantom believe she was dead, and then the Phantom got all flirty with sexy anti-pirate high seas vigilante Captain Savarna? This strip finds a lot of contrived ways to set up doomed love stories, is what I’m saying.
Ha ha, whoops, looks like Spider-Man’s secret identity has been revealed, revealed by some jerk with a bowl cut who used extremely basic observations of Spider-Man’s day-to-day routine to figure it out, in a way that really anyone who cared probably could’ve years ago. How’s our hero going to get out of this one? Maybe everyone is so distracted by the fact (suddenly very obvious in panel three) that Mysterio’s costume leaves nothing to the imagination that they haven’t been listening to anything he’s said for a while now.
Funky Winkerbean, 3/3/15
A corny play on words? That’s not a well-written comic strip punchline. A corny play on words, followed by another character acknowledging how corny that play on words is, followed by some depressing talk that trails off with an ellipsis? That’s a well-written comic strip punchline!