Main content:

Spring 2016 fundraiser

Click the banner to contribute to the Comics Curmudgeon. Details here.

Well, it’s that time again! Once or twice a year, I host a fundraiser so fans of the Comics Curmudgeon can thank Josh for the time, effort, and talent he puts into it every day.

A bit of history here: In 2004, newspapers moving news and features online discovered they couldn’t necessarily take syndicated comics along. King, Creators, Tribune, and other syndicates were finding their own ways to license, package, and monetize their comics online. But the uncurated, fragmented online experience that resulted just wasn’t the same as sitting down at the breakfast table, snapping open the paper, and snorting in derision at For Better or For Worse, Mutts, or Mary Worth.

Into that breach stepped dyspeptic Baltimore ginger Josh Fruhlinger, who created an authentic comics-mocking experience for the 21st Century. It started modestly and faced many trials, including disruptive, near-fatal behind-the-scenes changes by The Houston Chronicle, Google, WordPress, comics syndicates, and a global army of spammers. But with determination, creativity, and a growing complement of paid outside IT and design services, Josh has prevailed — so far.

Please help him keep that going, with a generous contribution. Even if you haven’t contributed before, consider sending an amount proportional to the enjoyment Josh’s work has given you over the past year — I bet it’s a lot! If it turns out to be $25 or more, you’ll receive a stylish and practical Comics Curmudgeon tote bag in addition to Josh’s personal and effusive thanks:

To contribute by credit card or PayPal, click the banner at the top of the page and follow the instructions on the secure PayPal site. To contribute by check or money order, email uncle.lumpy@comcast.net and I’ll reply with Josh’s brand-new Los Angeles address. Full details here.

If you’d prefer to browse through the directory of banners instead of playing Refresh Roulette, you can find it here, along with more than 500 banners going back all the way to 2008.

Thank you, generous readers!

— Uncle Lumpy

Black and white Monday

Herb and Jamaal, 5/2/16

Aww, an old friend … like whatever beloved buddy Jamaal killed, cremated, put in that urn, and stone-cold pawned to save on columbarium fees? Watch your back, Herb. Nice to know he’ll visit, though — I guess that’s what old friends are for.

Andy Capp, 5/2/16

Considering all the sexual directions this conversation could have taken, I’m glad it turned out to be about soccer.

Momma, 5/2/16

Am I the only person put off when medical staff say ‘Doctor’ as if There Were Only One? It smacks of status signalling, the way even soi-disant “horizontal” organizations signal their actual hierarchies by calling staff by last names, managers by first, executives by initials or nicknames, and CEOs only as “he” or “she.” OK for employees, I guess, but I’m the doc’s customer, dammit.

Anyway, for years I thought Momma’s surname was Hobbes — with an “e” — because she’s “… solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” I guess “Doctor” will find that out soon enough.

B.C., 5/2/16

Six thousand years ago, just before evolution stopped, moose — even the well-endowed ones — sported delicate little bird-tails that provoked religious zealots into orgies of murderous rage.


– Uncle Lumpy

Self-congratulation Sunday

Hey, it’s Spring, and May, and Sunday … and from the look of things, everybody’s feeling pretty darn good about themselves.

Crankshaft, 5/1/16

Here, Team Crankshaft congratulates itself for its tortured “blacksmith/booksmith” wordplay by showing in-strip proxies Lillian and Jeff gushing over it. But adopting Crankshaft’s sloppy malapropism will doom Lillian’s fledgling used-book business.

Sure, throngs of would-be readers will stream through Lillian’s quiet residential neighborhood, walk past her second-floor shop, and glance up at her sign. But being literary folk who know full well that a booksmith is a person who makes books, they’ll pass on the chance to climb all those stairs only to find an author, a publisher, or a bookbinder shooing them away.

Perhaps they’ll mutter as they pass by, “If only this town had a decent bookmonger — somebody could make a lot of money!”

The authors also missed the obvious opportunity to call the place “Mom’s attic” and sell old comic books. It’s like they lost track of the strip’s core mission.

Phantom, 5/1/16

Appearances aside, that’s not Disco John Belushi. It’s Hojo, recently destereotyped and crossing over from Lee Falk’s other creation, Mandrake the Magician. Hojo is fluent in six languages, head of global crimefighting outfit Inter-Intel, and a 10th-degree black belt in some martial art or other. But here, he’s just pleased as cheese to be out in the Seven Nations working together with his good buddy Phantom to suppress political opposition to Lothar’s brother. Lucky we can’t see his face when he learns they whupped the wrong guy; poor fella must be shattered.

But hey, why is that Phantom-cam shot of Otanko taken from the perspective of someone flat on his back? That can’t be good!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 5/1/16

June squicks out Rex as a form of bedtime recreation; it’s the only kind she gets. “Because you’re a doctor and she respects your judgment — despite your hilarious discomfort with anything even remotely biological. You think reproduction is icky, ‘doc,’ take a whiff of this guy.”


– Uncle Lumpy