Saturday, September 12, 2009

Marmaduke: I don't need any more cheering up.

This cartoon is hilarious because Marmaduke (or his expressionless, robotic doppelganger?) has brought a pack of ravenous dogs to devour the flesh of his dying owner.

Adam@Home: Hmm ... I remember the first time I read this. Good times.

So you author a newspaper comic strip that's read by hundreds of thousands of people every day. You have just drawn a strip, and you realize that you have an opportunity to namedrop a book. What book do you choose?

If you said anything other than Twilight, you are not actually the author of a newspaper comic strip.

Lola: CRASH!

Speaking of the vagaries of coloring black and white drawings, bang-up job on this guy's hair, Anonymous Colorist Dude.

Family Circus: Everybody get your 'God bless you's' ready. I'm 'bout to sneeze again.

Dolly's nose appears to be turning black. This could just be one of the vagaries of coloring black and white drawings, but I would prefer to believe that it's the beginning of a delightfully quaint narrative attempt to grapple with race relations.

Like this one:

Momma: Francis, I'm hoping you'll spend the evening with me.

In which Momma's subtext becomes about as explicit as is possible in the comics section.

Luann: So what's goin' on with you and Toni?

And so Luann is deeply interested in the details of her brother's sex life.

Of course she is.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Marmaduke: I asked Marmaduke to pick a card, and he ate it.

What makes this Marmaduke good (no, really!) is its directness. This is who Marmaduke is. This is what Marmaduke does. He is a gaping maw. He is the Destroyer. He might be sad about a particular act for a little while, as he appears to be in this cartoon, but only because he knows he's made his people sad. And he likes his people! But he can't change what he is. If you give him a card, he's going to eat it. If you leave some food unattended, he's going to eat it. If you bring over an unfamiliar friend, he's going to eat your friend. If you are happy, he's going to eat that happiness. He doesn't mean anything by it. It's just the way things are.

Cartoons such as this show Marmaduke to be a fatalistic symbol, a metaphor for the consuming power of the natural world. All things are temporal and pass away. Why? Because Marmaduke fucking eats them.

Family Circus: PJ's takin' a nap without bein' told. Is he allowed to do that?

There are basically four sides to Jeffy's personality. There's Jeffy the fucking idiot. There's Jeffy the douchebag. There's Jeffy the naked toddler. And there's Jeffy the psychotic murderer.

Today's cartoon features Jeffy the fucking idiot douchebag. This coupling is fairly common. I am still, however, patiently awaiting the day when Jeffy displays all four of his character traits in one cartoon. Because that will be the best Family Circus ever.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dennis the Menace: You're pretty when you're mad, Mom.

This cartoon is hilarious because Mrs. Mitchell has rejected her son's sexual advances.

Considering that this is the comics section, doing so makes her a woman of especially strong moral character.

Family Circus: Miss McElfresh is very proud of me. We've had three days of school and I haven't missed ONE DAY yet.

Miss McElfresh's expectations have apparently been tempered by the last fifty years of Family Circus cartoons.

Ziggy: Assume the position!

This cartoon is hilarious because Ziggy is about to get anally raped by government officials again.*

*It's fun for the whole family!

BC: Did you guys see it this morning? She went down for a tan!

So the corpse of Johnny Hart apparently believes that being mean and misogynistic is the same thing as being funny.

This is not surprising.

The Quigmans: I'm really lonely, so give me a combo platter so I can try and assemble a new friend.

This cartoon is hilarious because it's the most disturbingly morbid thing I've ever seen in the comics section.

Hagar the Horrible: When did you switch from jogging to out-and-out running?

Domestic violence! Ha!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Beetle Bailey: He's been reading that book on positive thinking.

On the one hand, this is the kind of low-key, character-based humor I generally praise. On the other hand, it's not funny.

The problem is that the joke feels incomplete. "He's been reading that book on positive thinking" is the punchline, but it's dangerously low on punch. The obvious, but superior punchline would involve some sort of pratfall in a third panel. It still would have been surprisingly solid character work, and I might have even laughed.

Family Circus: Are the WEEDS greener on the other side of the fence, too?

If you compare Jeffy's body in today's Family Circus to Jeffy's body in yesterday's Family Circus, you will see that he appears to have grown a foot overnight. Since this is, of course, impossible, we can only assume that Bil and Jeff Keane are not telling the story of the Keane clan in chronological order, but that The Family Circus is, in fact, an especially subtle example of a nonlinear narrative.

This raises a great many questions and will no doubt force readers to analyze the daily cartoon on a deeper level. For example, what are we now to make of what seemed at the time to be lazy continuity errors? Or lazy drawing? Is Jeffy's murderous behavior a future event or has it already consumed his soul? And if it is a future event, is it set in stone? Or is the future malleable? Is Sunday's cartoon an example of two possible futures? Or perhaps parallel universes? Is Jeffy's comment in today's cartoon a clue that parallel universes are, in fact, the key to unlocking the mysteries of The Family Circus?

Only time, as it were, will tell.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Baldo: Tia Carmen! I'm changing in here!

This comic is hilarious because Baldo has a tiny penis.

Drabble: Hello, trash company? I need you to come pick up an old barbecue!

How lazy is the guy* who writes Drabble?

So lazy he can't even be bothered to think up a name for the trash company that plays a prominent role in today's comic strip.

*I'd look up his name, and perhaps even verify that he's a man, but he/she
really doesn't deserve that much effort.

Rose is Rose: Will you be much longer, Momma?

So Rose apparently huffs highlighters.

It explains so much.

Family Circus: Just think--only 179 more days of school!

This comic is hilarious because Billy and Dolly appear to be glowing, while Jeffy, free from the suffocating strictures of America's prison-like education and employment systems, is letting it all hang out.

Ziggy: Geneology

And so Ziggy is the product of squirrel and human intercourse.

This is not surprising, though also ultimately unsatisfactory. However much squirrel Ziggy may have in him, he exhibits distinct physical traits that no amount of squirrel blood could create. There is more to this origin story, and I for one will not rest until Tom Wilson has explained in gruesome detail the horrifying acts of reproduction that led to the genetic abortion that is Ziggy's existence.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Circus: I'm beginning my farewell tour around the house before I go to bed.

This cartoon is hilarious because Billy occasionally forgets that he is not an adored religious leader quite yet.

In a few years, though, these peons will be scrambling to wash his feet.

Momma: How very nice!!

Most people read Momma and just see a terrible comic strip. But I read Momma and see a terrible comic strip about a woman who desperately wishes she could have sex with her grown male offspring.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Family Circus: In which we pity Thel.

This cartoon is hilarious because Bill is completely useless as a parent.