Saturday, December 5, 2009

Family Circus: ...and over here, Granddad, the swings are broken and the sandbox needs fixin' and my bike seat fell off and...

Cartoons such as this serve to remind old people that even though it would be nice if their grandchildren loved them more, there are certain advantages to living in the real world.

Keane Inc. probably does this so as to hedge against the fantasy becoming so enticing that reality seems depressing by comparison, thereby risking turning old people away.

Mark Trail: OWWww

Turns out something did actually happen: Rusty got hurt! But this happens so often in Mark Trail that it may as well be nothing.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that Sassy's finally had enough, and that this whole beach trip thing is a plot to finally get Rusty out of her life. Unfortunately for her, of course, nobody gets away with this kind of villainy in Lost Forest. I look forward to the image of Mark Trail punching his young ward's puppy in the face.

The Phantom: NO!!

This plan is so clearly better than just killing her, what with the very slim chance of backfiring and all.

Marmaduke: He probably like you, but really likes what you had for breakfast.

This cartoon is hilarious because Marmaduke is sexually assaulting a random stranger while children look on happily.

Baldo: I'd vote for him because he's so cute.

It would be nice if people put more thought into their votes, but it's pretty clear that they generally don't. This Baldo reminds me of the old lady in the Goodwill store I overheard asserting that George W. Bush was a good president because of his chin. "He has a good, strong chin," she said. "A presidential chin." Indeed.

Cleats: And then you'd have to get into popular culture.

"Of course, even with all that, it would still suck."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Family Circus: Boy, we're lucky! We've got a LOT of people to kiss good night!

The Family Circus is one-part autobiographical kids do and say the darnedest things and one-part nuclear family myth. This cartoon is of the second variety, in which the Keane clan is held up as the ideal family. It's supposed to be heartwarming and reaffirming for people who wish all families were like this, just like they were back in the good old days.

But, really, does anyone actually want a family like this? Because this sort of thing is just really fucking weird.

Mark Trail: Come on, girl, you shouldn't be under there--it's too DANGEROUS!

Oh no! I'm feeling very tense! This is quite suspenseful! I can't wait until tomorrow's Mark Trail, wherein the car will fall, but everybody will be perfectly safe! Either that or the car won't fall at all!

Marmaduke: No! I don't want to see the odd-looking toupee he brought home.

What I usually do here is point out all the unintentionally horrifying things the comics section portrays. It's basic deconstruction. The Family Circus is supposed to be about how cute the kids are, but oh, look, they're actually monsters from Hell. That kind of thing.

But is there any reading of today's Marmaduke that's not horrifying? It's hard to tell just what exactly Marmaduke's holding, and I presume it was drawn that way intentionally, but the most obvious interpretation is that it's a dead hedgehog or some other poor decaying creature. Which is only slightly less horrifying than the Comics Curmudgeon's suggestion that it's a still-bleeding scalp.

But let's say it is a toupee. Where has Marmaduke found this toupee? The most likely answer is off of someone's head. But how has he gotten it off of this person's head? Was the person dead? Did he kill the person? Was the person passed out in a gutter? Was this person just out taking a walk, minding his own business, when Marmaduke suddenly leaped up and grabbed the toupee from his head? In which case, how could Marmaduke be sure that the walker's hair was false? Are we to believe that Marmaduke has such powerful observational skills that he can immediately differentiate false hair from real? Or was it just a lucky guess? In which case, it would just be a happy coincidence that it's not a still-bleeding scalp.

The most generous reading is that Marmaduke either found the toupee on the ground or stole it from a toupee store. But those are not at all the sorts of conclusions a reader would immediately come to upon seeing the cartoon. On the contrary, it seems to me that coming to one of those conclusions requires going through at least one or two of the other more horrifying possibilities.

All of which is to say, Marmaduke probably really is a monstrous killing machine. I just hope the movie adaptation stays true to the character and doesn't try to tone him down in a misguided attempt to get a PG-13 rating and the younger audience it would entail.

Curtis: Of course meaning me, child-ogre!

I am amused by "child-ogre." I can't help it. It's funny.

Of course, that's not the actual joke in the comic. But it's often the little things surrounding the jokes that make comics worth reading. Just ask Get Fuzzy.

9 Chickweed Lane: Will I still be able to sing for our boys if I volunteer for this job?

This comic is hilarious because Edie refuses to give Germans erections unless she can give Americans erections too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Family Circus: Grandma says that's how she used to rock you, but could she even LIFT you?

In fairness, as Jeffy surely knows, most of Thel's weight is in her enormous rack.

Dog Eat Doug: Good Try! I think you're close to breaking him.

What I most like about Dog Eat Doug is that Sophie sort of hates Doug and never passes up the opportunity to mock, manipulate or otherwise torment him, and yet it still comes off as somehow less mean-spirited than most other comic strips. There's an affection underneath the hate that most relationships in the comics section lack, but it's hard to nail down exactly.

Stone Soup: From your lips to God's ears.

And so God hates the characters in Stone Soup.

I sympathize. With God.

Kit 'n' Carlyle: If you don't want me sleep under the covers, turn up the furnace heat.

This cartoon is hilarious because Kit does not want to have sex with her cat tonight.


This comic is hilarious because Betty and Alex want to have a threesome with an old lady.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Family Circus: If Grandma is goin' shopping too, I'll come with you, but if she's not, I think I'll stay home.

Aww, old people, isn't it adorable how Jeffy loves his grandmother more than his mother?

The smug look on on Grandma's face is an especially nice touch.

Shoe: IRS

At least he's not getting anally raped ha ha ha?

Mark Trail: I'm afraid we busted a tire when we went over those rocks...

I was actually looking forward to see what would happen in Mark Trail today after yesterday's cliffhanger. So unless it's just a fake out and Mark is going to get eaten by a rabid seal tomorrow, today's flat tire is a bit of a letdown.

All of this suggests that I have somehow become the sort of person who lets himself get caught up in Mark Trail storylines. What has become of me?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Family Circus: Mommy and Grandma will NEVER get those dishes done, 'cause all they do is talk.

This cartoon is hilarious because Dolly is annoyed that her grandmother's arrival has thrown a kink into her carefully calibrated family power structure. Thel really should have the dishes done by now, goddamn it.

Mark Trail: A deer suddenly darts out of the woods in front of Mark and Rusty...

This really ought to be the last Mark Trail ever, as a more perfect ending--Mark and Rusty driving off a cliff together to save a woodland creature--could not possibly exist.*

It's more likely, however, that Mark will reach out the window, grab hold of a twig, and proceed to pull the car back up the cliff with his bare hands. Because he's Mark Fucking Trail, and that's how he rolls.


La Cucaracha: Jobbs for Dobbs!

This comic is hilarious because Lalo Alcaraz has discovered Photoshop and thinks it makes him clever.

Hi and Lois: Did you forget that I have my book club meeting tonight?

This comic is hilarious because Hi is attempting to get back at his adulterous wife by engaging in family fun.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Family Circus: Nobody trades lunches today. EVERYBODY had turkey sandwiches.

This cartoon is hilarious because people eat turkey for Thanksgiving and often have leftovers.

Mark Trail: MARK, LOOK OUT!

There are times when I feel like any comment I could make would be superfluous. This is one of those times. Observe the bland, wooden dialog. The exclamation points. The action of a vehicle in motion. The sloppily rendered scenery contrasting with the lovingly crafted animal. And, of course, Mark's face in the second panel. It is perfection.

Sally Forth: Will you look at the size of this tree?

It has been my experience that Christmas trees do indeed grow every year. The first year my wife and I lived together, we had a one foot tall fake plastic tree rescued from my in-laws' garage. Now we have a real tree that's probably about five feet tall. Getting a larger tree up the stairs and into our apartment would be quite the ordeal, but when we buy a house, I imagine we'll get a tree like Sally and Ted's.

I do wonder when the trend reverses itself. My grandparents have had tiny and/or fake trees for as long as I can remember.

I suppose I should make a withering observation here so as to belatedly make this post worth reading. So this comic is hilarious because it indicates that there was once a time when Sally actually tried to preserve Ted's tenuous grasp on manhood. That time has, of course, long since passed.

Hi and Lois: We need to talk about this.

This comic is hilarious because Hi has finally figured out that his wife is cheating on him.

The Phantom: What a fighter!

So it turns out that The Phantom's wife is not really dead.

This is the least surprising plot twist ever.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Non Sequitur: Never the end, only a new beginning.

And thus was every Non Sequitur Sunday strip ever written perfectly summarized in a single line.

Family Circus: ...

Gluttony ha ha.


This comic is hilarious because the dinosaur wants to fuck the Cute Chick.