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“There’s a man down in the water buffalo pen!” is my new catchphrase

Dick Tracy, 12/5/16

It’s no secret that, once the days of Dick Tracy’ violent insanity ended in 2011 (with a storyline that concluded with a villain in a bondage mask being eaten alive by rats) and a new creative team took over, I stopped focusing much on the strip here, mostly because it just wasn’t such an object of sick fascination for me any more. There hasn’t been anything particularly dramatically different about the current plotline, yet somehow it’s really caught my imagination with its string of low-key absurdities as it shambled from “a mean Congresslady wants to put space aliens in concentration camps” to “a guy who can’t stop taking selfies is lying low at the zoo.” Anyway, today’s strip particularly tickled me, mostly because of Dick’s line in the first panel. “Another storage area? Who knew that zoos had so much stuff that they needed to store? When am I going to get to stop looking in areas where things are stored and start shooting people in the face?” Don’t worry, Dick, I’m pretty sure that getting cattle prodded in the back is very much something that the Major Crime Unit’s internal review board will be glad to let you get extremely trigger happy over!

Dennis the Menace, 12/5/16

Wow, Dennis the Menace turned into bondage porn so gradually we barely noticed!

Hi and Lois, 12/5/16

Wow, Hi and Lois turned into a crushingly realistic depiction of a couple exhausted by parenthood and slowly losing whatever residual affection they had for each other so gradually we barely noticed!

The Lockhorns, 12/5/16

Is this the first time we’ve seen the top of Leroy’s head? I don’t care for it. I don’t care for it at all.

Mary Worth, 12/5/16

[I run up the stairs and throw open the door to the rooftop]

[I’m on the roof of an apartment building in a dreary metropolis]

[It’s pouring rain]

[I run to the edge of the roof and with a great heave pull aside a huge tarp]

[Underneath it is an ancient-looking spotlight]

[I throw a huge switch on its side]

[electricity surges into it and huge shaft of light beams into the sky]

[something’s written on the spotlight, something that’s now visible across the city]

[everyone for miles around cranes their necks to read the message written on the clouds]

MARY WORTH IS ABOUT TO GIVE A FORTYSOMETHING WOMAN ADVICE ABOUT WHETHER IT’S OK TO FUCK A 25-YEAR-OLD.

RED-HOT CHEEK-KISSING ACTION

Funky Winkerbean, 12/4/16

Just to remind those of you who don’t have the backstory to Funky Winkerbean occupying valuable real estate in your skull: After Cindy was fired from the TV news for being old, which, I can’t emphasize enough, is totally illegal, she went to work for some Internet thing called “Buddyblog.” This company mainly exists within the Funkyverse narrative to give Cindy an opportunity to openly insult young people for no reason, but it’s not exactly clear what it is exactly. The name implies that it’s a blog, but obviously that’s a media form that’s way past its lucrative prime [BITTER, HOLLOW LAUGHTER] and mostly it does video stuff which it … posts on the Internet, I guess? Do you think it’s streamed live? If it’s streamed live, Buddyblog’s dozens of viewers are probably about to get their most exciting episode yet, if you consider off-script rage from an interviewer “exciting.” You can really tell how seriously Cindy takes her new gig by the way she just checks the Google Alert she set for “‘mason jarr’ + cheating” while she’s on camera.

Panel from Slylock Fox, 12/4/16

Hey, Slylock doesn’t just use his powers of ratiocination to solve mysteries, OK? Sometimes he uses his powers of ratiocination to determine just where in physical space his enemy is, the better to kick his enemy’s ass. I am pretty disappointed that all we got here was a description of the thought process that led to the fracas, and not the actual vulpine vs. canine battle that we long to see.

“Wiggletoni” was an ethnic slur local children lobbed at Italians, but that’s better forgotten now

Crankshaft, 12/3/16

One of the ongoing Crankshaft plots that I find particularly unpleasant is “Crankshaft’s elderly neighbor has joy brought into her life by tween twins who alternately are baffled by her and condescend to her, which she ignores because she’s very lonely and figures this is as good as it’s going to get.” Anyway, like most old people, Ms. McKenzie is great at providing some backstory! Today, for instance, we learn that the present-day Montoni is not just some huckster who slapped his appropriately ethnic name on a storefront to help sell deeply mediocre pizza; in fact, he inherited his business from his immigrant parents, who ran it as a genuine Italian restaurant before he took over and cut costs by rebuilding the menu around deeply mediocre pizza. As you can see, Montoni still keeps some single-serving pasta Lean Cuisines in the freezer in the back, to placate the few customers who still remember the what the place was like before he ruined it.

Mark Trail, 12/3/16

Mark and Abbey: Still fleeing from a paroxysm of volcanic destruction, in case you’re wondering! It’s good to know that even in moments of high tension, the strip still sticks to its core values: our heroes may be fleeing from an unstoppable river of deadly, fast-flowing molten rock, but doesn’t mean that Abbey needs to cut corners by contracting “we are” to “we’re”.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 12/3/16

OH MY GOD REX AND JUNE DECIDED IT WAS “FINE” FOR THEIR PRECIOUS LITTLE SARAH TO TAKE THE BUS TO SCHOOL WITH THE NORMAL CHILDREN AND THEN SHE WAS IMMEDIATELY HIT BY A CAR

THE LESSON IS: THE WORLD IS FULL OF DANGERS YOUR CHILD MUST BE PROTECTED FROM BY A MOB CHAUFFEUR

AND IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD A MOB CHAUFFEUR THAT’S PROBABLY BECAUSE OF A MORAL FAILING ON YOUR PART AND MAYBE YOUR CHILD DESERVES TO BE HIT BY A CAR, A CAR SAFELY TRANSPORTING OTHER, MORE WORTHY CHILDREN TO THEIR DESTINATION