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Metapost: Jack Elrod, 1924-2016 (plus COTW)

Very sad news in the comics world yesterday: Jack Elrod, the longtime writer and artist of Mark Trail, died at the age of 91. While he didn’t create the strip, he was in charge of it for nearly 30 years, and my fascination with his earnest and entertaining style was a huge factor in getting me to start this blog. Everyone who knew him seemed to think he was great, and this obituary has some great stories about him. I’m glad the strip is in the hands of James Allen, who’s carrying on his legacy, and I’m sorry James has lost a friend. Let’s all salute the Elrod Ball one more time in his honor!

But we the living must carry on, and let’s enjoy this comment of the week:

“This outpouring of Anti-Dutch sentiment in Dennis’s classroom is justified. The world watched in horror as the newly-proclaimed Greater Dutch Rijk flouted all treaties and agreements, brutally annexing Belgium, Luxembourg and parts of Normandy. A true menace always goes through Belgium.” –Gen. von Buxhoevden

And the runners up are very enjoyable as well!

Funeral arrangements are pending. If only we could all be so lucky, dear reader.” –rbmalpha

“Oh. I thought it was funny because the schoolchildren are being poisoned by their own society. I guess I just haven’t got the hang of Shoe’s humor yet.” –Eric

“I dunno, I think the Six Chix drawings are ALL HAIL OUR NEW MASTER, DEMON PIG!” –Steve S

“I can’t wait for John Locher Springstein to tell his origin story. ‘You know how I got into this job? It’s because of a man who used to wear this vest. A man I made a solemn promise to, long ago. I swore I would bring down Chuck Berry for ripping off Johnnie B. Goode from him, all those years ago.’” –Doctor Handsome

“The Paleo exhibit depicts one of the ancient Mole Rat’s most important daily activities. There are many theories as to why the entire species later developed blindness.” –Mikey

“I return to my previous assertion that this is the laziest Catcher in the Rye reboot in history. Mary Holden and Olive Phoebe go to the museum, where ‘you could go there a hundred thousand times and … nobody’d be different. The only thing that would be different would be you.’ They go to the show, that’s ‘not as bad as some I’ve seen. It was on the crappy side, though.’ Now they’re going skating, where Mary and Olive will no doubt ‘be the worst skaters on the whole goddamn rink. And there were some lulus.’ Will we get a flashback to Dr. Jeff’s disgusting razor, all gunked up with soap and hair? Will Olive wake up when Mary is patting her hair while she sleeps? Will it all end on the merry-go-round? Will Mary force a comic Salinger out of hermitage with her relentless advice? At least the Mary Worth audience is unlikely to contain teens who might try to use the storyline to avoid reading the book, and spectacularly fail all of their assignments.” –rocketbride

“More horrifying is the inky blackness of Death is now retreating from the dead fish, now that he has reaped his terrible harvest.” –Ethan Shuster

“Mostly due to arson. We get up to a whole lotta arson in the country, dad.” –Torquil Colbo, on Facebook

“Once CNBC reported this literally-sweating-the-price-of-a-jacket thing, the great LodgeCo selloff began. If the government hadn’t designated Mr. Lodge ‘too big to fail,’ Veronica would be wearing burlap by Christmas.” –handsome Harry Backstayge, idol of a million other women

“Archie, I’m going to attempt to relate to you now. Now let’s see, it’s been a while, but I think teens address each other by … staring intently at the nape of the neck, then immediately turning away without eye contact? Yeah, that sounds about right.” –Dan

“In panel one, the dog looks on in helpless horror, knowing that his master is about to be devoured by a clowder of feral cats but is helpless to stop it. In panel two, he’s just miffed because he knows the greedy buggers won’t even leave him a thigh bone to chew on.” –TheDiva

“Gasoline Alley’s scrapbook obsession is now officially a cry for help, probably euthanasia.” –C. Sandy Cyst

I’m at that in-between age. I don’t know if I live in the 1950s or the 1980s! And what the fuck is a Spongebob?” –Chyron HR

“If ‘best shot’ refers to photography, then I hope Peter caught Namor’s Blue Steel pose in panel 2.” –A Concerned Reader

Thanks to everyone who put some scratch in my tip jar! And let’s give thanks to our advertisers:

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B.C. to soon just be empty landscapes with birds in the distance

Beetle Bailey, 2/5/16

I haven’t really tried, but I imagine that it’s nearly impossible to make a pancake that actually looks like anything other than a collection of circles, so I guess if we’re being realistic it’s impressive that Cookie has managed to create pancakes that look even vaguely like Sarge. However, considering that this is the fantasy world of the comics, where imagination and tiny printing sizes in newspapers are the only constraints, for this strip to work I think they should’ve looked … more obviously like Sarge? I think a lot of people are just going to read this as Cookie offering the soldiers slightly malformed pancakes, grinning broadly, and saying “Chew them good!”, which they might find off-putting. I find it off-putting and I know what the joke is supposed to be.

B.C., 2/5/16

Right, right, so, Thor is the brown-haired one! Pretty bittersweet that I’m finally learning to tell these characters apart as they’re killed off one by one.

Dennis the Menace, 2/5/16

“I don’t know if I want to engage in constant low-level violence on a lawless frontier that encroaches on the land of indigenous peoples, or serve as the right-hand man to a genocidal dictator!”

Gasoline Alley, 2/5/16

“My God, not the scrapbook! Pilot, shake loose the ranger and the boy, fly directly down into the inferno, and kill that bear as hard as you need to — the scrapbook must be rescued unharmed!”

Spider-Man, 2/5/16


Mr. Lodge literally has ancient statues on plinths just scattered around his house

Archie, 2/4/16

Usually Archie and Mr. Lodge are in engaged in a constant struggle for dominance, with the plutocrat heaping withering contempt on the hapless teen at all times while Archie gamely attempts to maintain a relationship with his daughter and keep his head down. Today is an extremely rare instance of Mr. Lodge actually attempting to empathize with Archie, which he does by … attempting to commiserate about his daughters flaws! Ha ha, women, am I right? Always shopping, especially if you have unlimited cash at your disposal and live in a vast mansion! Oh, mercy.

Slylock Fox, 2/4/16

In the first panel, the man is frowning because he’s finally realized that his cat hoarding is a symptom of his terrible obsessive-compulsive disorder, and he desperately needs help in order to put his life back on track and get those pets into homes where they can be well cared for. In the second panel, the man looks shocked because the cat is starting to pee on his head.