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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Mary Worth, 7/15/19

Oh wow, it looks like the extremely terrible trend of “negging” has finally hit France, or maybe Hugo has learned it as part of his cultural studies here in America, but either way he’s taking it to the next level by negging not just Dawn’s appearance or personality (seems like there’d be a lot of rich material with that one in particular) but her whole country. Which, yeah, we have a lot to answer for, especially when it comes to culinary matters, but I think you lose your right to talk smack about how and what other people eat and drink when you’re in the middle of eating a sandwich with a fork.

Hi and Lois, 7/15/19

Ha ha, kids today and their Wi-Fi, amiright everybody? Anyway, feel free to speculate how long Chip has been isolating himself socially and refusing to leave his room that he’s forgotten that his wireless connectivity ends when he leaves the house.

Dick Tracy, 7/15/19

Well, it’s Monday and it’s time for a new Dick Tracy storyline, and this one starts with … Dick being gunned down in the pouring rain right outside his precinct? That’s pretty solid, actually, though it’s honestly weird to see it so soon in the week, as it’ll be pretty hard to top.

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Panel from Slylock Fox, 7/14/19

We’ve seen some evidence in the past that one of the few jobs that humans are still allowed to have under the Glorious Animal Regime is clown. Presumably this is because the newly ascendent animals find us funny, both because of our gangly physique and because of the general comical pathos that accrues to the once mighty brought low. At any rate, is it any wonder that we steal now? Steal from the animals, literal animals, who hold us in contempt, who keep us around only to laugh at us, and who, it’s very clear from the background details in this panel, have no idea how to run a circus? This clown may be a criminal in the eyes of Slylock, but he’s a true hero to me.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 7/14/19

Rex Morgan has traditionally been about providing medical information that folks at home could really use in their own lives, like “there’s a really specific disease that’ll make you barf up your food every time you try to eat it,” for instance. Anyway, this current storyline seems to be about how you should not let your elderly family members listen to podcasts? Honestly, I agree with this. Better safe than sorry!

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Dennis the Menace, 7/13/19

Usually the whole deal with this strip is that Dennis blabs something unpleasant that one of his parents said directly to the person who his parents blabbed unpleasantly about behind their back, and they always look real embarrassed about it but they never stop talking shit about other people in front of their big-mouth kid, now do they? The shy little smile on Henry here today shows that he’s finally admitting to himself that he secretly loves it when Dennis says the things that he dares not, and now he’s instigating these episodes deliberately, starting with Mr. Wilson, who seems safe because if he were going to attack Dennis or Henry physically, wouldn’t he have done it years ago at this point?

Funky Winkerbean, 7/13/19

“So he was only an accessory to murder, which is barely being a criminal at all!”

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

The comment of the week: You want it, we’ve got it:

“Presumptuous of her to tell JJ he doesn’t want to hurt anyone. He had to spend a bunch of time with the inhumanly dull Mark Trail, who left him for dead in a flood. There is nothing JJ wants more than to pull that trigger.” –Conynaut

The runners up: Also hilarious!

“‘William Bellows Inkpot‘ may be the sorriest attempt at a funny name I’ve ever seen in the newspaper comic strip Funky Winkerbean.” –Rosstifer

“Well, judging from Dagwood’s ‘eat anything that can’t outrun me’ diet, his teeth are either made of an indestructible titanium alloy or they’re a graveyard of rotting stumps.” –Pozzo

“Say what you want about Mary Worth, but ‘Dawn shops at H&M‘ is as solidly believable a piece of characterization as any I’ve seen on the comics page.” –Dan

“Alternate caption: ‘You know you’re a senior plugger when you find out that the crossword puzzle you’ve been struggling with for three days is actually a Sudoku.’” –Guy Lumbago

“I was trying to figure out which military occupational specialty ‘envelope licker‘ falls under. Signal Corps seemed most obvious, maybe 25U Signal Support Systems Specialist. But if the envelopes are intended for the public, probably 46Q Public Affairs Specialist. But then I realized the horror of it all, Pvt. Zero’s disgusting saliva slathered over envelopes intended for enemy combatants, and it was clear – 74D Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) Specialist. Godspeed, Pvt. Zero and your horrific mouth flora. Godspeed.” –Voshkod

“There are days when this strip veers dangerously close to looking like the junior version of The Lockhorns, and you know what? I love it.” –pugfuggly

“‘Theft with a gun and insulting the Small Business Administration … those are crimes against God and man, JJ! Perhaps you’re not aware of that, living in the desert as you do.’ ‘How is insulting the SBA a crime?” ‘Obviously you’ve never read Leviticus. It’s my favorite.’ ‘How about leaving me to die after the flood?!’ ‘Leviticus.’” –Little Blue Bicycle

“Ah, Google Translate, the language of love!” –TheDiva

“Calling Butter Brinkel simply by less than his full name is a little off brand.” –Foodar

“And, hey, ladies, I have a possible title for your documentary: A Brinkel in Crime. You can use that! Just give me credit. Anyway, here’s another anecdote about me and Dashiell Hammett…” –Joe Blevins

“Somebody’s looking to make a fortune on a series of stories about a dystopian future — but somehow I think The Cow Sayer (Parts 1, 2 and 3) is no Hunger Games.” –BigTed

“Let’s all spare a thought for the Disney/Marvel marketing manager who had to sell her bosses on the idea of spending money on a product placement in Hi and Lois and then had to turn around and explain to the interns what a newspaper comic is.” –Francisco Arrowroot

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Hi and Lois, 7/12/19

Cheer up, Chip! You may not be part of the lucrative stable of intellectual property held by the Walt Disney Company, but Hearst Communications, the parent of King Features, is no slouch! In a tough media landscape, Hearst remains profitable and in fact its revenue grew in 2018. Of course, a closer look a the numbers reveals that nearly 40 percent of 2019’s profits will come from “business and medical data and software operations,” which might mean that the whole comics division is going to be spun off and sold to a private equity fund so Hearst can focus on its core competencies. That’s when you really need to start worrying, buddy! In the meantime, enjoy being subsidized by the aviation-safety data company that’s under the same corporate umbrella as you for whatever reason!

Dick Tracy, 7/12/19

Ha, nice try, Dick, but you don’t get to be a billionaire war profiteer without knowing a thing or two about how to deal with nosy cops, and one thing you know is that you definitely don’t answer casual questions about how it sure looks like you killed your wife without, like, a team of lawyers present.

Six Chix, 7/12/19

I’m not going to lie, y’all: I’m kind of in awe of the extremely bleak turn this joke takes very, very quickly.

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Funky Winkerbean, 7/11/19

Ah ha, now we’re finding out why Cliff Anger, who was bosom buddies with Butter Brinkel, never spoke up about evidence he heard to clear his friend’s good name: that evidence came from the Pinkertons, a “detective agency” whose primary purpose in the late 19th and early 20th century was to bust unions and break strikes, often violently. Cliff, as an unrepentant Stalinist, simply refused to give any credence to information coming from private right-wing militias, no matter what the consequences for his pal.

Pluggers, 7/11/19

Oh my God, this is actually … a good idea? I read today’s Pluggers and immediately had the thought, “Well, for me it’s dark grey and black, but yes, I would do this?” Folks, today is the fifteenth anniversary of the very first post on this blog, and it’s also the day I clearly have begun to die. Farewell, I love you all!

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Mary Worth, 7/10/19

Well well well, it looks like Dawn’s big summer romance is going to be with Hugo Lambert, a handsome French exchange student (do they call them “exchange students” in college? I’m pretty sure they don’t) who took Ian’s class with Dawn last year. (Side note: how is it that we never got to see Dawn take Ian’s class? I for one would’ve loved to have seen her smirk her way through Ian’s bloviating lectures about how Tess of the D’Urbervilles will change your life.) Anyway, you can tell Hugo is French and definitely not some kind of con artist because he speaks French for things that English speakers could quickly grasp in that language, but otherwise speaks perfect English. Plus he kisses Dawn’s hand! No American man would be that romantic, based on what I’ve learned from TV sitcoms!

Mark Trail, 7/10/19

Say what you will about Mark Trail, but he’s always willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Like, maybe JJ just doesn’t know that it’s illegal to threaten people with a gun and force them to give you all the gold they found in a hidden, magical mine. Or maybe he forgot! He just forgot that he wasn’t supposed to do this! That’s a whoopsy that could happen to anyone, and it’s kind of Mark to jog his memory a bit before punching the shit out of him.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 7/10/19

Wow, look at that smile on June in the last panel! Literally nothing that’s happened to her in the past decade of this strip — certainly not any of her interactions with her husband or her growing brood of children — has made her as happy as the thought of checking out a website that will tell her how much money dumb people are willing to pay to have their auras laundered or whatever.

Gil Thorp, 7/10/19

Oh, I see how it is: it’s OK for Hadley and Jaquan to live in two different places just because she already has an established legal career and he’s an NBA player who doesn’t get to choose where he lives but also he’s rich so they can afford it, but when Tiki Jansen wants to live in two different places at once so he can go to the school of his choice, he gets in trouble? This is precisely the kind of outrageous double standard that Hadley used to oppose. You’ve changed, Hadley. You’ve changed.

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Family Circus, 7/9/19

I gotta say, if Jeffy had his usual facial expression of moronic joy as he said this particular darndest thing, I would’ve scrolled past this panel without a second thought. But his heavy-lidded cynical look here really drew me into this scenario. I’m imagining him talking to Dolly very sarcastically. “Oh, are there butter saucers, too? How far are you willing to take this metaphor? It’s typical you don’t have the courage of your convictions on this.”

Beetle Bailey, 7/9/19

Where do you suppose Sarge went between these two panels? Do you think he saw one of the privates under his command — one of the men who he’s been charged with molding into a warrior who will fight to the death to defend our nation’s honor — just waving his tongue around, eyes closed, slobbering everywhere, and decided to take a long walk and think about his choices? Maybe he’ll finally follow up on that offer he got to join ISIS. Couldn’t be much worse!

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Mary Worth, 7/8/19

So I guess we’re really getting a Dawn plot, huh? Well, we all know there’s only one kind of Dawn plot, and that’s a story about her weird, sad romantic life. Whether she’s catching her boyfriend two-timing her at the stables, moping on the couch for weeks after being dumped, having an all-consuming but ostensibly platonic relationship with one of her professors, or finding out her new boyfriend is married to somebody else, the combination of Dawn and love can only mean one thing: pain. That’s why it’s appropriate that this summer’s romance starts with Dawn and her inevitable inamorato slamming into each other at full speed and presumably breaking a rib or two in the process.

Mark Trail, 7/8/19

You know, I always thought one of the big pluses of having a gun is that you don’t have to come up with some elaborate personal backstory or emotional arc to explain why you’re going to take what you want by force. You can just threaten to shoot them if they don’t give it to you! No need to get into interest rates on small business loans or whatever!

Pluggers, 7/8/19

I don’t want to tell Pluggers how to do their job, but I do think that once your caption hits four lines of text, it’s gotten a little too specific.

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Comics Curmudgeon readers! Do you love this blog and yearn for a novel written by its creator? Well, good news: Josh Fruhlinger's The Enthusiast is that novel! It's even about newspaper comic strips, partly. Check it out!

Blondie, 7/7/19

I know that it’s in the throwaway panels, but it bothers me so much that the “dental checkup” angle here never becomes part of the joke or is otherwise followed up on. He could’ve just said something about being late for a generic appointment. But now it’s a Chekov’s Gun that will never go off, lurking on the wall of my mind indefinitely. How are Dagwood’s teeth? How are Dagwood’s teeth, damn it! Is there something funny about them???

Funky Winkerbean, 7/7/19

I really enjoy Cindy’s smug smile in the final panel here. “You’re catching on, kid. Technology doesn’t really change anything: people are awful to each other and they always have been. The human race is fundamentally rotten and it’ll be good when we’re all dead!”

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