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Funny Paper

I Can't See My Hand in Front of My . . . OOOFFF!

Aug. 25-31, 2003

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 9/3/2003

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Monday, Liz comes home from Anthony's wedding, lets down her hair, and strips to a slip. Thursday, baby Meredith proudly climbs the couch. Friday, Deanna's mother gives Mike and Deanna $5,000, to solidify her grip on the couple. That's $3600 worth of grip in American dollars. Saturday, Weed tells Mike that Mike's hit piece on designer Divala has prompted her fellow designers to sue her. "You've been quoted in 'Sveldt,' 'Preen,' and 'Runway'!" Weed says. "--You broke a story, man!--A hot one!"

Sunday, the presence of a friend overcomes April's shyness about appearing in public in her underwear.

BEETLE BAILEY VS. OTTO THE ARMY DOG: Beetle 3, Otto 2. "Y'know, Sarge, you treat your dog better than your men!" Beetle yells while on ditch-digging duty Friday. Otto listens to Bailey's lament through an open window, as he lounges watching TV on a personalized canopy bed, propped on heart-shaped pillows, with a glass of champagne in his paw.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Thursday, Milton Avery tells Jeff that there isn't any satellite lens to be had " . . . because it shipped more than a month ago!" To convey Jeff's shock, Graham Nolan uses avant-garde framing, truncating the panel so that the Englishman's left eye, left cheek, and entire chin are out of view. "Then Heather's dead . . . and so am I!" Jeff says Friday, his face in shadows against a blank background, as tremble-lines appear around his head and hand. "I don't care about you . . . " Avery replies, slamming a fist on his polished desktop. "But we're not about to lose Heather!" When Jeff balks at returning to Armand on Saturday, Avery loses his last bit of self-control. "Coward!" he shouts, grabbing Jeff by the lapels and slamming him against the wall. "You WILL go back . . . OR I'LL KILL YOU MYSELF!" Sunday, Armand gloats over his trussed-up hostage. "I hate you English . . . " he says. "You act so superior, so condescending! The truth is you are weak . . . and deserve to die!"

THE MIDDLETONS: The kids sit on the couch and watch Spacecat.

THE PHANTOM: Thanks to Cici's testimony, backed up by word from the Bangallan government, the mobster who sought to have her killed is put away. On the courthouse steps, a man in a turned-up trenchcoat and sunglasses approaches her offering congratulations. "My name is Walker, young lady . . . " he says, offering her a handshake and a flash of the skull-ring. "Delighted!" Hey, where's the footnote? "Walker?" Cici muses Saturday, as he retreats. " . . . Walker! -- Of course!" All together, now: "For 'The Ghost Who Walks'!"

Sunday, President Luaga puts on a ball cap and speeds off in a jeep, looking for the Phantom. " Hero!" he says, spotting the horse outside Dr. Cartwright's place in Bengete Township. "You're bloodied, big fellow! . . . But there's no wound!" Inside, the place is teeming with Bandar pygmies. "Oh no! . . . " he thinks, fighting his way through the undersized crowd. "It's a death watch!"


MARY WORTH: Kiddie stalker Brint Prescott, in cat-burglar getup, keeps shadowing Woody and Dawn. Thursday, Woody catches a glimpse of their tail as the boy crouches behind what appears to be, in Saunders and Giella's attempt at dramatic perspective drawing, a fifteen-foot-tall park bench. Saturday, the action gets to thick it requires heavy captioning: "Aware that he has been seen, Brint beats a hasty retreat! And . . . momentarily night-blind as he steps from the light into the darkness . . . Woody does not see an ornamental bird-bath directly in his path!" Sunday, the action backs up a step and Brint clambers over the country-club fence, allowing S&G to save Woody's downfall for the final panel. "I can't see my hand in front of my . . . OOOFFF!" he cries.

DENNIS THE MENACE: Monday, Mr. Wilson reclines on the couch, attempting to read a book. A bead of perspiration forms on his head as he regards the neighbor's child Dennis.

APARTMENT 3-G: Alexis Poe explains how she ended up married to a bigamist. "Tim's divorce was delayed," she says. " . . . It was a huge wedding . . . We didn't want to cancel! So Tim used his deceased cousin's birth certificate." Margo is not satisfied by the explanation. "You didn't mind Tim continuing a . . . uhm . . . a relationship with his first wife?" "What do you mean, Margo?" Alexis asks. "Oh, my gosh . . . " Tommie thinks. "Alexis doesn't know . . . " Oh, our gosh . . . this means Margo gets to tell the story of Tim's second family for, what, the fifth time now? By Saturday, Alexis has gotten the point. "I need air!" she cries, throwing open the window. "Don't jump, Alexis!" Margo says. "Don't worry, Margo," Mrs. Poe 2.0 replies. "I'll kill my husband before I'll kill myself. " Sunday, the action backs up a step, allowing Bolle & Trusiani to replay the whole revelation scene again. This time, instead of going to the window, Alexis just starts cussing. "That #@&*!" she says, fists trembling and face twisted with rage. "How could he do this to me . . . to our children -- ?!"

BLONDIE: Monday, Dagwood sits on the couch with his daughter Cookie and watches The Osbournes.

MARK TRAIL: Mark finds robbery victim Carl sprawled on the floor of his little museum. "Carl, holy mackerel, what happened?" Trail exclaims. "Are you all right?" "They stole my precious Indian treasures," Carl says, clutching his head, "they're all gone!" "Who, Carl, who took your collection?" Trail thunders. Don't yell at the old feller so, Mr. Trail. Carl's got hisself a nasty headache there. As Carl recounts his woes Thursday, the scene pulls back to show what appears to be, in Jack Elrod's attempt at dramatic perspective drawing, a 75-foot-tall kangaroo rat. Saturday, the same 75-foot rat reappears in the middle panel, hurdling Carl's entire desert compound.

Sunday's featured ecological pairing: the bountiful cacao tree and the tiny, critically important fly that pollinates its "small, convoluted flowers." The insect may be critically important--but not critically important enough for Jack Elrod to provide its name* or to bother depicting it. Creatures portrayed instead: a Canada goose, Mark Trail, a toucan, a titmouse, Rusty, Andy the Saint Bernard, Trail, two more Canada geese, Trail, Andy, Rusty, Rusty, Trail, a beaver, a raccoon, Rusty, Trail, a monkey, Trail, and Rusty. "Without the pollination the files perform, the seed pods would not become fertilized, and chocolate would become an endangered ingredient!" Does this mean Cathy would go out of business?

(* Forcipomyia ashantii and Forcipomyia squamipennis, among other midges)

MARMADUKE: Friday, Marmaduke hides behind the couch.

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