April 28-May 4, 2003
JUMBLE CLUES THAT SOUND LIKE THE CAR PARTS OUR MECHANIC TOLD US NEEDED REPLACING DEP'T: STURB, PHAMIS, ANUDT.
ROMANTIC SHORT FICTION FROM THE APRIL 30 SUN CROSSWORD DEP'T.: ESTATE, YARDMAN, TODO, RAKEIN, RANUP, PRAISES, PRIDE, STAN, SARA, CASSETTEDECK, ANKA, ENAMOR, ETHERS, ACID, AROMA, WETS, MUFF, IDOS, FIN.
CATHY: Irving keeps showing off his courtship skills. "Your dress is gorgeous!" he says, walking Cathy to a door marked "Bistro" on Monday. "Your hair is perfect! And your purse! Incredible! It exactly matches your shoes! . . . . Bring us a bottle of your finest diet cola and some reduced-fat feta with rice cakes in the shape of little hearts!" he cries to the waiter. So Cathy Guisewite would seem to be toggling from all-the-good-men-are-taken to all-the-good-men-are-gay.
JUMBLE: A "BUMPER" CROP, WITH "CASTER" OIL, HAVE A "FIT," A TEEN PREEN, IN A "FRIGHT" CAR, AN OFF DAY.
FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Still excited from her helicopter ride, Liz goes off on a 45-word talking-jag panel Monday. Tuesday, Lynn Johnston tries a little Curtis-style extra business, as Liz starts snacking from a box marked "Multi Grunch / Almost Nutritious!" Thursday, Elly and April have a mother-daughter chat. While they talk, Elly rolls out a pie crust, puts it in a pan, fills it, adds the top crust, and trims and crimps the finished pie. Reading the five-panel dialogue aloud, with leisurely pacing, Funny Paper times the conversation--and therefore the accompanying pastry work--at 29 seconds. Why does Elly waste her efforts running a hobby shop? She should hire herself out as a one-woman industrial bakery.
Friday, Edgar goes to the vet to get his protective collar removed. "He'll be able to eat and sleep comfortably . . . . and scratch wherever he wants to," Mr. Patterson says. "It sounds like you know how he feels!" April replies. "Yeah . . . " he says. "I broke my wrist when I was a kid . . " Then, in a thought balloon, he adds to himself, "And it's hard to do a lot of things when your arm's in a sling!" Lest we miss the gag, Johnston helpfully draws a door marked "Washroom" in the background. For better!
BARNEY GOOGLE AND SNUFFY SMITH: Monday, Snuffy keeps Lukey playing checkers past his curfew.
REX MORGAN, M.D.: As June pickets in the rain Monday, she gets wet. Her hair is a mess. Tuesday, June gets wetter, while an picketer informs her that her old classmate Kitty Prescott, now interviewing Rex, is "gorgeous . . . . Hugh Carter said she's the most beautiful woman he's ever met!" Thursday, a passing car throws yet more water on June, forcing her into a knock-kneed cringe that shows off about 15 yards of juicy gams. Friday, Kitty shows up to interview Rex, and Sunday Rex lets her know that he's married to her old cheerleading pal. "June Gale . . . is here?" Kitty gasps, with her ponytail jerking in amazement and a white explosion of surprise-energy radiating out from behind her.
APARTMENT 3-G: Monday, Alexis Poe keeps freaking out about the fish tank. "Ow, my head!" she cries, as the tank goes "gurgle bzzzz glub." "Can you believe the noise kept me awake all night--?!" Yeah, the fish tank! That's why my husband beats me! Alexis Poe is a drag. Tuesday, Margo jiggles the aquarium cords, dampening the vibration and silencing the racket. "Why didn't I think of that?" the bleary-eyed Alexis frowns. Because you're a drag. Thursday, Margo volunteers to take Alexis' daughter Julia to daycare while she goes to work. "That's so nice of you!" Lu Ann says. "I didn't do it to score forgiveness points with you," Margo thinks. This is commendable emotional intricacy for a comic strip. Sunday, confronting the overcrowded and sketchily run daycare facility--"Why aren't any of the children wearing clothes?" Margo asks, arching an eyebrow--she decides to mind little Julia herself.
JUMP START: Robb Armstrong's slightly-different-from-our-own universe expands to contain the "Prize Fighter Grill."
CLASSIC PEANUTS: Sally complains about going on a field trip to the art museum. "Try not to have a good time . . . " she tells a classmate who momentarily admires a painting. "This is supposed to be educational."
HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT: As the mead flows at storytime, King Arthur tells the tale of Aurora and Tithonus, and how Tithonus grew so old and feeble and useless that the goddess of dawn got tired of him and turned him into a grasshopper. When the story is over, Val accidentally refers to his liege as "King Grasshopper." Good thing the king has had lotsa mead, or Val would be in some deep shit.
NON SEQUITUR: Thursday, Wiley imagines lawyers deployed in innertubes as part of a U.S. Navy mine-sweeping unit. Yeah, yeah, kill the lawyers. Hilarious. Shocking. Controversial. When's Wiley getting his show on MSNBC?
MARY WORTH: Silas Smedlap jabbers on for four and a half days before Saunders & Giella make the merciful jump-cut to back Ian and the insolent flower delivery boy. More Ian, less Smedlap, please. How long has Ian been without a drink? Is this a record? Oh, right--the last three or four weeks have only covered 45 seconds in Mary Worth time. Even so, that may be the record for Ian going drinkless. Regardless, the delivery lad hands the flowers over to Wilbur Weston, then says, "the guy hinted you were a big tipper." "Cheeky little ragamuffin!!" Ian thinks. That's what Ian's internal voice sounds like. Saturday and Sunday, as Wilbur prepares to give the flower-bearer a nice crisp dollar, Ian steps in to offer "a loose dime or two" instead. The economy hasn't really gotten so bad in Southern California that a buck counts as a generous delivery tip, has it?
MARMADUKE: Monday, Marmaduke straddles the front and rear seats of an autombile. Friday, Marmaduke puts his bone on a neighbor-lady's head.
DOONESBURY: Monday, Jeff Redfern shows up back at school from his work with the CIA. "The CIA takes breaks?" Zipper asks him. "Sure, we have a saying:" the junior spook says, "There's a time for war and a time for . . . " "Peace?" Zipper guesses. "No," Jeff says. "Reloading."
Sunday, Monsieur Garry Trudeau gets his French up, with Mark and Zonker delivering a Francophone rant against the Freedom Fries crowd. "Vous êtes jingoistic, self-regarding conquer-monkeys!" Slackmeyer concludes. For monolingual readers, Trudeau offers online translation at Doonesbury.com--or, if you prefer hard copy, there's the library's copy of the non-Internet-compliant Buffalo News. Good God, what is wrong with people? Tuesday, Bentley shows that pilferage is colorblind, as he fills up the strip with a Victor Hugo quote in lieu of the usual appropriated text from Langston Hughes.
THE PHANTOM: A new plot line begins, "In deepest Bangalla." "Paulie, on your feet!--Quick!" cries a man with binoculars. "Yeah, I seen them!" a voice replies in a caption, as we get a binocular-eye view of two other folks driving through the jungle. He seen them! Old Jungle saying: Bad grammar = bad man. Tuesday, the lurking bad men deploy the ol' tree-dropped-across-the-roadway ambush strategy. Wednesday, it's time for a Public Enemy-type crosshairs view of the ambush victims. Thursday, "BLAM BLAM"--the murder appears to be complete. "Look's like we're in the outdoor adventure business!" one of the gunmen gloats.
Sunday, the Ghost Who Ditches His Trenchcoated Civilian Disguise at the First Opportunity So He Can Prance Around the City in His Purple Pajamas eavesdrops on the Python and his international-terrorist henchmen in their swanky downtown living quarters. "This is how we live now, brothers!" the Python chortles, a drink in one hand and a cleavage-heavy blonde draped over his shoulder. The lifestyle, it seems, is being underwritten by a truck bomb parked under Bangalla's Government Center. "!!!" the Phantom thinks, once the situation becomes clear.
THE BOONDOCKS: Thursday, Aaron McGruder digs a rerun from the 2001 vaults name-checking Biz Markie. Or did he get censored again? Friday, Caesar marks the end of the Iraq war by cracking on Huey's mother. "Your moms is so stupid she sits on the television and watches the couch," he says.
CURTIS: Monday, Curtis invites Michelle to join him at the "Swank Theatre" for "that new black musical, 'Hot-Pipe.'" The Swank Theatre. Michelle is not eager. "The ceiling is crumbling, there are rats scurrying about, and I don't even want to guess why the floors are always so sticky!" Ray Billingsley works almost beyond blue! Friday, to get rid of her admirer, Michelle gives Curtis 50 bucks to go show Chutney a good time. First stop, on Saturday: "The Ominous Burrito."
FAMILY CIRCUS: "Mommy, your goodnight hug wore off," Jeffy announces Tuesday. "Could I have another one?" When you get older, kid, you'll just roll over and go to sleep after your first goodnight hug. Wednesday, Billy declares, "I'll really miss school when summer gets here. And the sooner the better." We got a feeling you won't be missing school at all this summer, bright boy. Saturday, Dolly watches the horses load into the gate for what we assume is the Kentucky Derby. "Daddy, is that where they pay for their rides?" she asks. No, honey, the rides are paid for somewhere else.
MARK TRAIL: Monday, Mark Trail, P.I., nonchanlantly tips witness-protection-protected witness Joe Cobb off to his incredible powers of deduction. "Don't worry, I'll keep your secret . . . " Trail says. "But what are you going to do about your daughter Amanda?" "What?" Cobb replies, stricken. "How did you know? Was I that obvious?" Well, uh, yeah. Jack Elrod is engaging in a little fearless self-criticism of his own plotting skills here, maybe.
Tuesday, what appears to be an ermine slinks across the middle panel, with Trail and Cobb off in the background. Wednesday, that same wildlife-in-the-foreground slot is occupied by a lifelike, detailed drawing of an outboard motor.
Sunday's featured animal: the rowdy, cacophonous blue jay. "Scientists have discovered that blue jays often consume more than twice as much calcium as do other bird species . . . And in their search for sources of calcium, jays have discovered house paint contains calcium carbonate in its pigment." The homeowner's best bet against the roving, paint-hungry band of birds is to offer a little protection payoff: "Cracked eggshells in your feeder during breeding season is a much healthier alternative to house paint."
GASOLINE ALLEY: Monday, Colonel Fraley bids Rufus good night, leaving him in charge of watching the over-detailed old movie palace. "Yo' hear that, Kitty?" he asks his constant feline companion. "I'se in charge! That means I'se a impotent potentate!" Again, the man with the nickel vocabulary is supposed to be malapropizing his 75-cent words. Maybe someone left an old Rogets out for the junkwagon. Still, that would mean Rufus knows how to read. In other disturbing developments, Kitty's usually simple, near-globular head has suddenly sprouted a piglike snout, as Jim Scancarelli seems to have picked up Jack Elrod's case of Can't Draw a Housecat Worth a Damn Syndrome. Thursday, the ghost-fearing simpleton bumbles around the theater, and Kitty--now so hideously deformed she looks like a foo dog--chases a rodent.
KUDZU: Tuesday, April 29, 2003, Doug Marlette does a "shock and awe" gag. Wednesday, as Ida Mae lies naked in protest of the war in Iraq--remember, we had a war over in Iraq a while ago?--Nasal T. Lardbottom makes crack about "starting to understand the argument for burkas." Because Nasal T. has seen so many naked women in his life. Thursday, a smirking Dub Dubose wears a T-shirt saying "Insensitive by the grace of God." Is that even far enough from the original "Southern by the grace of God" to justify the gag? Why are we even asking that question of Doug Marlette? Friday, the preacher works blue at a funeral. "To a lot of folks, Brother Hal was just a skirt-chasing womanizer . . . -- but I say, 'Walk a mile in his shoe-mirrors!'" There's a difference between being a skirt-chaser and an upskirt-peeper, Marlette. So you can quit bragging already.
LUANN: Monday, Zane rolls back into Bernice's life. Tuesday, Bernice rolls Zane outside to talk. Friday, in the donut shop, he tells her she should test-drive some other guys before settling in for a lifetime with him.
ONE BIG HAPPY: Tuesday and Wednesday, James puts a "#1" foam-finger-hand thing on his head to violate the spirit of the school's no-hats rule. And to violate the letter of it, actually. There must have been some better excuse available for drawing the kid with a foam-finger-hand on his head.
WILLY 'N ETHEL: Wednesday, in a Willy-and-Ethel-less Willy 'N Ethel, Bondo the dog does the speaking duties on a dog-eating-homework gag. Friday, Willy ponders his career options. "Part of me wants to find a job . . . " he says over a foamy mug at the bar. "And part of me wants to cut that part off before it's too late and the infection spreads."
MOMMA: Wednesday, Momma has a double-decker dream, picturing her children standing at her grave, then picturing her children joining her in Heaven, where she's still in her grave. That's Heaven for Momma, to be dead.
ZIGGY: "Well, it's been over 30 years now," Ziggy says Saturday, slumped in the chair in front of the TV. "I guess nobody's going to thrust greatness upon me." You shoulda figured that out when the "Tom II" byline appeared, pal.
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