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Funny Paper

The Crud in the Crud's Shoes

Jan. 20-26

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 1/29/2003

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. VS. SUPER BOWL DEP'T.: In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Stephen Bentley lets the late civil-rights leader write all the text of Monday's Herb & Jamaal. That's it. One strip takes the time to recognize the Rev. King. On Sunday, Blondie and The Middletons both pause to recognize the National Football League. Final score: Super Bowl 2, King 1.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. VS. NEW YEAR'S DEP'T.: On Monday, January 20, Willy 'n Ethel does another gag about New Year's resolutions.

I HAVE A DREAM WATCH DEP'T.: Then again, the whole point of Martin Luther King Jr. Day is not merely to honor the man, but to celebrate his dream of racial progress. Where do things stand in the funnies on his holiday? Well, Gasoline Alley continues the guest appearance by Walt's Afro-Celestial-American guardian angel. And Jump Start has a black child and a white child playing together in preschool. That's it for integration. Thirty of the day's strips feature all-white casts. Four feature all-black casts, including a natives-pounding-the-jungle-drums sequence in The Phantom. Two feature all-animal casts.

DOUG MARLETTE PLAGIARISM WATCH DEP'T.: Friday, the Rev. Will B. Dunn declares, "I love mankind . . . It's human beings I got problems with!" This is, of course, a shameless, fourth-grader-cribbing-from-Britannica rewrite of Linus' famous Peanuts lament, "I love mankind. It's people I can't stand." Apologize and resign, you abominable thief and hack.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS DEP'T.: The younger generation's band rehearsals shake the house in both Hi & Lois and For Better or For Worse this week. Whose band sucks more? We're putting our money on the Canucks.

NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD SNICKERS DEP'T: NOB, LARD, WEE, RAYKROC.

SUN CROSSWORD SNICKERS DEP'T: SHAG, AINUS, OSS, TUMID, HOLEINONE, POLL, CREASE, SPEW, YANK, TUBE, BRAS, TOMEI.

DILBERT: Monday, Dilbert asks his faithful pet if he's a bad person because he works for an unethical company. "You're loathsome and despicable," Dogbert says. "If crud wore shoes, you would be the crud in the crud's shoes." "Why did that seem rehearsed?" Dilbert asks. "That's all I think about when we go for walks," Dogbert says.

GARFIELD: "This sandwich tastes funny," Jon says Monday. "You think you have problems," Garfield replies, "I have peanut butter between my toes." The cat buried a turd in Jon's sandwich!

MARK TRAIL: "Call off your dog or I'll shoot it!" the rampaging, would-be-deerslaying Tom Morgan snarls at Rusty on Monday, betraying his ignorance of the social hierarchy of the Trail household. Insulted, Andy pounces on Morgan, overpowers him, and knocks him over a cliff onto some rocks. Thursday, Tom comes to in the hospital, with a bandage on his dome and all the deer-hating, wife-beating urges knocked out of him. "I've been so stupid," he tells the little lady Friday. "I love you so much, and my stupid jealousy caused me to lose my senses . . . Will you please forgive me?" Saturday, he keeps begging: "I guess I wanted to be the only one you loved . . . I can't believe I was jealous of a deer!" "I guess it was both of our faults, Tom," Judy says, thereby granting him permission to batter her some more in the future. "Even though we can't have children, we can make it work!" Ann Landers is hollering at you from inside her casket, you cringing, enabling fool.

Sunday's featured animal: the agile, daring mountain goat. "The 'old man of the mountains' subsists on a diet of lichens and moss," Elrod explains. And that, along with some speculation about avalanche danger, is evidently all he can find to say about the mountain goat. So he spends the splash panel captions discussing why regular goats are reputed to eat tin cans--it's for the adhesive on the labels, the nature expert explains: "Glue is often made from animal or plant products, so it has some food value." The nights are long, and the pantry is bare in the Elrod cabin in more ways than one.

LUANN: The humorous-essay-writing class exercise keeps bogging down because none of the Pitts School kids are funny. We coulda told Greg Evans that. Saturday, Luann disparages her brother: "Brad, whoever writes your lines stinks." Luann told Greg Evans for us!

GASOLINE ALLEY: J-j-j-jive talkin' self-proclaimed guardian angel Wynston keeps going, despite Walt's skepticism. "I was in the angel band when GOD gave Moses the Ten Commandments! That was a cool gig!" he says Tuesday. "I was with Daniel in the lion's den! Man, all those hungry cats stompin' around! What a crazy place!" he adds Wednesday, eyes bugging out.

Saturday, Wynston gives the bad news: "Isn't it time for me to . . . er . . go?" Walt asks. "No, man, no!" the angel says. "Only when HE'S ready for you!" The "HE" is in Gothic black letter. We'd like the strip better if the whole thing was in black letter.

THE PHANTOM: Jungle drums say, "BOOM BOM BOM BOM BOOM BOOM BOM BOM BOO[M] . . . BOOM BOM BOM BOOM." Translation: "Plane crashed in jungle . . . close to Wambesi village . . . Men on board alive . . . but not for long, if they wander off!"

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: April starts a band in the basement. Basement drums say, "WHAKKITA BAM BOP, WHAKKITA BAM BOP BOOMPAWAP . . . " Translation: We're gonna be bigger than Bryan Adams! Saturday, the singer quits over creative differences. For better!

HI & LOIS: Upstairs drums say, "THMPA THUNK THUNK." Translation: Uncle Beetle's service pal Rocky scored us some weed!

SALLY FORTH: Ralph tries to bribe the employees with donuts. Sunday, Francesco Marciuliano continues to push the Forthian envelope with a title panel showing classic video-game characters in the unemployment line, foreshadowing a strip about today's bloody and convoluted video amusements.

ZIGGY: According to his doctor's receptionist, Ziggy "wears Spider-Man underwear."

HAGAR THE HORRIBLE: Tuesday, a representative of "the Giant Bill Collectors Agency, Inc." sticks a gigantic hand through Hagar's doorway.

APARTMENT 3-G: Lu Ann is smug about winning FBI Pete's attentions after all. "My boyfriend is the reason for Lu Ann's recovery," Margo brags Saturday. "Your Ex-boyfriend," Lu Ann thinks, with a Margo-style smirk.

BLONDIE: Tuesday, the mailman drops off a package for the Bumsteads next door at Herb's house. Herb and the mailman look exactly alike. Are they supposed to be related? Sunday, it's Dagwood's Super Bowl feast: "my famous hot wings, ten alarm chili, and bratwurst in lava mustard sauce! And new items this year are jalapeno pie and garlic balls with a hint of meat." Half of Funny Paper had scrambled eggs with strips of Chinese pickled radish. The same half of Funny Paper also had the Bucs and the points--at the expense of the other half of Funny Paper. John Darnielle, call your girlfriend! The Tampa Bay Bucs have taken it all the way to the top!

MOMMA: Tuesday, Francis expresses his faith in the future solvency of the government's retirement-benefits system. "I'll never really have to worry about money!" he tells Normy. "My mother's Social Security checks keep coming every month, like clockwork."

NON SEQUITUR: Talk-show host (and, Funny Paper now hypothesizes, father of mopey child Danae) "Joe Pyle" gets topical with the Raelians. "Pack journalism 101 Joe," his news reader tells him. Pack comicstripism, more like.

JUMP START: Jojo decides to launch a preschool newspaper. "I'm impressed, Jojo!" Benny says. "Newspapers record the true history of modern man." Friday, Jojo decides to call his publication "The Tattletale." We've heard worse titles.

CATHY: Find all [food]. Replace with [office supplies]. It's a week of all-new consumer-gluttony material!

JUMBLE: SOUR GRAPES, HIS "TURN," "PIERCED," TO FIND "PLOTS," "BONE" TIRED, AN IDLE IDOL.

FAMILY CIRCUS: "Watch TV, snacks, go potty, nap time. . ." Jeffy says to his teddy bear on Monday, "when will it ever end?" If Funny Paper plays its cards right, never. Friday, Dolly rummages through Mommy's jewelry box. "When Mommy and Daddy were in college," she tells Jeffy, "he gave her this maternity pin." Maternity pin, get it? The ribald Keane wit rears its head.

MARY WORTH: Friday, it's Restaurateurship 101 with Prof. Silas "Smitty" Smedlap. After he finishes coughing, cursing, and spit-taking into his handkerchief, Smedlap informs Mary, "If this place is in the red, it's because the barkeep is pouring rotgut booze like it was his own!" The secret is to go light on the rotgut booze. "If I had a dollar for every heavy-handed barkeep I've fired, I'd be even richer than I am today!" he adds Saturday. So much for the honest, hearty fare at the bygone Smitty's Chop House of Chatham. What good is prime rib with a subprime martini?

REX MORGAN, M.D.: The snowbound party decides to get the rabbit-fever-stricken John to the hospital by foot--or rather, by toboggan, towed by skiers. "It is my new snow taxi, Mr. Woods!" explains the faithful cabby Sasha on Sunday.

BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: "Li'l Tater really likes playin' song-an'dance man!!" Loweezy says Monday. When Snuffy points out that Tater isn't even walking yet, Loweezy allows as to how "he's more of a song-an'-scooch man!!"--while a cane-and-hat-waving Tater illustrates by scraping his butt along the floor. Looks more like Tater is a song-an'-tapeworm man. Funny Paper has seen representatives of Canis familiaris engaged in similar behavior.

ZIPPY: Zippy--read: Griffith--keeps backsliding into dialogue with giant roadside objects. Tuesday, the gang broods about celebrity product endorsements. Val Kilmer, Zippy says, will "be huge in Singapore!" "When Noam Chomsky does Berlitz ads, I'm moving to Cuba!!" Griffy grunts. Like, yeah. Actually when the day comes that Noam Chomsky is doing Berlitz ads, it will be a most excellent time to move to Cuba. Saturday, Griffy sits in a library, wearing a monocle and smoking jacket, telling Zippy, "We'll never retire." "Griffy, what kind of work do we do, exactly?" "We push the cartoon envelope, Zippy." Whatever his faults, at least Griffith can laugh at himself.

HAL FOSTER'S PRINCE VALIANT: "The earth itself begins to move. Icthyopolis, the city of the fishes, is about to return to the deep."

B.C.: Monday, Clumsy and Curls tag up to tell Peter that presidents Taft and Lincoln were both known as the "rail splitter." Taft? "Every time he sat on a fence." OK, a Honest Abe gag is one thing, but a William Howard Taft one? Saturday, B.C. takes the snake for a walk on a leash. "Just taking my . . . uh . . . poodle for a walk," he tells Fat Broad. Fat Broad, not fooled for a second, takes her club and beats the snake to a pulp. "Why do I love this?" B.C. asks the camera, standing over the ruins of the snake. Why does B.C. love this? What is the gag here? Why does B.C. have Peter's telltale hair flip in the second panel? Is Johnny Hart going nuts?

DENNIS THE MENACE: "Anybody have a clue how to get a frozen waffle out of the VCR?" Dennis asks Tuesday, waking his parents from slumber. Nuh-uh. If you're old enough to say "Anybody have a clue" you're too old to be sticking waffles in appliances other than the toaster. What ever happened to saying "th'" and other forms of kidspeak? Thursday, Dennis' cat Hot Dog makes an appearance.

SHOE: Wednesday, Cassatt & Brookins try and fail to amuse by making the lettering in Sen. Belfry's podium change from panel one to panel two.

HERB & JAMAAL: Friday, Herb's barber waxes polysyllabic. "Perhaps a minute incurvature of the follicles will enhance your present appearance," he says. "Some individuals should never use humongous words where diminutive ones will suffice," Herb thinks as the clippers start going. Is the joke supposed to be that the barber has a word-of-the-day fixation? Or that Herb thinks "humongous" is the edjumicated word for "big"? Or that the barber seems to be proposing that Herb cultivate ingrown hairs?

DOONESBURY: Reruns again.

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Dec. 22-28, 2003

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