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Funny Paper

MEOW

Nov. 11-17, 2002

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 11/20/2002

DISTINGUISHED SERVICE DEP'T: Snuffy Smith goes parading for Veterans Day, toting a 21-star flag and wearing what looks like a leftover uniform from the Spanish-American War. In Gasoline Alley, the Alzheimer's-racked Walt takes leave of taking leave of his senses and lucidly tries to cram his massive belly into his old Navy uniform--which, if Walt really is a centenarian like they say, would be a World War I uniform. Happy Armistice Day, everybody! In B.C., one-legged Wiley pens a patriotic poem. In Doonesbury, eternal reservist B.D. gets word that he's being activated and heading back into the shit. And in Beetle Bailey, where it's always Veterans Day, Sarge offers Lt. Fuzz up to Beetle for apparent fragging.

SENIOR ACTION DEP'T.: Last week, it was Mary Worth telling Dr. Jeff Corey that just because she's making time with him, that doesn't mean she wants to get hitched. This week in Jump Start it's silver-haired longtime widow Maureen, assuring her daughter that just because she's making time with two bachelors, that doesn't mean she wants to get hitched.

HERPETOLOGICAL HUMOR DEP'T.: Tuesday, the ants in B.C. are having trouble with their ant-child. "Junior got expelled today!" says the feminine, apparently homebound ant. "What for?" says the hardhat masculine ant, home from a hard day at work. "Putting frogs in his teacher's drawers!" says the missus, using a peculiar but (as we shall see) indispensable plural construction. "Heck, I used to put frogs in my teacher's desk all the time!" says the man-ant. "We're talking bloomers here, Zeke!" the wife replies. Wednesday, in Dennis the Menace, Dennis puts a frog in his own drawer. One drawer.

YOU CAN SAY THAT AGAIN! DEP'T, SPECIAL IN-OTHER-PAPERS EDITION: Tuesday in The Washington Post, Bob Thaves' genre-flexible gag-dispenser characters in Frank and Earnest appear in the classical world. Frank or Earnest stands frowning in front of a big sign reading "Welcome to Athens," while Earnest or Frank enters stage right. "Sorry I'm late--," says the newcomer, "all the darn roads lead to Rome." Wednesday in The Washington Post, Bob Thaves' genre-flexible gag-dispenser characters in Frank and Earnest are in . . . the classical world. Standing together, today, in front of a big sign saying "Colossus of Rhodes." "Hey, look where we ended up!" says Frank or Earnest. "It's like they say--'All roams lead to Rhodes.'"

THE BOONDOCKS: The kids mourn Jam Master Jay, the big-beat blaster.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Jim Scancarelli, take note: It's time for Lynn Johnston to kill off another character, as April takes her sick and aged bunny-wunnie to the vet. What's the prognosis for Mr. B., Dr. Ng? Not good. He's got a big, inoperable tumor--and also we're running dangerously low on vowels in the clinic! According to this Canadian single-payer veterinary-medicine treatment chart, the rabbit will just have to go home and wait to die. But he can smoke some dope to ease the pain, eh? For better!

ONE BIG HAPPY: Ruthie broadens her horizons when Grandpa, out for a stroll and short on cash, taker her along on a detour to borrow a few bucks from his sister, great-aunt Dolly--at Dolly's Deluxe Tavern. The half of Funny Paper that used to traipse around the Harford Road area with his great aunt is having a Baltimore-scented Proust moment at the sight of these strips. Rick Detorie has yet again drawn exactly what we lived. OK, we weren't dropping by the tavern per se. But still. Tuesday, Aunt Dolly offers to fetch Ruthie a pizza by way of greeting. Thursday, Ruthie plays pinball and prepares to get a slice of cake. Saturday, Ruthie compliments Aunt Dolly on her bar ("It's very deluxe," she says). "I 'spcially like the pretty Christmas lights being up so early!" she adds. "When did you hang your lights?" Aunt Dolly zips up her grandniece's jacket. "1951," she says.

LUANN: Monday, Luann asks Delta for advice about the whole Tiffany-Aaron-Gunther blowup that she's been precipitating. Delta tells Luann she should maybe stop being such a bitch. Luann ignores her. Wednesday, Aaron tells Luann she should maybe stop being such a bitch. Saturday, Gunther tells Tiffany she should definitely stop being such a bitch.

DENNIS THE MENACE: Monday, Dennis objects to seeing his parents having a petting session on the couch.

DOONESBURY: With B.D. getting the call to go back to duty, Boopsie volunteers to coach the football team in his absence. "You know when a politician dies in office, and his wife takes over, and everyone supports her out of sympathy?" she says Tuesday. "It'd be exactly like that." Or you could get Walter Mondale!

OTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Friday, the cops have a bird of indeterminate breed on a chair in the classic "interrogation room: scenario. Waiting, you know, for it to "sing.:

JUMBLE: A CRUISE "LINE," BEFORE "TEN," LIP SERVICE, TO "FILL UP," THE "LOWDOWN," ALL "KEYED" UP.

flgraph:BEETLE BAILEY: Tuesday, Miss Blips wins the heart of Spec. Gizmo by telling him to "zap his parameter ram.: That really looks like it ought to be a palindrome. Thursday, Miss Blips takes Spec. Gizmo on a date to the "Computer Heaven: shop. One lover rises, another lover falls: on Saturday, Killer discomfits his date by over-hastily wrapping the two of them in a blanket. And in a break from all the sexual stuff, Sunday we get the naked butt of Private Zero.

ILBERT: Monday through Friday, the office witnesses and absorbs the phenomenon of "the short timer,: who refuses to move a muscle before retirement.

APARTMENT 3-G: Margo halfheartedly tries to win back FBI Pete. FBI Pete rebuffs her.

HI & LOIS: Wednesday, Walker & Browne do a rare elliptical gag. Panel one: Dot admires her friend's midriff-bearing outfit. Panel two: Dot tells Lois, "Trixie's only one and she exposes her belly button!" Thanks for sparing us the in-between whining and arguing, W&B! Friday, Chip cuts car pictures out of magazines and tacks them on the wall to admire. The one labeled "Hummer" is a long, low-slung sedan, with old-fashioned stick-out fenders, a massive grille, and a hood ornament. How does Beetle Bailey's nephew not know what a Hummer is?

FAMILY CIRCUS: "I can't erase anything," Billy tells a classmate Wednesday. "I'm usin' my dad's drawing pencil and one of his tiny golf pencils." Yeah, like Bil Keane doesn't have an eraser on his golf pencil. Saturday, P.J. leaves jelly on Billy's stuff.

HERB & JAMAAL: Monday, Eula does the righteous thing and tries using a computer, with a quote from Booker T. Washington hovering in the last panel to endorse her efforts to engage with technology. Tuesday, Stephen Bentley repeats the floating-epigram trick in the service of Luddism, as Mohandis Gandhi congratulates Eula for preferring hand-written letters to e-mail. Actually, the way it's drawn up, it looks as if Eula has received a genuine hand-written letter from Mohandas Gandhi. Thursday, Jamaal mistakes Herb's chest hair for a sweater vest. Friday, Herb starts wearing his hear in that cornrows fashion all the kids are wearing. The dumb white guy calls it a "cornfield" hairdo, because he's a dumb white guy and isn't down with Afro-American culture like Stephen Bentley. Saturday, the Black Hairstyle Chronology Error--pioneered by Ray Billingsley with his Afro-Sheen flashbacks in Curtis--strikes H&J, as the cornrowed Herb reminisces with Jamaal about how Jamaal wore cornrows back in his NBA days. This is the same Jamal who was reminiscing a few months ago about wearing Chuck Taylors back in his NBA days. Cornrows have hardly been in the NBA long enough for anyone to retire on them, anyway. Maybe Big Smooth. Big Smooth is retired, right?

MARK TRAIL: Trail confronts Jim, the nefarious feline accountant, about the kitty switcheroo. "You're accusing the wrong person," Jim says Tuesday. ". . . I didn't . .. " "MEOW," says Samantha, the kidnapped millionaire pussy, as it strolls into view. The cat, it's out of the bag. Wednesday, as Trail scoops up the cat, Jim breaks a bottle over the back of his head, sans sound effect. By Thursday, Mark is already coming to his senses; by Saturday, before Jim can get out the door, he's back on his feet and bellowing out law-and-order commands in boldface: "You aren't going anywhere, Mr. Cole!"

Sunday, the melancholy-looking and threatened proboscis monkey. "They face odds longer than their noses." Har! Hey, Dodd and Elrod, no jokes at the expense of the endangered species.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: The dangerously ill John badgers Rex into agreeing to give a speech at the convention. Tired of all the health policy, Wilson & Nolan take a break on Sunday for a little full-color soft-core action, as June luxuriates in a soapy bath, head tipped back and cleavage glistening among the bubbles, begging her doctor-man to hurry back up to their hotel room. For the occasion, Graham Nolan abandons the usual monochrome skin treatment in favor of a white-highlights-on-pink approach, to make everything look a little . . . rounder. Bolle + Trusiani, you have been warned. Next time you try a little flesh-jaunt in Apartment 3-G, remember the bar has been raised.

MARY WORTH: Silas Smedlap drops by Mary's apartment for a cup of coffee. Thursday, Mary and Silas stare out at the audience. Saturday, Toby drops in, and Sunday, Silas officially changes horses. "I have a suggestion, Mrs. Cameron!" the old goat says. "Let's you and I start taking a morning run together!" At this, Mary's eyes get wide, and spider-sense rays radiate from her head.

NON SEQUITUR: Tuesday, Wiley acknowledges where he's stealing his crabby-girl-gives-advice concept from by having Danae stick a sign saying "The Advice Columnist Is IN" on the back of her computer. Sampling James Brown doesn't make you funky, and ripping off Peanuts doesn't make you deep.

CURTIS: Curtis tells his father a transparent lie about how "The National Lung Federation" will pay him five grand to stop smoking for a week. What ever happened to "The Truth"?

MARMADUKE: Tuesday, Marmaduke eats corn on the cob. Wednesday, Marmaduke lies on top of houseguests who are sitting on the sofa.

JUMP START: Sunny trades in her little-girl pigtails for a less-little-girl ponytail. "They don't stay little forever, Joe," Marcy says Wednesday. "They do in the comic strips!" Joe protests. Yeah? While you're being self-aware, why don't you clamber up five rows and over one and tell it to April's aged, dying bunny rabbit.

CATHY: Office yoga. Cathy Guisewite defends a respectable tradition from the corrupting forces of trendiness and self-absorption. And Dick Cheney buys an electric car.

SALLY FORTH: According to the byline, the reins of the strip have now passed from Created by Greg Howard to Francesco Marciuliano. Take it away, Franky! This week: Sally and Mr. Sally decide to go to a movie. Give it back, Franky!

PRINCE VALIANT: The armada of Justinian, scouring the Mediterranean for the fleeing Valiants, pulls into the waters around the hidden semi-submerged city of Fishburg. Wow, they got lots of boats. Funny Paper counts 155 and is not about to do a recount. Still, it's a lot more absorbing than the "Find the 'wingless' bird" squint-at-the-artwork feature that Green Earth Guardians is peddling.

GARFIELD: Mice. All week, mice.

KUDZU: Friday, the Rev. Wil B. Dunn, joined by a spear-brandishing, full-body-mask-wearing witch doctor at the altar, thinks "This multi-culturalism's gone too far." That's odd. For some reason, we were thinking just the opposite.

THE PHANTOM: The Knights of the Livonian and Teutonic Orders v. the Phantom, Round Two. Round Five, if you count the three historical battles in the back-story exposition. Wearing chainmail and brandishing a big-ass sword, fake archaeologist Arsenault attacks. "You stopped us in centuries past . . . !" he cries Tuesday. Even in the heat of combat, the Phantom can't resist smirking to himself yet again about his family's whole Man Who Cannot Die imposture. "Three of my forefathers did," he thinks, ducking under the blade. "But they think it was me." Arsenault's sword skills are enough to keep the Phantom at bay. But two .45 caliber pistolas trump an expert blade, right? BLAM BLAM BLAM. Or maybe not. Since the Ghost Who Rarely If Ever Shoots to Kill didn't go for a head shot, Arsenault manages to hold on to his weapon. Now who's believing the bullshit jungle legends, eh? "Taste my steel, knave!" the latter-day knight shouts Saturday, driving his sword into the Phantom's neck with a THWAK! Funny Paper notices that it's not, like, SLICE! or SPLUNCH! or anything indicating any kind of genuine cleaving action. We've already seen the Phantom take a slug to the dome point-blank and survive a couple adventures ago. So until that purple-hooded head is rolling, Funny Paper is skeptical. We'll lay 5 to 1 that the Phantom pulled the old fake-sword trick on the weapons exhibit before the nouveau Crusaders ever laid hands on the armaments.

In the Sunday plot line, a storm is brewing at sea. "Don't talk! Paddle!"

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