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Funny Paper

I'm a FUGITIVE From JUSTICE!

July 29-Aug. 4

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 8/7/2002

YE OLDE PUNCHLINES DEP'T.: Monday, Shoe dusts off "I almost bought their elevator 'cause it was marked down." Kudzu, meanwhile, does the old Q: "What does he have that I don't?!" A: "[NAME OF GIRL]" routine.

YE OLDE PUNCHLINES DEP'T., SPECIAL CELEBRITY WHY-DON'T-YOU-JUST-DIG-HIM-UP-AND-GO-THROUGH-HIS-POCKETS EDITION: Thursday, Shoe plunders the work of W.C. Fields, as Shoe goes through the Bible looking for loopholes. If you're going to steal W.C. Fields gags, you could at least make up a character that looks kinda like William Claude Dukenfield, and let the character bust out the japes and jests. That way it sort of looks respectable and tributelike.

YE OLDE PUNCHLINES DEP'T., SPECIAL INSTANT CLASSIC EDITION: Tuesday's Marmaduke, with Marmaduke confronting a whole pack of lady dogs who've come looking for his love, is the same strip that ran on July 2. We know Marmaduke doesn't cover a whole lot of ground, topicwise, but at least he usually jumps on different pieces of furniture from day to day.

YE OLDE PUNCHLINES DEP'T., SPECIAL HE-WHO-STEALS-MY-TRASH-STEALS-TRASH DEP'T.: Saturday, Marmaduke has swallowed a cellphone. Oy.

ULTRASOFTCORE PORN DEP'T.: The Sunday color supplement brings plenty of flesh tones. First Greg Evans opens Luann with a splash panel of his teen heroine dressed in various skimpy and/or tight superhero costumes, doing household chores: Spider-Luann, Luann Croft, Wonder Luann, BatLuannGirl. LuBatGirl. Either BatLuannGirl is wearing her utility belt under her shirt and somewhere up around her ribcage, or Greg Evans got a little carried away sketching in her glossy black Bat Rack. Then in Apartment 3-G, the irrepressible Margo strikes yet another series of saucy swimsuit poses--while a bundled-up Tommie gives a community-service message about the dangers of skin cancer.

NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD VS. SUN CROSSWORD SNICKERS, SPECIAL NOT-SO-ULTRASOFTCORE EDITION:

NEW YORK TIMES CROSSWORD: MALE, PARDNER. LUBES, OVERLARGE, PUTIT, ANIL, ALABAMASLAMMERS.

SUN CROSSWORD: BORED, NAKED, TEEN, PRISON, INMTE, OILER, ERECTS, ABUT.

Winner! The Sun! A shocking upset! Emphasis on "shocking." And "upset."

GASOLINE ALLEY: Slim and Clovia have to deliver a truckload of stupid singing fish. Slim is captivated by the singing.

BEETLE BAILEY: Corporal Yo tries to sing Beetle out of bed. Cpl. Yo has got pure slits for eyes. Plain line segments. Howsabout a little update there to maybe some ovals? Or almond shapes? We don't mean to bust on Mort Walker or anything, but real-life Asians don't have slanty eyes. Only damaging stereotyped Asians do. We don't see Lt. Flap running around with a white circle around his lips.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: Tuesday, a gag about dogs defecating. Thursday, a gag about dogs urinating. Saturday, a gag about dogs sniffing each other's butts.

APARTMENT 3-G: Marcella's new baldheaded bodyguard Bruno crashes her welcome-back-from-your-kidnapping party. "We need to put another pie in the oven!" Margo tells Marcella Saturday. "Remember 'that extra mouth to feed'? It belongs to a big, hungry man." Bruno clutches his pie and beams.

DOONESBURY: Rick and Joanie ponder their dwindling retirement funds and increasing age. "What are we supposed to live on?" she asks Thursday. "My salary?" Rick asks. "Come on--" she says. "You're a reporter. Be serious."

KUDZU: Saturday, Doris the parakeet dives into a chocolate bar, using wings as hands, with a resounding "NARF!" "Narf" being hilarious shorthand for eating chocolate. Was that like a Sniglet that never quite got traction? Is Marlette dusting off old strips from the '80s again?

THE MIDDLETONS: The new fridge is already covered with comics. But which comics? Cathy? Sally Forth? The Boondocks?

DILBERT: Botox humor Monday, as Dilbert's girlfriend-type character wonders if she should go the wrinkle-reduction route. "Was your mother a shar-pei?" asks the ever-sensitive engineer. Thursday, Alice declares that "stretch goals are like stretch pants. It's a way of signaling surrender." Saturday, Wally tells his shrink that he dreams about being at work, which means he's dreaming about sleeping at work. "Have you considered doing work?" the shrink asks. "I want pills, you quack," Wally snaps.

THE BOONDOCKS: Huey refuses Michael Jackson's phone entreaties to come visit Neverland. This is pretty savage, even if Aaron McGruder is being careful not to say what he's saying. Friday, he just up and gets savage about it. When the Gloved One complains that his last charity album couldn't get released, Huey replies, "You produced the project with a gay porn director, Mike. What did you expect?"

CURTIS: A heat wave hits the ghetto. How hot is it? So hot that the characters sit around and let big lazy captions explain how hot it is. So hot that Curtis displays Ziggy-like awareness of the captions. So hot that Mrs. Wilkins is horrified at the prospect of Mr. W. turning on the oven to cook fish. Or maybe she's just appalled that he brought home fresh fish in a paper sack while riding "a train with no air conditioning and jammed with 15,000 commuters and this one dude who has obviously been homeless for a long, lonnng time!" But nothing, not climate nor food safety, stands between the patriarch and his seafood. "The number-one goal of men should be to bring a touch of class to a piece of fish!" the father tells his sons Saturday. "Especially black men!" "I thought you said the goal of th' black man was not to be held back!" Curtis says. "Oh, yeah!" his dad concedes. "But the fish thing is number two!"

FAMILY CIRCUS: More San Franventures from the past. "Is that the fish I smell or the bait?" Jeffy asks Mommy on Thursday.

CLASSIC PEANUTS: Charlie Brown kicks Lucy off the baseball team. "What am I going to do with this glove?" she asks. "My dad gave it to me years ago when he thought he would never have a son . . . If I sell it, his heart will be broken. You've destroyed a father's dream, Charile Brown . . . A man can take a lot, but when you destroy his dream, you destroy everything. Maybe I'll just go home and throw my glove into the trash-masher . . . How symbolic!"

ONE BIG HAPPY: Ruthie's malapropisms get bawdy on Tuesday: "She said now that she's done with her diet, she's going to eat with Rick Lesabannon!" "Reckless abandon," her grandmother translates. Yeah, that's what "Lesabannon" looked like to us, too.

DENNIS THE MENACE: "You can tell I'm Ruff's best friend, 'cause his tail wags faster!" Dennis brags to Gina on Thursday. From Funny Paper's angle, it looks like the tail wags faster because Dennis is compressing the pooch's airway, as a cheap way to impress the girl. Leave the ethology experiments to Mark Trail, you menace.

LUANN: Zane boosts Bernice out the window so she can escape the flames. But he's stuck behind in his wheelchair. Crippling auto accident, out-of-control electrical fire . . . Funny Paper is starting to think the young man is accident-prone. Or is he clutching the wheelchair on Thursday, so that Bernice can't possibly pull him up behind her?

PRINCE VALIANT: More mass slaughter by the good guys, as they send the whole imperial Roman navy spiraling to its doom over the "sneering lip of Charybdis." Sneering lip of Charybdis. A little penicillin would have cleared that right up.

ZIPPY: Zippy dreams of his own chain of fast-food castles, then appears behind the counter with a food-service hat covering his pin. Zippy in a hat just looks like a hairy guy. Ziggy in a hat . . . now that's another story.

MARY WORTH: Mary and Silas have a little palaver about "Tillie the Toiler" and "Maggie and Jiggs." Funny Paper should have asked Mary Worth before we misattributed "Foo!" to Major Hoople last week. It was Smokey Stover. We know now.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: June remains angry about the plight of the Coleman family. And about the plight of the uninsured in general. "June, I know how you feel," Rex says Thursday. "Dick Coleman was a friend of mine too!" "But there are millions of families like the Colemans!" June says, falling into his arms. "And they're dying because they can't afford health care!" Meanwhile Bud, in his pompom-topped ski mask, terrorizes the dribble-bearded slacker clerk at the "24-7" mart. "Open the safe . . . you've got ten seconds!" he says Saturday. "Beginning now -- one . . . two . . . THREE . . . FOUR . . . " "No . . . no . . ." the clerk pleads. "I don't have the combination!" Sunday: "BLAM BLAM BLAM."

MARK TRAIL: Monday: "KELLY, KELLY, WHERE ARE YOU?" Tuesday: "KELLY, KELLY! . . . WHERE ARE YOU?" Wednesday: "WHERE'S Trail? . . . I want him here where I can see him . . . COME ON OUT, TRAIL!" Thursday: "OKAY, TRAIL, YOU'D BETTER SHOW YOURSELF NOW!" Friday: "Now GET MOVING!" Saturday: "A BEAR!"

Sunday's featured animal: the right whale. "It got its name because it was the right whale to kill. Its coastal distribution, large size and slow movement, and because it floats when dead, made it an ideal target for whalers."

MOMMA: "You know you're getting old when all the good ones are dead," Momma laments Tuesday, leaving the funeral parlor. Is this a private message to somebody? Is Mell Lazarus talking to his fellow cartoonists?

CATHY: Tuesday's strip focuses on the logistics of two-parent, two-child travel. What gives with the sudden awareness of children and family? Is Cathy getting repositioned for the Erma Bombeck audience?

NON SEQUITUR: Wiley skewers modern art on Monday. Tell it like it is, Double-U-Man. Wednesday, he shows a mob of brutish women dragging their husbands to see "a major chick flick." Sunday, he belabors his intermittently continuous tale of how an Irish immigrant girl-child in the 1890s confronts the injustice of gender prejudice. Fear not, little Honor. Some day, your granddaughters or great-granddaughters will finally win enough rights that Wiley Miller will hate them and write comic strips to put them in their place.

JUMBLE: HER ROOTS, A BAR EXAM, A SPENDTHRIFT, HIS SALES PITCH, HOURS ON "END," WELL PAINTED.

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Liz and Anthony steal off for a meal together. Or at least a drink of water in a booth at the Country Kitchen. No actual food appears. Wednesday, she mentions that she's heard he's engaged. He complains with transparent lightheartedness about the cost of the ring, then on Thursday he alludes to the marriage license being an empty obligation. Saturday, they hug goodbye. For worse!

JUMP START: Officer Ashburn, obeying the destiny in his name, takes up smoking again. Now if only Robb Armstrong can pop over to Hi & Lois and get Thirsty Thurston off the wagon.

THE PHANTOM: The Ghost Who is Too Lazy to Book Felons himself heads for home as Labonte, traveling alone, jets back to the States and the inescapable iron hand of the law. "Miss, you must have the captain radio ahead," he tells a confused stewardess Tuesday. "I'm a fugitive from justice! He needs to alert the police!." Just what the flight crew wants to hear these days! He disembarks ready for the cuffs, accompanied by the corpse of Fortunato and the necessary death certificate. The death certificate is the single best thing Funny Paper has ever seen in The Phantom: It's got perfect-attendance-certificate laurel-leaf trim, it's stamped with a "DEEP WOODS BANDAR COUNTRY" seal, and the attending physician is "Guran Wise Counselor." Cause of death: "Natural causes." Where the witness signature should go, there's a skull mark. Phantom, schmantom -- the death certificate is signed by Death! Saturday: "Next . . . a new adventure.

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