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Funny Paper

You Mean a Brain Doctor?

Feb. 25-March 3

By Scocca & MacLeod | Posted 3/6/2002

LIFE IMITATES ART DEP'T: Monday in Curtis, Mr. Wilkins announces that he's recovered from his crippling back pain--just as Sally Forth, in Sally Forth, limps in the door at home. "You're moving like an old lady, Sally," says Ted, cutting himself off from marital relations for six weeks. "Back pain," Sally says. "Too long at the keyboard, I guess." Half of Funny Paper had to hand these strips to the other half of Funny Paper, because the other half of Funny Paper can't bend from the waist right now. So Funny Paper fails to see what's so funny about back pain right now. At least, half of Funny Paper fails to see what's so funny about back pain. The other half of Funny Paper keeps snickering about the virtues of the Jazzy Power Chair.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW TRIBUNAL DEP'T: Noted Walt Disney traducer Mike Peters takes another stab at drawing the world's most beloved cartoon characters in Wednesday's Mother Goose & Grimm, with a gag about Scrooge McDuck marrying Anna Nicole Smith. This time around, his attempted rendering of Donald Duck looks eerily like Kudzu.

Enough! Starting today, Mike Peters, every time you mangle one of someone else's characters, Funny Paper is going to mangle one of yours. Here's the first installment of Funny Paper Presents "Mother Goose & Grimm". Don't make us do it again.

MOMMA: Busy times on the employment front in the Momma family. Francis gets fired from a job at the loading dock Monday, toys with being a trophy husband for a 45-year-old divorcee on Wednesday, tries to buy his way into an acting career Thursday, and blows off an offer of "very easy work" Saturday because it requires him to come in for an interview. "You call that easy?" he says, slamming down the phone and settling back into bed. But no wonder he's tired, after such an active week. We still don't see why Momma blanches at the thought of him hooking up with a rich older lady. If he's bound to spend his life between the sheets, he might as well get paid for it.

Tuesday, it's Marylou who's pondering her career options. "Could I be a TV anchor?" she asks Francis, as she looks in the mirror. Dare to dream, Marylou.

APARTMENT 3-G: Margo trolls for clients for her sports-publicity firm, then leafs aimlessly through a copy of Sports Action magazine. "Do you think I should go to law school?" she asks her father's answering machine Tuesday.

WILLY 'N ETHEL: Thursday, we get a hint of the story of the origins of Bondo the Dog. "Remember the day I saw you in the pet shop window like that," Willy says, "all caged up and trapped with the hot sun beating down?"

"Unfortunately," he says, "today I don't have my glass cutter."

BEETLE BAILEY: "The Pentagon is having budget problems," Sarge says Monday, as Beetle confronts a coin-operated rake. Is it, now? How many quarters do you have to put in one of them laser-guided thermobaric bombs?

Musical notes rise from the vicinity of Sarge's hind end Wednesday. "I had it tuned," he said--referring, we hope, to the persistent squeak of his office chair. Then again, maybe he did get his anus tuned; Friday, the Mort Walker Cartoonfabrik heads unambiguously below the sergeant's triple-long belt, as Beetle points out that Sarge's spot on the mess-table bench is reserved by a yawning indentation in the shape of his keister.

THE BOONDOCKS: NAACP Image Award winner Aaron McGruder continues to protest the NAACP Image Award given to Condoleezza Rice. "We have reason to believe Kweisi Mfume may have been covertly cloned and replaced with an evil twin," Huey tells Granddad, "or, we think they may have kidnapped one of his relatives and suspended them over a vat of boiling acid. Either way, we want to go investigate. Can we get a ride to Baltimore?" "No," Granddad says.

THE LOCKHORNS: How Not to Tell a Joke, Part One: "I thought Rolex was spelled with an 'E' not a 'U,'" Loretta tells Leroy Friday. Three words too many, Bunny.

MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: How Not to Tell a Joke, Part Two: Monday, Mike Peters does a one-panel titled "Vincent Van Gogh meets Mike Tyson." Lest the gag go over the heads of the devoted readers of MG&G, Peters has not simply stopped at drawing the famous dead painter about to round a corner and meet the ex-champ. Instead, he has Van Gogh thinking to himself, "Well, at least I have one ear left." See? Because Vincent Van Gogh cut off his own ear, and Mike Tyson bit off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear. So Mike Tyson might bite off Van Gogh's other ear. Thanks for making it so cl-ear, Mike Peters. Pete-ears. Screw this "Funny Paper" crap. We're going to start syndicating EAR-ers. EAR-nest Hemingway. Jesus of Naz-EAR-eth. Barbara Walt-EARS. David Lett-EAR-man. Vladim-EAR Lenin. Derek Jet-EAR. Pamela And-EAR-son. Yoko EAR-no.

THE COLL-EGG-TIBLE EGGERS FAMILY: Sunday's winner: "Natalie's Egg-spression," by Natalie Michel of Lutherville, which is not only not a pun, it's not even an egg--it's some sort of speckled trapezoid with a smile. Lori Lee Landi, you're fired! Or should we say, fi-EAR-ed? Next week: James EAR Jones.

REX MORGAN, M.D.: Rex refers John Clement to a neurologist. "A neurologist?" Clement asks. "You mean a brain doctor?"

MARY WORTH: Dawn leaves a message for Woody/Forrest to call her when he gets home. "It's almost one o'clock, you . . . you playboy!" she screams when he phones her. "Where have you been?!?" Didn't we already go over this? He was seducing Liz Hoag. Like you asked him to. And where the hell is Mary Worth, anyway? Mary, get in here and end this.

THE PHANTOM: Noah von Belon, the animal felon, prepares to take off with his amphibious-jet-load of kidnapped livestock. Including what appears to be a pair of zebras. Why is he stealing zebras? Why not just buy some? The sky is cross-hatched like cheesecloth as von Belon's plane lifts off--and as the Bangallan jump jet with the Phantom aboard swoops in to intercept it. "Sounds like the engine's changing pitch . . . Getting louder . . . ?" von Belon wonders. "!!! That's not our engines! HANG ON!" the pilot shouts. Von Belon is so startled, he can only emit punctuation. "!!!" he cries, as the Phantom's jet cuts into view.

Sunday, the diamond-stealing, war-mongering, no-contraction-using ruffians are stuck in the mud, having left the road while attempting to get away from the Phantom. One of the baddies struggling with the mired jeep looks a lot like Chef Tito in Rex Morgan, M.D. Maybe Graham Nolan is just reusing his brother-in-law as a model, or something. "What if the natives find out we stole their diamonds?" one thief frets. "That is the least of your problems!" says a voice from above, in a jagged-edged icy-voice speech balloon. Now look who is not using contractions! "The G-Ghost-Who-Walks!" someone cries. The Phantom, glowering, crouches in a tree, clutching what's either a thick piece of vine or a whuppin' stick in his upraised right hand.

MARK TRAIL: With his injured wing bandaged, Lucky the unlucky goose is starting to look like a decoy. He hangs unnaturally close to Andy for cross-species companionship as he convalesces. Would-be poacher Moss Moses, meanwhile, stews over Trail's interference with his quest for dinner. "Mark Trail forced me off of the Lost Forest preserve," he whines. "I'll get even with him someday!" "You talk big, Moss!" his wife Mabel sneers. But when she says she'll go take advantage of Mark's offer of free food, Moss asserts his place at the head of the Mark Trailer Trash household: "We're not taking handouts from anyone--especially Mark Trail!"

Sunday's featured animal: the powerful and valuable bluefin tuna, the "tiger of the seas." Aka the Chicken of the Sea.

PRINCE VALIANT: John Cullen Murphy comes correct with the nekkid people in his Garden of Eden story line, via an illustrated-manuscript page showing the First Couple being driven from the garden by an angel with a flaming sword. Eve wears her hair in a just-past-the-chin demi-bob. Back in the cold outside world, Emperor Justinian suddenly realizes that the reason his "pathfinder" looked familiar was because it was his arch-foe Valiant all along. Oh, now he's suddenly able to recognize the completely nondisguised face of his enemy. Good thing trucks haven't been invented yet, so nobody could drive one through that gaping plot hole.


BARNEY GOOGLE & SNUFFY SMITH: A puffing Snuffy heaves at the oars of a rowboat named "Weezy." "That named for his wife or him?!!" an onlooker chortles. Or his old girlfriend?

ZIPPY: The always-welcome Mr. Toad starts ranting Saturday. "I know I'm a genius . . . You know I'm a genius . . Why doesn't everyone know I'm a genius?!" Sounds like someone's horning in on Griffy's job as Bill Griffith's alter ego.

HERB & JAMAAL: Saturday, Stephen Bentley returns yet again to the proposition that golf is a good walk spoiled.

HI & LOIS: Trixie tries to "tape" her favorite TV show by putting adhesive tape on the TV screen. Is Trixie a foster kid Hi and Lois picked up from the Keane family?

CURTIS: Sunday, Curtis orates on how black folks ain't like white folks: "You don't see us chasing tornadoes, or taggin' polar bears, or milking rattlesnakes! You won't find us down in the mouth of an active volcano to see how hot it is, or hand-feeding great whites!" "Yeah," Mr. W. cuts in, "we have enough trouble finding affordable housing in a decent neighborhood!"

ONE BIG HAPPY: Saturday, the kids play poker with the grandparents. Sunday, at Library Story Hour, James takes up the challenge of defining "stowaway": "It's like when you be wantin' some Cheetoes, but they ain't none in the house . . . and you say to your cousin Cooter . . . 'Let's go to the Git 'N' Go for some Cheetoes.' 'Cept he's from Diresville and don't know nuthin' 'bout things around here. 'What's the Git 'N' Go?' 'Dang, dude! It's that stow a way up the road!'" Rick Detorie was trying to do a pun, but he ended up doing a young-adult novel.

FAMILY CIRCUS: "That's why it's called a bump bed," Billy calls down cheerfully from his upper berth to a sobbing Jeffy on Thursday. Billy will do just fine, wherever life takes him.

Sunday, Billy rises to Ditto Flagston's challenge of last week by having a color-supplement dream in which he goes flying, leaving a dotted line looping over the rooftops and around a passing plane. His sister cowers behind a tree as he sails by, a policeman gets on the walkie-talkie to call HQ, his father is startled and drops the paper. Barfy barks at him. He's not just flying--he has the power to strike fear into the hearts of those who see him. And the neighborhood in Billy's dreamworld, we notice, is markedly shabbier and more urban-looking than the suburban Anywhere where he spends his waking hours. There's even a multi-story building, with an "Apartments For Rent" sign out front. Renters? Where has Billy even heard of renters?

CLASSIC PEANUTS: With Snoopy gone in search of children's-book author Miss Helen Sweetstory, Charlie Brown frets. "Why does a person own a dog?" he asks Linus Wednesday. "For security, I guess," Linus replies. "For the security of knowing that there's at least one creature in the world who likes you."

"What if that creature walks off and leaves you?" Charlie Brown asks. "You don't let him leave you, Charlie Brown! You tie him up, or lock him in the garage! You just don't understand security, Charlie Brown."

By Friday, Snoopy is back home, working on the biography of Miss Helen Sweetstory. "I'll go right to where the action began," Snoopy thinks. "It was raining the night of her high-school prom," he types.

LUANN: In firefighter-training class, Brad is overwhelmed by the prospect of applying "quick, upward thrusts" to the abdomen of one of Greg Evans' busty crop-topped honeys.

Sunday, the puppets turn on their master, as Knute announces that he's drawn a comic strip about Luann's life. Panel one: Luann, stooping down, splits her pants in front of Aaron Hill. Panel two: Luann stands up and hits her head on Aaron's locker door. Panel three: Luann shouts Aaron's name and faints. Panel four: Luann lands in Gunther's lap. "What would happen next?" Bernice asks. "Same stuff over and over?" "That's the beauty! I only gotta do one," Knute says. We couldn't have said it better.

WILLY 'N ETHEL: Willy has a calendar with a snooze alarm.

YOU CAN WITH BEAKMAN & JAX: Jax traces the origins of both peanut butter and breakfast cereal to Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, "famous dead food nut." "Dr. Kellogg had some pretty kooky health ideas. He thought root vegetables, like carrots, were toxic because they didn't get sunshine." He also served his ur-corn flakes with "a nondairy milk he made from ground-up nuts and legumes." And he had lots of other health insights, too!

Funny Paper just noticed that the column instructs you to write to Beakman or Jax. Dear Beakman & Jax: Why do we have to choose?

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