April 16-April 22
THE PHANTOM: In their Sunday color-supplement plotline, Falk and Berry cheat the audience with a ham-fisted continuity break, stolen straight from the old action-serial playbook: How do you get your characters out of last week's cliffhanger? Move the cliff when you pick up the story this week. So it is that Prince Bahmet's plane -- which exploded in a massive fireball on April 15 -- reappears April 22 exploding into a much more manageable fireball. "We must try to force-land!" someone cries from the cockpit. And force-land it does. "Could anyone have survived the crash?" asks the Phantom. Well, sure. Now they can. Last week, they were hamburger.
GARFIELD: Remember U.S. Acres? Back in 1986, not content with the globe-devouring empire of Garfield, Jim Davis offered up the down-home adventures of Orson the pig and his barnyard pals -- which was, as the editor of the Ventura County Star put it a few years ago, "quite possibly the worst strip ever created."
Now, like a moth to the flame, or Darryl Strawberry to the crack pipe, Davis goes back to the farm, as Jon and Garfield go to visit Jon's hayseed relations. Hey, life on the farm is slow! There's no cable TV! These jokes are even more played-out than the usual played-out Garfield gags! Yee-haw. Hee-haw. Urk.
FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE: Sad news on the TV sends little April into a funk. Righto, Lynn Johnson. That's what we want from our comics. Life is grim. The world is horrible. Keep on rockin' in the free world, hon. Sheesh, what is it with you wet-blanket Canadians? If we want to get depressed by the funnies, we'll read Mother Goose & Grimm.
MOTHER GOOSE & GRIMM: "Mirror, mirror on the wall," asks Mother Goose, "who is the fairest of them all?"
"'Whom' is the fairest of them all," says the mirror.
Ha. Ha ha ha ha ha. Wrong, Mike Peters, you illiterate bastard.
MARY WORTH: Mary Worth goes interactive, as Saunders & Giella pause the action to give a shout-out to motorcycle-nerd readers Bob Edwards and Don Williams, for pointing out that eco-extremist Brad Kenwood has been riding around these last few weeks on a heavy-polluting motorcycle. A "'69 Kawasaki 'two-stroke triple'," Brad specifies, abashed, as he declines to sell it to Minne Monroe.
DOONESBURY: Monday: George W. Bush is anti-environment and can't talk right. Tuesday: George W. Bush is anti-environment and can't talk right. Wednesday: George W. Bush is anti-environment and can't talk right. Thursday: George W. Bush is anti-environment and can't talk right. Friday: George W. Bush is anti-environment and can't talk right. Saturday: George W. Bush is anti-environment and hostile to the press. Sunday: Mark Slackmeyer tells his fat-cat dad the Bush Administration is a bunch of pigs. Amazing how much more snap Doonesbury has when Trudeau deigns to let his regular characters do the talking, instead of cranking out a four-panel editorial cartoon.
FAMILY CIRCUS: Billy wears a Yale sweatshirt. "I didn't really go to school there," he confides. Yes, Billy. We know. Shut up and eat your "p'sghetti."
ZIPPY: Griffy, cartoonist Bill Griffith's alter ego, speaks for Funny Paper as he tells Zippy that the pinhead's love affair with roadside Americana has gone too far. "This . . . obsession of yours with big signs," he says on Thursday. "It's gotten kind of out of hand." Right on. FP looks forward to more appearances by Lippy and Mr. Toad -- and fewer by the likes of Westminster's Trayner Carpet building, with its giant carpet-rolling man on the roof, which put in an appearance in the strip on Tuesday.
YOU CAN: Sunday science educators Beakman & Jax name-check Kurt Vonnegut Jr.'s RAMJAC Corp. as they prepare young minds for Turn Off Your TV Week: "You know how the TV says a show is 'brought to you by Ramjac'? The reverse is really true: The TV show brings you to the advertisers. TV shows deliver you to whichever company pays for the ads on TV. It's a lot like your TV turns your living room into a factory." Meanwhile, the kiddie puzzle page offers a capsule biography of Alan Greenspan.
JUMBLE: A "PAY-TRIOT", A DEEP BREATH, "WRENCHED IT", PUT IT ON ICE, RUMORS, IN OVER HIS HEAD.
JUMP START: Monday and Tuesday, Robb Armstrong experiments with long, artsy single panels. Unfortunately, he uses Tuesday's panel on a mime joke. Mime! Forget old wine in new bottles -- this is like an old wino's piss in new bottles.
CLASSIC PEANUTS: Charlie Brown once again sees victory cruelly snatched away, as his team's first win of the year -- on a bases-loaded Eddie Gaedel-style walk by 1-year-old Rerun Van Pelt -- is thrown out by the league president. Young Rerun, it turns out, had bet a nickel on his team to win. If only Pete Rose had read these strips when they first ran in 1973 . . .
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