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CSotD: Friday Funnies

Over at Comics Kingdom Vintage Strips, Big Ben Bolt has just wrapped up one adventure and is off on another. It’s a good time to jump on board, but it also made me wish life and international diplomacy were as simple as this fellow thinks.

The strip is from August, 1958, so a certain young boxer from Louisville, Kentucky, was two years away from his Olympic medal and quite a few years short of immortality, and we were also a few steps away from total involvement in Vietnam.

On the other hand, we were just two months past Vice-President Nixon’s motorcade being stoned in Caracas amid shouts of “Yankee Go Home,” and that lead time seems about right for a comic strip response.

What happens in the comics, alas, can’t always be reproduced IRL. A few decades after this, we sent a handsome, popular young boxing champion all over the world and everybody absolutely adored him, but it didn’t transfer to their views of the rest of us.

Incidentally, I was riding from the airport to my hotel in Louisville some years ago when we passed alongside the Ohio River and I remarked, “So that’s where he threw it,” and the cabbie said, “That’s where.”

And then we went right back to our conversation. You really do have to be the greatest to have that kind of presence in the public mind.

Big Ben Bolt isn’t the greatest strip, but it’s certainly one of the better Vintage offerings — good art, good writing and a good hero at the center. If you aren’t a Comics Kingdom member, do a little Christmas shopping for yourself.

(Meanwhile, you can get a 30-day free trial at GoComics. If you like comics enough to keep coming back here, you really should be subscribed to both, plus have a Patreon or two or three going on out there.)

 

Speaking of Christmas shopping and people named Ben, this cracked me up. It wouldn’t be so bad if they simply pestered you about things you looked at but didn’t buy, but you can buy things and still get bombarded with ads for them anyway.

She could simply torture him, by clicking on Miatas and men’s underwear and pool tables and soap-on-a-rope and let him sort it all out at his own leisure.

 

I have no idea how old you have to be to share this memory, but this Bizarro took me back to the highly hilarious days of my youth, when you would point dramatically to the sky and say, “Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane!” and then wipe your eye with the pointing finger and say, “It’s a bird.”

Ah, the mad times we had!

 

And speaking of jokes you have to be old to get, Tank McNamara reminds me that I’m old enough to remember before the Dallas Cowboy’s were “America’s Team” but that my sons, in their 40s, are not, or, at least, that they probably don’t.

The name goes back to 1978 and the blame goes to John “Frozen Turf of Lambeau Field” Faccenda, who, in a highlight film, intoned

They appear on television so often that their faces are as familiar to the public as presidents and movie stars. They are the Dallas Cowboys, “America’s Team.”

Meanwhile, out in Denver, Broncos fans at one bar were famously buying chances to hurl a brick through the screen when Howard Cosell’s face appeared on the halftime highlights, upon which the Broncos couldn’t get 30 seconds of air time, much less a shot at playing an actual game on Monday Night.

Not that we could blame Howard for the networks’ infatuation with the Cowboys.

His bromance with the Pittsburgh Steelers would never have allowed him such infidelity.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Bug Martini)

(Bizarro)

Stupid humor is particularly intelligent when it’s well researched and, AFAIK, the tradition of blessing sneezers does indeed come from the belief that the soul briefly exits the body in a sneeze.

I’m not sure of the notion that the body actually shuts down for an instant during a sneeze, but, then again, I’m not going to underestimate the knowledge of our Old Ones.

Meanwhile, Bizarro’s second appearance summons a second memory, somewhat more recent, of a friend who, having discovered sex, wondered why “Fuck you” was a curse and not a blessing.

I need not tell you that his one-man crusade to reverse this usage was unsuccessful.

I probably also need not tell you that his epiphany occurred during our sophomore year in college.

And I’m aware that Seinfeld played with the phrase — not the F-bomb, the “Bless you” — but that was about the time the show stopped being a situation comedy and simply became a platform for planting hipster catch-phrases.

(Though I loved the ending.)

 

Department of Minimal Commentary

I have little to say about today’s Retail because the phenomenon (also) leaves me completely flummoxed.

I understand theft, though when whole roasts began disappearing from a restaurant where I worked, having the walk-in padlocked made the lunchtime rush a bit fraught. But at least it was something of value and it was stealing from the boss.

But filching food from fellow-workers simply doesn’t compute. And I’d rather rage like the middle panel than adopt the timid acceptance in the third.

 

Another thing I don’t get is fear of snakes, and that isn’t even a city/country thing, because my friends from home are divided on it as well.  Though Spud, admittedly, is afraid of most of life, and I don’t get that, either.

Wallace the Brave is full of story arcs like this, which began here and has only become funnier as the week wore on.

 

I have nothing to add to this “In The Bleachers” except that it cracked me up.

Well, and that new main-man Ben Zaehringer is doing good work, but that you’d enjoy this parting interview with originator Steve Moore if you missed it this summer.

 

Finally …

Thanks, Dave, but this old fart is not carrying that earworm around alone.

 

 

Community Comments

#1 Kevin Tolman
November/30/2018
@ 8:40 am

https://dilbert.com/strip/2002-02-03

#2 Meg Wright
November/30/2018
@ 1:43 pm

“Not that we could blame Howard for the networks’ infatuation with the Cowboys. His bromance with the Pittsburgh Steelers would never have allowed him such infidelity.”

Funny how respective fandom colors ones opinion on who Cosell did/didn’t like. As a diehard Stiller fan growing up near Pittsburgh I can confirm that he hated the Steelers and never had a good thing to say about them, let alone covered them as they deserved during halftime highlights.

#3 Mike Marland
November/30/2018
@ 5:51 pm

I’d missed the story about Steve Moore handing off “In The Bleachers” (hilarious strip!) so I went and read it – interested to learn that another cartoonist is afflicted with essential tremor.

I have been drawing in spite of it for most of my career (before meds I could only do my lettering in the evening when reaching a certain point of tiredness). I can still draw, but the tremor worsens as I age and now, combined with arthritis, it is becoming more and more difficult to ink, with lettering almost out of the question.

I still draw old school with pencil & ink on bristol but am relying more and more on my Mac and photoshop. I “draw” my two editorial comic strips almost exclusively on the computer. I think if digital wasn’t available I’d be a goner!

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