We’ll start with a couple of story arcs you should simply go read:
Off the Mark has been exploring the Aging App. I don’t recall Mark Parisi doing a lot of story arcs in the past, and, in fact, I don’t recall this feature being anything but one-offs.
However, this is well-done, fun stuff and you should start here and read’em all.
You need a Comics Kingdom subscription to read their Vintage strips, but you of course support comics, so that’s no problem, and I’d have alerted everyone to the current Buz Sawyer long ago if I’d known how much fun it was going to be.
The story began way back on June 24, which you can get to from here, though you need to poke around a little — Their clumsy website doesn’t give an actual link, even for subscribers.
Or you can join it in progress here, and the next couple of paragraphs will bring you up to speed. Skip’em if you want to avoid spoilers:
Buz Sawyer hasn’t been all that entertaining lately — that is, in the mid-50s — because it became kind of a Defense Department mouthpiece. But Roy Crane ditched the Cold War politics this time, and had Buz head out on what should have been a touch-and-go errand to an aircraft carrier.
He gets stuck there, along with his pal’s ditzy smuggled-aboard girlfriend, back in the days before a co-ed Navy, and it turns out the ship’s current mission is to let a nostalgic old admiral return to his glory days long enough to become the 100,000th carrier landing.
Some genuine if a bit retro-sexist hilarity ensues, only now Ginger has turned up with the mumps, which, back in 1956, was no joke.
It’s still no joke for mature males, who have two more susceptible, swellable glands than females, though I doubt Roy Crane will depict bow-legged sailors.
I suppose Buz will go back to fighting the commies when this arc ends, but it’s sure a fun ride at the moment.
A&J has a reputation for being more frank than other strips, but the “untouched maiden” was a fading concept a half-century ago when their generation was dating.
Feminist Trivia: The whole “untouched maiden” thing appears to stem from the ancient belief that the man provided a seed and the woman provided a fertile field. A lot of language springs from that misconception (including that term, I suppose) and, specific to this issue, gardeners know how a seed can sit in the soil for years and suddenly pop up unexpectedly. In a patrilinear society, it was critical that only the husband’s seed ever be planted in that field, lest the apparent heir actually be the “volunteer seed” of a long-ago lover.
Anyway, Arlo & Janis isn’t prim, white-gloved Heart of Juliet Jones, but that doesn’t mean they want her premarital history posted on Facebook, and the arc gets more humorous as it goes on.
Janis-themed segue: There’s a musical going around that purports to recreate the experience of a Janis Joplin concert, and they’ve got a woman who everyone agrees sings just like her.
Which raises the question, if you can find someone who sings just like her, what made her so special?
This is a good time to reprint this Tom the Dancing Bug from 2007, which is just as true today as it was then only now there’s a whole new crop of 12-year-olds setting the standards.
Meanwhile, in addition to women running around pretending to be Janis Joplin, we’ve got Sylvester Stallone running around pretending to still be Rambo.
And then this popped up, and, while I’m not sure Cary Elwes is ethically positioned to claim the movie is “perfect,” it’s a damn fine movie that depends in very large part on some eccentric performances that cannot be duplicated.
And although it was 30-some years ago, my current crop of young reporters, now in that crucial age group, can quote from the original movie extensively.
So here, on this side of the room, is “the Maltese Falcon,” originally done very well in 1931 with Bebe Daniels and Ricardo Cortez, but then remade a decade later, even better, with Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor.
And on this side of the room is “Destry Rides Again,” “The Thomas Crown Affair,” “Alfie,” “The Heartbreak Kid,” “The In-Laws,” “The Magnificent Seven,” and I rest my case without getting into the various lame iterations of “The Adventures of Robin Hood.”
If you can’t see a difference between the original and the remake, they shouldn’t let you into theaters.
Nothing to do with being 12.
There was, in the ’80s, an explosion of strips that re-imagined comics, of which The Far Side was a major contributor, as were Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County and, earlier, Doonesbury.
The 12-year-olds of that era are pushing 50 now.
It’s not that they aren’t as good as they once were, but times change, and, as the old gag goes, nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.
Maybe Larson’s still got his fastball. We’ll see, and I would honestly love to be wrong.
But there are a lot of young pitchers out there duplicating what he pioneered, except for the “never before seen” part. And now it’s been seen.
For my part, I thought Larson and Watterson put their pens down at the right moment, when their work was starting to be predictable instead of astonishing, but before it began to degenerate into self-parody.
But what do I know? I thought Janis should have stayed with Big Brother.