Random Comments, 2020 Edition

Same as the Late-2019 list (which is being closed because it’s gotten too long) and the previous versions, this will be accessible indirectly from the Your Random Comments link in the left sidebar. I wish WordPress made this simpler, but then I wish a lot of things.

Please remember that this is intended for public comics-related (or comics semi-related) comments only: if you want to send me a CIDU, or a comic for some specific folder (Ewww, Oy, etc), or you want to inform me of a typo, please e-mail me at cidu email.

Also: A list of the site’s most recent comments can be found in the left sidebar. A database of all the comments, compiled by larK, is here.

And the site’s FAQ is here.


  1. I too extend thanks to the great CIDU Bill. The best way to show appreciation, if you have the means, is a donation for his March of Dimes walk. That’s coming up this Spring.

  2. Didn’t we just discuss Arlo’s crush on Lois? Today, Jimmy Johnson is highlighting that sequence.


  3. To amplify B.A.’s observation, that is at the Arlo & Janis site — https://arloandjanis.com/imagine-that-2 for today (Thurs 13 Feb 2020) has a retro strip from 04 March 1996, and a link to that one on Go Comics with the note that a sequence starts there. A few days later, at https://www.gocomics.com/arloandjanis/1996/03/08 , it brings in Lois.

    As a further, unrelated, coincidence, yesterday’s entry at the Arlo & Janis site, https://arloandjanis.com/preliminary-document for Weds 12 Feb 2020, was titled “To be or not to be?” . Apparently a question.

  4. I don’t think she goes by her maiden name in the strip. She’s been married for 15-20 years, so if he knows her at all he should be accustomed to her name.

  5. @ Bill – Wow, you did a very nice job of updating the header of “Random Comments Mark Zero” (the “gateway” page linked to by the fossilized left-side menu). Beautiful!
    P.S. @ Olivier – Thanks. The Harvester works for me today, too, but it didn’t yesterday. However, retroactively debugging temporary Internet connection problems is a futile exercise.

  6. Random question: Was there ever a major character divorce in the funnies besides Michael Doonesbury and JJ, and Rip Haywire and Cobra? I know Dick Tracy and Tess went through a rough patch (Mad Magazine sent Dick into the comic singles scene, eventually to have an affair with Blondie) and more recently Judge Parker was temporarily separated from Kathleen, but actual marital dissolutions are evidently reserved for supporting or guest characters.

    Romances bust up all the time, and here and there somebody gets widowed, but that’s not quite the same thing.

    (In “Pearls Before Swine”, Stephan Pastis shows his strip avatar as having been thrown out by his wife’s avatar, and we occasionally see him in a basket on her doorstep, trying to look pathetic enough to be taken in. But the characters are not divorced. And in real life, Mrs. Pastis has resisted life imitating art.)

  7. Junior Tracy and Moon Maid 1.0 did not divorce; she was killed by a car bomb, and Junior mourned her. But Junior’s second and current wife, Sparkle Plenty, is divorced from cartoonist/jerk Vera Alldid.

    In JUDGE PARKER, Alan’s son Randy has been described as divorced from his dangerous sometime-professional-assassin wife (and mother of his daughter) April, but I don’t think the strip ever pinpointed the moment of such.

    Over in REX MORGAN, supporting character Buck (can’t remember his last name offhand), who recently became a father again with his current wife Mindy, is divorced from his violent psycho ex-wife Doris. I think his teenage son is the product of yet an earlier (pre-Doris) marriage (which probably ended in death rather divorce?) but if that was depicted it was during a period when I wasn’t reading the strip.

    And yes, Funky Winkerbean himself is divorced and remarried. He’s on pretty good terms with his ex-wife, who has since herself remarried to irritating movie actor Mason Jarre.

    But you were specifying “major” characters and your mileage may vary as to which of those qualify.

  8. I think Jimmy Johnson has several times said that some of Arlo and Janis’s relationship is based on his own life with his ex-wife.

  9. Thanks for the clarification, Shrug: I don’t think I’ve read a Tracy strip since the 80s (when we left NYC and therefore the Sunday News).

  10. I forgot about Funky. And if we’re counting not-quite star characters, JJ’s mother Joanie Caucus set a bad example by impulsively abandoning her family in the 60s to Find Herself (divorce came later and reconciliation with JJ later still). Motherhood didn’t work out too well for Joanie. In addition to JJ there’s son Jeff, whose substitute for a life is creating an online presence as the Red Rascal, rogue anti-terrorist.

    “For Better or Worse” had Ted, a minor character, cheat on his wife resulting in divorce. The title character of “Shoe” has an unseen ex-wife (Wikipedia says several ex-wives), all dating from before the strip began. Comic generally cling to mother-in-law jokes, but here and there you have ex-wife jokes replacing them.

  11. Belatedly remembered that Joan, Val’s sister and co-star in STONE SOUP, is divorced but (happily) remarried. Her ex-husband used to show up in the strip once in a while.

    Also, if I recall correctly Edda’s mother (whose name I’m forgtting) in 9 CHICKWEED LANE is also divorced and (reasonably happily) remarried to some nonentity whose name I’m not surprised I can’t remember (or care about).

  12. P.S. I can’t count. The correct PBF tally is three new comics in the last four weeks.

  13. GoComics has finally dropped the inexplicable banner advertisement for Larson’s new “Far Side” website, which had been running for the past few weeks. I’m sure it wasn’t a public service announcement; presumably it ran because Larson (or his website operator) was paying GoComics to display it. However, if that is the case, this would be conclusive proof that the new website has been set up primarily (possibly exclusively) to turn a profit.
    P.S. I still don’t think that there’s much blood to be had squeezing that particular internet turnip.

  14. I’ve added a bookmark for The Far Side, and have been reading the display panel and the one or two featured panels. I wasn’t following the strip during its original lifetime, so these are mostly new to me, or else worth a reminder. But I haven’t been shopping there for books or subscriptions or anything like that.

  15. @ Mitch4 – I think Bill was worried that further comments might devolve into a discussion of the character of the wearer, rather than just the character of the hat.

  16. to Crimeweek or Arlo. (Also, I guess I confess I was wondering if it was purely precautionary or if something got posted that had to be deleted, and triggered the closing of comments.)

    And by the way, here’s something to be said for Slovenia. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, which those of us of sufficient age will remember was in some parts a matter of outright warfare and even war-crimes, the separation of Slovenia was early and relatively peaceful.

  17. Woops, truncation — should have started

    Thanks, Kilby, that is what I pretty much figured. But did not recall seeing before, except for redirects to Crimeweek or Arlo. (Also, I guess I confess I was wondering if it was purely precautionary or if something got posted that had to be deleted, and triggered the closing of comments.)

  18. What Kilby said: a hat question was asked, a hat question was answered, and we’re done.

  19. Did publish, then unpublish a strip titled “pardon my pooch”? It appeared in my feed, but the link was null.

    I’m a WordPress blogger myself. Changing the link on the left to point here should be pretty easy, if you want to do it.

  20. Minor curiosity: Lately both “Pardon My Planet” and “Mallard Fillmore” have strange, smaller lettering. A technical glitch (many strips and comics use fonts that simulate lettering)? Somebody messing about at the syndicate? Has this phenomenon appeared in any other strips?

  21. A partial answer: “Mallard Fillmore” is being drawn by a new artist, but the Comics Kingdom website still has Bruce Tinsley’s bio with no mention of a change. Poked around the Internet and the change has been noted but no official explanation.

  22. Carl, it did exist, on March 12. I have no recollection what happened, but I’ll try to figure it out.

  23. Mystery solved: I was informed that it was overtly political (albeit not overt enough that I saw it), so I axed it.

  24. How does one get a personalized icon like Mitch has? I remember I tried one option a few years ago, but they insisted on a name at least three letters long and I didn’t want to change my screen name.

  25. I’m just now noticing the AMP button on the WP interface in Chrome browser. Is it actually new or did I just miss noticing it before? Anybody know what it stands for?

    What it does is apparently turn the article into a standalone page of some sort? Do you know what it’s explained somewhere as doing?

  26. AMP stands for “Accelerated Mobile Page” and it’s Google’s attempt to hijack your web session by having you go not to the actual page, but to a cached copy on their servers, which they claim will be “faster” (actual results vary); what they definitely do get is all your information as you browse the page, something they only partially get now depending on how many of their bugs they managed to get embed in other people’s pages. I’d avoid it like the plague.

  27. Arlo, hon, I don’t think there’s anybody over the age of twelve who hasn’t thought of that.

  28. Okay, the joke here is that Dad looks hideous and would embarrass her in front of her friends.

    But in the Close to Home Universe, who’s to say what constitutes “hideous”?

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