The Great Newspaper Comics Challenge Part 7

It’s time for our weekly look at what’s funny — or not — in the Sunday funnies. Because surely there’s a modern-day successor to “Pogo?”

“Classic Peanuts” offers a take on Charlie Brown’s love/hate relationship with baseball. Charlie Brown’s on the pitcher’s mound and it’s raining. Lucy asks if he’s going to call the game. He tells her to get back out into centerfield. A pop fly ball is hit and … bounces off Lucy’s umbrella. That Lucy!

“Garfield” looks at a common problem for bloggers. Jon worries that no one is reading his blog. He theorizes that cute pictures of Garfield would generate clicks. But Garfield won’t cooperate. The last panel shows an extreme close-up of a mouth. Jon’s I think. With the entry, “Today I ate a smartphone.” Am I missing something?

“Wizard of Id” gives us our first April Fool’s joke of the day. The king is delighted to hear the soldier in the turret announce, “The king’s popularity is higher than ever.” But everyone else is laughing — until the king has them put in chains for playing an April Fool’s joke on him.

“Marmaduke” barks in response to the tweeting birds … and they all fly away. Are we sure that the creator of “Marmaduke” has ever seen a dog?

“Dilbert” features Catbert offering the pointy-haired boss advice on leadership. After Catbert tells him he’s being too panicky in his warnings, the boss says, “We’re doomed, and yet, I am not the least bit worried.” Catbert frowns. “That one had a creepy vibe.” And that’s not even the punchline. Pretty funny.

In “Beetle Bailey,” the men of Camp Swampy are complaining about Cookie’s meatballs. Sarge advices him to make something they would like to tear apart with their teeth. Cookie makes … cookies that look like Sarge and the men are eating them up. I’m confused. Is “Don’t ask, don’t tell” over or not?

“Foxtrot” offers “Game of Thrones” as it might be filtered through a “My Little Pony” sensibility for an April Fools Day joke. And, you know, it works.

In “Hi and Lois,” Lois cleans up the house all day and then wonders aloud if mother birds ever look forward to an empty nest. I sense a very tragic Lifetime movie in the offing.

An April Fool’s joke backfires for “Dennis the Menace.” He’s trying to be funny, but he convinces Margaret that she’s gorgeous and that he wants to hear her practice piano. I sense a very tragic Lifetime movie in the offing here too.

Okay, now we’re getting into the spirit of this special day as well as the spirit of horribly embittered and disappointed mothers. In “Family Circus,” all the kids thank their mom for vegetables, come home with perfect report cards and thank mom for taking them clothes shopping. “April Fool!” those devilish Keanes announce. Tragic. Lifetime. Offing.

And finally in “Non Sequitur,” an alien and a little boy tell a little girl they’re calculating when an asteroid will strike earth. She realizes it’s April Fools Day. Whew. After she leaves, they go back to calculating the date of impact. Wow, thanks, Wiley, for spoiling the spirit of April Fools Day! (And thanks for the plot of a SyFy Channel movie.)

If you’re scoring at home, that’s five April Fools Day jokes and three potentially tragic tales of parenthood gone off the rails.


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