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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/15/2008

The Morning Line: The Don't-Miss List: Today's Top Five

By Michael Cavna

You might breeze through your comics at lightning speed, or you might mull them leisurely over your waffles or lox. Either way, in today's Post funnypages, there are Five Things Not To Be Missed.

As a reader service, 'Riffs counts 'em down:


The third panel is a priceless, wordless realization. Mama Otterloop has nearly let the cat outta Santa's bag, figuratively speaking. The Eye-of-Alarm, the Hair-of-Parental-Terror and the telling "smack!" A small but wonderful joy, gift-wrapped for us by Father Thompson.


Given the strip's love of optical-illusion perspective and foreshortening, I will allow this strip its seeming pterodactyl-sized freakbirds and mondo tortoise-zillas (boldly presuming here that Mark Trail is not, in fact, three feet tall and Andy is actually the size of a house cat). But that steroid-era insect (dragonfly, perhaps?) in the first panel takes the optical cake, even for "Mark Trail." Everglades insects have nothing on these behemoth blood-suckers.


The past two weeks have been fairly thrilling, plotwise, as the dark side of Dixie gets its full reveal. But even beyond that, just gaze at that SWAT officer coming right at us. Really, how often do the oft-static funnypages, relatively speaking, get this visually dramatic? Brav-o, Mr. Barreto.


Darrin Bell makes amusing use of the last-panel cutaway today, to maximum effect. Dilbert and Huey (together at last!), on the Hill to speak for an entire industry. If only the Big Three had characters as colorful. Well-played.


Sure, the storyline holds promise, but the killer touch today: the name of the threatening saucer. "Klaatu Barada Nikto," that classic sci-fi command, so often copped in comic books, other alien-happy flicks and elsewhere -- and perfectly timed to the new remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still." Swell touch. Go, Gort! And go, Commander Rickard.

By Michael Cavna  | December 15, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Good to see Det Heidi Roberts managed to get back into her Prom dress for the final confrontation. The leather pants may have been the wiser choice...

Posted by: JkR- | December 15, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Dragonflies ain't "blood-suckers".

Posted by: tegularius | December 15, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I completely missed the joke in that Cul de Sac when I first read it.

I suppose to a parent it would have been much more obvious.

Posted by: oceanchild | December 15, 2008 1:28 PM | Report abuse

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