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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 12/23/2008

The Morning Line: When Santa's Act Ain't Worth Zip

By Michael Cavna

As we here at 'Riffs count down the Christmas-week toons, the one that takes the (fruit)cake today is "Baldo" because, really, what is going on here? Has the store Santa simply forgotten to zip his fly?

(Not exactly laffs of comfort there.) Is there some sort of meta-commentary meant to play on every creepy stereotype about mall Clauses? (And how, exactly, is she wording the news anyway: "Your door to the reindeer barn is open"?)


In "Get Fuzzy," Bucky utters perhaps the most honest thing that's ever passed those mischievous whiskers: "It's urgent. I know. Now, I have no idea why, but people like dogs."

You could give B-Katt a little kitty lie-detector and, based on that statement, he'd pass with flying colors. Superb touch.

Meantime, in "Little Dog Lost," I just have to ask: Is that really what I think it is?

Over breakfast, am I staring at a dung beetle rolling a real "meadow muffin"? If so, I confess: That -- THAT -- is a first for me on the mainstream "family newspaper" comics page.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't point out how fun is the first-panel dialogue in "Judge Parker" -- particuarly the phrase "and probably dead in the desert by morning."

See, you could transplant those two balloons to most any other strip featuring two-character dialogue and -- by substituting the "JP" wording -- it becomes infinitely funnier.

That's my holiday-toon advice. What's yours?

By Michael Cavna  | December 23, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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"That -- THAT -- is a first for me on the mainstream "family newspaper" comics page."

Gary Larson once tried an dung-beetle installment of The Far Side but his editors refused to run it.

Posted by: Carstonio | December 23, 2008 6:33 AM | Report abuse

And based on the past few days of Little Dog Lost strips, we're building up to a dung beetle version of O. Henry's "Gift of the Magi". Which, for holiday-weird, takes the fruitcake.

Posted by: greggwiggins | December 23, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Meanwhile, in "Blondie"-land...

Recession? What recession

Posted by: maynardjf | December 23, 2008 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Any of the three strips featured above would work with Judge Parker's dialogue.

Posted by: howiehunt | December 23, 2008 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Today's Jump Start made me laugh out loud...

We're on a mission from Santa. :)

Posted by: SportzNut21 | December 23, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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