This Makes Me Wonder What Volcano Island Gave Them


Let me start off by saying I talked about comic strips again over on my mathematics blog. Now to talk about comic strips on my humor blog.

Mandrake the Magician is a story-adventure strip that ended its run surprisingly recently, even more recently than The Katzenjammer Kids did. It retired rather like you-know-what strip, abruptly and mid-story. King Features didn’t bother getting anyone even to finish off the story, and just went to rerunning things from the 90s. The strip had gotten pretty dire near its end, with awful artwork and hallucinatory stories. The 90s reruns have been eye-opening, because the artwork is incredibly better, but the stories are no less strange. By this I mean they ran a story where the female emperors of far-future Earth pluck Mandrake from the 20th Century in order to show him the wonders of the future and also spank them.

The current storyline, which started I think back during the Byzantine Empire and looks like it might end shortly before the Sun swells up to devour the planet, sees Mandrake finally marrying his longtime comic-strip romance target, uhm, Female Lead Character Who Probably Has A Name. And they’re marrying in three ceremonies for complicated political reasons and to do the same story where terrorists fail to wreck the wedding over and over again. They’re currently at the part of the ceremony where people shower gifts on the happy couple over and over again.

'Gates of Xanadu --- Talking outpost --- Inside --- Wedding gifts arrive --- From a sea captain --- Part of a Greenland iceberg to cool your drinks'. And a helicopter drops a dark mauve iceberg in the swimming pool. This is a thing that routinely happens at weddings.
Fred Frederick’s Mandrake the Magician for the 4th of January, 2016. It’s a rerun from sometime in the 90s originally. And it’s supposed to be part of a worldwide celebration of Mandrake marrying his longtime love, but all the parts of it make Mandrake out to be a jerk. It’s uncanny. If you’d seen the whole storyline you’d agree with me.

So here’s Monday’s strip. At Mandrake’s reclusive mountain lair security is tight. And then a “sea captain” just has a chunk of iceberg dropped into, I hope, the swimming pool. So my reactions:

  1. Is this a gift from a grateful sea captain or an act of revenge he tried secure in the knowledge that in a couple generations it’ll be impossible to find naturally-formed blocks of ice this big? I mean, to say it’s “to cool your drinks” could be honest enthusiasm, but it’s also a pretty decent villain’s stinger comment.
  2. Can any old sea captain just order up a helicopter to fly a chunk of iceberg over from Greenland? What is the permit process for this sort of thing?
  3. Suppose it weren’t a sea captain. What if it were just, like, the captain of the Staten Island ferry? Would he be helicoptering in big chunks of the Statue of Liberty or something? Where would they drop that? Surely at some point in his life Mandrake’s done something to earn the eternal gratitude of a commuter ferry. Where’s the ferry captain’s gifts to him?
  4. Was the iceberg helicoptered all the way from Greenland to Xanadu? Or was it shipped by various transportation modes? Of course I’m familiar with the workings of the 19th century international ice trade, which took ice from places like Massachusetts or Wisconsin and sent it to places like India, which made sense at the time because drinks got really quite hot in India. But most of that transportation infrastructure is gone. Did the sea captain take that whole iceberg chunk in his own ship’s hold and then hire a helicopter for the final steps? If so, how has this messed up his delivery schedule and for how long? If he hired someone else to do it, then, who?
  5. Is it just me or is every Mystery Science Theater 3000 fan reading the narrative bubbles in a Coleman Francis voice? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I mean the guy who did the narrative links on classic god-awful movie The Beast Of Yucca Flats. If you haven’t seen that movie, you’re probably making some wise life choices.
  6. Do the people who slap flood-filled color arbitrary on top of the daily strips like this know that ice is typically ‘white’ or maybe ‘blue’ with details of ‘grey’? Why do they think it should be ‘undercooked-turkey’ in color?
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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

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