S U C K

"a fish, a barrel, and a smoking gun"
for 31 December 1999. Updated every WEEKDAY.
 

With Peanuts ending only a few days after the rest of civilization, we couldn't help but get the hint that it's time to clean out the rest of our daily newspaper's comics page — a veritable elephants' graveyard of one-joke wonders ready to be put out of their respective miseries. We're happy to provide the potassium chloride, along with some suggestions for more with-it replacement comics.

OUT WITH The Lockhorns
Leroy Lockhorn is a balding, potbellied salaryman with an expression of perpetual boredom. His wife Loretta is a bitter, shrewish homemaker, just this side of exploding with rage. They despise each other, their families, and their empty middle-class lifestyle. The single-panel gags work the endless fights, putdowns, and general psychological warfare of their loveless marriage for maximum yuks, with special attention to insulting her cooking and both of their in-laws.

IN WITH The Processors
Steve Processor is a freelance graphic designer with repetitive-stress injuries, poor time-management techniques, and problems with intimacy. His domestic partner Thalia is a pharmaceutical copywriter who has a pattern of toxic relationships and is still tormented by her unhappy childhood. The single-panel gags find them working out their issues in couples therapy, with special attention to their passive-aggressive dealings with money and both of their extended families.

OUT WITH B.C.
Sometime in prehistory, tragically before the birth of Christ, pelt-wearing cavemen and cavewomen exchange wisecracks, write on clay tablets, and learn to deal with innovations like the wheel and fire. Additional hilarity is provided by talking ants and daffy definitions from a dictionary on a big stone. The strip's jokes are cribbed from the Borscht Belt, but are offset by inspirational Christian musings. Classic collection is entitled Life Is a 75 Cent Paperback.

IN WITH Ancient History
Sometime in the early '90s, tragically before the New Economy, flannel-clad businessmen and businesswomen exchange wisecracks, write on overhead projectors, and learn to deal with innovations like Mosaic and Newtons. Additional hilarity is provided by talking deer ticks and daffy utterances from a tech guy who's a big stoner. The strip's jokes are cribbed from The Onion, but offset by inspirational quotes from Kevin Kelly. Classic collection is entitled Life Is a $12 Download Available Exclusively from bn.com.

OUT WITH Garfield
A fat, lazy cat spends his days sprawled on his back, making wisecracks at no one in particular, when he's not scarfing lasagna or bossing around his happy-go-lucky schlub owner Jon. Over the course of the strip, his eyes have quintupled in size, making him appear cuter and more sympathetic. Comic relief is provided by Odie, Jon's silent dog, who is even stupider and often drools.

IN WITH Polk
A fat, lazy rave kid spends his days sprawled on his girlfriend's couch, making wisecracks at the TV, when he's not guzzling Ten-High or bossing around his embittered Goth girlfriend Jen. Over the course of the strip, his pants' cuffs will quintuple in size, making him appear hipper and more fashion conscious. Comic relief is provided by OD, their dealer and Jen's personal "dog," who often passes out in his own drool.

OUT WITH For Better or for Worse
A comedy-drama about a warm-hearted bookseller, her square but cheerful dentist husband, and their three adorable children. We watch the kids grow up in real time, discovering the joys and tribulations of adolescence, young love, and education. The family's dog dies heroically rescuing the youngest from drowning. General tone is that of an ABC Afterschool Special.

IN WITH I Get the Trailer, You Get the Brats
A comedy-drama about a cracked-out phone sex operator, her series of small-time thug boyfriends, and her three frequent wards of the state. We watch the kids develop a relationship with the law in real time, discovering the joys and tribulations of chugging Robitussin, hoarding small-caliber firearms, and listening to Impaled Nazarene. The family's dog dies after eating the youngest's stash of ketamine. General tone is that of Gummo.

OUT WITH Dilbert
A chubby, homely geek, toiling in a cubicle, has no friends besides his pets. He and his co-workers spend their days writing meaningless reports and dosing themselves with coffee to make it through the day. Their boss is a small-minded autocrat who's constantly micromanaging them. Wacky corporate policies and unpredictable computers are a constant source of fun. All the characters live in fear of Microsoft.

IN WITH Dilaudid
A chubby, homely geek at a Linux firm that's just gone public suddenly has more friends than he can count. He and his co-workers spend their days checking their stock's value on Bloomberg every five minutes and dosing themselves with prescription painkillers to pass the time until they vest. Their boss is a small-minded autocrat who occasionally checks in via satellite phone from Aruba. Wacky SEC policies and unpredictable shareholders are a constant source of fun. All the characters live in fear of The Industry Standard.


words the Sucksters   pictures Terry Colon