Friday, December 30, 2005

Dance your cares away

Ooola is back in fine form today. After a brief flirtation with reality, where as Michael noted she nearly jumped off the page with new realistically-drawn features, she is now back to her cartoonish self and her embrace of ditzy female stereotypes.
"Dancing," she exclaims. "When do we go!"
As if that makes the prospect of being barbecued again all the better. Doesn't she remember what she was doing the last time she went time traveling and nearly became a cave girl flambeau? That's right. She was DANCING!
But I guess Santa Claus will make sure that idiot Doc Wonmug doesn't drop a coke on the time machine this time.

Speaking of the time machine, since when has it become nothing more than a venue for Oop's personal vacation jaunts? Doesn't the good Doc have anything better to do with his time (pun intended)? Or perhaps Oop has the right to call in favors whenever he wants on account of his having served as Doc's time traveling guinea pig these many years.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cartoon or not cartoon?

Anybody remember "Sam's Strip" from the early 1960's? There was a famous sequence in which Mort Walker and Jerry Dumas had a couple of panels from a realistically drawn action strip followed by a cartoony panel with a punch line. The jarring effect of two clashing art styles were used - back then - to a humorous effect. These days Oop and other strips like Gasoline Alley are doing it straight and for-real. Am I alone here, or is it just plain disconcerting to see our gorgeous, cartoony Ooola morphing into Terri Hatcher or ... I don't know ... maybe even Roseanne Barr if you squint your eyes a little. The third panel continues with Ooola morphing back, and it ends with a very cartoony Oop babbling something about Santa Claus. I'm sure the artist was happy with that middle panel - it's not a bad drawing at all. It's just not Ooola.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Alternate responses ...

In the first panel, Oop looks so happy, and he's running toward his lady love so quickly that he's raising up little puffs of dust. Ooola, on the other hand, has a bone to pick with the Oopster. "Couldn't you at least have been with me for Christmas?" Oop promptly apologizes. I think rather than capitulating so easily, Oop could have said a number of other things, such as ...
1) "Sorry to mess up your holiday, but I was off saving an imprisoned village of men, women and children."
2) "Santa Claus held me up. No, really! Just like he appeared in that Narnia movie!"
3) "Well, I was going to give you a present, but since you're so dang nasty about it ..."

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Dancing with the Oopster

It's the era of ballroom dancing, folks. Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez made it look hot a few years ago. Last year "Dancing With the Stars" was a hit in the ratings, and ABC is determined to make lightning strike twice with a second season that stars uber-tan George Hamilton and the babe from "Wayne's World," Tia Carrere. Into this foxtrot frenzy comes, at the suggestion of St. Nick himself ... Alley Oop? Look, if Nancy Sinatra's boots were made for walkin', Oop's feet are made for stomping out forest fires. Check out panel one and take a gander at those dogs. But somehow Santa seems to think that a few trips around the ballroom floor will do for Ooola what 70 years worth of saving her life have failed to do. As Monroe says, I guess we'll have to just hope for the best.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Alley Oop, wet blanket

I almost called this post, "Alley Oop, stinking ingrate," but thought that would come across a bit harsh in large type. Anyway, Oop is feeling so sorry for himself these days that he's becoming an annoying schlep. I wouldn't blame Santa if he was reaching into that bag for a gun after that last remark.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Singin' the Ooola blues

(Note: I've been misspelling her name by leaving out an O) Was Ooola always so fickle in her affections for the Oopster? The way her character is being scripted today I would advise Oop to just throw in the towel and go look for someone else to court.
Now that it looks like the story is turning back to the Oop/Ooola saga, let's review some of the most recent developments in their 70-plus year relationship.
First, we had Ooola giving Oop the ultimate slapdown for his marriage proposal. "I need time to think about it."
Then she carelessly discards the dress she had spent so much time picking out for their "honeymoon."
And then, upon returning to Moo, she immediately begins flirting with that dreamy new guy, Mountain. And don't forget that it wasn't that long ago that she fell head over heels for Dolph during one of Oop's extended time-travel jaunts.

What more does she have to do to get it through Oop's thick skull that it's over? It was just a fling as far as she's concerned. Or like Butch Hancock wrote and Jimmie Dale Gilmore sang, "She said babe, you're just a wave, you're not the water."

Poor Oop. It's not like he has ever had a wandering eye himself. He's not like James Bond or Star Trek's Capt. Kirk, bedding young women everywhere they go. No, Oop has always been totally faithful to Ooola throughout all his worldly adventures. And this is the thanks he gets. So what more does he have to do to prove his worthiness to his long-time sweetheart?

Looking Moo-wards

This is the most Oop-like that Alley Oop has looked in quite awhile. Given the space limitations of comics in the papers these days, our artist has managed to still pull off a beautifully classic Oop panel with only the silhouette of a couple of trees, a plant, some lines indicating a waterfall in the distance, and Our Man perched on his beloved dinosaur. In fact, I would be pleased as punch with the whole enterprise if I just didn't have to read the words. Oop is back to what has become his losing battle, and it just kind of frustrates me.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Calling all chickens

While Tunk's chicken-hearted, feeble-minded, potential army(?) gets let out of the hole, Mountain tells them the biggest whopper of all time: Tunk is gone "forever." My great-grandpa used to claim that he shot and killed Santa Claus every year too, but that didn't make it so. The last we saw, the abdominal was chasing Tunk out toward parts unknown, pursued by an army that will never, ever catch him. That doesn't spell out "forever" to me, but maybe Mountain is just too innocent to know. Since he's the sharpest spoon in their drawer, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. And hey, look folks, someone left a giant Baby Ruth bar outside of the cave entrance, right where that lady could trip over it!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Mountain and Puny - munchkin style

I was looking at today's strip, and thought something up in the corner looked a little peculiar. As you Oopophiles might remember, Mountain and Tiny are a good foot or so taller than the Oopster. This morning, they appear to be somewhere around five feet tall or shorter, dancing in front of Oop like the kids in "A Charlie Brown Christmas." ARE they Mountain and Puny, or just some random mountain people? If they're not, then where the heck did the giant boys in panel two come from?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Enter Abdominal, Stage Left

Cheemaneester?!? What the heck is that? It stumped Google. I can't find any reference on the web to such a word.

Well, as predicted the real snow monster has finally appeared. Though why at this particular juncture in the story I can't say. It would seem that he is a little late to the party at this point. I thought it would have been better for him to show up before Tunk was unmasked and defeated. Nevertheless, here he is as if on cue.
It would seem that he is unhappy about something, though I'm not sure what. Is he upset that somebody has been impersonating him?

I also find it odd that Tunk was able to exactly replicate the look of the monster using mammoth fur when he apparently didn't even believe that it was real in the first place.

And speaking of staging, what happened to Mountain and Puny in the final frame here? Did the Roar! of the real snow monster cause them to suddenly vault backwards 20 feet?

You do the hokey-pokey and you turn yourself around ...

This is a Mike Thomas-style post, and it goes back to my common mantra lately - "It's all about staging!"

Granted, we've got at least a split second between panel one and panel two, but in that time, Mountain has released Tunk and shifted from his side to the front. In the meantime, Oop has also released Tunk, also shifted to the front, has grabbed his mask with his right hand, has shifted the mask magically to his left hand, and is drawing back to wallop Tunk again. Tunk, who has had has head caved in with an ax, has been jumped from the back by Mountain, has had his butt set on fire, and has received an upper cut by Puny, is suddenly no longer on fire and isn't even trying to escape, though everyone concerned has let go of him.

In the meantime (lovely meantime), Oop's outfit has turned back to a dark colour, while the boys are suddenly dressed in white in panel two. Odd, that.

Not that it's perfect, but I've sketched out a possible alternative layout that keeps our chess pieces moving in a logical direction. You could move the "camera" in tighter for a more dramatic presentation, but I think this would work. Also, while in my doodle it looks as if Oop is wiping himself, he's supposed to be holding the mask - in the correct hand. I imagine he could also be positioned shaking the mask over Tunk's head in rage and it would work too.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Space-time anamolies ...

I know that Jeff has suggested that we are probably being so critical of the Oopster that we can't just sit back and enjoy it anymore. Maybe so, but I'm just MST3K'ing this stuff anyway, because it seems so darn odd. I'm really enjoying this strip on several levels. Comparing this strip with the previous ones, it's as if Oop has drifted into the Bermuda Triangle ...

1) Torches magically appear in a darkened pen.
2) Either Oop has just stepped out of the shower and wrapped a beach towel around himself, or he's on his way to a toga party.
3) Mountain has magically disappeared from the fray.
4) Being on fire is unacceptable. Having your head caved in with a stone mallet (see previous strip) is no biggie.
5) Speaking of which, Oop's mallet/ax/flute has vanished. It's not even visible on the ground.
6) Not only is Tunk screaming because he's on fire, but I'd also expect him to mention that he has a flaming ice cream cone crammed up where the primordial sun don't shine. Flame + severe abrasions = sad monkey.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

World's worst come-on line

Judging from the first panel, it appears that something truly inappropriate is about to happen here.

Never fear, though, soon it's back to the rock 'em sock 'em action we love, with Mountain apparently focusing on one of Tunk's upper vertabrae.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Calling Alice the Goon ...

Am I the only one who expected Alice the Goon to come a-runnin' when Puny sounded out his pterodactyl call? Alice, that bizarro creature from the Popeye strip whose bloated, hairy, naked body kept children awake at night once upon a time, also tended to speak in this odd oscilloscope kind of lingo. Now we know what a pterodactyl sounds like - a resident of Goon Island. What does a Goon sound like? Umm ... err ... uh ... I dunno. I think I would have just opted for a cool sound effect like "EEERAAKKHHH!" or something here. You tell me. What is a pterry s'posed to sound like? On a side note, doncha just love the fact that Mountain is about to take on a smaller, unarmed man in a monkey suit with a club the size of a horse's leg? Is that class or what?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Mammal? What's a mammal???

Jeff touched on this strip in a previous post, but it's interesting that in the Sunday Christmas continuity, Oop has, seemingly for the first time, run into a deer-like creature. Actually, he and his posse seem a lot more surprised by this reindeer than they ever were by the Abdominal Snowman in the daily storyline. Pretty odd. Now granted, the Oop strip plays fast and loose with prehysterical time, but you'd think that he would have run into a deer or ancient variety of antelope at some time in his life. Neanderthals had a sweet tooth for deer, as a matter of fact, as well as each other. My favorite part of this strip is when the Wizer refers to Guz, Foozy and himself as the "three wise men," deliberately leaving Oop out. He's our hero, but he ain't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

You're in the Army now

I'm having a really hard time following Tunk's logic through this ordeal. He wants to invade Moo, but rather than gearing up for that battle he chooses to leave his Army who knows where and climb up into the mountains wearing a monkey suit. There he proceeds to terrorize a bunch of defenseless, cowardly people who subserviently file themselves into a makeshift concentration camp without a struggle.
And now Tunk wants to recruit these folks for his Army???
You've got to be kidding! If they won't defend their own homes, what makes him think they will do any better fighting for him?

Friday, December 02, 2005


I want to take just a moment to welcome Michael Fraley as the new co-author of this blog.
Michael has graciously agreed to pitch in and help me as we continue to follow the travails of our favorite time-traveling caveman. Michael, as most of you know, has been a frequent commenter on this site. He is also a cartoonist and a long-time fan of Alley Oop with an extensive knowledge of the strip's history. So please welcome Michael and wish him all the best.
And don't worry about me. I plan to continue my usual feverish pace of posting comments on this blog as always.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cowards of the county

When Mountain first appeared on the scene we were supposed to be impressed by his immense size and strength. Then we met his little brother Puny who turned out to be even bigger. So we were left believing that the people living up in the mountains were supposed to be a race of hardy giants. One would not want to go up against an army of these folks.

As it turns out however, Mountain and Puny seem to be the exception to the rule. Most of the mountain people are average sized folks who are apparently too docile to put up a fight when confronted with someone or something threatening their villages. Now we see today that after being freed from the prison/fortress that sprung up in their midst seemingly overnight, they are all going to cower inside a cave and let Mountain and Puny face whatever dangers are out there alone. How pathetic is that?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Haven’t we seen this before?

Today’s strip is a complete and utter retread that does nothing to advance the story. It is so redundant that they were able to recycle art from a strip that ran just a few days ago. Compare the strip for today (dated 11/10/05) with the one in the post immediately below this one (dated 11/4/05). Notice how the second panel in today’s strip simply combines the image of Oop from panel two of the earlier strip with the image of Mountain from panel one of that strip. All they did was change Alley’s hands slightly. Both characters have the exact same expressions and positioning. Even the little puff of frosty air above Oop’s right shoulder is the same.
That said, I still can’t understand why Oop is so insistent on keeping those poor folk locked up in their prison. Why doesn’t he just use his stone ax to chop away the poisonous vines and break them out of there? Does he think he needs to leave them there as bait to lure monkey-suit guy back?
I guess we will find out eventually whenever the authors tire of recycling all their old artwork.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Alley Oop: Expert Horticulturist

This prison/fortress is some engineering feat for one stone-aged guy in a monkey suit to have pulled off. When you get that high up in the mountains the tree line shrinks back considerably. That is why mountain peaks are bald. And the trees that you do find are short and scraggly. So to build such an enormous fortress out of wood would have required hauling tons of lumber up from somewhere else. Quite remarkable that the mountain people didn’t even notice while this construction extravaganza was under way.
How did King Tunk build the prison anyway? Hammer and nails? Now that we are getting a closer look from outside it seems that all the timbers are strapped together with vines. That would be more consistent with stone age construction knowledge, but it would also make it much easier to tear down, poison vines or not.
And that brings us to the revelation today that the vines are chock full of poisonous thorns, according to our resident expert horticulturist Alley Oop. But why would Oop know this when Mountain and Puny did not? Imagine how many vines you would have to gather to build a fortress like this? You would assume the vines are growing all over the place in that case, so why would Oop, a non-native, know they are poisonous while Mountain and Puny are clueless? Did Tunk import all the hundreds of yards of poisonous vines along with the tons of lumber?

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Oop Takes Charge

Nevermind the fact that he is in unfamiliar territory (he didn't even know to dress warmly) with two guys who grew up in that area, Alley Oop is clearly in charge here.
Here he is instructing the natives on how to track people in their own backyard while they look on as if they had no clue what to do next.
But that is our Alley Oop - the globe-trotting, time traveling, superhero! He has already figured out that the snowmonster is just some guy in a monkeysuit without even a glimpse of the critter at this point. Now all he has to do is lay they guy out with one swing of his stone ax and that will be it. Mission accomplished.
So what are the authors going to do to complicate things further? I still think the real snowman will make an appearance in this series at some point.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

An introduction and an explanation

I think it is long overdue that I wrote a general comment providing an explanation about Alley Oop Watch and why I started it.
First, let me say that I am overwhelmed by the response this blog has generated. I believe I may have more regular readers here than I do at my main blog. I know it is not because of anything I write in particular, but more because it has developed into a gathering place for people who share a common interest - either positive or negative - in Alley Oop. I think that is terrific.

I will confess that I started this blog two years ago as a lark. I never thought anyone would be reading it other than myself. But thanks to the miracle of Google searches it has brought together a small, but devoted group of Alley Oop fans and critics. Here is the backstory on how it all started. I was visiting my mother one weekend and was telling her about my blog. She seemed interested so I decided to show her how easy it was to set up a blog on The Alley Oop strip I had read that morning was still fresh in my mind when I took the two minutes or so to set up the new blog. I had been reading Alley Oop since the mid-’90s and often would be frustrated by some stupid inconsistency in the storyline, but since I didn’t know anyone else who read the strip there was no one I could talk to about it. On the spur of the moment I decided a blog would be a good place for me to vent my frustrations about the strip.

I know that at the top of this blog I refer to Alley Oop as “The world's stupidest comic strip...”, but that is clearly an exaggeration. There are many other comic strips that are far worse than Alley Oop. I just choose not to read them. There is obviously something about the Alley Oop strip that has kept me reading it all these years in spite of my frustrations. I see the criticisms leveled at the strip here as mostly a tough love operation. I don’t want to see the Alley Oop strip ended. That said, however, I welcome comments from Alley Oop fans and critics alike (and most probably wear both hats).

As for the comments, it has been pointed out that the older comments have been disappearing from the site. That is a problem that I hope to rectify soon since I think the comments have added a tremendous amount to this site. Unfortunately, I have tried to do this on the cheap for the past two years. I’ve never invested a penny into the site which is hosted on the free Blogger service and uses the free Haloscan comments. But now it looks like I will need to upgrade my Haloscan account in order to access comments that are more than a few months old. I will try to do this sometime in the next few weeks.

I want to thank everyone for dropping by and leaving your comments.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Scooby Doo, Where are you?

So the snowmonster turns out to be Moo's arch nemesis King Tunk wearing a costume made of mammoth fur. That's original. All we need now is for the Scooby gang to show up and pull off his mask at an inopportune moment.

Of course, as in most of these stories, there are still a lot of things that don't add up. For instance, how is taking over these mountain villages going to give Lem any advantage over Moo? Alley Oop didn't even know they existed before Mountain showed up so they can't be in a strategic position for launching an invasion. Is Tunk planning to conscript all the Mountain people into his army? That's about the only way I can see how it could benefit him. They don't have a lot of wealth and Mountain said they were starting to run short on food.

Another problem is that Tunk isn't all that big compared to Oop and Guz and all the other cave people. Yet when we first glimpsed the snow monster he was towering over the frightened villagers, at least a foot taller than the biggest man, and snapping huge boards over his head using his bare hands.

Now today we have Tunk laughing about the primitive mountain people because they still believe the snowman exists - as if that was some kind of stretch for people living side by side with dinosaurs. But when the story began Mountain and Puny talked about a snowmonster who they got along with fairly well. So my prediction is that the real snow monster will show up at some point and possibly confront Tunk.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Abominable gulag

This is getting silly again.
Mountain’s homeland has apparently been ravaged by the mis-named Abdominal Snowman and now we see that all the people are being rounded up and herded into some kind of wooden fortress where they are to be held captive for some unknown reason.
Maybe if there was an army of snow monsters I could see this happening. But one snow monster who is at best maybe six inches taller than any of the men from Mountain’s village? What’s wrong with these people?
As Michael Fraley pointed out in comments, these people are used to dealing with T-Rex’s and other fearsome creatures on a daily basis. How is it that they allow themselves to be cowed by one measly snow monster? Why don’t a group of the men get together, grab a few clubs and go and subdue the creature? Is Alley Oop the only one capable of such feats?
And if they were truly terrified of this creature you wouldn’t have people glumly being herded along like cattle into a cage. You would have everyone running off in five different directions.
I’ll tell you one thing, the snow monster from the Rankin and Bass Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Christmas special was a heck of a lot scarier (and bigger) than this creature.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Abdominal Snowman?

What the heck is the Abdominal Snowman? Is he a fitness freak who works out all the time trying to build up his abs? Maybe he has been terrorizing the Mountain people by trying to get them to do excercises to build up their abdomens too.
You don’t suppose the Benders meant the Abominable Snowman, do you?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Mountain saga continues...

The writers came up with a better way to conclude the strength competition in the daily strips than they did for the Sunday section. Oop managed to salvage his reputation as a hero after initially falling into a self-pitying rage fueled by his jealousy of Mountain.
Now it looks like they are planning to use Mountain’s character for another adventure they are setting up, this one having to do with the impending Ice Age that may be threatening Mountain’s village. That could prove to be interesting. Maybe Moo will soon find itself overrun with evacuees in a story that parallels the travails of the displaced residents of New Orleans.
The brief merging of storylines with the Sunday strip seems to have been a temporary experiment that the authors decided to cut short. That’s good because it was a serious drawback to the daily strip to have each week’s storyline outlined in advance.
I’m wondering how long Mountain’s character will stick around. Do the strip’s writers see him as a new major character with a recurring role?
Perhaps he will become so popular that he will muscle Oop out of the strip altogether. They could rename the strip Alley Oop and Mountain. It’s not unprecedented. Just look at how Barney Google became Snuffy Smith, or more recently the way the strip Ernie became Piranha Club or Robotman became Monty.
Naaaahhhh! They would never do that.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Right arm, left arm... whatever

This is so unbelievably stupid I just can't believe that the cartoonists in charge of Alley Oop these days actually did it.
We are currently suffering through one of the most boring storylines I have ever seen at Alley Oop and to top it off they make one of the most incredilby stupid blunders I have ever seen in a daily comic strip this Sunday.
Here we have Alley Oop and Mountain engaged in an arm-wrestling competition to see who is stronger. Notice in the first frame they are wrestling with their right arms, but then just a couple of frames later Mountain defeats Alley Oop and suddenly they are wrestling with their left arms.
This is just appalling. Do the Benders even care about this strip anymore or are they just churning this stuff out to collect a paycheck and could care less how badly they insult the intelligence of their readers?

And to make matters worse, the strip's current authors harve recently decided to merge their storylines for the daily and Sunday papers. That means that we get to see a week ahead of time what is going to happen so that reading the daily strip becomes a mind-numbingly boring experience. I'm just wondering if they are going to have the same right arm/left arm screw up in the daily comics like it was for the Sunday version.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Jealous Again

Haven’t we been down this road just recently? It was just about a year ago that Oop returned from one of his time traveling adventures to find the residents of Moo smitten by a newcomer - Dolph - who turned out to be a bad guy intent on taking over the kingdom. In that case, as with this one, Oop’s immediate reaction to the newcomer is intense jealousy.
This time the newcomer is a walking giant named Mountain. I don’t think he will turn out to be a bad guy because he seems to be based on some real-life figure (possibly a football player) who I’m unfamiliar with.
Mountain saves a family trapped by a boulder in front of their cave entrance. Oop is embarrassed because he could not budget the boulder before Mountain walked up and pulverized it with some kind of football blocking manuever. Instead of congratulating Mountain and celebrating the rescue of the family, Oop storms off in a huff. Why do they insist on making Alley Oop so petty these days? Was he always this way?
Next Oop finds Oola taking a big plate of food to the “dreamy” Mountain, further enflaming his jealousy. Once again I have a hard time understanding Oola’s character. She has been Oop’s steady girlfriend since the dawn of time but when Oop finally asked her to marry him several months ago she blew him off and said she needed more time to think about it. Apparently that also meant more time to have flings with other characters whom she seems to fall for at every opportunity. Has she forgotten about Oop’s proposal or does she even care? Is it time for Oop to take that long ride to nowhere with Dinny that he almost took when she was head-over-heels for Dolph?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

We interrupt this blog...

I want to take a quick break from Alley Oop for a moment to note a new comic strip by Michael Fraley, a frequent commenter on this site.
Michael’s new strip - Burnie and Clyde - can be found on the Comics Sherpa site where new comic artists are provided a chance to show their stuff and perhaps build up enough support and momentum to get into syndication. Here is Michael describing his new venture:

It's about time I put my money where my mouth is. I've got a new strip on Universal Press Syndicate's "Comics Sherpa" site for undiscovered talent. I've done various other “serious" things, including a series of "Arthur: King of Britain" comics that Caliber published back in the 1990's - but folks always seem to like the scribbly, goofy stuff I do best. OK, here it is, a strip about a conservative little turtle and his duck friend who only has one toe dipped in the reality basin.

Best of luck to Michael and his new endeavor. Be sure and check it out regularly.

Now back to our regular scheduled programming...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Waste not, want not

alleyoop 7-18-05
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
Do you suppose Doc Wonmug ever gets tired of buying new clothes for Alley Oop?
Everytime Oop goes to the future he gets a nice new set of clothes that perfectly fit his bulky frame.
You would think he might appreciate this and perhaps leave the clothes there at the time lab when he is not using them. But no! He obviously doesn't give the clothes a second thought.
Here we see Oop transported back to Moo still wearing his modern clothing which he promptly strips off and leaves lying on the ground.
Why couldn't he take a few seconds to change into his caveman clothes before being transported? Why does he have to be so wasteful, especially when he knows his friends have been struggling financially lately. What an ingrate!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ignoring basic rules

Alley Oop 7/7/05
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
So that’s it?!?! Wowee takes the remote control buttons back and Poof! Suddenly everything is back to normal?? This is ridiculous!

First, I can’t believe they’ve been time traveling for nearly half a century now and this is the first time this “basic rule of time travel” has ever come up.
This is such a stupid way to end what seemed at first to be an interesting and promising storyline.
Good grief! Alley Oop screws around with things everytime he travels anywhere in time! We just finished a segment a few months ago where Oop and his dinosaur halted an English attack on a Scottish castle. Then he went back in time to “observe” a Greek wrestling legend to purportedly prepare for the Olympics and ended up beating the poor guy up and demoralizing him to the point where he wanted to give up wrestling altogether.
I think its a little late to suddenly be issuing a Prime Directive for this strip!

And another thing... Those remote control buttons aren’t the only thing Wowee brought back from the future! He replaced their entire time machine because Doc couldn’t remember how to fix it himself!
Surely the authors of this strip aren’t so completely dimwitted to not realize this is an even bigger alteration than those silly remote control buttons!! Arggghhhhh!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Transdimensional e-mail?

Alley Oop 6/20/05
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
Commenter Max is correct to point out how ridiculous it is for Dave Wowee to have Doc Wonmug’s e-mail address on his computer in the future. Unless they have invented some way to send e-mail through time it makes no sense. Will there be some explanation for this at some point later on? I doubt it. Sadly, I’m afraid it is just another inconsistency that has been overlooked by the strip’s current authors. I’m sure they thought it was clever to have Doc’s e-mail on the computer screen and didn’t stop to think that it wouldn’t be practical.

Still unresolved is the question of how such a dramatic shift in the nation’s political and social structure took place without Wowee being the slightest bit aware of it. It has been suggested that the remote control transporation devices accidently sent them to an alternative universe where historical events unfolded differently. That would probably make for a facinating storyline. Unfortunately, I doubt it is something this writing crew is capable of coming up with and it looks now like the more likely explanation is that Wowee is just as much of a clueless idiot as his benefactors from the past.

The Red vs Blue divide is an interesting plot device so I am curious to see where they are going with it next. In what seems like a political commentary on our present situation, the Red States (i.e. Crimsonia) have become obsessed with capturing terrorists to the point that they do not hesitate to invade people’s privacy ( Patriot Act) and abuse prisoners (Abu Gharib, Guantanamo) to accomplish their task. I’m curious to see how the Blue States (i.e. Azuria) will be presented - perhaps overrun with tree-hugging, terrorist-appeasing, hippie pacifists?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Blind coup

alleyoop 5-31-05
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
I’ve put off commenting on this latest Alley Oop series for a bit while trying to figure out where the heck they are going with all of this. So far Alley Oop and Ava haven’t progressed much further than the broom closet where they wound up after transporting themselves back to the future. They started off in a mad rush to try and save Doc Wonmug and Dave Wowee from some kind of futuristic prison where they’ve apparently been beaten senseless. For some reason Ava is unable to use the time machine to track Doc and Dave’s whereabouts and just zap them back to the present. So she and Oop launched themselves willy-nilly into the future and then just sat inside a closet for the better part of two weeks watching helplessly as the bad guys ransacked Dave’s laboratory.
They got there at just the right time to witness the bad guys planting bogus information in Dave Wowee’s computer that would incriminate him in some sort of global terrorist plot and now they have conveniently stumbled across the computer chip that was used to plant the bogus information that the bad guys carelessly left behind. The cartoon at right shows the ridiculous circumstances whereby one of the bad guys picks up a ream of paperwork in an awkward fashion and then fails to notice that the computer chip has slipped off and fallen on the floor. Why was he so careless with the computer chip and why does he need all that paperwork? Why do they even have that much paperwork in the future?

Ah yes, the future! Here are a few observations we can make so far about our future based on the sketchy details the strip has revealed so far.
Dave Wowee’s ridiculous hairstyle is ridiculous even then as everyone seems to either be bald or wearing fur-lined caps. We have yet to see any future women either.
Wowee’s cape is also not common in the future which leads us to the conclusion that rather than demonstrating some futuristic style of dress all this time, he is really just an eccentric wierdo who doesn’t fit in any better in the future than he does in the present. That might explain his willingness to abandon his future home and live in the “past” with Doc and Ava.
As I’ve noted before, the computers of the future must still be interfaced with a keyboard, but at least they float in the air and vanish when not in use.
The bad guys are wearing some kind of uniforms with medals dangling from their caps and goofy looking goggles which don’t appear to serve any purpose. Wowee is apparently not put off by these uniforms so maybe they are commonly worn by military folks of that period. But then we get this interesting exchange where Wowee tries to defend himself claiming his rights as an American citizen only to be informed that he is no longer in America. What!?!? So does that mean that there was a coup and the government was overthrown and Wowee is so clueless he didn’t even notice?
But then as an explanation all we are told is that we are now in some new country called Crimsonia and then the matter is dropped.
So where does that leave Oop and Ava? If the country has been overthrown by some nefarious group that is responsible for framing Wowee, who are they going to show their evidence to?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Empty time labs

Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.

Couldn't Ava have just said "Alley Oop! Doc and Dave need help!" Instead we have already dragged this new storyline along for a week and a half as she launched into a long flash-back sequence that conveniently saved the most crucial points til the very end.
But the real question I have is why does she need Alley Oop in the first place? She had Doc and Dave pulled up on the time machine's view screen. Why couldn't she just zap them back to the time lab? What am I missing here? Is she not competent to operate the time machine by herself?
And here is another crucial point... Who is left in the time lab now? I assume that it is currently empty, so how did she manage to zap herself back to Alley Oop's time and how does she expect to get the two of them back? If this is not a probelm, why do they need a remote control device like the one that Dave Wowee was offering?

Friday, April 29, 2005

"Somethin' feels wrong here..."

Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.

Or so says Alley Oop at the start of this latest adventure. Why an experienced time traveler like Oop would find it strange just before Ava is zapped into Moo is not clear. Nevertheless, we are immediately presented with a distraught and inarticulate Ava babbling about needing help but unable to say why. Instead she launches into a lengthy flashback where we find ourselves in the time lab with Doc Wonmug just as his cousin Dave Wowee from the future shows up with "remote control transportation buttons."
I wonder if this will be connected with Doc's recent memory problems.

In the flashback, Ava seems alternately concerned and indifferent to the new gift from Wowee. Or maybe she is just disoriented from being transported all over the page by the cartoonists who can't keep her in the same spot from frame to frame. (See Thursday's cartoon where she starts off in the far background behind Wowee and then ends up in the immediate foreground in front of Doc Wonmug. No wonder she has an exclamation mark indicating shock or surprise!

But it was Wednesday's cartoon that threw me this time. Here is what Wowee says about the new gadgets from the future:
"We should have set you up with these long ago!"
Is he joking? What does he mean long ago? He came here in a time machine which purportedly could have been set to go as far back in time as he wanted. If he really wanted Doc to have these things sooner, he could go further back in time and give it to him then.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Guz - The Teflon King

Alleyoop 4-18-05
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
Why aren't the people throwing rotten fish at King Guz too? Why are they only going after J'on Fish?
It's not like J'on Fish could have inflicted his evil tax system on the people without the full support and cooperation of King Guz. And yet Guz walks away from this smelling like a rose (as opposed to rotten herring).

Friday, April 08, 2005

Attack of the jack-booted thugs

Alley Oop 4-8-05
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
This latest storyline by the Alley Oop writers is really pushing me to the limit. It is essentially a right-wing rant attacking the very foundations of our government and civilized society. It starts off with the ridiculous notion that Moo is some kind of utopian society where King Guz has been able to provide food, shelter and security for his people without any type of collective support system and where even the most primitive idea of "taxation" is completely foreign. How did Guz acquire all of his wealth in the first place that he must use to pay for the army that guards Moo's borders and for the stockpiles of food and the aid for the elderly and the infirmed (all of which he acknowledges to J'on Fish is provided by his kingdom)?
Now we have the evil J'on Fish (who Michael Fraley notes looks a lot like the Harry Mudd character from Star Trek) in charge of a despicable band of thugs who are terrorizing the citizens of Moo - taking the food off their tables and even swiping dolls from little girls - and playing out every right-wing fantasy about the horrors of the IRS.
Now we are just waiting for the inevitable anti-tax revolt that will be lead by Alley Oop to get under way. Jeez! Just get it over with, already.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Pencil pusher

Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.

Here we go again. We've spent 10 days worth of strips introducing the new bad guy. So far the only thing we know is that his name is J'on and he wears one of those sterotypical accountant's visors and carries a pencil behind one ear. But I thought Moo was set back in the stone age, so what is this guy doing with a pencil?
And then there is the annoying fact that the cartoonists can't keep straight which ear he carries his pencil on. Check out today's strip (2-28-05). In the first frame the pencil is behind his left ear. In the second frame it is behind his right ear. And in the final frame the pencil has vanished.
You may also have noticed that the size of the guy's bounty from Lem has more than tripled in size since he found a cart to requisition. When he was carrying the stuff on his shoulders it looked like a sizable load, but now that he has placed it in the cart it looks like he would need a team of mules to pull it along.
Today we finally get to the point where J'on meets Alley Oop and he immediately stumps our dimwitted hero with one of those big fancy English words "sovereign." Since everyone in Moo apparently speaks English, why is Oop stumped by this particular word? I guess we are supposed to come away with the impression that J'on is an elitist snob who is going to try and swindle them with his fancy talk and big words.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What's up with Oola?

Alley Oop 2-15-05
Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
OK, now I'm really confused.
I've noted before how strange it is that after being Alley Oop's steady girlfriend since before World War II, Oola says she needs time to think about it when Oop finally gets around to proposing marriage.
But what's the deal with giving her new clothes away? She spent all that time going through shopping malls with Ava during the last trip to the future. They must have tried on hundreds of dresses during their weeks long shopping trip and now she just gives her prized new dress away like it was a hand-me-down rag?
I don't get it.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Right hand/Left hand

Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
Notice in the first frame here that Heck and Marko (i.e. the bad guys) are holding their guns in their RIGHT hands. Then in the second frame, Alley Oop swings in on a rope and kicks the gun out of Marko's LEFT hand.
Why can't the artists keep these things straight??? Arrggghhhhh!!!!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

"I thought sure I told you..."

Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.

Some time back I speculated quite facetiously that Doc Wonmug might be suffering from Alzheimers. I brought this up because of the ridiculous storyline where Doc was unable to repair the time machine that he had invented. I noted that if Doc was unable to keep the time machine going long enough to pass the knowledge down to his heirs, there would be no way that a distant relative from the future would be able to come to his rescue and give him all new equipment. It just wasnâ??t logical, not that that has ever stopped these cartoonists before.
But now I am starting to wonder if they really intend for Doc to have Alzheimers or some other age-related memory deteriorating ailment. Note the latest strip above in which Doc seems confused about what he has told Oop and Oola since they came back from 15th Century France. He tells them there is a problem in Moo, but hasn't mentioned that he was bound and gagged by a couple of hoodlums who usurped his time machine for their nefarious oil drilling scheme.

"Didn't I tell you? Funny, I thought sure I told you..."

So maybe was are going to have segment coming up that will address Wonmug's mental state. I will be interested to see.

Next Position Please, Part II

Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
As I have noted previously, the artists who draw the Alley Oop strip have a difficult time keeping the characters in positions that are consistent from frame to frame as they constantly change perspectives.
In this strip, we see Oop and Oola facing Doc Wonmug following their latest time travel jaunt. Notice that Oola is standing at Oopsâ?? right side. Then in the final frame we see Oop and Oola again, only this time from Wonmugâ??s perspective and now suddenly Oola is standing to the left of Oop.
Why is this so difficult for the artists to keep straight?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A summons

Originally uploaded by mwthomas87.
Interesting choice of words here by Doc Wonmug.

"I'm nearly free. Then I can summon Oop and Oola back."

Summon? To order to come or appear with authority or great urgency (Websters New World Dictionary). It makes it sound more like he is practicing the mystical arts rather than doing actual science.
Will they have a choice in the matter? Or don't they get zapped regardless?

Then there is the issue of parrallel time again. The narrator asks "But will Doc be too late?" (Answer: Yes).
Too late for what? He is tied up in 2005. Oop and Oola are in 1482 France. Why are we assuming that all these events are happening concurrently? Why can't Doc just "summon" them back from whatever time period he chooses? Grab them from the moment they left so it would be like they never went on this misadventure in the first place.