Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Christmas Carol told badly

Well that last storyline ended on a lame note, but don’t they all? King Guz has once again proven himself to be a cowardly, incompetent fool. And then we have Doc Wonmung callously sending the conquistadors off to certain deaths because “We can never change history! No matter what!!” What a riot!
Next we are introduced to Wonmug’s bratty grandchildren. But wait a minute!! How can he have grandchildren? Is there a Grandma Wonmug somewhere? How come we’ve never been introduced to her, not to mention their kids?
Now we are being treated to a very much abridged and scrambled version of Charles Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. But can someone explain to me how the time machine is allowing Doc Wonmug and his grandkids to watch the story unfold without being noticed by the participants in the story? Couldn’t Doc have just read his kids a book and achieved the same results? Oh, nevermind!
Already we’ve confused the ghost of Marley, Scrooge’s former business partner (played inexplicably by Alley Oop) with the Ghost of Christmas Present (I guess we skipped the Ghost of Christmas Past), and with the hood on he looks exactly like the Ghost of Christmas Future. How much more mixed up can this story get?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Open fire?!?

Such appalling story telling here. Are we to believe that the lead conquistador is such a horrific villian that he would order his men to open fire on an unarmed couple all because the woman said “Leave my husband alone!”? I don’t think Darth Vader is even that bad. Nor is he that stupid.
Think about this. The conquistadors are stuck in a foreign country where they are heavily outnumbered and surrounded by people they know little about. While they have guns (even if they had not been rigged by Oop and Wizer), they are still just single-shot flintlock muskets that have a nasty habit of jamming and misfiring. If the conquistadors really did gun down the king and queen in cold blood, how long would it be before they would be overwhelmed by angry hordes of Moovians? Probably long before they would have time to reload their muskets for a second shot.
Remember that General Custer’s men had rifles too, and much better ones than the conquistadors have, but that made little difference at Little Big Horn.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Catching Up

It seems I’ve been away from Alley Oop Watch for much too long. My apologies. I know I am way behind, but I just want to comment on a few past strips that struck me as especially odd.
First there was the way Alley Oop was able to contact the folks in the time lab by walking up to a hidden video camera and waving. We’ve all seen how the time machine can magically send back images of the past in concurrent time to the folks in the time lab. No explanation was really needed for how this was done. If you can accept that there is a time transport in the first place (with the magical ability to allow anyone who travels in it to speak the native tongue wherever they end up) then the ability to monitor events with a video screen seems less fantastical. However, now we have this mundane explanation of a video camera that had to be set up in advance and it only serves to send a jolt of reality into the story and emphasize just how ridiculous it all is. Are we supposed to believe that they have set up video cameras all over the world and all throughout time and leave them there indefinitely - powered by Energizer batteries, I assume?
And of course, the folks in the time lab just happen to be monitoring the scene when Oop walks up. How convenient.

Next we have Oop suddenly threatening to punch out Dr. Wonmug. Not a very admirable thing for our hero to do, to say the least. And then we have this extended sequence where they fret about not knowing the exact time and place where the Conquistador invaders came from, as if this should prevent them from swooping in and saving the Moovians from this threat. Here’s an idea - why don’t you scoop up with all the invaders with the time machine and get them out of Moo. Put them somewhere else, anywhere else, until you figure out where they came from. That way the folks in Moo are safe.
But no, that would be too easy. So instead we have to go searching for the answer to their whereabouts before taking any action. But, hey, at least that is something. And now with the reintroduction of Oscar Boom, the story is starting to get interesting again. So let’s sit back and hope they will salvage a halfway decent story out of this mess before it is all over.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Time Travel Rules

"Time travel rules say we can't do anything to change history, so we can't destroy these (rifles)..." says Alley Oop in today's strip.
But of course Oop is not the one time traveling this time, therefore the rules should not apply to him. He is in his own time, so anything he does now is fair game. Unfortunately, the Benders are too stupid to make this simple and logical observation and so we have this idiotic situation where Oop is going to refrain from destroying the rifles, but will instead make them inoperable. So what's the difference? Either way he has changed history, if that is what he is worried about! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
And since when does Alley Oop start spouting off about time travel rules anyway? He's never cared about them in the past (or the future, that is). Is he afraid some time traveling cops are going to pop in and give him a citation or something? Sheesh!

Friday, August 18, 2006

An alternate Alley Oop storyline

Long-time Alley Oop Watch reader and devoted Alley Oop fan Jeff has drafted the first part of an alternative Alley Oop narrative which I am printing below. Jeff, who is frequently critical of the writing talents of the strip’s current authors (just a mild understatement), should be lauded for his initiative and his courage in putting his talent where his mouth is. I think his story outline is excellent and I would invite everyone to join in through the comments section and help him to flesh it out further.
So as the current Alley Oop strip plods along at its usual snail’s pace, I hope you enjoy this taste of what could be:

(During a powerful electrical storm, Ava is transported to Nazi Germany into a lab deep in the bowels of the “Führerhauptquartier Wolfsschanze”, or Wolf's Lair, the military headquarters of Adolf Hitler during World War II. There she accidentally happens upon the experimental time machine built by the brilliant Dr. Fritz Liess in 1944.)

Location: Moo
Time: Prehistoric

Our story begins with our hero, Alley Oop, Fishing in a Moovian stream. Suddenly Oop finds himself being transported through time, and into the laboratory of Dr. Wonmug.

Location: Doc Wonmug's Laboratory
Time: Present

Oop, feeling a little angry about being pulled from his tranquil settings without warning, lets his anger slip away when he sees the panic in Wonmug's face. Across the room, frantically typing at the keyboard of the computer that controls the time machine is Wonmug's longtime assistant, Oscar Boom.

A crash of thunder roars through the sky outside, loud enough that it seems to have come from inside the laboratory itself. Oop towards the time machine transportation platform and sees smoke wafting away from its frame.

“What happened, Doc?”

“We’ve lost Ava.” Doc replies. “What with the storm outside, we thought it would be a good time to do some light maintenance and repair work on the time machine. Ava was working on the platform when a lightning strike somehow activated the machine, and transported her into another time.”

“Where?” Oop asks.

“That’s what I am trying to figure out”. Oscar replies as his fingers fly across the keyboard. “The machine miraculously wasn’t damaged too badly, but we are only able to locate and transport people to the present. When the lightning struck it burnt out all the past and future time circuits”.

“Great!” Oop yells. “So you can get Ava back, but I am stuck here!”

“Not exactly.” Wonmug says. “Without knowing Ava’s coordinates, we don’t know where she is to bring her back. We weren’t sure how long the machine would work for, and we of course will need you to help retrieve Ava if we do find her, so we transported you here right away. After all, we knew you would want to help in any way you could.”

“Yeah,” Oop said, having calmed down once understanding Wonmug’s thinking. “You did the right thing, Doc.” But how did the lightning hit the machine? What happened to the lightning rod?”

“The lightning must have hit a power line.” Wonmug said. “A fantastic amount of electricity blew right past all of our safety precautions, and lit the place up like the Forth of July. We fired up the generator to power the computer while we were working precisely to prevent it from being damaged by a lightning strike. I never imagined if lightning were to strike an outside power line that it could activate the platform. I should have been more careful. I should have powered it down, but we just needed to run a few simple diognostics…”

“Don’t beat yourself up Doc.” Oscar said, “No one could have predicted this! What is important now is that we find Ava, and fast!”

Location: Wolf's Lair Laboratory
Time: 1944

Ava was knocked out by the force of the machine when it transported her through time. When she awoke, she found herself on a bed in what appeared to be a makeshift hospital. The room was sparse, and was only furnished with a few small beds, a handful of chairs, and one large desk over by the door. There was a cabinet with glass doors. It appeared to be a medicine cabinet. Her eyesight was fuzzy, and she had difficulty seeing clearly just a few feet away, much less across this room, but she thought there might be glass containers in the cabinet.

Two men in white lab coats were seated at the foot of her bed, and when they saw she was awake, they spoke.

“How do you feel?” the taller man said in German. Ava had taken German and French in collage, and understood what the man had said. She was still mildly confused, and wasn’t sure if she was dreaming, or if not, where she was. Even worse, she couldn’t remember what she had been doing that day, or how she got to be in this hospital.

“I feel… confused. Who are you?”

“I think it is more important we find out who you are, fräulein.” The man asked.

“My name is Ava.” She answered. “I work for Doctor Wonmug. Is he here?”

“Doctor… Want-mog?” the man asked. “I am afraid you have me at a disadvantage, fräulein. I do not know your doctor friend.”

Piece by piece her memory crept back to her conscious mind, and alarm started to replace confusion as Ava realized there must have been an accident in the lab. She remembered Wonmug had her and Oscar running some routine diagnostics when suddenly she saw a brilliant flash of light. The next thing she knew she was speaking German with a couple of strangers in a strange room. The obvious questions came to her mind.

“Where am I?” Ava asked with a little more command in her voice. “And who are you?”

“I am Doctor Fritz Liess, and this is my assistant, Olaf Fenstermacher, and you are in our infirmary. You appeared, well, out of no where! We were quite surprised.”

Ava looked at the nervously. She wasn’t sure why, but she didn’t trust the seemingly good natured doctor, and she certainly didn’t trust his assistant. Fenstermacher’s brooding face was defined by his heavy brow, sharp cheekbones, and strong chin that had a scar that ran from the right side of it back up and around to his right ear. He was a large man, and his heavy hands danced delicately across his clipboard as he wrote down every thing that was said.

“I… appeared out of nowhere?” Ava asked. She wasn’t sure what these men might know about how she was able to do such a thing, but her intuition told her they knew more than they should.

“Yes.” Dr. Liess said as he stood up and walked towards the desk. “Olaf and I were working in my laboratory. We are studying the new ideas proposed by Dr. Einstein..”

“New Ideas” he had said! Ava suddenly knew about when she was. Dr. Liess was obviously talking about Albert Einstein and the theory of relativity.

“We were conducting an experiment testing the good doctor’s hypothesis. We discovered that (I need and idea here) when all of a sudden there was a bright flash, and what sounded like thunder, and then you arrived.” The doctor said calmly. “It was very exciting.”

Ava wasn’t sure why the doctor was telling her all of this. If she was in the first half of the 20th century, any laboratory working on something as important as Einstein’s theory of relativity would presumably want to keep the work hush hush. But doctor Liess was more than willing to talk about his work. In fact, he was more like bragging about it.

Author's note: That's where it falls apart. Einstein’s “new ideas” about relativity weren't new anymore by 1944. Also, I can't rationalize why Dr. Liess would tell Ava all about his project when doing so right under Hitler's nose would be enough to get him killed. I guess I am just trying to move the story along too quickly. That is why I thought that if this were a good enough idea for a story, then perhaps I should just outline it, or just hand over the basic premise to the Bender's and let them butcher it.

Meet the bad guy

Now we have a group of Spanish sailors, who apparently dropped through a wormhole brought on by some kind of weather anamoly, about to descend on the happy residents of Moo, most of whom haven’t even wiped the barbecue sauce from their mouths.
Just in case it wasn’t obvious that the Spanish leader is the bad guy in this story, today we get the obligatory evil grin followed by the evil bad guy laugh (Bwahahahahaha). The last time we saw that cliched evil grin on a character (eyebrows turned down, mouth turned up) King Tunk was preparing to launch an unprovoked attack on Moo. And why is it that only the captain is allowed to wear a shirt, while all the rest of the sailors run around with less clothing than Alley Oop?
How will our Moovian protagonists respond to this new invasion of their land? Will they offer the sailors some of Phil’s zombie juice dino ribs - thus turning them on to the carefree ways of Moofest? Or perhaps they will challenge them to a dancing contest.
We all await the next (yawn) panel with rapt enthusiasm!

Monday, July 17, 2006


This is just awful. I can’t believe the Benders came up with a story line like this in light of what has been happening around the globe with terrorist bombs going off all around the world. What was their particular motivation for today’s strip? The Atlanta Olympic bombing of 1996? The Madrid train bombing of 2004? The London subway bombing of 2005? I suppose the India train bombing that happend just last week was too recent, but when that is what you read in the national news everyday and then you turn to the funny pages and you see terrified people fleeing a cauldron with what appears to be a mini-nuclear explosion underway, what else is it supposed to make you think of? And then to have a once beloved character like the Wizer standing there with this devilish grin on his face amongst all the carnage - as if he had been transformed into some type of Osama bin Wizer abomination. It is just unforgivably bad and inappropriate.
Then the next day we have Alley Oop, who was too stooopid and weak and pathetic to do anything to stop the Wizer’s terrorist plot beforehand, slowing getting up and surprised to still be alive giving a sheepish grin to the Wizer as he smugly says Did you think I was going to kill people?
Well, yes, that is clearly what had been implied all along.
Then we have the great irony of having Wizer scold Fill for “overreacting” after the explosion. Wizer is the one who decided to go nuclear with this terrorist scheme because he felt disrespected when King Guz picked someone else to be the official propagandist (historian). And he’s telling Fill to stop overreacting?? That’s rich.
Now we finally have things winding down (one can hope) and, as commenter Jim was the first to guess, it all ends with a lame joke about the invention of barbecue sauce (and yet one more plug for how wonderful Fill’s barbecue ribs are - Zombie juice, remember).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Zombie juice

Fill’s ribs must be some kind of narcotic. That would explain this weird cult-like facination everyone seems to have with them. Everytime one of the characters eats one of the ribs they suddenly get this glazed look in their eyes and then become totally compliant with whatever Fill wants to do. It reminds me of that zombie juice that the bad guys forced Indiana Jones to drink in The Temple of Doom movie. Somebody needs to jab a hot poker into Oop’s ribs and see if that will wake him up.

Have we ever seen Fill eat one of his own ribs? I don’t think so. I’m beginning to think that Fill is actually in league with King Tunk and is just prepping everyone in Moo before he launches his next invasion. Once he has turned everyone into a rib zombie, Tunk will be able to waltz right in and take over the country. Fortunately we still have one slim hope. Maybe Queen Umpa will resist the zombies and fight them off with a burning log as they try to force her to eat one of the narco-ribs. As she burns each one in turn they will suddenly snap out of their stupor and Fill’s nefarious plot will be foiled.

Well, at least that would be more interesting that the lame story line we are currently being forced to follow....

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Terror plot revealed

So this is what we have sunk to. Turning major characters from the Alley Oop strip into terrorists. Isn't that just a tad bit in bad taste these days?
I'm predicting explosions and fireworks that will scare people at first and then turn out to be harmless fun. Moofest will then evolve into an annual Fourth of July-type celebration.
But in the meantime we are seeing some of the worst characteristics come out in the some of the long-established characters from Moo.
Umpa's jealousy is leading her to conspire against her own kingdom. Wizer's pride is turning him into a prehistoric Osama bin Laden.
"It won't kill anyone, will it?" Umpa asks hesitantly.
"Let's just say it will make it so no one will ever forget Moofest! Bwahahahahahahahaha!"
Is that answer supposed to reassure Umpa? Or us? Sheesh!

Thursday, June 08, 2006


We’ve spent nearly a month now on this long drawn-out commercial touting Bob’s Pig Shop as having the bestest barbecue on the whole planet. There is no telling how much longer the authors are going to drag this out. But now they have taken a turn for the worse by introducing a character who clearly defames the memory of one of our greatest comedians of all time.
I agree with commenter Jeff that the Bender’s portrayal of the “Health Inspector” Golly (or is it Gollie) is a shameful slap in the face to the memory of Oliver Hardy. One can only hope that they will mercifully not drag Stan Laurel into this mess.
Oliver Hardy was an outstanding comic actor, but there is nothing funny about the character of Gollie in the current strip. Gollie, as portrayed so far, is a disgusting slob and a corrupt public official who is easily manipulated and even more easily bribed.
And not only do the Benders have a hard time keeping his name straight - Golly or Gollie - they can’t seem to figure out how to proportion his head in relation with his body. One time we see Gollie and his head is blown up like a balloon (Check out the last frame of the strip from 6/7/06). Then the next time it looks like he just came back from a trip to see a witch doctor.

I also have to agree with commenters Ron and Monroe in noting that Alley Oop’s out-of-control temper and bullying behavior is getting more and more reprehensible as the story progresses. As Ron notes in a comment on today’s strip, “... you have classic bullying here. The strong guy going after the sad looking fat kid...”
I wish that this storyline would end tomorrow, but unfortunately we still have to deal with a number of loose ends including the vengeful and deranged Wizer, the envious and scheming Umpa and the foolish and bull-headed King Guz.
Suffice to say that I no longer think Oop and Ooola will be announcing their nupitals anytime soon.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Ooola and Umpa return

Frequent commenter Monroe has been rightfully fretting the sudden disappearance of Ooola's character from the narrative after we were led to believe that she and Oop were finally on the path to marital bliss. But now it seems that both Ooola and Queen Umpa have returned just in time to take part in the big party that Oop is organizing to celebrate "winnin' the war with Lem."

First off, allow me to complain just a bit about the sissification of Oop these days. Is this what our macho caveman hero has become? First we spend months watching him take tango lessons from Rudolph Valentino and now he is busy organizing a big party complete with flowery banners and a caterer. As Ooola would say, "Oooh! How exciting!" Yeah, a thrill a minute around here. What's next? Oop takes up knitting and starts making sweaters for everyone?

But back to Ooola and Umpa. I wonder how Umpa will take the news that Oop has brought in a caterer who he thinks cooks much better than she does to handle the food chores? Will she be happy preparing just a few side dishes? Or will she join Wizer in his cave and start cooking up her own batch of WMDs to take revenge on the unappreciative Moovians?

Finally, I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction - Oop and Ooola will use the occasion of this party to announce their engagement. Does that seem too obvious for our authors? It would seem to fit the arc of the current storyline - such that it is. Maybe then we can spend a couple of months watching Ooola's bridal shower. I can hardly wait!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Who's who in Moo

I've been meaning to get a new post up but have had little time. Thanks to all of our commenters for keeping tabs on this latest mess of a storyline.
We are getting new characters thrown at us almost weekly now so let's step back and take a quick inventory. First we had the "Professor" who suddenly appeared wearing a graduation cap and gown which I suppose came from the University of Moo. He is also wearing a modern set of spectacles that one commenter noted must have been picked up in the optical department at the local Moo-Mart.
(It would seem that the Benders are not even trying to maintain any kind of historical accuracy about the strip these days.)
The professor introduces himself by taking a highly offensive and racist jab at Oop ("Alley Oop makes a brilliant point, considering the neanderthal stock from which he comes.") What?!? Like this guy has evolved overnight into a higher lifeform? Is he supposed to be a missing link or something?

When Guz decides on the spur of the moment to hand over the historian job to this upstart, it makes the Wizzer insane with jealousy and resentment and he retreats into his lab where he is apparently hard at work cooking up some kind of pre-historic weapons of mass destruction. There's nothing like taking a beloved character from a long-running strip and turning them into a terrorist.

Next we meet "Pidali," a Hippie artist (notice that he is left-handed) who makes flower power designs on cave walls and keeps a modern looking paint brush behind his right ear. No wait!! It's behind his left ear! No, scratch that, it's back behind his right ear again. Whatever! We learned long ago not to expect the strip's authors to keep these kinds of things straight.

Now we have "Fill," the surly proprietor of boB's piG shop who nearly gets into a fight with the short-tempered Oop over a silly mix-up involving his name. Fill also frequents the optical shop at the local Moo-Mart where he gets his very modern looking glasses. Fill has the most amazing invention - a wooden barbecue pit that somehow manages to cook lots of meat without catching fire and burning to the ground. Very impressive.

Fill is another character, like Mountain, who appears to be drawn to intentionally resemble someone in real life. One commenter even claims to know who Fill is:

I know the character that Fill is based on. He's the owner of Bob's Pig Shop in Pauls Valley, Okla.

In fact, there is a Bob's Pig Shop in Pauls Valley owned by a Phil Henderson. And then we have Foozy making a crack about not smelling that aroma "nowhere this side of Oklahoma." So did Foozy ever go time traveling with Oop, or is this just another instance of the authors ignoring reality in order to make an isider's reference for their own benefit?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Even in Moo ...

I find it interesting that even in Moo, the recent fiasco with Tunk is being recorded as a non-event. If this isn't art indicting itself, I'm not sure what is, gang. Anyway, I still don't know what to make of our little historian dude here. He's drawn in a way (a la Dave Wowee) that just screams "dork," but our creative team seems to be singling him out as the one sane, reasonable person in the entire strip. Will he turn out to be a villain, using his historian persona as a smokescreen? Somehow that doesn't seem likely, since the Wizer looks as if he's being set up as the bad guy this time around (complete with koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs swirlies in his eyes). I think doing something unexpected with the historian would be more interesting and more entertaining than what we've seen so far, though.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Narrative inconsistency

This is all just so wrong.
So the accidental discovery of Tunk's crown under some bushes took all the wind out of his sails just as he was about to strike the final blow against his arch-nemesis King Guz. Then, inexplicably, Guz and Oop, who seconds earlier were totally incapacitated and under the control of Lemmian soldiers, are suddenly set free and allowed to waltz out of the cave over to Tunk and start threatening him. Finally, Dinny the Dinosaur shows up on cue to chase away the entire Lemmian Army (all three of them.)
Now, my biggest problem with all of this (other than the fact that it is really lame) is that it is totally inconsistent with things that were said and done earlier in the narrative of the story. Let us step back in time for just a bit and review some of the events that led up to the victorious "five-minute war" that Moo is about to memorialize for all time.
When Tunk is first challenged on his theory that Guz stole his crown his reaction is to declare "I don't know and I don't care!" That would lead us to believe that he is intent on attacking Moo regardless of what happened with his crown. This point is reinforced in the subsequent panels where Tunk muses about "killing two birds with one stone" and notes that "this is the excuse I've been waiting for."
So it makes no sense that Tunk's plans would fall apart the moment he realizes Guz did not really steal his crown. But unfortunately the Benders can't keep their story straight. It's either that or Tunk is suffering from a split-personality disorder. Maybe he is bi-polar.
Either way it is disconcerting for the readers and now to have the incompetent and clueless King Guz standing up and taking credit for a great victory after leaving his kingdom defenseless is just maddening. I'm not sure how this storyline could get any worse, but I'm confident that we shall not be disappointed in that respect.

Friday, March 31, 2006


The enthusiasm I expressed for this storyline based on yesterday’s strip (3-30-06) is completely shot down by today’s lame-ass strip (3-31-06). What is it about continuity from one strip to the next that the Benders don’t understand?
Yesterday, we had Oop going all Conan on the Lemmians, ploughing into them with a fervor that one would expect from a hero of his caliber who has carried this comic strip since the beginning. But today, we see that he has been instantly transported into Guz’ cave and has been completely incapacitated by one guy and a bear hug. What the hell!?! And where is Oop’s axe??
Meanwhile, we see that King Guz is completely worthless, waking up from his slumber with a stupid look on his face. What is he supposed to be doing while the Lemmians are grabbing Oop and Tunk has his back turned on him? Cowering in a corner?? Was it too much to expect that he might put up a fight and at least try and defend his cave, if not his kingdom?
I’m so disgusted with today’s strip that I don’t even know where to begin. Oh, and my expectation that Queen Umpa might be a factor was apparently unfounded. She obviously doesn’t exist in the vacant minds of our story’s authors.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wham! Bam! Pow!

Wow! This is exciting. I guess after all of the complaining we did about how dull and boring the tango lessons were, we should be appreciative to have some real action to enjoy even if the setup was a bit strained. Maybe the Benders really do read this blog.
Here we have Oop wading into the battle with the kind of gusto reminiscent of Achilles in the battle for Troy or Davy Crockett at The Alamo.

But at the same time, what are we to make of King Guz who failed to post guards along the Lemmian border or even have a nightwatchman on duty? Today we find that while his entire Kingdom is engulfed in turmoil with the loud cacophony of battle raging outside his door, he is apparently still sound asleep in his cave and unaware that Tunk is about to pay him a visit.
Still, I imagine that Tunk’s undoing will be his decision to enter Guz’s cave by himself. Who does he think is in the cave, anyway? Does he think King Guz is the only one he will have to contend with? He has obviously forgotten that an even more ominous foe resides in that dwelling. Queen Umpa!! I foresee Tunk getting beaned with one of Umpa’s cooking pots just as he is about to attack Guz.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


So you take pains to sneak your army into the country in the middle of the night so that you can silently creep up on your unsuspecting quarry and surprise them in their sleep. But then, just as you are about to launch your attack, some idiot stands up and screams ‘CHARGE!!!!!’ at the top of his lungs.
And of course that idiot just happens to be Tunk.

But never mind that, what is up with Moo having no guards along the border with Lem? Recall that just after the snowmonster mishap, King Guz was yelling at the fleeing Tunk that their tentative truce was off. You would think that Guz would have taken himself seriously and prepared for a possible confrontation with the aggressive Lemmians. But here they all are snoozing away without so much as a nightwatchman posted anywhere to sound an alarm.
If that is truly the way it is, then King Guz is clearly at fault here. He is the one responsible for keeping the Moovian border’s secure and the people safe and he has clearly fallen down on the job. Maybe we will find Guz over at some school reading a copy of “My Pet Goat” to a group of Moovian children as the Lemmian invasion commences.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Of course you know this means war

OK, so Tunk is leading his Lemmian army into Moo on the false premise that King Guz stole his crown. We can see today (3-23-06) that the Lemmian army - all three of them - have these evil grins on their faces which is supposed to clue us in to the fact that they are the “bad guys.” So what was the deal with all that earlier hemming and hawing from the troops who seemed to be questioning Tunk’s sanity? I thought we might see the beginnings of a mutiny, but instead it now looks like everyone is fully on board with this little misadventure. But I guess that is the way most wars go. People get caught up in the patriotic fervor of the moment and don’t usually reflect until it is too late.
Well, it doesn’t look like the Moovians have too much to worry about with this rag-tag bunch. I doubt that Guz will even have to roust his own troops. I think the girls who are finishing up their tango lessons with Oop could kick these boys’ rearends without much trouble. So I guess now we can just sit back and watch all the (yawn) action unfold.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tunk loses his crown

Thank goodness we are finally moving on with a new story line. Even one that sounds like it was cribbed from a nursery rhyme - Tunk fell down and lost his crown...

Why do the Lemmians put up with Tunk anyway? Normally, for an autocrat like Tunk to maintain control over a large group of people he must have a loyal Praetorian Guard surrounding him ready to enforce his dictates. But here we have Tunk sitting alone on his throne threatening to cast everyone in his kingdom into the pit. That’s the kind of thing that would spark a mutiny anywhere else.

Tunk has always served as the stock villian for Alley Oop. Kind of like Bluto is for Popeye. So it’s no surprise to see him served up for this new story line. The Benders seem to like throwing contemporary political issues into the strip on occasion and Tunk is their ideal foil for that kind of thing. It’s not clear yet where they are going with this “you’re guilty until proven innocent” thing yet, but Tunk is obviously being set up to take a fall at some point.

Perhaps King Guz will decide that it is time for regime change in Lem and launch a pre-emptive invasion.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Doc Wonmug behind the scenes ...

Looking at the Sunday version of the finish to this "u-n-f-o-l-d-i-n-g" continuity (as Jeff might call it), I really have to wonder about Doc Wonmug's secret life.

Doc Wonmug has been off-stage for this entire story, but wow, look at this old coot's contacts! First he sets up this "romantic" getaway for the Oopster and his dysfunctional doll - as a gift from Santa Claus. At the same time, he's also apparently gone back in time so that he could get an autographed photo from Rudolph Valentino for Oop and Ooola to unwrap "back home." Did Doc "zang" himself back to the Roaring Twenties, wander around incognito, somehow gain access to Rudy, and get the picture for his friends? Or, did Doc "zang" Rudy into the time lab to get the job done? What sort of questions would Rudy ask if he knew he was talking to someone from the future? Finally, Doc apparently "zanged" the envelope back to Moo in some way. Did he go himself? We never get to see Doc travel through time. Did he "zang" the envelope into an obvious spot by itself? All questions we will probably never get answered.

Is it just me, or does the story-behind-the-story seem as if it would be a heck of a lot more interesting than the achingly prolonged tango that we've been reading for the past couple of months?

And what's up with that orange-and-blue dino in the background???

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

What a long, strange trip it's been...

I've never been so thankful to see the "ZANG" effect before. This whole storyline was way beyond dragging. It had lost steam a month ago, had slowed to a stop and was starting to roll backwards.
Then they had to go and torture us further with the suggestion that they would extend this sequence by taking Rudy with them for what commenter Jim aptly described as "The Last Tango in Moo."

But before they go, Oop has to throw out that last stupid comment: "We've got a long trip ahead of us."
What does he mean 'long trip'? The time traveling is pretty much instantaneous, isn't it? Unless Doc Wonmug screws up and ships them off to the wrong century again, they should be back in Moo or in the time lab the next time we see them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Please stop the torture!

We've been dragging along with this "dance lessons" storyline now since before Christmas. It's had a few good moments, but overall it has really strained our loyal readership here at Alley Oop Watch. Now, finally, it looks like we may have reached the finale with this Valentine's Day strip.

I think frequent commenter Jeff says it best:

I really, really, REALLY hope this tortureous storyline is over. I beg you, Jack and Carole, zap Oop out of Ooola’s arms RIGHT NOW, and into a MANLY adventure. (Wouldn’t THAT be a riot if they did? What with Ooola being fully supported by Oop in the last panel of today’s comic, and Wonmug zaps Oop into another time leaving Ooola to fall on her ass!)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ooola is evil, blardy blardy blah

I've read and appreciated the posts that have appeared on today's strip already, but I thought that it was worth a separate post anyway.

I'm not going to dwell on what's being done with Ooola in this storyline for very long, because it's more of the same, as far as my comments about
Ooola's treatment of Alley goes. Rudy wants to make Oop jealous. Ooola plays along. Oop gets mad, and suddenly he's the bad guy again. Blah, blah, blah.

What's telling is Rudy's reaction to Oop. He doesn't come off as being a real "man's man" here, and for Ooola to have to protect the world's greatest lover from her "insignificant other" is pretty sad. In short, Rudy can deal it out, but he can't take it. And he gets drawn to look like Shemp from the Three Stooges to boot!

Anyway, I got tired of thinking about this story, and decided to splice together my own story from other strips. So I've enlisted Oop from today's strip, Bucky from "Get Fuzzy," a panel from "Mark Trail" that I hijacked from, and a great "Pearls Before Swine" panel to tell a story about a caveman trading insults with a cat, hill folk with questionable thoughts, and a hungrily affectionate crocky-dile. From murderous love to loving murderously. Boredom is a wonderful thing.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Wasting time

Today Ooola gives us our first clue as to why she gave Oop the brush-off when he finally got around to proposing matrimony. (Personally, I think it’s because she just can’t stand the thought of being named Ooola Oop.)
It seems that Alley Oop is always off on his time travel jaunts leaving poor Ooola to sit at home in her cave and sort rocks. This, of course, brings up the question as to why time travel takes up so much, ummm, time.
Is there any reason why Doc Wonmug couldn’t return Oop to the same precise time that he picked him up following each adventure? That way it would be as if he had never left and the people of Moo would be none the wiser.
That would certainly be the smart way to handle things since it would reduce the liklihood that they are screwing around with history by constantly removing Oop from his home. As it is, it seems that everytime Oop is away some tragedy befalls the poor people of Moo that Oop has to straighten up when he gets back. Imagine how much potential there is for distorting the timeline everytime they zap Oop away for an extended period of time. Perhaps he was meant to marry Ooola and have a whole bunch of kids, but now the relationship has been strained and they never get together and whole generations of descendants are snuffed out.
Of course, there is also the possibility that the Moovians are a historical dead-end. Maybe their society goes extinct at some point and therefore messing around with their timeline doesn’t make any difference. Perhaps Doc Wonmug knows this and is thus not worried. Just some food for thought.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Nothing to Prove

Apologies to all for being out of action for the past few weeks ... it's been an intensely busy time at work. Darn making a living, anyhows ... But on with the show ...

For the past couple of weeks, the Oopster and Ooola have been prancing around in what the dailies have told us is a 1915 dance studio with future silent movie heart throb Rudolph Valentino. Actually, Oop has been learning to dance with a Gwyneth Paltrow look-alike, while Ooola gets to spend some quality time with The Sheik himself.

One of my favorite things about this past week has been the increasingly "Yellow Submarine" cartoon look to Oop's feet (see second image for a comparison).

In this condensed Sunday version, the whole idea seems to be to get Oop to snap out of it and actually show that he cares about Ooola, which is ridiculous. For this scenario to make sense, we have to make ourselves forget that Oop has been remarkably faithful for decades, has proposed marriage, has been refused, and has spent the past ... geez, how long has it been now? ... either pining away for this prehistoric shrew or acting like an eager little puppy whenever she's around? I would be asking Santa Claus (who provided the impetus for this jaunt) for a refund or a better idea right about now ...

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Flip flop redux

The Sunday strip this week is, once again, a summary of the previous week's continuity - and as far as that goes, it's OK, especially if your local paper doesn't also run the daily. As Mike pointed out earlier this week, there's some flip flop fun going on here - and the fact that it's condensed flip flop fun on Sunday just gives us more to look at, I think. We've got a magically disappearing hat. All right, I think I can understand why the hat is here. It provides a continuity point with the last panel from the previous week. However, it conflicts with the panels right next to it. In panel two, there's a good amount of space in which Rudy could have been seen taking off his hat with his left hand. Would've made for a smoother transition, anyway.

In panel three Rudy has moved into Oop's spot next to Ooola, and in panel four the flip flop is complete. Effectively, these three have been doing square dance moves for about ten seconds' worth of conversation.

The last fun element in this strip is that rather Freudian arrow in the last panel. Believe me, this is an easy problem to run into when you're drawing comics and trying to guide the eye of the reader. I've looked at this page, trying to figure out where else in the layout the arrow could be positioned, and I'm not sure I can think of anything better. Let's just say that having an arrow pointing at the "naughty bits" of a couple doing some romantic dancing ... well, it's just unfortunate.

So - good individual drawings, delicate color, a magic hat, square dancing, and a naughty arrow. Not bad for one Sunday.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


They must do this on purpose. There is just no other explanation. I think the Benders are intentionally placing these errors of perspective into the strip just to keep me entertained.
I can find one in almost every strip they draw these days.
Look at today’s strip (Jan. 10) for example. In the first frame, we see Rudolph Valentino in the background where he is gesturing with his right hand. In the immediate foreground we see Alley Oop with Ooola standing to his right.
Now in frame 2, we have suddenly shifted perspective and are now looking at the back of Valentino’s head and over his shoulders, but now suddenly Ooola is standing on the left side of Oop. (At least Valentino is still gesturing with his right hand.)

No wonder Oop and Ooola have exclamations over their heads! In less time than it takes for Valentino to say his name, they have been transposed. They are no doubt looking at one another and thinking “How did I get over here?”
For artists who routinely changes perspectives in each strip, why is it so difficult for them to keep something this simple and this basic straight?

Saturday, January 07, 2006

What a tango-ed web we weave ...

Hey, it's not Richard Feynman, but it's close! While Saturday's episode left us somewhat in the dark as to the identity of Oop and Ooola's dance instructor, the Sunday episode lets the cat fully out of the bag. Nope, it's not Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, or even Isidora Duncan. It is ... drumroll please ... the Great Lover himself, silent screen icon Rudolph Valentino! That's my best guess, and I don't think I'm wrong, if you judge by the photo here.

Ever prone to make the quirkiest of choices, our creative team has brought into Oop's troubled life one of the people responsible for popularizing the tango. According to his Wikipedia entry, Valentino worked as a "taxi dancer" (a kind of paid dance date) and a dance instructor prior to being discovered by Hollywood. So this ought to place Oop's adventure here sometime around 1915 or so, though the Argentinian tango costume Rudy's wearing is from his 1921 film, "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse."

In our comic-strip world, Oop is sure to learn "the ways of love" from Rudy here, as well as a few slick dance moves. In real life, Valentino married a lesbian, was jailed for bigamy, and one of his lovers shot her husband dead to be with Rudy.

Anyway, we have gone from Santa Claus to Rudolph Valentino in the course of about two weeks. Are you dizzy yet?

And by the way, what's Oop sweating and spouting exclamation marks for? I'm afraid of Rudy's pants, but that's just me.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Oh, my.... indeed!

Alley and Ooola have arrived for their dance lessons and the dance instructor is shocked to see that... Ooola has turned into an axe!!! Oh, my....

Well, maybe not. But it certainly looks that way from the illustration. Here we see in Frame 2, as Miss Emma walks up, Oop is standing with his right arm around Ooola. Suddenly, in Frame 3, Ooola is gone and Alley is holding his axe in his right hand and that is when we get the Oh, my... reaction from Miss Emma. What else could she be reacting to?

Of course, she is probably reacting to the WMD in Oop’s hand and wondering how he expects to dance with it. But she could also be wondering why he is showing up for dance lessons dressed in nothing but his bear-skin skivvies. You would think that Doc might have been courteous enough to have at least set Alley and Oola up with some period clothes before shipping them off into time somewhere.