Over in the Pointless Soap Division of the NCCC™, we have Mary Worth taking on the girls of Apartment 3G. Both of these strips move at glacial paces with random strangers wandering in and then disappearing forever once their life has been completely changed for the better by our protagonists. Both strips even feature pot-bellied bearded academics. Created in the thirties, these living fossils recall an earlier grander era when the artwork was actually good.
Mary, however, has a reputation as world-class meddler, while the 3G girls are always stumbling randomly into situations, often with romantic overtones. At least Margo, Tommie, and Luann are easier on the eyes than that old biddy who can’t seem to keep any tenants except the drunks by the pool. In a squeaker, the girls get their lease renewed.
Our second game in the Pointless Soap Division pits Mark Trail against Rex Morgan. Both contenders are raven-haired square-jawed do-gooders that date back to the 40’s but haven’t aged a day, largely due to the sluggishness of the narrative. The days in their world literally drag on for months. The pace of these strips makes Mary Worth look like the NBA All-Star game with crystal meth in the Gatorade. Having outlived their original audience by a decade or two, they now serve as camp nostalgia or homework for ESL students. Both have dark haired wives they met at the office and preternaturally clever dogs. The two could probably switch strips for weeks before any one noticed. Throw Sam from Judge Parker on the ambiguously gay dogpile and you would never get the mix straightened out.
Mark Trail’s only redeeming feature is that the freakishly large animals in the foreground distract from the fact that absolutely nothing is happening in the background. Also, the dubiously researched Sunday informative non-narratives prevent the bane of all serial strips, the Saturday-Sunday–Monday time warp where a single panel can be Xeroxed for three days. Rex tries to be relevent by slipping in PSA quality advocacy speeches about things like HEALTH INSURANCE, but no one is buying. In the first upset of the tourney, Mark Trail outlasts Rex.
The power-packed Just Not Funny Division tips off tomorrow.
Previous results: Dead Writers Division
Side note: Subdivided We Stand is the premiere source for on-line Mary Worth snark. Bob's obsession with the silver-haired busy-body borders on disturbing. This coming from a guy who has linked to Half-Nekkid pictures of April Patterson.
Still having Blogger trouble. The home page keeps flaking out. The archives seem to do OK. this is ultra-annoying. I shouldn't have to babysit my blog like thisl Everytime the homepage disappears I have to re-publish the most recent post. Please be patient.