Bud Grace of Ernie Fame just announced that he's retiring his long-running cult comic on February 3rd of next year. For those who still devotedly follow his comic, this is something of a mild shock. Newspaper comics are no longer the merchandising bonanza they once used to be, and his comic never really broke the public consciousness. That, and his comic felt like it was just spinning its wheels, even as it renamed itself The Piranha Club in a vain attempt to attract more potential clients who liked Uncle Sid as a main character. Guess what?? It didn't work.
That said, there are some truly weird - and I mean WEIRD stuff that happened early on that the recent batch of Piranha Club strips fail to recapture.
Now, this comic above showed on the 23rd, but the next one below didn't return back to the petshop until the 27th. For the sake of coherence, I've left out the irrelevant comics involving Ernie's girlfriend talking shop.
For this, some context is going to be needed. In case it wasn't already obvious, Uncle Sid is a notorious cheapskate, who constantly fosters off of his nephew Ernie, and eats meals from Effie, a sweet senile old lady who's gone through at least five husbands, and constantly mistakes Ernie or Uncle Sid for one of them.
If it were just a case of mistaken identity, Uncle Sid could leech off Effie all he wanted. But there's just one minor inconvenience. Effie has a tendency to create creative recipes that makes thrown-up garbage look appetizing. Still, he continues to scarf the food down, just because it's free. In terms of scrimping for money, he makes Uncle Scrooge look like a skinflint. (May be a match for another notorious cheakskate, though)
I switched the above 6th and 7th of July strips around, so it'd flow better. Until I pointed out this detail, I doubt you'd ever know the difference.
You know, Uncle Sid, that condemnation wasn't intended to be taken as a challenge request. But this minor setup is worth it for what has to be the funniest following comics in all of Ernie's history:
After that, it settles down into a rhythm with the rare 3-panel comic.
And just to complicate matters further, Uncle Sid shows up to reluctantly claim rights over his so-called "love" of his life. Well, not so much "proclaim", as just "show up and outlast the competition".
This would be considered something of a weak way to resolve the conflict, so here's another short mini-arc where Barnacle Bill started hitting on Ernie's girlfriend instead.
Well, maybe "hitting on" is the wrong choice of words. It's Doris who instigates her affections, right in front of her reluctant boyfriend yet. Either she was just displaying fondness for animals, or trying to make him jealous. Take your pick.
Sadly, I can't seem to find the Saturday comic that comes right after this, but it'd be hard to top this finisher.