(Strip Number 5008, Original Publication Date, 20 August 1988)
Panel 1: Mike and Martha stop and compare their dislikes or rather I should say that Martha tells Mike her dislikes and he goes along with everything she says starting with hot dog relish.
Truth or Fiction?: Sure enough when we finally see Martha with a hot dog, she squirts on the mustard, but there is not a sign of relish. In fact, searching for “relish” in Lynn’s website Comic Archive shows not one strip with “relish” in it. TRUTH.
Panel 2: Not only does Michael admit he hates Elvis Presley like Martha, but he imitates her hand gesture.
Truth or Fiction?: Lynn told us last year when she went to the 2016 Reuben Awards and visited Graceland she did not like Elvis, so this is a real Lynn experience. TRUTH
I was never an Elvis fan, but after this experience, I feel lucky to have been around when he was alive and well, and performing at his best.
As for 12-year-old Martha who was not around when Elvis was alive at all, the comment makes very little sense (as does most of the dialogue in this strip aside from the hot dog relish). As we know, Elly’s true love is a good, Canadian boy like Bobby Curtola and not that Elvis.
Panel 3: Martha continues on that she hates it when “they” treat her like a 2-year-old when she’s old enough to think for herself. She punctuates this with an open-mouthed yell and what appears to be an air guitar or arm drumming motion. Michael goes along with it and says, “Yeah!!!” We don’t know if he is responding to what she is saying or if he is responding to the air guitar as if he were at a rock concert.
Panel 4: The punchline is one that no kid would think, as it is a reference to the classic line spoken by Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, in the 1942 film Casablanca. Michael and Martha think, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship” instead of “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” from the movie.
Summary: In spite of the word alteration, old geezer fans of Casablanca would get it immediately and remembering the movie would fill their hearts with joy, so long as they didn’t think too hard about it. In the movie, Rick stays behind in Casablanca and lets the beautiful Ilsa board a plane and escape, so he doesn’t say it to the girl. He says it to Captain Louis Renault after the captain keeps him from being arrested for murder. In this case, Michael is saying it to the girl because there are three things they both hate. Sorry Lynn, but mutual hatred is not really the foundation of a beautiful friendship or relationship.