Mike and Martha engage in a conversation and Mike actually says more to her in speech balloons than he did the whole time he was at camp. This is an improvement for Michael.
(Strip Number 1345, Original Publication Date, 14 September 1988
Panel 1: Martha is now surrounded by her friends Janet and Megan as Michael finally get the nerve to talk to her. He says, “Uh, Martha? Um…Hi!!” Mike doesn’t seem to be sure that this girl is actually the Martha he knew at summer camp and why would he? Summer camp Martha is alone and thinks nobody likes her. Junior high Martha has friends to talk to. Plus there is a big difference in their figures. Summer camp Martha was not curvy, but junior high Martha has curves. It’s like Martha went through puberty after summer camp.
Panel 2: On the plus side Martha acknowledges Mike and gives him a warm smile. Michael is trying to play the tongue-tied shy guy with his, “I, um thought I’d just, you know, say hi!!” It is almost as if the guy is trying to strike up a conversation with her without talking about their prior relationship at summer camp. You would think he would say, “I haven’t seen you since Camp Kawkawa. Do you miss the marching?” Martha responds only to what Mike says with, “Hi. Um. Well. Uh, I’ll see you ‘round…OK?” Does she want to keep her relationship with Mike a secret like he does? Or is this just her way of saying, “Summer camp is over. Move on.”
Panel 3: The girls leave with the sound effects, “Giggle Whisper Giggle Giggle Whisper Whisper.” That’s 3 giggles and 3 whispers in case you are keeping count (one giggle/whisper per girl). This is the part of the story where it goes wrong for Mike and it was not the reaction he was expecting. In order for Mike to have this expectation he would have to believe that preteen girls do not giggle and whisper. It’s like he’s never been around girls before. It does make me wonder what response he did want though. Was Martha supposed to ditch her friends in favor of Mike?
Panel 4: Naturally egotistical Mike assumes the giggling and whispering are about him and his manhood as he thinks, “Is my fly undone or what?!” Oddly enough this is going to lead to a situation where Mike is mad at Martha for walking away from him and whisper/giggling about him to her friends. In case you thought Elly got angry over irrational things, Michael is about to challenge his mother for stupid anger. This is Martha's next appearance and she is worried that Mike is still mad weeks later.
It’s just as possible they were saying complimentary things about Mike like:
a. He’s cute if it weren’t for that receding hairline.
b. He seems a lot nicer than the last boy who stalked you around school.
c. It’s too bad he’s a Patterson or he’d be perfect.
d. I told you there were some nice boys at this school that aren’t tall, handsome, smart, or muscular and you didn’t believe me.
e. I think he has good potential, assuming you can train him to keep his fly done.
Summary: Next up Lawrence and Gordon will show up and talk about Martha surprising everyone at how much they know about her compared to Michael who knows pretty much nothing about her. The upcoming strips are classic examples of Lynn Johnston writing where she appears to be retconning the story her characters are in right at the same time they are in the story and not later on.