(Strip Number 5050, Original Publication Date, 25 November 1988)
Panel 1: Now the jagged design on the sweater is fully off Michael’s neck and directly around his shoulders and stays around his shoulders for the whole strip. Of course it is hard to tell where the design is supposed to be because Lynn Johnston has drawn Michael with the ability to bend his body at the shoulders and then to bend again at the neck in the other direction (otherwise we would see the top of Michael’s head against the lockers and not his nose and forehead). Hint to Lynn: Try having Michael bend at the waist instead. I think that was what you were really after and it is, in fact, what normal humans do.
To add to the confusion Michael thinks, “She did it again! She made me feel like a fool… and I walked right into it!!” No, Michael. You didn’t walk into some fool trap set by Martha. You gave her the note. You told her not to share it. You stalked her to make sure she didn’t share it. You stepped into a trap of your own making.
Panel 2: Michael feels as though he has been run over by a truck, dumped on by 1000 pigeons and left on the road to die. What killed poor Mike? Was it the injury from the truck, is he drowning in pigeon poop, or is it the idea that someone would leave him on a road? Of those three, I think the last one is the most likely.
Panel 3: Michael slumps forward to think, “I have been destroyed, devastated! My heart has been crushed like a gumball in the cruel jaws of life.” Well technically a gumball remains relatively intact as gum after its shell has been crushed. Maybe Mike means a hard candy. You can crush a hard candy.
Panel 4: Lynn is essentially repeating the same joke she did last time on this subject when Michael was berating himself in his mind. Last time self-deprecating Mike went to clever insults too. This just goes to show that no matter how bad Michael feels, he can always resort to thinking clever things to pull himself back from the abyss.
Summary: Poor Michael. Martha gave him a positive response about a future relationship and now it can’t happen because…Okay I am stumped here…Because she doesn’t keep promises? Michael gave a Martha a test of loyalty to him (because everyone knows that’s how relationships in Grade 7 start), and she failed, so she is no longer girlfriend material. As it turns out everyone keeps demanding promises out of Martha – her friends and Michael. What is it about this girl that everyone wants to test her loyalty to them? Don’t any of them just want to be regular old friends?