(Strip Number 5054, Original Publication Date, 03 December 1988)
Panel 1: As Mr. Burton dresses down Martha for note-passing, I am distracted by the unusual shape of his knuckles which form a sort of “W”. Likewise I am fascinated by Lynn Johnston’s method of drawing Martha’s head. It looks like she drew her face and then realizing it was not attached to Martha’s body, put her hair in the back of her head in order to make it appear more like the two objects were related. The effect is that Martha has a very nice receding hairline in this panel.
Panel 2: I cannot make out what is on that blackboard behind Mr. Burton, but it does take me down memory lane when schools used to have them. Martha fears that Mr. Burton would read her note and that is a reasonable fear considering that she has already told us in the last daily she apologized for everything and she put her soul and guts into it. If Mr. Burton read it out loud, not only would there be public embarrassment, but possible Mr. Burton might need to recommend some counseling and a parent conference meeting about what is or is not appropriate behaviour.
Panel 3: Note passing is a hall activity. That is why good and pure Michael Patterson gave Martha a note in the hall, but evil Janet and evil Martha passed a note in class. What in the world is going on with Mr. Burton’s right hand? It looks like Lynn Johnston drew two fingers pointing and couldn’t figure out which one was the index finger, so she decided that Mr. Burton would have two index fingers. Maybe he could give one of those extra fingers to Martha who appears to have lost a finger on her left hand.
Panel 4: Mr. Burton is a nice guy and that will not do. Teachers are bad (except for Elizabeth in the future who is the epitome of all that is good and right about teaching). Good teachers must disappear immediately. Goodbye Mr. Burton. We will never see you again. In homage to Mr. Burton, Martha adopts his “W” – shaped knuckles with her right hand. Isn’t that sweet?
Summary: This lesson in note-passing was brought to you by the letter “W”.