howtheduck (howtheduck) wrote in binky_betsy,

Friday, 30 August 2019

(Originally published August 30, 1990)
The first of two epilogues to our dramatic tale of boating involves Mike’s imagining of things that did not happen on the “boat ride.”

Panel 1:
Mike is still wearing the same clothes he wore yesterday, which tells us that he has decided after his long night of boating, the best thing is to go to sleep.   That makes sense to me.  That’s what I would do.  Michael lies back with his eyes closed and communicates pretty just the way he communicates when he is awake – self-absorbed thought bubbles.  He imagines he is adrift on Martha’s boat.  That’s not “Martha’s family’s boat”, but “Martha’s boat”, which makes me wonder if “boat” is a euphemism for something else.

Panel 2:
In the final panel we are going to see the Michael is feeling something now and associating it with something that happened to him on the “boat ride.”  Let’s run through the list:

  1. The rocking of the waves = Elly shaking his bed.

  2. A faint breeze carries the odor of dampness and decay = There are a lot of places this could go.  I expect Lynn Johnston is thinking it is the smell of Michael’s dirty clothes he has on the floor; but the more amusing answer is the idea that this odor comes from Elly herself. 

  3. The air is pierced by the sharp cry of a gull = Elly’s screaming I suppose, but in my imagination a gull’s cry would be music compared to Elly.

Panel 3:
Mike creates his own straight line for his punchline.   Sorry, Michael.  You don’t have a great imagination.  Your room needs cleaning up.

Panel 4:
Here is Elly in the same color of clothes she was wearing yesterday.  The colorist would lead us to believe that Michael came home from the “boat ride” the next day, because Elly did not go to bed late at night after she learned her son was safe.   It was the morning when he got back and Elly had cleaning chores to do and sleeping Michael is getting in the way.    Oh, colorist.  This would mean that Elly was almost completely unconcerned about Michael’s safety, but she is so concerned about his messy room that she goes into his room while he is recovering from being on the water all night, and starts screaming and shaking his bed about the mess on the floor.  Patterson Parenting Priorities are back again.   Michael is more in danger from his crazy mother than he ever was on the McRae boat.

I suspect Lynn Johnston thought she was getting away with something, but doing crotch shots of Michael in Panels 2 and 4 as he thinks about Martha and her “boat” did not escape my attention.  Naughty, naughty cartoonist.  Watch where you draw the creases on those pants!

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