August 17th, 2017


Saturday, 19 August 2017

Not Martha, but Mar-tha.

(Strip Number 5007, Original Publication Date, 19 August 1988)

Panel 1: Mike may be the guy trying to look at naked girls in the shower (or a naked neighbour girl from a tree) and yet there is practically only one girl in his older kid group in camp and he doesn’t know her name.   We have seen Martha before this point, but try and see if you can spot another girl in Michael’s group other than Martha in the strips below.  The early appearance of Martha before this point is very subtle for Lynn compared to insta-boyfriend Anthony Caine.  In some respects, it is amazing that Michael has the nerve to ask Martha her name.

Panel 2: In 1976, when Martha would have been born, Martha was 161 in popularity for girl names.  The most popular name that year was Jennifer.  I can get behind Martha’s dislike for her name and Michael does too.  Martha’s screaming about how much she hates her name with her head tilted back and the mouth wide open doesn’t seem to faze him one bit.  He is probably thinking, “She is so quiet compared to Mom.”

Panel 3: Martha walks with Michael and observes him carefully to learn proper hand placement in pockets and teenagerly slouching as you walk.  Michael explains how was named for one of his mother’s high school friends that he has never met.  This is true.  Aaron Michael Johnston from whom Michael gets his name, was named after Lynn’s friend from high school, Michael VadeBoncoeur.   Michael VadeBoncoeur’s death was one of Lynn Johnston’s inspirations for doing the “Lawrence is gay” comic strips.

Panel 4: So far what we have seen from Martha is a series of complaints.  She complained Michael was a nut case.  She complained that no one liked her.  She complained about her name.  When Michael responded with a complaint, she senses a kindred spirit.  What do they have in common?  They both like to complain. 

Summary: Will Michael and Martha find more things to complain about?  Will the list of complaints sound like they came from preteens or will they sound like they came from a middle-aged woman with dietary issues?  Will Martha unhinge her jaw and start screaming again?  Will Lynn ever draw their feet again?  Will Lynn remember that head bands are supposed to keep your hair out of your face?  We will have to wait until Monday to find out.