February 11th, 2018


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Back in 1989, for some reason Lynn Johnston decided to put Martha along with Megan and Janet in the frumpiest clothes possible to talk about Michael’s Valentine’s Day card to Martha. Nevertheless, those clothing choices were not as horrifying as the colourist’s choice to put all three girls in almost identical mauve colours.

Compare it to the original black and white where Janet is wearing a dark outfit while Megan and Martha are wearing what should be lighter-coloured clothing

(Strip Number 1414, Original Publication Date, 7 February 1989)

Panel 1: Martha has received Michael’s menacing pumpkinhead card from yesterday and suddenly becomes a Valentine’s Day card critic. As they say, “It’s the thought that counts” or in Michael's case, “the lack of thought.”

Panel 2: Janet is forced into the awkward situation of trying to interpret what was going through Michael’s mind. He’s joking. He likes you too much to use real words. She’s using the same kind of defense you would use for someone with a kind of mental illness.

Panel 3: Megan talks!! Believe it or not this is the first time that Megan is attached by a line from her head to text of her own. She also tries to defend Michael by explaining that guys don’t say what’s on their minds. Both of these friends are implying that boys want to say, “I love you” but they are unable to do that because of their gender. That’s the stereotype, but as Psychology Today tells us, men actually say, “I love you” first. Sorry, ladies.


Panel 4: Ah yes, the raspberry punchline. This is another one of Lynn’s favourites. When you consider that Elly and Elizabeth went to such a gesture on a fairly regular basis, you would think that this would put Martha completely over with Michael. After all, she acts and spits just like a Patterson woman. “That spittle spraying over me. What could be more feminine and graceful?  It reminds me of mother.  I think I am in love.”

Instead Michael is startled so much that he drops his giant sheaf of paper that the schoolkids in Milborough seem to carry around with them wherever they go. Years later in the new-runs, Lynn seemed to realize that the raspberry was the sign of Mrs. Right and corrected her mistake with Martha by giving the raspberry to future wife Deanna:

Summary: How can Michael salvage his failure with Martha? Will it be painful? Will it involve thinking a girl is irresistibly attractive when she is carrying a giant sheaf of paper? We shall see.