September 16th, 2018


Monday, 17 September 2018

You don’t know what puberty is ‘til you’ve had a hormone attack.  Well I guess I don’t know what puberty is.

(Strip Number 1482, Original Publication Date, 18 September 1989)

Panel 1: The orange-haired kid (Darryl Smythe?) and the dark-haired girl from last week are gone, leaving Gordon with Michael, Lawrence and Brian.  You can see the focus of importance shifting as Brian does not say a word in this comic strip and will not speak again until Saturday.  He will disappear tomorrow and then Lawrence will also disappear two days after that.  Gordon is taking over the best friend slot.

Panel 2: Gordon explains to the boys that you don’t know what puberty is ‘til you’ve had a hormone attack.  Lawrence and Michael don’t say a word, but if I were there I would say something like, “What you just did has nothing to do with puberty.  You should go see a doctor.”

Gordon takes off his glasses and he cleans them with his fingers, because that’s what glasses wearers do when they want to put more smudges on their glasses.  I realize now that without his glasses, Gordon would be virtually unrecognizable except for his signature look of having an ear more even on his face with his mouth than with his eyes. That ear often appears as though it wants to crawl off his face and hide under his shirt. Go, ear! Go!

Panel 3: Gordon explains that his problem has to do with thinking stuff.  Once again, Gordon, thank you for not being explicit.  Gordon says he is a quivering, foaming, uncontrollable mass.  Foaming?  Like with rabies?  I didn’t see any foaming.  I did see and still see a lot of goggled eyes, as Gordon is up to three straight panels of this. 

Once you toss foaming into it, this isn’t hormones.  A simple internet search for those symptoms (quivering, foaming) show it is probably a tonic-clonic seizure.


Usually, only one type of seizure, which is called a tonic-clonic seizure or convulsive seizure, is associated with drooling, slight foaming, or bubbling at the mouth. People experiencing tonic-clonic seizures have abnormal electrical firing throughout their brain simultaneously.  Tonic-clonic seizures usually cause an immediate loss of consciousness followed by whole-body convulsions.

Panel 4: This panel is very poorly drawn as Lynn Johnston puts Gordon, Michael, and Lawrence in silhouette, while Gordon with his arms outstretched laments to anyone around that he would prefer zits to hormone attacks.   In these kinds of situations, Lynn usually goes for a broad comedic physical expression to emphasize the punchline and it is completely eliminated here by the all black.  For once, Lynn actually needs a Schulz face.  This is just plain, old, bad cartooning.  She is de-emphasizing just as she should be emphasizing.  I fear we may be at the beginning of Lynn’s silhouette period, where she silhouettes for no other apparent reason than she didn’t want to take the time to draw something.

Summary:   Zits are better than seizures.  Now there’s a lesson every Patterson kid should learn.