February 7th, 2020


Sunday, 9 February 2020

The Sundayverse, where boyfriends and girlfriends spend time together on a couch dreaming about physical contact instead of going out every night and doing more than just dreaming like they do in the Dailyverse.  Also the Sundayverse is where Martha’s hair is no longer blonde with red highlights, but something closer to her original hair colour and this will continue into the Dailyverse this week.
(Original Publication Date, 10 February 1991)

Panel 1: Mike and Martha sit together on a coach not talking but using thought balloons to communicate.   We see that they both have an image of holding hands and it is an image which makes Martha’s right hand have a thumb that entirely encompasses all 4 of Michael’s fingers while Michael’s left hand has a thumb that encompasses only 2 of Martha’s fingers.  In other words, Martha has a much bigger hand than Michael.  In order to reinforce the joke that normally goes along with a man who has small hands, Michael has crossed his legs in a way that would normally be considered womanly.   Most men can’t comfortably cross their legs like that without squeezing together certain orbs, but maybe for small-handed Michael, this is not as much of a problem.

Panel 2: We now see that Martha and Michael are holding hands and it turns out Martha’s hand is not as big as Michael and Martha were imagining it to be.  In this panel they communicate in their thought balloons that they would like to be holding different hands with Michael’s left arm around Martha while she closes her eyes and leans into Michael.  We don’t know what Martha’s right arm is doing.  It is probably something unscrupulous.

Panel 3: Now Michael and Martha are in that position from Panel 2, we no longer see them communicating in their thought balloons (or possibly the thought balloons have moved to more intimate poses which Lynn Johnston has decided to censor for her family audience.)  The background actually matches most of the background of Panel 1, except the top shelf of the book shelf mysteriously disappeared and been replaced by a blue jar of some sort and books on top of the book shelf.

Panel 4: Martha leans in for the kiss, which would be romantic except her hair appears to be sliding off her head and she has a big black hair covering underneath.  Lynn is going for the idea that Martha is wearing a hair band, but it grows so quickly and mysteriously, it makes me wonder if the reason Martha’s hair is like its original colour is because she is wearing a wig.

Panel 5: The kissing begins and Elizabeth appears behind the couch which makes me wonder why in the world the colourist was drawing that shadow from the couch on the wall behind the couch.   The shadow made it look like the couch backed into the wall, which it clearly does not.

Panel 6: Elizabeth exclaims, “Ah-Hah!”  as if she has caught Michael and Martha doing something they have not been doing for the last 2 years.  Michael and Martha are so shocked that instead of having her left arm under Michael’s right arm, as she did in the prior panel, Martha now has her left arm over Michael’s right arm.

Panel 7: Martha gets smaller and appears to go into a state of catatonic shock.  Michael goes around the couch to deliver the straight line to Elizabeth.

Panel 8: Martha is still in shock.  What is up with that?  The book shelves behind the lamp in Panels 1 and 3, now disappear completely.  Michael chases after Elizabeth in anticipation of giving her a beating (even though he has closed his eyes).   The perspective is all of the place in this one.  We look up at Michael from below.  We look down at Martha from a distance.  Elizabeth is somewhere in between.

Summary: With this last panel, Lynn Johnston demonstrates she does not understand even the basic elements of the annoying younger sibling gag.   A guy with a girlfriend over at his house is going to be on his best behaviour and the reason that younger siblings love those moments, is because they can do whatever they want without any fear of retribution.  In other words, if Michael was a normal boy, he would never think of chasing his little sister down to beat her in front of his girlfriend, or his girlfriend might get the wrong impression (or in Michael’s case, the right impression) of what he would do to her in a similar situation.