Aug 8th 2018 08:15 am Geneathon II

(Cartoonist’s note: Thank you for bearing with me through the summer reruns. It has been a very project-heavy season. The several current strips involving Arlo and tools and physical tasks are not coincidence. Many of you have seen this material before; I hope you won’t mind seeing it again. Plus, I like to think we have a lot of newcomers who’ve never seen it at all.)
Today is the second day of our Gene fest. All the cartoons below are from the year 1989. The cartoons I will be featuring all week are from the era before digitalization. In 1995, I began scanning my work and transmitting it digitally to my editors at United Media in New York City. Before that, the original art physically was shipped via FedEx to New York, where it would be reproduced in a conventional print shop and mailed to client newspapers. The reason that matters is, there is a digital record of most of Arlo & Janis from mid 1995 on, and that readily available archive is where I select an old cartoon to feature here on my Web site. This means most of the cartoons you’ll see this week have not appeared on the internet or anywhere since first being published in newspapers. Yes, we feature old A&J comic strips several days a week here, so if you’re a newcomer to, I hope you’ll come back.

Beaudelaire said genius is the ability to recall childhood at will. I’m not claiming genius, but I remember how easy it was when I began drawing Arlo & Janis to recall my experiences and emotions from a not-too-distant childhood. Now, it’s not nearly so easy.

This cartoon is unusual, because it departs from the familiar four-panel format. It still has the break in the center, though. That is so newspapers can cut the comic strip in two if they want and make it fit a square space. “Arlo & Janis, the comic strip you can cut down the middle.”


The debate continues. I think the movie which had Gene so enthused was the Michael Keaton version of Batman.


In the age of instant communication, this cartoon almost certainly would have engendered a number of comments to the effect, “Ceiling fans are effective in the winter, too. Reverse the direction of the blades to pull warm air, etc., etc., etc.” That’s what I like about drawing a comic strip.


Looking back at this artwork, it appears as if Arlo is throwing the leaf bags on a fire himself. I probably should have highlighted the top of the bags and made the bottom black. This is the kind of thing that jumps out at you immediately 23 years later.

What Arlo means is “difficult,” difficult to outmaneuver.
Buy the new book, "Beaucoup Arlo & Janis!"Today's "Arlo & Janis!"

Posted by jimmyjohnson / Vintage A&J

15 Responses to “Geneathon II”

  1. John in Houston Texas on 08 Aug 2018 at 8:29 am #

    Absolutely true, you will regret not knowing any musical instrument when you’re older. I’m 60 and can mostly follow a treble clef on a keyboard. Fortunately I have a very encouraging musical lady friend.

  2. emb on 08 Aug 2018 at 8:59 am #

    Mom had piano when I was born, but they had to sell it in ’29-’32, and move from Washington Hts. [just N of present GW Bridge] to a cheaper apt. in Greenwich Village. GV is now the more expensive neighborhood.

    Have a good singing voice, but music is one of the foreign languages not in my quiver.


  3. Ruth Anne in Winter Park on 08 Aug 2018 at 9:09 am #

    The hummingbird webcam, as well as others that change seasonally, can also be found at I’ve been enjoying their “fruit feeder” cam in Panama.

  4. DJJG7 on 08 Aug 2018 at 9:57 am #

    “I probably should have highlighted the top of the bags and made the bottom black.”

    Now that’s another reason why I come here: I could suspect that something could be better (look too much like pumpkins), but I would have no idea how to fix it.

    The same thing happened to Sparky Schulz in kindergarten: He had drawn a snow shovel, the blade rectangular. He knew something was wrong (the slight curve was missing), but he didn’t know how to fix it.

    Me, I could not even draw a circle in kindergarten. Nothing. I had never tried.

    But I had sung.

  5. Bonnie from Gloucester, MA on 08 Aug 2018 at 10:00 am #

    Today’s live strip with Janis throwing caution (and her t-shirt) to the wind was unexpected! There will be a time in Janis’ life when no one will notice or care. Sigh. Thankfully, our hero Arlo is still entranced. Yay Arlo!

  6. Ginger in Auburn on 08 Aug 2018 at 4:43 pm #

    Not related to the web offering, but to the newspaper comic for today, sometimes I wish there was a “Really Like” heart I could click on!

  7. Steve from Royal Oak, MI on 08 Aug 2018 at 6:30 pm #

    My Grandson is 2 1/2. For the last year or so, if you sing the theme to the old Batman TV series (da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da) he would (and still does respond) BATMAN!!!

    Grandpa is trying to tell him that the late Adam West was the real Batman.

  8. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 08 Aug 2018 at 7:43 pm #

    We didn’t call them flip-flops when I was a boy here in Central Ohio.

    Instead, we called them thongs.

    I don’t think that would go over well today.

  9. Ruth Anne in Winter Park on 08 Aug 2018 at 8:05 pm #

    They were thong sandals in Florida when we first started wearing them in the 50s. That name is long gone.

  10. cut rate cordwainer smith on 08 Aug 2018 at 8:26 pm #

    The name thong remains. The concept moved a couple feet upward, and the operative feature no longer divides toes.

  11. Mark in TTown on 08 Aug 2018 at 9:28 pm #

    cut rate, like your screen name. Great author of science fiction.

    They were flip-flops in Alabama when I was growing up.

    The real Batman is Bob Kane’s version.

  12. Bill in Paducah on 08 Aug 2018 at 10:02 pm #

    Or maybr thd Bill Finger Batman…

  13. emb on 09 Aug 2018 at 6:11 am #

    Two reticulated giraffes, if still there.


  14. Mark in TTown on 09 Aug 2018 at 6:29 am #

    Luddie as a kitten, something we haven’t seen before.

  15. Mark in TTown on 09 Aug 2018 at 8:47 am #

    Today is National Book Lover’s Day. My kind of holiday. Get out there and read something!