Mar 31st 2016 07:28 am The Egghead

From March of 1996, still on the phone. Many of your comments yesterday were interesting. I know we have had a similar conversation before, but these days I am contemplating doing something more, or different, with the “second cast” of A&J. Bill Bickel’s suggestion was a good one: turn the Sunday strip over to Gene, et al. As he noted, this would not be unprecedented in the history of newspaper comics. “Buz Sawyer and His Pal Roscoe Sweeney” springs immediately to my mind. When I was a boy reading The Atlanta Journal, I preferred the humorous Sunday antics of Roscoe and his “Baby Sister” to the daily adventures of Navy pilot Buz Sawyer. However, there are a couple of problems as far as A&J and Gene are concerned. The lives of the coast people have been a continuing kind of story. To confine them to a single day, even a Sunday, would change all that, I think. More important, this solution is very “old school” in a time when the industry is reading tea leaves and pushing the envelope. Apropos, Neal in Bawstun suggested making the adventures of Gene and Mary Lou into a Web-only comic. I think that is a good suggestion, too. (My editor Reed just choked on his morning croissant.)

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Posted by jimmyjohnson / Vintage A&J

50 Responses to “The Egghead”

  1. Ghost Rider 6 on 31 Mar 2016 at 7:43 am #

    Ah, yes, March 20, 1996…the day Robert Penn Warren spun in his grave.

  2. Phil Foglio on 31 Mar 2016 at 8:22 am #

    Setting up a secondary web-only comic sounds like a terrific idea. If only because once you get into it, you’ll discover that there are no real restraints (providing you don’t sell it to a syndicate). But then, why would you?

  3. Den in MN on 31 Mar 2016 at 8:22 am #

    A Web-only Gene and Mary Lou comic would be great, from the humble reader’s perspective!

  4. Mark in TTown on 31 Mar 2016 at 9:11 am #

    Jimmy, as a web-only, non-syndicated comic, you could experiment with things you can’t do in the regular A&J. Then, if you don’t like what results, you can simply drop it and try something else.

  5. sandcastler™ on 31 Mar 2016 at 9:51 am #

    Sounds as if poor Reed had a wake up call. ;-)

    Reed is the person in charge of prying cartoons out of me now. “Poor Reed” indeed. And here I am talking about another strip. — JJ

  6. Jerry in Fl on 31 Mar 2016 at 10:27 am #

    The Far Side was great one square at a time. Maybe you could do that online.

  7. Ghost Rider 6 on 31 Mar 2016 at 10:48 am #

    If Reed makes a regular habit of butter-laden morning croissants, he may find he has a worse problem than choking on them. Or even prying cartoons out of you. :)

  8. Evan on 31 Mar 2016 at 11:12 am #

    **And here I am talking about another strip. — JJ**

    Upon occasion my wife will read the morning strip and say, “I don’t get it.” Usually, I will explain it and she will see the humor. Upon very rare occasion, she will note that it still does not strike her as funny. My response is that it is pretty hard to write 365 winners a year, or 366 in the case of this year. Hey, they can’t all be “…there’s just something about a peek.” ;)

    What is amazing is not that some Arlo and Janis strips are not bemusing, but rather that I am amused by all but a tiny fraction. Arlo and Janis bats higher in that regard than every other strip I have ever encountered, and the percentage of “Classics” is very, very high… likewise dwarfing any other strip.

    So I am very sympathetic to the difficult task of Our Humble Author… who now, in addition to trying to bat 1.000 with this strip, will be starting another. Oh, the humanity! =0

  9. Evan on 31 Mar 2016 at 11:17 am #

    Yeah, yeah, Las Vegas will not quote you odds on “another strip” out of Our Humble Author, but I wanted to demonstrate how speculation instantly becomes “fact” out here on the Interwebs. :D

    Bless you, JJ, you surely have enough to say grace over as it is, notre ami.

  10. Steve From Royal Oak, MI on 31 Mar 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Write a regular strip, a web strip AND updates on the blog? If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Most of the strips are A&J, maybe a few to Robin, quite a few to Luddie and maybe more than a few to Gene. Of course in the past we had references to A&J’s workplace, but it’s been a long while since we have seen that.

    I too have to give JJ credit for the quality of his work. It would be real easy to take snippets from our posts here at A&J. Every once in a while we are funny.

  11. Anonymous on 31 Mar 2016 at 12:28 pm #

    I too find Arlo and Janis funny almost 1oo% of the time. Perhaps because their “interests” are my interests as well? I see myself in all the characters, Arlo, Janis, Gene, Mary Lou, Meg, Gus.

    Even Ludwig.

  12. Mark in TTown on 31 Mar 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    I read it daily, and while I don’t find them all funny, I find them all interesting. Each one stirs some thought and emotion, and it is a good reflection of what may happen in daily life. We all interact with someone else, we all daydream, most of us have either pets or children. Throw all that into JJ’s mental blender, and he produces a compelling comic strip. Way to go, Jimmy!

    By the way, Jackie, how are things on the home front? Have you made contact with the minions yet to see how well things are doing?

  13. Flossie on 31 Mar 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    Although it is entirely your decision JJ, I quite like having both generations in the same strip. It gives a continuity to life, and sometimes we need a change-up. Variety is the spice….

  14. emb on 31 Mar 2016 at 1:27 pm #

    Flossie: Me, too, even with Luddie. A&J is the only strip I see that deals with a cat well. I like 9CL better than many of you, but Solange is rarely, if ever, good. Mostly a chance for Brooke to play games with panel margins. Puddles is fun.


  15. Bryan on 31 Mar 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    It’s always fun to give an editor (or manager in my case) something to choke on and sputter about!

  16. Mark in TTown on 31 Mar 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    I was joking about battery fires yesterday, but today comes this story:

    If any of you out there have Toshiba laptops, better read this one!

  17. Anonymous on 31 Mar 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Mark the house is fine, thought I posted that. Storms went north and we only had rain. One minion has an older grandfather dying, they took off to see him, others are supposed to be moving a 26 foot boat onto trailer and out of my Boat Palace boat she’d where it has been hanging on lines only for years. We are moving to an enclosed warehouse.

  18. Bryan on 31 Mar 2016 at 2:46 pm #

    For gut-busting guffaws Greg Cravens of The Buckets and Hubris fame is most likely score a homer but for comics that bring the most regular smiles, chuckles and occasional belly-laughs JJ has it in the bag! I can relate to both A & J like no other comics characters.

  19. NealinBawstun on 31 Mar 2016 at 3:11 pm #

    I hate being responsible for anyone choking on a croissant. Especially if it is a properly made Parisian croissant with pounds of butter rolled in between layers of dough. However, if it one of those awful Peppridge Farm pseudo-concoctions, then Reed gets what he deserves.

    A web-only ‘Gene & Mary Lou’ would have its on income stream and not depend upon syndication sales. Just my two cents worth.

    It got up to 72 degrees today. My first official act of 70-plus degree weather was to don my A&J tee.

  20. Mark in TTown on 31 Mar 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    Sorry, Jackie, your update was on the previous installment of Ruth. I hadn’t gone back because Jimmy had put up a new post and folks were putting comments here. Glad the news was good.

  21. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 31 Mar 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    Methinks having Sunday devoted to Gene would tend to miss out on possible new fans of A&J. Gene, being only a young married, cannot have enough life experiences to match the subtle humor engendered by A&J. As I suspect those why buy newspapers buy more Sunday issues than weekday issues, such a move could be counterproductive.

    In general, I also fear that the pressure to produce 2 strips instead of 1 may be a greater-than-expected burden on our esteemed author. Goose, golden eggs, etc….. Perhaps a weekly Gene comic in addition to the daily A&J would work. Maybe even 2 or 3 per week would be OK.

    Evan, I’d enjoy a peek every day, several times per day, if such were available!!

    Just spent $565. to find out that the reason we have no hot water and no heat is that the gas doohickey outside the abode had gone to meter heaven. That caused the burn out of a vital fan in the furnace. Maybe the company will entertain a claim for reimbursement?? More likely, those who read my claim will merely BE entertained.

  22. Nancy Kirk in AZ on 31 Mar 2016 at 5:53 pm #

    Thanks, Mark. I have a Toshiba laptop, so I checked on the website, and I am okay—not one affected. Good to know, though.

  23. Anonymous on 31 Mar 2016 at 6:06 pm #

    It was 80 here today and felt like 87. But it had already been hotter than that in Oklahoma.

    I may have missed the cool weather season to garden. I am ready to go home to garden but I am here until Tuesday morning. The cottage rented by week.

    We are planning three more of these building workshops to try to finish the boats in time for the plyWooden Boat Festival here in Port Aransas which is first full weekend in October. We are postponing the cancer fund raiser until 2017 for several reasons.

  24. Jerry in Fl on 31 Mar 2016 at 6:21 pm #

    I just checked my lap top and found no fire, but then it’s not even 7:30 yet.

  25. emb on 31 Mar 2016 at 7:27 pm #

    c x-p: “I’d enjoy a peek every day, several times per day, if such were available.” As Elaine used to say, “All men are prancing, leering billy goats.”

    It’s spring, right? Astronomical spring. It is not 80F, here [more than half way from the equator to the pole], only 41F or so at 2014 CDT. Tomorrow, April Fool’s, pred. = hi in the 40s, but low of 19, 50% chance of snow showers. Spent the last 3 wks. farther S [Mpls.], no ice on the lakes down there. Still thin ice on all the larger lakes from Mille Lacs to Bemidji, but some open water. No snow on the ground, but I’ve not checked the N side of the berm. Peace,

  26. sandcastler™ on 31 Mar 2016 at 7:55 pm #

    88° today, 67° forecast for the morrow. Have to love this season, take it off, put it on.

    Like the current character rotation in the strip. Reminds me of our house where most days it just us five; with the occasional visit by the extended family and friends. Rather see a return of Arlo’s sailing dreams/fantasies, nothing wrong with Walter Mitty(isms).

  27. Anonymous on 31 Mar 2016 at 8:54 pm #

    Yes, bring back the boat. And a sailing tee shirt. I miss the boats.

    We had wind warnings yesterday on coast, tonight it’s fog. I haven’t looked at tomorrow. But water is short distance from cottages.

  28. Anonymous on 31 Mar 2016 at 9:12 pm #

    Hope all of you are safe tonight, especially Mississippi, Alabama, Florida I think getting severe.

  29. Mark in TTown on 31 Mar 2016 at 10:23 pm #

    Debbe, talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time:

  30. Jerry in Fl on 31 Mar 2016 at 10:24 pm #

    Closest rain is Montgomery. Prediction for midnight is a no-show.

  31. Jerry in Fl on 31 Mar 2016 at 10:26 pm #

    Mark, that is hilarious.

  32. Jerry in Fl on 31 Mar 2016 at 10:32 pm #

    emb, I want to suggest a book named “Charlatan” by Pope Brock.

  33. Ghost Rider 6 on 31 Mar 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    Debbe ;) If that “pontoon boat, a lake, and a semi full moon many years ago on a clear night” and the song reference combine to mean what I think it does, hubba hubba, hon! ;)

    I hope no stranger was watching from the shore.

  34. Old Bear on 31 Mar 2016 at 11:01 pm #

    emb -etal

    There was a plaque somewhere in The Cities showing
    45* 00′ 00″ don’t know if it is still there.

  35. Old Bear on 31 Mar 2016 at 11:13 pm #

    One of my all time favorites from my favorite Licorice Stick player
    like him better than Benny G even.

  36. Anonymous on 01 Apr 2016 at 2:20 am #

    They don’t seem to have much rain here. More like dust and drought. My poor pickup is covered, salt too. Dickens and I woke to what we thought was rain or hail but was plumbing it seems.

  37. Debbe on 01 Apr 2016 at 3:41 am #

    Good morning Villagers…

    And, it’s my day….everyone should have their own day and mine is April Fool’s Day :)

    Mark, choked on my coffee on that one, saved it to my screen saver….very funny, thanks!

    I wish Mother Nature would make her mind up….down to the mid 30′s tonight, high today…50 something.

    Flossie, you nailed it!

    Now I want a croissant with REAL butter, but will settle for an English muffin with peanut butter and a Hazelnut/chocolate cream smeared on it….yum.

    Ya’ll have a blessed day….

    Sandcastler…good to see you feeling better, or are you?

  38. Debbe on 01 Apr 2016 at 3:44 am #

    GR ;) it was a private audience…almost married that guy, until he mentioned prenup..till death do us part is what I believe in….and I could make that happen :) I showed him the door.

    Another earworm I woke up to…there is something Freudian going on during my sleep and I can’t remember my dreams….

  39. Debbe on 01 Apr 2016 at 3:50 am #

    …got milk

  40. David in Austin on 01 Apr 2016 at 5:23 am #


    I actually caught myself in the grocery a few days ago muttering “puppy-biscuit.” I was not, however, carrying a Walther PPK.

  41. emb on 01 Apr 2016 at 5:39 am #

    Happy 1 April ’16.

  42. Mark in TTown on 01 Apr 2016 at 6:43 am #

    Jerry and Debbe, somebody sent me that pic on Facebook. I thought it was too good not to share here. Glad you liked it.

  43. Ghost Rider 6 on 01 Apr 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Debbe ;) Yeah, nothing says “love and devotion” like “prenuptial agreement”…not.

  44. Steve From Royal Oak, Mi on 01 Apr 2016 at 8:20 am #

    Some occupations get a very bad name. Being a sports agent has to be one of them. Everybody thinks they’re greedy and dishonest.

    When I attended Purdue I became friends with one of the basketball players who also lived in my dorm. He also came from Fort Wayne so he would come and read my daily FW newspaper that I had delivered. He was a great guy and friend who later became an agent. His name was Eugene Parker.

    Last night Gene passed away at age of 60. He died as one of the most successful Sports agents in the business. And he was honest

  45. Burns Fisher on 01 Apr 2016 at 9:27 am #

    I agree with everyone who said stuff like “It’s your strip”. However, just a thought: When you portray the coast people recently, you seem to feel it is important to connect them to A&J. You know, they are visiting, they are phoning, etc. If it makes it any easier, I don’t see that as necessary. Just as an example, look at Doonesbury and the end of the original For Better or for Worse. Many story lines that sometimes connect, but not always.

    BTW, I would also cite as a “Sunday is different” strip “Non Sequitor”. But I agree that one day a week would be sad for the coast folks. I’d rather see a coast storyline for a while and then an ‘inland’ story line. Or if you just had 1-day gags, then I would have no problem with interspersing them. But then, I’m not thinking up the gags and drawing them.

    Continued thanks for WHATEVER you choose to do!

  46. Dave in Twin Cities on 01 Apr 2016 at 11:26 am #

    I don’t see any problem with varying subject matter in the strip… both “casts” are part of the same continuity, and it is fun keeping up with everyone. I’d much rather have you write humor about whichever group you’re more interested in on a given day than force it on just the main cast when you’re not inspired.

    P.S. As a thirty-something from the South, your strip is the most consistently enjoyable in all the funny pages. My dad’s favorite, too.

  47. Anonymous on 01 Apr 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    As a senior Southern woman I have given up all strips except this one. They just don’t make me laugh much any more. JJ does.

  48. Mark in TTown on 01 Apr 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    Jackie, so you are looking for Roger Rabbit?

  49. Old Bear on 01 Apr 2016 at 10:12 pm #

    Madam Butterfly on MPR Saturday
    All you others will have to listen on line.

    Sat. noon CDT

  50. Old Bear on 01 Apr 2016 at 10:18 pm #

    This is hilarious

    Anna Russell: The Ring Cycle: An Analysis
    Anna Russell, voice and piano/The Anna Russell Album
    Sony 47252 (21:50)

    Also had Spike Jones
    Alan Sherman – Hello Mudder

    Listen here – the whole program is an hour.