Sep 12th 2018 09:05 am The Lost Strips

(Cartoonist’s note: I shopped Lost Key to my syndicate United Media when I first came up with it. I was anxious to produce a second strip. What was I thinking?! However, they passed. Unbeknownst to me, they had not long before canceled an under-performing strip of a very similar nature. Also, my strip really wasn’t that good.)

This cartoon is a bit dated. People besides sailors and prisoners were getting tattooed by the 80s but not as they have been the past ten years or so. The painful extravaganza described by the grizzled old tattoo artist would not raise an eyebrow today, although the tableau he describes might be thought of as a bit prosaic.
Speaking of tattoos, my generation when it was younger was very accustomed to the tattoos on our neighbors and fathers who had served in the navy during World War II. If you’re fortunate enough to have one of those old guys still around, you’ve probably noticed his tattoo is now a blue blob. Is that what all these modern tattoos are going to look like 40 years hence? I don’t raise this question to pass judgement on the tattooed, but I really have wondered this.

Speaking of things 80s, I remember my own racquetball phase, both weeks of it. And speaking of those tattoos, I’ve always heard that the body completely regenerates itself in seven years. In other words, the natural process of cell replacement eventually results in a brand new you. Researching this a bit (45 seconds, to be exact) in the process of writing this, I was not surprised to find out this isn’t exactly true. Types of cells take a lot longer than others to regenerate, and some never do. Essentially, though, there is something to the idea we get a completely new body every so often. The prospect tends to be more exciting than the reality, doesn’t it? However, given this and given the rather dynamic nature of skin cells, I wonder: Why don’t tattoos disappear?

In today’s episode, we’re finally getting to some character development, but this is about as far as it goes, I’m afraid. It was, after all, just a concept.

Posted by jimmyjohnson / Vintage A&J

61 Responses to “The Lost Strips”

  1. TruckerRon on 12 Sep 2018 at 9:32 am #

    JJ, your experience with the Lost Key concept proves the old adage, Timing is everything. Had you submitted it before the other similar strip had bombed, you may have found out the truth behind the other one, Be careful what you wish for!

  2. Bob on 12 Sep 2018 at 11:40 am #

    I’m surprised the “the grizzled old tattoo artist” doesn’t have any tattoos himself. Then again, that probably would have given away the punch line.

  3. Sideburns on 12 Sep 2018 at 12:01 pm #

    Actually, I don’t think that the biggest problem is that the scene’s too prosaic, it’s that Davey’s chest isn’t big enough.

  4. Old Bear on 12 Sep 2018 at 12:43 pm #

    The Bear stopped in the Village :-)

  5. Mark in TTown on 12 Sep 2018 at 2:03 pm #

  6. TruckerRon on 12 Sep 2018 at 3:56 pm #

    Old Bear, was that you in the hammock?

  7. Ghost on 12 Sep 2018 at 6:00 pm #

    Based on many years of hard-earned experience with female bartenders and bar maids, my advice to Davey is still the same as that I offered him the first time Jimmy published the Lost Key cartoons…”Run!”

  8. Mark in TTown on 12 Sep 2018 at 10:59 pm #

    Yeah, I don’t think this would fit on Davey, even as a full body wraparound:

  9. moi on 13 Sep 2018 at 2:10 am #

    I had my first tattoo about 10 years ago and it still looks good. But it’s not as sharp edged as when it was first put on my arm. According to my tattooist though, they will stay better than the tattoos of old. It might have something to do with the ink they used in the old days, those were with lead content and nowadays the ink is without any lead or other poisonous metals. Even so, the sailors and prisoners of those days, probably had their tattoos placed when they were much younger, so in 50-60 years they might become a blob. By then, if life permits, i’ll be older than a century, probably with wrinkles all over, so a blob of ink then, would make no difference anymore….LOL. And I’ve also seen tattoo-artists that can make an old tattoo look as new again, so that’s also an option if need be.

  10. Mark in TTown on 13 Sep 2018 at 6:25 am #

    Looks like Janis is way out of practice.

  11. James Pollock on 13 Sep 2018 at 7:15 am #

    “given the rather dynamic nature of skin cells, I wonder: Why don’t tattoos disappear?”

    Tattoos aren’t cells. The cells go on, doing their thing, dividing and living and dying, while the tattoo ink just sits there.
    It’s like when you bury a pipe under your lawn… the grass keeps growing (and depending on where you are, dying back) but doesn’t push the pipes out of the ground.

  12. dave on 13 Sep 2018 at 7:18 am #

    My racquetball phase went from the mid-70′s to the late 80′s. I also sacrificed my right Achilles tendon to the sport.

  13. Ghost on 13 Sep 2018 at 2:22 pm #

    I’d have assumed Janis has strong, muscular legs from all her walking, but she seems to have considerable upper body strength as well.

    Something I’ve neglected too much lately, myself.

  14. Sideburns on 13 Sep 2018 at 4:15 pm #

    I have three tats, all blobs. Of course, they were blobs when I got them and they’re all 50 cm “up,” so it doesn’t really matter, does it?

  15. Old Bear on 13 Sep 2018 at 11:01 pm #

    Not me but he does know a good thing especially since he came back.

    Just finished a Lord D’Arcy collection. An Alternate History where the Plantagenet s
    have ruled England, France, Ireland, New England (all of North America)
    New France (all of South America) (etc) for 800 years.
    Dukes,Lord, Sirs and Licensed Magicians. Most everything is Magic – no Industrial
    Revolution. Steam but no Internal combustion, no Electricity. Interesting (IMHO)
    later stories are better but the earlier are needed for character development.

  16. Old Bear on 13 Sep 2018 at 11:37 pm #

    A cautionary tale from “That Is Priceless”

    Many, many years ago when I was 23 I was married to a widow who was pretty as can be This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red My father fell in love with her and soon they too were wed This made my dad my son-in-law and really changed my life For now my daughter was my mother ‘cause she was my father’s wife And to complicate the matter even though it brought me joy I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy My little baby then became a brother-in-law to dad And so he became my uncle though it made me very sad For if he were my uncle that would also made him brother Of the widows grown-up daughter who was of course my stepmother Father’s wife then had a son who kept them on the run And he became my grandchild for he was my daughter’s son My wife is now my mother’s mother and it makes me blue Because although she is my wife she’s my grandmother too Now if my wife is my grandmother then I’m her grandchild And every time I think of it, nearly drives me wild’ Cause now I have become the strangest case you ever saw As husband of my grandmother I am my own grandpaw

  17. Jackie on 14 Sep 2018 at 1:14 am #

    Oklahoma is already full of tatooed women who look like blobs. I was noticing an older overweight woman with what looked like horrible bruising or some disease that might kill her with a pulmonary clot.

    Then I realized they were big blobs of giant black tatoos. Not saying quality of most tattoos here are very high.

  18. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 14 Sep 2018 at 4:41 am #

    One of my friends once saw a memorial tattoo.

    Evidently, the lady had lost her young daughter and had “My Angel” along with a likeness of her little girl tattoed on her calf.

    Unfortunately, the tattooist inscribed “My Angle.”

    I hope my friend was joking, but he’s told the story a couple of times.

  19. emb on 14 Sep 2018 at 7:00 am #

    Laikipia Co., Kenya. Warthogs.


  20. Mark in TTown on 14 Sep 2018 at 8:01 am #

    Jackie, what is it with the hair stylists in Oklahoma? Asymmetrical haircuts, weird colors, multiple piercings and tattoos? Looks like the 10-in-1 at a circus!

    Old Bear, funny song. Had read of it years ago but never heard it till it came on Dr. Demento show one night. And yes, the Lord Darcy stories are very good.

  21. Mark in TTown on 14 Sep 2018 at 8:03 am #

    Old Bear:

  22. Ruth Anne in Winter Park on 14 Sep 2018 at 8:08 am #

    Rick: Here’s hoping the daughter’s name was Angie.

  23. Mark in TTown on 14 Sep 2018 at 9:03 am #

    By the way, the term 10-in-1 I used above means a sideshow in circus slang. So what I was getting at is that these folks look like sideshow performers.

  24. Ghost on 14 Sep 2018 at 9:27 am #

    “Bowling”? So is that what the kids are calling it these days?

  25. Mark in TTown on 14 Sep 2018 at 11:02 am #

    Ghost, maybe you and Jackie should go to this:
    Looks like a fun event.

  26. Sideburns on 14 Sep 2018 at 1:04 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen this set of strips before, but I do know that you’ve used the one with the tatoo before because I have a copy of it on my desktop computer.

  27. Old Bear on 14 Sep 2018 at 1:57 pm #

    The Bear walked in the Village
    Thanks Mark.

  28. curmudgeonly ex-professor on 14 Sep 2018 at 8:54 pm #

    Prayers for all those in the vicinity of hurricane Florence. Any number of students from my classes of 50 years ago are in that region, notably in Cary & New Bern & Morehead City, NC. Flooding seems to be the greater hazard, as the wind is rather low – only category one when it hit or even less by this time. I have heard that several hundreds of folks have called for help [from being stranded by water] just in New Bern…with many more awaiting help.

  29. emb on 15 Sep 2018 at 8:39 am #

    Kenya, impala herd.


  30. Anonymous on 15 Sep 2018 at 9:26 am #

    I hope that Nicholas Sparks’ beautiful home on the water in New Bern wasn’t destroyed by the flood.

  31. Ghost on 15 Sep 2018 at 9:26 am #

    Mark, I saw that about the Scot Fest and even mentioned it to Jackie. Unfortunately, it is taking place on days we don’t have to travel, and we really can’t justify the trip just for that. Probably would have been fun…I have some Scottish ancestry on my mom’s side of the family, and I’m one of those apparently rare individuals who actually likes bagpipe music.

  32. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 15 Sep 2018 at 9:42 am #


    I might have a little Scot in me. No matter.

    I have loved bagpipes since I was a wee one and have some albums and tapes of bagpipe music.

    I once read that bagpipes were used in battle to direct the troops. I will assume that that’s true.

    It’s amazing that something I find to be beautiful has its roots in something terrible.

  33. Mark in TTown on 15 Sep 2018 at 10:14 am #

    Ghost, and Rick, I like them too. They have a similar event in Montgomery, AL, which I have attended. Among other things, they had a competition for sheepdogs which was amazing to watch.

    Had something which spooked me last night. I was sitting up late reading when somebody started knocking on my door. Seeing as how it was midnight and there have been multiple home invasions in Tulsa lately, I didn’t say a word, just turned out the lights and took my phone to another room. Whoever it was never said a word, just knocked for about 5 minutes and then gave up. As I don’t have any friends who would be coming without an invitation, I’m not opening the door for anybody that late.

  34. TruckerRon on 15 Sep 2018 at 10:18 am #

    Here’s a funny video revealing how some reporters exaggerate things…

  35. emb on 15 Sep 2018 at 11:00 am #

    Better than usual, worth scrolling down through at least 4. DNA has interesting implications. Have read that about 1 American woman in 10 would rather not have her kid’s or kids’ DNA analyzed.


  36. Mark in TTown on 15 Sep 2018 at 11:09 am #

    emb, funny, but I like the chiropractor one better. Thanks for the link. I don’t read this on a regular basis and had forgotten about it till you mentioned it again today

  37. emb on 15 Sep 2018 at 11:45 am #


    1. Didn’t say I preferred the DNA TIP, just thought it worth a biologist’s comment.
    2. Didn’t count well. Consider the last 6 all worthwhile, and most admire the “more than a handful is wasteful” one, which confirms Elaine’s aphorism, “All men are prancing, leering billygoats.” She loved/loves me anyway.


  38. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 15 Sep 2018 at 12:22 pm #

    Mark in TTown:

    Along with your phone, I hope that you had some self-defense with you.

  39. Mark in TTown on 15 Sep 2018 at 12:54 pm #

    I don’t own a firearm, but I did take something that would leave a mark! No pun intended.

  40. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 16 Sep 2018 at 11:58 am #



    Pepper spray can be highly effective.

    I don’t own any firearms, either, but I have practiced shooting many times in the past.

  41. Old Bear on 16 Sep 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    The bear wandered by :-)

  42. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 16 Sep 2018 at 7:26 pm #

    Jimmy has spoken about his admiration for Charles Schulz.

    This is an interesting and brief piece about Sparky:

  43. Mark in TTown on 16 Sep 2018 at 9:41 pm #

    Rick in Shermantown, thanks for the link. Interesting article. As i have mentioned before, my favorite comic book artist is Carl Barks. I can see parallels with Schulz’ background in Barks’ life story too.

  44. emb on 17 Sep 2018 at 8:52 am #

    Kenya, elephant squabble


  45. emb on 17 Sep 2018 at 9:37 am #

    Elephants had moved offscreen by the time I posted.

    Bear cubs pal is apparently a squirrel. Ears are almost rabbit-like.


  46. Ghost on 17 Sep 2018 at 7:13 pm #

    Since the last Lost Key cartoons post apparently has also lost the link, for the first time in awhile I’ve been having to go directly to them to get my daily A&J fix. My impression: “What fresh hell can this be?” (RIP, Dorthy Parker.)

    It appears they have made their site even more cluttered and less user-friendly, at least for us infrequent visitors.

  47. Rick in Shermantown, Ohio on 17 Sep 2018 at 7:55 pm #


    Great article – thanks!

  48. Mark in TTown on 17 Sep 2018 at 8:34 pm #

    You’re welcome, Rick.

  49. emb on 17 Sep 2018 at 8:57 pm #

    Whoops! “bear cub’s … .”

  50. Susan in NC on 17 Sep 2018 at 9:42 pm #

    I live in New Bern. No, Nicholas Sparks’ house wasn’t blown away. Looks like a lot of trees down around it. Our house was unscathed but so many around us were flooded and others hit by trees. It is really sad to see. It’s amazing how so many have come from so far to help this little town. We are grateful. So many other areas of NC are suffering as well. Even though it was a Cat 1, the flooding is the worst we’ve ever seen and seems to be getting worse. Be grateful for what you have, it can be gone in a flash.

  51. Old Bear on 17 Sep 2018 at 11:06 pm #

    Glad you are OK Susan was thinking of you – though did not know you lived THAT

  52. emb on 18 Sep 2018 at 5:59 am #

    Kenya, male reticulated giraffe.

  53. Mark in TTown on 18 Sep 2018 at 6:30 am #

    Arlo makes it sound like the ultimate off-road vehicle.

  54. Llee on 18 Sep 2018 at 7:58 am #

    But is it as fun as the lunar rover? :) So cool to see what it is STILL doing.

  55. Old Bear on 18 Sep 2018 at 2:59 pm #

    The Bear is late – nope early.

  56. emb on 18 Sep 2018 at 5:59 pm #

    Miss. flyway, pelicans [not the LA kind].


  57. emb on 18 Sep 2018 at 6:02 pm #

    Site switched to ring-billed gulls. Maybe some of the white birds below Great Spirit Bluffs are pelicans.


  58. emb on 19 Sep 2018 at 7:27 am #

    Kenya. Warthogs again, when more of you are apt to be u.


  59. TruckerRon on 19 Sep 2018 at 7:58 am #

    Arrrrrr! G’marning, kids! What day is it? It’ International Talk Like a Pirate Day!!!

  60. Llee on 19 Sep 2018 at 8:09 am #


  61. Mark in TTown on 19 Sep 2018 at 8:56 am #

    Awwk. Polly want a cracker. Whoops, that’s Talk Like a Parrot Day.