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.
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15 responses to “Geneathon II”

  1. 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. 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. “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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

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