Whenever things get real in the strip, someone inevitably chimes in with something like, “Arlo sure is being mean!” Or, “Arlo’s not being very sensitive to Janis.” When I was in the 5th grade, seriously, our teacher introduced us to the two essential elements of fiction: conflict and resolution. If you’re going to write fiction, any kind of fiction, things are liable to get testy. Then, things are put right, or they aren’t. Either way, a story is told. Admittedly, a comic strip is not the ideal vehicle for complex narrative. It unfolds so slowly, and readers, for whatever reason, seem to have well-formed expectations of how the characters should act. Of course, my advice to those who become unsettled by events in A&J is always the same: be patient.