Influenca

How about this one? This A&J comic strip ran in newspapers in March, 1986, when the strip was less than a year old. Obviously, the characters and the general appearance of the strip have changed since then. The relationship of Arlo and Janis certainly has changed, I think for the better. When they were closer to newly weds, much of the writing involved Janis’ insecurities and jealousy. I’m happy to say, they’re way passed all that today. However, the strips about Janis’ neuroses notwithstanding, I also was struck by ways the strip has not changed. Much of the everyday humor would translate seamlessly into today’s Arlo & Janis. I’m not sure how I should feel about that.

14 thoughts on “Influenca”

  1. My father-in-law was named Frank. But his given name was Francis. I wonder how Janis would have felt if Arlo had said that he had lunch with Francis?

    No, not the guy that’s been divorced 4 times, the new college graduate that we just hired.

  2. “I’m not sure how I should feel about that.”

    JJ, as a chaplain I’ve been trained to tell people that there is no should when it comes to feelings. You feel what you feel. It’s how you choose to deal with those feelings that determines your character. But as someone who’s been married almost 40 years, I know exactly what you mean! Many feelings are best left unexpressed, especially to one’s spouse.

  3. Mr. Johnson,

    The fact that this strip would fit in seamlessly with today’s strips to me means that you were artfully and successfully revealing eternal truth from the get go. Kudos!

  4. I think Janis’ neuroses and jealousies are why I didn’t care much for the earliest days of the strip; she reminded me too much of my mother. Happily, though, I’ve been a fan since the early ’90s.

  5. Jimmy, remember that this ’86 strip was heavy with implication—the strip had that by then. The dialogue does that, but so do the rolled-up sleeves and necktie—clues about Arlo’s work, an office job. Plus, the writing is very condensed. Already. And a pregnant pause. And you’d already learned to leave a blank for the lower lip for Arlo’s open mouth. One of the best things of all is that the drawing and writing are both necessary: They both contribute different things to this strip, and symbiotically. It’s the opposite of cheap. That’s what drew me in!

    And A&J still has those things, but defter.

    Cheers, man!

  6. The fact I read you and continued to read you despite disliking Janis’ neurosis and Gene’s smart mouth has to do with Arlo, the every man. You didn’t have Ludwig yet of course.

    I concur, you always had a gift. You fit my mantra that you can improve such gifts with practice and learning but you CANNOT create the gift or talent.

  7. this one hits the mark: Once, 25 years or so ago, I went for a motorcycle ride with a friend who was between wives. Got home and She asked where we went; i told her, including the stop we made so my bud could pick up a girl he knew.

    She was fuming at me for weeks because my single friend had a woman on his bike……..

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