I’m not sure why I placed “guys” within quotes in the first panel of this 2008 cartoon. This is an example of what I try to do when the gag warrants. There’s a lot of dialog in this comic strip, a lot of back-and-forth. Still, I try to keep the individual remarks concise but without sacrificing conversationality. It isn’t as hard as it might sound: none of us tend to express long thoughts when speaking casually. Nevertheless, I suppose it’s something of a gift. My 5th-grade teacher, Mrs. Graham, was the first to note that I had “an ear for dialog,” based on the short “themes” she assigned us. It made me proud. Even then, I could tell from her tone that she didn’t get to say that to many 11-year-olds.
(Cartoonist’s note: On further reflection, I think the idea in the first panel was to suggest by “guys” Janis meant males, to avoid confusion with a more universal appellation, such as in “Hey, you guys.” I remain unsure the quotation marks were necessary. See? Your guess is as good as mine around here.)