The Christmas Caller IV

December 24, 1993


OK, where were we? I don’t know why, but the thinly varnished human drama in Arlo & Janis mostly has befallen Gene, even going back years to when he was a rather young boy. I do know that is how I wound up with two strips on my hands, the main event featuring Arlo and Janis where humor is the emphasis, and the sideshow involving Gene and his family where sequential events are key. Fortunately for me, many readers seem to enjoy both treatments, but if pressed I think a majority would prefer one or the other. The Adventures of Gene (Let’s call them.) seem to have a particularly vociferous fan base. It is vociferous, because those fans don’t see much of their favorites, and they get restless. That’s understandable. One solution to this dilemma that often gets floated is a spin-off strip. It might surprise you to learn, I like this idea. I certainly have thought about it myself. The problem is, I don’t think I could pull it off. I probably would have to have some help, and I’ve always been a fiercely solitary act. I would not rule it out, though. With the constant shrinkage of the newspaper syndication business, it does seem prudent to take advantage of what has already been accomplished. I hope I have made myself clear.


34 thoughts on “The Christmas Caller IV”

  1. JJ, I haven’t been around due to some serious health problems which have suddenly gone away, not virus related by the way. Anyway I suggest that you get a grab bag ready as it appears that you will get a a double shock early Wednesday. I may have to do the same.

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    • Hurricanes on the way? I well remember the 2005 season. My closest brush with them came when I sneaked a load into a drop yard in Lakeland Florida the Friday before Wilma and ran an empty back to our terminal in Dalton GA. I had quite the argument with the dispatcher who had wanted me to sit there over the weekend and complete the delivery to a furniture store in Fort Meyers on Tuesday… which turned out to be the day after landfall in Florida.
      .
      I was never a fan of sitting still for days at a time, and I certainly didn’t want to wait and see where Wilma was going to hit!

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  2. I get the impression that Jimmy will set any assistants to doing the spin-off strip, since they would have a freer hand there. Gene’s family saga hasn’t had the depth and breadth of A&J, and other hands would find it easier to work out stories without running into resistance from long time readers.

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  3. I think Gene is shocked at the idea of a mother who passes out?

    I remember as a kid being shocked at idea of mom’s who were drunks, who cheated on husbands or husbands who cheated. Worse yet were the dads who liked other men or kids.

    In my youth in 50s and 60s these were seldom talked about, whispered words, yet we knew. Sadly today’s kids deal with this, drugs, abuse and a thousand horrors. And they KNOW.

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  4. By the way, I like Ghost’s idea of making Sunday the day you catchup news on Gene’s family. Limit the spin off strip to one day. You already have to do a Sunday anyway so make it something you already have to do but make it something people would look forward to reading.

    Reply
    • I suspect, but do not know, that some folks’ only contact with A&J is via their Sunday paper. If a spin-off were to replace A&J in such a situation, those people would be lost to A&J. Perhaps, if a Gene spin-off is warranted, it could be a weekly (Sunday or not) but in addition to the daily A&J. That way, A&J readership would not be adversely affected. Then, too, if it were a weekly, it’d be only one more strip for JJ to write each week rather than another daily.

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      • I had not thought about that. But my “modest proposal” included using only *some* of the Sunday strips for the Coastal Branch News Report as an option to doing so *every* Sunday.
        Alternatively, I suppose Saturday or some other day would would work as well.

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  5. Why would some people only get a Sunday strip? Have not read a newspaper since I cancelled my subscription when my mother died. Same time I turned off television (much happier getting news from Google who I have trained)

    Don’t the syndicates sell a package deal?

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    • Perhaps some non-subscribers buy only the Sunday edition of their metropolitan papers. But if they followed the comics I suppose they’d have to do so on-line anyway.

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  6. I think it’s a treat to get the “Gene story” interspersed with the A&J story. Readers get a glimpse of Gene’s life which A&J May not be fully aware of. Keep it up.

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  7. I’d like Gene & Mary Lou & Meg to remain a part of the Arlo & Janis strip. I like Meg & ML’s dad, & the change of scenery. Gene & ML should have a baby. During this time of Covid I would have thought it would have been a perfect time for Arlo & Janis to shelter at the coast with the kids as so many other families have done.

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  8. I don’t think that I need to worry about evacuation but couldn’t with four cats anyway. Would I risk my life for four cats? They”re my children and they come to me when it thunders. I’m not leaving them.

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    • Jerry I have evacuated with several cats before. It can be done. I am with you, they are my babies, my fur babies and yes I’d risk my life for them. Love to your furbies.

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  9. No, Jerry, the hoax is about the meteor. I got this at spaceweather.com…
     
    CAVEAT IMPACTOR–‘ELECTION DAY ASTEROID’ IS NO THREAT: Many news sources are reporting the approach of asteroid 2018 VP1, which might hit Earth on Nov. 2nd. According to NASA, there is a significant 0.4% chance of impact. There’s no need to fear, however, because this asteroid is really small–only about 2 meters in diameter. Even if the space rock does hit Earth, the vast majority of its mass will disintegrate harmlessly high in the atmosphere, producing a beautiful fireball, not Armageddon.
     
    The election day asteroid truly isn’t a threat, but I’ve seen multiple references to it in the news with alarmist headlines.

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  10. Re the 8-24-20 real-time cartoon: My first thought was that Janis had come up with a new role-playing game. Arlo would probably have thought so, too, had he wandered into the bathroom.
    It is easy for me to tell when I am wearing a mask. The incipient asphyxiation alerts me. I wear them, but boy howdy, it sure makes it hard to breathe in Oklahoma in the summertime.

    Reply

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