The Young and the Restless

August 3, 2009


I’ve noticed, going through the old stuff, that Arlo & Janis frequently features the adventures of Gene and Mary Lou in August. I’m not sure why. Anyway, the above is the beginning of a two-week series that I think is an excellent example of what people are responding to when they ask to see more from the low-country cast. I think the dialog is crisp and believable, the artwork is more ambitious and the drama is tense. And the sexuality, while still subtle, probably is as frank as anything I’ve ever done. You won’t hear me talking about my work like this very often; perhaps I should return to the coast more. I would add, however, that once Gene and Mary Lou got married and began working for themselves, I suddenly found myself with two married-people comic strips on my hands. Readers often suggest a spin-off strip for Gene and his other family. I’ll talk about that in a special Saturday post. Remember, click on the link above to see what I’m talking about here, and remember also it’s a two-week sequence, so there’s a bonus Sunday in the middle. To be continued...


50 thoughts on “The Young and the Restless”

  1. I’ve never suggested a spin-off strip. It is hard enough to come up with fresh ideas for ONE strip. But it would be nice to alternate a bit as Gene is a lot like his old man but different enough to look at things with a different perspective. And we won’t even touch on Shrimp….But maybe another Shrimp could come along?

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  2. There is a (if not a long) list of spin offs and morphs:

    Mitzy Ritz to Nancy
    Thimble Theater to Popeye
    .
    Then Hi & Lois from Beetle Bailey (Lois is Beetle’s sister)
    BC and Wizard of Id though Harte had a collaborator.
    .
    Something tickles the gray cells about Joe Palooka.
    .
    There are more but the tired brain draws a blank right now.
    And these are nowhere near A&J and Gene’s situation.

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  3. “Two married people comic strip” is the wrong definition all around. A&J are long-married, secure both in one another and financially, semi-retired (maybe even fully; it’s never made clear any longer). Gene and Mary Lou are at the very beginning of the process: they followed their dream at exactly the wrong moment (hurricanes, recession, pandemic). But they are tough, smart, and have an as-yet-unrecognized-to-them (but readers know all about it) secret weapon: Meg. To the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge, there is no strip of that complexity either in print or on line. Maybe I’m prejudiced, but I believe JJ has the elements of that successful strip already in place and has his own secret weapons: a deep understanding of human nature and the ability to lighten it up.

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  4. Most strips these days are either what is called gag-a-day (new joke every day but little or no continuity), or continuity (where there is a running storyline). Jimmy provides a rare mix of both as the inspiration strikes him. That is one of the things that makes his work stand out from the rest. He is definitely marching to his own drummer, and we enjoy the music!

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  5. This continuity is yet another I admire. Jimmy you know restaurants and kitchens so well, just as you know boats and living aboard so well. Tiny things like a hispanic cook for French seafood. The glass of water from tiny head that Gene explodes from.

    Gus is my favorite character despite most of his dialogue rendered in silence. Only Ludwig has less lines

    At 2 a.m. I figured out why the excellent August strips are new to me. Until 2015 when my mother and late husband died I was always traveling in August from 1985 through 2015.

    With no Smartphone or laptop to read GoComics I only had access to A and J on my home office desktop computer. I bought myself Smartphone, tablet and a laptop computer in January 2016.

    Yes, Jimmy that is your best work on all levels. Your Coastal work which must include the schooner.

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    • What used to be my favorite Chinese restaurant was run by a real nice Hispanic man. He sold going great guns to a Chinese fellow who killed it by changing the tried and true recipes. It was busy for years and even had to add seating a few years before and it was still packed. Changed the food and all the good service in the world couldn’t save it.

      Reply
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