This Week in Milford

June 25, 2018

Are We Sure These Kids Aren’t In Prison?

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Is it just me, or is everything spoken by Barry and Dafne utter nonsense? Am I reading Gil Thorp or Eugene Ionesco?

I get Panel One, sort of (except that they are in school now, but we’ve chewed all the meat off that bone). It’s awkward for Dafne to give Barry a straight answer so she just humors him instead of telling him that Del is a bitter, unrepentant a-hole.

That’s when it goes off the rails. What are you talking about Barry?? I told you he was sorry. Did Dafne’s non-answer indicate any contrition on Del’s part? We can chalk this up to Barry’s own self-delusion, I suppose.

Then the final panel is full of it. Mr. Bader told me to hug Barry for him. Seriously? He said that?

Dafne’s reaction to the request is equally baffling. But I can’t, it would seem dishonest. Dishonest? How about inappropriate? Nauseating? Maybe, at heart, the whole concept of “give so and so a hug for me” or “say hi for me” is kind of insincere, but I don’t know about dishonest.

Judging by how awkwardly the words are strung together, I’m just going to assume Rubin is as bored and fed up with this plot as the rest of us. I know Dafne’s classmates have zero interest in her story. Year round school really wears you out.

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June 18, 2018

Taking It Out On Madison

Filed under: Gil Thorp, Madison Time, Marjie Ducey, metapost — nedryerson @ 6:10 am

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Don’t you just love it when the first panel on Monday morning basically repeats the the narrative of the last panel on Saturday? It’s okay. There’s lots of weekend in between, we’ve got plenty of space to tell the story and we need another gorgeous Pelwecki close-up. Those flowing locks, those Sharpied eyebrows, that generic blandness. It’s a gift, really.

Now that we’ve established Kevin’s propensity for asking a stupid question, it’s time for Gil to shine with a snappy answer (shout out to Mad magazine).

Kevin, your limited skill set has very low market value. If you can perform at a high level in other ways, I’ve yet to see it. Also, you’re just wandering around in school in a baseball uniform and that seems like a red flag. Madison? Oh yeah, it’s almost Madison time!

What was I just saying about how much space we have to tell this story? Sorry, no room for any actual Madison time*. Just time for a post game wrap up with Marjie. Do we know Marjie’s height? If Kevin is barely taller than Marjie and she’s anything under six feet, there’s yet another knock on Pelwecki’s recruiting appeal.

*On TWIM, there’s always room for Madison time. Also, in yet another attempt to show that we care just a little bit, I created a Madison Time tag and applied it retrospectively.

Wham!
 

 

June 11, 2018

The Joe Sharkey Story

Filed under: Gil Thorp, metapost, The Legend of Joe Sharkey — nedryerson @ 4:58 pm

It only dawned on me midway through the day that I might find strips featuring Joe Sharkey (the best stick in Mudlark baseball history) in Diamond Gems! A Gil Thorp Baseball Collection. Sure enough, this book does have the whole Joe Sharkey saga.

It starts in 1971, when Yale Cody, the Trumpet sports editor quits the paper, goes out for the baseball, and fails miserably. When Yale returns to the paper, he’s criticized by Diane MacDuff for writing cliched copy about baseball. Yale claims that his writing isn’t interesting because the Milford team is terrible and nobody cares about them. He suggests that what is needed is some novel angle to get attention and comes up with a scheme to get Diane on the team because women’s lib is where it’s at.

Yale takes Diane out on the practice field to show her some fundamentals and his friend Joe Sharkey comes along to help out. Up to this point, Joe has just been Yale’s silent shadow, yawning in the background. While they’re working on fundamentals (and Diane shows no talent for baseball) Joe picks up a bat and starts launching baseballs from both sides of the plate. Yale ignores Joe’s talent because he’s fixated on his scheme to get Diane on the baseball team and doesn’t want Sharkey’s talents to be a distraction.

Even though, by rule, girls aren’t allowed to compete against boys, Gil allows Diane to sit on the bench during games. He sees through Yale’s scheme, but he seems to be trying to avoid criticism for not going along with the Women’s Lib movement. (1971, remember.)

The team doesn’t take kindly to having a girl on the bench (especially when they go to an away game at Valley Tech and they’ve got a banner welcoming Diane MacDuff & Her Swinging Sweethearts.) They start giving Diane grief to try and pressure her into leaving. Joe Sharkey, who has gotten a little sweet on Diane, steps in and tells the team they better lay off Diane. The team is still woeful and nobody is paying any attention after the novelty of a girl on the bench wears off. Yale is ready to call the whole stunt off, but Diane still thinks there’s some point to it and decides to spill the beans to Gil about Sharkey’s hitting prowess.

Gil agrees to take a look at Joe Sharkey and his bat is powerful as advertised. He can’t field a lick, but Gil is impressed enough to put him in left field and see how far the bat will carry the team. Joe starts tearing the cover off the ball and eventually commits himself to learn how to field. He eventually starts getting attention from the scouts a few years later.

That’s the basic story of Joe Sharkey’s career as a Mudlark. But there’s more…

In 1974, Gil hears from Joe Sharkey’s dad that Joe is foundering in the Detroit Tigers farm system. He’s playing for manager Bugs McCoy in Plainville. Joe’s dad talks Gil into piloting his plane to Plainville to see what’s up with Joe. When Gil gets there, he finds Joe boozing it up the team’s hotel. Bugs, Joe’s teammates and fans of the Stars have all had it with Joe. He had progressed up to double A but got sent back down and he’s stinking it up.

Joe’s fed up with baseball and he asks Gil if he can fly home with him. Gil says sure, but wonders if Joe shouldn’t at least hang around long enough to get the rest of his bonus. At the minimum, Gil thinks Joe should talk to Bugs before just taking off. Joe says he doesn’t care and gets in the plane to fly home.

A tornado comes up and forces Gil to land in a farmer’s field and the farmer runs out and leads Gil and Joe down into the root cellar. It turns out that the farmer’s daughter, Gretchen, is a fan of the Stars, and Joe in particular. Gretchen has a theory about why Joe is playing poorly. She’s seen him squinting a lot and thinks maybe he has vision problems. Gil insists that Joe get his vision checked and, sure enough, he has become nearsighted. Joe gets glasses and Gil convinces him to head back to Plainville and give baseball one more shot. Joe proceeds to start launching balls out of the park and Bugs is pleased. Gil’s parting shot to Joe is to not turn to the bottle the next time he hits a rough patch.

But, it’s still not over. We flash forward to 1977 and Gil gets a visit from a familiar young woman. It’s Gretchen and she’s now Gretchen Sharkey. The good news is that Joe got called up to the big leagues at the end of the season. The bad news is Joe lost two fingers on his left hand while working on Gretchen’s father’s farm. Joe’s pretty depressed about his career ending so suddenly and Gretchen convinces Gil to try and help lift Joe’s spirits. Gil remembers that Joe used to have a pretty good arm throwing the ball in from the outfield and convinces Joe that he might be able to pitch.

Joe shows enough promise as a pitcher to get a chance to get back into the Tigers organization. Gil even flies him down to Florida in his plane. (They reminisce about the tornado on the way.) They start trying to teach Joe to throw a curve, but he’s distracted being away from Gretchen. He calls to check in on her and she tells him she’s pregnant. Now Joe is more determined than ever to make it!

And, it’s still not over! Gil checks in on Joe in 1979 and he’s still scuffling as a pitcher in the minors. This time, he’s made his mind up for good. He’s going to go back to Nebraska and work on the farm so he can be together with Gretchen and l’il baby Amy.

And that’s it, the whole Joe Sharkey saga. We’ll see tomorrow if Gil can remember any of it or if we’re going to get back into our Barry Bader doldrums or just dick around with The Secret Pelwecki or whatever.

ETA: Has anyone seen Dondi?

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The Toledo Blade May 27, 1971

Interlude

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Ha ha, Joe Shaky! Good one, Gil. You really nailed Kaz with that. Ha ha, Kaz is shaky before he has his coffee. Ho ho, that is rich, Gil!

I don’t know anything about Joe Sharkey. He’s definitely from the pre-TWIM era of Gil Thorp. The way Gil is touching his chin, I think we’re going to go into a flashback. Why not? We’ve got all summer.

All right long time Gil Thorp fans, enlighten us noobs to the legend of Joe Sharkey and his mighty stick!

ETA: It looks like there was a passing reference to Joe Sharkey during the Elmer Vargas story. We’re still largely in the dark. I will thumb through the one Gil Thorp treasury I have at home later and see if there’s a Sharkey story there.

June 5, 2018

Guilty

Filed under: freak hands, Pissy Faced Barry Bader — nedryerson @ 5:56 am

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Clearly, we are going to spend the bulk of this plot on Dafne’s journalistic escapades, which are problematic. (What isn’t problematic these days, amirite?) Wasting additional time to establish Barry Bader’s jerkiness is what caused the silicon chip inside my head to switch to overload!

So we pick up with Dafne Dafonte asking what we all want to know. What the heck are you talking about, Barry? Your dad entered a guilty plea and he’s serving his sentence.

Barry’s answer totally reframes the discussion, and this is where it gets (relatively) interesting. Barry wants the world to treat his dad with empathy. But this wasn’t Dafne’s angle in pursuing the story. She wanted to know what makes Barry tick, or more specifically, what Barry is personally going through as the son of a drunk driver who killed one of his classmates.

So what will Dafne’s story be? Will Barry open up to her about his own troubles? Can he do so without resorting to the usual jerkiness. Also, to ask again for the millionth time, is this actually an appropriate line of inquiry for a student journalist to follow with another student?

Maybe Dafne should actually pursue the story that Barry is suggesting, get inside Del Bader’s head and tell his story. (Is that an appropriate assignment?) That’s assuming that Del wants to cooperate. He’s a bit of a dick. Like father, like son.

June 4, 2018

At The Baders’

Filed under: Chunky Bracelets, Pissy Faced Barry Bader, Prairie Style Windows — nedryerson @ 5:40 am

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Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry! Shut up, Barry!

May 21, 2018

Barry Being Barry

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Is Barry being pissy because his father is in prison and he’s being hounded by Dafne, or is Barry just predisposed to pissiness? This is the question of the season, along with a general, all around WTF.

There’s something about the overall proportions of panel one that makes Barry look tiny. Maybe it’s just me. Each figure in the panel looks to be in a different plane and they seem disproportionately sized. I don’t really know. It just looks off.

So Barry grounds out and gets pissy with the ump. Seemingly out of nowhere, Coach Kaz appears to lift Barry and carry him away from confrontation. Is this a condensed version where we missed an escalating confrontation or did Coach Kaz just materialize at first to manhandle Barry preemptively? (If Kaz was coaching first base, he should have a helmet on, right?)

I’m going to have to say, as pissy as Barry can be, being lifted up and carried away by a coach (as humorous as the image is) is pretty transgressive. Even if Barry was being a turd, this is just a bad move. Do we have enough room in this plot to examine the repercussions of Kaz handling a player like this? It’s doubtful. I think it’s just supposed to be a funny gag, but it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I don’t even think I’m going all #metoo on this. I just think it looks bad. I think an ump should take control very quickly and just toss Barry for arguing. I would think that would be warranted in high school ball. If Barry melted down as a result of being tossed, that would require intervention, but we just don’t see that much detail of the whole incident.

Have at it readers!

Also: Rapped or chopped? Which one would you think would be easier to beat out?

May 14, 2018

What DaFonte?

Filed under: actual action, freak hands, softball — nedryerson @ 5:45 am

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It’s time again to sprinkle in a little softball, that is, further conversations about Barry Bader by Dafne DaFonte and friend.

What else can we talk about? The Newton Railers drove from Kansas. On the playing field, Dafne pulls some of her hair back into a ponytail but leaves those long tresses dangling from her temples. In the color version, Dafne had a darker skin tone than her teammates. Drawing chain link fencing or whatever that mesh is behind the foreground characters involves some rule of when it should be visible and when it should just get whited out to avoid intrusion into composition, or maybe sometimes the artist just runs out of time. Look at Dafne’s thumb and foreshortened index finger. Weird, right?

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