This Week in Milford

May 6, 2023

These Cameos Are Giving Me Life

Four straight days of actual action and it’s time for a break, right? Right!

What better day for that break than Free Comic Book Day? What better place to celebrate Free Comic Book Day than the famed Golden Apple Comics on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles? What better event to pop in for at the famed Golden Apple Comics than a book signing with none other than Steenz? Boy, Gil and Keri get around. Reckon there was or will be a stopover in Scottsdale as well?

Steenz seems like the perfect cartoonist to do a cameo in Gil Thorp. Like Keri, Steenz’ pronouns are they/their; like Barajas, they took over a long-running legacy comic strip. I must profess that I didn’t follow Heart of the City when it was Mark Tatulli’s strip, even though Tatulli was relatively local to me (South Jersey, on the other side of the Delaware Valley) and the Philadelphia Inquirer was sort of his home paper. I preferred the Charles Addams-like humor of his other strip, Liō, which he still creates.

Unlike Barajas and like Mark Trail‘s Jules Rivera, Steenz took over the writing and artwork, creating a much visually different version of the strip. Where Tatulli’s Heart looked much like his Liō, Steenz’ Heart to my eye looks a lot like the recent Cartoon Network series Steven Universe. Makes sense, then, that an animated version is in the works which will use Steenz’ character design. I’d be curious to know whether Steenz has faced as much backlash over Heart as Rivera has over Mark Trail or Barajas has over Gil Thorp (including what we’ve dished out here, I’ll admit).

I’m also appreciative of Astro Boy’s cameo, too. Takes this old head back a ways. Now head out there and grab yourself a free comic book today, if the mood strikes.

April 24, 2023

Yas Queen, Be Careful What You Wish For

Oh look, Mimi’s back in town, officially handing over the reins of jayvee softball to Cami. Mimi’s off to coach golf… where? Milford High? Scottsdale? We’ve been missing some Mimi (and Meemaw) updates to fill in where they are on their respective journeys. I trust Henry will fill us in on those in his own good time, maybe by July.

Cami’s posting the softball roster fairly realistically. Sometimes coaches post them before giving notice to the players that they’ve been posted, but they pretty much never hang out to watch the kids look at them. Why open yourself to questions about who made the cut and didn’t? Not that standing there with a bunch of your peers to see who made the cut and who didn’t isn’t awkward enough. I remember having similar feelings in grad school when exam grades got posted. They were posted by Social Security number and, as mine was significantly different than everyone else’s in my class, folks could figure out which one was mine straight away. I was glad when they changed to posting by only the last four digits of our SSNs.

Keri’s nemesis Dorothy has made the team; how did Keri know about that on Friday? Dorothy’s slip about making it “on her own” is leading. Did a family member have pull in getting her on the cheerleading squad? Not as much as Gil did after getting Keri a slap on the wrist for bringing a butter knife to school kicking Dorothy’s #&% . Dot’s got some knuckles of her own now, so maybe Keri should think twice before reenacting kicking her #&%.

Then again, Dorothy’s a leftie; maybe she and Keri will find some common ground.

April 8, 2023

Bang! Zoom! A’ta’zhóón!

Well there ya go. Milford wins the Valley on a tie-breaking, buzzer-beating trey from Leo A’ta’zhóón. Apache ball wins the day. Nice arc-ender from Barajas tbh, but why you gotta have the Native guy saying “Ugh!” not once but twice? Not cool. Nice tribute to Kaz from Gil with the forelock, too.

Potential cliff-hanger/hook into the next arc with Keri hanging with/onto Pedro Martinez, who’s cheering on the Mudlarks while wearing a Milford jacket. How pissed will Luke be about all of this? Pissed enough to trot him out on the mound during baseball season and try to force him to go headhunting Mudlarks? Whatever happens there’ll be plenty of opportunity for Don Zimmer jokes, no doubt.

March 11, 2023

You get a pair! And you get a pair!! All y’all get a pair!!!

The week ends with the unbeaten Mudlark hoopers making small talk in the locker room. A snapshot of the NBA Eastern Conference standings as of this morning show the Milwaukee Bucks in first place with a 48-18 record (the best record in the league overall) and the Cleveland Cavaliers in fourth place with a 42-27 record. “Donovan” must refer to Cavs shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who currently leads the team with a 27.7 ppg average.

Gil breaks up the patter by blowing his whistle inside the locker room. He expects anyone can hear him being temporarily deafened by the echo of the FWEET off the metal lockers? Too funny. But never mind that. Coach Thorp, Coach Ochoa and Tays (what, Emmett not good enough to get called “Coach”? They should call him MISTER Tays!) are gonna level the playing field for Leo by giving everyone on the team a new pair of kicks.

Not just any kicks, mind you, but JAMMERS, the only athletic shoes endorsed by former NFL cornerback Quentin Jammer* that come in a talking shoebox. With all that going for them, it seems pedantic to point out that they haven’t mastered proper English. I’m not talking about the use of what is becoming the accepted form of the second-person plural, but about how to punctuate it. “Y’all” is a contraction of “you all” and, as such, the apostrophe goes in the place where the contracted letters “o” and “u” went, not after a letter that was not contracted. It’s the same as “cannot” becoming “can’t” and “do not” becoming “don’t.”

Now where did the money for all these JAMMERS come from? The proceeds from the Milford Lift-A-Thon, Gil’s Tiger King used car spot, or a secret shoe endorsement deal Gil or Emmett had? Maybe we’ll find out on Monday. Y’all come back now, hear?

*That lighting bolt confirms that these are Quentin Jammer endorsed, since he spent eleven of his twelve seasons playing for the Bolts.

February 25, 2023

My Weekend, My Choice

In the seven months or so since Henry Barajas took over this strip, it’s often felt like we the readers have been under a constant barrage of modern issues (school shootings, drug overdoses, LGBTQ+ rights) along with some timeless ones (marital discord, dying parents/grandparents, financial insecurity). It’s hard enough for us olds, what with our fully developed prefrontal cortexes and less raging hormones. Heck, we’re constantly adding new tags to TWIM just to try and keep up with all the new stuff. Now imagine what it must be like for a teenager. You remember teenagers, those people who were once one of the target audiences for newspaper comic strips, don’t you?

Tobias, formerly Tabatha, Gordon embodies all of that. Even with the increasing acceptance of trans people in a podunk tank town like Milford today’s society, making the decision to come out as one can’t be easy. Add to that the pressure of having your football coach convert you from a kicker into a running back without the benefits of hormone therapy. No wonder Gil has Tobe hitting the weight room.

On top of it all, consider Tobe’s home life: born to teen parents who, unsupported by their parents, might’ve felt compelled to marry and eventually divorced. Being taken in with his unwed mom by said Gil and family. Finally, living with the knowledge that your mother considered aborting you. Too many teens wish to be dead or to never have been born as it is; that Tobe is feeling the same should come as no surprise.

Gil, the only man to apologize to Mel (if you can call this an apology; recall she didn’t accept it) responds to Tobe’s revelation kinda ham-fistedly. He practically takes credit for Tobe’s birth while dissing Tobe’s biological father. Then, as if to make amends, he reinforces the fact that Mel didn’t abort Tobe and that that was the wise choice. Hey, we don’t always say the right things in the right way to the people who need to hear those things the most, but sometimes the effort is what counts.

Sorry it took me so long to get this post up. Outside the “trans kid magically becomes multi-sport star athlete in their new gender” angle, I found very little to snark about. Watching the new remake of All Quiet on the Western Front while composing this post didn’t help, either.

February 11, 2023

¿Por qué Luke come con una espátula?

Luke’s Gil obsession has already started to wear thin on Coach Kim. Now it’s starting to wear thin closer to home, figuratively if not literally. Where are the Martinezes eating, exactly? It’s a place where they can drink out of stemware but apparently also a place they have to bus their own table. Doctors’ table at Milford Medical Center, perhaps.

One thing (among many) that has yet be established in this arc is why Milford High is facing budget cuts while Valley Tech apparently isn’t. They’re in the same conference and neither school is private (that’s St. Fabian’s, remember?); heck, they may be even in the same town now. Are they in the same school district? Do they draw funds from the same tax base? Has there been a shift in funding toward vo-tech schools and away from the rest?

None of that matters in the here and now. All that matters is that Milford is having to scrape for money and Luke is loving it. I don’t know where it was stated that the Milford Lift-a-Thon was a competitive event, but Luke’s gonna make it one. You’d think he’d avoid it completely, seeing how the proceeds benefit Gil’s programs. Everything is a competition to him, though. His wife performs open heart surgery; he gives himself a tracheotomy with a fork at the dinner table.

Today’s translation of P3 comes from Google Translate son of teenchy, who holds a conversational level of Spanish.

Frannie: “Shut your mouth! You’re sleeping on the couch tonight!”

Luke:” I’m sorry, lover!”

Today’s post title also comes from son of teenchy. I’ll leave it to you gentle readers to translate.

February 1, 2023

If It’s Wednesday, I Must Be Himeno

There was a time when if someone was Ari, his s/o might be Jackie. But that time was over half a century ago, so yhs has to spend time Googling to find out who Keri and Pedro are comparing themselves to.

All of these characters are from a manga (and an amine based on the manga) called Chainsaw Man. Its main character is Denji, a young man who can turn parts of his body into chainsaws and works as a demon hunter. I’m not sure who Ari is, but there is a character named Arai who is another demon hunter. Himeno is a female demon hunter who wears an eyepatch. Aki is yet another demon hunter who Himeno has a crush on. And that’s all I have to say about that.

The Bucket’s decor is looking a lot duller today. This convo must have something to do with that. Things will get livelier soon, as someone is offering the pair a refill. Odds are it’s The Bucket’s new resident pusherman Toby. Will he be pushing soda, vapes, or to get the name of this strip changed from Gil Thorp to Toby Gordon?

January 14, 2023

Not at the Bonfire, He Didn’t

Another smash cut, back to Milford and boys’ hoops action. In the course of hammering Tobias/Toby/Tobe/Toebeans, the Salem player gets a look of consternation as he player he hammered feels… somehow… different.

If Toebeans is getting mugged in P1, is Keri getting mugged in P2? Kudos to the Chief for the arms wrapped around neck poses in parallel. No clue why we’re getting the rando Milfordian showing us his choppers in the foreground, though.

Problems at the charity stripe, Gordon? You need to track down good old Kenzie Hanley to show you how it’s done. But why so distracted by Pedro on Keri like white on rice? Thought Dorothy was your babe and Keri was your bestie when you and they were kids. Have we been thrown from Mimi’s potential girl-on-girl tension to a potential bizarre love triangle?

Talk amongst yourselves. It’s late and I haven’t put a lot of deep thought into this. teenchy out.

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