This Week in Milford

March 15, 2023

At Least They’re Not Tokens

After yesterday’s detour to pay tribute to Jack Berrill, we’re back to… where, exactly? And when, exactly?

P1: Is this an actual arcade or an arcade museum? It features a Pac-Man machine and runs on quarters rather than tokens. Since when did either exist in Milford or anywhere else in the Valley? Did Gil take the kids there in a time machine? The car parked out front looks a bit dated, but then again this is Milford, where seeing a ’66 GTO on the streets isn’t out of the ordinary. Seems like it exists only to reinforce Gil’s image as reinforcer of (somehwat) old-fashioned values, like…

P2: … carrying cash and change. No falling prey to cryptocurrency scams for old Gil, nosireebob. Besides, while you kids are mashing buttons (unless that narration box in the previous panel is self-referential on Barajas’ part), Gil’s gonna slip outside to buy some vapes from some new dealers in town. He’s never met these dealers but they sent him a text left him a voice mail that they’d look familiar and that they don’t take plastic.

P3: “Thanks, Mr. Thorp.” “Sure thing, kid whose name I don’t know and can’t be bothered to remember.” J/k: this has gotta be little Luke Martinez Jr., who has become one of Jami’s few friends. When Luke Jr. gets home and tells his parents how Gil gave him quarters to play video games, it’s sure to touch off some heated conversation between Luke Sr. and his cardiac surgeon wife about who’s responsible for sending Junior off with everything he needs for a play date, followed by Luke Sr. chaperoning the next play date and renting a mobile video game trailer to park in the driveway (or engaging in some other sort of macho one-upmanship).

The outcome of last Sunday night’s Oscars pretty much guarantees that Everything Everywhere All At Once will become the new normal in visual storytelling, at least for a while. We can thank Barajas for helping us prepare for that, I reckon.

February 18, 2023

Days of Blunder

Still at Milford Motor Speedway* where, after confirming that the attention whore doesn’t fall far from the tree, Pedro has chosen to tell his papa what he needs to hear in a place where he’s least likely to hear it.

For the briefest of moments, Luke seems to get the message. You can almost hear him think “¿Y tú también, Pedro?” as his eyeball explodes. That moment shatters into pieces as soon as Pedro utters the word “Thorp.” It’s like that classic The Far Side strip about what dogs hear, with “Thorp” replacing “Ginger.” Since the Valley Tech football team hates Coach Martinez because of his obsession with Gil Thorp, clearly it’s Gil Thorp’s fault that the Valley Tech football team hates Coach Martinez!

Luke’s come-to-Jesus moment passes, and his monomania resumes. As VT’s hoops woes persist, look for Luke to blame Gil for Pedro’s not playing on the team, for Coach Kim’s lack of deference, and for his continued durmiendo en el sofá.

Special Guest Cameo: The role of Luke in P2 is being played by Adam Sandler.

New tag: Product Placement, as Luke reps the Bowtie Brigade.

* MMS looks like a short oval, kind of like Martinsville, Bristol or the old North Wilkesboro.

September 3, 2022


Gentle readers, I’m just an old newspaper comics reader. I fell on some ice and later got thawed out by some of your scientists. Your world frightens and confuses me! Sometimes the comments section of your blogs makes me want to put down my laptop and run off into the hills, or wherever. Sometimes when I look at a strip on GoComics, I wonder: “Did little demons get inside and draw it?” I don’t know! My primitive mind can’t grasp these concepts. But there is one thing I do know – when a new writer takes over a legacy comic strip and infuses it with too many current-day issues all at once, I want to complain and vow never to read that strip again. Thank you.

That’s how I felt, not after reading today’s strip, but after making the mistake of reading the GoComics comments before I posted like I said I’d never do. If I hadn’t, however, I wouldn’t have been able to put together the backstory behind today’s strip. For that we have to go back to a time before TWIM even existed, nearly twenty years ago, during the Jerry Jenkins era.

Melissa was a high school student who became pregnant by her boyfriend Kyle Gordon. Note the blatant product placement.

December 30, 2002

Melissa’s father forbade Kyle from seeing her again. The baby’s future was not in doubt, as least for the moment.

January 4, 2003

Melissa’s parents gave her the boot, and Kyle had no intention of marrying her…

January 13, 2003

… so his parents moved him out of state and forbade him from contacting her. Then the baby’s future came into doubt.

January 16, 2003

Kyle and Melissa concluded that Melissa should do something she had the constitutional right to do at the time.

January 18, 2003

Melissa ultimately decided to keep the baby and not Kyle, and the Thorps welcomed her into their home.

January 27, 2003

Note that the kid sitting next to Melissa is Keri Thorp, who would go into a state of suspended animation until very recently.

Marty got wind of the situation and tried to make a thing of it. Gil nipped it in the bud.

February 5, 2003

Mimi noticed Melissa “craving” Gil’s attention (!) but Gil was oblivious.

February 7, 2003

Turned out Mimi wasn’t wrong.

February 11, 2003

After Melissa concocted a story about Jami getting hurt and getting Gil to chaperon a movie date with three other MHS girls who mysteriously backed out, she got caught in the lie.

February 25, 2003

Melissa tried to play the Fatal Attraction angle…

February 27, 2003

… and then Gil blew a shot at an easy threesome professed his eternal faithfulness to Mimi. Where was Luke Martinez when this went down?

March 1, 2003

The Gil Thorp plot then pivoted to The Brent Raptor Story. I lost the scent after that, so I can’t say for certain that Melissa and Tabatha/Tobias appeared in the strip again until today. Now that she’s Melissa Gordon, can we conclude she and Kyle eventually did marry? Going down the rabbit hole of 2002-03 strips exhausted me. I’m sure someone will have done that legwork before I post again.

There was blowback to Jenkins’ anti-abortion/pro-life stance (e.g., the Chicago Tribune dropped the strip), but I can only imagine it will pale in comparison to the blowback Barajas is going to get after today.

Our minds could race with the possibilities raised by the mere presence of young Tobias in the strip. (Never mind that he should logically be a college freshman by now, with Melissa in her mid-to-late thirties and Keri in her mid-to-late twenties.) Gil’s attempts to get Tobias on the football team would no doubt meet with greater resistance than getting Heather Burns to play tight end. I won’t even dwell on Gil’s lame attempt at hygiene theater, his free-floating mask, or the loving care with which Steve Luhm polished the oreintation desk. Today’s strip has brought out Luann levels of commentary from people apparently as invested in this strip as the Luann trufans are (and if you don’t know anything about them by now, you’re better off not knowing.)

Me, I’m here for the ride. I just don’t know if I can dig through decades of archives every time I post.

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