This Week in Milford

September 21, 2022

It Must’ve Been Zane Clark’s Doing

How bleeding edge are we now, kids? The Linda Lindas’ new album is their first album, released only this past June. They’d previously released an EP in 2020. Their breakout hit was “Racist, Sexist Boy” which kinda seems on brand for the nu-look Gil Thorp. Here they are performing it at a public library, which kinda seems on brand for the old-look Gil Thorp.

Rock ‘n Roll Thursday comes a day early to TWIM, then.

That, in a nutshell, is what today’s strip is all about: getting past the hard candy shell of modern society to get to the chewy middle of adolescent desire to be popular and part of a group. Look beyond the hijab-clad volleyball player and her brown-bagged meal (possibly halal, because the MHS cafeteria can’t be trusted) and see the girl who wants to let her circle of friends know she’s hip to the latest music. Look past Arianna’s acknowledgement of the hijab-clad girl (who hasn’t been given a name yet IIRC) and see the girl who wants her friends to know she uses Urban Dictionary. Look beyond Keri’s suddenly green-dyed hair and bejeweled everything and see the girl whose nose is out of joint because she’s not in the team picture one of her teammates took and posted to social media.

So sit back, relax, and watch the old Too Cool For School drama play out with a bunch of new faces. At this rate, we’ll probably see more of that than we will of Mudlark football.

August 31, 2022

WOKE must be a new rival station to WDIG

Mimi Thorp.

Likes: Hairy stay-at-home dads. Passive-aggressive notes.

Dislikes: Successful coach dads with pilot’s licenses.

Gil Thorp.

Likes: Old fashioneds. Old tech.

Dislikes: Threats to his masculinity.

Jami Thorp.

Likes: Hentai. Staining his pants to hentai.

Dislikes: His mom knowing he looks at hentai.

Keri Thorp.

Likes: Playing her parents off each other. Wearing her politics on her sleeve torso.

Dislikes: Whatever it’s hip to dislike.

Gil Thorp readers.

Pronouns: y’all/ all y’all

Likes: Continuity. Artwork that matches the dialogue.

Dislikes: Retcons. Random pointy fingers. Consistenly inconsistent uniform colors.

August 17, 2022

TFW Mimi isn’t the fan service Thorp anymore

Gentle readers, I am still genuinely freaked out by the knowledge that a portion of my Saturday post was quoted at The Daily Cartoonist. It’s not like I haven’t been published before; I’ve co-authored a pair of scientific papers and have had a regular column in both a baseball quarterly and a life sciences industry trade magazine (no humblebrag intended, mea culpa). In each of those cases my publication involved significant amounts of research followed by multiple rounds of peer review and editing. Here, it’s just my hot take on a comic strip published hours before I read it, with no input save any comments about it that may have already been made elsewhere – and again, I feel the need to emphasize that I almost never read those comments before coming up with ones of my own.*

If I think about that for too long, it’s gonna make me timid. A timid blogger has no place on a snark blog, so I’m just gonna stop thinking about it, okay? Okay!

Another thing I’m gonna stop thinking about is the dialogue in today’s strip. Typical spousal convo where one spouse has suddenly become concerned about their relationship and their place in it. The only piece really worth hanging onto is Mimi’s evasive answer as to where she and the kids are. Unless the corner of a building we saw yesterday is Mimi’s mom’s place, we have no evidence they went anywhere but to the beach. Those three little birds that have been hanging around Mimi the past two days are either a sign that every little thing’s gonna be alright or harbingers of Hitchcockian horror.

The real highlight of this week’s strips has been the art, particularly of Mimi. Kudos to the Chief today for drawing her holding a phone the way an actual human might. (This might be more challenging than it looks; take a look at how it’s done in Mary Worth, for example.) What’s really gotten my attention is how she’s been drawn relative to Keri – and to previous versions of herself for that matter. We’ve frequently noted how progressively younger Mimi was looking (e.g., in the Christmas strips) but in the past two strips she’s developed a noticeable mom bod. Has Whigham done this in response to some direction by Barajas, then? Dunno but I’ll take it as another sign of increased realism coming to Milford.

As for Keri: get your minds out of the gutter! She’s still building sand castles with her little brother.

*I will start reading those Gocomics comments now, but still not after I post here on the days I post. I also signed up for a Discord account but I couldn’t find where Gil Thorp was being discussed there. The less I know, maybe.

July 27, 2022

Oh !#%@! He Went There!

“Nice speech up there, Thorp.

“Nice attempt at a burn, Cornelius.

“The name’s Martinez. Luke Martinez. I’m fixin’ to be in your damn face like my cousin Davey.”

“Martinez, huh. Thought you might be kin to my old pal Martin Luna.”

“Oh yeah? Well you’re full of !#%@, Thorp.”

“Damn, Martinez, you can’t even tell the joke right. You see flies on me? No? If you did, you’d either say I was full of honey or that flies are attracted to !#%@. Now step off before I break off that hairy paw of yours and stick it up your keister.”

So Martinez has been hired to replace the lump who whined about losing True Standish to Gil, then had his flies handed to him on a plate courtesy of True, John Pascoe & co. Or maybe to replace someone who replaced the lump. Dunno about y’all but between the goatee and the lavender top, I’m getting a Jesus Quintana vibe from Luke here. (Is lavender even a Valley Tech color? With this strip’s colorists, don’t bet against it.)

Barajas has given us a Gil with a touch of the ol’ leatherneck from the strip’s inception. He’s also given us a bewhiskered antagonist to give Gil !#%@, at least through the summer if not through the rest of the year. Will Henry give us enough backstory to find out what Martinez’ beef with Gil is? If he’s playing the long game, I reckon we TWIMers can too.

July 20, 2022

Are these guys all gonna go join John Pascoe at State?

A little over a week in and Barajas has run out of dialogue? Five straight panels of nothin’ but action? How are we supposed to respond to this?

I suppose by nitpicking the artwork to begin with. It’s an “unforgiving Milford night” that looks like daytime. That’s another one that’s on Whigham and/or the colorists. Ditto with the Milford and Oakwood uniforms. As I’ve often railed on in the past, color-on-color games are rare at any level with only a few exceptions. Finally, if this is a flashback, when did this game occur? (I think a call to TWIM SID billytheskink may be in order.) Did Milford’s uniforms canonically look like that that season? Take a look at these examples from the Berrill and McLaughlin eras – or, heck, from the earlier Rubin & Whigham era. Canon is important in the Thorpiverse, except when the matter of the Thorp kids comes up.

The next thing to nitpick is the lingo. “It’s good!” usually refers to a kick attempt for a field goal or PAT, not a touchdown. Since the Mudlarks were down by six, presumably Tays’ TD catch tied the score and it was the point after kick that was good. But what’s this “State” thing? It’s “playdowns” around the Valley and don’t you fergit it!

Call it whatever you will, we come away from today’s strip knowing that Milford made the football postseason in whatever season this represents. Why does Gil look so pissy, then? Is it because the player behind him has started bonking him on the head, or is it his typical response when he figures out he’s gonna have to do more coaching that he thought would be necessary during a season?

June 4, 2022

Charis Puts It Bluntly

Today’s baseball history lesson is – aw, hell, we had this baseball history lesson almost two months ago. The Hammer isn’t going to start drinking heavily or contemplate suicide. Nope, he’s getting the Nuke Laloosh advice from Mr. Trivia and his girlfriend. I thought Rubin might’ve foregone a girls’ sports plot this season to have the single female character serve as the voice of reason. I thought wrong.

As much as we joke about it, this is really a ridiculous answer. So ridiculous that it’s wiped Ggerg’s mouth completely off his face. One would almost have to be stoned to come up with it. In fact, if I didn’t know any better I’d think Charis and Eli had been partaking themselves.

How long before the Oakwood scouting report makes its way through rest of the Valley? How long before Gil is forced to forfeit every game he’s had this menace on the mound? This plot has two weeks left – three, tops – so let’s just sit back and see how much stupider it can get.

Can’t wait to see what Mopman does with this one. The colorists missed a golden opportunity to color C & E’s eyes pink.

May 25, 2022

What’s a little HIPAA violation between friends?

“Paying a visit to” the eye doctor? Didn’t Hamm just bring her to the ball field yesterday? If Rubin can’t be bothered enough to keep his story straight and have his narration box match the artwork, I can’t be bothered enough to snark on it. So there. I mean, why not just draw people in a featureless void like in 9 Chickweed Lane or late stage Apartment 3-G?

I love how the kid is being blamed for all the adults’ cluelessness (and, in the case of the doctor, professional incompetence) about his condition. Hoping Ggerg tips his mom (Ruth, Daphne, or whatever the hell her name is today) off about this blatant violation of the HIPAA privacy rule. Maybe the Hamms can win a judgement big enough to keep Papa Hamm in a lifetime of disguises.

May 11, 2022

“Know Who Else Had Trouble Handling Balls? My Mom!”

Filed under: actual action, Bad Jokes, baseball, talking hand, Valley Tech — teenchy @ 9:03 am

Today’s baseball history lesson is the story of Bert Shepard. Bert Shepard’s major league career lasted all of one game, a relief pitching stint for the Nationals/Senators on August 4, 1945 against the Red Sox. It was his journey to the bigs that made Bert’s career all the more memorable.

Shepard, a lefty, had played semipro and was playing sandlot ball when he was discovered and signed by the White Sox in 1939. He struggled with control problems, was released, finished high school, and then signed another pro contract in 1941, this time with the Cardinals. In their famed system, Bert again showed flashes of talent at the C and D level but still struggled with control. At the beginning of 1943, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he attended flight school, earned his pilot’s wings and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant. In early 1944, Shepard joined the 55th Fighter Group in England and was soon flying P-38 Lightnings over the continent.

On May 21, 1944, Bert was flying his 34th mission over Germany when, after having destroyed a train and an oil tank on a strafing run, his P-38 was taken down by flak. He was knocked unconscious when a shell grazed his chin and his plane hit the ground at full speed. Miraculously, Shepard wasn’t killed, but soon faced another threat when the angry German farmers who found him turned their pitchforks on him. A Luftwaffe doctor, Ladislaus Loidl, and two armed soldiers soon arrived at the scene and held back the farmers at gunpoint.

The Luftwaffe doctors amputated Shepard’s leg 11 inches below the knee. He was later transferred to a prison camp where a Canadian medic fashioned an artificial leg for him. Shepard began playing catch with a cricket ball and then resumed pitching a baseball. In February 1945, Bert was involved in a prisoner exchange and returned to the US. He began practicing baseball with some players from a local semipro team. Realizing that he was still able to throw his familiar pitches, Shepard became determined to resume his professional baseball career. Shepard went to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington to be fitted with a new prosthesis, where he was visited by Robert Patterson, the Undersecretary of War, who presented him with a commendation for his service, valor, and courage. Patterson asked Shepard what his goal was, and the former flyer replied he wanted to play baseball. Undersecretary of War Patterson called his good friend Clark Griffith, owner of the Senators, who then offered Shepard a tryout.

Griffith signed him to a major league contract, but had no intention of using him in a regular game, figuring to keep him around to serve as coach and batting practice pitcher. In addition to pitching BP Bert visited veteran’s hospitals, offering encouragement to other wounded veterans, and made a training film for amputees returning from the war. Finally on August 4, with the Nats down 14-2 in the top of the fourth, and the Red Sox with the bases loaded and two out, Washington manager Ossie Bluege brought Shepard in to try and stop the damage. The Nats were playing their fourth consecutive doubleheader, and an already thin pitching staff was getting battered by Boston. Shepard struck out the first batter he faced, George “Catfish” Metkovich. He stayed in the game and, for the remaining five innings, gave up only one run on three hits.

With the Nats battling the Detroit Tigers for the AL pennant in 1945, Bluege was reluctant to use Shepard again. His only other on-field highlight occurred on August 31 when he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross between games of a doubleheader. Washington released him on September 30; he was resigned in 1946 but, with the return of so many pleyrs from the war, Shepard failed to make the team and would never play in the majors again. He would, however, meet Ladislaus Loidl, the Luftwaffe doctor who saved his life, at his home in Austria in 1993.

The reason I’m posting the Bert Shepard Story is because, unlike Gregg Hamm, Shepard could field bunts.

Of course, you need to see bunts to be able to field them but, once fielded, you should be able to make the throw to first. Why Valley Tech baserunner feels the need to share his insights with Scooter is beyond me; he should have saved them for the bench. Now Scooter will have to come up with signals for the Milford infielders to play in for the bunts. His Nolan Ryan reference implies that the Hammmmer will start striking out a bunch of Techsters but still lose the game anyway.

Today’s post title, of course, a reference to Regular Show‘s Muscle Man, who never was able to get the mom joke format down pat.

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