It appears that the final day for Apartment 3-G has been set, and it’s even sooner than I imagined. According to a comment posted to the ComicsKingdom site back on Tuesday:
Thanks for your message. Apartment 3-G will be ending on Sunday, November 22, 2015. We appreciate all of the support the strip has received from readers over the years, and especially in response to the news of its cancellation.
–The Comics Kingdom Team
support [at ] comicskingdom [dot ] com
So let me first get in my plug while the plug-getting is good. My mathematics blog has another installment of The Set Tour. This week’s essay will get you warmed up in the field of differential equations, too. And a few days ago I had another Reading the Comics installment, which doesn’t explain Apartment 3-G. Sorry.
Back to the cancellation, though. The lead time for syndicated comic strips is a bit of a mystery. Its length seems to vary with the strip, with how far ahead the artists are able to work, and which house Jupiter has entered. We can infer it for daily-joke and news-based comics when they react to current events. Sometime between three and eight weeks after the event, we see illustrations of the same jokes the late night talk shows did in their monologues the night of the breaking news. Soap opera strips barely need to acknowledge the real world, and generally don’t.
But it seems plausible that the sudden intervention of the Just End The Story Already Fairies coincided with the cancellation notice coming down. We did get, finally, to snap out of Margo Wandering Around Random Landscapes, get her diagnosed with a hyperthyroidism, and then have her suffer a “thyroid storm” that she recovered from in under a week. Story strips just don’t work that fast.
So the question is: is Shulock trying to wrap up all the lingering stories before the cancellation? Because I don’t see how that’s possible, even at the breakneck pace of one or two plot points a week. Margo has to get out of the hospital. There’s whatever her relationship with dead fiancée Eric is to deal with. Margo’s (biological) parents are getting married, and they wanted her to arrange the affair since her most recent job was wedding planner. Margo wanted to break up her (biological) mother’s relationship with a presumably-fake psychic adviser. If that weren’t enough Margo’s other ex-boyfriend Greg has just popped in. And in non-Margo news, Tommie declared she’s quitting her (nursing) job and selling out her share of the apartment. (The Apartment 3-G leads own the building they live in.) Also, presumably, Lu Ann is doing something or other, because she gets into trouble when she’s left unsupervised.
I don’t see how there could be time to deal with all this. For comparison, this past week — a busy one, by soap opera strip standards, with Eric, Greg, Tommie, Margo’s Parents, and Margo all doing things they hadn’t before — only actually resolved that Margo had been in a coma. I figure on the Tommie and the psychic plots being forgotten if they haven’t been already. Margo maybe embraces the job of planning her parents’ wedding after all and promises to better relate with the men rushing into her life now, and go out on some kind of ending.
The thing is, I can’t quite square that with Shulock bringing Greg back in. There was already a heavy load of dangling story. Why bring Greg in for the last three weeks of the comic strip? He’d already been broken up with Margo for vague reasons and I don’t think he’d appeared in the comic for two calendar years. And why have Margo confused about who she’s seeing and who she’s talking to? That would be a tolerable enough story if they had time for stories, but they don’t, so, what the heck is going on? And why do some people have difficulty seeing Eric — which would be a marker that he was a ghost or some hallucinatory presence — while other folks don’t?
To paraphrase Tom Servo, watch out, we’ve got a lot of plot threads flying around loose here. Someone could get hurt.
So I can’t say it’s impossible that the comic strip is just going to stop, mid-story. It may all be left dangling around until Joe Staton and Mike Curtis send Dick Tracy over for a posthumous crossover. And yes, I’m aware that Mary Worth and The Phantom are doing a crossover this week, and that nothing’s happening in that. It’s just not so good a nothing as this.