The Speechless Ending


I’m not sure what I expected, really. After the final run of a Henry comic, that is. I guess I expected some kind of reaction from the crowd. At least a sigh. Maybe writing out some message on the fence. But no, nothing like that. I just looked out the window and there was a lot of gone. All there was to remember them by was leaves fallen off the trees and a bunch of mysterious colored flags planted in the ground. I’m like 75% sure none of them are to blame for the leaves, either.

But for the record, here’s the comic that Henry finished its run with. It’s a competent enough strip and I can’t find when its previous rerun had been.

Henry rides his cart down a hill. He walks up it, beside his dog, again. Henry pick up his dog to ride down the cart again. They fall over and crash. The dog hides, and Henry goes whistling after, trying to find him.
Don Trachte’s Henry rerun for the 28th of October, the final Henry rerun. And I can’t pin down when its previous rerun might have been; the just-shy-of-one-year rerun cycle broke down in the final weeks!

And in what I’m assuming is not exactly a coincidence, Bill Griffith’s Zippy the Pinhead guest-starred Henry. I don’t know, but I would imagine that Griffith liked the strip. It was always kind of weird. The constraint of the protagonist only pantomiming helped that. The commitment to keep the strip’s contents true to whatever its early-20th-century Americana Idyll too. It’s the rare comic strip that completely divorcees itself from contemporary culture, too. I mean, even Peanuts, not usually thought of as a topic strip, name-dropped Spuds Mackenzie, alluded to the Vietnam War, sent the kids to a weird millenarianist sleepover camp run by a for-profit preacher, and had Lucy offer her e-mail. (In different years.) But a comic strip like Henry that’s just entirely its own thing? I can see Griffith respecting that.

Henry: 'I conceive of a Henry than which no greater can be conceived. If a Henry than which no greater can be conceived does not exist, then I can conceive of a Henry greater than a Henry which no greater than can be conceived, namely, a Henry than which no greater can be conceived *that exists*. I *cannot* conceive of a Henry greater than a Henry than which greater can be conceived --- hence, a Henry than which no greater can be conceived *exists*! Ha, ha!'
Bill Griffith’s Zippy the Pinhead for the 28th of October, 2018. And the reason I don’t think this is just coincidence is because I expect Griffith to use Baby Huey for this sort of scene.

So I have not the faintest idea why Griffith had Henry present an ontological argument. I trust that he finds it all amusing and weird, and that’s always a fun energy.

Nothing yet from Jim Scancarelli’s Gasoline Alley. Which is weird, but the comic for the 28th was Halloween-themed so it’s not like that could be coherently bumped to another weekend.

Close up shot, from near the ground, of the yard covered in leaves, with a couple of flags marking where underground utility lines and such are.
What’s left after all the Henry fans leave. I mean, I understand the tiny red flag. That just makes good sense. But the blue one? And why three yellow flags? Are these complicated parking directions?

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

8 thoughts on “The Speechless Ending”

  1. When I was a kid, Henry ran in the hometown newspaper for the little town I lived in. I always enjoyed it (as I did most comics), though some of them were a little inscrutable. I also remember getting them wrapped around pieces of Bazooka bubblegum. To this day, every time I see a Henry comic, I smell the aroma of Bazooka bubblegum.

    Ah, memories!

    Thanks for taking me back.

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    1. Happy to oblige. Henry was never in the local newspapers for me, but it did appear in the New York Daily News so that when I visited my grandparents there was that and Spider-Man to read. And I do remember liking it for being this visually distinct and aesthetically odd comic. Even back then I appreciated stuff that was going to embrace its weird.

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      1. I know what you mean I remember visiting my Aunt and Uncle in Highmount NY,and I associate all the comics the News ran that the Ledger didnt– “Shoe”, “Motley’s Crew”, “Dondi” and “Dick Tracy” for example, with my Uncle Charley to this very day.

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        1. Yeah, those are great examples. I’d forgotten about Motley’s Crew, a comic strip that when young I just assumed had to have some connection, however vague, to the band. I suppose there must be something, like, someone from the band went through the same airport the guy who drew the comic did.

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      2. Yes, he struck me as a little odd back then, too. And considering our paper also carried Nancy & Sluggo, Lil Abner, and Eek & Meek, that’s saying something!

        Also, I just realized I may have confused Henry with Bazooka Joe. So many brain cells have died getting me from childhood and into my old age. 🙂

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        1. Not to worry. I was trying to think whether any Henry strips had been adapted for Bazooka Joe, or any other bubble gum company. It’s a bit odd if Henry strips were never put around gum, or a similar thing-for-kids-to-get item.

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