What’s Going On In Alley Oop? Is Alley Oop going to Time Jail? November 2019 – February 2020


Alley Oop is not going to Time Jail, and won’t be for at least a year. If we can take the recent narrative at its word.

Thanks for checking this plot recap, readers angry about Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop. If you’re reading this much later than about May 2020, I probably have a more up-to-date plot recap at this link. Also if there’s any news about the strip I should put it at an essay at that link. And, I look at mathematically-themed comic strips on my other blog every week. You might like that too.

Alley Oop.

11 November 2019 – 1 February 2020

Alley Oop, Ooola, Ava, and Doctor Wonmug blipped out of existence last time I checked in. It wasn’t my fault. It makes a clean break point for my recaps, though. Thanks for writing it that way!

They awake in a glass cube. It’s a Time Prison. Ollie Arp comes in to explain things. He’s from Universe 3. Last summer Ollie Arp and Eeena had given Our Heroes a ticket and a warning to stop screwing with the timeline. Alley Oop and Oona then accidentally created an alternate timeline where the tortoise-like Cutie-Pies never went extinct two million years ago. They undid that, but, still. Ava’s released, as not having anything to do with this nonsense. But Alley Oop, Ooona, and Wonmug get sent to the Multiversal Court, in Universe 68, “the worst universe of them all”.

Gas Cloud: 'Hi, guys, I'm Petey! I'll be your legal counsel for the trial.' Wonmug: 'But ... you're a gas cloud?' Petey: 'Yeah, kind of funny, right? But this is how people look in Universe 248. Don't worry, though. I got my law degree from Gas Harvard.' Alley Oop, licking his lips: 'You smell like ham.' Petey: 'Thank you! In my universe that makes me VERY attractive!'
Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop for the 2nd of December, 2019. Ha ha, it would be really funny to think about how people would turn into vapors, wouldn’t it? Unless …

It’s a world of enormous crystals continuously playing the Piña Colada Song. Of DMV lines that wrap around the globe twice. And time criminals. Ollie Arp is the prosecutor, holding this Alley Oop for all the comic strip’s nonsense since Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers took over. Their defense: Petey, a cloud of gas from Universe 248. Their judge: Bushney, a tough, old-fashioned computer judge. It looks like an Atari 2600, so, do you get the nerd joke there? (Atari was founded by Nolan K Bushnell.) The jury is volunteers from the multiverse. It includes at least one Cutie-pie, and one of the Time Raccoons that Dr Wonmug created.

Ollie Arp: 'Will the witness please state his name?' Alley Oop: 'I'm Alley Oop, from Universe 1.' Arp: 'That's the newspaper universe, correct?' Oop: 'Gosh! There's so much color an' stuff here!' Arp: 'Mr Oop, PLEASE try to focus.' Oop: 'Y'can't tell me what to do, you hoity-toity lawyer type!' Atari 2600 Judge: 'I'll allow it.'
Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop for the 12th of December, 2019. I don’t know if by ‘the newspaper universe’ we’re being told that Alley Oop doesn’t run in newspapers anymore. I imagine that it hasn’t been a common newspaper comic in ages — I know when I was a kid it maybe ran in the New York Daily News and I’m not sure about that — but I haven’t seen a declaration about whether it is just provided digitally anymore.

Ollie Arp calls witnesses. Mostly from universes made worse by the side effects of Our Heroes’s nonsense. And then, the 12th of December, he calls Alley Oop of Universe-1. That is, the original Alley Oop, the one from the newspapers. The one V T Hamlin created and the continuity we were following through to the end of Jack Bender and Carole Bender’s run. The trial itself is almost an apologia to old fans angry with Sayers and Lemon’s strip. This brief appearance makes it even more explicit. The original Alley Oop wasn’t eliminated by their new run and this Universe-2 stuff. It’s still there, ready to enjoy. Someone else could even pick it up later, unharmed, and do new stuff in it. Anyway, Petey the Gas Cloud Lawyer is excited to meet Newspaper Alley Oop.

Sensing disaster, Alley Oop, Oona, and Dr Wonmug flee the trial. And go looking for help. The helper: Dr Wonmug of Universe-68. Albart Wonmug, son of that universe’s Elbert. Albart Wonmug seems to have nothing but plasma balls. It’s a cover. When Albart learns the gang is fleeing their Time Crime trial he reveals The Wonmug Elite Club.

Wonmug: 'Friends, I'm back! Albart has given us a device to escape our trial.' Alley Oop: 'Is it a stink bomb?' Ooona: 'Or a robotic tiger, to eat the jurors?' Oop: 'Oh, I know! It's a miniature volcano that will cover the courthouse in lava.' Ooona: 'I bet it's T-Rex costumes to throw them off our trail.' Wonmug, to Albart: 'Don't worry. They'll tire themselves out before too long.'
Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop for the 10th of January, 2020. Actual depiction of your favorite pop-culture hang out podcast, as the two zany hosts go riffing each other and the one responsible host bides their time to get them back on topic.

He sets up Universe-2 Wonmug with a Universe Transit Device. It’ll get his party to and from other universes. And can lock that universe so nobody else can go in or out of it for a year. Some of the universes are obviously dangerous: Universe-44 invented cold sores “and the rest of us still haven’t forgiven them”. Some are wackily dangerous: Universe-129 is nothing but puppies and it’s too adorable to leave of your own free will. Alley Oop grabs the Universe Transport Device and whisks them off to Universe-27.

Giant, toothy slug-monster running towards Our Heroes. Wonmug, using the Universe Transport Device: 'So long, Slug Dimension!' They bloop away. Slug Monster: 'Oh, man, they looked *so* delicious!' Human trapped in slug belly: 'And I *really* could've used some friends in here!' Slug Monster: 'QUIET, you!'
Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop for the 18th of January, 2020. Actual scene from the Netflix series reboot of The Creeping Terror.

Universe-27 is a nice enough place. Idyllic. Utopian even, if you’re one of the gigantic slug monsters eating the terrorized human population. Our Heroes get some distance and flee that universe. It’s a moment I disliked. I grant there’s not much three people with the contents of their pockets could do about a nightmare world of giant human-eating slug monsters. But they ought to feel some urge to try. It’s one thing to be foolish and cowardly heroes. It’s another thing to be foolish and cowardly without the heroism. Belatedly, Alley Oop thinks he could have made friends with one of the giant murder slugs, which is something.

They land in Universe-900. There’s dinosaurs, even though Wonmug says “we didn’t travel through time”. Also as if you could make “the present” in two universes a coherent thought. Well, Alley Oop thinks it’s the handsome universe: everyone in it looks like him. Hundreds of Alley Oops gather silently around. It’s suspicious.

Surrounded by duplicates of Alley Oop in a Moo-like setting. Wonmug: 'There's something not quite right about these Alleys.' Ooona: 'Yeah, they're not talking.' Our Alley Oop: 'Maybe they're just THINKING about stuff. ... What? It's POSSIBLE!'
Jonathan Lemon and Joey Alison Sayers’s Alley Oop for the 23rd of January, 2020. This is the zany alternate universe that I was most interested in seeing more of. But I’m also all right with just leaving it at this. Not every fun little idea needs to be filled out more.

They flee. Back in Universe-900, the Oops regret everyone waiting for someone else to say something first. Too bad; apparently the Alley Oop Universe had a couple things sorted out. Our Heroes, anyway, end up back in Universe-2. Ooona uses the device, locking the rest of the multiverse out of Universe-2 for a year. Again, as if that concept makes sense, especially when the others in the multiverse are time travellers. Anyway, this is all a lead-up to their new mission … which we’ll see over the coming months. It’s another suspiciously well-timed break point for these recaps. I don’t know.

Next Week!

Here’s what I do know: Tony DePaul and Mike Manley’s The Phantom, weekday continuity, is next on the schedule for plot recaps. This is the storyline about teams of suspiciously well-behaved art students tromping through the jungle until The Ghost Who Walks punches them to their senses. And events do look like they’re reaching a climax so this is another well-timed plot recap point. As ever, unless breaking news or me deciding to sleep in on Saturday gets in the way. Thanks for reading.

Author: Joseph Nebus

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

14 thoughts on “What’s Going On In Alley Oop? Is Alley Oop going to Time Jail? November 2019 – February 2020”

    1. I am startled! I did not read the comments threads regularly, but my impression was that the people staying angry with the Sayers/Lemon run of the strip had not ratcheted the group discussion to being toxic.

      Good luck on setting up a new home for daily strip discussion. It’s a hard thing to get going even when you know there’s a mesh of people who’d like having such a site.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. And yes, the comment boards of Alley Oop were never toxic. Maybe a bit snarky, but they never neared to any toxic threshold. The sad part is that that action also removed the comment boards across the classics as well as they went back to 1939. Although a lot of classic strips are greatly missing in between, this action also removed comments across the classics.

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        1. I did see the comments were wholly removed and that’s a serious loss, to my way of thinking. I can understand the artists (or moderators) feeling the boards had gotten too awful to continue, even if I didn’t think they were too bad. But to wipe out all the commentary that’s accumulated over years is offensive. Not least because many people did bring in their bits of encyclopedic knowledge of the strip’s past, or of allusions that were being made that a casual reader like me wouldn’t recognize.

          I was aware there were patches of the strip going back to 1939 and, actually, had a note to use one of these essay slots to publicize that. Just somehow things kept getting in my way. It’s still worth pointing out to people who like the premise of the comic strip and would want to see more.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Unfortunately, there are many comics missing inbetween in the classics. Does nobody care about classics anymore? Is it because it won’t appeal to the newer generation that importance isn’t being given to them? Thoughts to ponder about!

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        3. I’m of a split mind about this. There are a lot of comic strips that would be great for people to re-encounter and that they’d surely enjoy. But many of them are deeply uninviting to the casual reader. Especially those from before the Peanuts/Dennis the Menace/Beetle Bailey revolution. Like, Comics Kingdom has 1940s Barney Google strips, and there’s a lot of good stuff in there, but it’s also very dark and wordy and often it’s not clear what the punch line is supposed to be. It’s worth it when you get there, but I can’t fault someone for not wanting to go there.

          I really really like the Comics Kingdom Vintage model, though, or the model that GoComics is using with some strips like Skippy or Little Nemo, of parcelling out one strip a day indefinitely, so the strip can be read in a fair approximation of how it was originally. I was surprised when I found the deeper Alley Oop archives that they didn’t start running an ‘Alley Oop Begins’ series, printing the strips from the start, or at least the start of the first time-travel story. Their treatment of Li’l Abner and of Mutt and Jeff is similarly inexplicably bad.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. I believe anyone can enjoy classic adventure strips with multiple strips at a time. I grew up reading comics which were essentially newspaper strips put together in a comic book format.

          In case of old gag-a-days, you may not get the gag if it isn’t something like Henry or The Little King, which may have a timeless appeal (I’m still mad CK pulled away Henry & never provided access to classic Henry).

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        5. I agree that anyone should be able to enjoy at least some adventure strips. This is going to depend heavily on the reader, though, and the presentation format. For example, I have never had any idea what’s going on in a King of the Royal Mounted strip (on Comics Kingdom Vintage), and since they took away the week-at-a-glance page option I’m clearly never going to invest the time in figuring it out.

          Comics Kingdom is shockingly ruthless about culling any discontinued strips; Apartment 3-G, Gil, Retail, My Cage, They’ll Do It Every Time, these all vanished from their archives the day after the last strip ran. I understand doing this for comics that moved to another distributor, like My Cage did. And it’s not like GoComics hasn’t done the same for strips like Love Is or Grant Snider’s Incidental Comics. But for a strip they have the rights to, and especially ones they’ve already got scanned, it seems ridiculous not to just restart from the earliest available strip and re-publish it, once per day. Possibly there’s rights issues that make this difficult but, really, who’s fighting for the rights to Tumbleweeds? And why?

          Liked by 1 person

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