I can’t tell whether the current storyline in Jim Scancarelli’s Gasoline Alley is a repeat. From May through early July the strip repeated a story from 2010. We assume this was to give Jim Scancarelli some time to research and work ahead for the February 2021 centennial of Skeezix’s debut.
So a story began the 6th of July. It feels like a repeat to me, and to many of the GoComics commenters. But nobody has found it in the archives, to my knowledge. Those archives only go back to April 2001, true. But it would be odd to reprint a strip from more than twenty years ago; strip sizes have changed since then. But there’s no definite word either way.
If I get word that this is definitely a repeat, or definitely new, or any other Gasoline Alley news I’ll post it here. Also, I expect, a new plot summary around November 2020.
25 May – 15 August 2020.
The story as repeated: Gertie, Walt Wallet’s caretaker, worried about the side effects of his medications. Like, they can cause hallucinations. They seem to be working: Walt calls Gertie out to see a mass of exotic tropical birds. The birds vanish before Gertie gets outside. Then there’s monkeys swinging from the trees, except when Gertie steps outside. A hippopotamus on the lawn. Gertie worries about the hallucinations until she comes face-to-face with a lion.
It draws a crowd, including Polly Ballew, oddly young sister of Bob and Ray reporter Wally Ballew. (Hi, Dad!) And, finally, it draws an answer: “world’s greatest animal trainer” Clyde Bailey. These are circus animals, who escaped after “hungry vagrants” broke into their cages and stole food. Bailey’s able to round up the animals and get them back, and bring this repeat to a close.
The current and possibly new story started the 6th of July, with Rover Wallet and son Boog driving home. This would fit from the end of the previous story, the Farm Collective one, by the way. They pick up a hitchhiking Joe Pye, and his three sons. On W-PLOT Radio, they hear of four “armed and dangerous” escapees from State Prison. The Pyes jump out of the truck.
It’s hard to believe in a Scancarelli character being “dangerous”. But the Pyes agree they’re fleeing the cops, and go tromping through the wilderness. They tromp through the water, figuring this will wreck their trail. And then come the dogs. They surrender to what they take are police dogs. But they’re not; the dogs, Flotsam and Jetsam, are a woman’s.
The woman thinks Joe Pye looks familiar. His name is familiar too. She’s Shari Pye. Joe Pye knew someone by that name, years ago. Married her, in fact. She’d married a Joe Pye, it turns out. And had three sons who fled with Joe. Joe Pye comes clean: he’s her long-lost husband. Also, when he told his sons that their mother had died he had mixed up his phrasing. So the family’s reunited, then, that’s sure to be a good thing, right?
And that’s where the storyline stands as of the middle of August. Again, if I find evidence this is a repeat, or is definitely not, I’ll pass word on.
It’s a comic strip I know to be in repeats! I’ll look at the last weeks of James Allen’s Mark Trail and the start of Jack Elrod repeats. Unless something disrupts the plan. Thank you for bearing with me as we hope there is a plan.