I was all but ready to be ahead of schedule with my Rex Morgan, M.D. plot recap this week too. And then GoComics went and kept me from having to actually be ready. This because many — not all — of their comic strips went into unscheduled repeats.
As usual, D D Degg at The Daily Cartoonist explains it. Many of the Andrews McMeel Syndication comic strips were forced into repeats because of the same problem that caused that huge GoComics outage a couple weeks ago. Not everything that runs on GoComics is syndicated by Andrews McMeel, but enough are that people noticed. And we know this because of individual cartoonists explaining things in comments on their strips. GoComics has, for some reason, chosen to not make any public statement about these repeats. Nor, so far as I’m aware, about the original outage and whatever happened. So I can’t explain that but I’m going ahead and guessing you should change your passwords and wait for GoComics to offer you six months of credit monitoring because of their data breach. Credit monitoring is worthless, which is why companies give it for their many screw-ups.
Meanwhile, Comics Kingdom continues to show lots of advertisements to paid subscribers like me, even though their FAQ claims that subscribers do not. Since this has been going on a month now, I surmise they’ve just decided they’re making paid subscribers see ads, regardless of any past or still-listed promises, and hope if they ignore my bug reports I’ll eventually stop being mad, because that’s a way people work. I am open to being proven wrong but given their refusal to run Sunday comics at legible sizes I suppose they won’t.
Andy Capp, meanwhile, hasn’t made any acknowledgement, at least in strips run on GoComics. I can’t say whether this reflects the lead time of the strip or what. The comic strip did join in the celebration of Charles Schulz’s centennial this past Saturday, but that’s something anyone could have known was scheduled for almost a hundred years. They’re probably not working a hundred years ahead of deadline, though.
While we were all distracted with GoComics being broken, Comics Kingdom went and broke themselves. Well, changed, although the specifics of the change damaged something. Comics Kingdom replaced the commenting software used, moving away from Disqus and to OpenWeb instead. Along the way, this lost all the comments people had made, for years, on all of their strips. It’s yet another reminder that corporations are not only bad stewards of public platforms, they are hostile and destructive to it. I grant there’s limited value in reading how angry people can be when a comic strip makes a reference aimed at the young folks. But it’s good to see what people’s impressions of these strips were at publication. And many commenters are good enough to explain referenced older storylines or now-obscure characters. All of that connective tissue is gone now.
Anyway Dawn thanks Mary Worth for helping her see that letting Mylo go after he broke up with her was good for their friendship. But we have to have some thanking of Mary Worth or it’s not a plot. And on the 18th of September we go around the horn and see everyone content. Mylo and Jess are enjoying each other’s company. Dawn is happy she’s alone again. Wilbur Weston is content to spend more time with his sandwiches. Stella is singing with her cat and dog. And then Dr Jeff comes over so he and Mary Worth can agree how they’re a great couple with a way better relationship than anyone else has. Also they are definitely not getting married. And that takes two weeks.
The 3rd of October starts the current story. It’s about Iris and her much-younger computer-game-guy boyfriend Zak. I bet one or both of them have last names, but if they don’t, pick any that you like. I’m going to say one of them is “Beedie”. They’ve had a great relationship despite the unconventionality of her being older than him and knowing of obscure, hard-to-find movies like Casablanca. So well, in fact, that Zak proposes, catching Iris completely off guard.
Iris, having been married before, doesn’t want to do that again. Zak is crushed but accepts that she would rather keep the relationship as it is. She does agree to a long-delayed hike at Piccadee Falls and, sweet Zak, that’s as good as marriage to him. How can you dislike a guy who’s that able to bounce back from depressing news?
Oh, right, because he’s got the judgement of a jack-chi puppy in a chocolate store. He demands a selfie from the edge of the waterfall, declaring, “Not even the Gods themselves could make me fall off!” Well, what do you know but Parakutes, the Ancient Greek God of Plummeting, is in a grove nearby and, well, there we go. Zak clings to a branch, something he can do for the rest of his life. But Iris is able to overcome her fears — and her fear of her own frailty — and pull him back up.
Back on safe ground they hold each other tight. And Iris realizes her fears of marriage are nothing compared to how she feels about Zak. Is it just anyone who would rather he did not die? No. She accepts his proposal, the 6th of November, which might be the first time in my tenure covering these strips that we’ve achieved the summum bonum of Mary Worth.
Or almost achieved, anyway. Even a small, modest ceremony takes time to arrange. Iris hurries to Mary Worth to tell her the good news that she isn’t dead, and neither is Zak, and so they’re getting married. Mary Worth seems so surprised by this that she’s left saying stuff like “Are you referring to your previous married state versus his inexperience with matrimony?” that even Tom Batiuk says is not how people talk. Commander Data pops in to offer to punch that line up a little. Anyway, Mary Worth is so happy they’ll be able to celebrate the unconventional love of a woman who’s older than the man. And that is our happy (US) Thanksgiving-week resting point for Mary Worth.
Dubiously Sourced Mary Worth Sunday Panel Quotes!
“I’ve learned that love, not time, heals all wounds.” — Andy Rooney, 4 September 2022.
“Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go.” — Hermann Hesse, 11 September 2022.
“And if by chance that special place that you’ve been dreaming of … leads you to a lonely place, find your strength in love.” — Linda Creed and Michael Masser, 18 September 2022.
“Familiar acts are beautiful through love.” — Percy Bysshe Shelley, 25 September 2022.
“Growth is the only evidence of life.” — John Henry Newman, 2 October 2022.
“Marriage is a gamble. Let’s be honest.” — Yoko Ono, 9 October 2022.
“If you don’t lose, you cannot enjoy the victories. So I have to accept both things.” — Rafael Nadal, 16 October 2022.
“It’s a good thing to learn caution from the misfortune of others.” — Publilius Syrus, 23 October 2022.
“Love is what you’ve been through with somebody.” — James Thurber, 30 October 2022.
“Ultimately, love is everything.” — M Scott Peck, 6 November 2022.
“Life is a collage of events, really.” — Mohanlal, 13 November 2022.
“The real meaning of enlightenment is to gaze with undimmed eyes on all darkness.” — Nikon Kazantzakis, 20 November 2022.
GoComics is still suffering from being incredibly knocked out. This doesn’t require me to postpone my Mary Worth plot recap. Mary Worth runs on Comics Kingdom, which had an ordinary-for-it glitch Monday where the non-vintage strips didn’t update. That cleared up, though, and it didn’t affect the archives anyway. No, I’m delaying Mary Worth partly to share what I know about GoComics and partly because I figured back on Thursday to write a rough draft and make things easier for myself, and then I sat down and watched a cartoon for a while, and then it was Tuesday afternoon.
Anyway. GoComics has been weirdly reluctant to share information about what’s going on. Once again D D Degg, at The Daily Cartoonist, has some information. According to the Arizona Daily Star, GoComics company Andrews McMeel is having “apparent cybersecurity issues” and they’re working on fixing it, but don’t have word on when that will be. When I just looked at GoComics it offered this not-quite-reassuring notice.
Anyway if it is a cybersecurity issue, that could mean anything. But it likely is a good time to change the passwords on any accounts that share the one you use for this silly low-priority web site you use to say nice stuff to the person who draws Amanda The Great on. (Also Amanda The Great is a sweet strip and you should say nice stuff to her.)
And I’m not saying that Tom Batiuk is the problem, but have we ruled out that Tom Batiuk is the problem? Because Degg also reports that Tom Batiuk and Dan Davis’s Crankshaft is to move to GoComics with the start of 2023, as the strip changes syndicates again. I assume this means Comics Kingdom will take down its Crankshaft archive. I don’t have any information what it means for the Funky Winkerbean archive on Comics Kingdom. If you’ve got a favorite strip you’ve been meaning to download or have printed on a mug, maybe do that sooner rather than later.
I had read about this on Daily Cartoonist, but forgot in time to be surprised Sunday. Jim Toomey’s Sherman’s Lagoon switched its distributing syndicate recently. It’s moved from King Feature Syndicate over to Andrews McMeel Syndicate. And, so, it’s left Comics Kingdom to settle in at GoComics. As I write this, GoComics only has the strips from yesterday and today. I don’t know whether it’s going to get any (or all) of the 31-year back catalogue of the comic. (If you have Sherman’s Lagoon on your Favorites page on Comics Kingdom, you can still flip back to previous days. But you can’t get a link to, say, last week’s strips to pass on to someone else.)
I hope it does. Sherman’s Lagoon is one of those underrated but reliably funny comics. It’s also, without a joke, the place where I get most of my marine-biology news, as Toomey works what’s new and interesting into the jokes often.
Oh, yeah, so, something I missed in how Gary Brookins was retiring from drawing Pluggers. Brookins has also been drawing Shoe, the other comic strip originated by Jeff MacNelly. That’s the more standard comic strip about a newspaper, diner, and politician, only they’re all birds.
According to D D Degg at The Daily Cartoonist, Ben Lansing is supposed to take over the drawing of the strip. I had thought that Brookins was retiring from both strips simultaneously but, looking at the original announcement, it looks like Brookins just said he’d turn over Shoe “sometime in August”. Last Saturday’s Shoe really did seem like a farewell to both, though.
Rick McKee, who’s been sharing Pluggers work with MacNelly, has that strip all to himself now, so far as I know. And because things are always confused, the GoComics page for Shoe gives a credit to Rick McKee right now, even though we’ve still got Brookins-signed strips, and that so far as I know Ben Lansing is still supposed to take over drawing Shoe. I have no explanation for this phenomenon. Comics Kingdom, which also runs the daily Shoe because of the reasons, is still crediting Gary Brookins for the art.
Unironically I do see in the comments the start of community-building. It looks like at least a couple people are making up stuff that would have appeared in the strip’s past, filling in characters with names and backstories and all that. That sort of community folk art is one of the things I most like about the Internet.