What’s Going On In Mary Worth? Why are GoComics and Comics Kingdom broken? September – November 2022


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.

Comics Kingdom says there are benefits to the new system, and I accept that. I’m unclear how “personalized notifications” and “easier comment sorting” will avoid comment-section “toxic cesspools”, but we’ll see.

Meanwhile, GoComics is back up! From the comments on Daily Cartoonist, it looks like it was coming up as my post yesterday about their still being down published. So it goes. All they’ve said to the public was a tweet that they were having “temporary challenges resulting from a network disruption”. No confirmation of the rumors about this being a “cybersecurity incident”. It still seems like a good chance to change out passwords for new passwords plus, still starring Alan Ludden. The site may be a bit shaky for a while as people catch up on a half week’s worth of strips, so, be gentle to them and laugh no more than mildly uproariously, please.

And now on to my plot recap. This should get you caught up to mid-November 2022 on Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth. If you’re reading after about February 2023 I likely have a more up-to-date plot recap here. And if any news about the comic strip breaks I’ll share it at that link too. Thank you. Now on to tales of love and thanking Mary Worth for making us thank Mary Worth … again.

Mary Worth.

4 September – 20 November 2022.

When I last visited Charterstone, Dawn Weston had accepted that Jared Mylo broke up with her for good reasons. And Mylo had a new girlfriend who sure presented no questions about the appropriateness of the relationship. (She had been a patient in his care.) All seemed wrapped up, apart from Dawn visiting Mary Worth to thank her for her help. Mary Worth’s help was badgering her into being friends with Mylo still, for obscure reasons.

[ As Dawn reflects on recent events ... ] Dawn thinks: 'I'll find love again. And if I don't ... I'll be okay. I have people in my life who love me!' She thinks of her father, of Mary Worth, and of ... I want to say her friend Cathy. Meanwhile her father talks to his fish: 'Stellan, Willa ... Stell and I may be on a break again, but I'm okay with that! I have everything going for me!' Stella is at the piano, singing with her cat and dog, 'Learning to love yourself ... is the greatest love of alll!' And Jared Mylo and Jess are watching Jeopardy.
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 18th of September, 2022. Wilbur says he and Stella ‘may’ be on a break because Stella says ‘hoo boy yes, are we ever broken up’ but he’s not sure what she means by that.

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.


[ When Zak spontaneously proposes to Iris ... ] Zak: 'My love, tell me you'll be my wife ... marry me! We'll be the happiest married couple there is!' Iris: 'Zak, dear, I love you and I always will, nothin will change that ... but I've been married before and I don't need to do that again. Please understand ... I'm happier with you *now* than I ever was while married to my ex. The two of us don't *need* a license to be happy. I like things the way they are. You understand, don't you?'
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 9th of October, 2022. Oh, hey, Zak looking up, clinging desperately to Iris’s arms, his life depending on her. It’s foreshadowing! (I know, it probably wasn’t intended that literally as foreshadowing, but this scene works nicely as such and I want to point out when the comics do things nicely.)

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?

[ When Iris and Zak reach the top of Piccadee Falls, he urges her to join him for a selfie ... ] Iris: 'Zak honey, I don't want to stand *there*. Take the photo from here. You're too close to the edge ...' Zak, 'Nah, I'm good! Look at me ... it's safe!' He swings a leg up and leans back toward the edge. 'See! .. Oops ... uff!' He falls. Iris cries, 'ZAK!'
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 23rd of October, 2022. Meanwhile I’ve reached the point in my life where I once wore my reading glasses by mistake walking upstairs and froze in panic, unsure how to get safely down from the landing. In hindsight I should have taken them off my face quicker than I did. Please remember, I earned a PhD in Mathematics.

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.

[ As Iris risks her life and reaches for Zak ... he reaches up so she can grab his arm ... ] We see her, in front of the fals, lying down on the edge and reaching an arm out. In the second panel Zak lets one hand free of the tree root to grab her arm.
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 29th of Ocober, 2022. Wait, how did she pull up Sergeant Snorkel from Beetle Bailey?

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.

Next Week!

The Phantom and his wife continue exploring an ancient labyrinth that once held animal-human hybrids the Egyptians may have worshipped as gods! What have they found and is it going to eat them, too? I try to recap Tony DePaul and Jeff Weigel’s The Phantom (Sunday continuity) next week. Good luck with your own animal-human hybrids once worshipped as gods.

What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? What was Jordan’s deal in the Army? August – November 2021


Jordan Harris was in the Army, before his curent life as a chef and restauranteur. He’d lost a leg in the service. He’d created, or allowed to be created, a story of how he lost it in combat. He told childhood friend and incompetent mugger Delmer Robertson what we took to be the truth. He was in food services. He lost his leg going to an improvised explosive device as he was off to buy food.

Now? That may be in question. Because “Griff” Griffin tried recruiting Jordan for “a job”. Jordan refused. It seems odd that a top-secret mission would need a chef, particularly. But Griffin talks of Jordon’s classified work in the past. And Jordan talks of how the “cover story” he’s given his fiancee is “mostly true”.

We have not learned what this is a cover for. Or what “classified” work Jordan could have been doing. Nor whether this has anything to do with how he lost his leg. I’m inclined to doubt it does, but I don’t see an obvious problem in supposing Jordan told Robertson lies or a cover story.

So this all should catch you up to early November 2021 in Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D.. If you’re reading this after about February 2022, or any news about the strip develops, I may have a more useful post here.

And on the other blog, I wrote about ‘Monte Carlo’ as last week’s mathematics term. What’s this week’s term? You can find out tomorrow by looking at the most recent A-to-Z essays. I hope you’ll consider them.

Rex Morgan, M.D..

15 August – 7 November 2021.

Rex Morgan, M.D. was at the start of a new story last I checked in. Most of that has been about the wedding of Jordan and Michelle. Let me dispense with the part that’s not.

Sarah Morgan and her hundred-page fan-letter/fan-fiction broke children’s author Kyle Vidpa out of his writer’s block. Vidpa sends his young coauthor the Advance Reader Copies of the book based on her work. Here my suspension of disbelief breaks. I can’t believe there was enough time for the book to be that far along in publication. Let that pass. Sarah’s uninterested in it anyway, since she wrote the story, she knows it.

Griff: 'I can't convince you to go on *one* more mission --- for old time's sake? There's *good* money in it.' Jordan; 'What we did, we did for our *country*. I don't know *who* you're working for now --- and don't want to. There's *no* amount of money that could tempt me back into the field. I have the life I want now. I *won't* risk that.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 8th of September, 2021. I admit I haven’t liked this plot thread. I don’t like super-secret hypercompetent agencies who work Outside The Rules by Making The Tough Decisions so they can Get Things Done. The premise is everything fascist about superheroes without the tempering grace of superheroes’ overwhelming need to protect the public. And how that need exists even — especially! — when the public doesn’t appreciate them. But you’ve seen me write about Norton and April Parker, over in Judge Parker, so that’s no surprise.

The big story has been Jordan Harris and Michelle Carter, nurse at the Morgan clinic. They’d already planned an online wedding. But now think they could have a few people for an in-person ceremony. He’ll cook, of course, because he can’t not. Rex and June Morgan make the list. Rex quips about how he wouldn’t turn down a free meal enough times it feels weird. Several of Michelle’s family plan to attend too. Jordan offers only excuses for his family. He doesn’t want anything with his old Army buddies.

They want something with him, though. “Griff” Griffon stops by, saying his old team is getting together for a mission and they could use his talents. Griffin accepts Jordan’s hard “no”. Griffin’s boss does not, on the grounds that now Jordan knows someone connected to Griff is planning some job. So the only thing to do is kill Jordan. Griff acknowledges this, connects some dynamite to a control module, and scopes out Jordan and Michelle’s wedding.

Shadowy Boss Figure: 'I wish I *shared* your conviction that Mr Harris will not make trouble for us. We can't have anyone *jeopardize* our plans.' Griff: 'I think he just wants to lead his civilian life, sir. He knows what would happen if he crossed us.' Boss: 'You're most likely correct, Griffin. But perhaps we had better be *safe* than *sorry*. You know what to do.'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 9th of October, 2021. So another reason I dislike super-secret hypercompetent agencies. If you think of how much time Batman or the Phantom have to spend just on their daily chores you face the unreality of their superheroing. Packs of Gruff Men With Guns Looking For Reasons to Kill People, though? You can get that together without noticing why it keeps failing. And you get a situation like this, which does show it. Why did Shadowy Boss Figure send Griff to ask Jordan to join them? If the only acceptable answers were “yes” and “die”? Shadowy Boss Figure has decided to kill Jordan Harris, who he knows knows nothing, for fear he might tell someone something? And yes, Beatty shows this organization’s fundamental sickness killing it and its participants. Doesn’t make me like what it’s built on, though.

Beatty did have me fooled. Most of his run has made the strip about pleasant characters to whom nothing very bad happens. It’s been comfortable reading. That’s been welcome as we endure the berserker rage against civilization of capitalism’s most recent crisis. But I thought it plausible that Griff would kill Jordan, putting real shock and surprise into the strip. No, though. Griff watches the ceremony, and once the two wed, he calls his boss. Assured that his boss is near the car, Griff presses the button, blowing up the device, the car, and his shadowy mysterious employer. He figures to go hide out maybe in the Caribbean.

Shadowy Boss Figure, on the phone, about toget into his car: 'Griff! What have you DONE? You CAN'T ... ' An explosive device strapped underneath Boss's car beeps, and then explodes.
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 6th of November, 2021. Also, I am not convinced Terry Beatty had a particular mission in mind, or a clear idea what Griff’s group was about. This drains energy from the choices Jordan and Griff make. Jordan isn’t tempted away from his happy life by being part of some heist or whatever. And Griff’s decision to kill his boss — why doesn’t this new unit he’s part of matter as much as his old-unit pal of Jordan? Maybe Beatty has an answer for that, but I don’t see it in text. So all I have is Griff wanted to be nice to the main-cast character.

Next Week!

Who expected any of the story comics to get into Hypnovember? And if any one did, would you have guessed it’d be the high school sports strip? I look at Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp next week, if things go to plan.

A Word From Our Pet Rabbit


“Look, big guy,” said our pet rabbit while I was feeding him — while I was feeding him, mind you — “it’s been fun having you around and I like the bit where you hide a sprig of parsley in the cage’s mesh, but isn’t it about time you were going back?”

“Going back where?” I had a bit of a feeling what the rabbit might mean. Also that he might not have caught my name yet.

He shook his head out some and distinctly sniffed. “I don’t know that. Wherever it is you came from. A bit of you is fine but you’ve been hanging around this house forever now and I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds you wearing out the welcome.”

This would have been a good chance to rub my eyes except that probably would have got rabbit food pellets in them. “No, no, this is my home. I married into it.”

“Didn’t ask me about that.”

“Well, it’s done and I don’t figure on leaving again.”

He snorted once more and said, “We’ll just have to have a talk about this when the other one gets home.”

I didn’t say anything, as I was pretty sure how the other one would think about me having to leave. The rabbit did try pushing on my ankles, I believe to knock me over, but there’s about a one in six or seven chance of my falling over by accident anyway so I can’t say his efforts were demonstrably more successful than chance dictates.

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