What’s Going On In Rex Morgan, M.D.? Is Terry Beatty trying to upstage you? November 2021 – January 2022


No, of course not. Terry Beatty might be dimly aware of my existence. But he has other things to think about, including anything. Still, last week he did do a three-day sequence, as though drawn by Sarah Morgan, explaining the current story. This isn’t the first time he’s done a strip that recapped the plot very well right before my What’s Going On In post. So it’s easy to fear he’s decided everyone can do without me. (I would rather everyone make the decision on their own that they can do without me.)

Sarah Morgan's Diary. Sketches, with text explaining, done as children's illustrations on 'lined' paper. 'My old art teacher, who I don't even remember because of my head injury is saying I STOLE the Doggo Twins idea from him! I know I made them up, 'cause I took the idea from our two dogs and my two brothers. I mixed them together and got the Doggo Twins! But I based their look on an old drawing of mine from when I was taking lessons from that guy. Did I copy his drawing into my sketchbook, along with all those drawings of feet he made me do? I don't think I did --- but if I did, I may be in a lot of trouble --- and I think it'll cost my Mom and Dad a LOT of money! Plus I'm getting HATE MAIL from people mad at me for messing up the Kitty Cop books with a 'stolen' idea! How did this happen? I'm just a KID!!!'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 23rd of January, 2022. It’s a little surprising that nobody with the publishing house had tried, before publication, to be certain Sarah Morgan was the originator of all the ideas in her story. I suppose we can assume they made a good-faith effort but didn’t think to check whether it was possible she was using something from her sketchbook from before her amnesia.

It’s probably coincidence. He has got to have projects besides “mess with a lower-tier comics blogger’s most popular feature”. It’s 2022. Nobody has time to pointlessly mess with me.

Anyway, this and all my plot recaps of of Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. should be at this link. This essay should get you up to speed for the end of January 2022. If you’re reading this after about May 2022, there’s likely a more current recap there. And now, on to what Terry Beatty explained already, but with more of my words.

Rex Morgan, M.D.

7 November 2021 – 30 January 2022.

I left off last time as Jordan’s old army buddy Griff set off a car bomb, killing Griff’s new boss. This lets Jordan and Michelle enjoy a happy wedding and reception. Rex and June Morgan hear about this on the news and remark how lucky it is such a horrible thing had nothing to do with them. It could pack satiric punch, if Terry Beatty wished to write a harder-edged strip than he’s doing here.

[ Home from the wedding ] June: 'Thanks for watching the kids, kelly. Your mom just pulled up front.' Kelly: 'Okay. I'll head out. They were angels today.' Rex: 'That's because they knew we were bringing them cake.' Michael and Johnny both ask for their cake. Rex: 'Okay, you kids get plates and forks. It's cake time!' As they eat, Rex and June unwind. re: 'Is it fair that they get cake without sitting through the wedding?' June: 'That was a lovely wedding, Rex --- no griping.' Rex: 'Not complaining. Hey, let's check out the news.' News reporter: '... where a downtown parking garage was rocked by an explosion. It's believed one person was killed in the ... ' June: 'Oh my *gosh*. Turn that *awful* news off. That has nothing to do with *us*.
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 14 of November, 2021. I get that Rex’s endless talk about the food is supposed to be endearing, and to build up how good Jordan is as a cook. Still, Rex says ‘cake’ in each of the first five panels here, to the point it reads like an in-joke being exposed.

The 15th of November started the next, and current, story. It starts on “a brisk autumn day”, intended to suggest that some indefinite time has passed. It’s the delivery of actual published copies of the Kitty Cop book young Sarah wrote for Kyle Vidpa. It’s meant, then, to be months after the previous week’s events. It still seems like a very fast publication cycle to me, but could be kids’ graphic novels move fast. They also have stuffed dolls of the Doggo Twins she created from mixing the Morgan’s dogs and boys together.

Sarah gives a signed advance-review-copy of her book to her friend Edward. Edward can’t resist boasting to his big sister how his friend is the pseudonymous author of the newest book in the hit Kitty Cop series. His sister doesn’t believe him … until noticing she did have an Advance Review Copy. The question of who Vidpa’s coauthor is becomes a media sensation. This may be because Vidpa was already a reclusive bestselling author. So Edward’s sister calls the local news station, figuring she can sell the secret to them. Soon reporters won’t stop asking the Morgans to confirm or deny that their daughter co-wrote this book.

[ Kyle Vidpa posts a video to the Internet ] 'You know me as Kyle Vidpa, author and graphic artist of the Kitty Cop graphic novels. But until today, none of you have ever seen my face. I'm going public today in response to recent events regarding my collaborator, Cynthia Ivy. There has been much speculation about her real identity, and recent news reports have made that public. The truth is that 'Cynthia' is a nine-year-old fan who sent me a *wonderful* story --- a story so good, I convinced her to let me use it for my new book. She wasn't looking for fame or attention --- she just wanted to give me a gift to show how much she loves Kitty Cop. *I'm* the one who decided to publish her work --- and she and her family, understandably, wanted to remain anonymous. But a curious public and the media have revealed her identity. We can't undo that, but I'm going to ask you Kitty Cop fans a favor. Leave her alone. Don't bother her or her family. She's just a kid, and has *no* interest in being famous. Like Kitty Cop says, 'It's the right thing to do --- so let's do it right!''
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 19th of December, 2021. He goes on to suggest that if fans leave Sarah Morgan alone he’ll do regular video sessions with the fans, so it’s endearing to see how he thinks this is going to make his life easier.

Vidpa does what he can to lift the media siege. He posts a video, his first ever, asking for privacy for his co-author and offering his fans regular media events if they’ll be nice about it. It’s a deal the fans are willing to take, at least, and things settle down.

That is until Rene Belluso reenters the strip. Belluso’s had a string of various scams, both before and during the pandemic. He came into the comic as an art tutor for Sarah Morgan several years ago, when Woody Wilson wrote the scripts. This was part of a story where Sarah Morgan was revealed to be a superhuman art prodigy and might become one of the all-time greats. When Terry Beatty took over the writing he dialed that back. This included giving Sarah a car-accident-induced amnesia which dialed her art skills down to “good but plausible for a kid that age”. It also eliminated a year’s worth of her memories. She couldn’t remember Belluso except as someone her parents sometimes got tense about. … We have always thought.

Belluso hold a press conference alleging that the Doggo Twins were his creation, that Sarah saw when she was taking art lessons. And … it’s not impossible that he’s being honest here. I mean in the same way it’s not impossible that Slylock Fox will find Reeky Rat did not steal Rachel Rabbit’s soda pop.

Sarah, looking through her old sketchbooks :'Here's the dog drawing. I sure did draw different then. I don't know why the dog is so cartoony when the rest of the drawings are more realistic.' Rex, looking over the sketch, which has a cheery cartoony dog labelled 'Doggy!' next to a realistic foot sketch: 'This is from when you were taking lessons with Rene Belluso?' Sarah; 'I guess so. It's a cute dog, isn't it, Dad?'
Terry Beatty’s Rex Morgan, M.D. for the 11th of January, 2022. While I know, c’mon, it’s Rene Belluso, I do appreciate that at this point there is a serious uncertainty about this. Might she have copied the dog from, as Belluso claims, work that he had been doing? If she didn’t, what was it doing in the middle of a bunch of more photo-realistic work?

Sarah can say how she thinks she had the idea of the Doggo Twins. But it’s impossible for her to say she didn’t see it before her amnesia and unconsciously swipe them. They find the sketchbook with the first drawing of something like a Doggo Twin. It’s from when she was taking lessons from Belluso. It’s a very cartoony drawing on a page of more realistic sketches. The Morgans get a lawyer involved, to gather statements that could be useful in a court of law. Belluso hasn’t actually filed suit yet. And he has a long track record of running scams. But, after all … sometimes Reeky Rat is the wronged party, you know?

Next Week!

So how did that sports hypnosis work out for the big game against Valley Tech? I check in on Neal Rubin and Rod Whigham’s Gil Thorp next week, if all goes well.

What’s Going On In Mary Worth? Why are Shauna and Ashlee fighting so much? May – July 2021


Ashlee and Shauna are two women with a violent hatred of each other in the current Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth story. It hasn’t been revealed how they know one another. They both have disreputable histories, and we can infer this somehow let each learn the other’s deal. Shauna thinks Ashlee is a grifter ready to take Drew Cory for all he’s worth. Ashlee thinks Shauna wants to get back together with Drew Cory. Both are correct so both have reasonable resentment of the other.

This should catch you up to early August 2021 in Mary Worth. If you read this after late October 2021, or if any news breaks about the strip, I should have a useful post here. Also, on my mathematics blog, I’ll soon be starting a little A-to-Z, a glossary project describing a selection of mathematics terms. You can read past A-to-Z essays, and suggest topics for this one, at this link. Thank you.

Mary Worth.

9 May – 31 July 2021.

When Dr Drew Cory ditched his scheduled photo-shoot date with Ashlee Jones she showed up at his workplace to yell at him. She accepts his apology that it was an emergency at work, since his workplace is the hospital. Over a make-up dinner she reveals she got fired from her waitress job.

Mary Worth shares her worry that she’s not in this plot with Jeff Cory, her perpetual not-fiancée and Drew’s father. Jeff says his son just always falls for wild, uncontrollable women. Like Shauna, who even served time in jail for petty theft. But she’s out of his life forever and ever now, so no need to worry there!

Drew, getting ready for bed, thinks 'I have feelings for Ashlee. It was fun to photograph her.' [ As Drew reflects on his photo soot with Ashlee ... ] 'What ... a ... day!' (He thinks back to moments from the day, photographing Ashlee in the fields, against trees, in a waterfall, and more.) Drew: 'Oh no ... Did I lose my Rolex?' [ Meanwhile ... ] Ashlee looks over his watch; 'Hmm ... I wonder how much I can get for this watch?'
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 30th of May, 2021. You hadn’t quite asked but, yeah, I don’t know how Ashlee got his watch off either. Like, I (roughly) understand how in the city you might bump into someone and lift their watch while they’re distracted, but that doesn’t seem likely to work here. I guess he had to take his watch off, but for what reason? I don’t know but have to suppose Ashlee knows her business. Also: did she bring a change of clothes for that waterfall picture? Or was this spontaneous an they thought she’d dry off before it got too uncomfortable?

During their delayed photoshoot Drew loses his Rolex to Ashlee’s pocket-picking. Drew’s tale of regret at losing a gift from his late mother moves her, though. She returns the watch, claiming to have gone back out to nature and checked the ground. It’s a heartwarming moment, interrupted when who shows up at The People’s Clinic but Shauna?

Shauna has an instant resentment of Ashlee. Also a story that Ashlee’s a grifter who’ll use Drew and throw him away. Also a story that she herself has cleaned up her life since they broke up. Also dermatitis, the reason for her visit. Drew believes her about cleaning up her life and about the dermatitis. But the rest? How could Ashlee possibly be wicked when she’s always been nice to him?

[ After seeing his ex-girlfriend earlier, Drew endures a troubled sleep ... ] While moaning 'Shauna ... Ashlee ... ', Drew has a surreal dream where the two women tug on him, stretching him out in weird tangled loops. He wakes, crying out.
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 27th of June, 2021. Mary Worth sure seems like it’s been hitting the dream sequences a lot. They’re fun to see. I wonder if they’ve been writing to give June Brigman the chance to draw more wild art.

Ashlee and Shauna show up at The People’s Clinic again, and fight again. Ashlee decides to step up her grift. She gets Drew to agree to loan five thousand dollars to jump-start her modeling career. He’s slow to send it, though. Doctor stuff, although she suspects Shauna stuff. So she comes to The People’s Clinic to get her money already.

She catches Drew giving a lollipop to a little girl, and has a change of heart. She breaks up with her mark, by text. She claims to have a great job offer out of town, she won’t need the money, and she has to leave forever now. Bye. And she does leave town. This doesn’t stop Drew thinking about her, though.

[ As Drew remembers to send Ashlee five thousand dollars he notices her text ... ] Ashlee's Text: 'I just got a great job offer and won't need the money after all! I have to leave town ... sorry I couldn't say goodbye in person ... it's been real.' Cut to Ashlee, looking at waitress-wanted jobs and riding a bus out of town.
Karen Moy and June Brigman’s Mary Worth for the 1st of August, 2021. This may seem like an overreaction to “decides not to rip off her boyfriend”. She gets off lightly, though. When you break up with someone in Luann you have to flee the contiguous United States. No joke; I can name four characters this happened to.

And that’s where things stand as of the start of August. It’s hard to believe the story is over, since nobody’s pair-bonded yet and there’s no sign of thanking Mary Worth for her contributions. So my guess is we’ve got another month or so before the next story. See you in late October and we’ll find out what’s right!

Dubiously Sourced Mary Worth Sunday Panel Quotes!

The auto care place up the street has changed its message a little bit, thanking Lansing for its support. It’s not only the economic development council. I hope this doesn’t signify a tiff with whoever gives out loans and grants around here. Meanwhile, here are inspirational quotes from the Sunday panels that could have been said by someone. Maybe even the named person!

  • “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” — Plato, 9 May 2021.
  • “I generally avoid temptation unless I can’t resist it.” — Mae West, 16 May 2021.
  • “Mysteries of attraction could not always be explained through logic.” — Lisa Kleypas, 23 May 2021.
  • “Love can sometimes be magic, but magic can sometimes … just be an illusion.” — Javan, 30 May 2021.
  • “The past is never the past. It is always present.” — Bruce Springsteen, 6 June 2021.
  • “Honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.” — James E Faust, 13 June 2021.
  • “It’s what you don’t expect … that most needs looking for.” — Neal Stephenson, 20 June 2021.
  • “Saying ‘yes’ to one thing means saying ‘no’ to another. That’s why decisions can be hard sometimes.” — Sean Covey, 27 June 2021.
  • “I’m a lover, not a fighter, but I’ll fight if I have to.” — Yungblud, 4 July 2021.
  • “There are no good girls gone wrong — just bad girls found out.” — Mae West, 11 July 2021.
  • “When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that is love.” — Lana Del Ray, 18 July 2021.
  • “Life is always at some turning point.” — Irwin Edman, 25 July 2021.
  • “A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of secrets.” — Gloria Stuart, 1 August 2021.

Next Week!

The Phantom tells an incredible story of an immortal ghost who’s not him! It’s Tony DePaul and Jeff Weigel’s The Phantom, Sunday continuity, if all goes as planned.

Ridiculous Episodes Of History


Tamim Ansary’s book Games Without Rules: The Often Interrupted History of Afghanistan describes the first time Afghanistan sent a diplomatic mission to the United States:

The Afghan delegation came to New York in 1922, but as it happened a ludicrous adventurer hit town at the same time: an old woman named “Princess” Fatima Sultana … She came festooned in jewels and looking like every New Yorker’s image of a Theda Bara-style exotic from the mysterious east. Her jewels included one particularly large diamond she called the Darya-i-Noor (River of Light). She was travelling with a rascal who called himself the Crown Prince of Egypt. …

To make matters worse, these two con artists fell victim themselves to an American con artist named Weymouth, who convinced them he was with the Department of the Navy and said he would present Fatima to the president of the United States — he had his eye on that diamond. The New York press didn’t know which was the real diplomatic delegation, and they picked the one they found more entertaining: Princess Fatima and her entourage.

Princess Fatima would lose her diamond and run out on her hotel bill. The actual Afghans got ignored. And we have to wonder how the United States lived through a bad episode of Top Cat. I don’t mean to make myself sound too intelligent. I was nine before I realized I was smarter than some episodes of Three’s Company. But I was definitely only eight years old before I couldn’t buy the fake-exotic-royalty-in-New-York plot. The heck, people?

But the incident reflects something historians hope you won’t ask about. Until about 1975 the whole world was so casually run that anybody could put anything over on anybody else, anytime they wanted. For example, from 1927 through 1931 the cash-strapped Soviet Union stayed afloat by selling counterfeit trains on the New York Central. Passengers would gather around a marvelous painting of what looked very much like a train. They’d only notice fourteen hours later that neither it nor they had gone anywhere. The scheme finally ended when the United States extended diplomatic recognition to the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad. The Pennsylvania Railroad wanted to laugh about this, but they had just bought track rights through the Canadian province of “Roberta”.

In 1852 a group of Americans hoped to take over Cuba for the benefit of the Cubans, they kept telling themselves and everyone else. So they built a replica of the White House and the Capitol in Havanna out of some wood they had left over from another project, to lure the American government over. As it happens they only managed to fool the vice-president, William R King. He didn’t die of embarrassment at being fooled, but when he left for the real Washington he only got as close as Alabama.

In 1817 Great Britain annexed the Caribbean island of Saint Martin O’The Lee. Its exact location was unknown to everyone and the land was proven in 1932 to never have existed. Despite that, sectarian violence continues along the arbitrarily-drawn border known as Chamberlain’s Belch. That’s named for Neville Chamberlain, but not that Neville Chamberlain. Also not the other Neville Chamberlain you’re telling people you thought of right away because you want to seem smarter to them. It’s the other other one.

In the mid-30s a mysterious figure claiming to be another brother wormed his way into Popeye’s nephews. The hoaxer would appear in shorts for over a decade before vanishing, probably absconding, never to be heard from again. And the amazing thing is that five years after that another of the so-called nephews would vanish, revealing he had been an impostor all along too.

In 1645 an Italian lawyer presented King Louis XIV with a moon for Venus. Astronomers kept insisting they saw it for over a century. It wasn’t until 1762 that everybody involved admitted that they had to be dead of old age by then. And so it they were, and we went back to ignoring that big shiny moon-like thing hovering around Venus. Don’t stare.

Dozens of Rhode Island cities in the 19th century fell for groups of organized rowdies presenting themselves as the state government. The actual state government chased after them, wielding brooms and biographies of Roger Williams, for decades before the last of them finally set up in New London (“Mystic”), Connecticut as a government-in-exile. They’re still there.

We’ve tightened things up since those days. Today, anybody can still put anything over on anybody else. But they have to go through a metal detector and put their keys and loose change in a plastic bin first. It’s progress.

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