The webcomics blog about webcomics

Sic Transit Gloria Fredi

There’s been a shoe waiting to drop for nearly as long as I’ve been writing this page; two months into my internet opinion-mongering, Randy Milholland took a hard turn on his most sympathetic character and set up making his most cantankerous character into the new most sympathetic character.

For nearly fifteen years, Fred MacIntire has been living life as best he could, having had more than his share of tragedy. Wait for me. Won’t be long now, he promised, and in the moment he meant it. He’s had his ups and downs since then, and he was asymptomatic for so long that I forgot he’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s before Faye died. The symptoms hit hard, cruelly hard, and if lately he’d seemed more physically frail, he also seemed more present.

And here’s the thing: that magnificent, cranky, generous, sarcastic, big-hearted guy loved Halloween his whole life, even when others were determined to ruin it for him. He forgot about how much he loved it last year, maybe, but this year he was back in fine spirits.

Davan’s once again proving to be exactly his father’s son¹ with his reaction, and the days ahead promise to be full of grief (Davan’s depression has been hitting hard lately) and the secret relief that caregivers have when their charges are finally freed of their pains. Secret relief, and unwarranted shame for feeling relieved.

Gods damn you, Randy Milholland, for making us all cry; I know that this was the plan, it was always the plan, you don’t do things by impulse in Something*Positive². This one hurts, but it’s an honest hurt because you made Fred real as anybody we know in our own lives³. I don’t know if he got to hand out any candy, but you let Fred see one more Halloween, and for that I’ll always be grateful.

Spam of the day:
Spammers don’t get to share space with Fred MacIntire. Requiescat in pace.

¹ No matter how much they both would have argued the point, and both been secretly grateful for their similarities.

² Except for spite, when supposed readers make demands of you and you swear to do the opposite forever — which promises I wholeheartedly believe.

³ Plus, you’ve written before about your mom being irked at you killing her off in the strip; may as well get some equal time in with your dad.

In the very next strip… the very next strip, a child neighbor talks about Fred to Davan.

But opens by calling Davan “Mr. Macintire.”

It’s now. It’s real. Davan’s who people mean when they say “Mr. Macintire.”

Beautifully done.

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