If you’re a reader of Randy Milholland’s Something*Positive (and if you aren’t, what the hell is wrong with you?), you may recognize that combination of words. Old Familiar Faces is the name that Milholland gives to miscellaneous strips, not following regular characters and plotlines, that he runs at the end of the calendar year or running over into the beginning of the next year — a palette cleanser of people we see only rarely¹ (and Silas). He’s done this thirteen times so far.
We’re about to hit fourteen:
S*P Year 14 will end Wednesday. Related, my comic will be 14 years old tomorrow.
If you’d told me back in the early days of 2002 (I started reading not long after Choo-Choo Bear was introduced; he’s now nearly 39 years old and still thriving) that Something*Positive would not only survive this long, but be the most heartfelt, heartbreaking, ideal example of what living, breathing (and sometimes dying) characters in a long-running comic could be, I wouldn’t have believed you. Surely not that marvelously nasty, sarcasm-laden bit of nihilistic joy and cruelty to all (friends and enemies alike, but especially friends).
But something happened along the way. It’s become a continuity strip of the sort that almost existed on the comics page. Mostly, continuity strips change very slowly, with every plotline essentially resetting back to baseline. Kids might be born, but they’ll take decades to age a year. You saw a more realistic approach to the passage of time in, say, For Better or For Worse, but the reset-to-baseline tendency was always going to win². Don’t even get me started on Funky Winkerbean³.
No, if there’s a predecessor to Something*Positive, it’s probably Doonesbury; characters we started with become less relevant each year, as their younger friends, new lovers, and children (some of which we’ve seen since birth) become the centers of story and strip. Only Uncle Duke and Choo-Choo Bear will always be there.
So happy early strippiversary, Randy; I’d guess that you didn’t think you’d still be doing this either. May your characters grow and change and live their lives (until they don’t) for exactly as long as you have these stories to tell.
Speaking of old familiar faces, KC Green dropped a bombshell on the world last night:
ah heck, heres da scoop: shmorky and i are making adult swim ID shorts out of old gunshow strips
just 10 right now including “this is fne” which is what they wanted first. short bumpers for tv and online
.@sashmorky is knockin em out of the park with animating them. and i got to work with @danasnyder for doing a voice also
I’ll let you guys in on a secret: I’ve seen one of these, the famous This Is Fine. I’ve see it with KC doing the voice on a scratch track, and Dana Snyder (Master Shake, Al the Alchemist) doing the final voice. It’s glorious work that Shmorky did on the animation, a perfect match to Green’s comic sensibilities.
Kudos to [adult swim] for seeking out the actual creator of This Is Fine instead of treating it as a spontaneously-generated meme that nobody originally thought up (maybe they could do dickbutt next). Further kudos for finding an animator that would do Green’s work justice. Can’t wait to see the other nine bumpers online, and on my electric teevee machine.
Spam of the day:
McDonalds releases a new healthier menu! Try it now with this $100 Gift!
I can’t even being to fathom what a hundo of McDonald’s foodlike product would look like. Pass.
² Nobody escapes home and family and you will marry your high school sweetheart and/or buy the house you grew up in. Only roadside whores ever left town.
³ Wherein you will return to your hometown and stay in the high school orbit forever, or at least until you’ve passed your existential misery onto the next generation and die.