One of the main things I will remembered for long after my death is coining the term “nephewism,” which now has its own TV Tropes entry, and basically describes a common trope where the protagonist is cared for by an aunt and/or uncle with no actual parents around. Sometimes this is mined for creative backstory once the world of the strip has been established (as in the case for Spider-Man, which is what I made up the word to describe); other times, as in Shoe, it mainly serves to graft a younger character into the world of an established one without having to create a sexual life for the latter. Who are Skyler’s parents? How long has he lived with his Uncle Cosmo, who clearly barely tolerates him? We haven’t gotten much information on the rest of the Fishhawk family, which is why the Perfesser’s mention of his grandfather (Skyler’s great-grandfather) is kind of poignant. “Yep, grandpa used to lure fish into the boat by keeping his mouth filled with worms, which sounds disgusting but it’s not, because we’re birds! As birds, we’re actually pretty well known chewing up disgusting bugs and whatnot and then regurgitating them into mouths of our young. So if you think about it, this was actually a very tender and paternal move on my grandfather’s part, right up until he ate the fish. Just like he ate your parents. Oh no, I’ve said too much.”
Gil Thorp, 9/11/17
In slightly more realistic nephew-oriented scenarios, today’s Gil Thorp sets us up for the football season with a new character: Rick, who’s living with an uncle who he probably doesn’t know so well and who still thinks of him as a kid. What happened to Rick’s parents? I dunno, but after the decidedly dull summer plot, I am 100% ready for the story of the cargo-jeans-wearing Uncle Gary, who’s like a pageant mom only instead making his little daughter enter beauty pageants he’s making his teenage nephew enter talent shows down at the Elk’s Lodge, which he somehow thinks will jump-start a rocket ride to success for both of them.
Slylock Fox, 9/11/17
Most of these audience members are smiling because they’re excited to see a magic trick performed. Not Slylock, though! Slylock’s smiling because he knows this “magic trick” is going to suck, and that the rest of the crowd is going to be furious. “They’re gonna tear this clown apart,” he thinks, smugly.