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Gil Thorp, 9/3/19

Folks, I want you to cast your mind back to the year 2007, a much simpler and more innocent time, when we first saw Coach Thorp announcing the football team’s starters in front of what seemed to be a conflagration of some kind. This was the Milford bonfire, and it became an annual event. In 2008 the kids were throwing up devil horns in honor of the hellish inferno. 2009? Pumping fists. In 2010 the players started giving speeches, in 2011 the column of fire rose into the sky, and in 2012 Gil declared the bonfire was the only fire in the world, a symbol of the fire that burns inside each of us. In 2013 innocent cheerleaders were sacrificed to the flames, and in 2014 a dude named Jarrod, who would go on to lose the starting quarterback job, gave a wild-eyed speech as the fire burned. The guy who took Jarrod’s place led the Mudlarks to their first championship in years, and the next fall began with a fiery victory celebration.

And then … for four long years … nothing. The bonfire vanished from Mudlark lore without a trace, and it seemed like only I was keeping the flame alive, so to speak. I had given up hope on ever lay eyes on a Milford bonfire again, so you can imagine how happy I felt to see the smoke starting to rise from that woodpile in panel three. We’re seeing it just as it’s about to burst into flame! And sure, “Toast Oakwood” and “Fire It Up” are extremely cheesy signs, but you know what? None of these kids were even around in 2015. They’re having to reconstruct this tradition from whispered tales of times past. It’s gonna take them a year or two to get back in the groove.

Mary Worth, 9/3/19

Oh, Dawn. Oh, dumb, dumb, lovestruck, horny Dawn. There’s only one thing Hugo’s been telegraphing more obviously than the fact that he sees your romance as nothing more than a summer fling, and it’s that he thinks America is lame. It’s like you don’t want us to feel even a little sorry for you.

Crankshaft, 9/3/19

Ha ha! But seriously, folks, Crankshaft has never been in love. He’s simply not capable of it!