OK, fine, it looks like this is “one of those weeks” on this blog — you know, the kind of week where I just kind of end up talking about Mary Worth every day — so to mix things up a bit (and set the stage for today’s strip) I want to take you on a Mary Worth history deep dive, thanks to some strips posted to Twitter by the invaluable Pangent Technologies last August when I was on vacation and didn’t have a chance to post them here. They’re from 1993 and they cover Wilbur’s arrival in the strip! Are you intrigued? Well you should be! Because before Wilbur got to Charterstone, when all anybody knew about him was that he had eliminated one of the two kitchens in his apartment (????), Toby thought that maybe … he was hot?
Mary Worth, 4/1/93
Whoops, sorry, Toby! Turns out he’s Wilbur.
Mary Worth, 4/16/93
Ian’s cruel smile in the second panel is truly one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. This is what it looks like when your biggest success story of the week is that the guy your wife was fantasizing about cucking you with turns out to be an uggo.
But don’t worry, Ian’s distaste for Wilbur hasn’t been lessened by this victory. He’s particularly horrified to learn that Wilbur had to give up his job as a sports writer and take on the mantle of “Ask Wendy” for financial reasons, presumably because feminism triumphed and there’s no money in masculine pursuits anymore.
Mary Worth, 5/5, 5/6, and 5/8/93
Oh, also, it turns out that Wilbur is moving into this sad condo complex because he’s divorced.
Mary Worth, 4/20/93
Wilbur rightfully knows that he can’t show further weakness in front of Charterstone’s alpha male, but he later confides in Mary that both his ex and his daughter voted him into homelessness:
Mary Worth, 5/18-19/93
ANYWAY! Dawn eventually came around on the whole “living with Wilbur” issue, possibly because she wanted to move to California or maybe live with a parent who lets her indulge her worst impulses. But what about her mom?
Mary Worth, 8/4/22
Today we get the first glimpse (that I can remember) of Wilbur’s ex-wife, or at least his current internal vision of her: an icy, patrician blonde, who wears pearls as a matter of course and who definitely only lost interest in Wilbur because he lost interest in her first, because she was obsessed with raising her social standing in “high society” while Wilbur wanted to do fun, cool Wilbur stuff. Anyway, the look Dawn is giving him is saying “I definitely have never heard this side of this story and if I sit here very still maybe I won’t have to answer any questions about whether or not I believe it.”
Funky Winkerbean, 8/4/22
Look, I get it, it can be pretty traumatizing to realize that all the characters in your long-running comic strip have evolved slowly over the years to become really unsympathetic assholes. But have you considered maybe … making them act less like that? Because I’m not sure that “have everyone else in the strip acknowledge that these people are really, thoroughly exhausting to deal with on every level” is a “solution” to the problem per se.