Al Scaduto, cartoonist behind They'll Do It Every Time, has died. He'd been drawing the strip solo since about 1989 and had been assistant to it for a while before that. I do hope for comfort for his family and friends, of course.
Still, the news does raise the question of what happens to the strip and I have to admit I don't know if I actually care. They'll Do It Every Time began running early in the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV, and it's maintained a proud history of showing oddly-named people being thrown into homicidal rages, often unhelpfully billed as ``the urge'', over such wild incongruities as a person who has to be fastidiously neat for work being perfectly sloppy at home. And to detail this the cartoonist relied only on twelve helpful submissions a week from readers in southern Connecticut, northern New Jersey, or Florida, at least before the Comics Curmudgeon crowd took the writing over and changed nothing except for working in the occasional reference to a technology that postdates the transistor.
And yet I read the strip. I picked up the habit in youth, when I have to admit it did something to help me recognize the concept of irony and how it was present in so much of everyday life. And I have to admit I read a lot of comic strips that don't much threaten to amuse but at least don't annoy. The last comic strip I dropped was Funky Winkerbean, after yet another round of characters acting so as to increase their inevitable agonies, but before that you have to go back a decade or so to when I stopped reading Curtis or Tiger, which shows how mediocre you have to get before I'll give up.
I guess They'll Do It Every Time will continue, just too much inertia for it at this point, and I'll probably keep on reading it like I read Tumbleweeds and Heathcliff, showing that while I might have some highbrow tastes in comics they aren't actually that high at all.
Trivia: Steam engine pioneer Thomas Newcomen's grave has been lost. Source: Coal: A Human History, Barbara Freese.
Currently Reading: The Calculus Wars: Newton, Leibniz, and The Greatest Mathematical Clash of All Time, Jason Socrates Bardi.