1. My best guess is that the point is that turtles are famed for moving very slooooowly, and given the tenor of the times, little 2019 may want to put off the horrors awaiting him by the end of the year for as long as possible (or at least for what ‘feels like’ as long as possible).

    But I’m not satisfied what that, since (a) one could also argue 2019 would want to ‘just get it over with’ as quickly as possible, and (b) even accepting the former premise, it should be baby 2019 proposing a close relationship to the turtle, not the other way around, right?

    So there must be something else here I’m not getting either.

  2. The turtle really hated 2018, so he took great pleasure and relish in making sure the old man was good and truly dead, and then stuck his head on a pike as a warning to future years.

    So now here’s Baby 2019 and the turtle doesn’t want a repeat. He’s trying to appear friendly to get on the kid’s good side, but it’s just coming off as creepy given what he did to 2018.

  3. I’m not sure about the meaning of the turtle, but I think it put 2018 to a gruesome end (pour l’encouragement des autres) and is now going to explain to 2019 that it can avoid such a fate by being better than its immediate predecessor.

  4. The turtle is one of the author’s avatars, for when he doesn’t feel like just drawing himself directly into the strip. IIRC, it was part of his juvenalia.

    So, yes, the author-turtle is basically mounting 2018’s head on a pike (more or less) as a motivation to 2019 to do a better job.

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