Blame it on those ink-stained drudges …

Boise Ed sent this in, and says “We have sometimes chatted about colorists, and this A&J blog is the best illustration of that that I have ever seen.  (See the text at .)”

Go to that link for Jimmy Johnson’s full account. But we could stand some explication of his closing remark: “And, no, it was not intended to be dirty in the least.” Does anyone else have some surprise reconciling that claim with the Jack Spratt saying?


  1. Colouring and JJ’s comments aside, and even though it’s not labelled as a CIDU, I haven’t got a clue what is going on in this comic. I’d be grateful for an explanation.

  2. As JJ drew it, Arlo only ever wears his pajama bottoms. So, Janis is wearing the top. Everyone is covering the bits that should be covered for a family strip, and pajama usage is optimized. Arlo’s reference to Jack Spratt is that Jack and his wife had distinct eating habits, and between them, there was no wasted food – in Arlo’s metaphor, no wasted pajama parts. Janis is offended, because the usual depiction of Mrs. Spratt is that she is obese.

  3. Divad says Everyone is covering the bits that should be covered for a family strip

    Yes, covered from view by the “camera” or cartoonist viewpoint. But that is not the same as clothed. In the corrected version, is Janis wearing anything on the bottom?

  4. Thanks for the detailed explanation Divad. I can’t remember ever seeing the Sprat family depicted visually, so I was at sea with this.

  5. There’s been a lot of discussion about coloring of the dailies in Dick Tracy. Things can vary widely, not only from the Sundays (provided by one of the artists) by even from day to day. One that pops up occasionally is Tracy’s kid Junior and wife Sparkle Plenty. Normally he has red hair, and she platinum blonde. Lately they’ve both had a sort of chocolate brown. This brings out comments regarding the Mad Colorist.

  6. “ Does anyone else have some surprise reconciling that claim with the Jack Spratt saying?”

    Huh? I guess my surprise is that anyone would think there needs to be a reconciliation. I can’t think of any connotation, sub-text, or innuendo that would imply anything dirty. Please enlighten me, I’m getting old and have to get my kicks vicariously.

    As for Dana K’s observation, all I can think of is the uproar the movie The Invisible Man supposedly caused because “he’s walking around NAKED!”

  7. Guero, I thought that has been pretty well covered, in the previous comments about how the Jack Sprat pattern fits the arrangement here. In a situation of potential shortage of some resource, the complementary preferences of the couple lead to a solution with no actual shortage of the preferred parts, and also (this is usually what it get cited for) no wastage.

    In the original nursery rhyme, the parts are the lean and fatty segments of foodstuffs. In the first-off “clean” reading of the cartoon, it’s the part of the PJ set that either spouse prefers wearing — Arlo gets the bottom, which he prefers to wear, and Janis gets the top, which she prefers to wear. In the “dirty” reading, it’s the half of one’s partner that one prefers to have unclothed access to — Janis gets Arlo’s manly upper body, and Arlo gets access to Janis’s womanly bottom half.

  8. Okay, I understand what’s happening. I undertand the Jack Spratt comment.

    But why does Janis say ‘Beg pardon?’, then? It’s such a well known rhyme, I don’t believe she hasn’t heard of it. And the application to sharing a pajama is obvious. he confused?

    And where’s the joke? What is funny about it?

  9. @Pete-

    Janis’s body image alarm focused on the “fat” part of the rhyme, thinking weight, not food stuff.

  10. I think guero is looking for the more typical sophomoric Arlo interpretation, as indeed the original question also seems to be; sadly, even entertaining my most juvenile self, the best I can come up with is along the lines of: she could only eat my big, fat one… heh, heh, heh! Maybe SingaporeBill can do better?

  11. I think Pete is right… Arlo saying the rhyme makes Janice wonder if she is fat: “Does my bum look big in this?” for a Fast Show version. The actress in the clip and loads of others, Arabella Weir, used this catchphrase as the title of a fiction book of hers: Does My Bum Look Big in This?: the Diary of an Insecure Woman

  12. larK, I thought Danny’s explanation did pretty directly give “the more typical sophomoric Arlo interpretation” you say guero is looking for, and you seem to think has not been provided yet.

    This is not to disagree with those saying the reasons Janis is objecting may include feeling that the rhyme implies not just eating fat but in consequence becoming fat. That is not to say she overlooks the Arlo / exposure aspects of a more metaphorical application of the rhyme.

  13. Now that’s what I call comic-color incompetence. Jimmy Johnson writes, “it often was obvious the colorists did not actually read the strip they were coloring.” You think? If that first colorist did read the strip, he missed the point. And because he did, so do we.

    Dana, on Janis’s outfit in the second version: as the saying goes, the plural of anecdote isn’t data, but my other half likes long T-shirts and nightshirts as nightwear. I get the impression from the ads that she’s not alone. As for what’s often (not) worn under that shirt, especially in summer, I’d say that the strip’s second version is about right.

    Further evidence:

    Rather than the nursery rhyme, that flash of pink might be what Johnson is referring to by “not intended to be dirty.” But either way, that bugs me a bit. I’ll give him “racy,” but when the subject is nonviolent bedroom activity between loving consenting adults, “dirty” doesn’t work for me.

    Johnson may get a gleam in his eye now and then, but I can’t think of a time that he’s ever crossed the taste line. Not even in the unpublished version of his infamous leaf-blower-bubble-bath scene.

  14. My parents had a pair of black pjs with pink collar that they said they wore (like this) on their honeymoon and would occasionally wear at home to sleep in within my memory, but I am not sure if they wore them within either my sister’s memories as I am the eldest.

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