Sunday Funnies – LOLs, June 19th, 2022

Okay, is it missing a beat, or brilliantly leaving unsaid, that Martin changes his mind because the patron reveals he is preparing to use highlighter or underline if he doesn’t have Post-Its?

Thanks to Boise Ed for sending this in and noting how it does “clever damage to the fourth wall”.

And a nice plus here is that Percy was not brought in just for this meta moment, but in following days has some entirely non-meta joke conversations with Clayton.


  1. I don’t think there’s a suggesting he’s going to turn to more permanent means, it’s just Martin doing book person things, If someone displays an interest, push it.

  2. Something about the levitating phone and inexplicable abandoned ping-pong ball doesn’t help the baseball strip.

    Those are some huge books in that library(?) in the Schwadron comic.

  3. But, @Urban, in panel 2 Martin says “Afraid not”, refusing the patron sticky notes from his original request. So what has happened by panel 4 to make him offer a wealth of them? I don’t see it as just “expressing interest” because the already was sort of doing that in panel 1. But in between, he brings up the idea of annotating books.

  4. Yep, what he says is that he wants to “mark them all” so that he can find them later. Which of course can be accomplished two basic ways, with stickies or with actual marking.

    I’m not sure “permanent” is the issue, since he might well use pencil. But to the librarian it’s still preferable to enable the “stickies” choice.

  5. Well, he brings up the idea of capturing phrases that interest him, to revisit later. That’s a different prospect to needing a sticky note for a shopping list or something.

  6. If the librarian is supposed to be helpful, pushing an interest, he does a severe about-face — he is about as unhelpful as can be at first, being sarcastic, and offering non-useful advice (would you be able to borrow post-it notes from an office supply store??). He is clearly projecting an attitude the diametric opposite of “can I help?”: he is not interested in the purpose of the patron, and in fact he does have spare post-it notes. But he’d rather be unhelpful. (Sadly, this is an attitude I observe in my own local library, where I am on the board of the Friends of the Library, and it is a difficult attitude to train away from — you can try to tell them to smile, ask, “how can I help?”, but if they truly don’t have the spirit of wanting to be helpful, then those things come across as even more intimidating/insulting than if they were to just be surly.)
    So when the patron turns it around on him, obliquely offering a threat (I will deface the book), he is suddenly very helpful to the purpose of the patron, belying his previous obstructionism. But note it isn’t because he has suddenly had a change of heart, it is because he has been coerced into it — note the look of worry on his face, and the sweat droplets around his face (@Grawlix, what are those called?).
    This cartoon fits the fundamental archetype of hero achieving his means by cleverly defeating the villain; to be clear, the hero is the patron, the villain is the librarian.

  7. Retired librarian here agreeing with Lark. Clearly this librarian is not a shining example of our noble calling, and is not inclined to be out of the box helpful, but he is still not so depraved as to be willing to stand by and ignore the threat of a book being defaced. Even rogues and villains have limits beyond which they will not go.

    (Post-it notes, heck, sure I’d give them. I gave away my own pens and pencils and floppy discs (back in those days) and, in a few instances, even money (mostly quarters for the pay phone); so I’d certainly pass out trivial stuff from the supply cabinet. Good times, until they weren’t.

  8. Well, given that the pitcher is neither left-handed nor right-handed, in fact not handed at all, I don’t know how he throws the ball, but perhaps it has to do with the direction he is coiled. Does a left-hand-thread-coiled batter have an advantage against a right-hand-thread-coiled pitcher?

  9. In panel 1, the patron just wants something that the library doesn’t normally offer.
    In panel 3, the patron has explained that he wants it because he’s enjoying the book. That kick’s Martin’s “anything for the love of books” into high gear. If the library happened to be out of sticky notes, the 4th panel would have been the same because he would have run to the store, purchased them, and run back in order to help someone like that. I don’t read it as a threat of marking, just that the legitimate justification has been offered.

  10. I have to disagree with larK and Shrug. Martin is probably the most helpful of the librarians in this strip, always eager to help patrons find a book or with their research. The library almost certainly has rules about not handing out supplies to patrons due to very tight budgets. The problem is that he’s unusually snarky in panel 2; normally, he’d explain why they can’t just give out stuff like that to patrons (and has in the past). And he’s definitely responding to the implied threat of marking, whether highlighter or just pencil. Hence the overreaction in panel 4. This is a character who would throw himself on a live grenade to save a cheap paperback copy of a book he thought wasn’t very good.

    Of course, as someone commented at the comic’s website, the adhesive in sticky notes is also bad for books. That’s likely not really an issue for a general lending library (as this is generally shown to be), but could explain Martin being a little snippy in panel 2.

  11. Thanks for the updates. I’m not familiar with the strip and hence not with the character Martin, so had only this one to go by for interpretation. Glad to learn Martin is actually an honorable upholder of the best traditions of librarianship.

  12. I really had to look – and again and again to see “library comic” just below the strip and do not think I have seen it before. So I was trying to figure out why the store employee who was selling him a book cared if he marked up his own book. The “not an office supply store” added to this thought for me. “This is not a store” would have worked better for someone who did not know it was about a library.

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