This is a fascinating story, not only because of the serious retconning that goes on in it, but also because it is clear that the author of the story, Beth Cruikshank, Lynn’s ex-sister-in-law, has not been informed that Warren is making appearances in the strip this week, which directly contradict her storyline. As for the rest, I will do my usual quote and comment:One warm July morning in the summer that Warren Blackwood turned four, his father took a rare day off from farming, packed the family into their dusty station wagon and took them to an air show in nearby Milborough.
The idea that Milborough, which I have always thought was basically a suburb of Toronto was also a farming community struck me a little odd. A quick internet search for Toronto-area farms shows mainly farms which are used for tourism, but things may have changed over time since the early 1980s. Nevertheless, much of the story has to do with the idea that Warren’s brother and his fertile wife take over the life of Milborough farming. Oddly enough, this would make Warren a lot like John Patterson.When the Snowbirds, the Canadian Air Force's elite aerial acrobatics team, thundered into the air for their breath-taking ballet among the clouds, Warren fell into awe-struck silence.
The story says that in 2002, Warren is 25, which means he was born in 1977. At age 4, when he sees the Snowbirds, this is 1981. According to the Snowbirds website, the 431 Squadron was re-activated on 1 April 1978 as the 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, more commonly known as the Snowbirds. This means that in 1981, Warren would have seen the group when they were 3 years into their existence; so this is possible.Early the next morning he said his good-byes and headed for the bus station to buy his ticket to North Bay, where he had enrolled to start training as a helicopter pilot.
There is no explanation as to why Warren Blackwood would go to North Bay for helicopter flight training at Canadore College in North Bay. National Helicopters is in Toronto and also has a helicopter flight training program. It is also interesting that Warren starts off as an airplane pilot and then moves to helicopters. I wonder if there is some sort of Rod Johnston parallel.The trouble was, even though Liz was obviously attracted to him too, she was just coming off a bad break-up and was skittish about dating again. He managed to talk her into going along on a few group outings to movies and campus events, but she evaded all his attempts to arrange anything more intimate. The harder he tried, the firmer she was in refusing.
This makes it seem like Warren and Elizabeth are at the same school. They are not. Elizabeth is at Nippissing University. Warren is at Canadore College. They are in the same town, but different schools. I wonder if anyone explained this to Beth Cruikshank. I know I would not have gotten it had it not been for the Research part of the For Better or For Worse
website.He kept it casual, though, making sure he stayed available just in case Liz finally caved. He couldn't get her out of his mind.
In April’s Real Blog
, we call this type of obsession the Patterson allure—the unnatural attraction men have to a Patterson woman, mainly Liz. It remains a theme throughout the rest of this, where Warren will find some other woman and have a relationship, and then he will run back to Liz, with whom he has had no real relationship.He had a discreet chat with Liz' roommate and found out when she was heading home to Milborough for the break, and when she was coming back. He had a flight test the day she was leaving, which made it impossible to link up with her then. But on the way back to North Bay, he made sure he was on the same bus.
This makes Warren seem like a stalker. In fact, if you look at this strip, you will see that Liz changed her bus plans in order to attend April’s birthday party.http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000599.php
Liz says she has to get on the late bus if she stays for April’s B-day party.http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000540.php
In this strip, all indications are that Warren returning from a visit with his brother, since he shows off a picture of his 3-year-old nephew.The prospect of the adventure helped to improve things between him and Liz in the meantime. As long as he didn't treat their time together too much like "dates", she was happy to be with him. At times, she relaxed enough to allow a few kisses and hugs, sweet moments of intimacy that left him wanting more.
Yes, I know lots of people kiss on their friends on outings that aren’t dates. And somewhere in there, Liz starts wearing Warren’s clothing, which also a common thing for people who kiss on not dates. Beth Cruikshank, like Liz herself, is trying to say that Warren and Liz are just friends, but just as Candace does not believe Liz, I don’t believe Beth.http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000557.php When the helicopter ride finally happened, it was worth every bit of the effort he had made. Liz was thrilled. She came out of it starry-eyed and more than a little in love with him, although she would never have admitted it.
A theme for Liz’s life is to never admit you are in love and here it is again."And you got an ice-cold grog ready for me, right? Crikey, I'm ready to hit the piss after that bloody long run. You blokes are right back of Bourke up here." The pilot grinned at him. "Well, come on then, mate. Let's get on it."
Thus begins an embarrassingly bad sequence of dialogues involving Australian slang words and the character of Dray Colley, whom I think of as Stray Colley throughout the rest of this storyline. I get the impression that Beth Cruikshank, got a book of Australian slang and tried to insert as many words as possible, in order to create this character. Ironically, as Beth Cruikshank paints this picture of Warren Blackwood, loner, who has lost touch with his family and friends, she seems to ignore the fact that Warren and Dray are great friends and just get closer as times goes on.Liz was as funny and interesting in her correspondence as she was in real life, and they had some great talks online.
That’s too bad, because Liz is not very funny or very interesting. This line shows us that Warren cannot think sensibly about her.http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/000162.php
The quoted cartoon strips talking about Liz’s graduation leave out the part where Liz says Warren stops in when he can. In this narrative, he never stopped in; because it works against the overriding theme of the story, that Warren loses his friends from not spending time with them.The happy glow of his rekindled romance kept him warm all the way to Montreal. It didn't last ten minutes after touch-down. There was a message waiting for him to call his boss as soon as he arrived.Their conversation was short, unpleasant and to the point. At the end of it, Warren was unemployed.
We had often suspected that Warren Blackwood couldn’t make these trips for Liz without consequences and there it is. He can’t. I applaud the realism.Warren stayed on in BC, picking up work where he could. After the tight teamwork and close camaraderie of fire-fighting, it was lonely being on his own again. He found himself thinking more and more about Liz, and wondering if he had made a mistake in letting her go. They still e-mailed occasionally.
This is repeated over and over. In order to get Liz, Warren can’t just e-mail, but has to quit his job, and he wonders if he is making a mistake by not doing that.He knew she was dating other guys, but there didn't seem to be anyone serious.
Unless he is talking about Howard Bunt, there are no other guys in the time period post-school, pre-Paul.Shortly before Christmas, an e-card from Liz pinged into his in-box. The message in it sent Warren into a tailspin. It sounded like she might be getting serious about some guy she'd met up north. If he wanted to get back together with her, he had to move fast.
Here tries to say Warren knew in advance about Paul Wright. This does not match the strip.But when she met him at the airfield in White River, there was another man with her. She introduced him as Paul Wright, the policeman she had mentioned in her e-card. The way the other guy stared Warren down - and kissed Liz a long, hot goodbye - sent an unmistakable 'hands-off' message.
Actually, Warren doesn’t know about Paul Wright and there is no kissing.http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/001574.php
Actually, Warren and Paul shake hands.Now and then Warren caught a glimpse of an odd dark mood in his friend, and wondered if Dray's footloose lifestyle was beginning to wear thin even for him. But the other man laughed uproariously when he asked. "Plenty of time for that." It was a standard answer whenever anyone mentioned settling down. "Heaps of time for the dull married life when we're cranky old foggers."
And the moral of the story is that you could die at any moment, so it is better for you to become a homebody and marry as early as possible. Otherwise, you may miss out on that married life.The 'bush telegraph' told him within days of Liz' decision that she was leaving her teaching job in Mtigwaki to move back to southern Ontario. He also knew that her boyfriend Paul, the policeman, had asked for a transfer and was expected to follow her. But it was Dray who brought him the most startling piece of news, one day late in November.
The same “bush telegraph” which is amazingly aware of Constable Paul Wright's every move, is completely unaware of all the time Elizabeth is spending with Anthony Caine, which you would think would be a concern of Warren Blackwood also."Double-dipping, her copper is." Dray grinned as he popped the cap off another beer. "He's a right downy one, that lad! Got your Liz mooning after him down south, thinking he's the one and only and there's wedding bells going to chime. Meantime he's busy sucking face with another sheila in Mtigwaki."
Warren was riveted. "You're sure? This is solid?""Damn straight, mate. Young Paul bunks in with that beaut of a new teacher whenever he's in the village, and he's in the village a lot. That's the rock solid word." "There's more, too." Dray smirked. "He's nailed himself a transfer, all right. But it isn't to anywhere near sweet Liz. He's lobbed off the other direction. Up north to Spruce Narrows.""And Liz doesn't know yet?" Warren dragged in a deep breath. "Man, I have to tell her this. She'll drop that jerk like a stone."Dray made a noise that was pure insult. "Don't be daft. You go dobbing on Paul to her, you'll be the one who's the loser. Patience, lad. Bide your time. She's got mates in Mtigwaki, right? Sooner or later, one of them will let slip and she'll twig to the truth. Then you slide on in, slick as butter, and pick up the pieces."
We pretty much have to ignore the differences between this and what happened in the strip, because Dray is getting his news from another source which might not be as accurate.http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/002253.php He knew the minute Liz turned on him that he'd blown it. If he'd just kept quiet, waited for her to tell him about Paul's betrayal, she would never have known that he had set up the whole humiliating incident. Now, just as Dray had warned him, she was almost as furious with him as she was with Paul.
This narrative matches the strip to a certain degree. Liz says she is mad at Warren and Paul.It was late in March before the big break-through finally came. Liz called him up and invited him to a party being held to honour her brother's success as a writer.
And let us note that she invites Warren Blackwood, but does not invite Anthony Caine, even though Warren lives in Timmins 8 ½ hours drive away and Anthony lives in Milborough. That shows you where Anthony rates.When Dray announced that he was chucking his job to fly for a company doing climate change research into the remotest and most barren regions of the far Arctic, Warren leapt at the chance to go with him. Two days later, they were in Yellowknife chatting up the researchers and checking out their new machines.
So, the retcon story is that Warren took a brand new job in Yellowknife and was not simply doing something required as a part of his old job. And also, he does this within a week after he was leaping in the air that Liz would go out with him again. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. It's an obvious retcon intended to show that Liz was right to spit at that phone.They found nothing at all. There was no trace of the chopper or its occupants. They had vanished into the arctic wastelands as completely as if they had never existed.
As Dray disappears into nothing, I am reminded of the movie, A Beautiful Mind,
where the main character discovers that his best friend is only a part of his imagination.The last time he had spoken to Liz, late in the fall, she had been missing him badly. She would surely be delighted to see him and more than willing to take him in. He didn't take a chance on phoning, just grabbed a cab to her place. It would be easier to say all that he needed to say in person. With luck, he wouldn't have to say much at all.
Beth Cruikshank goes strip by strip through the March strips with Warren and Elizabeth. You can tell the retconner does not like this sequence with Warren at all. It is almost all reinterpretation that Warren is out of control and regrets his every move, as opposed to the way it looks to us and to Liz, that he is intentionally trying to wreck Liz's relationship with Anthony.http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/003017.php http://www.fborfw.com/strip_fix/archives/003019.php
Beth seems to be intentionally leaving out these strips which fly in the face of her explanation of the events. In these strips, Warren clearly has planned to leave his job to be with Liz and he has made plans to teach at the flight school so he can be near Liz. It is very much like the situation with Paul Wright.She reached down and engulfed him in a hug so tight it cut off his wind. When she let him go, he could see the gleam of tears in her eyes."You're getting the best breakfast in the house, young man. Steak and eggs and pancakes and hash browns and anything else you want. And don't you dare try to refuse."
This part referencing the chainsaw rescue from the first part of the story seems to be an apology for the poor reader who has to have been reading through this whole thing and thinking it was one shameful slam on helicopter pilots and the work they do, over and over again. Deep down inside, Beth must realize that a lot of helicopter pilots do have wives and families.
He phoned his parents in Arizona several times, and made the effort to really listen to them for the first time in his life. They were, he realized, amazing people. It was shameful that he had neglected them so long.
Cheeze. Even his parents don't know Warren. Although I like the fact that they are snowbirds in Arizona.He looked around him at the comfortable, homey family room, then out the window at the sky beyond. "I'm going."
This is probably a spoiler for the way the daily strip sequence with Warren is going to end, but it is obvious with this ending, Lynn didn’t bother to tell Beth Cruikshank there was more to come with Warren Blackwood.