There’s a meta subtext to this strip and the previous, where Walky’s waxing nostalgic about the strip as it existed before the shifts and changes to the status quo marched things inevitably forward.  See the It’s Walky! banner currently at the top of this page?  With the original roster?  I kind of missed those days, such as they were.  I was just getting the handle on how to write those five characters as a group when Sal left and Joyce took a hiatus and as of this point of the strip onward, those five together aren’t even Squad 128 anymore.

It’s a feeling I took somewhat to heart in Shortpacked!, when plot developments hit at a less breakneck pace.  I just wanted each “era” of that strip to have time to breathe.   I wanted to leave less opportunities behind, and not squander potential neat ideas because, oops, that character’s changed forever now.   It’s a point of view that eventually birthed the concept of Dumbing of Age.  Those kids barely age, and that’s by design.  I want to keep them at a certain point, really dive into who they are at a specific moment in their lives.  Finish the meal, so to speak, instead of having to constantly throw stuff away after taking just one bite of it.