If a comic strip runs long enough, there will always come a story line that reveals a decline in quality of not only the writing but also the artist’s dedication to his or her craft. Examples of this sinister climacteric are:
- The over-reliance Schulz developed on plotlines that involved Woodstock and Snoopy’s freakish siblings.
- The “Coming after” that Liz Patterson of the Foobiverse endured.
- Batiuk’s ineptly researched “Homecoming of Wally Winkerbean” glurgefest and insult to every serviceman or woman who ever lived or ever will.
- Billingsley’s plodding refusal to stop reminding us that bullying is wrong, second-hand smoke is an evil and that people need to pay attention in school.
Now, Greg Evans can join the roster of epic failure with the “Return of Dirk” plotline. It started off bad when the De Groots ran around like chickens with their heads cut off because they were too ignorant, fearful and stupid to contact the police; since they're too damned stupid to realize that Luann probably has anemia, we can't expect miracles from them. It got worse in a frightful hurry, though. That's because The Grin That Walks has decided to fix things with a scheme that would work fine in a sitcom but have horrific potential consequences in the real world; said clever plan (which Brad will follow despite knowing it won't work) is to have Luann's enemy Tiffany tell Dirk that Toni doesn't live where she really lives. Since TJ can always convince Brad to go along with something stupid despite always leaving him holding the bag, we're in for a somewhat more horrific version of the Coming After. What thus started out as mere idiocy has escalated to criminal recklessness, a recklessness made worse because Tiff might decide that Luann would be a better stooge than she is. It doesn’t matter what the outcome is any more; Evans has declared creative and moral bankruptcy.