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Comic Strip / Gil Thorp

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Gil Thorp is a long-running (1958– ) sports-oriented newspaper comic strip, originally created by Jack Berrill and more recently written by Neal Rubin and illustrated by Rod Whigham. The strip details the everyday life of Gil Thorp, the athletic director at Milford High School. Besides the expected sports stories, the strip has been known to delve into sensitive topics like teen pregnancy, steroid use, and drugs.

This comic strip contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Gay: Lini Verde is a flashy-dressing Glee fan who's also a clutch player for the basketball team. Despite the large number of signs, his sexual orientation hasn't been stated. The storyline involves a website that calls him unpleasant names, but the exact nature of those names is unrevealed (probably a good idea for all sorts of reasons). When one character suggests wearing pink to support him, she gets the response "This is about bullying, not ... pinkness!"
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Gil and his wife used to have a couple of kids. They rarely appeared in the strip, since it was focused on Gil's job, and they were too young to be at Milford High themselves, but they used to appear on the annual Christmas card strip. Then in 2009, they didn't, and they've never appeared or been mentioned since, even when storylines do involve Gil's home life.
    • The kids returned in 2022, under new author Henry Barajas. (The older child [who is now nonbinary] appears to be about 15 and the boy around 12.)
  • Honor Before Reason: No matter how much of a star player you are, Gil will bench your ass for bad conduct, poor grades or after-hours shenanigans. Milford has lost more than a few games due to this.
  • Huge Schoolgirl: Addison "Boo" Radley, a six-foot basketball star who eventually starts a Tiny Guy, Huge Girl relationship with True Standish, even becoming a Violently Protective Girlfriend, much to his embarassment. Then she's killed by a drunk driver.
  • Issue Drift: As editorial restrictions relaxed, Berrill began using the strip to discuss potentially controversial issues like teen pregnancy and steroid use. When Jerry Jenkins (co-author of the Left Behind series) took over, the strips began to get a distinctive religious bent. This vanished after Jenkins left and Neal Rubin took over.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Valley Tech are Milford's rivals, and often fit the "grueling soulless regimen" version of the trope.
  • Shout-Out: Jack Berrill named Gil Thorp after baseball player Gil Hodges and multisport athlete Jim Thorpe.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Luke Martinez, a rival coach introduced in 2022 by new writer Henry Barajas, is prone to this. After his team beats Milford in the season's last football game he boasts to Marty Moon that they're lucky they have him for a coach instead of Gil. This is when Marty is trying to give him a chance to be gracious.
  • Writer on Board: When Jerry Jenkins became the new writer following Jack Berrill's death, there was a sudden sharp rise in religious overtones.