I’ve made no secret that I have a long, long term plan for the SuperFogeys.  Pieces of a puzzle that I want to lay down and that will add up into something (I hope) special one day.  This is one of those pieces.
I won’t say I always knew it would be Jerry to get shot, but I knew it was going to be somebody.
Fan reaction on this one was divided.  Some people got really, truly concerned.  They saw it as a dip into a darkness they didn’t want in SF.  Others saw it as a bold choice and were excited by the possibilities.
Either way you look at it, this is a break from the norm.  Personally, this is the sort of thing that gets me excited about a story.  I like being told that a story is about “this” or that “this” is the tone and then just having my mind blown when the left turn comes in.  SF will NEVER become a drama (or melodrama) strip, but that’s not to say there can’t be occasional dips into that territory.  I think that makes the humor all the more poignant and, well, humorous.
All that aside, I should have done a better job wth Dictator Tot in panel one.  For such an important strip, I wish I could have drawn a little more “on model.”