Classic Molarity 1-5

Author: Michael Molinelli '82


This is the first cartoon published in The Observer on September 12, 1977. I don’t know if it foretold of the endurance or humor of the strip, but it was where it began. The headlines on the cover of The Observer that day were “Students want draft beers, lower prices” and “Morrissey fire ruins rooms.” On the back cover it was “Notre Dame escapes Pitt in opener” because we broke Pitt quarterback Matt Cavanaugh’s wrist in the first quarter. Rusty Lisch was our quarterback; Joe Montana was second string.


In cartoon #2, I was playing around with Jim Mole’s costume. I thought the idea of a funny T-shirt might be a good running gag. But I soon figured it would too much of a burden if the strip took off. Chuck makes his entrance — always with the word “fascist.”


In cartoon #3, I established Chuck as the campus radical, then only 10 years out of sync with the typical college student.


In cartoon #4, Doug (Mitch’s roommate) is only seen in one cartoon, although his name appears here and a couple of other strips. I had originally seen him as a Navy ROTC. But the cartoon was being published in the paper so erratically at the beginning, trying to develop four characters was just too hard. So I went with the three: Jim, Chuck and Mitch. Years later I realized that I had separated my personality into three characters: Mitch, the ego; Jim, the superego and Chuck, the id.


Molarity Redux, the updated, continuing adventures of Jim Mole and friends, are posted monthly. For those new strips, check out the cartoon archives. And see strips 2-6 of classic Molarity.