Finally we come to Mama K.

Or Karen Rosenstern if you really want to know her first name.

I drew her in the first flashback sequence (Artie and Rick’s first meeting) as a way to tie that sequence up in a knot and then I mentioned her having a problem with shiksas in the second flashback sequence but I never, ever, thought she would appear again in the strip. Then I thought about Rick and how he grew up, with an… interesting but not motherly mother, and a father… who I can’t tell you very much about but who was not a very responsible person and realized that to come out as normal as he is Rick needed a support system. That’s why he’s so forgiving of Artie’s various faults, why he stuck it out with Bea even though at the time he was a big deal rock star and could have been having a lot of fun on the road. Rick needed a family and adopted the Rosensterns and in return they adopted him. Mama K opened her house to him, fed him, gave him advice, told him off when he deserved it, partly because Mama K didn’t like Ellie Dodge, partly because Rick was Jewish, partly because Rick was Artie’s only real friend, but mostly because Rick needed her. And she is a formidable woman, a great lawyer, who raised four great lawyers, a strong willed matriarch.

Karen Rosenstern is very detailed, very careful, very planned. She planned her pregnancies to occur every four years. She had her first child, a daughter, right on schedule when she turned thirty. The second when she turned 34. That was where she had planned to end, a plan that always involved just two children, but she’d given birth to another daughter and the plan had always been to have a girl AND a boy. Five years later she gave birth to Artie. She thought she was too old, she thought it wasn’t going to happen, she worried that it would be another daughter, so when it finally all came together Karen went a little overboard. Spoiling Artie, overprotecting him, trying to control who his friends would be and why. Artie ended up in a bad, friendless place so when Ellie Dodge proposed that Artie meet up with her son Rick, Karen reluctantly agreed.

When she turned forty Karen thought she had gone through menopause and could not get pregnant again so stopped using birth control. Nine months later Beatrice was born.

Mama K’s plans had been to have two kids, a boy and a girl. A small, controllable family. Instead she ended up with three daughters, a son, and a boy who she informally adopted. She definitely will be back.

As to why I made Rick Jewish? Tune in tomorrow for part four.

(Ain’t I a Stinker?)