Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
One of the themes of the “Younger Days” comics is that every person has secrets.  Some may be personal secrets or family secrets (with children they are pretty much the same), and some may be things you didn’t know just because they didn’t tell you.  Many readers bring up questions about mysteries in the strips and sometimes mysteries are revealed in the strips, sometimes by the author.  Some things are revealed to the readers and not to the characters; other things may be known by the characters and not the readers.  Some characters may know some “secret” while others may not.  

Much of this is possible because the strip is quite realistic, that is, there are consistent characters that have relationships and backstories, and they live in a world that is fairly consistent with the real world.  Also, the author has a lot of extra information about each character, and even many characters who have never been seen in the strip.  

Background Mysteries

We have learned both Max’s parents and Sam’s father have died, and it was suggested they died in a house fire.……
But the details are scarce.  We don’t know if it was the same fire (although it is very unlikely two closely related families would both have fatal house fires), although it is suggested it was.  Questions remain: How “long ago” did this happen? (Both Max and Sam have had dreams about this, but haven’t stated they remember it.)  What caused the fire?  

There is the question about the exact relation between Sam and Max.  We know they are cousins being raised by Sam’s mother, Alexis.  But which parents were siblings?  There are 4 possibilities: 1. Their fathers were brothers, 2. Their mothers were sisters, 3. Sam’s father and Max’s mother were siblings, and 4. Sam’s mother and Max’s father were siblings.  (My guess is #4.—it would explain a lot.)  Also possible is that both 1.& 2. are true or that 3.& 4. are true, making Sam and Max double cousins, but probably not.  

Both Max and Sam have scars on their backs.  Max’s certainly looks like a burn scar.  Sam’s may be but it also could be a scrape scar.  Are these from the fire?  Or something else?  
And what about other relatives?  We’ve never heard mention of grandparents, who would very likely be involved if children lost parents.  Were they killed in the same fire?  Or are they dead from some other cause?  Do they live in places so distant they are practically out of the scene?  Or was there some custody battle and they are now out of the picture?  Are there other uncles and aunts?  (Once it was suggested they visited relatives.)

Moving on to other characters, one of the most mysterious characters is Dan, as we readers never see his face.  It seemed for a long time that it was merely the author teasing us readers by always drawing Dan from the side or back, and if he had to be drawn facing the reader, something would block his face.  We see his mouth and nose, but never his eyes.  But the other characters do see him face on, and don’t act like it’s anything unusual.  Even Bill, who was startled by the sight of Dan’s face when he pulled the hood off, hadn’t reacted seeing his face straight on just before.………
(My take—Dan has some birthmark, scar, or deformity on the side of his face that the hood covers.  Covering it was instituted by his family early on—his baby pictures have him wearing a hood!)…
We know little about Dan’s home.  When Jowy asked him when he could stay over at Dan’s house, Dan dodged the question.…
We know his family owns an ice cream shop where he sometimes works.…
Dan claims his father “listens to me and teaches me new stuff every day!”…
Jowy has even been to Dan’s house.  So what’s the problem there?…
And why does Dan “hate” (translated – “scared to death of”) ghosts?  He explained, but readers got the skipped over version:…
About Dan and Jowy’s friendship—How was Jowy surprised to find out that Dan worked, and that his family had an ice cream shop?  I doubt that Dan deliberately concealed it from him; he just hadn’t told him until then—an incidental secret.  It seems to me that Dan and Jowy, although they had known each other for some time, hadn’t become best friends until Dan had to help Jowy with the missing glasses (and missing pants)  (March 26-29, 2014).  Before then, we readers saw them together only with Max or Lili.  I expect the first sleepover (June 28-July 3, 2014) became a bonding time for them, and the ensuing unsuccessful attempt to find what Sam was afraid of (July 24, August 5, 13,  2014) brought them into alliance.  

One thing that was slowly revealed was that the bully’s name was Bill and that he had been close to Sam years before, but he didn’t know who she was now, even as he longingly remembered her and still wants to find her.  Until very recently, he thought that Sam was a boy, Max’s brother.  We know that Sam remembers Bill from those early years.  What we don’t know is if Sam is aware that Bill the bully is the same Bill she was close to when very young (it doesn’t look like it).  (We’re not sure she knew his name before Max told her, but it’s hard to believe she wouldn’t as much interaction as she has had with him.)  

And because of the bullying and fighting back by both Max and Sam, you’d think the parents (Sam’s mother and Bill’s father) would be aware of the past friendship, and thus know each other fairly well.  Do they?  (I can’t help by expect Sam’s mother to say “I don’t see why you and Bill have such a hard time getting along now.  You used to be such good friends when you were little” and find Sam totally surprised.)  

And what happened to Bill’s mother?  

It seems odd to many that Bill should be best friends with Mark, since they are so different in personality, and particularly in their reaction to Max.  But this may be a case, sort of like Dan and Jowy, of opposites attracting.  It also seems their friendship is fairly recent.  It appears that Mark had heard from Bill about “the Toddler”, but he was surprised when he actually met Max… (& following)
—he saw Max immediately as a friend, while Bill wanted to be mean to him.  So he couldn’t have been around when Bill was picking on Max:… or…
He could have been the one talked to here:…
I would surmise that Mark and Bill had been friends not too long.  Long enough for Mark to know what Bill did when he got mad (feed the stray cats), but not long enough to be around when Bill was mean to Max.  In fact, I would also surmise that before Mark befriended him, Bill was probably friends with the bully “Stubs” and his henchmen.  By befriending Bill, Mark probably separated him from “Stubs”.  And after being friends with Mark, Bill, although still a bully by tendency, saw “Stubs’” picking on Max more from Mark’s point of view, and unexpectedly defended Max.…
But what did Mark see in Bill in the first place?  Here I would surmise that they probably had some common interest, such as sports or some other things we don’t know about.  Also Mark may see bringing Bill to the good side as one mission in his life.  He sees potential in Bill that others don’t.  
I expect that when they met or first had conflict Bill would have made some threat to fight, Mark stood his ground, and Bill respected that, as most boys would have retreated.  As far as fighting between Bill and Mark, there are three possibilities: 1. They have never fought each other; Mark just stared Bill down.  2. They had some fight to establish dominance, and Mark won.  3. They may fight a lot, just for fun.  But the important thing that keeps them friends is that they can (and frequently do) be at odds, fall out, but the next time they see each other, they’re friends again.  

What about Mark’s family?  We have seen his mother, Emily here:…
But so far, we haven’t heard mention of his father, and Mark seems more a daddy’s boy than a momma’s boy.  Does he have any siblings?  

There are also some questions about school:
We are told that Max and Jowy are in the same class, though Max is two years older.  I would guess that Jowy is one year ahead and Max either one year behind, or his birthday is a time that he’s older than most in the class.  He also might have been delayed from the injuries of his traumatic past.  
It appears that Dan and Lili are in the same class.…
We don’t see any other regulars in Sam’s class.  Bill and Mark are in the school, but we haven’t seen them in class.  

There is also the question of what Max’s health condition is.  He seems healthy most of the time, although he gets sick easily.  He suffered from the trauma of losing his parents, and apparently getting burnt badly.  It has been said that his enuresis (bed wetting, if not contained) is secondary to the trauma, and this seems to go along with halted growth (which is why he looks 5 at age 9).  It has also been thought that Max suffers PTSD.  I don’t know how that would fit in his prognosis, but I would think (from what I’ve read in child development books) that a child whose growth is stalled from trauma, when health is recovered grows faster than normal to almost catch up with lost time.  What does this hold for Max (in theory, since as a comic strip character, he’ll never grow up)?  Would he be stuck at looking like 5 all his life, or would he grow up reverting to normal—or something else?  

Then there are various sundry mysteries:

How does Max exchange clothes with others when the lights go out?
What is that balloon that sometimes follows Max around, and can vanish?  
How did Dan grow so much in a short time at the beginning of the strip?
Why was Max getting distracted (October 9-12, 2014)?
What’s in Max’s backpack that makes it so heavy (November 11-13, 2014)?
What was “The Toy” that Max was so mesmerized with Christmas 2014?
Why did Sam’s mom leave overnight when Sam ran the washing machine (October 13-25, 2014)?  
Where did Sam’s mom take her when Lili stayed with Max (September 6-15, 2015)?
How do those Teddy bears eyes look the way they do to express emotion?
This was updated on Jan 28, 2016.  I put it in a specific section of the Fan Group page, but found it could not be commented on.  So I'm putting it back on the original page, updated, which is also in the Featured section of the Fan Group page. 
Add a Comment:
cmr-1990 Featured By Owner Aug 15, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
I think I have a hunch about a few of these mysteries myself, but they come from knowing Fernando for a long time so won't say them :)

I have myself considered making a series of short stores based on YD, and expanding on it a lil bit.
Poetman95 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I had some additional thoughts on some of the mysteries, and a lot of the information I have is gleamed from old comments made by the author I've read. I thought that Sam's mother and Max's mother were sisters, and that may have been confirmed in a comment, I'm not sure. And  I think in a comment in one old strip about riding in a car, there is mention of grandparents who live far away (and necessitate the long car drive and subsequent sleeping children).

The washing machine overnight was due to Mom having to work late (very late, next morning late). That brings up another mystery that may or may not have been mentioned above; what does their Mom do for a living?

I am curious what Sam and Mom were doing overnight and leaving Max with a babysitter (I don't have a reason for this one). I am hoping sometime we get to see the family in a hotel. Why? Because as kids hotels were so much fun! I want that nostalgia back!
Trail-er Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015
I'm disinclined to believe that Sam's and Max's mothers were sisters because the look so different (now that we've seen Max's mother in the video), not that that is proof! 

The strips of them riding in a car (Jan 12, 2014) DCrisisbeta replied they went on a trip to visit relatives, but the relation wasn't mentioned.  So I missed that comment in my composition. 

Mom's occupation was a subject for comments.  Some reader offered some possibilities, but it wasn't settled. 
Poetman95 Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
While it's true they look different, there is still a possibility. I've heard people say that my brothers and I look alike and others they we don't look alike at all, especially with different hair colors. So, conceivably, they could be sisters, with one having red hair and the other having hair as black as ink. For instance, the family could be Irish like myself; there are those with very red hair and those with black hair, in the same family. Meanwhile, I just have brown hair.

If you are correct, however, I feel that makes it even more heartwarming. It's one thing for the aunt to be taking care of a blood relative, yet it is even more sweet to see the love and attention she gives Max if they have no blood relation whatsoever. Now, I don't mean this to say that blood relation is important to family, as I don't believe that (I have a number of cousins adopted from other countries who are unmistakably family).
Trail-er Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2015
Actually, the scenario I thought was most likely was that Sam's mother was a sister to Max's father, so she would have a blood relation.  In this, I thought she might see Sam and Max's relationship as a reflection of hers with Max's father. 

As far as the rest of your second paragraph, I certainly agree. 
Poetman95 Featured By Owner Dec 19, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
I like your description of the comic's overall theme being of secrets, as that is not something I have thought much about. I always equated it with the theme of nostalgia, particularly childhood. Yet, it's not the nostalgia that many people think of, relating to specific cultural icons, music and entertainment (a lot of "90's nostalgia" nowadays, yet also a great deal throughout the decades; 50's, 60's, 70s's, 80's). Rather, it's nostalgia of pure childhood, timeless childhood. A lack of responsibility and worries that plague us now. It's something rare and beautiful and unlike anything I've found before.

I used to think I was the only one who had similar thoughts. It's comforting to know I'm not alone.

I really hope that the strip gets updated soon, and although I can be patient, I just enjoy it too much. 
Trail-er Featured By Owner Dec 20, 2015
Well, actually I said that secrets was ONE of the themes of the comic. 
There are a lot of themes diligent readers can find.  Besides nostalgia for childhood, there's the entertainment value of children as they learn things.  And I'm sure, many other themes. 
Poetman95 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Something that I was recently pondering was during the babysitting arc in one of the comments. People were wondering why Max still needs help with his night needs at his age (although I don't find it that strange). A comment by someone after having spoken to Fernando states that his bedwetting may have begun shortly after the "event" in the past. He stated that his "mother" took over with helping him get ready for bed when he "physically and emotionally couldn't."


That begs the question... Just how injured was Max by the fire? Was he rendered immobile for a period of time? Burns to the back are definitely a cause for immobility, especially for someone so young. I'd also like to state that Max's regression is actually very common for those with PTSD. A case-study I did a while back mentioned kids, after witnessing a wild dog attack their sibling, regressing in development as well as beginning to wet the bed. So, given Max's previous history, his situation and needs are actually quite appropriate.
Trail-er Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015
As far as the first part, Max was able to take care of himself at the sleepover at Jowy's, so it doesn't seem right (correct) that Max needs help each night. 

As far as PTSD, that sounds likely--I had assumed the enuresis might have been natural, that is, from infancy, partly because I've known a good number of boys with that problem.  But I have read that enuresis is associated with deep sleeping, which we know Max does, as he doesn't remember the dreams we readers get a glance of.  Indeed, it (enuresis) may be a cost of the mercy of not remembering the nightmares. 
dcrisisbeta Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2015   Traditional Artist
OwO I have to interfere to complete some blank spaces...

Parents were not visualized back then, but if you think about it, the moment a kid wants a sleepover the parents get in contact with one another. If Jowy is on the same boat (age 7 tho) his mom probably was informed by Mom and he was told to go to her to get help with it, or she could have been ready with a lie for the boys to separate Max from them to help him (even if Jowy puts them on himself or needs help as we don't know as it hasn't been adressed for a while and I haven't focused on it again) 

Physicall inability to do something after a specific trauma is not a uncommon thing either, even if injuries were minor enough as to not impair arms and legs (I won't specify how bad was Max's body injured or not...yet) some kids become so dependent that some factors they were already good at are returned to the parents control...

We also have to consider that adults also experience loss, trauma and psycological needs that could be hard to satisfy, not only the kids factors...  

OwO; for now I'm not that awake yet as to give a full description or explanation but I have considered some holes that involve the parents sometimes...
Trail-er Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2015
Well, you are the one who knows all about that, since they are your creations.  But I'll just say that a reader doesn't get all that from reading the comics--extra explanation is necessary to figure some (hidden) things out. 
It does seem to disturb me that Max needs help with something that personal when he is competent at a lot of other things that are probably more difficult (I'm thinking of his fixing sandwiches for his friends). 
Poetman95 Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
The main reason I wrote "Dreams of the Widow" was to show that it's not only the kids who have to deal with psychological trauma, but the adults, as well. I mean, trauma is debilitating at all stages; would you rather have a trauma when you were young that you can't fully understand and can't voice out loud (common in children) or a trauma that occurred when you could fully realize the scale and depth of what has happened? There's no clear answer.

What you said about the sleepover was a thought I had before (getting help from Jowy's parents), but now I'm curious about what you said about the psychological needs of the adults. Does caring for Max in such a fashion fill a void in the mother's heart (not specifically relating to night needs but just giving lots of maternal care in general)?
Poetman95 Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
There is a lot of good information here and I have some viewpoints and ideas I will add later, as time goes on and I feel more confident about them (and have more time). You did a nice job of consolidating almost all the mysteries into one document. I find it interesting how you told me how you can't get very deep into these sorts of thoughts about the strips but it seems like you have!
Trail-er Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2015
By "can't get very deep", I'm referring to expression of their emotions, which you got well.  My understanding is fairly broad, tying various bits of info together. 
dcrisisbeta Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2015   Traditional Artist
OwO a very complete set I should say... OwO I wonder about a few of these and I want to know more theories of stuff

=w0 and I also hope to relieve all answers eventually as the strip progresses XD

OwO; I'm almost settled!, maybe this weekend!
Trail-er Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2015
I've thought of a couple more regarding school classes.  Anyway, I wanted to wait until you got the strip going again before advertising this list, but I went ahead and posted it here.  There's another big thing I'd like to start, but it also waits for the same. 
Add a Comment:

:icontrail-er: More from Trail-er

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
December 9, 2015


489 (1 today)
1 (who?)