When Bernie first appeared in the strip, my recollection is that he was a fairly well-adjusted kid who refused to be intimidated by Chullo’s newfound bullying powers. Since then, he’s joined the school’s newscast group and chess club, and (of course, like everyone other than the hated sportos) become a member of the band. Despite his interest in comic books, he seemed like a normal, happy kid.
Alas, those days are over now. It sure looks to me like he’s being groomed to be the new Les. You know, the guy who only has two Facebook friends–because he’s just too good for anyone else to really appreciate him on his own level. The sneer on his face in that last panel really sells it.
But maybe not. Maybe he’s just being shown as a schmuck who no one likes. Giving him a big push would be a lot of work on a certain cartoonist’s behalf, and that cartoonist just doesn’t seem up to that task anymore. Even just a few years ago, there were a whole bunch of student characters. Then that got whittled down to Chullo, Glasses and Wedgman. And then that got whittled down to Bernie and some pre-existing characters ported over from Crankshaft…all of whom rarely appear anyway.
Still, aside from the Crankshaft Twins, I think he’s the only new student who even has a name. The one guy who dissed Harry Dinkle a few days ago makes (I think) a third appearance, and he’s not been given a name. I think from now on I’ll call him Thatsnought Hewmore.