Don’t be deceived, that’s a major concession the Professor is making in panel one. To turn his back on his book learning, even just for a single hour, is nothing he would consider if he wasn’t really distraught at the way it let him down on this occasion. “Strong smell” might have been technically correct, if you allow for the fact that “strong” can cover the whole range from carnival strongman to Superman – but “acquired taste” isn’t even a valid understatement, since acquiring a taste at the very least requires surviving your first dose of it.
As for the train driver…you see, his name was Jan Müller, and he was originally from Germany. Tragically, he left behind a pregnant wife when he died..who returned to Germany before giving birth to a son, who would later become a Colonel in the Wehrmacht and end up commanding a German garrison on the remote Agean island of Kero-chan…so if you notice a certain family resemblance there, it’s totally legit and consciously done, and not just a lazy recycling of the same death scene that has already shown up around several hundred times.
Too bad he didn’t have anything useful to tell the Professor. Or at least had any idea that the Professor would meet his son – he could have sent his regards!
More on Monday.