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Irregular Webcomic! #1697-1701

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1 Me: Since I announced I'd be killing off a major character by the end of the year, worldwide speculation has been running rife.
2 [caption]: Ladbrokes of London has accepted over £30 million in bets.
2 {scene: Screenshot of Ladbrokes web site, showing odds for various characters being the ones to die.}
3 [caption]: Protesters have attended mass rallies in support of their favourite characters.
3 {scene: Photo of a large group of protesters waving placards with character names on them.}
4 [caption]: And Michael Parkinson won't stop calling.
4 Michael Parkinson: {on phone} So are you just doing this for the publicity?
4 Me: Hell yeah!

When I wrote this comic, I wanted to use the most well-known interviewer I could. My immediate thought was Michael Parkinson. Everyone knows Parkinson.

Well, as it turns out, apparently he's almost unknown in the USA. Several (pretty cosmopolitan) Americans I asked said they'd never heard of him.

My next thought was David Letterman. Definitely known in the US, and reasonably well-known elsewhere. But I really didn't want to use him. Some of those American friends suggested David Frost if I really wanted a Brit, as he was better known than Parkinson - although still a bit obscure.

But in the end I decided to hell with it and used my first pick. I wanted Parkinson, and I'm damned if I'm going to change it for the sake of some readers who might not know who he is. That's what the annotation is for - to broaden your horizons.


Sorry, I mean I had to use Parkinson because it's really him who's been calling me. It would be disrespectful to pretend he was someone else.

2018-03-18 Rerun commentary: Wow, that Ladbrokes web site design is so retro. Yet that's pretty much exactly what it looked like back when I made this comic. I just screencapped the actual page and modified the text.

It's astonishing how quickly website designs age.

(Which is why this very site looks like something out of 2002...)

No. 1698   2007-09-20    

1 Prof. Jones: {running in front of the giant stone ball that is chasing them through the Vatican library} There's one thing I don't get.
1 Monty: What, dad?
2 Prof. Jones: This trap is completely wrecking the library.
2 Monty: And us too, if we're not careful!
3 Prof. Jones: Why build a trap that destroys what you're trying to protect along with the people trying to ransack it?
4 Monty: It's traditional!

This has always bugged me about those elaborate deathtraps you see in the movies. Not only do they threaten deadly peril to the heroes (or villains) who try to defy them, but they often seem to completely destroy the building, whatever they were in fact supposed to be guarding (if it hadn't already been removed), and several square kilometres of the surrounding rainforest.

If real ancient civilisations built deathtraps like that, there wouldn't be any ancient monuments or buildings left, since they all would have self-destructed as soon as a would-be robber entered the place.

2018-03-21 Rerun commentary: I'm now imagining archaeologists coming across a huge pile of tumbled rubble in the middle of a jungle or desert somewhere. After years of painstaking excavation, they find buried under it all a magnificent piece of treasure, though crushed by the stones, along with the remains of someone obviously in the act of reaching out to grab it, and thereby triggering an obvious deathtrap that caused the whole structure to collapse on them.
No. 1699   2007-09-21    

1 Adam: So where's Jamie?
1 Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs: JAMIE?
2 Adam: You should remember him. He got blown up in a similar fireball just yesterday.
3 {beat}
4 Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs: I... DON'T RECALL...
4 Adam: I knew there was politics in Hell, but I didn't realise it was this bad...

Politicians these days can't seem to recall anything.

Why are we electing these Swiss-cheese-brains to office?

2018-03-24 Rerun commentary: Maybe we should start electing blue cheese brains. At least then they'd have some culture.
No. 1700   2007-09-22    

1 {scene: Plane exterior in flight}
2 {scene: Pilot in cockpit, making an announcement over the PA system}
2 Pilot: Flight time from Singapore to Glasgow is 13 hours. We'll let you know the local weather when we're close to arrival.
3 {scene: A snake appears in the cockpit, sneaking up on ominously on the pilot}
3 Pilot: Until then, relax and enjoy the flight.
4 {scene change: The passenger cabin of the plane}
4 Steve: Crikey! There's a hole in my carry-on bag!

There are, in fact, as far as I can tell from my brief web searching, no direct flights from Singapore to Glasgow currently offered by any airline. The closest cities to Australia with direct flights to Glasgow are Dubai and Lahore, both of which have no direct flights from Brisbane, Australia (where Steve and Terry live).

In fact, about the only really sensible options for flying to Glasgow from Australia involve changing planes at Heathrow.

And the tiny Heathrow-Glasgow hop is not long enough for sufficient drama on board...

So I invented this flight.

The exterior shot of the plane, by the way, is a gorgeous new Lego model, very generously donated by a reader. It sure beats the makeshift job I did with the previous plane model I used.

2018-03-25 Rerun commentary: As I write this rerun annotation, the very first non-stop commercial flight between Australia and Europe is currently in the air, having departed from Perth about 12 hours ago, and due to land in London in about another 5 and a bit hours.

It's not quite Sydney to London in a single hop - which has long been the dream air route - but it is Australia to England without a stop, and that's something quite amazing. Next time I fly to London, I am very tempted to book the route via Perth, rather than Dubai or Singapore. Because just knowing that when you board that homebound plane in London that when you get off you'll be in your own country sounds so much better than having a 4 hour layover in Asia somewhere.

A seventeen hour flight doesn't sound too bad. I semi-regularly make 14-hour flights between Sydney and the USA, and honestly they're not so bad. The real drag is flying from Australia to Europe, where it's a 14 hour flight to Dubai, then 4 hours sitting in an airport when you're dead tired and all you want to do is find a horizontal surface and sleep (and of course, you can't), then another 7 hours on a plane before you finally get to your destination.

Actually... I suddenly realised I've done a 17+ hour flight already, from Dallas to Sydney. That route is slightly shorter than Perth-London, but not by much. And yeah, it was fine.

No. 1701   2007-09-23    

1 {scene: The bridge of the Legacy, in space}
1 Spanners: What's taking so long?
2 Paris: There's a military vessel exercising right-of-way ahead of us. We have to steer clear until they've passed.
3 Paris: Ah, they're finally moving and letting us go.
4 Paris: Space hogs!! {yelling at ship flying past the front windows, which looks suspiciously like the NCC-1701 - USS Enterprise}

I should hardly need to point any readers at this.

2018-03-28 Rerun commentary: Hmmm. I could have sworn when this strip popped up in my rerun annotating process that when I originally wrote this strip that I intended the specific words "Space hogs" to be a reference to something, but now for the life of me I can't think what it was, and Google isn't helping. I thought maybe it was a direct quotation from some Star Trek episode or film, but I can't find anything.

"Space hogs" is reminiscent of Pigs in Space, but I don't think it was as straightforward as that. Oh well.

EDIT: Thanks to all the readers who wrote in various media to suggest that "space hogs" is probably a reference to the idiomatic phrase "road hog", or even specifically to its use in the opening credits of the Mr Magoo cartoon. I knew that, and... well, I thought it was too obvious to mention. What I'm really wondering is if my use of "space hogs" was a reference to a specific instance of some use of the exact phrase "space hogs" in some science fiction show or film.

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