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Eric: Okay, CBC day is over. However, Peejee constitutes Canadian Content.

bluelight.gif(From Something Positive. Click on the thumbnail for full sized backstory!)

It's interesting, the mail I sometimes get.

See, people like to engage in the dialogue, and that's cool. I do too. And they like to point stuff out that perhaps I haven't noticed. And I like that too, because sometimes I honestly haven't noticed the stuff they're pointing out. But sometimes, I notice a little more than they do, because I have less of a life than they do.

And so, when I see a strip like today's Something Positive (for some value of "today." It's technically August 9th's strip, but Milholland's always good at getting caught up with missing strips), I feel a sense of dread, because I know I'm going to get five or six letters on a basic theme: "oh wow -- check out Something Positive today! It's great! Randy's clearly getting ready to introduce new characters and so he's laying groundwork! I bet he doesn't think we'll notice."

They're heartfelt e-mails, and it almost breaks my heart to send back that no, he laid the groundwork long ago, and you didn't actually notice. This is one of the things Milholland does best, actually. And he does a lot of things well.

We have a picture here, with old friends long forgotten. Like "Tom," and "Carrie," and "Mikeala." (Well, Carrie's not actually in the picture, but you know what I mean.) Taken from a couple of years before the start of the series. Only, we've heard Tom's name before. I think we've heard Carrie's name before (and possibly even in connection with breaking up with Tom.) And Mikeala's name has come up before too -- if I remember correctly, she's one of the string of girlfriends who cheated on Davan. (I think she was Bedside Diplomat in this string of scenes from Davan's past.)

The thing is, it's entirely possible we will get a string of strips set in '99 or 2000, showing us how this rag tag group of adventurers found their footing, with a black haired Peejee and a Davan not quite so worn to the bone by God's hatred of him. Much the same as we see occasional strips of high school with Scotty and Rose. Or twenty years before that, letting Faye and Fred's history grow.

Something Positive isn't linear. It's like a collection of stories, told around a theme. It's frighteningly close to something Garrison Keillor would write, if one cuts out anything heartwarming and teaches the Lutherans of Lake Wobegon to say "fuck." And as excited as people get when he adds "something new" to the fabric... I get more impressed when I realize how deeply he's buried the threads he's now exposing.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at August 16, 2005 11:26 AM

Comments

Comment from: sinless posted at August 16, 2005 12:27 PM

Si.

I love reading a new strip and then taking that moment to dredge my memory for the bits and pieces that led up to what's going on. I don't always remember everything, but I always enjoy the attempt (it gives me another chance to think about the baby shower present).

Comment from: enchiridion posted at August 16, 2005 12:27 PM

The Lutheran Vocabulary Expansion Project is a charity I could really get behind. We could have keg parties and wet t-shirt contests as fundraisers. We could establish outreach programs--maybe hire a few gangster rappers as staffers, and send them into the wilds of Minnisota to teach some variation of English to the poor elementary school kids.

Comment from: Michael Nehora posted at August 16, 2005 12:50 PM

And let's not forget the recent worried speculation about Fred on the S*P Livejournal, based on this strip and especially this one. I see a "Save Fred" campaign coming up...

Comment from: Aerin posted at August 16, 2005 2:00 PM

I particularly love the comment at the bottom of the strip: "I think I just mathematically proved that no one will miss you." Those comments are getting to be my favorite part of the strip.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at August 16, 2005 2:11 PM

And meanwhile, I was actually intrigued because I had been wondering for a while if Randy was ever going to discuss some of these folks again. He's dropped hints before (This comic being the one that sticks best in my mind). Of course, they might not - some people exist from here on out in your life only as conversation.

I just find it nice to see that S*P remembers that there was life before the strip started, and a history to accompany it.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at August 16, 2005 3:59 PM

One of the advantages of semi-autobiographical strips like S*P and Queen of Wands is that the backstory is automatically nice and deep. You don't have to make up bits out of whole cloth, you can just scrape the serial numbers off your own life and the lives of your friends. Thus, less effort needs to be put into the core of the setting, and more effort can be devoted to telling new stories with the setting.

Comment from: PatMan posted at August 16, 2005 6:20 PM

Queen of Wands. Becca. What ever happened to Becca? Now there was a background character.

Comment from: Sean Duggan posted at August 16, 2005 6:54 PM

I also kind of wonder if perhaps PeeJee's commentary on friends and how the ecology limits there being too many at once was Randy's sly way of indicating that new secondary characters are only going to stay inside of the flashback and no, he's not doing a series of strips elaborating on the relationship of T-Bob and Jesus Micky.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at August 16, 2005 9:01 PM

One of the advantages of semi-autobiographical strips like S*P and Queen of Wands is that the backstory is automatically nice and deep. You don't have to make up bits out of whole cloth, you can just scrape the serial numbers off your own life and the lives of your friends. Thus, less effort needs to be put into the core of the setting, and more effort can be devoted to telling new stories with the setting.

And when you do this with a milieu (usually but not always fiction) that is also that familiar to your audience, you can dispose with almost all the exposition and character development before getting to the actual story. Thus are pastiche and fanfiction born. Yay!

Comment from: Merus posted at August 16, 2005 9:22 PM

Anyone else find it ironic that the author of a strip on King Arthur is saying the above?

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at August 16, 2005 10:56 PM

Ironic? It says right in my FAQ that I picked the King Arthur legends because, of all the sets of characters I love best, it's the only one that doesn't fall under Someone Else's Copyright. My webcomic is fanfiction and my fanfiction is webcomics.

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