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Eric: It's the return of the running joke half the people reading it won't get!

Order of the Stick

(From Order of the Stick. Click on the thumbnail for full sized infinitude!)

Submitted without comment.

(Well, except to say that there's an interesting interplay of tools here. I mean, the format of the strip is essentially infinite canvas, and that's the immediate thought you have when you look at the strip. I mean, it seems infinite canvas. Only the thing is, it's no shorter or longer than any other strip. Which creates the implication that Infinite Canvas -- in some applications -- is less about size and more about effect. And that's something that other artists can draw upon.)

(Well, and also to mention that the whole "morally questionable character mistaking the gender swapped teammate for a fine fine woman to love is a time honored staple of comic strips everywhere.)

(And also to mention that "Hey! Check it out, a shadow!" has me giggling even now. It's so totally the kind of dialogue that would have been in my old time RPG running. "Hey -- are there any shadows in the room?" "Well, yes--" "Excellent! I hide in shadows! Bob, I'm going to be over here, hiding in shadows!" "Cool!")

(Also, I realize that there was no actual confirmation of Vaarsuvius's sex in this sequence, but the inclusion of Vaarsuvius in the "female adventures pretending to be courtesans what for to get the drop on the bad guys" seems to be a tacit confirmation.)

(Well, technically, I suppose it's a tacit confirmation that Roy thinks Vaarsuvius is female.)

(Or does a good imitation of it.)

(Well, at least we're certain of Haley, right?)

(I suppose, if we're going to go this far down, we ought to at least acknowledge the Cerebus joke. I think that's the first time someone's directly referenced the Cerebus Syndrome in a comic. I'm certain it's the first time that I remember, but it's worth noting I'm particularly tired and not very focused, this morning.)

(It was funnier to me since there really isn't a Cerebus Syndrome going on here, of course.)

(But then, I'm the only person who'd find that bit funny.)

(Dude.)

Posted by Eric Burns-White at November 9, 2005 10:04 AM

Comments

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 9, 2005 10:21 AM

When I saw it, I too noted the Cerebus comment, and the fact that Cerebus Syndrome isn't happening here. OOTS remains high on my "favorite strips" list.

Comment from: cthulhu-maccabi posted at November 9, 2005 11:06 AM

I seem to recall Felicity Flint making reference to Cerberus at one point.

Actually, I think that strip got snarked.

Comment from: Joshua posted at November 9, 2005 11:14 AM

I thought the Cerebus line was the funniest thing in the strip.

Comment from: Tangent posted at November 9, 2005 11:18 AM

I swear, your no-comment comments run longer than your commented comments. ;)

Rob H.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 9, 2005 11:31 AM

I dunno if Order of the Stick really constitutes infinite canvas when it runs exactly four rows. I think it's printpage size, or intended to be. Wull, there're books - it must be.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 9, 2005 11:54 AM

I like his no-comment comments, and the commentary that doesn't exist, only it does.


As for the OOTS "infinite canvas," well it *looks* like it's supposed to be infinite, although it is, inherently, not. It's fun.

Speaking of fun infinity-tricksy canvas things.. have you seen the new way they're posting Shaenon Garrity's comic (formerly called More Fun, now Smithson)?

http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/smithson/series.php

It's all "grab the comic and drag it around" and such. Tricksy.

Comment from: Aerin posted at November 9, 2005 12:28 PM

I was waiting for this to be submitted without comment. OotS has long been one of my very favorite strips. I'm not generally one to allow myself to indulge in a lot of webcomics merchandise (I'd be so very, very broke if I bought everything I wanted) but I bought both of the OotS books as soon as they were available. I'd say that this is no more a Cerebus that Goats: you can't really start invoking Cerebus when the comic remains consistently and deeply funny.

(And seriously, buy the books. Because, Schrodinger's Ninja. And the Iron Mage competition. And a treatise by Redcloak on the lives of NPCs. And other stuff I'm probably forgetting. They're fantastic.)

Comment from: Jonathan Metzger posted at November 9, 2005 1:23 PM

I'm still waiting for Brigadier General John Stark to attempt a Cerebrus Syndrome.

Comment from: Bo Lindbergh posted at November 9, 2005 1:52 PM

So, how soon will the name "Cerebus" be more firmly associated with Websnark than with that comic by what's-his-name?

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 9, 2005 1:54 PM

I can't believe I missed the reference until Eric pointed it our.

Comment from: Sandalphon posted at November 9, 2005 2:49 PM

So, how soon will the name "Cerebus" be more firmly associated with Websnark than with that comic by what's-his-name?

Oh my God. If that happened, Dave Sim would go so mad he'd come out the other side and be sane again.

Comment from: Abby L. posted at November 9, 2005 3:05 PM

(What he said)

Comment from: HydrogenGuy posted at November 9, 2005 4:43 PM

(Well, and also to mention that the whole "morally questionable character mistaking the gender swapped teammate for a fine fine woman to love" is a time honored staple of comic strips everywhere.)

And you know what, if it isn't, then it damn well should be!

Comment from: thok posted at November 9, 2005 4:57 PM

One minor comment: You really need to have a Submitted Without Comment category, for when people want to follow the running gag.

As for Infinite Canvas: I always feel like it works better as a "proof of concept" idea that webcomics could do things differently (and better) than normal comics, but it isn't (and shouldn't) be the only benefit you get from being on the web.
I really dislike comics that are infinite canvas just for the sake of being infinite canvas.

In my opinion, things like having instant access to archives (which allows for a stronger appeal to continuity), and forums (which give an easy way to for the creator to mobilize/communicate with the fanbase) are much more important tools for webcomics to take advantage of.

But, hey, that's just my opinion.

Comment from: Sandalphon posted at November 9, 2005 5:33 PM

I agree with thok. As Eric once noted, using the infinite canvas means more scrolling, which most readers will only put up with if it's worth their while. Queen of Wands was a comic that used it to excellent effect. The lightning path connecting the panels was brilliant, so much so that it became Aerie's signature and doesn't seem to have been widely copied.

Comment from: John Lynch posted at November 9, 2005 5:48 PM

I disliked the strip actually. Mainly because of the arrows. Whenever you have to have arrows in a comic, you need to re-think the layout of the panels for that strip.

Comment from: miyaa posted at November 9, 2005 5:52 PM

I'm surprised that you didn't notice (in past strips) Rich Burlew's successful use of one of the oldest and goofiest D&D magical items in the history of D&D (and magical items in general): The Belt of Gender-Changing.

Hell, the idea of changing one's gender is the basis of probably up to 1/3 of all anime out there, and probably a great deal of hentai stuff, too.

In short, Burlew is brilliant!

Comment from: Aufero posted at November 9, 2005 11:35 PM

I think the Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity (the original name of that magic item, if I'm remembering my early geekhood correctly) predates most of the anime that uses that motif. D&D - corrupting the culture with kinkyness since the 70's!

Comment from: thok posted at November 10, 2005 1:14 AM

On a related note, if [REDACTED] mentions a [RUNNING JOKE] as filler, does it make a [300 COMMENT THREAD] on Websnark?

If we're lucky, we'll find out in a week.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at November 10, 2005 11:41 AM

It should also be noted that Vaarsuvius didn't seem to notice that Roy had undergone a gender swap. maybe the knife cuts both ways

Comment from: Bequita posted at November 10, 2005 1:36 PM

I don't think V cares. Gender swapping may be a common accident for those that routinely play with ultimate cosmic forces.
V's gender is debated at length in the OotS forums, much to my perpetual amusement.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 10, 2005 2:00 PM

He's lucky he didn't get one of those second edition Girdle of Masculinity/Femininity that removed all gender (one-in-ten chance).

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 10, 2005 3:15 PM

hmm.. I dunno. To lose his penis and not get boobs to play with to compensate.. that might send poor ol' Roy over the edge.

Comment from: Aerin posted at November 10, 2005 3:25 PM

For the record, it never really crossed my mind that Vaarsuvius might be a girl until the confusion started getting mentioned explicitly in the strip. I guess I took too much Latin in high school to ever consider "-us" to be at the end of a feminine name.

Comment from: quiller posted at November 10, 2005 3:26 PM

Thinking of the Girdle, there was in interesting article on the Wizards of the Coast D&D website on why 3rd Edition didn't include a lot of the humorous items and content found in the earlier editions. The first edition DMG actually had cartoons in it, for example. The latest edition doesn't include this sort of humor because they felt a funny group will have humorous content whether it is part of the system or not, but a more serious group might be disrupted if a particularly silly monster or item was introduced to their game. Anyway, it looks like this is why this girdle isn't in the SRD.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at November 10, 2005 3:31 PM

Heh... it never occurred to me that Vars... Varsuu... V might be a *boy* until it made it into the strip... and, uh, I have no logical reason to trace it to. The hair?

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at November 10, 2005 6:35 PM

I'm Siwangmu on that one. I initially thought V was a woman, just because it seemed to make sense that way.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at November 10, 2005 7:16 PM

If there's anything in OOTS showing that Vaarsuvius isn't female, I've totally missed it. But this discussion did prompt me to notice while reading today's that if s/he is female s/he's a lot flatter than the other females in it. I'm just sayin'.

Comment from: Bequita posted at November 11, 2005 10:14 AM

Here's the thing with the V's Gender Debate - it's like discussing spirituality. i.e. impossible to do without arguments being tainted by perceptions. Check out the Gender Debate thread on the OotS boards, and you'll see what I mean. There are people who present a case for V's masculinity, or femininity using the exact same 'proof'.

Comment from: larksilver posted at November 11, 2005 10:57 AM

That's funny, I always figured V to be male, based on attitude and behavior. A snooty, somewhat bitchy male, but still masculine.

Comment from: nkuvu posted at November 13, 2005 1:33 PM

It amazes me how many really good comics I've been missing. OotS has quickly become one of my favorites, and I had never heard of it before this snark. Thanks for the link.

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