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Wednesday: It's Baby's first birthday, for the record.

[Rodney, father of Ray, from Achewood.](From Achewood. Click for [thing!].)

Why did we not see this coming? Of course Rodney appears to Ray and Beef before the final battle. It was implied that he was dead.

I could go back and hunt for some explicit mention that Ramses Luther Smuckles had died, but it doesn't matter. His general unavailability to Ray and to the world was made perfectly clear. We weren't expecting him to show up; we weren't expecting him to even be around, even in spite of death's relative impermanence to the Underground animals. He'd already faded into blurred newspaper photos and scratchy tapes. Looming specters don't make themselves manifest, whether as ghost or flesh.

Well. They don't show up unless it's cinematically appropriate.

The Great Outdoor Fight carries the feel of a late-seventies action/coming-of-age film, despite anachronisms. Maybe early eighties. Get much earlier and the face-tearing doesn't work as well. Go too far into the eighties and the pacing breaks down -- likewise the aesthetic, if to a lesser extent. This film stops working when the Oak Ridge Boys do.

The Fight may be a mere spectacle now, a shadow of its former self, but the irony hasn't yet begun to penetrate. Of course the Tenmen are playing on the first night, and of course that's what these cats are keen to hear. Of course Beef can hide in a can and wait out the worst of Day Three; of course he happened to be an expert, for that matter, and of course he could crack the Fight's database with relative ease. Of course the group could take everyone down, despite (and because of) the tagalong misfit soldiers in Ray's care.

This is a movie. In that light, it all runs smooth. Ray's whole life, the very fabric of his luck, operates by cinematic logic to begin with. He walks into a room, or takes up a career path, and the movie logic field hits. In a very slightly different world, he'd have a wacky pet chimp. Why shouldn't his father's legend spring from the same place?

And it's a difficult movie to make in 2006. The rules for this sort of thing have always been absurd, but we long ago reached the point where it was difficult to follow them straight. We can't even get a Dukes of Hazzard movie that works right. Ray, however, does not notice how absurd his blood's logic is, and neither do those around him. Blood of Champion doesn't work that way, and Ray was born too soon to get the ironic mutation.

Thus, "Holy crap, it's..." and not "Wow! It's the legendary Rodney Leonard Stubbs, winner of the 1973 Fight! And look! He's wearing Ray's lucky medallion! They must truly be father and son!"

Good Lord.

It's Ramses.

Posted by Wednesday Burns-White at March 14, 2006 9:52 AM

Comments

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 3:10 PM

It could be a ghost.

"I am thy father's spirit, doomed for a certain time to walk the fight ..."

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 3:15 PM

I'm not sure it even matters (thus, "whether as ghost or flesh").

Comment from: kirabug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 3:20 PM

A) Interesting twist. I was expecting Ray and Beef to get into an argument over whether Ray was really going to hit him, and Beef piss him off until he does -- because really, Beef is the one who's manipualted Ray through the entire Fight so far.

B) Your graphic links to the 3/10 comic, not the 3/13 :)

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 3:33 PM

I thought the link to the 3/10 was intentional, since the article mentions Beef hiding in the can.

Comment from: Ford Dent [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 3:46 PM

This is a rediculously unexpected event. At least, it was for me.

Of course, we're dealing with Onstad, and if there's one thing he's good at, it's doing precisely the opposite of what I expect (except I did call Beef not really being out of the fight).

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 4:23 PM

Broken link fixed. I've mentioned my terminal inability to read numbers.

Comment from: miyaa [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 5:26 PM

Raaameses! (The Man in Charge, Man in Charge) Pity there weren't more Courage, the Cowardly Dog episodes...

Oh, one question. Will the fight include the ripping off of one's face?

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 14, 2006 8:42 PM

This film stops working when the Oak Ridge Boys do.
I love that line more than I can ever hope to say.

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 12:02 AM

Of course, we're dealing with Onstad, and if there's one thing he's good at, it's doing precisely the opposite of what I expect (except I did call Beef not really being out of the fight).

On the contrary, everything after the revelation that Beef was to join the fight was rather predictable. I was expecting them to be the last two, I was nearly certain that Beef was just faking his K.O. and I thought Eric went a bit too far thinking that Ramses was not Ray's father (he may still be right, of course). The only reason I had some doubt was that, well, this is Onstad.

I really try not to speculate on long narratives in webcomics (it helps prevent overthinking things and/or outsmarting the creator because you have 2 freakin' months to think about it). However, for the hell of it, here's two fun paths:

a) Ramses reveals that he is/is not Ray's father. Either way he beats the hell out of Ray and Beef and wins the fight(he can enter any time he wants cause he's a winner of a previous year or something)

b) Ramses convinces Ray not to win the fight. Terrible things happen to people who do (Rufus isn't doing that well either, y'know)

Comment from: BassetKing [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 1:20 AM

What remains to be seen, Herr Dent, is if my prediction that Beef will end up taking the fight from Ray will come true.

I'll admit it's unlikely, at this point, but consider this option...

Ray eliminates HIMSELF in order to reach his father. In the parlance of Achewood, "Ray is a dude so Bad he beat hisself to reach his father."

We know that Ray Smuckles gets things done.

While it's been claimed by the illustrious Wednesday White that Ray is "the kind of coward to desert a dying man", as witnessed through the cartilage head storyline, Ray did not have a vested interest in Cartilage Head.

We've witnessed Ray watching after Roast Beef throughout the history of Achewood, from the purchasing of the Ford Galaxie for Beef, to being there with him after he was betrayed by Showbiz, To being the type of friend to continually work to draw out socially a friend that suffers from Depression.

We have seen Ray ready to share his organs with Beef, and ready to kill his own, notably limited, family in order to defend Beef's Honor.

We have seen Ray work to cheer up Beef after Beef's mother was Slain in the next room.

We know Beef comes from "Circumstances", and throughout those Circumstances, Ray has always been there to lend him a helping hand.

Can you think of any bigger action Ray could take than to give Beef the fight?

Truly, this is the clearest test of Nature(BOC) Versus Nurture(BFF) That has yet to be seen in webcomicry.

Plus, dude... TORE A MAN'S FACE OFF!

Comment from: Doc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 8:05 AM

I have this vague theory with Onstad that if an outcome is specifically mentioned then it won't be reached, at least not the way we think it will, so I was sure Ray would throw the fight for Beef (ain't nothing more special than lung brothers) but now it's been explicitly stated I'm not so sure.
One thing I can be fairly sure of, no one learns moral lessons in achewood so I don't think anyone's going to be told that friendship is more important than the Fight (though we may get something like 'Ain't no one fool enough to beat down on a friend from small times for a bunch of punks who like three dollar wine'). Of course Rodney jumping the fence and handing them both their asses would be pretty cool but a bit anticlimactic.
In summary: I, a random person on the internet, has no idea what Onstad is going to do.
Do try to get through the next day knowing this.

Comment from: Doc [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 8:06 AM

'have no idea'

GOD DAMNIT

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 8:49 AM

Which "Baby" is that?

Comment from: Scarybug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 9:59 AM

Achewood has always used movie logic when it came to technology, too. The fight's db should be no problem for Beef, who was able to hack Yahoo.

As far as speculation. Foreshadowing implies that Ramses will NOT approve of the way Ray and Beef handled the fight. Or at least not the way they're handling the last fight.

I hope they do it by drinking contest.

Comment from: MagnoliaPearl [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 11:02 AM

When I saw the last panel, I literally went "Oh!"

Pretty loud. Everyone turned and looked at me.

The thing is, this is the kind of twist I should have called from the getgo. It is so obvious. And yet I was completely surprised. Onstad is an excellent writer. (Or maybe my plot-guessing ability isn't as good as I once thought.)

Holy dickens I love this storyline.

Comment from: megs [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 11:03 AM

Ray living by movie pacing works SO WELL! Just brilliant.

Also, I noticed last night Randy Jackson wears Ray's glasses.

Comment from: One Timer [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 12:31 PM

Yes, ditto on the brilliance of the movie pacing call.

One thing, when I first read it, I assumed Ramses was looking at them from outside the ring (through chain link or something). But, it seems most people have read it as him being outside the tent, which makes more sense and is a whole lot more interesting plot development.

(Waiting in suspense for some more face tearing action)

Comment from: Michigander [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 1:06 PM

One Timer, I think I agree with your original assessment. I assumed that the upright pole in the first few panels was a rod holding up part of the fence, and that the cross-hatching in the last panel represented the chain link. I mean, the inside of the snack tent doesn't look like that, right?

Also, I don't really see how it makes more sense for him to be actually inside the acres, as he was not there from the start and his being there would require a strange Champion Privilege which has not been discussed. This doesn't rule it out, of course, but I certainly wouldn't call it a natural reading.

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 1:37 PM

I can't help but wonder if Ramses beats Beef down for how he manipulated things, and Ray then becomes The BOC Who Beat His Own Father.

Comment from: Thomas Blight [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 1:42 PM

Michigander, how do we know he wasn't in the fight from the beginning? Because Beef didn't know about him?

Remember, movie logic. The main characters always overlook something.

Plus, Beef said it himself; the first day of the fight is a bloodbath. RLS could've easily been in there somewhere under a pseudonym, and since it's been a long time I doubt anyone would recognize him... Well except his own son of course.

Three acres is a huge distance to hide in plain sight, after all. Since Beef and Ray stayed in one corner mostly, RLS could've easily done the same, or been out in the middle of the fight the whole time.

Actually, my money's on him standing on the other side of the fence. He probably heard down the grapevine that someone claiming to be the son of "the man with blood on his hands" was in the fight.

Or maybe he was called to verify that Ray is indeed BOC.

Comment from: Scarybug [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 3:10 PM

No, I'm pretty sure it's a drunken hallucination/vision. It fits much better with the "searching for father" thing in the rollover text. ^_^

At first I thought they were seeing him in a mirror, but looking over the art in the previous strips, that's got to be the fence.

Of course, Achewood being a cartoon, a vision of Ray's father could probably still beat people up.

Comment from: Michigander [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 5:21 PM

Thomas:

I suppose it's possible that Ramses was there the whole time, but Beef seemed pretty confident that they were the last dudes standing in the March 14 strip. Ramses would have to have been hiding out the entire time, looking completely recognizable, and that does not seem like the dude's style. But yeah, independent graphic evidence supports that he's across the fence.

So, on another note, whenever I try to get to achewood.com I'm redirected to opusinteractive.com. Is Achewood down? Does anyone know what's going on? This is happening as of the time of posting. If you've seen the March 15 strip, please don't spoil.

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 5:24 PM

Opus Interactive is Achewood's hosting service. No idea what's wrong, but that suggests they know what's going on rather than that it's some kind of colossal unknown failure.

Comment from: Kirath [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 5:27 PM

Looking at the art from, well, all the strips, it actually looked to me like it wasn't so much a fence as a big plexiglass wall, the crosshatching looks more like random scratches from the Fight than chain links or anything.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 5:45 PM

If you've seen the March 15 strip, please don't spoil.

Does Achewood have an update schedule? In about nine months' reading I've only determined that it updates two or maybe three weekdays a week, including when I first started and looked at the archives trying to determine what its update schedule was.

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 5:49 PM

Generally it's supposed to be M-F, except when it's not. Earlier today, Onstad posted saying that a new strip could be expected at noon, although I don't know which noon.

Perhaps Achewood's moving servers, thus the redirect.

Comment from: Wednesday White [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 5:50 PM

Oh, also, Paul? Onstad's baby. If you scroll down past the comic, there's usually a baby update.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 6:54 PM

Oh, also, Paul? Onstad's baby. If you scroll down past the comic, there's usually a baby update.

Duh. I always read the baby update, too. Duh. I noticed last week the notice that the baby was fifty-one weeks old. Duh.

I thought maybe you meant Gossamer Commons, since it debuted March 21 last year with a week's worth at once.

Duh.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 15, 2006 6:55 PM

They said the Great Outdoor Fight brought the server down. I think this has been moderately popular, what what.

New strip is up. Including the next Gasps and Giggles.

Comment from: Neofly [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 17, 2006 5:09 AM

The new strip is up. Ramses/Rodney speaks.
...
...
...
So, did you read it?

I think that the real Son of Rodney is Roast Beef. His mother didn't kill him, or she shoot someone else.

Rodney will take his hat off, and there will be pointed ears under it.

Or I will bring the jeeps!

(or, maybe Beef and Ray are half brothers!)

Comment from: Prodigal [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at March 17, 2006 6:11 PM

Ok, what exactly does "bringing the Jeeps" entail? Is it some sort of Battle Royale thing that ends up with everybody's head going splodey?

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