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Tycho / on Wed, May 31 2006 at 12:46 am

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Tycho Ever-Listening

In staunch opposition to all that is good and just, we were given yet another opportunity to instruct Mrs. Eriksen’s class in the cartoonin’ ways.  You might recall the last time we did such a thing.  It was an experience that quite endured, and I wondered if my second "dose" would retain that invigorating payload.  It turns out that every time you help children it is basically awesome.   

It’s easy for us, though.  We aren’t crammed into that miserable, almost criminal hovel Mrs. Eriksen and her brave compatriots are.  They used to have a soda machine in the teacher’s lounge, but the power drain from this device was so intense that actually choosing a pop dimmed the lights, as though they were teaching out of some Soviet bunker.  It is not for us to bridle young men or confiscate private correspondence.  No, in this scenario we represent the cool uncles.  Zero responsibility, the "reasonable" entity they can contrast with those whose task it is to make them into excellent people.

In short:  we are amusement personified.

We have hard data that suggests this demographic is not unfond of monkeys, a fact we have exploited now two years running.  Peruse this example strip we offered, and know that it struck unerringly: 

Frame 1:

Bob:  Would you like to see my hat?

Frank:  Oh, yes.  I love hats!

Frame 2:

Frank:  That is not a hat.  It is a monkey!!!

Frame 3:

Bob (close-up):  This is the last time I go hat shopping at the zoo!

We had template strips available (like the ones in Andrew Vestal’s classic project), but it’s extremely rare for grade school age children to constrain the possibilities of that space.  Often they will use their panels to recreate, word for word, the strip we have made.  This isn’t really that weird:  emulation is the first step to establishing your own creative tools.  Think of it as a kind of calibration method.  Where the result is known, the process can be refined.  Some of them had leapt to the next stage, which we may call variation, where people had different kinds of animals on their heads or the dialogue was altered.  One young man had chosen a cat instead of a monkey, because cat rhymes with hat:  a statement of unassailable truth.  Still others had graduated to synthesis, taking different parts of what we had done, combining it with other things they already knew about.  One strip featured a "half-dragon, half shark" with the ability to produce "hot water."  He was squared off against "The evil monkey from Crisis Room."

The tiny, almost illegible subtitle to this second panel read "wow is he evil."

(CW)TB out. 

  in some flip universe


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