Thursday, September 18, 2008

Oh Come On Now

Ok -- I call shenanigans on today's strip (Carry the one.). WTF.

Not only has it been done before, in HHGTTG and Bloom County (found it), and not only did he repeat the "didn't carry the [foo]" gag, he's done it twice this week.

This seems unprofessional. Maintaining a buffer would prevent cruft like this from happening when he's sick.


Anonymous said...

I dunno. I really liked it. One of the things you have to remember when you read PvP is that Scott has to strike a delicate balance between two kinds of readers: The daily reader and the collection reader.

For the daily reader, it's important he keeps things moving, for the collection reader, every strip of flavor (like today's), adds to the overall storyline. I'm kind of in both camps and I have to tell you that when you go back and read some story arcs in collections they are very different from when you read them daily on the site.

Sure this is a throwback to Bloom County. But anytime you can find more than one example of when something's been done before, isn't it officially okay that Kurtz took "his turn" at the gag. If it's a convention that a lot of people repeat, it's hardly theft.

And shame on you FSM. If you keep up with Scott's blog at all, I think the guy has a legit reason to be bufferless right now.

Not that I think a buffer (or lack thereof) has anything to do with the motivation behind today's strip.

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Simpsons did it!

Ian said...

I love a good math joke so I'm all for this.

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

He never BUILT UP the buffer back to where he needed it. I understand if you are doing the comic the same day how a sickness can throw you off, but the use of a buffer went out after he went to one of the Cons a while back (2-3 cons ago) when he did a great job and worked a week ahead. The benefit, he didnt have to worry about the comic being there when he was having fun.

Anonymous said...

"One of the things you have to remember when you read PvP is that Scott has to strike a delicate balance between two kinds of readers: The daily reader and the collection reader."

Man, it'd feel like even more of a cop-out if I was a 'collection reader' than it does now. I mean, the same joke I just read a minute or two earlier? That'd be super lame.

TheOriginalJes said...

-" Anonymous said...

I dunno. I really liked it. One of the things you have to remember when you read PvP is that Scott has to strike a delicate balance between two kinds of readers: The daily reader and the collection reader."-

I can't see how both wouldn't get tired of the repetition.

Sure, Calvin and Hobbes would ride down similar hills in that red wagon. And, you just know what's going to happen.

But, the ironic build-up always had much more (independent) flavor. And the gag was used to separate story lines, or freshen the palette after a long arc.

But, I don't recall it ever occurring back-to-back in the same arc.

And here's something else Bloom County did at least twice: Scratch --> c trash c

My point being, just because it was done elsewhere, doesn't mean it will work everywhere.

Anonymous said...

One word for this arc. BORING!

J said...

Also, the point of the wagon gag wasn't the ride, it was whatever Calvin happened to be discussing. The juxaposition of heady philosphical talk and "fast-crash-boom" was made it never grow stale.

Would the strip have worked better if instead of the buildup of reusing the same gag, it went something like:

P.1 - Big mythical creature barely seen behind "POOF", with Scratch shoving a paper in its face saying something like "You don't exist!"
P.2 - "POOF"s all around Scratch, "Don't exist, don't exist, don't exist!"
P.3 - Same art, different dialogue: "What? Really? Come on, there can be no way you ex-"
P.4 - Same, no change

TheOriginalJes said...

-"J said...
Also, the point of the wagon gag wasn't the ride, it was whatever Calvin happened to be discussing."-

That was the point of the C&H strip, not the point of the gag.

And today's PVP strip would have worked better if the SciVsMagic gag were left out completely and another (almost *any* other) direction and punchline were persued.

Such as:

- One or both of the Chimera heads is allergic to cats;

- Scratch does a Dragonball power-up and kicks ass;

- Scratch has a person defense shield s if from nowhere;

- Scratch is simply faster and more maneuverable than the Chimera, allowing him to attack the soft underbelly unabated;

- Scratch is a closet "Chimera Whisperer";

- Scratch takes a hit and comes back with a better plan;

- The Chimera doesn't believe in, and can't perceive cats (turn-about is fair play);

- Scratch just pulls out a Big Ass Gun from his undercoat and blows the bastard away;

- Scratch distracts the more powerful lion part with catnip;

- The chimera pulls a WB looney tunes style, "Aw, wook at da widdow baby!" gag;

- The chimera waits too long (already done) and gets squashed by an even bigger mythical creature coming up behind him.

TheOriginalJes said...

BTW - chimerism is a real genetic condition, and lab rats have been used to grow human tissues, such as ears. So, science would support the existence of this chimera, totally f#^king Scratch over.

paulsouthworth said...


Don't even act like you don't want one, you rubes.

Anonymous said...

I thought the reuse of this joke was really lazy.

Tomorrow's strip: Talking cat. *POOF!*

Anonymous said...

"Tomorrow's strip: Talking cat. *POOF!*"

Come now, I don't like Scratch either but there's no need for name calling.

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Oh Paul its not an act.

Yeah, itll be interesting to see if the payoff is this week or if there is a teaser going into the weekend.

I think tommarow either, a Skull shaped shadow will come in to help the statue or the statue will get tired of the carnage and tell Scartch where it is. I feel the latter because I think the author wants to continue Scratch's quest after he finds the answer

Anonymous said...


That's a heck of a belly Scratch has. I realize it's mostly the pose, but still...

Anonymous said...

Hmm. I suppose if you bought one, you could go to town on it with a black marker and pretend it was a badly designed Garfield knock-off.

Anonymous said...

How many times can you be shocked and dismayed by the same continuous level of hackery?

Anonymous said...

Eh. I got the Hithchiker's ref when Scratch did it in the bar. I'd never seen this particular twist on it, and thought it worked well in this context anyway (and I note that unlike the Bloom County one, this creature didn't come back when Scratch realised his error, which is part of what makes it funny).

Almost every joke you can make has probably been done before. So what?

Personally my "good strips in a row" tally for PvP is now at 2.

Anonymous said...

Also, it's not the same joke as he did a few pages ago. This time the joke was in the fact that it was a mistake. He took the original joke and added another step. Seriously, you don't have to find it funny and it appears from the Bloom County link you certainly don't have to find it original, but this "it's exactly the same joke as two days ago" thing is wrong.

vaultkeeper said...

Need I remind all of you that Scott Kurtz is the guy who blatantly plagiarized a "The Tick" joke for his college newspaper then got ridiculed by the comic in its letters section?

This shit is par for the course.

vaultkeeper said...

(and I note that unlike the Bloom County one, this creature didn't come back when Scratch realised his error, which is part of what makes it funny).

Hah you didn't even get the joke.

Scratch was surprised the monster didn't disappear when he presented the proof. He then realizes his mistake in the math which does make the mythical animal disappear.

It sounds even worse when explained.

matt said...

The economy is in shambles Scott, what are you doing to those poor cat-people? You know they can't help themselves!

At least he's not hanging from a branch...

John said...

Mega-dittos to most of the above.

The premise of this strip really bugs me. I mean, for 10 years we've been suspend our disbelief and believe in "magical" creatures like Skull, and now we're told they don't exist? I'm having trouble suspending my suspension of disbelief, if that makes sense.

And one very nitpicky note. I mean, very. I work in the science field, so this really bugs me. In science, empirical data trumps theoretical research. Scratch's "proofs" that magical creatures don't exist are worthless becuse he is SPEAKING TO THEM! They HAVE TO exist, or else Scratch couldn't be having the conversation.

And while I haven't read the other strips like this in other comics obviously other people have, so perhaps Kurtz could have had an homage to those comics by having Scratch attempt to make the creatures disappear by showing his proof, and then be flummoxed by them not.

Anonymous said...


Re: stolen tick joke

I'm curious, where'd you hear about this?

vaultkeeper said...

@ esoteric scribe

God I love how the internet saves everything.

click me

Kurtz explains the whole thing towards the bottom:

To answer the above question about The Tick:

Yep. That was me. Back in college. The joke from the Tick was an old one. It had been used many times before. And that’s why the guys at the Tick really didn’t care to take any action against me. But holy shit I was terrified.

My editor at the time RIGHTFULLY put the fear of god in me about plagiarizing. It was clear I stole the Tick’s version of that old gag and he wanted to make sure I learned never to do anything like that again. And it worked.

It was a terrifying time for me. The editor was concerned I might be sued or kicked out of school. Of course, none of that was true, he was just trying to tough-love me.

That incident, as trivial as it seems now, STILL follows me around. So it’s a huge deal. I talk to cartoonists all the time about this. Just stick with your own ideas. Never steal something. Just do your own work. (of course that excludes fair use, satire, homage,etc).

Jai said...

Carry the one.: There wasn't a whole lot of promise shown in the last couple of strips, but what little there was has all been dashed. Instead of a fight (A logical presumption, given that Scratch has been shooting the Zeus statue and "apparently" beheaded a Moblin), Scratch is standing around (With his goggles off again) "disproving" a creature.

Unlike the situation with the giant, Scratch is facing empirical evidence that proves that this chimera exists. I thought the situation with the giant would have been different if Scratch had NOTICED the giant, but apparently it would not have been. That is pretty stupid. Of, uh, of Scratch. For a lot of reasons: He can SEE it. He is being hit over the head with references to magic. He himself is a "scientific impossibility". He has a written mathematic equation that disproves chimera (That he has either been carrying around or came up with on the spot)? The chimera, although ostensibly a part of the security detail trying to get rid of Scratch, is merely standing around staring him in the face (But sternly). None of that makes any sense, so the only joke here is the absurdity of the entire situation. What a weird stew of re-hashed humor. It tastes like crap. The very least amount of salt added to the mix would have spiced this situation up to a bearable disappointment, but... no, there's nothing. It's just a lumpy, bad-tasting mess.

The punchline - despite being a sort of continuation to the one about the giant - isn't very easy to understand. It took me a second read-through to get that the chimera was SUPPOSED to disappear in, what, the first or second panel? But didn't, because Scratch's equation was wrong. The punchline is easily misinterpreted as the Scratch realizing that his proof AGAINST the chimera's existence was wrong, meaning the chimera poofed away due to Scratch's false data when it could have lived (Had it merely stuck around for a second longer and witnessed Scratch realizing his mistake).

How could this bloody mess be fixed up? Shit, I don't even want to touch it. The first thing I'd do is move Scratch's realization that his math (His MATH, argh) was wrong to a panel before the chimera poofs off. And I'd change Scratch's blatant recognition of the chimera's existence "There's no way you can exist" to something mildly less so, something like "There's no way you're real". Make it seem like Scratch might actually believe the chimera is a hologram, or whatever (Of course, his casual acceptance of it disappearing once he disproves it is still a weird problem. He can't be purposefully disproving things he actually realizes exist, after all, no matter how much of a jerk he's trying to be to the magical realm). Oh, and maybe the chimera should be doing something? Bing, bang, done.

Why IS the chimera wearing a crown? I would be wearing as many crowns as I had heads, if I were a chimera (And the crown-wearing type). Is it so that we can identify which part is the lion part? Maybe the goat part should be eating a tin can.

Anonymous said...

Wow. You guys gotta drum up stuff that Scott did in his college years to shit on him now?

Fantastic. That's not reaching at all. You guys are really on the ball.

evan said...

Wasn't Scratch a normal cat who put on that helmet thing that Kirby put on and made him super intelligent? And then the joke was Kirby--after becoming super intelligent--just says "Cat!" and such.

My point is, he's not a magical creature. In the PvP universe, his super intelligence stems from science, not magic.

That said, this arc is dragging pretty badly. The whole science vs. magic thing is an alright idea, but use it and move on. Right now we;re just being hit over the head with that idea strip after strip.

This particular joke should be left alone. It was great in TUHHGTTG, but shouldn't be attempted, except in homage, by people who aren't Douglas Adams, and he's dead now.

The first time the joke was used I thought it was just an homage, but now that it's been used twice I don't think that's what we're dealing with anymore.

Also, the points made about when and why the Chimera disappears above both seem valid. The strip can be read either way. Either the creature disappeared with the error, and then stayed disappeared even though there was the error, or didn't disappear until Scratch realized his error. The panel layout is somewhat ambiguous as to which was intended. For the record, I believe it is the second.

Lastly: Re: Anonymous: "Eh. I got the Hithchiker's ref when Scratch did it in the bar. I'd never seen this particular twist on it, and thought it worked well in this context anyway"

What twist is it you are talking about?

J said...

What happens when Scratch realizes that Skull is imaginary and too can be disproved?

Anonymous said...

I don't think Kurtz had H2G2 in mind when he wrote the gag. It's way too different to have actually been an intentional homage, although I see how it's similar enough to bring it to other people's minds.

I mean, in H2G2 the phrase "disappeared in a puff of logic" is just the additional touch of brilliance to the circular thought that was the logic in question.

evan said...

Just because he didn't do the joke well, certainly not as good as the original, doesn't mean he didn't have hitchhiker's guide in mind. i don't think it's possible to do this gag without having it in mind.

Anonymous said...

Sure it is. The idea of causing something to not exist by disproving it is so blatantly obvious that any ape could think of it. Do we have proof that Kurtz has even read the book?

Jai said...

@ J:

Scratch has already addressed your question thusly (In a comment to Shecky): "What are trolls? Just another offshoot of the primates that I will one day dominate? You and Skull are no more magical than monkeys in a zoo." He's apparently cognizant of that fact that Skull is a troll, but doesn't think that trolls can't exist (The reason as to why he thinks this is not given, since he's apparently unclear as to what trolls are. Nor did we get the reason as to why he thinks that chimera cannot exist).

@ Evan:

Scratch's origin is "scientific" in nature, yes - but he is taking issue with magical creatures as being scientific impossibilities (As opposed to saying that they can't exist because they're magical creatures). Scratch himself is a scientific impossibility, viewed from the real world. Even inside of the PVP world, since Skull the magical troll is the one who created the device that turned Scratch into a genius. We don't have proof one way or the other regarding whether that was supposed to be real technology or just something magical. Scratch can't actually speak to humans, after all - sometimes. Recently. Ugh. You know what, forget I brought it up. At the end of the day, I have to admit that Scratch is whatever SK currently happens to think he is. Who knows? The situation is ironic if you view Scratch's origin in a certain light. Before the whole "He's talking in front of people and they can't understand him" debacle, I would have sworn that Scratch really was created through some scientific awesomeness and not some random magical event in disguise.

Anonymous said...

"No rough-housing" - Perfect example of why there's not a great deal of point visiting PvP on a Friday. SK's purposefully stretched the arc out to the weekend so there's going to be no conclusion there and given his love for 'cliffhangers' (used in the loosest sense), there's no jokes to be found either.

Did we always used to have these dull cliffhanger-like strips in PvP before we lost the weekend or are they just a result of Kurtz finding himself with this self-imposed pause in the strip every week? As it is, it feels less like an improvement and more like we've lost yet another day.

paulsouthworth said...

Well, whatever, dudes.

I want one.

matt said...

@paul - it is actually a pretty sharp looking little Maquette. I wish he would have started with a different character though, maybe a Jade and Brent in the Utility closet diorama?

Anonymous said...

Ooooh. 'Limited Edition' for extra fanboi gouging. Good on 'im.

TheOriginalJes said...

Who called this one and where?


Didn't one of you say this would happen last week?

We should start a pool or something...

Anonymous said...

Wow. You guys were able to go through every single per-mutation possible on a storyline and now you can claim you called it a week earlier.

Johnny Two Eyes said...

Yeah guys, Jesus jumped up Christ, it's a comic strip, not a round of CLUE®. Where's the fun in reading a comic strip if you're just going to keep making wild guesses about the ending. I'd hate to watch TV with you guys. "Ooh, I bet the father did it! Nope! Nope, wait... it was the weird Uncle... NO NO NO, it was totally the bearded pedophiliac transient with the eyepatch!"


matt said...

fuckin' bearded pedophiliac transient with the eyepatch. can't take that guy anywhere...

TheOriginalJes said...

-"Johnny Two Eyes said...

Where's the fun in reading a comic strip if you're just going to keep making wild guesses about the ending."-

2 points:

1- Some people find that to be fun. If you don't, that's cool. You can just point at the comments you don't like or understand.

2- Guess you never heard of an "inside joke".

Jai said...

Saying "Bearded pedophile" is totally redundant!

Scott said...

being sick or having a lack of a buffer had nothing to do with the creation of this strip. Fake Scott is completely wrong on his guess on that.

I really wanted to draw the Chimera. I think it's a cool animal. and I like that gag. It makes me laugh.

So there you go. Now you know where it came from.

Buffers are for squares anyway.

R.W.McGee said...

credit where it's due, your Chimera was really well drawn. What's up with the 'spotlight' background though? Too many details can clutter a drawing, but a credenza in a corner or something might have helped with location.

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Ha you go to a wedding and you miss a triumphant return.

Oh well, for all the noise it didn't mean anything

Scott said...

Location? Did you forget where they were between strips? I dunno. I guess I coulda drawn some rubble back there or something.

R.W.McGee said...

Ignoring the angry sarcasm in your response; no, it's not that we forgot where they were, only that having a background creates a greater sense of realism. (Unless you felt it would overly clutter your space.)

Julia said...

Scott? Care about over cluttering space? That's a good one.

Scott said...

Oh Julia you gadfly. You clutter my heart, kitten. My heart.

I think that with that strip, I got so excited about drawing the Chimera, that I didn't take the time to worry about the background.

Anonymous said...

Good to see Kurtz spent a productive weekend trolling here instead of working on Monday's strip.

Anonymous said...

That's really bad form. If he wants to troll, Scott should post anonymously like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...


paulsouthworth said...

Buffers? For SQUARES?

We're enemies now, Scott. This is where we become enemies.

Lock up your pets at night, assnuts.

Blog Archive