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<   No. 1000   2005-10-22   >

Comic #1000

1 {A watercolour painting showing four panels}
1 [caption]: {A copy of Edvard Munch's The Scream, with the screamer being hit by an axe and blood spraying everywhere} Blood
1 [caption]: {An organ being crushed in a hand, labelled:} (Spleen) {with black gunk oozing out} Black Bile
1 [caption]: {A dripping nose} Phlegm
1 [caption]: {A pasty face throwing up a nasty yellow liquid with blobs of green and orange in it} Bile (With chunks in)
2 Me: Oh come on... that was full of humour!

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I thought I'd do something a little special for #1000, so I painted this in watercolours. Clearly I need more practice. I had visions of a sweeping, majestic landscape of subtle tints and skilful brushwork, but you ended up with this.

Oh, and the four humours of ancient medicine were four bodily fluids believed to maintain a dynamic balance based on one's diet and activity levels, and to affect one's personality and disposition. The fluids in question are blood, bile, phlegm, and black bile.

It turns out black bile is particularly hard to illustrate, since it doesn't actually exist. It was thought to occur in the spleen though (which is actually part of the lymphatic system, lymph being essentially leftover blood plasma after it oozes out of the semi-permeable bits of the circulatory system).

Bile is tricky too, since normally it's only added to digested food after it leaves the stomach, in the duodenum, so it actually isn't that common as a component in vomit. It can however be brought up in extreme cases of vomiting through duodenal contraction that forces it back up into the stomach. And it was easier painting a guy vomiting than a gall bladder.

Hmmm. I really hope you're not eating dinner right now.


2015-01-08 Rerun commentary: Wow, 1000 reruns!

It was a lot easier getting here than the first time through, let me tell you.

Although black bile doesn't exist, it gave us the word melancholia, which means, quite literally, "black bile" - "melan" meaning "black", being the same word root which gives us melanin, and "cholia" meaning "bile". The root "cholia" comes to us in modern English with the words choleric and cholera.

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