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<   No. 497   2004-06-06   >

Comic #497

1 Shakespeare: {at his desk} This Harry Potter fan-fic is going nowhere.
2 Shakespeare: I need a new avenue for my writing. If only I could find someone who would pay me to write.
3 Shakespeare: Aha! This e-mail looks promising.
4 Shakespeare [reading]: "WRITERS! LOOKING FOR A NEW OPPORTUNITY TO USE YOUR SKILLS?! WORK FOR THE NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTRY IN INNOVATIVE REVENUE-RAISING APPLICATIONS!"

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This idea is originally from zem. The only thing is, he expressed it the other way around, beginning with the Nigerian Finance Minister. I thought about it for a while and realised I could turn the joke around and start with Will. Hey, I thought to myself, I could get two strips out of this!

Then I wrote the scripts and realised that each one would give away the punchline of the other. And the panels couldn't be in chronological sequence. So here's the strip from the other side, as a special bonus strip for today:

Now, you'll notice that the chronological sequencing of the panels is:

  1. Nigerian Finance Minister panels 1, 2, 3.
  2. Will panels 1, 2, 3, 4.
  3. Nigerian Finance Minister panel 4 (Will typing).
And, you can see that either strip by itself would stand alone well enough, but that its existence precludes the other strip from occurring later in the story.

I think this is quite an interesting occurrence in theoretical comedy. Or something. Hey, indulge me, you got a bonus strip today!


2013-05-31 Rerun commentary: You know, computers really used to look like that. I remember back when I was at university, and the computers we used there were mainframe systems tucked away in some hidden corner of the physics building, which we would access from various dumb terminals scattered around the rest of the building. These were a keyboard attached to a monochrome cathode ray tube display. Some were green screens, while there were also some amber ones as well. These had minimal computing power of any sort, and simply relayed commands back to the mainframe for processing, which then sent the results back to the terminal to display.

The best terminals had a graphics mode, which could be toggled on and off, switching the screen from displaying lines of text to being able to display arbitrary (monochrome) graphics. These were highly sought after by students, because you could use these to plot graphs and stuff on. Most of the terminals could only display text, and if you wanted to make a graph with one of those you had to write it to a file and then print it.

And this wasn't that long ago... it was in the 1990s. Computer technology now would seem absolutely amazing to someone brought forward in time from just 20 years ago.

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