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<   No. 1102   2006-02-01   >

Comic #1102

1 [caption]: Robert the Infuriated Inflorescence
1 Bob: We're incomprehensily in medias res!
1 Lovebot: <Nooo!!>
2 Bob: At last, Lovebot is dead!
2 Stumpy: Bob, why do you hate Lovebot so much?
3 Bob: He represents everything I'm philosophically opposed to!
3 Freddy: Unconditional love and compassion?
4 Bob: No! Continuity extending beyond a single strip!

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Stephen Notley's Bob the Angry Flower was the first comic I recall reading on the new Inter-web-thingy back, oh, maybe a decade ago. The art has matured, but the wacky and often downright bizarre situational comedy is as vibrant and confronting as ever. Bob is a flower, and he's... well... angry. His complete disregard for anyone but himself drives many of the strips, and often it gets him into insane situations that we seem to enter in the middle of a conflict without knowing any of the back-story that leads up to it.

Since there is no continuity, we are confronted with the mind-whirling task of figuring out what the heck is going on in the opening panel. But that's part of what makes the strip so compelling. The situations are downright hilarious by themselves before you add the dialogue and action resulting from them, and Notley uses this in medias res to get right to the heart of the story that he tells in a single page, with staggering economy of words.

And it would be remiss of me not to mention probably the best grammar education tool ever devised: Bob's Quick Guide to the Apostrophe, You Idiots, which Notley sells as a colour poster.

Oh, and yes, I drew this. You can tell I didn't trace it by the terrible expressions on Bob's face in panels 1 and 3, although I think I did a reasonable job of copying Notley's art in panels 2 and 4. The big happy eyes are easy to do. For panels 1 and 3 I tried to do different facial expressions and, well, you see the result.

2015-05-09 Rerun commentary: An inflorescence, by the way, is a cluster of flowers on a shared stem. They are often recognisable as small flowers that occur in tight clumps. One particular type of inflorescence is not so easily recognisable, this being the pseudanthium, which is a very tight cluster of really tiny flowers, surrounded by specialised flowers consisting of single petal-like rays. The overall effect is seen in "flowers" such as daises and sunflowers - the tightly packed button-like mass at the centre of these flowers is in fact an inflorescence of hundreds of tiny individual flowers packed in side by side, and the "petals" of a daisy or sunflower are also individual flowers as well.

Any "flower" of the general form and appearance of a daisy or sunflower or any other "flower" in their family - including Bob the Angry "Flower" - is in fact an inflorescence made up of hundreds of tiny flowers.

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