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<   No. 1199   2006-05-09   >

Comic #1199

1 Martian 1: How goes the plan?
1 Martian 2: Just another two minutes.
2 Martian 2: Okay, everything is in place. Twenty seconds left... Nothing can stop us now.
3 Martian 2: Five... four... three... two... Nooooooooooooo!!
4 Martian 2: Someone outbid us on the Doomsday Machine!
4 Martian 1: I knew we shouldn't have used eBay.

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This is the winning entry in the recent caption competition, submitted by a reader identifying himself only as Anton. I modified the wording slightly because, as he said in his e-mail, he's not a native English speaker and was apologetic for any clumsy wording. But the concept was good enough for me to select as the winner!

I received a total of 109 entries this time, in the barely over 48 hours that I accepted submissions. Some statistics:

Some of my favourite runners-up:

1 Martian 1: See what you can find about Earth's defenses.
2 Martian 2: I'm trying, but every time I change pages, ad windows pop up.
3 Martian 2: Argh!
4 Martian 3: Well at least they saved us the trouble of disabling their computer network.

      -- Lee K. Seitz

1 Martian 1: What did you find on the Earthling's computer?
2 Martian 2: A few school papers, but mostly combat trainers.
3 Martian 1: Combat trainers?
3 Martian 2: Yes, but with odd names. Here's one called "Half-Life 2."
4 Martian 3: So we just left a highly trained Earth warrior loose in here?

      -- Lee K. Seitz

1 Martian 3: What's he doing now?
1 Martian 1: He's reading strip cartoons.
2 Martian 2: These cartoons all rely on the same comic device.
3 {silent beat}
4 Martian 1: A silent penultimate panel?
4 Martian 2: Schulz did it fifty years ago.

      -- David Brewer

1 [caption]: Martian invasion - stage 1: Place a news release on Yahoo - "The Martians are Invading!"
2 [caption]: Stage 2: Hack, confirming the rumour.
3 [caption]: Stage 3: Post a Wikipedia article - "The Glorious Martian Victory and the Subjugation of Earth."
4 Martian 2: Gentlemen, the invasion is complete.

      -- Paul Leech

Thanks to all who entered the competition!

2015-09-22 Rerun commentary: On that last entry in the annotation just above, imagine if Orson Welles' 1938 radio drama broadcast of The War of the Worlds had taken place in a world with ubiquitous Internet and social media, and the panic over people thinking it was a real Martian invasion had reached billions of people.

I think there's a novel in that somewhere. Heck, there's probably a movie in it.

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