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<   No. 16   2003-02-05   >

Comic #16

1 Alvissa: Your sword is magical, Lambert?
2 Lambert: Yes, it's called Sting. My uncle Bilbert gave it to me.
3 Alvissa: Does it glow blue when orcs are nearby?
4 Lambert: No. It sings Don't Stand So Close To Me.

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2011-11-17 Rerun commentary: And here Lambert's name is finally revealed, completing the naming of the core cast of the Fantasy theme as it would stand until the introduction of Draak later on. Alvissa's opening line deliberately addressed Lambert by name specifically so that the readers could learn what his name was. (Remember, the transcripts weren't available at this time in the comic's history.) She could just as easily have said, "Your sword is magical?", but then the readers would be missing an important piece of information.

It seems to be a standard thing in webcomics that characters are not necessarily named until several strips into the comic. The thing is you want to do it relatively naturally, when their names come up in conversation, rather than do a contrived introduction. It's similar to how the names of characters are introduced in films. You need to let the audience know who's who, and have a name to latch onto, without having this scene where everybody is calling each other by their names gratuitously, just for that purpose. The result is usually lines that are slightly contrived but are close enough to natural that they don't seem out of place. Which, realistically speaking, is good enough.

We're also seeing the introduction of a couple of other themes that run through the later strips. Lambert mentions his uncle Bilbert for the first time, and his sword Sting. This is a blatantly transparent reference to Frodo's uncle Bilbo from The Lord of the Rings, who also - as it happened - gave his nephew a sword named Sting. Bilbo/Frodo's sword had a slightly different magical property to Bilbert/Lambert's.

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