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Irregular Podcast! #3

2007-01-26: Irregular Podcast! #3 - "Experimental Subject No. 12." (9:04, 2.08 MB)


WARNING: Listening to this podcast may induce temporal dislocation.

(opening jingle)

Irr, a thing you listen with,
egg, does not come from a cow,
you, a name that you call me,
lar, is what we're singing now.

Web, an aura costing green,[1]
com, the thing that follows dot,
ick, the look on Chekov's face,
which brings us back to: irr!

German Scientist (in German accent): Hello, and welcome to another Irregular Podcast! Today we have a special treat for you, as we show you something interesting in the Nazi science labs in Berlin. If you'll just come this way...

Ah, here we have experimental cage number 12, which contains a very unusual subject. He appears to be experiencing delusion that he is living in the year Two Thousand and Seven, and is the creator of something called a "webcomic". We are not quite sure about what this webcomic thing is, but we have been humouring him about it. We have gathered some questions from various Nazi scientists. Let's try some out and see what he says.

Hello there.

Experimental Subject #12 (DMM): Hello.

GS: We have some questions for you about your "webcomic" from your "readers".

ES12: Oh. Ok, go ahead.

GS: Filipiades asks: "Are any of the characters in Irregular Webcomic! based on real live people, besides the obvious, and who are they?"

ES12: Most of the characters are not really based on real live people, besides the obvious ones. But one in particular is actually based on a real live person, in part, at least. And that's Will Shakespeare. He's not entirely based on a real person, but the fact that he writes Harry Potter fan fiction is based on somebody I know who writes Harry Potter fan fiction. And in fact the only reason I know much about Harry Potter fan-fic is that this guy introduced it to me and got me to read some of his stories, which are actually quite interesting. So I put that into the character and used that as the basis of the fan fiction that he writes. All the other components of Shakespeare's personality are not really based on anyone else, and that's really the only character that's done in that way. All the others are purely original and I make up their personality.

I'd hate to know someone like Kyros, for example.

GS: Ahaaa. Neil wants to know: If you were the theme commissioning chap at LEGO, what new lines would you introduce?

ES12: I think a good line to introduce would be... Star Trek. I do lots of Star Wars comics because, obviously, there are Star Wars Lego. I would like to do some Star Trek jokes, but there is no Star Trek Lego and making a Vulcan, for example, out of existing Lego pieces is kind of difficult, so I've avoided that, but I think that would be a good line to get into.

GS: Okay, whatever that is. Dr. Dave asks: "What is the very first Lego set you remember owning?"

ES12: Well, I had Lego sets when I was very young; I don't really remember what they were. The first one that I remember would have been one of the early space sets. Would have been around 1980 when they first brought out the space line. There were various spaceships and things but the first one I remember getting was one of the smallest sets which was the moon buggy type thing[2]. It had about 4 pieces in it and a guy who drove it around. That was it.

GS: Very good. Teddy would like to know: What theme tends to takes the longest to make strips for?

ES12: That depends on what is currently happening in the theme. At the moment, for example, the Fantasy characters are in this underground chamber where the lighting is unusual[3] and it takes me some time in Photoshop to get the lighting conditions right for the panels. But normally the Fantasy gang aren't in a place like that and it doesn't take so long.

The theme that usually takes the longest is Cliffhangers because the characters tend to travel around the world a lot so they're in different places and I need to make different sets every time. The most time consuming thing is actually making a new set where they can appear and to make it look like somewhere distinct from before. So, Cliffhangers generally.

GS: Ah haa. Somebody named "Tah" asks: "How many of these Lego sets do you own and approximately how many Lego bricks?"

ES12: It would be around 30 or 40 sets. As for bricks themselves, I've bought 3 or 4 boxes of random bricks so there's a lot more loose bricks I have than actual sets. Around four to five thousand bricks. That's really just an estimate I haven't bothered counting them.

GS: Uh huh. Serb says: "You used to give a lot of props in your annotations to people who gave you the ideas for the strip that day. Do you not get suggestions anymore, or have you stopped mentioning who gave you the idea?"

ES12: I still do get suggestions, but I have stopped mentioning who gave me the idea for various things because I found that when I did do that, I got a lot more suggestions and a lot of them weren't really very good, and they were from people who said, "Hey, use my suggestion and put my name on it so everybody else can see that I gave it to you." To be quite honest, I don't want to encourage that sort of thing. I'd rather have people give me suggestions when they genuinely have a good idea. So I do accept suggestions and I do use some of them, but I do have a policy now of not giving credit to the person who suggested the joke.[4]

GS: Martin poses the following question: "What would Irregular Webcomic! have been called if it wasn't called Irregular Webcomic!?"

ES12: I don't really have an answer because I've never thought about it. I came up with Irregular Webcomic! because I didn't have any other ideas. It's served me well so far, so I've never bothered coming up with any other ideas.

GS: Teddy would like to know the answer to this question: "Allosaurus?"

ES12: Allosaurus, yes. I bought that Allosaurus figure when I was running a role-playing game. I wrote and adventure which was called Dinosaur Park[5] which was basically a big rip-off of Jurassic Park. The idea was to get the adventurers into this theme park where there were live dinosaurs and mayhem ensues, basically.

GS: Ooh, sounds scary.

ES12: And the point was that I wanted a dinosaur model that was life-size to the same scale as the miniature figures that I used. So the role playing-miniatures are about 25 millimetres high[6] and the Allosaurus is 12, 13 centimetres high?[7] So four to five times the height of a person. And that, to scale, is correct.[8] So the whole impact of it was that my players would be playing and they'd have their miniatures on the table and at the appropriate point I would plonk down this huge Allosaurus miniature and they could see the size of an Allosaurus compared to their own size. I went to a toy store to buy the Allosaurus figure. I intended to get a Tyrannosaurus rex, but they didn't have one in the right size. So I got an Allosaurus instead. And ever since then, it's been Allosaurus all the way.

GS: Have you always been interested in role-playing and LEGO, or is it more recent obsession?

ES12: I've been interested in LEGO for as long as I can remember. I remember having sets when I was about five years old or so and playing with them and I just enjoyed it all the way. Role-playing I got into around 1980. It was when the movie E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial came out[9]. And in that movie, if you may recall, Elliot's brother played Dungeons & Dragons with a group of his school friends and didn't let Elliot get involved.

GS: Uh, uh no, I do not actually remember this.

ES12: So a friend of mine saw the movie E.T. and said "Oh! This Dungeons & Dragons game looks really interesting. Why don't we get that?" And so we asked our parents for it for Christmas and we both got a copy of it. At the time we actually thought it was just a board game. We read it and realised that is was something completely different. It just basically took off from there.

GS: How many role-playing miniatures do you own and do you have any of the old ones when they were still made out of lead?

ES12: I have about 20 or 30 miniatures, it's not a great deal. Which is why you don't see very many in the comic. And in fact most of them are made out of lead. Because here in Australia, led miniatures are still legal. I know that in the United States they've been banned for some years and you can only get pewter miniatures.[10] Here, you can still buy lead miniatures and I can go into a shop and still get them. So most of them are lead.

GS: Well thank you Experimental Subject Number 12, that was most... illuminating.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this short tour through the Nazi science labs. Please join us again next time when we will show the V2 rockets.

Uh, uh... I mean we're not working on any rockets... Uh, if we were I could show you but we... we're not. So we cannot.

Yes. Goodbye.


Irr, a thing you listen with,
egg, does not come from a cow,
you, a name that you call me,
lar, is what we're singing now.

Web, an aura costing green,
com, the thing that follows dot,
ick, the look on Chekov's face... in Star Trek II... The Wrath of Khan[11]... on Ceti Alpha V... when Khan got that larva thing... and stuck it in Chekov's environment suit... and it crawled up his face... and into his
which brings us back to: irr!


Nazi Scientist - Andrew C.
Experimental Subject #12 - David MM.
Jingle singers - David MM, David Mc, Andrew C, Andrew S, David K.

Programme Notes

1. Web, an aura costing green.

2. 886 Space Buggy, vintage 1979.

3. The Hall of Dworin.

4. To elaborate: I certainly am grateful for suggestions and ideas, and try to make sure I thank people by return e-mail when they send me an idea. I'm not trying to make it look like I come up with everything all by myself. My policy on public accreditation is explained in the FAQ.

5. The adventure is available here.

6. Actually gaming miniatures have grown noticeably since the "25mm" standard was chosen. The idea was that a 6 foot tall human would be represented by a figure one inch (or 25mm) in height. Over the years, gaming miniatures have become larger because its easier to sculpt more detail on to them if you have a bit more room to work with. The result is that nowadays mosthuman-sized figures are more like 28mm tall.

7. I overestimated slightly. The Allosaurus figure is 10cm high. About 3.5 times the height of a (28mm) human gaming figure.

8. Well, close. Real Allosauruses grew to a bit over 5 metres tall, or about three times the height of a person.

9. E.T. was released in 1982.

10. I misunderstood the facts of history here. Lead gaming miniatures were banned in New York state in 1993. Manufacturers switched to lead-free materials, in anticipation of further bans across the USA. However, after a year of debate and pro-miniature-gaming campaigning, New York granted an exemption to the blanket lead ban for gaming miniatures. However, by that time, the manufacturers had switched their production lines to using alternate materials. Some have since switched back, but most have stayed with the non-lead.

11. Great movie. Great scene.

My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
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