I sketched out three comics for the first time a couple weeks ago, and they came out so awful that I gave them to my co-worker Dory as a passive-aggressive symbol of my barely hidden contempt for her. I should have thought to scan them and share them here as a passive-aggressive symbol of my barely hidden contempt for humanity, but I didn't. Oops.
Alvin was intended to be the main character, but Tyler has been taking over as she grows up, being the most popular character among both of those polled (me and the woman she's named after and inspired by). My document has page after page of Tyler this, Tyler that. At times I have to consciously resist this trend and re-insert Alvin and Rachel. Also, in case you forgot or weren't around when I posted it, the Cracrofts are friends with an alien from Tobin named Mr. Flglmyyysphtsx, whom they call by the nickname "Mr. F" for some reason. Remember that because he'll be important again later. That is, if you even care. I don't know how much anyone besides me cares about these, but I like making posts out of them because it's like doubling the output of my effort.
Jerry Dies (2016)
Regardless of how they may turn out in practice, I want my comics to be funny, yet they're also supposed to cover real world and realistic events that are often not funny. And sometimes that's okay. I think of how "Calvin and Hobbes" sacrificed humor in some storylines, like when their house was robbed or when Calvin found an injured raccoon, and was all the richer for it. I tried to find a balance here because I believe in respecting the deceased, unless of course they were total sacks of crap while alive (cough Hugh Hefner cough), but I haven't got much respect for death itself at all. If it comes painlessly, it could come to me five minutes from now and I'd be fine with that. Geraldine "Jerry" Cracroft is named for my great-grandmother Geraldine "Jerry" Jensen, who died in 2010.
Alvin: Sweetie, I'm sorry to tell you this, but... Grandma Jerry died last night.
Tyler: What? Nooooo!
Alvin: I know it's hard, sweetie. But she was struggling with health problems. It was time, and she's much happier now.
Alvin: I know that doesn't make it any easier...
Tyler: Yeah. Piss off and just let me be sad.
Tyler (in bed): God, I don't know if you exist, and frankly I have my doubts, but if you do, explain something.
Tyler: Why did you take Grandma Jerry away from me? Don't you know that I need her? Don't you know that she understands me?
Tyler: If you just need an old lady, I'll trade you Mrs. Philbinski.
Ivan: Jerry had her requested funeral arrangements all right here. I can't bear to look at them... George?
George: Sure, dad.
George: “Don't waste your money on an expensive fancy coffin. Those are a scam. Most coffins are chosen for their appearance – hello, idiots! It's going to be buried underground!”
Ivan: Heh. Classic Jerry.
George: “'Lifetime guarantee'? Who the crap is going to check on it?”
Yes, they are a scam. Taking advantage of grievers is all too easy. When I die, I'm perfectly content for my body to be thrown in a compost heap, fed to wolves, used for target practice by my enemies, and/or literally anything else. I died. I'm dead. I'm not using it anymore. I'm just speaking for myself, of course, and not advocating doing that to other people's bodies, but there's got to be a middle ground between that and stupidly expensive coffins.
Pastor Hartgraves: We gather this day to celebrate the life of Geraldine Cracroft, who has gone home to the rest of our Lord.
Pastor Hartgraves: Jerry accepted Jesus into her heart, so y'all have nothing to worry about. No fire and brimstone for her.
Pastor Hartgraves: On that note, this is the first time in a while I've seen many of y'all in church...
Ivan: Stay on topic, Pastor Hartgraves.
Alvin: Jerry was a wonderful grandmother. I'll never forget the feeling of love in her house every Sunday dinner, and how it made me want to live up to it.
George: Jerry was the best mother a guy could ask for. I thank God for blessing me with this woman to make me the man I am today.
Ivan: Jerry was a pain in the butt, but she was my pain in the butt.
Panel 1 (and only)
Ivan (to casket): What gives, Jerry?? You can't just leave me in this crazy, mixed up world all alone!
Sid: Dis 'ere's da las' will an' testamen' o' Jerry Cracroft, what's recently deceased.
Bill: Did she leave anything good for me? Her dolls, maybe?
George: Bill! Really!
Susan: I'd be satisfied with just her toaster oven.
Sid: Y'know, mebbe 'er demise was brought on premature by da reindeer incident... Dat was 'er, wasn' it? We could sue Santy Claus agin.
Ivan: I'd like a different lawyer and different grandchildren.
Alvin: What? I didn't say anything!
Sid: Looks like she stiffed y'all anyway. Dere's a buncha charities listed 'ere.
Oh yeah, there was a "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" storyline that I never posted.
Jerry: Hello, Tyler.
Tyler (in bed): What? Grandma Jerry?
Jerry: I'll always be with you, in your heart.
Tyler: Yeah, yeah. That's not the same and you know it.
Jerry: Well, I'm also here as a ghost.
Tyler: That is significantly better.
Jerry: Tyler, death is a part of life. It comes for all of us. We shouldn't fear it or worry about it.
Jerry: I hope you don't even need to think about it for a long time. You have so much potential ahead of you. But when it does come, just think of it as a portal to the next phase of your existence.
Tyler: That's easy for you to say. You died in your sleep.
Jerry: The same principle applies to being eaten alive. Find a happy place.
Ivan Turns 100
I wanted a death for story purposes, but I also like having a super old person who's always just super old and still around. I think specifically of Grandpa from "The Simpsons". Since I'm being semi-realistic here, I had to give mine an actual age. In doing research I was surprised to learn that while living to 100 is obviously now more common than ever, it's still not very common at all. Don't count on living that long because in all likelihood you won't. You're welcome. Ivan Cracroft is named after my great-grandfather Ivan Nicholson, who died in 2005, and incorporates elements of him, his son my grandfather Eugene Nicholson (still living), and my great-grandfather Russell Jensen (husband of the aforementioned Jerry Jensen), who died in 2016 (I used his death year for Jerry's in the story) and was commemorated in this blog post. Of all my great-grandparents, he was around the longest so I knew him best, which unfortunately still isn't saying much.
Alvin: Grandpa Ivan will turn one hundred years old this month.
Rachel: Being a bit prematurely optimistic, aren't you?
(Alvin stares at her)
This is the thought I've always had when I read early centenarian announcements in the Deseret News. One of the refreshing examples of Rachel being more sensible than other people.
Alvin: I want to do something special for Grandpa Ivan's birthday. Something big.
Rachel: Let's get a ton of people to hide in his house and jump out and yell, “Surprise!”
Alvin: Er – he's very old, Rachel.
Rachel: Good point. We'll have to yell real loud.
Tyler: I'm happy for Grandpa Ivan, but I don't understand why people treat one hundred like a sacred number. Just because it's big and round?
Tyler: And why do we idolize multiples of five and ten, for that matter? Why is a twenty-fifth anniversary more significant than a twenty-sixth?
Rachel: It's because we have five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot, for a total of ten each!
Tyler: Sure, but you're the only person I know who still needs them to count.
Panel 1 (and only)
Rachel (to store worker): Do you have any Lego sets without an age limit of 99?
Ivan: I never expected to be this old. I never wanted to be this old. Life is funny that way.
Ivan: I've seen a lot of changes over my lifetime. Some of them good, some not so much. One of them was losing my companion. I wish she were still here to celebrate this milestone with me.
Ivan: But if she were here today, she'd want us to cut short the pretentious speeches and eat cake.
Tyler (holding plate): You heard the man! Fill 'er up!
Ivan: Another train! Most excellent!
Alvin: I can help you set it up.
Ivan: I know how to set up model trains, Alvin. I've been doing it for over seventy years.
Alvin: Er, right – I just thought –
Ivan: That my eyesight is too poor? That my fingers are too shaky? That I forgot how?
George: Hey, dad, there's another present over here! Let's open it!
Ivan has a huge model train layout, like my grandpa Eugene. I did a story about that which I probably should have shared before this one, but I didn't because I'm just jumping all over the place. Sorry.
Tyler: Grandpa Ivan, I feel like I've been around forever, but I can't imagine being around as long as you.
Ivan: Yeah, it's really something.
Ivan: Every year goes by faster, though. It seems like I was forty just yesterday. And it seems like I've done everything and seen everything and I'm ready to be done.
Tyler: I'd miss you, though.
Ivan: When you get to be a hundred, you may as well just die, but you don't die until you die, you know?
Ivan's punchline is taken verbatim from Charlotte, a woman I knew from the Rocky Mountain Care nursing home. She's gotten her wish since then. She also once said, "When you can't remember how old you are, you're too damn old."
Tyler (in bed): Why didn't you visit Grandpa Ivan for his birthday, Grandma Jerry?
Jerry: But I did, Tyler!
Jerry: It takes a special mind like yours to see, let alone converse with visitors from the beyond. But I often visit him too. I take a great interest in his life.
Tyler: You should murder him so he can be with you again.
Jerry: I thought of that too, but it's against the rules.
Introducing Audrey (2016)
I felt like Tyler needed another nemesis and a powerful figure to run her school. But I always felt sorry for Principal Skinner, so this one has a different dynamic. Principal Donaldson dishes out as well as she takes, so her conflict with Tyler is really a battle of wills with each gaining the upper hand at times. It's also a relationship of mixed feelings as she holds Tyler in high regard despite her exasperation, and tries to encourage her to fulfill her potential. With her introduction, the comic now has three mentor figures for Tyler, the others being Pastor Hartgraves and the ghost of Grandma Jerry. Of course her parents also try to mentor her but she doesn't take them seriously. She only asks Rachel's advice for entertainment purposes.
Audrey: Hey everyone. Thanks for coming out tonight. I'm the new middle and high school principal, Audrey Donaldson, and I'd like to be the first to welcome you all to the next chapter of your lives.
Audrey: Ah yes, Tyler Cracroft. I've heard a lot about you.
Tyler: I'm flattered.
Audrey: Tyler, I do hope we're going to be friends. You'll want me as a friend.
Tyler: How are you so sure of that?
Audrey: Because if I'm not your friend, I can be very... unpleasant.
Tyler: I see.
Audrey: I hope we understand each other, Tyler.
Tyler: Of course. You're challenging me to be more unpleasant than you.
Tyler: So, Audrey –
Audrey: Bzzt. Wrong. You will address me as “Miss Donaldson” or “Principal Donaldson”.
Tyler: Why should I?
Audrey: Because I am an adult and you will treat me with respect.
Tyler: Seventeen-year-olds aren't really adults.
Audrey: I'm twenty-three!
Alvin: Miss Donaldson, I'm so sorry about Tyler.
Audrey: Nothing to be sorry about, Mr. Cracroft.
Audrey: I knew when I took this job that some of the students would be more difficult than others. I relish this challenge and opportunity to make a difference in her life.
Audrey: If she's not a respectable young lady by the time she graduates, I'll resign.
Alvin: But I'm worried you'll commit hara-kiri before then.
Audrey tries various approaches with Tyler, hoping to find something that sticks:
Audrey: Look, Tyler, I understand. You're a teenager. You've got to blow off steam. I was young once too, believe it or not.
Audrey: Listen up, you wretched little delinquent, if we have any more of these unacceptable shenanigans from you there will be serious consequences, capische?
Tyler: I think you're supposed to have two people for “good cop, bad cop”, Principal Donaldson.
Audrey: My secretary took the day off.
Strangely enough, I have several scripts of Tyler in Audrey's office, but have yet to write any explaining what she actually does to get in trouble. Maybe it's better left to the imagination. And also I'm not that creative because I was a very good boy in high school and the only time I went to the principal's office was when my "friends" joked that I had broken a computer when I hit it because it was being slow. (I did hit a computer because it was being slow, but someone else had broken a different one.)
A Couple More Involuntary Celebrity Guest Stars (2018/2019)
Audrey wants her students to have a fun and enriching high school experience, so sometimes she brings in celebrities to talk to them. The real reason is that I think putting real people in my comics is funny.
(At school assembly)
Audrey: Please welcome our special guest, Lea Thompson, here to teach us about the dangers of doing drugs!
[clap clap clap clap clap]
Lea Thompson: Hi, I'm Lea Thompson. You might remember me from such roles as Marty McFly's mom in “Back to the Future”, Marty McFly's mom in “Back to the Future Part II”, and Marty McFly's great-great-grandmother in “Back to the Future Part III”.
Tyler: Weren't you also in “Howard the Duck” and “The Beverly Hillbillies Movie”?
Lea Thompson: Heh heh, I don't know what you're talking about!
(At school assembly)
Audrey: And now please welcome our very special guest, Gal Gadot, star of the “Wonder Woman” mov–
Tyler (off-screen): SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Tyler (off-screen): EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Tyler (off-screen): EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Audrey: We have a fangirl in our midst.
Gal Gadot: You don't say?
Audrey's New Friend (2022)
Yeah, maybe I'm running out of ideas.
Mary: Hello, Tyler, good to see you again. What brings you back here?
Tyler: Hey Mary. Are you familiar with the musical “Little Shop of Horrors”?
Mary: Sure. I played Chiffon in my high school's production.
Tyler: Really? Wow. Okay, so, do you think you could work up something like Audrey II for Principal Donaldson? Not to actually like eat her, but just scare the crap out of her, hopefully.
Tyler: You know, just a harmless little prank. Could you have it in like a week?
Mary: A week? You mock my abilities. See me after school.
I had to think about this. Would Tyler actually try to murder her principal? She's a brat, sure, but not a monster...
Mary: Here's your Audrey II, Tyler, complete with the voice of Levi Stubbs. It does eat meat, but not human. So just feed it sausage or something.
Tyler: Excellent. You're the best, Mary.
Tyler: Et tu, Audrey II?
Audrey II: Feed me, Cracroft! Feed me now.
Tyler: I'm getting chills.
Mary: Thank you.
Audrey II: Did I stutter, punk?
Audrey II: I'm quite comfortable in my masculinity, yet here I am stuck with a cutesy feminine name. There's nothing quite like the embarrassment of having a name from the opposite sex.
Audrey II: Do you get where I'm coming from, Tyler?
Tyler: I can't say that I do.
Audrey II: Feed me, Alvin! Feed me all night long!
Alvin: That's a cute little toy you've got there, Tyler.
Tyler: Thanks, dad.
Tyler: Don't be jealous, Steve, he'll only be here tonight.
Audrey II: What?? You're getting rid of me already?? I promise to be good and not eat anything sentient...
Tyler: I'm sorry, Twoey, but the top predator niche in this house has already been filled.
Audrey II: I talk! I sing! I produce oxygen! Can your lizard do that?
Tyler: So that's the movie you came from. Cool, huh?
Audrey II: Yeah. But I think it would have been better if the plant ate Audrey and Seymour, and then its cuttings rampaged through major cities that were conveniently devoid of children and infants.
Tyler: Well, that's exactly what happened in the original ending, but test audiences hated it. So it was replaced with this light-hearted, romantic ending.
Audrey II: Romantic? Pfeh! It's obvious that Seymour never really loved Audrey.
Audrey II: No. He just wanted to get into her plants.
If you haven't seen the original ending, do so. The rampaging sequence goes on for like ten minutes, is some of the most expensive deleted footage ever filmed, and is all the more impressive for having used no CGI. A lot of people have now come to prefer that ending. I guess my biggest problem with its replacement is how Audrey gets chewed on by a mouth bigger than her whole body and emerges without so much as a scratch. I'm sorry, but she should have died.
Tyler: Hey, Principal Donaldson, I know you don't like me to call you “Audrey”, but that is your name, so I got you this plant named Audrey II.
Audrey: Oh! How immensely flattering and not creepy at all!
Audrey: My classmates were always making dumb jokes about that movie. “Audrey, how's Seymour doing?” “Audrey, how's the plant life?” “Audrey, has your sadistic dentist boyfriend broken your arm lately?”
Tyler: You're taking this in good stride, Principal Donaldson.
Audrey (to Audrey II): And aren't you just the cutest widdle fing! Yes you are! Yes you are!
Audrey II: I think I'm gonna be sick.
Tyler: Well, Principal Donaldson wasn't scared at all. Lame.
Mary: I've failed you? I don't understand... I'm so sorry.
Tyler: No, no, you did great. But she loves that movie and she thinks the plant is cute.
Mary: Well, to each her own. Though I'm surprised, seeing as the characteristics of cuteness are pretty uniform across mammalian species and that plant doesn't have them.
Audrey: More spam, Mr. Audrey, sir?
Audrey II: This is demeaning but I can't help liking it.
"Mr. Audrey, sir" is what the Bride of Frankenstein allegedly called Audrey II after their first encounter, according to the lyrics of "Bad", a song demo that eventually evolved into "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space".
Audrey: Thank you again for the gift, Tyler. I appreciate your thoughtfulness, and I hope you can forgive my suspicions, but... given your track record...
Audrey: I can't be certain this was a true act of altruism. I feel like you may have put Audrey II in my office to cause trouble or incriminate me somehow.
Tyler: What are you saying, Principal Donaldson?
Audrey: I'm saying I think he might be a plant.
Tyler: I'm leaving.
The Cracrofts Go to Comic-Con (2023)
The selection process of the previous comics in this post may have seemed random, but they actually all provided necessary backstory for this story. Maybe it isn't worth the payoff since this one probably appeals to a very narrow demographic, but it appeals to me and this is my blog so here it is. In the interest of space I will keep the rest of my annoying commentary to a minimum.
Alvin: Okay guys, time to plan a vacation. Money's a little tight this year, but I'm sure we can find something fun to do.
Rachel: Let's go see the biggest ball of twine in Minnesota!
Tyler: Let's not and say we did.
Tyler: Let's go to Disneyland.
Alvin: You mean Disney World, right? That's much closer.
Mr. F: Let's go to Comic-Con.
Alvin: Gah! Mr. F, you scared the crap out of me!
Mr. F: My apologies. I thought I was one of the family by now.
Mr. F: My latest assignment is to study the phenomenon of “nerd culture”. I have secured five tickets to Comic-Con, and I would like to bring y'all with me.
Tyler: Count us in! Unless my parents want to be lame.
Alvin: Er – this is most kind of you, Mr. F. I don't know how to thank you.
Mr. F: No thanks necessary. I'm just doing my job.
Alvin: You're literally getting paid to go to Comic-Con?
Mr. F: It's a hard job at times, but someone has to do it.
Tyler: Mr. F, there's only four of us here – I mean, Steve can't come. So I'd like to bring my boyfriend, Zack.
Rachel: Who says Steve can't come? He could be a dewback!
Mr. F: That should be fine. But he doesn't know about me, does he?
Tyler: No. We're not at that point in our relationship.
Mr. F: The more Earthlings know about me, the harder it will be to conduct objective studies. You all must tell him that I am an Earthling in a costume.
Tyler: You're asking me to lie to my boyfriend?
Mr. F: My studies indicate that dishonesty is a vital component of dating.
Tyler: Zack, this is my cousin Fred. Fred, this is my boyfriend Zack.
Zack: A pleasure! That's the sickest costume I've ever seen!
Mr. F: Thank you, Zack. I made it myself.
Tyler: We've got a long way to go, so if you'll get in the car...
Alvin: Nice to see you again, Zack.
Zack: Hey, Mr. Cracroft.
Tyler (off-screen): Nine hundred bottles of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters on the wall, nine hundred bottles of Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters...
Alvin (to Rachel): I still don't understand what he sees in her.
CD Player: And we're, banned from Argo, every one... banned from Argo just for havin' a little fun...
Mr. F: What is this?
Alvin: Leslie Fish. One of the great filkers of all time. My brother Bill and I saw a bunch of them at cons back in the day... Bill Roper, Frank Hayes, Julia Ecklar, Kathy Mar, Roberta Rogow...
Mr. F: Filkers?
Alvin: “Filk”, originally a typo for “folk”, was the music of nerd culture. Sci-fi and fantasy parodies of songs sometimes hundreds of years old. People would sing it at cons and distribute their homemade tapes.
Rachel: Bill has dozens of those tapes. We got some transferred to CD.
Alvin: Sadly, it peaked in the eighties. There probably won't be many filkers at this one.
Tyler: You've gotta be filking kidding me.
Filk music is real and I love it.
Panel 1 (and only)
(Alvin is dressed as Darth Maul, Rachel as Rey, Tyler as an Amazon warrior, Zack as Harry Potter, Mr. F as himself)
Alvin: At last we will reveal ourselves to the Comic-Con. At last we will have tickets.
Tyler: Don't quit your day job, dad.
Rachel: I just realized that I'm Rachel Rey! Hahahahaha!
Zack (to Mr F): I can't see, like, a zipper or anything!
Mr. F: No offense, Zack, but you're making me uncomfortable.
Alvin: Tyler... promise not to squeal really loud if I tell you some good news.
Tyler: Sure, whatever.
Alvin: Gal Gadot is at this con.
Alvin: You literally just promised not to do that, Tyler!
Alvin: Looks like the few modern filkers are here. Vixy & Tony, the great Luke Ski... Ooh! Jonathan Coulton!
Tyler: If Gal Gadot is here, they can invite the Doodlebops for all I care.
Alvin: Hey, Tom Smith is playing in fifteen minutes.
Tyler: There's a big filking surprise.
Alvin: Tyler Anne Cracroft – actually, that's a good one.
Rachel (to Mr. F): It's funny because he's fat.
Tom Smith has referred to himself as having "an equator instead of a waistline", so I think I'm allowed to call him fat.
Alvin: Okay, Tyler, you and Zack can go see Gal Gadot if you want. Rachel and I will go see Tom Smith. Er, Fred, what do you want to do?
Mr. F: I'm undecided.
Mr. F: This Gal Gadot person must be pretty special, from Tyler's reaction, but I'm very intrigued by this filk music... I suppose I'll watch Tom Smith and leave if I get bored.
Rachel: You probably won't. He's quite the entertainer.
Alvin: Excellent. Okay, Tyler, don't get lost, and meet us back here in – crap.
(Tyler and Zack are gone)
(Becky is dressed as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, David as Dr. Who)
Tyler: Becky! David! Fancy seeing you here.
Becky: Yeah, no thanks to you.
Tyler: We didn't have room in our car for you guys. We took my boyfriend Zack, here, and my cousin Fred.
Zack: Sorry about that.
David: Are you Dr. Who too, Zack?
Zack: No, Harry Potter. Common mistake.
Tyler: I'm actually surprised you guys would come together without me as the “glue”.
Becky: Our parents are under the impression that we don't hate each other.
(At the Tom Smith performance)
Mr. F: Would you consider yourself a typical nerd?
Hot Girl: Oh, totally. I wear glasses sometimes.
Mr. F: I see. And that's all it takes?
Hot Girl: Well, I also saw a Star Wars movie once.
Mr. F: Which one?
Hot Girl: I don't even remember now... oh, and sometimes I play Candy Crush.
(Alvin and Rachel are visibly wincing)
(Ivan is dressed as Gandalf, Bill as Indiana Jones, Susan as Catwoman)
Tyler: Grandpa Ivan! I didn't expect to see – er –
Ivan: A 101-year-old guy walking? As long as I've got my trusty chaperones, I'm fine.
Bill: That's us.
Tyler: Cool, cool. So who are you, Dumbledore?
Tyler: That would have been my second guess.
Ivan: My options are kind of limited since I'm not willing to shave.
Alvin: Shoggoth went ticka-lee-lee!
Rachel: When timbers are shivered and lilies are livered...
Mr. F: Now he's Fenton... lamb of the inferno...
Alvin: No sign of Tyler... I hope she's not harassing poor Gal too much...
Rachel: Who cares? Better her than us. What else is there to go to?
Mr. F: I've got the schedule here.
Alvin: “The Avengers as an Allegory for Anarcho-Communism”. Sounds promising.
Rachel: I'd like to see “In Defense of Hobbit Hunting”.
Mr. F: Hey look, “Fictional Aliens Through the Ages”. I could use a good laugh.
Tyler: Grandpa George. I'm not even surprised anymore. Nice Spock ears.
George: I'm actually Sarek, his father.
Tyler: Right. And Grandma Connie, you must be some kind of discount Amazon warrior. No offense, but mine is better.
Connie: I'm Xena, Warrior Princess.
George: I told her she's too old for it, but there was no stopping her.
Connie: You know it's what Jerry would have worn if she were here.
Mr. F: So, would you describe yourself as a typical nerd?
Bystander 1: Hmm, not so much a nerd as a geek.
Mr. F: I see. Can you explain the difference between those terms?
Bystander 1: Well, many use them interchangeably, but the main difference is that, unlike nerds, geeks like me have social skills and talk normal.
Bystander 2: Hey! Take that back!
Alvin: Try not to start a war while you're here, Mr. F.
Mr. F: Yes, the council would frown on that.
Bystander 1 (off-screen): Kiss my Wookiee!
Bystander 2 (off-screen): By Grabthar's hammer, I shall avenge myself!
Audrey (off-screen): Hello, Tyler. Hello, Zack.
Tyler: Principal Donaldson. What a pleasant surprise.
Zack: I didn't know you were into Comic-Con stuff.
Audrey (off-screen): Always. And conveniently enough, I already had an Audrey II, so...
Tyler: So you dressed up as Seymour Krelbourne.
Audrey: Well, yeah. I hate to do the obvious thing.
Bystander: So what actual franchise are you from?
Mr. F: Er, I'm just a generic alien, representing the universal lore from which all sci-fi springs.
Bystander: Right, but you know those generic aliens are actually an unconscious manifestation of first world guilt, right? Ever noticed how they look like malnourished children?
Mr. F: Er... not as such, no...
Alvin: Can you guess what franchise I'm from?
Bystander: The most overdone one in history?
Tyler: I thought she'd never leave us alone... okay, Gal Gadot should be just up these stairs, second door on the left.
Zack: Hey, can we check this out?
Zack: A panel discussion of Star Trek vs. Star Wars! I've always wanted to see one of those!
Tyler: Seriously? They don't fill the same niche just because they both have “Star” in their name, you know!
Tyler: They may as well discuss X-Men versus X-Files.
Zack: That's up next.
Alvin: Ooh, James Roday and Dulé Hill have a booth!
Rachel: Right next to Felicity Jones and that other guy nobody cares about!
Alvin: And then if we hurry, we can catch Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day!
Rachel: Back from the dead now, is she?
Mr. F: I'm unfamiliar with these people. Are they nerd deities?
Alvin: You could say that.
Rachel: Ooh, Robert Downey Jr.! I wonder if he'll make “that face you make when”?
Zack: That was very interesting. I'd never considered whether or not Scotty could kick Kylo Ren's butt.
Tyler: Yeah, yeah, it was an intellectual tour de force. Let's hurry.
Zack: Which way were we headed when we came in here?
Tyler: Up these stairs.
Zack: You're sure it was the second door on the left?
Bystander (to Tyler): Gal Gadot? She's in the other end of the building.
Judge 1: Your attention please! The winner of this year's costume contest is –
Judge 2: Wait! Look!
Judge 2 (off-screen): You there!
Mr. F: What? Me?
Judge 2 (off-screen): Get up here!
Mr. F: Is my cover blown?
Alvin: Just the opposite, I think.
Tyler: Hey! Where did this crowd come from? Move it! Scootch your bootches!
Zack: Excuse us, please, we're in a bit of a hurry.
Tyler: What the heck is going on here?
Bystander: Michael Bay is going to mud-wrestle JJ Abrams in ten minutes.
Tyler: Nerd culture has hit a new low.
Bystander: It's for charity.
I wanted Stan Lee to be in this, but it turns out he'll probably be dead by the time it takes place, since most people don't live to be 100.
Judge 1: Your attention please! The winner of this year's costume contest is Fred, for his incredibly seamless and lifelike generic alien costume!
Mr. F: Well, thank you kindly, sir.
Alvin: Way to go, Fred!
Bystander: That rotten little... I worked on this costume for five weeks! I was a cinch to win!
Rachel: What are you supposed to be, Captain Picard?
Bystander: Lex Luthor, genius!
Alvin: There you are, sweetie! Did you – oh no...
Tyler (crying): She's gone! We were too late, and she's gone!
Alvin: Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry...
Tyler: I'm gonna go back to the hotel and cry for a few days.
Rachel: Zack, I have an idea for how you can be Tyler's Jedi Knight in shining armor, but I ought to mention that it could get you arrested.
Zack: I'm game.
Mr. F: May I tag along?
Rachel: Help! Help! This psycho is going to shank me!
Zack: Give me all your “Firefly” merchandise, or else!
Rachel: Oh, if only WONDER WOMAN were here to save me!
Zack: Ha! Wonder Woman isn't real!
Rachel: Well, I can always hope for –
Gal Gadot: The mugger's right, you doofus.
Gal Gadot: Cute little stunt you guys pulled. But you should leave the acting to the professionals.
Zack: But it worked, didn't it?
Gal Gadot: The only reason I'm giving you weirdos two seconds of my time is that I wanted to meet the winner of the costume contest.
Mr. F: I'm just an innocent bystander who's too scared to intervene.
Zack: Well, since you're here, will you come talk to my girlfriend? She's your biggest fan.
Mr. F: I'll let you touch my costume.
Gal Gadot: Sure, whatever.
Zack: Hey, Tyler, there's someone here to see you.
Tyler (off-screen): Tell them to piss off and just let me be sad.
Zack: I'm afraid Wonder Woman doesn't take no for an answer.
Tyler (off-screen): Say what?
Tyler (off-screen): SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
Rachel: You did good, Mr. F.
Mr. F: Most peculiar. I've never heard another Earthling make that noise.
Gal Gadot: I remember you. I came to your school a few years ago.
Tyler: You remember me?
Gal Gadot: Yeah, not sure that's a good thing, but whatever.
Tyler: Gal – can I call you Gal? – I look up to you more than you can imagine. Not just because of the Wonder Woman character, but because you're also a wonder woman in real life.
Gal Gadot: Well, as we say in the industry, flattery will get you everywhere. If you promise not to squeal, I'll give you an autographed photo of us together.
Tyler: SQU– okay.
Gal Gadot: It feels weird to be idolized. I'm just a person.
Gal Gadot: Just a ridiculously attractive, strong, attractive, rich, attractive, famous, attractive person...
Gal Gadot: Hm, maybe not that weird.
Tyler (stupefied, thinking): I'm breathing the same air as her right now.
Dory was telling me about how all women have self-esteem problems and she said that even Gal Gadot is probably self-conscious about her appearance, so I thought it would be funny if she actually wasn't. Of course as always I made no attempt to emulate the person's real-life personality.
Mr. F: Well, Cracrofts, it's been a pleasure as always. I shall treasure these memories, along with the fraudulently obtained contest prize money.
Alvin: Come back soon! Our door is always open!
Mr. F: I think I will come back soon. If I tell the council that there's much more information for me to obtain, they may allow me to attend the next Comic-Con.
Rachel: You poor thing. Work, work, work.
Tyler: Mr. F, thank you so much for helping me meet Gal Gadot. You're the best – er, second best.
Mr. F: How come you've never asked for an autographed photo with me?
Iceferno - Lost Woods Remix
I think this sounds kind of Halloween-y and also I just love it. The original is one of the best compositions ever created, and this takes it in a whole new direction worthy of its legacy.
One fine autumn Tuesday I was at work listening to Palette-Swap Ninja's "Princess Leia's Stolen Death Star Plans", a brilliant parody of the Beatles' entire "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album that follows the plot of "A New Hope", when I had the brilliant idea to do my own Star Wars parody. The Cracrofts are all Star Wars fans and have referenced it many times, of course...
Tyler (on Santa's lap): “Good” is a point of view, Santa. The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, including their quest for greater power.
Santa: Sorry, that's not how it works, kid.
Tyler (waving hand): You will bring me everything on my list.
Santa: Look, kid, there's a line here, so if we could wrap this up...
Tyler: Whatever. I bet you're not even the real Santa.
Santa: I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Alvin: Disney has decided that most of the Star Wars Expanded Universe is no longer canon. More than thirty years of books, comics, video games, and just like that none of them count...
Tyler: So, they're saying that those fictional events in that made-up universe didn't actually happen? The horror!
Alvin: Please let me grieve in peace, Tyler.
...but never so extensively as now, in what is by far the longest storyline I've ever written for this franchise. I churned out twenty-eight strips and then went back and inserted several more because, despite its obvious dependence on the source material, I wanted to have a complete self-contained story with no significant gaps. Though I tried not to totally rip off anyone else's jokes - a daunting task given that this territory has been trodden for forty years - I was heavily influenced by, in addition to the movie itself (duh), the Star Wars stylings of "Phineas and Ferb", "Robot Chicken" (NSFW), "Irregular Webcomic!", "Darths and Droids", and "Surf Rat & Spencer". Sadly, the "Surf Rat & Spencer" website disappeared this year (even though merchandise is still available at Cafe Press) and many of the comics fail to load in Wayback Machine's archive, including the "Surf Wars" saga. This saga recapped the entirety of "A New Hope" leading up to "The Phantom Menace" and was probably my biggest inspiration for this general idea. One of those strips survives because I used it in a blog post last year, so here it is again.
And of course, like most parodies, mine makes fun of Star Wars. I always make fun of the people and franchises I love.
Alvin Cracroft as Luke Skywalker
Rachel Cracroft (Alvin's wife) as Princess Leia Organa
Tyler Cracroft (Alvin and Rachel's daughter) as C-3PO
Steve the Komodo Dragon (the Cracrofts' pet) as R2-D2
Bill Cracroft (Alvin's brother) as Han Solo
Susan Cracroft (Alvin's sister) as Chewbacca
Ivan Cracroft (Alvin's grandfather) as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Geraldine "Jerry" Cracroft (Alvin's grandmother) as Yoda - who isn't in this movie, sorry
George Cracroft (Alvin's father) as Darth Vader
Connie Cracroft (Alvin's mother) as Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin
Some of the characters were chosen because of their similarity to the movie roles, and others because of their contrast. The main reason I put the relations in parentheses is in case anyone needs reminding that Tyler is a girl. And yes, unfortunately there just wasn't a spot for Jerry. I already had to gender-swap three characters to fit the other females.
A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away...
Opening Crawl: It is a period of civil war. Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire, if you don't count the “Rebels” cartoon series. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans for the Empire's ultimate weapon...
Opening Crawl: ...the Death Star, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Pursued by the Empire's sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the secret plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy...
Opening Crawl: For those of you keeping track at home, this is a fine example of the storytelling technique known as “in media res”, which is Latin for “into the middle of things”.
What? Breaking the fourth wall in my comics? It can't be... also, yes, I have the opening crawl memorized, not from watching the movie but from listening to this.
Tyler/Threepio: Did you hear that? They've shut down the main reactor. We'll be destroyed for sure. This is madness!
Tyler/Threepio: They'll be no escape for the Princess this time. Serves her right for getting us into this mess.
Tyler/Threepio: You're right, Artoo, it is convenient how none of these laser blasts are hitting us as we take our sweet time waddling through them.
Rachel/Leia: Here, Artoo, I wrote the Death Star plans on this napkin. Keep it in your mouth and regurgitate it when you find Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Stormtrooper 1: There's one! Set for stun!
Rachel/Leia: Welcome to my ship, guys! Can I help you?
Stormtrooper 1: She'll be all right. Inform Lord Vader we have a prisoner.
Stormtrooper 2: I almost feel bad for how easy that was.
George/Vader: You weren't on any mercy mission this time. Several transmissions were beamed to this ship by Rebel spies. I want to know what happened to the plans they sent you.
Rachel/Leia: I don't know what you're talking about.
George/Vader: Don't give me that bantha –
Stormtrooper: Wait, Lord Vader. I think she really means it.
(In the escape pod)
Tyler/Threepio: I almost feel bad, leaving Vader alone with her.
George/Vader (off-screen): You know, the Rebellion that's been going on for fifteen years?? Ring a bell??
Praji: Lord Vader, the battle station plans are not aboard this ship, and no transmissions were made. An escape pod was jettisoned during the fighting, but no life forms were aboard.
George/Vader: What?? Bring me Captain Bolvan at once!
George/Vader: You ordered Lieutenant Hija to hold his fire, captain?
Bolvan: Yes, Lord Vader. I figured there was no way she could have hidden the plans in the escape pod, and it's not like there's such a thing as mechanical beings that don't give life readings, so... uh... so...
Bolvan: I'll just submit my resignation now.
George/Vader (raising fist): That won't be necessary.
Tyler/Threepio: Nice landing, Artoo. Now let's see... our best strategy is to meet up with some Jawas, have them sell us to Obi-Wan Kenobi, and pickpocket the money for ourselves.
Tyler/Threepio: Hello there, Jawas, I wonder if –
Jawa 1: Utinni!
Jawa 2: Utinni!
Tyler/Threepio: I foresee a complication.
Jawa 3: Utinni utinni utinni!
Also, all Jawas look the same to me. I'm sooo racist.
Alvin/Luke: Do you speak Bocce?
Tyler/Threepio: As far as you know.
Alvin/Luke: I'll take these two.
Tyler/Threepio: Do you have family or roommates?
Alvin/Luke: No, I live alone.
Tyler/Threepio: Good, because the Empire will probably burn this place to the ground.
I did some summarizing and simplifying, especially with the Tatooine scenes and end battle, to keep this from going on as long as the actual movie. Even I would get sick of that.
Tyler/Threepio: Artoo! That message was meant for Obi-Wan Kenobi!
Alvin/Luke: Obi-Wan Kenobi?
Alvin/Luke: I wonder if he means old Ben Kenobi?
Tyler/Threepio: We'll find out. So long, sucker!
Alvin/Luke: I haven't even told you where he lives, Threepio.
Tyler/Threepio: Fine. You can come too.
Alvin/Luke: Sand People! They're the worst.
Tyler/Threepio: Are they, Master Luke? And you assume they're all the same? Have you ever taken the time to get to know one?
Alvin/Luke: Well, I – gyah!
(Tusken Raider jumps up and knocks him back)
Tusken Raider: Graah!
Tyler/Threepio: I'm just saying, maybe if you made the first move toward mutual respect...
Tusken Raider: Uuuuur ur ur ur ur!
Tyler/Threepio: Bwahahaha! “Ur ur ur” to you too!
In a short story called "The Moisture Farmer's Tale", Ariq Joanson does make an attempt to befriend the Sand People, and it does work, until... well, just read it.
Panel 1 (and only)
(The Tusken Raiders are fleeing)
Alvin/Luke: Ben? Ben Kenobi? Boy, am I glad to see you!
Tyler/Threepio: Are Sand People easily startled?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Not in general, but those ones owe me a lot of money.
Alvin/Luke: You fought in the Clone Wars?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Yes. I was once a Jedi Knight, the same as your father. Which reminds me...
Ivan/Obi-Wan: I have something here for you. Your father wanted you to have this when you were old enough, and since we're about to go on a fool idealistic crusade, well... Your father's lightsaber.
Alvin/Luke: Ooh! What's this button do?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: POINT IT THE OTHER WAY! POINT IT THE OTHER WAY!
Alvin/Luke: How did my father die?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. Vader was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force.
Alvin/Luke: The Force?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It's an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.
Tyler/Threepio: Tell him about the midi-chlorians, Obi-Wan!
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Whelp, look at the time. We'd better deliver those plans.
Little-known fact: George Lucas created the midi-chlorians way back with the original movie, but felt that there wasn't time to explain them, so they went unmentioned for twenty-two years. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, midi-chlorians do not create the Force, but just make it accessible to the beings in whose cells they live. The Force itself is still unexplained. I think they actually make sense as a reason for why some people can use the Force and others can't. Also, a real-life mitochondrial bacteria is now named after them. In the Auralnauts universe, midi-chlorians are heroin.
Motti: Your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the Rebels' hidden fort...
George/Vader (choking him): I find your lack of faith disturbing.
Connie/Tarkin: Actually, he has a point.
George/Vader: What?? Whose side are you on, Tarkin?
Connie/Tarkin: I'm just saying, we haven't gotten the plans back or found the base. That's all I'm saying.
George/Vader: Perhaps you'd like to talk with the Princess? She's forgotten everything, and she isn't bluffing!
Motti: Hello! Dying here!
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Mos Eisley Spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Except for Jabba's palace. And the Playboy Mansion.
Alvin/Luke: I'm ready for anything.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: These aren't the droids you're looking for.
Stormtrooper: These aren't the droids we're looking for.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Bring me a taco.
Alvin/Luke: Ah, Obi-Wan, let's move along.
"Tacos rule!" - George W. Bush
Also, I wrote this jab at the Playboy Mansion the day before Hugh Hefner's death, but out of respect for said death, I now pose this philosophical question: What's the difference between Jabba the Hutt and Hugh Hefner? Answer: Jabba the Hutt is a fictional character.
Wuher: Hey! We don't serve their kind here!
Tyler/Threepio: Bite my shiny metal –
Alvin/Luke: Listen, why don't you wait out by the speeder. We don't want any trouble.
Evazan: I don't like you either. You just watch yourself. We're wanted men. I have the death sentence on twelve systems.
Alvin/Luke: Yeah? I wouldn't go around advertising that fact on a planet crawling with bounty hunters.
(Outside the cantina)
Tyler/Threepio: Listen to them, Artoo, they're having fun without us. Typical.
Wuher (off-screen): No blasters! No blasters!
"Futurama" reference for the win.
Bill/Han: Han Solo. I'm captain of the Millennium Falcon. Chewie here tells me you're looking for passage to the Alderaan system.
Susan/Chewie: Graawr! (Cough cough.) Sorry.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Yes, indeed, if it's a fast ship.
Bill/Han: Fast ship? You've never heard of the Millennium Falcon?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Should I have?
Bill/Han: It's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Whoa, Luke, we almost got taken in by this scam artist. Everyone knows a parsec is a unit of distance, not time.
Of course the explanation come up with for this is that the Kessel Run involves going around black holes, and the closer one is willing to get to the black holes, the shorter the route and the faster the time. But in the movie, the look Obi-Wan gives Luke clearly says he doesn't believe a word of it. And hires him anyway. Also, I think the idea of Susan/Chewbacca being able to talk and just having something stuck in her throat is funny. I stole it from "Robot Chicken".
Ivan/Obi-Wan: You'll have to sell your speeder.
Alvin/Luke: Oh, great! What am I supposed to drive when I get back?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Er... get back?
Alvin/Luke: Yeah. This trip's only going to take a few hours, right?
Tyler/Threepio: Well I'm never coming back to this craphole again.
See, it's funny because in the movie Luke wants to get away from Tatooine... yeah.
Greedo: Oona goota, Solo?
Bill/Han: Yes, Greedo, as a matter of fact, I was just on my way to see your boss.
(Bill/Han shoots Greedo)
Susan/Chewie: Seriously, Han?
Bill/Han: What? Like I'm gonna give him a chance to shoot first?
This one is obvious to any true fan, but I'm not sure about normal people. See here for an explanation of the controversy. Also, in the movie you can see that Chewbacca is only a couple meters away when Greedo confronts Han. Either his hearing isn't very good or he knows how seriously to take Greedo.
Alvin/Luke: What a piece of junk!
Bill/Han: She'll make point five past light speed. She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts, kid. I've added some special modifications myself.
Alvin/Luke: Modifications? Like what?
Bill/Han: Well, secret floor compartments for smuggling contraband, a backup hard drive, fuzzy dice in the cockpit...
Alvin/Luke: Fuzzy dice? Where'd you get those? I've been meaning to get some for my T-16, but Tosche Station is always out of stock.
Bill/Han: We're a little rushed, so if you'll hurry aboard we'll get out of here.
Stormtrooper (off-screen): Stop that ship! Blast them!
The Millennium Falcon does canonically have a backup hyperdrive, albeit much slower than the main one, which is the post hoc explanation for why it didn't take them years to get to Bespin in Episode V. Because it turns out space is actually really big.
Rachel/Leia: Governor Tarkin! I love what you've done with this place! Lots of gray, with gray highlights.
Connie/Tarkin: Charming to the last. You don't know how hard I found it signing the order to terminate your life!
Rachel/Leia: Well, thanks for making the effort just for me.
Connie/Tarkin: Princess Leia, I'm going to put this in simple words. Tell us where the Rebel base is, or we'll blow up your home planet, Alderaan. Understand?
Rachel/Leia: Well, a tragedy of that magnitude is just too big to register on an emotional level.
George/Vader: You see what I've been dealing with, Tarkin?
Alvin/Luke: What's the matter, Obi-Wan? Did you feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Either that, or I had too much to drink at the cantina.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: You'd better get on with your exercises.
Alvin/Luke: Right. Feel the Force, feel the Force...
Bill/Han: Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful “force” controlling everything.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Han, the Jedi were fighting to save the galaxy nineteen years ago, and you must be at least twenty-five. Don't you remember?
Bill/Han: I didn't pay much attention in school.
Han is actually twenty-nine in "A New Hope", so he was CIRCA TEN YEARS OLD when the Jedi were exterminated. And he's from Corellia, a Core World, not some obscure backwater. Very strange.
Susan/Chewie: Aw, crud.
Tyler/Threepio: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
Susan/Chewie: I wasn't screaming, I just –
Bill/Han: Let her have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
Tyler/Threepio: But sir, no one worries about upsetting a droid.
Bill/Han: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
Tyler/Threepio: Yeah? I'm made of metal. I'll “let her have it” all right...
Susan/Chewie: Forget it! I'll let the droid win!
Cass: Our scout ships have reached Dantooine. They found the remains of a Rebel base, but they estimate that it has been deserted for some time.
Connie/Tarkin: She lied! She lied to us!
George/Vader: I think she honestly just remembered wrong.
Connie/Tarkin: Terminate her! Immediately!
Connie/Tarkin: And by “immediately”, of course I mean wait a bit in case someone comes to rescue her.
George/Vader: Of course.
Yeah, it was only a couple minutes before the Millennium Falcon showed up and Vader decided that "she may yet be of some use to us", but why did it even take that long? How hard was it to radio Detention Block AA-23 and say "Shoot the Princess"?
Bill/Han: Stand by, Chewie, here we go. Cut in the sublight engines.
Susan/Chewie: Roger roger.
Bill/Han: What the – aw, we've come out of hyperspace into a meteor shower. Some kind of asteroid collision. It's not on any of the charts.
Alvin/Luke: What's going on? Where's the planet?
Bill/Han: Either it's been totally blown away, or we're looking in Alderaan places.
Susan/Chewie: Too soon, Han.
(TIE Fighter zooms past)
Alvin/Luke: It followed us!
Ivan/Obi-Wan: No, it's a short range fighter.
Bill/Han: Well, he ain't going to be around long enough to tell anyone about us.
Alvin/Luke: Look at him. He's headed for that small moon.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: That's no moon. It's a planet.
Bill/Han: You sure? I think it's just an asteroid. Depth perception can be wonky in space.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: It's too smooth to be an asteroid.
Alvin/Luke: I still think it's a moon. Alderaan had a moon, right?
Bill/Han: Well there certainly couldn't have been another planet this close to it.
Susan/Chewie: Hello, guys? Tractor beam?
Rachel isn't the only one who has her moments. Even I can't resist the "men are stupid and women are smart" trope sometimes.
George/Vader: Send a scanning crew on board. I want every part of this ship checked.
Khurgee: Yes, sir.
Stormtrooper 1: We have faster-than-light technology, but our scanning equipment is as big as the Ark of the Covenant?
Stormtrooper 2: The what now?
Bill/Han (beneath floor): They're coming! Okay, when they get here we'll jump them, then lure the guards up and take their uniforms.
Alvin/Luke (beneath floor): They'd better hurry. Chewbacca is sitting on my face.
Susan/Chewie (beneath floor): Sorry about that.
I tried to think of what's the size of the scanning equipment, and all I could think of was the Ark of the Covenant. I initially didn't like that because it's very jarringly not a Star Wars item. But then I figured it was a crossover tribute to "Raiders of the Lost Ark" to reciprocate the hieroglyphic carvings of R2-D2 and C3-PO in that film. (They're not obvious, but you can see them if you look closely.) And besides, I already broke out of the Star Wars galaxy by referencing the Playboy Mansion.
Tyler/Threepio: The tractor beam is coupled to the main reactor in seven locations. A power loss at one of the terminals will allow the ship to leave.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: I don't think you boys can help. I must go alone.
Bill/Han: Whatever you say. I've done more than I bargained for on this trip already.
Alvin/Luke: I want to go with you.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Your destiny lies along a different path than mine. The Force will be with you... always!
Alvin/Luke: Thank goodness. It'll be nice and safe in here. Did I sound convincing enough?
Bill/Han: You could have waited until he left to do your happy dance.
Alvin/Luke: The Princess? She's here?
Bill/Han: Princess? What's going on?
Tyler/Threepio: I'm afraid she's scheduled to be terminated. Serves her right for getting us into this mess.
Alvin/Luke: Oh no! We've got to do something! They're gonna kill her!
Bill/Han: Better her than me!
Alvin/Luke: She's hot.
Bill/Han: Well why didn't you say so? Let's go!
Tyler/Threepio: Artoo and I will stay here, far away from you idiots.
Some versions of the script actually included this brief exchange that I think should have been kept:
Luke: She's beautiful.
Han: So's life, kid.
Panel 1 (and only)
Childsen: Where are you taking this... thing?
Susan/Chewie: That's hurtful, man.
Rachel/Leia: Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?
Alvin/Luke: Huh? Oh, the uniform.
Alvin/Luke: I'm Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you.
Rachel/Leia: Skywalker? That's a sexy name. Did I mention I'm into short guys?
Bill/Han: Can't get out that way!
Alvin/Luke: I'm flattered, Princess, but let's save the flirting for later.
Rachel/Leia: Can you put your helmet back on, Luke? You look better with it.
I wouldn't know flirting if it bit me in the face, but that's what David Morgan-Mar claims "Aren't you a little short for a stormtrooper?" is. He wonders whether Leia is making a ploy to escape, or just already suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
George/Vader: He is here.
Connie/Tarkin: Obi-Wan Kenobi? What makes you think so?
George/Vader: A tremor in the Force. The last time I felt it was in the presence of my old master.
Connie/Tarkin: Surely he must be dead by now.
Connie/Tarkin: I mean, he would be what, 57 now? Yeesh.
George/Vader: At least I'm pretty sure that old geezer Yoda is dead.
57 is Obi-Wan's canonical age in "A New Hope". Many people think he aged too quickly, but he was only 5-6 years younger than Sir Alec Guinness (the actor playing him), and seeing everyone you know die and then living on Tatooine for nineteen years probably takes a toll on you. I never quite understood Tarkin's logic here. He's well aware that Vader didn't kill Obi-Wan, and none of the Inquisitors etc. have bragged about killing Obi-Wan, so why does he make this assumption?
Bill/Han: He's the brains, sweetheart.
Alvin/Luke: Well I didn't –
Rachel/Leia: Hey, let's see where this grate leads to.
(Rachel/Leia shoots the grate)
Bill/Han: The garbage chute was a really wonderful idea. What an incredible smell you've discovered!
Rachel/Leia: It could be worse. At least there's not an enormous squid-thing to eat us, or moving walls to flatten us.
Dianoga (off-screen): Groan!
Alvin/Luke: There's something alive in here!
Bill/Han: It's your imagination, kid.
Alvin/Luke: Something just moved past my leg! Look! Did you see that?
Rachel/Leia (digging through garbage): Hey, I had a Twi'lek doll just like this when I was little!
I wanted to have Rachel/Leia say "Hey, somebody threw away a perfectly good bantha burger!" but then I remembered that would be a rip-off of "Phineas and Ferb". Sigh. Why is there a Twi'lek doll in the Death Star trash compactor? I imagine that Chief Bast kept it at his desk to remember his little girl who died of space cancer. But then Darth Vader saw it and, not wanting his men to be "soft", threw it away. The distraught and enraged Bast escaped the Death Star's destruction in Tarkin's shuttle, then returned to the Empire claiming to have been gone on a supply run, and after a year or so of patient waiting he got his revenge by recommending the forest moon of Endor as a site for the second Death Star's shield generator, citing the harmlessness of the primitive natives. This needs to be canon, Disney.
Alvin/Luke: The walls are moving!
Rachel/Leia: Oh, good. I've been meaning to do a crash diet.
Alvin/Luke (over comlink): Threepio! Shut down all the garbage mashers on the detention level!
Tyler/Threepio: What's in it for me?
Alvin/Luke (over comlink): Threepio, just do it, you stupid bantha fodder!
Tyler/Threepio: I'd be more respectful if I were in your position, Master Luke.
Ivan/Obi-Wan (thinking): Dum de doo... don't mind me... just deactivating the tractor beam... I'm sure there's no monitors or readouts to alert someone when I do...
Ivan/Obi-Wan (thinking): All these years and still no safety railings? This place is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Where's OSHA when you need them?
Stormtrooper 1: Give me regular reports, please.
Stormtrooper 2: Do you know what's going on?
Stormtrooper 3: Maybe it's another drill.
Ivan/Obi-Wan (thinking): I could use the Force to distract them... or fling them into this bottomless shaft. Hmm...
Ivan/Obi-Wan would be excellent at CinemaSins.
Rachel/Leia: You came in that thing? You're more macho than I thought.
Bill/Han: I don't look macho?
Stormtrooper: It's them! Blast them!
Bill/Han (running after stormtroopers): Get back to the ship!
Susan/Chewie: Oh bother.
Alvin/Luke: Where are you going? Come back!
Rachel/Leia: He certainly has courage.
Alvin/Luke: Good thing we don't actually need him. I'm not such a bad pilot myself.
Alvin/Luke: I think we took a wrong turn!
Rachel/Leia: Ooh, there's an echo! Hello! My name is Rach– I mean Princess Leia!
Alvin/Luke (preparing cable): These stormtroopers don't shoot very well, do they?
Rachel/Leia: Yeah, it's almost like they're letting us go or something. But that would just be silly.
(Rachel/Leia kisses Alvin/Luke)
Rachel/Leia: For luck.
Alvin/Luke: Better give me more luck just to be safe.
George/Vader: I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Only a master of evil, Darth.
(They begin lightsaber dueling)
George/Vader: Well, yeah. I'm second - er, third in command of the entire galaxy. I have thousands of ships, millions of troops, and a planet-destroying superweapon at my disposal. It's not a bad gig.
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Your point is well taken.
George/Vader: Sheesh, this is the lamest swordfight ever. Remember our last one? When did we get so old?
Ivan/Obi-Wan: Force Shmorce. It hasn't done jack for my arthritis.
Ivan/Obi-Wan (thinking): There's Alvin and the others... if I sacrifice myself, it will distract the Imperials long enough for them to escape, as long as none of them yell really loud or something stupid like that.
Alvin/Luke (off-screen): NO!
George//Vader: What? He disappeared? Qui-Gon didn't disappear. None of the Jedi I saw die in the Clone Wars, or killed myself afterward, disappeared. Why did this jerk disappear?
Stormtrooper: Lord Vader, the Rebels are escaping!
George/Vader: You can't just pull a stunt like this without explaining it, Obi-Wan!
It was supposed to be explained at the end of "Revenge of the Sith". Right before Obi-Wan shows up at Polis Massa, Qui-Gon's spirit was supposed to speak to Yoda while the latter was meditating, and explain that he had discovered a way to live on after death from a Shaman of the Whills, and that he would teach Yoda and Obi-Wan. For some unfathomable reason this scene was cut before Liam Neeson was even brought in to dub it. Of course it remains in the novelization. This was later explained - kind of - in one of the last episodes of "The Clone Wars", also featuring Qui-Gon, where Yoda goes on some kind of vision quest slash acid trip and learns the wisdom to begin obtaining immortality.
Alvin/Luke: I can't believe he's gone...
Rachel/Leia: I can relate a little bit. My planet blew up today. That's kind of similar, right?
Bill/Han: Come on, buddy, we're not out of this yet!
Susan/Chewie: Here they come!
Rachel/Leia: Here they come! Strange that the moon-sized space station only has four TIE Fighters.
Tyler/Threepio: Hey! Master Luke, I called dibs on that turret!
Who knows what Chewie is growling at this point in the movie, but I figured why not have Susan/Chewbacca saying "Here they come!", making Rachel/Leia's repetition of the line useless?
Willard: You're safe! When we heard about Alderaan we feared the worst.
Rachel/Leia: Yeah, fortunately it was just my adopted parents, two billion other people, and countless irreplaceable plant and animal species.
Rebel Technician: So... this droid has the Death Star plans? How do we... uh... retrieve them?
Tyler/Threepio: Spit them out, Artoo. Oh dear. You seem to have swallowed them.
Rebel Technician: Er, so...
Tyler/Threepio: We just need to wait a bit. You're not in a hurry, are you?
Two billion is the canonical population of Alderaan before "A New Hope". Zero is the canonical population of Alderaan after "A New Hope". Is Rachel being dumb, callous, or sarcastic? You decide.
Dodonna: An analysis of the plans provided by Princess Leia shows that we just need to shoot our proton torpedoes into a two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port, and the Death Star will explode.
Wedge: That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard!
Alvin/Luke: No, actually it makes sense.
Alvin/Luke: A laser powerful enough to destroy a planet must generate tons of waste energy. It has to be shunted out somehow. Actually, it's impressive that they could keep the port down to two meters.
Bill/Han: Kid, you are such a nerf herder.
Alvin/Luke: And I used to bulls-eye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They're not much bigger than two meters.
Wedge: That's messed up, Luke.
As much as I love "Rogue One" (How could I not? My wife was in it), I didn't see any particular need to "justify" the Death Star's weakness. They would have done better to explain why there's a long, wide freaking trench leading up to it.
Alvin/Luke: So... you got your reward and you're just leaving then?
Bill/Han: That's right, yeah! My make-out session with the princess was great, but I've got other girls waiting for me. Even if I didn't, you don't think I'd be fool enough to stick around here, do you?
Alvin/Luke: Come on! Why don't you take a look around? You know what's about to happen, what they're up against. They could use a good pilot like you. You're turning your back on them.
Bill/Han: Hm. I am a pretty good pilot, aren't I?
Bill/Han: Why, you sly dog, you almost got me with flattery.
Susan/Chewie: Keep trying! Say something about his abs!
In the original cut of the cantina scene, Han observes Obi-Wan's swordsmanship but is more interested in kissing a woman named Jenny, whom he dismisses with the word "Sweetheart" as Luke and Obi-Wan arrive at his table. It kind of puts a damper on his relationship with Leia to realize that he just abandoned another woman.
Red Leader: All wings report in.
Red Ten (over radio): Red Ten standing by.
Red Seven (over radio): Red Seven standing by.
Red Three (over radio): Red Three standing by.
Red Six (over radio): Red Six standing by.
Red Nine (over radio): Red Nine standing by.
Red Two (over radio): Red Two standing by.
Red Eleven (over radio): Red Eleven standing by.
Alvin/Luke: Red Five standing by. How does this numbering system work, anyway? Why do we report out of order? Why is my number not the highest one, since I'm new?
Red Leader: The previous Red Five died while he was asking questions instead of paying attention.
This probably wasn't worth devoting a strip to.
Wedge (over radio): Heavy fire, boss! Twenty degrees.
Red Leader (over radio): I see it. Stay low.
Alvin/Luke: This is Red Five; I'm going in!
Biggs (over radio): Luke, pull up! Are you all right?
Alvin/Luke: I got a little cooked, but I'm okay. That was so worth it!
Biggs (over radio): I bet I can make a bigger explosion than that!
Alvin/Luke: Yeah? Let's see you try!
Red Leader (over radio): Keep it together, boys.
Goren: Squad leaders, we've picked up a new group of signals. Enemy fighters coming your way.
Rachel/Leia: Judas Priest, this is bad.
Tyler/Threepio: What are you so worried about? Those ships don't even have deflector shields and their pilots are a credit a dozen. We took out four and barely got a scratch, remember?
Rachel/Leia: You're right. It's a good thing they don't have any phenomenal pilots who can use the Force.
(Aboard the Death Star)
George/Vader: Several fighters have broken off from the main group. Come with me!
Red Nine (over radio): It's a hit!
Red Leader (over radio): Negative! It didn't go in. Just impacted on the surface.
Alvin/Luke: Well, stang.
(George/Vader destroys Red Leader's X-Wing)
Red Leader (over radio): Eeeyaaaaaaah!
Alvin/Luke: I should be upset that he's dead, but I'm more upset about me being in charge now.
Wedge (over radio): Me too.
"Stang" is a canonical Star Wars swear word. This blog post is now rated R. But seriously, why does the Rebellion's newest pilot get put in charge while Biggs and Wedge are still around? He may be the best pilot, but he has the least experience working with the squadron.
Alvin/Luke (thinking): Everyone is dead but me. Darth Vader is on my tail. I have to make this shot or the Rebellion will be destroyed forever. This is why I never wanted to leave Tatooine.
Ivan/Obi-Wan (disembodied voice): Use the Force, Luke.
Alvin/Luke: What the –
Ivan/Obi-Wan (disembodied voice): Let go, Luke.
George/Vader: The Force is strong with this one. Which reminds me, I've always hoped that my child is alive... but Obi-Wan would have changed his last name and hidden him on some planet I've never heard of.
Yes, I know Wedge isn't dead, he's just gone, but that takes too long to explain. And the reason Yoda and Obi-Wan hid Luke on Anakin's home planet is that they assumed Vader would stay the heck away from it because of his painful memories there. And that seems reasonable enough. However, Disney has now established that he built a fortress on the planet where he strangled his pregnant wife, lost his remaining three limbs, and became a Crispy Critter, so their assumption may have been a little off. And I see no excuse for the name thing. "Luke Lars"... is that so difficult?
Alvin/Luke (thinking): This is crazy. I barely started my training. But here goes nothing...
Rebel Technician (over radio): His computer's off. Luke, you switched off your targeting computer, what's wrong?
Alvin/Luke (thinking): They must be even more scared than I am.
Alvin/Luke (over radio): Nothing! Nothing, I'm all right!
Rachel/Leia: Luke, Luke, he's our man! If he can't do it, we're all screwed!
Tyler/Threepio: I'm gonna go check the shuttles for, uh, maintenance.
For some reason I found myself needing to pad out space here, and therefore showed more of Alvin/Luke's thought process. This had the unusual effect of making the moment at least as serious, if not more so, than the movie equivalent, in stark contrast to most of this storyline. Which I guess is kind of a nice twist.
(Aboard Death Star)
Loudspeaker: Rebel base in range.
Connie/Tarkin: You may fire when ready. Nothing can stop us now.
Officer: Knock on wood! Knock on wood!
Bill/Han (over radio): Yeehoo!
Bill/Han (over radio): You're all clear, kid! Now let's blow this thing and go home!
Rachel/Leia: I wonder how many deaths he could have prevented if he'd been here from the beginning? Eh, whatever.
And then there's the small matter of Endor. The first time Han tries to plant the charges and destroy the shield generator, he's in a hurry because the Rebel fleet is going to arrive at any moment. But on his second and more successful attempt, while the fleet is in the process of being exterminated, he takes his sweet time and pauses to give the Imperials his sarcastic smile and shrug. How much blood is on his hands?
Panel 1 (and only)
(Alvin's X-Wing and the Millennium Falcon fly away from the explosion of the Death Star)
Bill/Han: Great shot, kid! That was one in a million!
Ivan/Obi-Wan (disembodied voice): Remember, the Force will be with you... always.
Alvin/Luke: You're right, Artoo, it was convenient how they took so long to fire this time.
The novel Death Star explains that Master Chief Gunnery Officer Tenn Graneet was actually stalling because he had felt like crap ever since he realized he was the biggest mass murderer in the history of the galaxy. Thanks to Disney, this wonderful novel is no longer canon. Deleted scenes from "Return of the Jedi" also show the Emperor ordering Moff Jerjerodd to destroy the forest moon of Endor if the Rebels succeed in taking out the shield generator, and then the latter's hesitation in carrying out this order because several of his own men are down there. It raises the stakes for the Rebellion and shows the humanity of a high-ranking Imperial officer, and I think it should have been kept in. How did Artoo and Luke know how long it took to destroy Alderaan? Leia told them, obviously. In the original novelization of "Star Wars", Luke becomes sort of unconscious while using the Force to fire the torpedoes, so the story skips ahead several seconds to when he's actually flying away. I liked that and imitated it here.
Tyler/Threepio: Oh yeah! We bad! We bad! Death Star? More like Dead Star! Suck it, Palpatine! We're coming for you next!
Alvin/Luke: Thanks for the support, Threepio.
Rachel/Luke: Well, you are both very attractive men and it's going to be difficult choosing between you. Right now I'm leaning toward Luke. We seem to have a lot in common.
Bill/Han: A little too much in common, if you ask me.
Rachel/Leia: I'm so sorry, Chewbacca, but I forgot to get you a medal.
Susan/Chewie: No worries, I'm sure it has nothing to do with your latent racism.
Alvin (thinking): Too bad there wasn't room for Grandma Jerry in my dream... I guess she can be Yoda in the sequel.
Alvin: Rachel, I just had the most incredible dream. I dreamed that you and I and Tyler and Steve and a bunch of other family members were characters in the original Star Wars.
Rachel: Eh. Lame.
Rachel: Star Wars parodies have been done to death. Try something original next time.
Ohhh, so that's why they were breaking the fourth wall. Good, I was worried for a while... Anyway, I hope you liked it.
Darthenshmirtz - The Sith-inator
If anyone is still reading at this point, here's a real catchy number from the Phineas and Ferb special. It was a toss-up between this and stormtrooper Candace's "In the Empire", which I will probably share some other time.
I recently watched "The Princess Bride" for the first time in maybe almost a decade - the night before its thirtieth anniversary, as it happened - and finally noticed how useless Buttercup is. If I got mauled by a Rodent of Unusual Size and all my "true love" could think to do was watch from a considerable distance away, I would let Humperdinck marry her. They would deserve each other.
Buttercup: Will you promise not to hurt him!?
Wesley: Huh? Suddenly you're concerned about me getting hurt? That's funny, you didn't seem to mind a couple minutes ago when I was GETTING CHEWED ON BY A MONSTER! "Buttercup"? More like "Buttface"!
At work on Wednesday, I was pondering the lack of justice in the world, as evidenced by (among other things) Hugh Hefner still being alive at a ripe old age. I got home to find that he is now dead at a ripe old age, and the world is now just a little bit better for it. Of course, the immeasurable damage he's done to American and probably global society and especially the women in it will last forever. But at least he's gone, away from us, somewhere else where in all likelihood his millions of ill-gotten dollars are suddenly of little or no use to him. RIP Hugh Hefner, who was a feminist in the same way that Colonel Sanders is a vegan. And by "RIP" I actually mean something entirely different that is not suitable for this blog. By the way, if you were outraged at Drumpf's misogynistic remarks but thought Hugh Hefner was a swell guy, you're a hypocrite of epic proportions.
Now on to more comic scripts. You know, sometimes people ask what my series is about and I don't know how to sum it up so I say, "A family." Which makes it sound dull and unoriginal. "And they have a pet Komodo dragon." That about covers it.
For better or for worse (which is a different comic series altogether), Alvin is often reduced to a puppet for disseminating my views. Sometimes I'm able to weave this into an actual joke, and sometimes not so much. The hope is that with further revisions they will all be funny someday. Here are a few examples from the dozens that I have.
Cashier: Whoops! Got stuck on “daddy duty”, eh?
Alvin: No, ma'am.
Alvin: For your information, spending time with my own child is not a duty, but a privilege.
Tyler: Too bad I can't say the same about “daughter duty”.
Less Subtle Preaching
Rachel: My land. I took Tyler to the petting zoo today and they kicked me out for breastfeeding in public. Threatened legal action, even.
Alvin: What? That's absurd!
Alvin: I can't believe there's so much ignorance in this country about something so natural and innocent. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that.
Alvin: Don't let them get to you. All that matters is that Tyler appreciates it.
Rachel: The baby llamas actually, but yeah they did.
Blunt and Not Particularly Funny (Insert Your Own Quip About None of them Being Particularly Funny Here) Preaching
Alvin: Oh no. The CIA will face global backlash and decreased influence if the Senate releases a report on their illegal, unconstitutional and immoral torture techniques.
Alvin: Poor CIA. This must be so hard for them. What have they ever done to deserve this unjust and disproportionate suffering?
Rachel: You're not making any sense, Alvin.
A New One that I Cranked Out for this Special Occasion
Alvin: I'm glad to see they gave Hugh Hefner a proper cremation.
Alvin: It's just a shame they waited until he was dead.
Rachel: Ha! Alvin, you're so funny!
Creation Vacation (2007)
Pastor Hartgraves: Alvin, I realize that you've had difficulties reconciling science and religion, and I'd like to offer my help.
Pastor Hartgraves: When you have a greater understanding of science, the apparent contradictions will fade away.
Alvin: I hope so too. You're a science expert then?
Pastor Hartgraves: No, but a friend of mine is. You know the Creation Museum that just opened in Kentucky?
Alvin: So Pastor Hartgaves' close personal friend Ken Ham gave him a bunch of tickets to the “museum”, and he wants us to go.
Rachel: We do need a vacation, Alvin.
Alvin: That's true... and I suppose I should see it for myself and give it a fair hearing before I criticize.
Rachel: That's the spirit!
Alvin: I may need some alcohol to get me through it, though.
Rachel: Think of your impressionable young child, Alvin.
Alvin: You immediately get a general idea of what this “museum” is teaching from the displays – very pretty displays, I'll admit.
Rachel: How do those people stand so still?
Alvin: Humans and dinosaurs co-existed. And all dinosaurs were vegetarians before the Fall. You can't assume they ate meat just because they had teeth and claws designed for piercing and tearing flesh.
Alvin: My sentiments exactly, Tyler.
Ken Ham doesn't seem to be aware that plants are also living things, so even if all dinosaurs were vegetarians, they were still killing stuff before the Fall.
Alvin (reading): “Many 'living fossils', such as crocodiles, once shared the same world as dinosaurs.”
Alvin (reading): “Since humans continue to live with crocodiles today, it is reasonable to believe that humans also shared the same world with dinosaurs.” Yes, that seems logical.
Alvin: Grandpa Ivan once shared the same world as Winston Churchill. Since Grandpa Ivan is still alive today, it is reasonable to assume that I also shared the same world with Winston Churchill.
Rachel: You did? Can you get me his autograph??
Originally was FDR, but then I thought Hitler was funnier, but then that violated Godwin's Law and also it was awkward for Rachel to want Hitler's autograph.
Alvin (reading): “Can you tell how old this fossil is? Fossils don't come with tags on them that tell us how old they are.” No kidding.
Rachel: The ones I saw at another museum did.
Alvin (reading): “So we have to use the Bible as a starting point and use circular logic to determine that the evidence matches what we already believe.” Okay, that's a slight paraphrase.
Rachel: I can read, Alvin.
Alvin: That's the difference between real science and creation “science” in a nutshell.
Rachel: How can there be atheists with evidence like this??
The scathing subtlety of Rachel's line is that it's the opposite of the way things are. There are atheists, in part, because of "evidence" like this.
Alvin (reading): “When the Flood destroyed the world's forests, it must have left billions of trees floating for centuries on the ocean. These log mats served as ready-made rafts for animals to cross oceans.”
Alvin: I can only assume these trees were made of plastic? And they could somehow support the weight of hippos and rhinos and elephants?
Rachel: Yeah, it says that in Leviticus somewhere.
Alvin: And all the marsupials just happened to go to Australia and nowhere else?
Rachel: Silly marsupials, didn't they know about the poisonous spiders?
Space prevented me from getting into this, but Answers in Genesis actually teaches that dinosaurs were on Noah's ark, therefore surviving the Flood and dying for some unknown reason later. So these "log mats" would also have had to support the weight of Apatasauruses (Apatasauri?). Yeah, no. And this is still only scratching the surface of why this hypothesis doesn't work. I can only fit so much in a three-panel comic.
Rachel: Shush, shush. Your diaper's clean...you've got your binkie... are you hungry? No?
Rachel: I can't calm her down, Alvin.
Alvin: She's disturbing the other visitors, Rachel.
Alvin: Unfortunately, it looks like we'll have to cut our visit short.
Rachel: Then why are you smiling?
Ken Ham: Hi, I'm Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis. Did you folks enjoy your visit to the Creation Museum today?
Rachel: Yeah, we had fun.
Alvin: It was interesting, I'll give you that.
Ken Ham: Good, good. Well, I see you're in a hurry, but I hope you'll return when your child is old enough to understand it, and we have some great children's books in the gift shop.
Alvin: Yeah, Tyler could use a good laugh.
Ken Ham: Beg pardon?
Alvin: I said thanks, Mr. Ham.
Another involuntary celebrity guest star! With his soft-spoken Australian accent and love of Dr. Who, Ken Ham is impossible for me to hate, so I had no desire to portray him in a negative light.
(in the car)
Rachel: My land. I learned so many things at the museum that I never knew before.
Alvin: Most of it was nonsense, Rachel.
Rachel: Don't you believe in God, Alvin?
Alvin: Of course I do! I even believe in most of the Bible. But science is pretty conclusive on a lot of things. We need to fit them into our paradigm, not throw them away out of fear and ignorance.
Alvin: I don't know where or if Adam and Eve fit into the picture, but they did not live with dinosaurs.
Rachel: Wait, are you saying “The Flintstones” isn't historically accurate?
This was meant to be another evolution storyline, but there are so many other things wrong with young-earth creationism that I didn't even get around to mentioning it by name. Everything that Alvin reads from the signs, except for his slight paraphrase, is taken verbatim from the real-life Creation Museum. Scary, isn't it? Look, I don't care what you believe about the Earth or life on it, but don't pretend your views have any scientific plausibility if they blatantly don't.
Rachel Explains Politics (2012)
Rachel, in case you haven't noticed, is a gender-swapped version of the overused idiot husband trope (and therefore, in a perverse way, a feminist icon) taken to a ridiculous extreme a la Brewster Rockitt. (I feel now is as good a time as any to explain to a certain person named Rachel who may be reading this that yes, she is half named after you and half named after a coworker I barely knew who stared at me all the time, though her name was spelled Rachael, but the character herself, as a person, is not based on you at all and should not be construed as my opinion of your intelligence or your anything else. Okay? Okay.) But I like to have her subvert expectations sometimes, either by doing something that raises the question of whether she's really as stupid as she seems, or by accurately explaining something that normal people take for granted and thereby exposing how stupid it truly is. Here she does it with politics. Elsewhere she also does it with dating, but that may be too controversial to share.
Tyler: How do politics work, mom?
Rachel: Well, you can choose whether to be liberal or conservative, which determines whether you vote Democrat or Republican.
Tyler: That's it? You only get two options?
Rachel: You only need two options! Those two options are the entire spectrum of American political thought!
Tyler: Well, that explains a lot.
Rachel: Oh, and you're not allowed to be friends with anyone on the other side, so choose wisely.
Whoopi Goldberg is pro-choice and a member of the NRA. Doesn't she know she can't do that?
Tyler: Okay, suppose I pick one, let's say conservative/Republican.
Rachel: Ooh, good choice, if you hate poor people.
Tyler: Er, liberal/Democrat then.
Rachel: So you hate freedom? All right then.
Rachel: The states take turns holding primary elections, where the Democrats and Republicans each choose who they want to be the next president.
Rachel: Of course, if your state has one of the later primaries, most of the options are already gone and its choice doesn't make any difference. This is perfectly fair because... um... because...
Rachel: Because that's just how democracy works!
Tyler: It's like you designed the system.
Yeah, living in Utah, this really pisses me off. And I do realize the United States is actually a republic, because the Founding Fathers were afraid of pure democracy, because people are morons, but you don't expect these comic scripts to be that educational, do you?
Rachel: So you end up with two options for president – well, more than two, but don't waste your time voting for another one because voting for another one is a waste of time.
Tyler: That doesn't at all sound like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Rachel: So you pick whichever of the two options you hate less, and vote for him or her, but actually just him.
Tyler: And whichever gets the most votes, wins?
Rachel: Not exactly. There's this thing called the “electoral college”. I don't understand it because I went to a different college.
Tyler: Thank God I don't have to vote for twelve more years.
I actually agree with the electoral college - it got us a terrible president instead of a different terrible president, after all - but it does complicate things.
Rachel: Voting for president is a very important civic duty. You should be grateful and proud to do it.
Tyler: What's the chance of my vote affecting the outcome?
Alvin: About 1 in 60 million. Almost 343 times smaller than the chance of you getting struck by lightning within the same four years.
Rachel: She didn't ask you!
Alvin: In fairness, you can have more of an impact voting for other people. Have you told her about those, Rachel?
Rachel: Why would I? Nobody cares about those.
Alvin: That's exactly the problem. See, Tyler, besides the President, there are also national and local Congress members and a governor and a mayor and town and school board members to choose.
Alvin: Do either of you even know who our mayor is?
Rachel: We got a horse? Why didn't you tell me?
Preachy as this one is, I'm chastening myself as much as anyone else. I do know who my mayor is but couldn't tell you one thing about his policies. I'ma go fix that right now as far as you know.
You may remember that last year I shared one script where Dr. Robert T. Bakker, real life originator of the Dinosaur Renaissance (but with a fictional personality just for fun), visited Tyler's and David's Biology class taught by Dr. James Pitts (named after a real professor of mine) and his assistant Mary Hollenbaugh (named after a real ridiculously gorgeous friend of mine). But that was just the beginning...
Dr. Pitts: As promised, today we get to hear from Dr. Robert T. Bakker, who's largely responsible for the way we look at dinosaurs today.
Dr. Bakker: Yep! “The dinosaur heresies”, I called them. Not so heretical anymore, are they?
Dr. Pitts: Dr. Bakker has –
Dr. Bakker: Everyone was so blinded by their confirmation bias and prejudice against reptiles that they scoffed at my radical new theories. Well, who's scoffing now, huh?
Dr. Pitts: Yes, that's –
Dr. Bakker: Suck it, orthodoxy! SUCK IT!
Dr. Bakker: See, scientists are human like everyone else, and we aren't always objective and we make mistakes. But science is a self-correcting process, and the truth comes forward eventually.
Dr. Bakker: There's a certain methodology that everyone has to follow. I couldn't just say “You're wrong!” to the orthodoxy. I had to demonstrate my case with logic and evidence.
Student: Like Michael Behe?
Other Student: Or Andrew Wakefield?
Dr. Bakker: Let me start over.
I wanted to take two potshots in one comic, but I realize it isn't entirely fair of me to put Michael Behe and Andrew Wakefield in the same category. Both of them are wrong, but only one of them is a lying pos with blood on his hands. (Hint: It's Andrew Wakefield.)
Student: Mr. Bakker, you are an evolutionist, aren't you?
Dr. Bakker: Sure am! If God didn't use evolution, he must have gone out of his way to make us think he did.
Student: Wha? You believe in God too?
Dr. Bakker: Sure do! In fact, I'm an Ecumenical Christian minister. I believe that faith and reason are fully compatible.
Student: Well, that explains it. The ecumenical movement is of the devil.
Dr. Pitts: Dr. Bakker, I'm terribly sorry, but the state board of education forbids the f-word in this classroom.
Dr. Bakker: Yeah? They can suck it too.
Bakker's line "If God didn't use evolution..." is a verbatim or almost verbatim quote from The Dinosaur Heresies. It really made an impact on me. I hope it's obvious that the f-word here is "faith". Not to be confused with the really, really bad f-word that rhymes with "end zone".
Tyler: Dr. Bakker! You're still here!
Dr. Bakker: Yeah, Dr. Pitts and I have something do discuss with you and David.
Dr. Bakker: See, I wasn't just here to speak to your class today. How interested are you two in dinosaurs?
Tyler: More interested than I am in boys, at least.
David: That's not saying much.
Rachel: Judas Priest, spring break is coming up. I don't know if I can stand having Tyler at home for an entire week.
Tyler: Hi, mom. Dr. Pitts wants me and David to come on an expedition to an island off the coast of Costa Rica over spring break. I have the permission slip right here.
Tyler: You didn't even read it.
Rachel: If I just sold you into slavery, I apologize.
(aboard the boat)
Tyler: Wow. Going to an island off the coast of Costa Rica to study dinosaurs! Just like Jurassic Park!
Dr. Bakker: Did you know the book was heavily based on my research, and I was the scientific adviser on the movie?
David: You've mentioned that a few times, yeah.
Tyler: Too bad these ones will just be fossils.
Dr. Pitts: Er – there's something we should probably explain.
Tyler: They're actually alive? Yeah, I read your lab notes.
T. Rex (through binoculars): Rooooooooar!
Tyler (holding binoculars): I just wet myself. But in a good way.
David: Give me those!
Tyler's quote was originally used by Jane Padgett in my unpublished manuscript "Space Girls" after she goes back in time and hears a T. Rex roar. I plagiarized myself because the line is just that good.
Tyler: How did you guys do this? I know the mosquito thing in Jurassic Park was BS.
Dr. Pitts: Actually, I don't even understand it. Mary did most of the calculations.
Mary: It was childishly simple, but I'm keeping it to myself for now. There are all kinds of ethical concerns with this technology, and there are lots of people out there who would abuse it.
Tyler: Someone would make a real Jurassic Park, and it would be a disaster.
Mary: Right. Mesozoic Park will be nothing like that.
More lampshade hanging.
Mary: ...so then I thought, if we made this more like a national park, and didn't put the dinosaurs in cages, they won't feel a need to escape! They hopefully won't be restless and aggressive!
Mary: The tourists will be in heavily armored vehicles, and once we learn more about the dinosaurs' psychology we'll hopefully be able to design ones that they won't attack.
Tyler: What do we have so far?
Mary: My dad's Jeep. We're low on funding.
The national park thing is also an idea from "Space Girls". It could work, right? Cloned dinosaurs, mammoths, and passenger pigeons are all things in the year 2153, though they're not the focus of the story and mentioned only as worldbuilding details.
David: Guys! Hey, guys –
Mary: Not now, David, we're discussing important scientific matters.
David: But it's –
Mary: Just hold your horses and I'll be with you in a minute, okay?
(The boat is drifting away)
Tyler: Well? Did you tell them?
David: I always turn to jelly when Mary speaks to me...
Tyler: Welp, at least one of us is going to get eaten. That's just how these things go.
Tyler: David and I are just kids. Mary is an attractive woman. Dr. Bakker is too famous and awesome.
Tyler: Sorry, Dr. Pitts.
Dr. Pitts: Hey!
This is what I mean about the characters recognizing tropes and almost breaking the fourth wall. "Jurassic World" did blaze new territory by killing an attractive woman, in a ridiculous and thoroughly undeserved manner no less, but she wasn't a protagonist.
Dr. Bakker: You know that paleontologist in the second Jurassic Park movie, Robert Burke, who gets eaten by a T. Rex? He was an affectionate caricature of me.
David: Fascinating. Can we discuss this later?
Dr. Bakker: I was glad to see him get eaten. I'd been arguing with Jack Horner about whether T. Rex was a hunter or a scavenger. Guess we saw who was right.
(scene zooms out to show them driving a Jeep as a T. Rex chases them)
David: That was just a movie!
Dr. Bakker: Sure, but this isn't. Suck it, Horner!
A recent analysis suggested that T. Rex couldn't actually run at all without breaking its bones. If that's accurate, my excuse is the same as why Jurassic Park dinosaurs don't have feathers: they're cloned and they got messed up.
Alvin: I hope Tyler is having as much fun without us as we are without her.
Rachel: Of course she is. She's doing dinosaur stuff.
Alvin: Heh, but I wonder if she's getting disillusioned with it. Lying in the hot sun brushing rocks hour after hour? Sounds soul-crushingly dull if you ask me.
(Back on the island)
Dr. Bakker: There's a cliff up ahead.
Tyler: Of course there is.
Tyler the Troper at it again.
(Jeep drives off the cliff)
T. Rex: Roooooooar!
David: I love you, Mary! I always have!
(Jeep lands on another plateau a few feet below the first one)
Mary: Sorry, what?
Dr. Bakker: Smooth.
Dr. Pitts: Velociraptors! As you can see, they look nothing like their movie counterparts.
Dr. Bakker: I told Spielberg, but did he listen? Nooo!
David: They look like big skinny chickens!
Tyler: Hmm... I wonder if they taste like chicken too?
(Tyler is sitting by a campfire with a homemade spear nearby and meat in her hands)
Tyler: Nah. More like fish, actually.
The so-called Velociraptors in Jurassic Park are actually Deinonychuses (Deinonychi?) but like Norma Jeane Mortenson, they had to change their name for Hollywood appeal.
Mary: Dr. Bakker, Dr. Pitts, bad news. I calculate that these creatures could produce enough methane to submerge their own island within thirty years.
Dr. Pitts: Oh dear.
Dr. Bakker: Crap.
Mary: The methane will contribute to the greenhouse effect which will heat up the Earth and accelerate the melting of the polar ice caps, raising the level of the ocean until it covers the island.
David: But what do you mean, 'produce methane'?
Mary: Never mind.
Yes, I realize climate change isn't real. Yes, that was sarcasm.
Tyler: So what are you going to do about this methane problem?
Mary: I don't know... I can't destroy the creatures I created, but I can't be responsible for hastening the planet's doom either...
Tyler: You could be a true American and just ignore the problem until it becomes a crisis.
Mary: And ask for more funding in the meantime? Brilliant!
Originally Tyler said "You could be like a politician" but it isn't fair to always pretend they're the only ones.
Panel 1 (and only)
Dr. Pitts: The Jeep is almost out of gas. Our supplies won't last forever...
David: Well, this is it then. We're going to get killed on this desolate rock.
Tyler: Yeah, probably. But what a way to go!
Dr. Bakker: I like your spunk, kid. Die with dignity.
Mary: I just built an airship from a Triceratops carcass. Let's get out of here.
This storyline went unfinished for a long time until I thought of how to get them off the island. It doesn't have to make sense. It's a comic. Or will be if I ever draw it.
Dr. Pitts: Now remember, kids, as far as your parents know you've just been digging up fossils.
Dr. Bakker (giving them wads of cash): To protect the dinosaurs until Mesozoic Park is opened, we need to keep it that way.
David: I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with this...
Dr. Bakker: Remember, it's for science.
Tyler (admiring cash): Silly Dr. Bakker. I lie to my parents for free.
Rachel: My land, spring break went by so fast without you! Did you have a good time?
Tyler: Yeah, it was very educational.
Rachel: That's good. Your dad and I were worried you might get bored.
Tyler: Not at all. Oh, before I forget...
Tyler: I brought you this, uh, fossilized Velociraptor egg.
Rachel: Aw, you shouldn't have! Ooh, it's so warm!
And now I'm not sure what to do about the Velociraptor egg. I don't want to just pretend it never happened, because I'm trying to be realistic, dang it.
Charmer - Mesozoic Mind
While we're on the subject of dinosaurs and 1987 films starring Fred Savage, here's this. It's from "Dinosaurs! A Fun-Filled Trip Back in Time!", which my uncle owned on a VHS tape (now an extinct format) and which, many years ago, I watched at my grandmother's house until it wore out. It's actually a Claymation film from 1980 with later footage of Fred Savage, and this stunningly animated music video, seamlessly(ish) tacked onto the beginning of it. I was being sarcastic about the stunning animation but this song was and is still the best part. Watch the whole film next time you have a half hour to spare.
I'm over my head cold! Now I just have the usual cough that I've had off and on since March 2014. Yes, I saw a doctor. He said it was nothing to worry about, just inflammation. He gave me medicine that tasted like motor oil. I had to drink it every day. It didn't do jack for me. I stopped worrying about it. It's just part of my life now. I may as well have smoked.
I went to a wedding reception on Wednesday. It was for me and my beautiful new bride, Felicity Nicholson (nee Jones). You may be familiar with her. She was recently in a moderately successful film in a moderately popular franchise. She'll probably keep using her maiden name for publicity purposes. There is a bit of an age difference, but when you're in love that's just a number. And I made all that up except for the wedding reception part. It was for a friend from church. I know him a little bit and his new wife not at all. I think the reception was the first time I ever spoke to her, but what do I know? People say "Hi Chris" to me and I don't even recognize their faces, so I'm not a reliable source on that. He said to her "Do you know Chris?" and she was like "Yeah, we've met" so maybe that's a more accurate statement.
As I was riding back, the two people in the front seats discussed marriage and how they aren't super into it. I was shocked. Of course, I noticed long ago that most of the Mormons at church don't seem to be nearly as obsessed with marriage as Mormons are stereotypically supposed to be. Watching "The Singles Ward" didn't make me think "Wow, this is so relatable!", it made me think "Wow, Provo Mormons are freaks." (No offense, Provo Mormons.) But I thought I was the only one who didn't have any particular desire for it. Let me be clear. Sometimes I find a really incredible woman whose company I prefer to being alone and I think that sure, I'd like to marry her. But the concept of marriage per se, with no particular candidate in mind, holds very little appeal for me. I'm certainly not motivated to spend one iota of effort looking for such a candidate. I would want to get married because of a woman, not vice-versa. And I guess I'm not as unusual in that as I thought. But I'm not "anti-marriage" as someone once insinuated. Marriage is anti-me.
I didn't participate much in their conversation because I have difficulty inserting my comments in conversations with more than one other person. People don't usually pause at all between remarks, so I can't say anything without cutting someone off, and I'd feel guilty about that. So I mostly just listened. It was good stuff. "Most guys," the girl said to the guy, "I'm not saying you, but most guys only care about three things in a girl. Do I want to have sex with her, is she fairly righteous - she says she wants a temple marriage, and does she agree with and validate everything I say?" I only care about one of those things. I must be really exceptional. She also expressed her appreciation that she doesn't have to pretend to be stupid around her current boyfriend. She said lots of guys are intimidated by intelligence. That's understandable, but the alternative is worse. Talking to stupid people saps my will to live. But other guys are into that? Whatever.
She noticed me typing on my laptop and said, "I assume you're doing homework." And I had to admit that I was actually writing comics.
Alvin and the Cracrofts
Remember those comics that I wrote but never drew? (See the post category entitled "The Cracrofts".) I started writing them again, but after I cranked out at least fifty on Saturday and realized it would take much much longer to draw the same number, they may never get drawn after all. We'll see. In coming weeks I may share several more like I did last year, which conveniently saves me having to write much in the posts, but here are just a couple for now. Of course, I try to share the ones I'm actually proud of, and there are others that range from mediocre to downright lame. Sometimes I get too focused on moving a story along or preaching my viewpoints and sacrifice actual humor in the process (insert your own quip about me always doing that here). Also, I changed the title from "The Cracrofts" to "Alvin and the Cracrofts" as a chipmunk homage.
There have been a few other changes. It's become more "cartoony" overall as its world now canonically includes not just aliens and cloned dinosaurs but also ghosts and Santa Claus. This is largely because at the end of every year (the comic takes place in real time from 2004 to 2024) I wanted to have a different Christmas parody/homage - I posted the first one, "The Gift of the Magi", last year - and these more often than not have fantasy elements. With her having encountered all these things, Tyler's atheism became less plausible and she's been downgraded to an agnostic. One line I will never cross is having characters break the fourth wall, but they come dangerously close by recognizing the tropes at play around them.
But tropes are our friend. I changed the backstory so that Rachel acquired her pet Komodo dragon, Steve, at age five instead of twenty-four. I thought it made a much better story for her to grow up with him and form a lifelong bond and face the world together. But then I realized that made him too old and he would have to die during the comic's timeframe, because Komodo dragons only live up to thirty years in captivity. I tried to think of a way around this - perhaps yet another fantasy element like the Holy Grail or the Fountain of Youth. But in the end I decided, instead of resolving it, to just "hang a lampshade on it". This is the trope whereby writers draw attention to the implausibility of something without actually explaining it, to make the audience okay with it. This usually works because implausible things do happen in real life, but not without drawing attention. So I just have characters occasionally remark on Steve's incredible longevity a few times over the years. This had the unfortunate side effect of creating one of the least cynical moments I've ever written.
Alvin: Speaking of longevity... Steve's been around forty years, which is ten years longer than most Komodo dragons in captivity. That's just as amazing.
Rachel: Well, most Komodo dragons in captivity have never received as much love as ours.
(They silently watch Tyler playing with Steve)
To compensate for that emotion, here's a more autobiographical one. The name of the company involved has NOT been changed.
Alvin: #@$%! CenturyLink should be embarrassed to charge money for this #@$% wi-fi service.
Alvin: It should not take me eight #@$% minutes to load a five second long gif. There's no excuse for this #@$%. Screw this abomination of a company.
Alvin: Sorry about that, Rachel. I'm just stressed.
Rachel: And you're trying to relax by staring at a blank white webpage?
I don't think I shared this one yet. If I did, it's worth sharing again. If I had to pick only one strip to get drawn, this would probably be it. My sister thought it was gross, but what does she know?
Alvin: Playing with your dolls, sweetie?
Tyler: No duh.
Alvin: What's Barbie doing today?
Tyler: Removing Ken's head with a meat cleaver.
Alvin: That's... not very nice.
Tyler: If she's told him once to get his dirty underwear off the floor, she's told him a thousand times.
This is another one that I'm very pleased with and don't think I've shared. Mary is a college student interning with a high school biology teacher, and Tyler and David are her helpers.
Tyler: Hello, Mary. Up to any fun projects lately?
Mary: I've been testing a new perfume that simulates pheromones more thoroughly than anything before. It should be super effective.
Tyler: Oh, are you testing it on yourself?
Mary: Ha! Not yet. It's not in the stage where it can be used on humans.
Mary: That's a side project, though. We've got some real work to do today.
Tyler: Right. David?
David (off-screen): Just a minute. Have you ever noticed how cute these lab mice are?
I finally put one of my favorite ideas ever into writing. It was a stand-alone idea featuring Katy Perry herself, but I figured it still works without her so I added it to this franchise:
Alvin: Why so happy, Rachel?
Rachel: I almost ran over a bushy-tailed rodent. I swerved just in time, and I was so relieved that I got a feeling of intense euphoria.
Alvin: So what you're saying is –
Rachel: Right. I missed a squirrel and I liked it.
One of my very first ideas when I decided I wanted to write comics is never going to be used because it doesn't fit how the characters ended up. So this will probably be the only place you'll ever see it. Feel privileged!
(A bunch of people are being held hostage in a bank)
Criminal: All right, everybody stay down and be quiet!
Alvin: Please, sir... I have a wife and seven kids at home.
Criminal: Are you asking me to let you go?
Alvin: I'm asking you to shoot me.
Aaand a sneak peek at a new character! I figured Tyler needs authority figures to drive crazy at school as well as home. But don't worry, the new character will dish it out as well as she takes it.
Bill: Tyler, Al tells me you talk to your principal a lot. She's quite a looker. Do you know if she's single?
Tyler: Yeah, I think so.
Tyler: With all due respect, Uncle Bill, Principal Donaldson is a fine, classy lady. She deserves better than your nonsense.
Tyler: But since I hate her guts, I'd be happy to arrange it.
^ Inspired by Erica, a really classy and attractive barber I went to as a kid. More than once I heard my dad say that it blew his mind that she was still single, and that he wanted to set her up with one of his friends but none of them were worthy of her.
Fun at Work
Me: I found a book to help me with you.
Her: Do you have a marker?
She thinks she's so funny. You know, I do think it's funny how she threatens physical violence against me while I would never dream of doing the same to her. I understand why this double standard exists and I'm okay with it. I have joked about hurting her on accident. One time she was inside a box to cut it up and I was like, "Who left this box laying around here? I'd better flatten it. I'd better stomp on it to make it flat." She, by contrast, has threatened to stomp on me on purpose. Specifically on my throat.
Popeye the Sailor - A Date to Skate (1938)
I shared cartoons a few times and then just stopped but now for some reason this cartoon has been on my brain lately. It's one of my favorite Popeye cartoons because it's just cute and breaks away from the usual plot formula. Olive sassing Popeye by mimicking his unique speech pattern under her breath is priceless too imho. Ignore the one teensy little racist part. After I looked this up, I kept looking and accidentally stayed up way past my bedtime watching Looney Tunes/Merry Melodies ("Pigs in a Polka", "Robinson Crusoe Jr.", "Ali Baba Bound", "Porky's Railroad", "We, the Animals Squeak!", "The Henpecked Duck", and "The Coy Decoy", in case you were wondering).
Naturally, the first order of business is to express my grief at the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, age 60. Why do we treat celebrity deaths as such a big deal? Frankly, because they are, especially this one. With her timeless portrayal of the not-so-distressed damsel in one of the most successful franchises of all time, Carrie Fisher has touched probably billions of lives, certainly more than I ever could hope to even if my wildest dreams of writing success come to fruition. Now there's no need to make up a bunch of sentimental pretentious filler here. Suffice it to say that I love Star Wars and I love Princess Leia Skywalker Organa Solo. Of course the question now is what they'll do with Episode IX, and that's not a selfish or insensitive question at all. Star Wars is Carrie Fisher's biggest legacy and it will keep her memory alive for as long as human civilization exists. Which might not be much longer, but let's not think about that.
Steve Martin Tweeted this tribute: "When I was a young man, Carrie Fisher was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. She turned out to be witty and bright as well." He deleted his kind and thoughtful Tweet after feeling the venom of several cyber-denizens who purport to be feminists but are in reality a special breed of demon, because they felt that it was sexist. Fun fact: very few people have magic vision to see your personality and intelligence when they first notice you. Another fun fact: most people want to be attractive and appreciate it when someone says they are. Someday if my wildest dreams of writing success come to fruition, I'll commit a "gaffe" of this magnitude, and when people become outraged I'll tell them in no uncertain terms to bite me. But if Steve wants to not offend people, he should have said something like, "What? Carrie Fisher had like a mortal physical body and stuff? Weird, I never noticed because since I was a young man I've been too busy looking at her personality and intelligence. I just assumed it would live forever."
As Pauly Van Nostrand wrote, "Only in 2016 can a compliment offend people who have nothing to do with the compliment."
Yesterday I went with my father and sister to watch “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”. Without getting into any details or spoilers, permit me to say that while time will tell whether this film ranks in my judgment just behind “The Empire Strikes Back” as the second greatest Star Wars film of all time, but I can say that I consider it to be a hundred times better than “The Force Awakens”. That film was decent but it didn't feel like Star Wars to me and I wasn't impressed with how it ripped off virtually every element of the plot and settings from "A New Hope" and still fit in an overabundance of ridiculously obvious wink-wink-nudge-nudge moments to it. I think this one has more of a Star Wars feel while still being new and fresh and pushing the boundaries of special effects technology as far as they can go. Boy, did it ever. I'm still in awe.
The Christmas church service involved six hymns and a musical number. It was a little excessive, to be honest, but I did thoroughly enjoy the spirit there. I have nothing against white people, but I do love the rare opportunities I get to see people of multiple ethnic backgrounds gathered together because frankly it's beautiful. My parents' ward has more diversity than my entire Utah stake, even though the student body at USU has equal or greater diversity. I noted two black people, one with five mixed-race children, and at least twenty Asians, mostly Chinese I think, one of them also with five mixed-race children. No Hispanics because they have their own branch (for language, not ethnic, reasons). I enjoyed it so much that for the first time in years I felt like going back to a family ward someday, with or without a family, may not be so bad.
My sleep patterns motivate me sometimes to cry out, “What idiot designed this thing?” There's no correlation between when I get up and when I can fall asleep, I don't have any say in when my brain decides to wake up the next morning, it takes me a week to recover from Daylight Savings Time or a time zone shift, and I can be woken up by someone talking on the sidewalk outside my window. While I'm wearing earplugs. Which I do every night. Other times, I just wake up for no reason and can't get back to sleep for two hours or so. I try not to be a jealous person, but when I see someone able to fall asleep in public, within less than an hour, I immediately despise them. Oh, you like to sleep, do you? How would you like to sleep forever? So getting up at quarter to five after already having woken up twice for no reason while still sick after a week of being sick so I could catch the bus to catch the plane to go to Indiana and be woken up by honking trains thrice nightly and then a final time by the creak of a floorboard as one of my sisters gets up at 7ish, which is still 5ish for me, was an adventure of sorts.
I remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed and energized. It was in April 2009 the morning after a nine-day trip to Spain. Somehow the major time zone shift and our crazy schedule canceled each other out. I yearn to achieve that feeling again, and that's another reason why I don't concern myself about getting married, because I think one impossible goal is enough for a person. In the meantime I wake up every morning feeling like a dead battery and fantasizing about having an "off" switch that makes the same distinctive sound as our old computer when it shut down. Before I get up and adrenaline/the grace of God takes over and gives me some semblance of functionality, I'm in a state of mind where I couldn't be held accountable for anything I think or do. I'm being completely serious when I tell you that this was my last thought before getting out of bed on Monday: "The girl I was watching spontaneously combusted, Anakin. Don't you hate when that happens?"
The Cracrofts' First Christmas
It's been a few weeks since I shared anything from this scripted-but-not-drawn comic series, so to recap, it's a scripted-but-not-drawn comic series (previous posts here). This is the storyline I alluded too once that's loosely based on "The Gift of the Magi", and it's the first Christmas that Alvin, his dim but lovable wife Rachel, and their pet Komodo dragon Steve all spend together, so that sets it in 2004, which turns out to be relevant in this case. It went unfinished for over a month until I threw the rest of it together yesterday and today, so it needs work and I'm not at all satisfied with the humor but I wanted to share it now instead of waiting almost a year for another suitable time.
Alvin (looking at bills, thinking): Well, crud. It looks like money's gonna be real tight this end-of-year. I hope I can still get Rachel something great for Christmas.
Alvin (thinking): I bet she'd like a swing set in the front yard... I could push her, she could push me, we could ride side by side... but looks like we'd be cutting it real close, budget wise.
Alvin (thinking): Aaargh! Why must money get in the way of everything?
Rachel: Thanks for taking care of all this financial stuff, Alvin. It always stresses me out.
Alvin (thinking): Hmm... I bet my Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10019-1 Rebel Blockade Runner would fetch a decent price on eBay...
Alvin (thinking): Good thing it didn't come with any minifigures so I don't have to look into their distraught little faces...
Alvin (thinking): I never fancied myself the bounty hunter type, yet here I am selling the Rebels to the highest bidder.
George (on phone): A swing set? How old is she?
George: I got your mother a book on zoology and a collection of poetry. You know, intellectual stuff.
Alvin: She doesn't like to take herself too seriously. Are you going to help me move it or not?
George: Does it gotta be on Christmas Eve? We could do it any other day; she wouldn't know the difference...
Alvin: Who pissed in your eggnog, dad?
Rachel: Steve, I think I know exactly what to get Alvin for Christmas. Promise not to tell?
Rachel: A Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10030-1 Imperial Star Destroyer would look great chasing his Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10019-1 Rebel Blockade Runner. Eh?
Rachel: Hmm, you're right, it's not in its usual spot. He must be cleaning it.
Rachel: I don't want to spend Alvin's money on his own present, but I haven't got any of my own.
Rachel: Think, Steve. We'll have to be creative. I must have some natural asset that I can sell for a quick buck.
Woman (on phone): I'm sorry, ma'am, but we are not interested in your saliva.
Rachel: What about Komodo dragon saliva? It has over fifty kinds of bacteria.
Alvin: No need to get me anything, Rachel. I got you this year and that's enough for a lifetime.
Rachel: Oh, shush.
Alvin: No, really, it's fine...
Rachel: I'm not listening.
Alvin: Well, just saying. By the way, you've been wearing that hat for three days now, haven't you?
Rachel: It's all the rage this season.
Alvin: Open your eyes! Merry Christmas, Rachel!
Rachel: A swing set! Alvin, you're such a doll!
Rachel: I can't wait to tell everyone that we're swingers now!
Alvin: Maybe we should keep this to ourselves.
Alvin: A Lego Star Wars Ultimate Collector Series 10030-1 Imperial Star Destroyer! Rachel, you shouldn't have!
Rachel: Told you I wasn't listening.
Alvin: This must have cost a small fortune...
Rachel: I guess I can take this off now. My head is getting itchy.
Alvin: Ah. That explains a lot.
Rachel (bald): Good thing you didn't get me a hairbrush or something, huh? That would have been awkward.
TV headline: 9.3 Magnitude Tsunami Strikes Southeast Asia
Reporter (on television): Preliminary estimates have at least a hundred thousand dead or missing...
Rachel: Judas Priest...
Rachel: Alvin, would you be terribly offended if I sold the swing set and donated the money?
(Alvin looks at her in awe of her kindness)
Alvin: I guess that's the true meaning of Christmas. I'll pitch in the Star Destroyer too.
Rachel: And what about you, Steve? That's your neck of the woods, right?
Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia - Life Day Song
I intend no disrespect or tastelessness with this tribute to Carrie Fisher. Yes, the Star Wars Holiday Special, which has come to be associated with Christmas even though its one and only broadcast was during the Thanksgiving season, sucks beyond comprehension. And it has the distinction of being the only film where Mark Hamill was prettier than her, owing to the excessive makeup necessitated by his recent car crash. And she was visibly coked up for the duration of her small role (who can blame her?). But I've always honestly kind of liked this part. She prefaces it by announcing, "This holiday is yours but, we all share with you the hope that this day brings us closer to freedom, and to harmony, and to peace. No matter how different we appear, we're all the same in our struggle against the powers of evil and darkness. I hope that this day will always be a day of joy in which we can reconfirm our dedication and our courage. And more than anything else, our love for one another. This is the promise of the Tree of Life."
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
- David Young
About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.