WoB Talk

July 29, 2013

July 29 – August 4, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kari Maaren @ 1:03 am

Summer Contest #5 has had a small rash of last-minute entries.  I’ll detail and link to them all below as I go through the winners.

The contest had eight entries from seven people.  There was some mild rule-bending, but I don’t mind.  The entries will be judged on their own merits, whether or not they conform exactly to the terms of the contest.

It was a really tough decision.  I know everybody says that when announcing contest winners, but it really was.  All the entries were clever and clearly took the creators quite a lot of time.  I am therefore awarding all the entrants except the three winners one point each (regardless, by the way, of how many entries each had; the points go to the entrants, not the entries).  The first-place winner will receive three points, while two second-place winners will receive two points each.  No one, however, will go away pointless.  Kudos for all your hard work and ingenuity.

I’ll explain my justification more clearly below, but for the moment, I’ll just say that all three of the winners succeeded in making me laugh aloud.

As I am not a believer in screwing around with people by announcing the winner last, let’s start with first prize:

1st Prize:  Errol Elumir

Yes, Errol has a bit of an advantage because he actually has a webcomic of his own.  However, his entry just sort of works…while simultaneously cheating, naturally.  Errol replicates my style quite successfully.  There may just be some copying-and-pasting involved here, but it’s still pretty impressive how he’s able to turn himself and his bandmate Debs into Casey and Marie.  The little glowing Totoro in the second panel of his strip (he has suggested that only this panel be considered if the “one-panel” rule was meant strictly, but I’m easy) serves as a punchline not just to this strip but to his own comic’s previous references to said little glowing Totoro.  The humour works even without the two lead-up strips (all three strips have been posted on the Fan Stuff page).  Kudos, Errol.  Errol has received his first three points of this summer’s contests.

2nd Prize #1:  Tarina

This is Tarina’s second entry.  I like both of them, but the idea of Evil Marie chasing Marie past a brick wall with a deadly ukulele just kind of makes me happy.  I’m not sure what that says about me.  Both Maries are nicely rendered and even shaded (something I don’t generally do myself).  Tarina has earned her first two points of this summer’s contests.

2nd Prize #2:  Laura

 photo 001_withcolour.jpg

This was the very first entry.  Laura captures the Master’s tone perfectly, and she has drawn a very nice Barbara.  She even sticks in a sneaky reference to Debs and Errol.  She also manages to insert a Doctor Who allusion; she has Barbara playing a piece in 7/8 time, which is, as Laura hinted in her post, the time signature of this piece.  Let’s just say that if you’ve been watching Doctor Who for the last three years, you will recognise the music.  Laura has earned two points.

The other five entries were, again, fantastic.  Here’s a (relatively) brief overview in order of submission:

Nobilis submitted via e-mail; you may find the entry on the Fan Stuff page.  Despite declaring an inability to draw people, she managed to include two characters who just happened to be behind a brick wall.  The comic incorporated the required elements elegantly, even managing to build the bricks into the story instead of leaving them in the background.


Dances With Fish decided that surrealism was the way to go and actually managed to include all, not just two, of the required elements.  The comic does include more than two characters, but no worries; rules are silly.  My favourite bit is Marie’s reaction to the giant doughnut, which seems pretty typical of her.


Tarina‘s other entry posits that Marie is definitely WoB‘s mysterious fire-starter.  Poor Elvis is the subject of her wrath.  Actually, Elvis would already have been shiny before catching fire; he’s gold all over.  I like Casey’s expresison of bewilderment here.


Lumair, who submitted via e-mail (see the Fan Stuff page for the comic), gives us a beautifully rendered Casey pulling a bit of a Hagrid (as Lumair has said to me) or possibly Orpheus.  I should say now that the reason I didn’t include tentacles in the list of required elements was that tentacles have a…special…place in comics:  in particular, in certain types of Japanese comics.  In cowardly fashion, I did not want to run the risk of hentai.  Luckily, Lumair’s tentacles are, well, not that kind of tentacles.

Casey Meets Hagrid

Erwaro, the final entrant, borrowed my art to create another surreal comic that includes all the required elements.  The number of bricks in this comic is truly epic.  The top half of the comic is decidedly odder than the bottom half, especially considering the seven winged angelic maple doughnuts and the saintly flying Elvis.


Nobilis, Dances With Fish, Lumair, and Erwaro have earned one point each.

Thank you all for the entries.  I’m sure I caused many of you to spend time comicking when you could have been doing something productive such as sleeping.  That was, of course, my goal.

On to the next contest:

Summer Contest #6:

This week, we’re back to little paragraphs.  In this week’s comments section, please tell me what Marie’s next move would be if she subscribed to the philosophy, “What would Batman do?”  Your answer will likely depend on when you submit your response.  For instance, a Monday responder will be working with less information than a Sunday responder.  When I judge the entries, I’ll take into account when they were submitted, so don’t worry about that.  Points may be awarded for creativity, logic, and sheer insanity.  If you submit early and actually manage to guess what Marie will do by Sunday while still working the whole Batman thing logically into your answer, you will receive a bonus point.

Summer Contest Points Thus Far:

Earthgirl 1
Dances With Fish 2
Nobilis 7
Erwaro 4
Laura 5
Preethi 2
Lumair 5
Fan 1
Mercenary Pen 1
Tuxgeo 1
Errol 3
Tarina 2

July 22, 2013

July 22 – 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kari Maaren @ 4:43 am

All right…we’re back on schedule again.  And since I’m clearly insane, I’m going to stick with the daily comics for a while yet.

Summer Contest #4 has now officially ended.  Fifteen limericks were submitted; you can see them all here.  A lot of creativity went into these things.  Points will be awarded as follows:

Nobilis:  3 points.  Nobilis’s limericks are in a special category of their own.  Basically, Nobilis won the contest with the very first post, which contained limericks in  English, Swedish, and German.  Later, Nobilis added one in Latin, one in French, and another one in English.  All of them make perfect sense, and most of them scan and rhyme well.  Here’s the first English one (with Nobilis’s later corrections), just so you can see what was on offer:

Marie often lives in illusion–
Can there be a logic conclusion?
Will Casey unveil
What happened for real?
No, we shall all drown in confusion.

This has the advantage of being a sly poke at my propensity never to reveal anything while also providing a real possibility for the end of the comic.  Will I eventually take pity on you all?  Only time will tell.

Basically, I’m taking Nobilis out of the contest so the rest of you have a chance…but not without some lovely, lovely points.

The categories I originally proposed were creativity, logic, and technical beauty.  I’ve sort of replaced them with “the limericks I like the most,” but to be fair, I am impressed by creativity, logic, and technical beauty (as well as humour, which I forgot to mention) in my limericks.  So I have four more points to hand out, one to each poem.  The four poems I have chosen are:


Now Casey’s a misunderstood
Field agent and with time he should
Find out Evil Marie
Is as real as could be,
But sometimes she dreams that she’s good.

I like the oddly wistful last line on this one.  It also has the advantage, like Nobilis’s first English limerick, of providing a real possibility.


Right now, Marie wants to scream
Until Santa brings her some ice cream
The tuba goes swish
Also, Casey’s a fish
In the end, it was all just a dream.

This poem basically hits on the one type of ending that I shall never ever use.  The whole “It was all just a dream” trope maddens me unless it’s used very, very well, which it almost never is.  And no, I don’t count Marie’s hallucinations here, as she knows she’s hallucinating, and the very fact that she is hallucinating brings with it real-world consequences.  At any rate, I enjoy the cheerful randomness of this poem.  Perhaps Casey is a fish.


A Canadian lass named Dumont
Felt denial of guilt an affront
Though she’d pushed blame behind:
But she had to unwind
So she wandered, the Fates to confront.

The way Canadians pronounce “Dumont” actually means that it doesn’t really rhyme with “affront” and “confront” (actually, the American pronunciation doesn’t entirely rhyme either), but it looks like a rhyme, so yay.  This is a rather sober limerick that describes the current plot quite well and gets into Marie’s motives.  It doesn’t quite provide a potential ending, but it provides the beginning of one.  I approve of it.


Casey liked Marie, so he kissed her
They fought, but he found out he missed her
And then fires began
The undead mouse ran
And guess what! Marie was his sister!

I’m marking a lot of Star Wars essays at the moment, so I enjoyed theLuke-and-Leia vibe here, as well as just the fun twist at the end of the poem.  This one wins for “zingiest final line.”

I loved all the limericks, and I especially thank those of you who had never written limericks before and were trying them for the first time.  Kudos goes to Nobilis, Laura, Erwaro, Tuxgeo, Lumair, Mercenary Pen, Dances With Fish, Nuttycat, Emily, and Preethi for participating.  I apologise if I’ve inadvertently left anyone out.

Summer Contest #5 Rules:

It’s time for a new contest.  Hurrah!

This week’s contest involves art.  Before you panic, keep in mind that stick figures can be art, as can ASCII.  You may also use my stuff or various comic-creation sites online.  Go wild and crazy.  Be imaginative.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to create a one-panel scene between at least two WoB characters of your choice and post it somewhere online, then link to it in the comments section (or mail it to me if you can’t, but be aware that I will share it; if you take this option, let me know what name or alias you want displayed).  Again, stick figures are an option here.  The panel should involve at least two of the following elements:  Casey’s mom, a shiny object, bricks, Master Ramsay, the Elvis, maple doughnuts, Christmas, the number seven, and a ukulele.

Seeing as this is WoB‘s anniversary week (which is part of why that seven is in there, though the number is otherwise important to the comic), I’ll have multiple points up for grabs.  I’ll award first, second, and third prizes; the winners will gain, respectively, three points, two points, and one point.  There is no limit on the number of panels a single person can enter.  The deadline is this coming Sunday at midnight EDT.

Summer Contest Points Thus Far:

Earthgirl 1
Dances With Fish 1
Nobilis 6
Erwaro 3
Laura 3
Preethi 2
Lumair 4
Fan 1
Mercenary Pen 1
Tuxgeo 1

July 15, 2013

July 15 – 21, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kari Maaren @ 3:44 pm

The Great WoB Extravaganza continues.  In the meantime, we’re beginning a new contest.  Thus:

I see to be on a get-everything-but-the-last-panel-finished-before-exhaustion-sets-in schedule at the moment.  At any rate, here’s the Monday comic on Monday, so it’s all good.

Here’s the thing:  I shut Mercenary Pen down when he tried to guess that Master D. Ramsay would return.  Then I decided that Master Ramsay would return anyway.  So I’m going to give Mercenary Pen the point on this one.

Summer Contest #3 is still running, but it’s also time for Summer Contest #4.  Since the comic is all sort of dark and full of PTSD at the moment, let’s make it a silly contest.  Please explain how you think WoB is going to end…IN LIMERICK FORM.  That’s right:  only entries that are also limericks will be accepted.  Points will be awarded at my discretion.  I’m thinking a point for creativity, a point for logic, and a point for perfection of the limerick form itself (and believe me, I am very picky about this sort of thing, so it’s possible this last point will not be awarded at all).  Go to it, my poppets.  Make beautiful limericks for Marie and her friends.

Summer Contest Points Thus Far:

Earthgirl 1
Dances With Fish 1
Nobilis 3
Erwaro 2
Laura 2
Preethi 2
Lumair 2
Fan 1
Mercenary Pen 1

July 8, 2013

July 8 – 14, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kari Maaren @ 4:39 pm

Here’s the over-long post under the July 8th comic.  It includes the winners of the second contest and the rules for the third contest.  I’ll also stick the winners of the first contest at the bottom of this post, since that blurb is currently buried in the archive.  This will have to stand in for my Rant for today (yes, I know I’ve been neglecting the Rants lately).

1)  Great WoB Extravaganza #I’ve Lost Count!

All right…a few things today.  Before we get to the contests, I’ll just say that because I’m so very busy right now, this seems like a fine time to have a Great WoB Extravaganza.  I may not survive it, but I’m trusting it will kick me into panic mode and help me finish my damn marking as well.  Therefore, for the next two utterly exhausting weeks, West of Bathurst will appear every single day, theoretically speaking.  If I fall behind, which I may, I’ll eventually catch up.

2)  Contest #2:  Winners

Summer Contest #2 is now over.  There were many intriguing guesses as to what WoB‘s most Canadian attribute was.  In the “practical” category, I’m going to have to go with the very first answer:

Nobilis:  “As a European who has never been to North America I probably won’t get this right, but I’ll try anyway:  WoB’s most Canadian attribute are the Maple Doughnuts at Tim Hortons.”

Sorry, Mimi S and fan; you tried, but your answers were too close to Nobilis’s.  And yes, Mimi, Nobilis does have an advantage when I post the contests late at night.  Today’s contest, luckily, will be posted just after noon EDT, which may or may not be inconvenient for Nobilis.  We shall see.

The “creative” point goes to:

Laura:  “I’m definitely at a disadvantage because I’m Canadian.  I say WoB’s most Canadian attribute is the mild insanity all of the characters seem to have.”

In Canada, we are proud of our mild insanity.

Nobilis’s and Laura’s points have been added to the tally.  Nobilis is currently in the lead and thus gets a bolded name.  Hurrah!

3)  Contest #3:  Rules

Let us now begin a new contest.  Hmm…let’s see:

This will be another guess-what’s-coming contest.  At some point in the course of this coming week, at least one character who has previously appeared in the comic (but is not a regular) will appear again.  (I should clarify that stipulation:  characters who used to be regulars but aren’t any more still count as “regulars” for the purposes of this contest.  Let’s say that anyone who has ever appeared on the character sheet will not be reappearing this week.  The character sheet is, of course, a few years out of date, and it includes one-off characters as well as regulars, but excluding it in its entirety narrows the field a bit.)  There may be more than one such character; there may be just one.  Guess which character it is.  You get only one try, but you may mention up to three characters.  The more you get right (remember that there may be only one), the more points you get.  You may repeat other entrants’ guesses.  There will be no creativity point this week, just because it’s difficult to be creative when simply naming previous characters (it’s possible to be obscure, but creative?  *Looks sideways at Erwaro, who is likely about to attempt to prove me wrong*).  If any characters you want to mention are nameless, describe them as best you can.  Links are acceptable too.

Have at it, valiant knights.

4)  Contest #1:  Winners

Barbara has now clarified her position a bit, so I can reveal the winners of Contest #1.  There were a lot of good entries (which you can see here),  ranging from the practical to the wildly inventive.  Doctor Who and Star Trek both offered inspiration.  But there can be only one winner.  Well, that’s not true.  There can actually be a number of winners.  That sounds much less dramatic, however.

The “practical” winners are as follows:

Earthgirl:  “Because Marie was there.”
Dances With Fish:  “The mouse came back to life because Marie was subconsciously trying to create a distraction.”
Nobilis:  “The mouse came back to life because Marie was (subconsciously) wishing it would.”

Dances With Fish was a bit off, but the “subconscious desire” element was there.  Nobilis also offered some supplementary Star Trek-related theorising but noted that the initial sentence could be right even if the theorising was wrong.

The “creative” winner was really no contest:


“’The mouse came back to life because Marie was the mouse the whole time!’

“How does that make sense? Marie is actually a shape-shifter, though she does so unconsciously, and has not, to date, remembered any of her transformations. Casey is an alien from a very, very distant galaxy who was sent here to study our planet, who also has (much less powerful) shapeshifting abilities. The mouse came about when Marie changed into a blob-creature and then changed back. While transformed, a bit of her dripped off onto the carpet, and was, unbeknownst to either of them, still alive. Casey figured out that this fragment of Marie was alive when a mouse touched it and the bit of Marie turned into a copy of the mouse. That was a bit of a giveaway. He tried to catch the Marie-mouse, but failed. After a while, though, he came into possession of the deceased remains of Marie-Mouse. He knew it was her because of alien shape-shifting-detection powers that make total sense. Reviving the Marie-mouse required contact with some part of Marie that was still living. He ended up getting a bit of her blood when she got a papercut. He revived the mouse, gave it a tracking device (an ALIEN tracking device) and set it free, hoping to gain a deeper understanding of Marie’s transformative abilities. The mouse has mostly just run around since then, though.

“Incidentally, Marie’s transformative powers are also the reason she can create fires. Her transformative abilities regard fire elementals as perfectly legitimate creatures. And, finally, she doesn’t have to transform all the way, duh. Just a little fire elemental will go a long way.”

That entry…is simply sublime.

Earthgirl 1
Dances With Fish 1
Nobilis 2
Erwaro 1
Laura 1

July 1, 2013

June 24 – July 6, 2013: Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kari Maaren @ 4:55 am

This week’s contest:

Today is Canada Day.  Hurrah for Canada.  Name what you consider West of Bathurst’s most Canadian attribute.  One point will be awarded to the answer that is the most sensible and likely to be true; another will be awarded to what I consider the most creative answer.

Please post your answer (you get only one try) in the comments section; I have opened a new comments thread this week for this purpose.  The contest ends at midnight EDT on Sunday, July 7th.  This week’s twist:  you may not repeat what someone else has said before you.  Posting early thus has certain benefits, though posting later does as well.

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