July 29 – August 4, 2013

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

36 thoughts on “July 29 – August 4, 2013

  1. These contets have gotten too complicated for me, so I just want to point out that I am pretty sure Casey’s about to offer Marie the jacket.

  2. Heh…sorry about that, Earthgirl. I did try to make this one less involved.

  3. There is a less-than-well-known, and less-than-well-understood, phenomenon involved with hospitalization. Hospital madness, basically. I’ve had a very, very mild encounter with it myself- for some reason, the whole surgery idea scared me way more than it should have (minor surgery, to deal with a kidney stone). More than that, though, the bed I was lying in seemed like an object of terror. IT WAS TOO SOFT! Or too starchy, or…something. I forget. I didn’t actually freak out, but I was significantly more experienced with not freaking out than Marie would be.

    That was just a bit of explanation for why what I’m about to say is possible. That’s not the actual paragraph. The actual paragraph is this:

    The first thing she would do is keep trying to ignore Casey, just because there’s too much going on. When he persists, something shifts in her mind. She, in her mind, BECOMES Batman. Batwoman. Batgirl. Whatever. She immediately reaches out and grabs Casey by his shirt, demanding to know who he is and what he wants. Or tries to. Her physical state means she mostly reaches over and flops her hand towards him. Casey proposes his bargain- his infernal, sinister, bargain. Bat-Marie would ordinarily never consider agreeing with such a deal, but she is also consumed with a desire to avenger her parents deaths. So she agrees. The deal is done, and the fragment of Marie that considers herself to be Batman is quieted down after a nice nap. This fragment of Marie’s mind later changes to become Evil Marie, who suspects that Marie set the fire long before there was any real reason to suspect it. That’s why she antagonizes Marie like she does. It’s also part of why Casey can see and talk with Evil Marie- he’s conversed with her before, so why would it be strange now?

  4. Evil Marie will suddenly break through and start to talk to Casey, since Marie is actually Satan and Casey is some hapless soul she tricked into replacing her years before, while Marie made herself human and found a family to raise her. She locked away that part of herself while she lived out a normal life, (well, normal until the whole fire starting thing,) and thus Evil Marie was born. Casey’s visiting her in the hospital because he’s trying to trick her into going back to being Satan, but Evil Marie’s too smart and will show up to tell him to buzz off. So, this would be more “What Would Batman Do If He Happened To Be Two-Face.” I guess that would make her Bat-Face.

  5. What would Marie do if she was following the “what would batman do?” rule:
    Her parents just died tragically, now there is a dark figure who may or may not be Satan before her. Clearly this calls for revenge. Using the awesome powers of her mind, she reanimates several mice and sets them on fire, sending them after her foes with ruthless accuracy. She is known as Ratman, despite her gender, and strike fear into the hearts of (cat) buglers everywhere. She might steal a helicopter at some point and paint it shiny. That remains to be seen.

  6. Dances, I *love* your entry. Read it out to my friend, and she likes your theory.

    Earthgirl – Love your idea too!

  7. If Marie subscribed to the “What would Batman do?” philosophy, she would write an essay about herself. She might either write an essay about Batman or analyse her own character.

  8. Laura: With luck, she wouldn’t plagiarise the essay. You have no idea how many people find my essay-writing blog by Googling “write an essay about being Batman for a day.” It’s depressing.

  9. I teach high-school. It’s mostly math and science but occasionally I teach my student the odd writing tip. I have read to them from your blog a couple times (commas, apostrophes, and descriptive writing, I believe).

  10. I don’t know much about Batman. He’s really Bruce Wayne and uses his secret identity to fight crime in Gotham city, right? So if Marie follows the WWBD rule, she will use her secret identity as Evil Marie to fight crime – either going off to Gotham city (leaving Casey confused and forsaken), or deciding that that’s not necessary, as she can fight crime where she is. “Crime” might include Casey, Basil, Nico and possibly Weird Beard.

  11. It is not just kind of grumpy. It defines grumpy. Grumpy is good. Grumpy with reason is better. I am sure there is something they have been doing recently that merits the Wrath of Kem, updated to 2013 standards.

  12. Oh, there is. At the moment, unfortunately, I’m too busy marking and comicking to update the blog, but I do want to get back to it eventually (I realise I keep saying this). We shall see.

  13. Kari – oh, don’t worry. I’m just exceptionally lazy. They’re your contests, you should be able to do them however you like.

  14. Should Marie prescribe to the “What would Batman do” philosophy, she would hire a British butler and fight crime with pyrokinesis. But Batman doesn’t have superpowers, just a lot of money, so yeah. She may also use her Batman-esque angst against the demise of her parents to fuel the rage that drives her to defend the streets of Gotham– er, Toronto. Except for anywhere west of Bathurst, they’re on their own as far as she’s concerned.

  15. Casey blinks, and the hospital bed is empty. He looks around shiftily, left, right, left again, and sees a huge fist moving in on his face at a high speed, knocking him completely out. BatMarie searches his pockets for clues, to no avail. Frustrated, she wakes up and spends the next seven years brooding and exercising in a cave that is accessed by a secret button hidden in the collar of the Elvis.

  16. Hey Kari,
    So, you’re right. The first result of a google search on “write an essay about being Batman for a day” leads to your blog site, which I hadn’t read in a while. So how do you know people tried to copy your essays? Just curious?

  17. Preethi: Well, it’s not so much that I KNOW they tried to copy my stuff. I just know they were trying to copy SOMEONE’S stuff when they found my blog. In other words, their intent was to plagiarise. There are not many other reasons to do a search on “write an essay about being Batman for a day.”

  18. Not necessarily… they could be looking for ideas. I, for one, have only the very vaguest idea of who Batman is and might want to do some research before writing anything. Also, if they cite the websites they used, everything is nice and moral…. correct my if I’m wrong here.

  19. Lumair: In that case, you do a search for “Batman,” not for “write an essay about being Batman for a day.”

    I also must admit to a certain cynicism arising from some of the other search terms that have led people to my blog, including “write instructions on how to make a sandwich,” “write a description of your aunt,” and “write a description of a room.” Somehow, none of these subjects strike me as needing Internet research.

  20. To be fair, the sandwich example can be used to teach how to be precise. Which can result in students knowing that there’s a trap there, but not knowing what the trap is. Hence, they search for silly things, wanting only to know what the trap is, not necessarily plagiarize a way around it. Obviously, “how to make a sandwich” isn’t going to help much.

    Then again, they may plagiarize, anyway, so they might just be lazy.

    Just in case it’s not obvious, the precision trap is that the teacher will follow the instructions exactly, literally, and while making as many false assumptions as the instructions allow them to. I moved and entered a new school after this demonstration happened, as I recall. Making a PB&J sandwich. I assume that someone said to spread the peanut butter on the bread, and that the teacher did so with his hands, putting the bread down peanut-butter side down. A good lesson, one I have taken to heart despite never seeing.

  21. Oh, yes, that exercise is a trap, but it’s a trap with a purpose. If students cheat to figure out how to avoid the trap, they haven’t learned anything. I do understand the impulse, but it doesn’t make it a good idea. On the other hand, Googling to figure out how to write a description of your own aunt is just lazy.

  22. Summer Contest #6 entry:

    Marie will refuse to accept all offers made by “the mysterious ragged man,”
    partly because “denial is fun,” and partly because green really isn’t her
    color. (She prefers blue.) Also, if Marie were to take the deal and follow
    all the rules, then Ursula would never have been given the chance that we
    already know she got. Taking the philosophy of “What would Bathurstman do?”
    into account, Marie would know better than to make a deal with the bad guys;
    and would probably refuse the deals seven times, ending by saying something
    like, “Go West, as far as the Georgia Strait. I’m sure there’s a special
    place there for you.” However, she wouldn’t have the exact words memorized
    ahead of time, as she fears being “hearsed”; and she knows being re-hearsed
    is far, far worse.

  23. I can see where you’re coming from on the sandwich issue, but my personal thought is that if they realize that it’s a trap and actually manage to avoid it without plagiarizing, then they still learn the lesson. Maybe even better than they would have otherwise- not just that there’s a trap, but how to effectively avoid it. Though if they DO plagiarize, then they obviously won’t learn much besides how to copy and paste. I might also be biased by my own personal experience of learning about this just by hearing about it- I tend to take academic traps pretty seriously, so I may not be a normal case.

    And the aunt thing is just sort of…what? Why? How? I mean, just what sort of…what are you even…I mean….


    My thought is that we are in a special time, where students have learned how to use the internet but have not quite figured out that their teachers are also quite capable of using the internet. And that plagiarized papers are pretty easy to recognize even without the internet, that mostly just makes it easier to confirm.

  24. Just means we need to give you some more interesting search terms… “Write an essay on the negative effects of plagiarism in an academic environment” for example.

  25. Well, we’ll know what’s going on eventually. I think. Hope. Please.

    We will find out, right? RIGHT?

  26. Erwaro: No comment because anything I say at this point will probably constitute a spoiler. However, I do have A Plan.

  27. You may have a plan Kari, but so did the cylons- for that matter, so did Baldrick… I hope your plan is going to be better received than either of theirs.

  28. Well, the Cylons ostensibly had a plan, but the writers evidently couldn’t figure out what it was. It may be more accurate to say that the writers had a plan for the Cylons to have a plan. And Baldrick had a cunning plan, or several cunning plans. It is entirely possible that I am Baldrick, the Cylons, the BSG writers, or all three at once. Then again, maybe I really do have a plan, and eventually, you will know what it is. Only time will tell.

  29. My personal definition of “plan” is something like “something that someone thinks might happen if nothing strange happens.”

    I also can’t remember the last time nothing strange happened. That’d probably be the strangest thing that could possibly happen.

    I’ll trust you for now, though. I mean, it’s not like I’ve got much choice.

  30. Oooooooh…. the plot thickens. Now I might need to go on an archive binge. That’s a heck of a clue.

    Naturally, it’s actually kinda ambiguous about what side he’s on. At least, I think so. Maybe we’ve got it all backwards?

  31. Young Marie is lost and alone, parents brutally murdered by someone, possibly herself. A stranger offers her the chance for salvation, a chance to forget. “What would batman do?” If based on the current state of writer Frank Miller, she will (did) choose to stick her head in the sand and forget her past. There is no room for gray. What could possibly go wrong? Present Marie can’t deal with this choice anymore. She will break her deal with Casey. Time to play the fiddle.

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