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<   No. 1428   2006-12-24   >

Comic #1428

1 [caption]: It came upon a midnight clear,/that colour out of space,
1 [caption]: From aliens bending near the Earth,/to suck life from a place.
2 [caption]: "Death on Earth, bad will to men,/from heav'n's chaotic things!"
2 [caption]: The world in ghastly stillness lay,/around it evil clings.
3 [caption]: Still through the cloven skies they come,/with rugose wings unfurled,
3 [caption]: And still their discordant music floats/o'er all the wormy world;
4 [caption]: Above its sad and leprous plains/they bend on horrific wing;
4 [caption]: And ever o'er its baleful sounds/the bilious colours sing.

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As this comic goes live, I will be with my family, eating far too much turkey and ham and cake. And then tomorrow I have to do it all over again with my wife's family.

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a good one. If you don't, I hope you get a chuckle out of this strip.

When I was picking what carol to convert this year, I initially had my mind on Good King Wenceslas, when, while perusing through a list of Christmas carols, I stumbled upon It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. The Cthulhu-esque imagery that the title immediately brought to mind was irresistable.

While corrupting the words suitably, I realised that I was singing the song in my head to the tune of Good King Wenceslas. It was only then that I realised I had no idea what the tune for It Came Upon a Midnight Clear was! And doing a bit of research, I stumbled across the interesting fact that It Came Upon a Midnight Clear is sung to two different tunes.

In England, it is sung to a tune known as Noel, adapted from a tune written by Arthur Sullivan (of Gilbert & Sullivan fame). In the USA, however, the same words are sung to the tune known as Carol, written by one Richard Storrs Willis.

And I don't know either of those tunes. I mentioned this to some of my friends at lunch one day, and one of them said, "Yeah, that's true. The American version goes like this: hum hum hum hum hum hum hum. The British version is hum hum hum hum hum hum hum." I was amazed that he knew this bit of trivia, and could hum both versions right off the bat (which I promptly forgot).

Oh, and the creatures in the last two panels are Fungi from Yuggoth. Now you know what Steve's up against.


2016-08-08 Rerun commentary: All the stuff that's not Fungi from Yuggoth is copied from vintage Christmas cards, well out of copyright.

And I still don't know the tune of either version of It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. It's not one of the carols they play on high rotation on radio stations and in shopping malls here. So even though I've heard them once or twice, it has never been enough to make the tunes familiar to me.

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