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<   No. 151   2003-06-25   >

Comic #151

1 Hitler's Brain: ... next I want the Spear of Longinus, the Necronomicon, the Phaistos Disc, and the Antikythera Device.
2 Hitler's Brain: After that, the Voynich Manuscript and some of that dust for the making of the zombies. Oh, and the crystal Skull again.
3 Hitler's Brain: This time nothing will stop me!
3 Erwin: Jawohl, mein Führer!
4 Hitler's Brain: Oh, and also a goldfish. It's lonely in here sometimes.

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Wow, I didn't expect so many entries for the caption competition I ran for this strip. I received 35 entries - thanks to all who entered. I decided the winning joke was actually made up of the punchline provided by Andy Skinner, and a build-up given by Glen Barnett (who sent several entries). Thanks to both of you for this one!

Many of the other entries were good too, so I thought I'd share the top 10 with you. Rather than make alternate strips, I've put the dialogue into the table below the panels. Read across each row. The Nazi lackey is black text, Hitler's brain is coloured text. Thought bubbles are shown by (parentheses). These are in the order I received them.

Panel 1 Panel 1 Panel 1 Panel 1 Entrant
Mein Führer, what evil schemes are you planning today? Ach. I am attempting to develop telekinesis so that I may write a sequel to my first book. What are you going to call it? Mind Kampf over Matter. Russell J. Hall
Did you get all that?
Ja, Mein Führer. All will be as you have ordered.
Good. I needn't tell you just how crucial this is.
Of course, Mein Führer.
Well, don't just stand there! Be on your way!
Jawohl! Heil Hitler!
Wait! WAIT! On second thought...
Ja, Mein Führer?
Make it a cheese burger.
Scott D. Haring
So, did you bring to me the Spear of Longinus? Nein, mein Führer, it was gone. Dr Jones has thwarted us again! I must have it! Fail me again and the consequences will be terrible!
Jawohl, mein Führer!
(Or maybe I just disconnect the power to your stand, grumpypants.) Glen Barnett
    Arrghhh! I blinked! You win again, Herr Führer! I'm a staring contest Übermensch, Erwin, never forget that! Chris Elmore
When is a door like a brain-receptacle?
I give up.
When it's a-jar!
How do I know my followers respect me?
I don't know.
They put me up on a pedestal!
Ha-ha-ha-ha! Ja, mein Führer, those are real thigh slappers! (Note to self. If you're choosing a gift for an insane disembodied brain with too much time to kill, don't go for the big book of brain-in-a-jar jokes.) Glen Barnett
Ja, mein Führer, I do have a song for karaoke night. I'm going to sing We Are The Champions. Have you chosen one? Tell me what it is and I'll make certain we have it in the machine. I-I Ain't Got No-bo-od-y... Glen Barnett
You wished to see me, mein Führer?
Ja! I have need of you to bring someone to me.
It will be done. Who is this person?
An expert on mind control. Her work is so fiendish, so powerful, it holds sway over millions.
Even now, her legion of loyalists await her next word. That kind of control must be ours!
You don't mean....
Yes! Bring me J.K. Rowling! Traska
    Jawohl, mein Führer! (Telepathy is all well and good, but when it comes to a conversation, it's a total letdown!) Bob (Runnicles?)
Get me the reports from the Antarctica and Hollow Earth expeditions immediately!
Then double the guards and complete the designs for our flying disc aircraft.
That will take all weekend...
If you want to conquer the world you have to work weekends! Schnell!
Ja! Ja! Immediately!
(If I didn't keep running him ragged, he would have found my mute button years ago.) Robert Garitta
You must retrieve the Grail from Doktor Jones! Those who went before you failed. They probably tried to tap into its power and got their faces melted off. Let that be a warning to you. If anything weird happens, shut your eyes! Now go, get a map from the receptionist, and leave immediately! I vill not fail, mein Führer! And grow a mustache or get a hook hand or put on some distinctive clothing or something! We can't have you shot down like a mook in your first scene! McRey B. Moyer

There were a lot of suggestions relating to Harry Potter and the release of Order of the Phoenix, some of which were very good, but I think after the event they're a bit outdated.

I will almost certainly run more competitions like this in future. I'll probably do about one a month.

2012-04-23 Rerun commentary: Huh. A reader caption competition once a month? Well that worked out as planned...

The Cliffhangers theme is of course a parody of the 1930s serial adventure genre, and the Indiana Jones movies (which are themselves a tribute to that genre) in particular. Interestingly, this comic mentions the "Crystal Skull" almost five years before the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Although George Lucas and Steven Spielberg came up with the idea of using a crystal skull as the MacGuffin in the fourth Indy movie in 2002*, I was not actually privy to the discussion and I presume Glen Barnett (who is not merely a reader, but an acquaintance of mine) was not either.

Crystal skulls are well known pseudo-mystical artefacts of the sort Indy typically chases, so this confluence of ideas between Lucas, Spielberg, and this comic is not all that remarkable. Unless of course they made up that story about getting the idea in 2002 to deflect attention from the fact that they mined this comic for ideas...

* As revealed in The Complete Making of Indiana Jones: The Definitive Story Behind All Four Films, by J. W. Rinzler.

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