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<   No. 898   2005-07-12   >

Comic #898

1 Shakespeare: Mercutio! Someone's hacked into our system and selectively corrupted every one of my Lord of the Rings files!
2 {in the background, Ophelia stops typing}
2 Shakespeare: Despite saving backup copies and every other sensible precaution, they've all been targeted!
3 Mercutio: It's unlikely to be deliberate. It's probably just MS Word doing something incredibly stupid and irreversible.
4 {in the background, Ophelia turns to overhear better}
4 Shakespeare: Hmmm.... I suppose that is the overwhelmingly more plausible explanation. Odds bodkins!

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Oh yes, the joys of working with Word. After you've worked with it for a while you can believe that it's capable of anything.

Sometimes it's hard to know when I should mention something about the strip itself, especially if it's a small visual thing that adds something to the story or presentation. In this case, I think it's pretty obvious what I've done with Ophelia in the background here. But sometimes I do something similar on a more subtle level, and I feel like I want people to notice it without me being blunt and mentioning it here in the annotations.

Although in one sense that kind of defeats the purpose of annotations, in that they're meant to explain subtle things that the readers might not notice otherwise. But I still want to give you the thrill of noticing something I did, without having any additional clues to help you. It's not always story-related either; sometimes I use what I think of as fairly cool visual effects. But those I don't like to point out so much, because I think the overall effect of the strip is better if you don't consciously notice those.

So... such things are there sometimes, and I don't always mention them...

2014-09-11 Rerun commentary: A thing I've learnt over more years of making comics is that it can be a good thing to make the reader feel clever.

One way to do this is to include subtle hints and clues and characterisations and other features in the comics, and not point them out. As long as they're not important to the plot or the joke, it doesn't really matter if a less observant reader notices them or not. The more observant readers can notice such things and, because they are not explicitly pointed out, those readers can feel clever for having noticed them when they were not obvious.

So, although it's tempting to be self-congratulatory as an author by pointing out how clever you are in your writing/plotting/illustration, it's often kinder and more fun for your readers if you don't point out such details.

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Last Modified: Thursday, 11 September 2014; 03:08:27 PST.
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