Ahhhh, the riddle is next! Or perhaps a quest?
And that is one heckuva collection of “ones who mess it up” behind her…
Yes a trial. Total within the structure of a quest. The sphinx is not s sphinx, the tree is not a tree. It is a journey to discovery of herself. Once Shelly passes the trial more information and new paths will open.
The sphinx is merely the spirit of the place and appears to each person in an image to challenge them or scare them away. Makes perfect sense as all versions of a knights quest take this form. Prove yourself worthy, receive guidance, rewarded with knowledge.
With her strength of body and spirit Shelly does make the perfect knight doesn’t she. Now the question is which knight. Gawain, Galahad, or Lancelot.
I read that as “new pants will open up”
Yeah, I did too! Cuz, well she really isn’t wearing any atm…
Lancelot was a jerk, Galahad was a twit. Gawain?
Lancelot and Galahad are French and not part of the original Welsh Aruthurian Mythos. Gawain is actually welsh, and is pure as driven snow. He was bid to seek the “Holy Grail”, which was not a reference to the Cup of Christ, but as the Arthurian mythos predates Christianity via the Mabinogion, the “Holy Grail” was a symbol of the Divine Feminine as the Sacred Dagger was of the Divine Male. Gawain was the Sacred Dagger, and was told to go find the Holy Grail.
Thus he was told to go get laid.
And he made it to Castle Anthrax and found the Grail shaped Beacon, and plenty of examples of Divine Femininity, and an offering of Oral Sex, then the pooftah Lancelot spoiled it.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Been watching Monty Python, eh?
I thought the Grail was a Christianized version of the Horn of Plenty… although that sounds more like Saxon or Frankish myth rather than Welsh. Either way, the more chivalrous aspects of the story are from French ballads some 800 years after Arthur, non?
There is a problem judging ancient heroes and tales by modern ethical standards. Also, the characters and stories have been altered and absorbed into the various conquering cultures. Sometimes the hero of a conquered culture was deliberately brought into a tale and shown to be inferior to the champion of the conquering culture. This is why a lot of tales don’t agree or make sense. This is also how gods become demons or their roles change and shift in a pantheon. If the god was really popular, he/she couldn’t be eradicated entirely and must be altered and or absorbed.
That is the immense fun of English the language; those folks have been conquered so many times the language “English” is actually not that old at all and is considered a pidgen language i.e. a mashup. Throw all those folk together on an island and then add conquerers every 200 years or so and fun ensues!
The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.
– James Nicoll
James Nicoll, BTW, is a Canadian former role-playing game store owner, a freelance game and speculative fiction reviewer and a first reader for the Science Fiction Book Club.
In SF fandom, the term “Nicoll Event” is often applied to amazing near-death events often involving itinerant axe murderers
I find this varies considerably from near-death experience to near-death experience. For example, having a wandering loonie break down the door of my game store to look for women was so funny the entire concussion and pools of blood thing was a minor footnote.
exploding school houses
Before it exploded one night, I went to a four grade, two room schoolhouse and we had textbooks from the 1940s.
and general chaos
In point of fact, the meteor was something like 30 km when it exploded. It was over north Waterloo and I was north of St Agatha. Two spherical clouds, and two explosions. Unfortunately, I was dealing with a goat that was trying to eat an oil truck’s fuel line, goats having this optimistic ‘Well, maybe it has become edible since they last time I tried this’ worldview, and I missed seeing the explosions.
(Not to mention major disasters.)
Cally Soukop has compiled a list of Nicoll Events.
Well worth the reading.
James Nicoll is alive and well (mostly; one of his cats just died), and posting on his Live Journal.
And no, Fairportfan is not making that up about Nicoll Events. They seem to be happening less frequently lately – either he’s getting luckier or the universe is saving up for something really big.
Or he’s getting around less…
Well, he says he’s unlikely to make it to WorldCon this year.
“Moustaches are not nearly as flammable as fiction would have us believe. Eventually, they go out.” – James Nicoll, of course
W, that reminds me of the retelling of the Hercules story where it’s set in the Doric invasion, and the hidden mission of Hercules is to go around and visit all the Ionian strongholds and rally them against the barbarian tribes coming in–but all he does is reveal where they are so they can be attacked and taken.
Indeed! Which is why I also mentioned Percival the other day, as a “close but no cigar” option.
I was thinking Percival.
Heh, well if SHE’S the clean up crew, wonder who the judge is. XD
The International House of Radio station in San Antonio runs a show on Saturday nights, from midnight to 6 am called “Blues Before Sunrise”. Most shows had an entire set devoted to Pigmeat Markham. Wonderful stuff.
Yep – on her elbow.
I assume you speak of the location of the artifact…
Yeah – and that’s why i think Shelly is really there – wherever “there” is – rather than in a vision because
(a) Apparently holding it by the chain insulates you from the artifact’s effects
(b) When Monica touched it and saw the Scary Thing, breaking contact with it snapped her out of her vision.
(c) Shelly, if in a vision, should have snapped out of it when no longer touching the artifact directly.
Not really, because the Tree is real and the Executioner Sphinx are real, but so are the Quest and the Trial. This is not her subconscious. This is another dimension. Monica broke contact because she was intended to. Only Shelley can do this, and thus she is the only one who wasn’t instantly disconnected.
That’s basically what i said.
But if this is a vision, Shelly could visualize herself as touching the artifact or not and it would not matter since she would still be touching it in reality there in Monica’s house.
That’s what I was thinking…
Told Ya.. 😛
Our winged friend seems a tad disillusioned with her work.
Not the “whistle while you work” type.
Use MacGuffin, add quest, and stir plot until thicken!
Excellent anatomy! Muscles, fingers, posture — Beautiful!
MacGuffins don’t have any function, they’re given the pejorative name because nothing else makes them stand out as objects of desire for the characters. This thing gives visions already, and might do more yet.
No – MacGuffins have no real meaning or interest to the audience – they’re intensely important to the characters and are what makes the plot go.
For instance, whether Raymond Burr actually murdered his wife … or not … is pretty well irrelevant to the audience watching Rear Window. What’s important is how Jimmie Stewart and Grace Kelly react to thinking that he did.
Or the actual identity of the person the Bad Guy thinks Cary Grant is in North by Northwest.
I agree. I’d say the Maltese Falcon is a very typical example.
Time sink: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MacGuffin
Excellent example; i’m surprised i didn’t think of it – i guess i was thinking in Hitchcock terms, since it’s his term.
Oddly – i was talking about Maltese Falcon last night, though – about Hammett’s malice-aforethought use of a rude Bavarian word that sounded as if it meant something entirely different in English.
“Gunsel” does not mean “gunman” … though it’s been used that way in pulpy fiction ever since, and even mob types picked it up in that context.
Yeah–can you imagine it when a capo di tutti capi finds out he’s been calling all the help “goslings?”
I don’t know if that is the literal meaning – but the idiomatic meaning is “catamite”…
Yeah, using foreign words is a really good way to Get stuff past the Censors (NSFW!). Imagine my surprise the day I found out that poppycock, in the original Dutch means soft s**t. Look up the word pappekak and find out.
Mmmmm…Egg McGuffin’s from McDonald’s….
* holds out the pun jar
Come on, pay up.
*digs into pocket*
Lesse…3 durham, 50 bhat, 2000 cym, 600 Afghani, and a 20 pence coin…
*dumps into jar*
Was that the Moroccan Durham, 100 Durham to the Franc, or some other country’s Durham? ‘Cause 3 Durham Moroccan ain’t worth much IRL.
United Arab Emirates durham. 3.5 to the dollar last time I went through Dubai. Uzbekistan cym (soom) they were about 1500 to a dollar last time I was there. Afghani’s were 1000 to a dollar, and the bhat was 29.82 in today’s Stars and Stripes.
What about North Carolina?
Have a million Zimbabwean dollars for the pot.
@Fairportfan: Confederate dollars are acceptable to the tip jar. 😀
I had some RPG friends actually work a game around the “Sausage And Egg MacGuffin.” I fell out of my chair laughing the day they told me.
Why do I get the feeling that she does a LOT of cleaning?
What I want to know is how do that many people get to where she is? It isn’t easy after all. Even though it’s been thousands of years, it seems as if people come through there all the time. It must be way too easy to get there. Someone didn’t set it up very well.
It’s been hidden for thousands of years. It is a Lanthan relic. For all we know, it was a thrill ride for potential ‘Heroes’ from their culture. Hell, even a rite of initiation, for all we know.
Is that “trial” or “trail”?
I get the odd feeling that it’s both.
“Trial”, i think – i’d expect “path” or “road” or even “quest” before “trail”.
What kind of creepy magic tree forest place has a wall of skulls in it?!
Oh wait–it’s all in Shelly’s head. Carry on.
Or maybe it’s not.
Perhaps sphinxes keep a Monument of Remembrance for their victims, like the Dreaded Bugblatter Beast of Trall…
She should have brought her towel…
Heh..I can only hope that an intelligent thought from Shelly won’t trigger You-Know-What in that sphinxes realm, could be rather painful.
Doesn’t Phix have a wall like that as well? could’ve sworn she did…
but I think Phix’s is real and this is not.
Eh. I always considers the wall in the last panel to be a figurative wall rather then a real wall. It’s a visual reflection of how Phix views her past.
That’s what I thought too at first, but her figurative wall has pictures hanging on it.
Which makes me wonder: What happens when you are shown a vision inside your own hallucination?
“Dream within a dream” hmmm.. interesting thought.
We have to go deeper!
Further up and further in!
Red pill or blue?
Thirteenth floor, please.
Wasn’t it the 6th?
wait what are you guys talking about?
I’m quoting Inception…
Most recently, The Thirteenth Floor.
Came out a little more than a month after The Matrix; in my opinion a better film playing with similar concepts … based on a 1964 novel (Simulacron-3 by Daniel F Galouye.
Daniel F Galoye
Wait, I thought Miss Zarves taught the class on the 13th floor… or was it the 19th? I never can remember which one it isn’t. 😯
(BTW, Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. )
Fairportfan, I take “Further up and further in!” is from Lewis’ The Last Battle?
Ha it was the 19th I believe, and i only know that because they made it into a cartoon series at one point, called Wayside. Though i only watched one episode, so i don’t know how the series made out…
Man, sphinxes love their skeleton piles.
Humans do too! I can’t tell you how useful my wall of skulls is every time the missionaries come around…
As a Frisian, I approve. We offed Bonifatius. The church has been peeved at us for ages since. 😆
And, natch, “Boniface” is my monastic name… But we aren’t really mad at you. We forgave you long ago…
I think it’s just symbolic here as opposed to a real wall/pile. The skulls things never works as a deterrent anyway. New people who come just think, “Well that’s them … Im better and I’ll make it through.” Either that or they are on a mission and to hell with what comes, they are going forward regardless.
Peculiar. The Sphinx looks almost pensive and somewhat in resignation. As if she doesn’t want all the killing and executioner-stuff.. odd..
Mayhap she’s been around enough to come to the same sort of self-knowledge that Phix has apparently managed.
Given the wall/pile of skulls motif here and in the panel with Phix reflecting on the “monster I used to be”…
If this is an illusory sphinx, then she would share many of Phix’s personality quirks as she is the only sphinx Shelly knows.
And, who could spend an eternity killing folks for wrong answers and not get tired of it?
Besides 7th grade English teachers, that is.
8th grade English teachers. 😀
Um did you mean Odysseus or Oedipus? Oedipus was the sphinx guy.
Yep. Oedipus wasn’t much of an adventurer.
If you can find anything positive from his experience, he did know that in the end, one needs to keep an eye out.
(maybe I should have sang some Tom Lehrer.)
All I got out of it was “kill anything that moves, and don’t give a rats ass about who among your group is killed along the way as long as it aint you (the so-called hero/leader).”
Why not let Tom sing it hisself?
“A tragic end for a young man who loooved his mother.”
Ah, Another Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. 😀
I keep getting the feeling that Shelly and this as-yet-nameless sphinx are having two different conversations. Obviously it’s probably just me, but I can’t shake it.
To me, the sphinx is coming across as schizophrenic. Its conversation is very disjointed.
Good point, the sphinx did change her tune rather abruptly in the last panel. It’s much like she dropped her guardian personna and just became regular folk.
Another vote for oddly disjointed conversation here! 🙂
I know a doctor who’s a wonder with knee injuries.
Adds $5 and some poker chips to the pun jar
Four millenia before Odysseus (or is it supposed to be Oedipus?) gets us to the earliest bronze age/chalcolithic. Is that where the hero Gisaultees come from? The name does not sound Semitic (as in the Ubaid culture), so is he a forgotten hero from pre-persian Persia or the early Harappans?
He would be too late to be a Lanthian, I think.
I starting searching for this hero Gisaultees. The name sounds Sumerian. Perhaps a different spelling of a better know name. Google turn my search in to CasualTrees, but when I told Google to do a literal search, I came up with exactly one hit on some obscure web site called Wapsi Square and a posting by Xenos talking about Gisaultees and…wait a minute…
So Gisaultees is something totally new from Paul’s imagination. I’d love to hear about the Epic of Gisaultees. Perhaps from Phix when the gang goes visits her for some guidance as Shelly’s (vision?)quest.
gah. Need edit function badly.
I think he was a Lanthan Warrior/Haberdasher that invented a light cotton shirt that you pulled over your head…
Did his wife have to beat him about the ears to make the neck until he came up with a decent collar design?
And I’ll pay the tip jar for anyone who knows the reference for that one…
Yeah – she sounds like Phix’s sister. A little tired of being the caretaker. Know how she feels; I’ve cleaned up a few other peoples messes in my time.
I think it was Joseph Campbell that said something along the the lines that it is the journey and the experiences along the way that you have to the object of the quest that are more important than the object itself.
So more self-discovery in this sequence for our Shelly?
And whatever happened to STINKY?!?!?!?
Stinky swam away from the Big Boom because he(?) doesn’t like loud noises.
These are quite the epic journeys these characters undertake. We’re seeing all sorts of elements of the heroic cycle appear: Separation/departure, Penetration of the power source and return/reintegration. Just look at the first step: Call to adventure. We see crisis moment, appearance of a “herald”, signs of the hero’s vocation, symbolic rebirth—break from family, and a quest that cannot be denied. Many of the other hallmarks are there as well – descent into the underworld, temptresses, ultimate boons, and the whole nine yards.
This ain’t just your average webcomic… it’s literature. And some pretty hot sphinges as well.
Re: You and kaibyo —
See “The Hero with A Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell (Amazon Link).
He describes and examines the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction that is the path taken by heroes in legendary adventures across many cultures.
Well worth a read if you want to see the Cycle in legend ranging from Buddah and King Arthur to African and Inuit folk tales. Everything from Hindu’s Shiva to Norse Ragnarok is covered and then some!
Literature, Yes indeed!
I have that book right here on my desk at work! On break or when it’s quiet, I usually browse thru it. Fascinating.
I also have “The Flight of the Wild Gander” and “The Masks of God” vol 1 & 3. I haven’t read thru them lately, but now I will! I wish I had discovered him sooner than I did.
His research and discussions just go to show us that one persons religion is another persons myth.
Anything written or spoken by Joesph Campbell is worth the read/listen. He has such a way of explaining religions and people’s need for them with being insulting of people belief.
Now on hold at the library, thanks!
Thankee for that recommendation! 😀
Giant thing with wings after you and you’re running? You’re toast. Much better to stand still and charm it with reason and a bag of kitty treats. 😀
“You must never run from anything immortal. It attracts their attention.” – The Last Unicorn
The second panel kind of looks like Shelly just got hit with a blast of sphinx breath. I wonder, do sphinxes have a morning routine? Brush teeth, bathe, use the toilet and bidet or are they just au naturale funky? For that matter, do demons? What do sphinxes eat when they are not dining on people or demons? Cookies and tea can go just so far, then you need some comfort food.
Or a breath mint…
Maybe they’re like dogs and enjoy a good roll in something stinky. It keeps other creatures from smelling the predator as quickly. Although I can’t imagine Phix doing that these days; she’s clearly more of a shower and herbal scent librarian, this century.
nope i got nothing! time to finally grab a seat in the Confusion Corner! one Hot Chili Cocoa for me please… :S
I get tilting at the windmills of your mind from atop your glorious sphinx steed.
But that’s just me, I guess…
Darnit Jabb-W! I warned You about smoking cactus seeds…
*grabs latte ,and joins K-Game*
I’ll get a xocolatl, and join you on the couch.
I’ll be there in a minute; my coffee needs more sugar. 🙂
oooh..in colour that Shelly pic is even funnier!
And for your further amusements, the bottom panel from last Thurs.
GACKCK!!!! My heart my heart.. not funny, not funny…..
*picks-up tongue from desk*
Your real name wouldn’t be Cheyenne, would it? (And if so, welcome back to full health, and how do you find the time for side-projects when the Foglios are cracking the whip every day?)
Nope, my given name is Stephen. That’s just what I do when I’m bored at work…
I’m getting much faster at GIMP, too…
Very nicely done! Great coloration too. With purple undies (ok suit bottom) for the win!
Yeah, Jabberwonky, that is a good job! I enjoy your work.
Very pretty! And just about the right aspect ratio for a wallpaper, too.
Ah I see, She’s the clean up crew, no wonder she’s not happy.
No one ever appreciates the janitor…
…or Mr Fantastic…
… or Mom…
…Until they’ve had their own chance to clean up someone else’s puke.
Arrrgh. Meant “Mr Incredible”!
I think this is Jin’s ego we’re seeing.
I wonder… Is Shelly perhaps (and I’m late to the party, so sorry if someone beat me to the punch) seeing a replay of her vision quest?
Which, of course, would beg the question – is Shel’s mom related, in some way, to Mayahuel?
Probably not. On the other hand, Jin’s mom is related very closely to Mayahuel.
Gravatar seems to be propagating slowly tonight…
So does Wapsi Square, for that matter.
First time I’ve seen anything more than teasing at nudity. I know it’s a monster, and thus doesn’t follow “normal” rules, but still… I was kind of surprised. 🙂
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