Oh God- One night with Phix and the poor guys has amnesia? Must have been hella fun…
Did she (Phix) use a different name? 😀 And he seems quite relaxed. Poor M.
No, Monica (or Phix herself) introduced her by her real name.
Hmm. Phix needed to get witnesses out of Tina’s coffee shop?
I’m starting to ponder that myself. Or perhaps, Phix just wanted to get Mon & Amanda away from the influence of Tina/Nudge. (Tinudge?)
definitely looking forward to some official (and not “clearly obvious”) clarity on that whole “stepping on toes” dialog.
I wonder…Phix had to know that if she misled monica regarding Dr. Fields’ request to see her, she’d be quickly found out. That small exchange with Tina must have been important enough for Phix to accept that, so I reeeealy want to know now what’s up between phix and Tina…
I’m sorry, txmystic, I absently combined my answer to you with a comment to eschmenk, below.
Earlier this morning, Gregory mentioned that he needed to speak with you,” said Phix. I note that Phix didn’t say that Dr. Fields was speaking to her. He may have been speaking to Barbara. He may want to know what Monica can tell him about this archive he’s just learned about.
Methinks Phix is being at least as manipulative as Tina ever was.
We surmised that Phix spent the night with Dr. Fields. Perhaps we were wrong.
Perhaps. Also it may be that the annex is going to be more private than we expected. Perhaps Dr. Fields isn’t even supposed to know about it. It’s not clear why a grant would be needed if it is created magically inside an abandoned building. Of course, he is supposed to be a bit scatterbrained and not a morning person.
There is no question that Phix uses fear and manipulates people that way. Everyone else are just children to her.
“Earlier this morning, Gregory mentioned that he needed to speak with you.” said Phix. I note that Phix didn’t say that Dr. Fields was speaking to her.
One of the most effective ways of misleading – or outright lying – is to tell the literal truth, and let the listener draw the wrong conclusions, as Phix led Amanda to do when she spoke about the archive’s relocation. Her careful phrasing was actually true, but certainly Amanda would not realize that Monica was also hearing this information for the first time.
And as for using fear, those encountering Phix are frightened by her very appearance; vast experience and knowing eyes would allow Phix to learn a great deal about a person in extremis.
The Bene Gesserit’s testing of Paul Maud’Dib in Dune comes to mind.
Well, Phix said, “I wanted to remind her…” Telling someone something for the first time is not reminding them. I certainly hope Phix lied to Monica about the consequences of getting the riddle wrong when they first met. So, I think Phix is willing to lie. But you are right, it can be more effective to tell the truth and let the listener mislead themselves. Right now, I don’t think we can know what to believe with respect to what Phix said. I doubt she lied to Tina, though, so the annex and portal door probably exist.
By the way, I think Phix told the literal truth when she said that Monica would “need to collect her coffee and hurry to the museum”. That had nothing to do with Dr. Fields, though. The bit she seemed to reveal about her relationship with Dr. Fields distracted Monica from the fact that since he straggled in, she still didn’t need to be punctual. (If anything, he would probably be more distracted than normal.)
I noticed that Monica didn’t mention in today’s strip that Dr. Fields supposedly talked to Phix in the morning. It would have been very interesting to see his reaction.
I think Phix is more subtle than she first appeared to be.
First, the consequences of getting the riddle wrong: Phix was telling the literal truth. If Monica got the answer wrong, she would strangle the life out Monica. But as was revealed later to Katherine, there was no wrong answer. The riddle was in the nature of a survey.
Second, the verb remind has two definitions:
▸ verb: put in the mind of someone (“Remind me to call Mother”)
▸ verb: assist (somebody acting or reciting) by suggesting the next words of something forgotten or imperfectly learned
The first meaning is to prompt with new information – and that’s what Phix did.
The third point, which I have been thinking over some time now:
Phix is not a human being.
I may be completely wrong, but when Monica made the assumption that Phix spent the night with Dr. Fields, it rocked me back on my heels. This is completely at odds with my (admittedly hazy) picture of Phix.
Phix is not human. She is not a human that wears a sphinx’s shape, she is a sphinx that recently has taken to wearing a human shell. I don’t think she has or had any sexual interest in Dr. Fields, any more than an elephant would be interested in a turtle. Two entirely different species.
I think SoWhyMe is right in saying that Jin, Brandi, and Bud are vastly more powerful than Phix. But I am beginning to have my suspicions that Phix is an accomplished sorceress on a scale that no other character in this tale even approaches.
Two other points concerning lies – in order to ask a question, you must already know part of the answer. At the absolute minimum, you must know there is something to ask about. Otherwise you are simply flailing
about at random. You can mislead by not presenting your questioner with any fact in a subject of which he knows nothing.
And the other point – I would suspect that Phix, tens of thousands of years old, buried in a mass of information for almost the whole of her life, would have developed a serious intolerance for lies and misinformation. God knows she would have enough difficulty just keeping track of reality without having to winnow out falsehoods. The whole of human history would show that every time you build on misinformation, falsehoods, or just plain error, sooner or later you come up against reality, with fatal results.
Dammit, I thought I had erased that last line. Sorry, please disregard.
I applaud your thinking that Phix isn’t human, however it doesn’t follow that she wouldn’t be interested in Dr.Fields. The gods weren’t human and they consorted with humans all the time. She would want an older person, but we’re all mayflies to her anyhow. Phix has been around a long, long time. (I did not use the word ‘old’!) At least 56x 186,000 years, (I could be wrong here, math is not my subject and I could’ve remembered the numbers wrong), because she’s seen the cycle reset itself a bunch. To be able to remain sane for that long, she’d have to be more than human.
As to power, I believe you are correct she is powerful, not just because of the effect she had on Tina, but because all of that time she spent as The Librarian of The Library. If knowledge is power, certainly The Librarian at the Library containing the sum of all knowledge would be close to all powerful. Don’t you think? Minerva Goddess of Wisdom wore a helmet with a sphinx on it (Bulfinch’s Age of Fable or Beauties of Mythology 1898) to me this indicates sphinxes were not only powerful, but very smart as well; she would be able to use that knowledge.
One last thing, did Phix transform herself into a human form, or was it a glamor? The answer to this could be very important to Dr.Fields! 😉
I don’t know. She appears to be a female mammal (for the most part), and all female mammals have certain characteristics in common, one being reproductive/sexual organs and their usage. As certain odd human individuals (both male and female) have demonstrated, it is quite possible to couple with other species to the pleasure of at least one and sometimes both.
She probably does have a great intolerance for lies, but she also would have a profound understanding of the human condition which would temper her outlook. In that light, I think she would be kinder than one might expect. Same might go for demons, explaining her soft spoken approach to Tina in the end.
Finally, good point about her command of sorcery. She may not be able to match the firepower of the GGs, but even the most powerful machine can be rendered useless by a small wrench dropped in just the right place. She probably has the knowledge to nullify them at will. After all, it’s not the weapon that is the most powerful of all. It’s the one who controls it. Or the one who can gum up it’s works.
Wow! Fantuncle made a great point about Phix’s riddle (among other good points). It didn’t occur to me that she was probably going to ask that riddle all along.
I’ll continue to disagree about remind, though. Even in the example “Remind me to call Mother” and other examples there is the sense of already having to know or be familiar with something. If I ask someone to remind me to do something, I have already decided that I wanted to do it, but am concerned that I might forget or get distracted. It occurs to me, though, that there is a possibility that Monica already knew that stuff, but we saw no evidence of that, IIRC.
As far as Phix wanting to experience sex with humans, weren’t there some old Star Trek episodes where someone or something wanted to experience being human like that, for what little that is worth.
As far as sex and the single Sphinx are concerned, hey, my eyes are brown. What do I know? It just was at odds with the picture I was building in my mind. Next week (may) enlighten us.
As far as “remind” is concerned, I got that definition out of an 1904 edition of Webster’s Unabridged. The usage is archaic, and not in modern printings. In this usage, it means to place as a reminder , in much the fashion that a secretary will make an appointment for her boss – one he would not know about until she brought it up. “I’d like to remind you to see the dentist – ”
I settled on that definition because it was the only one that fit without Phix having the appearance of telling a lie. http://wapsisquare.com/comic/im-honest/
And remember, Phix is older than our language. Her usage has on occasion been of older form.
Or she lied, the first lie I’ve been able to find her using.
Or Paul didn’t mean for her to lie, and just picked the wrong word.
OK, I also forgot about Phix saying, “If there is one thing that I am, I’m honest.” Another good point!
BTW, late yesterday someone said, “Phix was once something like a top-level predator in the demon world” and Paul confirmed that as correct. That points out that there is a lot more to Phix than we can know about. I’m comfortable with her remaining rather mysterious.
I meant very little when I brought up Star Trek. I’m pretty sure Phix saw something she wanted from Dr. Fields, but who (other than Paul) really knows what she was up to. Nothing Dr. Fields said confirmed or denied anything. For all we know, even if Phix had sex with Dr. Fields, it was just done to manipulate him better for who knows what purpose.
Regarding W.’s point about knowledge is power. For whatever reason, Phix seems to be holding back and not exercising the power herself. Still, controlling access to the knowledge gives her a great deal of indirect power. For whatever reason (not trusting herself? It’s more fun that way?) she seems content with that.
That was Sitnalta who got the cookie.
A very interesting analysis and has given me much to think about (yet without resolution…that is why we continue reading!)
A round of malty ales for you all!
I have had more than one college professor like this. What is it with academic types, and their scatter-brained natures? My guess is that Phix probably mentioned something in the morning, like, “you should talk to Monica this morning about her latest project”; and Dr. Fields, engrossed in his paper, not really paying attention, said something to the effect of, “ya, sure, whatever”.
My wife wasn’t academic, and she reacted like that all the time. I thought it was just being married. Turns out she WAS ignoring me.
It’s no so much scatter brained as being mentally absorbed to the exclusion of everything else. It takes a few seconds to shift gears enough to take up a conversation about anything else, or sometimes to even form words or understand something spoken to you.
About 15 years ago, I was working in an IBM mainframe assembler project, when I went to get a cup of coffee, still deep in thought. On my way back to my desk, I noticed a good visual pun on a co-worker’s desk and screen and commented on it. Unfortunately, the syllables came out in Sys/390 syntax! In the resulting confusion, I completely lost track of the original thought.
UncleRice: That’s me. I wish my wife had more tolerance for it.
Ya gotta admire a guy who keeps a Titki on his bookshelf at work.
No, the Titki is peeking in the door…
I don’t think the other would be so bad, though I’d imagine you’d have a hell of a balancing problem
A TIKI? oh dear — Did the Hawaiians have a god of alcohol?
And what has Tepoz been up to lately?
Arrgh! TIKI you stupid keyboard!
Dr. Fields obviously works in the Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki room…
Sounds like “Gregory” needed that coffee in order to wake up properly.
I’m thinking Phix wanted ye old Tina alone. And as sultry as that may sound…considering Phix’s past, i don’t think it is.
Otherwise, it would be sultry. Just Say’n
I’m sure part of it was getting Tina alone, but Phix would probably have said it anyway to break the news. M’s gotta learn somehow that her boss is now with Phix.
In a way, her boss is Phix. At this point, losing her job isn’t going to cause any real harm, aside from losing an anchor to “ordinary” life. The Eternal Library holds her real passion, which is for the honest-to-historical truth.
I’m gonna argue that M still has bills to pay; gotta have someplace to go back to for bed. Phix is more of a guardian/friend than a boss, really.
i can imagine she kissed him goodbye before they parted in the morning.
Chances are a kiss from phix could be mindblowing and would in fact posibly ruin your memory barring the kiss 🙂
:3 I think Phix was having fun, setting this scene up…
The look on Monica’s face in the last panel is actually Panic trying to get out and “stretch her legs”…
She probably worrying about Tina. At least, she should be.
Notice how she is looking off to the side. She is probably thinking of quickly going back to Mucho Mocha.
Naw, she’s just embarassed for the director and wants to vacate the area ASAP.
Well, if she’s not thinking about Tina, then she’s being pretty thoughtless! Obviously, Phix mislead Monica and Tina was obviously overawed if not frighted to death of Phix. It should click that Tina had been stepping on Phix’s toes and that Phix had gotten rid of Monica so that Phix could deal with Tina alone. Monica knows how frightening Phix can be. One would hope that Monica would want to offer support for her friend in that situation.
Like I said – Panic wants to come out and play. Either that or Doubt is doing some gobsmacking of her over her sanity again…
Panic with a case of claustrophobia?
Shame that this is happening on Friday…I want more Phix v. Tina!!
Oh, and I love the “Peanuts”-style “AAAUGH!”
Spilled it into his lap, most likely.
Good opportunity to sue McDonald’s…
Might want to look up the facts in that case…
certainly an odd case of the “hot coffee” event happening after the associated event…
I can almost imagine him saying “I don’t remember …Phix told you that?” in a tone of voice which suggests both the admitted proneness to forget things and a mild disbelief that best suits a dialog along the lines of:
“dad, mum says I can [keep this stray cat/take more candy/get a new bicycle/go explore the haunted cottage/etc]!”
-“Mum told you that?”
I can’t quite believe without further evidence that Phix actually spent the night (or the morning) in his company, nor that she considers herself further involved with him.
Hey, Phix has been alone in a dusty library for centuries/aeons – even a sphinx needs to get some now and then… 😉
Well, at least with everything ever printed, she’d have an amazing collection of porn (both modern and ancient) to help her through those times of “great tension” whilst alone through the ages.
On the other hand, since many others probably have visited the library over the milennia, there may have been ample opportunities for close encounters of a relaxing kind.
Now there’s a thought! Lots of feelthy picures!
On the other hand, her idea of a close encounter of the relaxing kind might be hunting intruders among the stacks, catching, killing, and eating them….
IIRC, the library is supposed to contain everything ever written. It’s not clear if that is limited to what was written by humans. There could be some really weird stuff in there.
True. But sentient snail porn would probably be too gross for any other creatures to enjoy.
Is it “ever written?” If so then no pictures I guess. Still, human females seem to prefer written porn to pictures. Maybe she’s the same, or, at least, has aquired a taste for it. Sphinx porn would probably involve some sort of in-flight copulation, head butting and clawing, followed by an intense desire to destroy a village.
Consider that eagles have been known to mate in free fall. Add a catfight into the equation, and clear the impact area.
@SoWhyMe: If you’re referring to in-flight “breeding”, look at the Dragonriders of Pern for an elegant version of that, then add the carnage and chaos.
The mental imagery alone you have caused with your statement…heaven help us!
So The Library , like the inter-net, is for pr0n!? The question is: Is it filed in the Art section or the Psychology section?
Even with all the skulls in the library, I don’t think that Phix was killing anybody once she took over as Librarian. She scares them away, relax kid
I like this comic a whole bunch, but sometimes I think the replies are just as much fun to read. Thanks to Paul for writing a great comic that generates such interesting and fun comments.
I’m still waiting to see someone give her the THIRD most common answer to The Riddle of Phix
“Uh … I dunno?”
So you’re saying Rule 34 applies to the Bibilothiki as well?
That’s pretty much the thought I was having. Sex aside (discussed earlier) – an unbelievably well-read semi-hermit might just want to have a nice evening out, of supper and intelligent conversation once every few thousand-odd years.
That’s pretty much what I want, anyway…
Perhaps Phix supplied the grant. She probably has several fortunes stashed away somewhere. Heck, she would need one of them just to buy cookies and tea in the quantities she needs.
If there’s a problem, yo; she’ll phix it..
When they find your corpse the police will look at your record, attempting to find some clue as to why you were so brutally murdered.
“Oh, yes, this guy made that pun on *Wapsi Square*.” shrug
“File the case under “Needed Killing”.
But not by Phix… She’s too much into S&N
OK, I can’t stand not knowing. What’s S&N?
Why, the other two letters in S-phi-N-x, of course!
Call it what you want, I’m going with Subtle and Nutty… but it’s been so serious here, I had to cause a “Wait, what?” moment!
Obviously Phix (as usual) is running mental circles around the mortals. She is also still ahead of everyone else who doesn’t remember the previous timeline reboots.
Man, I ended up getting distracted a few months ago, and it just took me two hours to catch up!
Uh oh. I don’t like it when Paul starts doing stuff like this. The more loose ends he leaves the greater the likelihood he’ll forget to come back and tie them up like he’s done so often before.
Primary example being that the comic still has not explained how Monica survived being stabbed in the head by Shelly. Yes, I know Paul has explained how in the [i]comments[/i], but not in the [i]comic itself[/i]. Even then, if I hadn’t asked, he wouldn’t have explained it.
Are you friggen serious?! You need that scene explained more than what you witnessed in the comic?!
Ok, at the risk of destroying my reputation here even further, I’m going to illustrate what I understood up to and just after that point.
I already knew that Monica had a connection to Mayahuel somehow, but I did not know she was a doorway to the demon realm. The first time we saw a demon of any kind Monica kicked it away, whereupon Bud, Brandi and Jin were able to freely interact with it and it could even do its demon thing to Jin.
Okay then, that revealed to me that demons can go and interact with anybody they like so I thought nothing unusual at all of Jin’s demon suddenly appearing and talking to Monica, nor of Mon’s ability to kick it away because we saw her do it numerous times before. Heck, we even saw two demons interacting with each other at one point.
Now let’s touch upon the bladed key and the various other accessories. First it was a key to Tina’s clock, then Brandi ejected the key part and revealed a blade underneath. Even Tina was genuinely surprised to see that blade and even remarked, “Take it, ALL I NEED IS THE KEY PART.” Therefore I didn’t think it was a key anymore. How can a blade be a key anyway?
Then there all these statues, a hammer with a weird name, a DIY mirror ball and a specific set of instructions that say “Do exactly this, this this and this. Then, stab Monica in the head.
That’s exactly what Shelly was told to do and that’s exactly what we saw Shelly do. She physically stabbed that bladed weapon into the top of Monica’s skull. Bud even went so far as to say, “Monica needs to be dead when this is done.”
Then Monica turns into a vacuum cleaner, sucks the machine, the accessories and that one rogue demon into herself. Then suddenly out of nowhere, “Shelly exclaims, “It worked! Monica’s alive!”
Eh? She had a notion that this was likely to be the result? Then why was it necessary for Bud to say that Monica had to die? Since Shelly did the stabbing and was also apparently in on this whole thing, saying that out loud to everybody else wouldn’t have mattered other than to, of course, make us think that SHELLY WAS TRYING TO KILL MONICA.
I’m sorry, Paul, that I tied the information together so pathetically incorrectly and failed to include the various awkward changes and retcons into the equation.
Anything Bud said out loud was for the benefit of the demon that Bud and Shelly were trying to coax out.
Ganthan, the reason that Bud and Shelly had to say they were going to have to kill Monica was so that it would drive out the rogue demon to keep her alive. So that when Monica sucked the machine in she would also suck in the rogue demon.
So apparently the way to close a doorway to the demon realm is to lure one of them out so that you can turn a switch to suck her right back in.
Now I KNOW I can’t be the only one here who didn’t figure that out. That right there is so non sequitur that the writers of Aeon Flux would be hard.
Okay. Alright then. What about the shiv, as you put it, “Not occupying the same space as Monica when it was stabbed in?” Is it just because Monica lived that we were supposed to figure out, “Yep, that must be what happened.” Wait, when Shelly tried to pull it out the blade part stayed in, and then Doubt made the joke, “Good luck at airports,” indicating that the blade was still PHYSICALLY INSIDE HER HEAD. Doubt had NEVER EVER joked around with Monica before.
The fact that Monica was a doorway was mentioned a bunch of different places, including here, here, here and here.
The plan was concocted by a previous loop Brandi. She somehow was able to plan how everything was going to work out. Apparently, she has amazing analytical abilities and was left alone with the time machine, which apparently allowed her to accomplish all of that.
The playacting was to fool Monica and the rogue demons. (Paul confirmed in the comments that “her demons” referred to the rogue demons, not Monica’s personal demons.) Monica became so upset that here eyelights came on and the connection to the demon realm was opened up even more. The rogue demon was afraid Shelly would kill Monica, so it protected Monica in order to protect the doorway. Knowing that Monica couldn’t be killed then, Shelly and Bud stopped pretending and Shelly used the key. Note how the design on Monica was similar to the design on the demon at that point.
All of this has been explained before, with similar links to the story showing how it could be pieced together. I’m not saying it is easy to do, but it is certainly possible. The fact that this strip is challenging is one of the things the fans enjoy about it. If you don’t want to deal with that, you would probably be better off reading something else.
One more thing that you might not have considered — as in real life, sometimes the characters are just plain wrong. That’s not a retcon.
Having said all of the above, I’m thinking that perhaps a FAQ about past content (with spoiler warnings) might be a good idea.
“Wait, when Shelly tried to pull it out the blade part stayed in, and then Doubt made the joke, ‘Good luck at airports,’ indicating that the blade was still PHYSICALLY INSIDE HER HEAD. Doubt had NEVER EVER joked around with Monica before.”
Doubt had certainly messed with Monica’s mind before. Sometimes it was just a quick shot that was more funny than anything else.
At this point, you seem to be trying to find things wrong, though.
“One more thing that you might not have considered — as in real life, sometimes the characters are just plain wrong. That’s not a retcon.”
YES!! I wish the interwebs would stop waving that fucking word around like it’s the new “Communist” and realize that some characters in a story will lead the reader astray, ON PURPOSE!
If you want honest-to-goodness retcon, check out why Shego’s power went from being her gloves to her hands in a few episodes.
Okay… Alright… That all makes sense I guess.
I’m honestly not sure what to say at this point other than I’m sorry.
This right here just makes me wonder about myself. For a while I’ve suspected that I might be partially autistic because I do in fact remember reading all of those strips that were linked to, and indeed the whole archive. How, then, did I not figure out ANY of that?
Pulp Fiction didn’t fuck me up. Harry Potter didn’t fuck me up. District 9 didn’t fuck me up. Wapsi Square confuses me every day I read it. Why? What is it about this one particular webcomic that just shuts my brain off completely?
I can run certain entire movies through my head when I get bored, yet I never realized that Monica was a doorway to the demon realm despite it being mentioned four or five times. What the hell is going on with me?
Whatever, I’m apparently very very dumb. I’m sorry for making a stink and I’ll leave the issue alone now.
The only “loose end” from the Calendar Arc I still want to see resolved is what the situation with the blade is, nowadays, since it’s still in Monica’s head, and we don’t know anything further.
Could be physical, could have disappeared, could be a “spike in the door,” could even be a potential power focus… we just don’t know.
Okay, since we’re on the topic (and assuming anyone is still following it this far down), Ganthan did ask one question I wondered about too. Where was the rogue demon before she came out to protect Monica? If she was already in the demon realm, why was it necessary to draw her out and suck her right back in? And what about all her follower demons? Why was it not necessary to draw them out as well?
And Wapsi is more difficult than most to follow, so don’t be too hard on yourself, Ganthan. It’s one of the few in which you really have to think about what happens, and even go back and research on occasion. That’s why this forum is good. Really helps.
The rouge demon was actually “in” Monica, not the demon realm.
@Biker Matt: As I see it, Monica’s whole body is a doorway. It’s just locked currently. Usually we only see a part of it opened and used. In the moments just before the key/knife was plunged in, the entire surface if her body was “open.” Not just her stomach as is usually the case. This is why she could not be killed at that time. Fire a bullet at her head and it would just pass into the demon realm. Likewise with the key. It never touched her head, it went into the keyhole apparently located in the space usually occupied by her head. Later it was turned and broken off clean so no one could open it again. So it doesn’t exist in her head, but in a parallel space in the demon realm. Thus it won’t actually set of metal detectors (that was a joke) or show up on an x-ray.
Ah, thanks Paul. I see it now (I think). I should have realized that before. That’s why she was a rogue demon, because she was in Monica without proper authorization. And she was in there to try to break her completely and have her way with Monica’s body/doorway.
So the “mission” accomplished at least 3 things:
1) Got rid of the calendar machine
2) Got the rogue demon back where she belonged and prevented demons from coming and going at will.
3) Got Jin’s mother back.
Oh, and 4) Got my attention big time!
I’m sorry I wandered off after my initial question; Real Life got me.
Ganthan, if you have questions, you will get better results simply saying plaintively that you don’t understand what happened, or why, and waiting for someone to wander by and drop a fact into your cup, clink!
Insults and accusations simply result in everybody’s socks getting wet.
Two things about loose ends. First, if it’s important to the plot, the ends do get tied off, but it may take years, and sometimes the resolution to even a major plot line is very quietly done, so much so that you can miss it, and only later do you do a double take and say, “Hey, wait, what –?”
The other point is, this strip is a narrow window onto a stage. Everything happening in view of that window isn’t part of the plot. Sometimes it’s just scenery passing by. Sometimes the people appearing there are just there for one scene and never seen again. Sometimes they actually have speaking parts – but they are there for the main characters to interact with and shape themselves around. These aren’t loose ends when the window looks away; they’ve done all they were created to do. Asking Paul to explain what happened to these people is like asking a film director making a shot of people getting on and off of a train to stop and insert a documentary of the history of the train before continuing the story. It’s not part of the protagonist’s story.
And on the subject of plaintive questions, what does retcon mean?
I guess one of the problems is that WS isn’t a webcomic that you can just give a one time over and totally follow it. I tend to not have the time or patience to go back and reread sections over again. I read through comments but that’s about it.
Another problem is that most media of any kind; movies, books, webcomics, games, tend to keep important dialog and important events separate. At a given moment, people will either be saying something important OR important events will be happening, never both simultaneously.
Wapsi Square frequently has both important dialog AND important events going on at the same time, and that’s just a big problem for me. I just plain don’t have the multitasking or lateral thinking skills required to follow stuff like this.
Yet another problem is that maybe I’m spending TOO MUCH time trying to figure stuff out, so that I end up missing even repeated details because I’m still trying to figure out what happened two days earlier. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve long since abandoned trying to figure out what’s GOING to happen in the comic, because that’s a futile endeavor.
Another thing WS does that other webcomics don’t do is to change topics FREQUENTLY. It deals a bit with Jin, then changes a bit to Tina, then goes back to Jin a bit, then goes to Monica and Amanda, then goes to Katherine, then goes back to Tina, then goes to Bud and Brandi, etc. Like I said before, I can’t lateral think or multitask so I would much MUCH rather that one topic is stuck with and run right into the ground than to keep switching tracks like this.
When a parcel of information is FINISHED and UNDERSTOOD by me, THEN I can remember every detail of it forever. If information is fragmented then odds are I won’t remember or even register it in the first place. This is why I can read every word in a strip, observe every action in said strip, have answers flat out said right to me, yet somehow never even register that it was even said.
Oftentimes stuff that’s said isn’t in reference to something that happened before, it’s setting us up for something that’s about to happen. Like I said, I’m 100% memory and 0% intuition. The rogue demon said, “You can’t kill her!” I thought, “She must just be using reverse psychology in hopes that they won’t do it because she will die if they do, similar to a teenager saying to his parents, “You can’t do this!” Wait, they did stab her. Huh? Why didn’t she die right then?
I have other confusions about earlier events but I’m genuinely afraid to ask about them now, because someone will make me look like a fool by linking to a dozen different older strips where the answer is flat out given that I somehow missed because I interpreted wrong, missed because I hadn’t mentally moved on from earlier strips, missed because I couldn’t follow action and dialog at the same time or some other such thing.
“Retcon” – “retroactive continuity”.
Anouncing that something that happened previously wasn’t what we thought it was, or introducing backstory that was “never mentioned” (because the original writer/artist didn’t think/mean it that way).
Captain America’s current background (and his background before that, and his backstory before that, and …) would be a good example.
Power Girl has been through several retcons – when originally introduced, she was the Earth-2 Kara Zor-L. Then after the Crisis on Infinite Earths storyline, when Earth-2 didn’t (and never) existed, her powers were explained as being a result of her being descended from an ancient Atlantean mage-king…
“Crisis on Infinite Earths”, as a matter of fact, was a company-wide retcon, as was Marvel’s misbegotten “Clone Saga” in Spider-Man…
Ah. What is known in mystery novel writing as not playing fair with the reader. The writer strews clues indicating the butler did it from one end of the tale to the other, and then in the last page reveals the one-legged opium dealer who has never been mentioned before as the killer.
I hate it when that happens.
Not exactly – this is more like something that changes the meaning of a previously-established/seen point after that story is over.
It’s like Doctor Strange pausing (in the mid/later 1970, don’t remember exactly when) on his way back to the Big Bang in Ancient Egypt and, unseen, casting a spell that gives a more satisfactory explanation (at least as far as Roy Thomas was concerned) to a minor event in Fantastic Four #5.
Or establishing (while re-working Batman’s backstory in Batman: Year One) that Selina Kyle was a professional deminatrix living in a lesbian relationship with an underage prostitute and that the “Catwoman” suit was originally an idea their pimp had to excite her customers even more…
(No, i didn’t make that up – Frank Miller did. Before his “Spirit” movie came out and was even worse than expected – heck, it was worse than we feared – i was making bets with myself which of Eisner’s girls he was going to make into a lesbian junkie hooker/porn star with AIDS…)
@fatuncle: It’s a bit different than with a novel. The novelist is expected to go back and make everything consistent before the novel is published. In a serial, it’s more a matter of the writers changing their minds about something midstream. It’s too late to change what was already published, but they make changes anyway, so the new facts contradict the old facts.
I’m not sure it’s a good idea to think to TV tropes (even they admit it), but here is their take on RetCon.
@SoWhyMe: I think the other rogue demons who were using Monica’s doorway to create mayhem with other people were unnoticed by Monica. That explains why Jin’s demon was explaining things to Monica. At the climax, we were seeing things as Monica would have perceived them (other humans wouldn’t have seen Monica’s Doubt), so we wouldn’t have perceived the other rogue demons being pulled back into the demon realm.
@Ganthan: I certainly didn’t think you were stupid. You can’t just read this once and totally follow it, as you said. Also, why worry much what strangers think?
I’ve been through the archives a bunch of times and had just seen some of the strips I linked to. I certainly wouldn’t have remembered all of that.
You do need to keep in mind that Paul is making things messy intentionally. That’s the way he wants Wapsi Square to be. A lot of people aren’t going to like that. You have to decide if it’s too messy and confusing for you.
Re: RetCon: I defined RetCon narrowly, but that’s the kind that people tend to jump on (often mistakenly) the most. More generally, it’s just new facts about old events that the writers have just figured out recently, so you are finding out about it now.
. . . yeah . I’m just gonna stay buckled up in my seat here , and simply enjoy the ride .
Experiment: I don’t know what the Permalink does, so I’m going to try ir and find out.
As I understand the concept of the permalink, it’s to take one directly to a given point in the web, reguardless of any changes to indirect links. For example, say a webmaster puts in a link to a certain point on his website. That link is on a certain page on the site. You save that link by the usual manner and try to go back there later, but it fails. This happens because the webmaster either deletes the link, or moves it (perhaps to another page). When you first saved the link what you actually had was a link to a link to a piece of data somewhere. If that indirect routing gets changed or deleted, you’re screwed. By using the permalink option (if there is one), the link you save is a link directly to the final destination. This sort of thing can go on through several layers, a link to a link to a link, etc. The permalink bypasses it all, helping to insure you get to what you wanted reguardless of other changes. It’s the “permanant” link.
Still, nothing is really permanent on the web so even the permalink can fail if the destination data gets relocated.
OK, it makes me misspell it.
Permalink is the link that leads directly to that particular comment – like this…
All it does for me is open a new window.
The permalink is the address for the comment, so if someone clicks on the link, they not only go to the right page, but also the right spot (in this case, particular comment) on said page.
That said, I’m still fuzzy on the proper use of the linking tags in the first place.
@Fatuncle: The permalink is just a link to that comment. If you want to link to that comment for some reason, you can copy the URL that is there.
So, for example if you click on the Permalink to your “Another test…” comment, your webbrowser goes to “http://wapsisquare.com/comic/need-to-see-me/#comment-15853”. (Try it and look at the address at the top of your browser.) The address for the page itself is “http://wapsisquare.com/comic/need-to-see-me/” (Well, technically it is “http://wapsisquare.com/comic/need-to-see-me/index.php”, but the server doesn’t need the index.php part.) The #comment-15853 is a label that points to a location within the page that corresponds to the top of your comment. That address is intended to be (fairly) permanent. Adding or deleting comments won’t change that label. As long as http://wapsisquare.com/comic/need-to-see-me/ exists, http://wapsisquare.com/comic/need-to-see-me/#comment-15853 should point directly to your comment.
@Biker Matt: I’m not sure what you want to know. If I wanted to include a link to Fatuncle’s comment in my comment, I would do it like this:
Click here for Fatuncle's comment.
The result is:
Click here for Fatuncle’s comment. (I haven’t tried the Mouseover text thing before, so I’m not sure about that.) The website software recognizes several HTML tags (not bbcode) that are listed below. If you use them it includes them in your message. It helps if you know a little HTML, of course. This site lets you practice making links.
Click here for Fatuncle's comment.
Dammit! I used code tags, that I thought would preserve the HTML tags so you could see what I typed. There is more than one way to skin a cat, however.
What I typed was this:
<a href=”http://wapsisquare.com/comic/need-to-see-me/#comment-15853″ title=”Mouseover text here, I think”>Click here for Fatuncle’s comment.</a>
You can leave the title=”whatever” part completely out.
The “title” attribute is what will appear when you hover your cursor over the link in most browsers. It also applies to images; for instance, the secondary punchlines in xkcd> pages.
(The xkcd> link above has the “title” attribute set, BTW.)
I thought Permalink was a brand of Eternal Sausage.
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