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I have to admit, I would probably surrender.

(From Sluggy Freelance. Click on the thumbnail for full sized probing!)

A sprite comic?

A sprite comic?

Pete Abrams needed a filler day because his daughter was sick, and so he threw out an X-Com parody sprite comic?

I love it.

Honestly. The very first week I was snarking on here, I wrote an essay in defense of filler art. In that essay, I wrote the following:

Filler art is exactly what it sounds like. It fills in the space, giving the reader a happy taste of what they come to the strip for in the first place. It may not continue the story, and it may not have quite the same funny as the strip would have, but by God there's something there other than the last strip in the series. It's only one step up from not doing a strip at all, admittedly, but it is a step up, and shows some measure of concern for the reader.

The best filler art may be killer fast, but still fulfills the essential strip requirements. The Something Positive Filler Art, both for today (the deeply offensive and damn funny explanation of what happened to Monette's baby) and yesterday (the evolution of Pepito, the sex midget, which you'll have to go to his site to see, damn it!) hits the top mark. He just had to draw one panel's worth of stuff today, and that pretty simple stuff to boot, and fill the rest with expository text and things that would make the Baby Jesus cry. It's exactly what we go to Something Positive for, damn it, so we've hardly been cheated.

Well, that's exactly what Abrams did today. He did incredibly fast work that brought a quick bit of Funny and made the faithful happy when they came to have a look. That counts big in my book.

Of course, it's worth mentioning that if Abrams had a buffer, he wouldn't need filler art today. But not all artists can work a buffer into their daily effort. Abrams throwing up a sprite comic runs a good second. (A second tied with Randy Milholland's drive to make up strips he missed -- yeah, it means sometimes he has no comic and sometimes he has two, but I still give him credit for that.)

For the record, even though we're working on a buffer, Greg's already asked me about the possibility of putting up filler art or the like on the days when we don't update (Gossamer Commons is scheduled to be a Monday/Wednesday/Friday comic). I know he's doing tons of drawing right now. Not to mention working on Nemesis. The man is some kind of artistic machine.


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Well, I'm probably a little biased since I'm a big X-Com fan, but it looks like Pete must have used an X-Com map editor to create the screenshots that he's using for these, so he actually probably put more work into it than you'd think.

The impression I get from reading his comments is that he really wanted to do this for the one non-filler one, even knowing that not much of his audience would know the ref, but having gone to all that work of learning how to use the map editor and what not, he went ahead and built a bunch more stuff for screenshots for the fillers. Those would have been less work, but it's not like he just google-images'd for the screenshots.

I was a dedicated Sluggite years ago (and in fact I still host SluggyMUX, although it's moribund these days), but fell out of the habit one or three years ago and haven't caught up. Your recent snarking of the current story sent me back so I could scope out the "jumpsuit science babe," and when I saw the X-COM reference it warmed the cockles of my heart. That was such an awesome game.

Damned Sectoids!

Hey, I'm just impressed the Floater actually floats!

I suddenly have this urge to find an emulator for OS X that runs X-com now.

Phalanx, if you get X-COM going on OSX, for the love of God let me -- hell, the world -- know how.

Ditto - I'd never even heard of X-COM prior to Sluggy's filler art and now my curiousity is piqued.

X-Com can probably be played in OS X (or Windows XP, and certainly in GNU/Linux -- I use it for X-Com all the time on Debian) using the DOSBox emulator available at http://dosbox.sourceforge.net/

Raijin: Thanks for the dosbox tip. I wonder if that runs off X11... will have to look into this one.

Actually, X-Com was... IS one of my favourite games of all time. I never played TFTD, but Apocalypse, after the initial disorientation, (and slight disappointment) had a charm of its own.

In fact, a few of the characters in my comic are named after my little soldiers in the game.

Spencer Kemp is, for one...


Dear God, I am a geek.

It's been a while since Pete got an actual giggle out of me while I sit at my computer - but he did it that day. ^_^

XCom was one of the major contributors to my less than stellar college GPA (the first Civilization and Wolfenstein 3D are other biggies). TFTD, with those creepy Lobstermen making really freaky sounds with their claws, was enough to keep me up till about 3am trying to get the last one of them.

Of course, what's really sad is that I not only have a story about capturing a live Lobsterman Navigator in late February and getting him back to my sub by THROWING the unconscious corpse in a relay from one guy to the next before abandoning 1/3 of my squad because that was the only way to get out before he woke up and creamed me...but I have at least half a dozen friends who can appreciate all the nuances of it.

It should be "x-com"ic.

I feel stupider for saying that :).

Eric - very very selfish request, feel free to write back starting with, "Bad bug! No biscuit!":

Could you PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE consider running Gossamer Commons on a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday schedule or similar? My daily comic troll (http://www.kirabug.com/sites.html) has plenty of MWF comics, but Tuesdays and Thursdays are sorely lacking, and Saturday's a graveyard.

If you've got a good-sized buffer, it won't matter anyway, because it's not like you're cramming the comics in the night before or anything, right?

thanks for listening =)

Kira -- I'll put it on the table, though there's a flow to MWF that I like. Let me bounce it off Greg and see what he thinks. ;)

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