Terror Island
"some photos of chess pieces don't want to buy groceries?"
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Strip #22 — Wednesday, August 2, 2006
it's hard to appreciate this comic strip without seeing it
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Notes, Thoughts, &c.

Ben's Notes

The original idea here was that Sid and Stephen would have birthdays that occurred outside time, but Lewis thought that was "too weird." I may write some Terror Island fanfic exploring their atemporal origins later.

Oh, and the blindfold idea came from the fact that in Nethack, blindfolding yourself is often useful. I've been playing a lot of Nethack lately.

Lewis's Notes

I guess I will do a little bit of "what's our process" exposition. A Terror Island strip begins usually as a half baked idea of mine or Ben's. We'll take strip 11 as an example.

That strip began with my saying to ben, "we should also have one where one guy puts a bunch of books in the fridge, and claims he went shopping, and its the other guys turn." Ben replied, "And then the other guy eats one to make a point." (This was back in early June, before the strips had even started being put up and made, so that's why we're saying "one guy" instead of "Sid" or "Stephen"). Then I proposed the punchline, "Pride and Prejudice is delicious. Please just go buy some grapes.

A day later (June 9th), we were discussing what book would be funniest to eat, and considered:

  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Paradise Lost
  • Don Quixote
  • Gravity's Rainbow
  • And many more...

One joke we didn't get to use, but I liked was the idea that they ate "Characters in Conflict" a book of short stories exemplifying the four main narrative structures, "Man vs. Dairy", "Man vs. Meat", "Man vs. Fruit" and "Man vs. Grain" (that is a real book, but a fake description of it).

So, we decided on Gravity's rainbow, and worked out a rough draft script. Then we both think about the script, and come back with suggestions. Ways to punch it up. Sometimes my scripts that I send to Ben instead of dialogue in panel four say, "Insert Punchline". And often, they have way too much dialogue.

The script for eleven went through several revisions, Ben was pushing for a "judge a book by its cover" joke, and I (odd though it may be) was kind of pulling for a pun like, "Needs a Pynchon of salt"

We weren't quite satisfied with either joke, so we starting thinking of other famous books and authors, and we noticed that some fairly popular books have food names in the titles. It was at that point that the script you see fell most of the way into place. Then we modified it based on space constraints, and Ben did some voodoo magic or whatever, and then, I posted the comic on the site.

So I hope that's an interesting bit of anecdote for you, and lets you see that Ben and I have to sacrifice some gags we both like because they aren't quite right for the strip. Most of them don't have much reuse value, as they are too close to gags we actually go with. This is lucky for me because it gives me something to put in the comments.

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