The webcomics blog about webcomics

Whoooo Wants Pizza?

If you didn’t say Me! Me!, you’re very possibly a liar, or perhaps didn’t hear me correctly. Pizza, people!

If you got a hankering for art to meet politics to meet good deeds, then Shing Yin Khor is somebody you want to pay attention to. I mean, also because they produce heartbreakingly beautiful comics that are painful in their truths, wield tools with aplomb, are actively working to bring capitalism to heel, and are small enough to fit in your pocket.

But set all that aside for the moment; when Khor sees people with less, people in need of protection, plans get made and people wrangled in order to make uplifting art for the purpose of helping because godsdammit, somebody’s got to. On a couple of occasions now, pizza-themed art — some of which is patently and wonderfully ridiculous — has been made and auctioned off to support Food Forward LA, which strives to both reduce food waste and reduce hunger. The third iteration of Project Pizza will run on Saturday:

From 10AM to 10PM join artists Shing Yin Khor and Eron Rauch as they host a draw-a-thon featuring a dozen of their talented friends making art and jamming their faces full of pizza.

Grab a slice (one random drawing), a whole pie (10), or even a party pack (30) to share with friends and co-workers. Preorders open December 12th, and we sell out every year, so stop back by to secure your slices!

You can check out a list of artists expected to participate in the live event, and also some of the art that’s been constructed by remote friends and sent in. A full list of participants is at the Project Pizza page, below the pre-order links. It’s not possible to request particular artists, but at the US$100 support level, they’ll try to direct at least one piece by a favorite artist to you. Also, the first 20 folks to send in a hundo or more get a tiny sculpted pizza. And on the off chance you don’t need one or more tiny pizza arts in your home, they’re taking tips as well — that money goes direct to FFLA without the work of shipping you anything.

Look, I know it’s an expensive time of year, that people got crap jobs and little extra money but consider: ten bucks means 45+ kilos of being saved and distributed. The last event raised more than US$4600, and the goal this year is an even five grand, or fifty tons of food. Just think about it, okay? Oh, and if the you-gotta-have-a-PayPal-account thing is a problem for you, here’s FFLA’s direct donations page; you might not get a tiny pizza, but you’ll help a bunch of people not be hungry, and that tastes great.

Spam of the day:

Now ANYONE Can Learn Piano or Keyboard

I dunno. If my mother (lifelong pianist and church organist) couldn’t manage to teach me, I don’t think your revolutionary, spam-based method will succeed.

Well, Heck. Who Needs Both Kidneys Anyway?

So there’s this thing that the Cartoon Art Museum does in alternate years, where they decide on a cartoonist, get a bunch of other cartoonists to do tribute art, then auction it all off as a fundraiser. It’s cool for fans of the tribute-makers, fans of the tributee, fans of comics in general.

This year’s auction is a tribute to Bill Watterson.

Here’s the deal:

Without a more specific date (I’d argue we’re well into the middle of December), your best bet is to follow CAM on social media, or park yourself on the eBay page if you want a shot at things. Or, given that a lot of this work is going to go for serious coin, maybe set an alarm for March and check out the exhibition catalog when it drops.

Spam of the day:

Weird Fruit Burns fat 1,828% faster!

1. That is a suspiciously precise number.
2. The weight loss industrial complex, like being in trouble, is a fake idea.

¹ That site requires Flash, in this the gods-damned year 2019.

² No web presence that I can find.

³ One may recall that it was a Sunday, printed half-page size thanks to Watterson’s contract demanding space (in return for which he offered the very best monsters, dinosaurs, and mayhem), on the last day of 1995. I remember it like it was yesterday.


Know what we need more of? Science.

  • Readers of this page know that, whatever else may be true, Rosemary Mosco of Bird And Moon is one hell of a naturalist, a terrific explainer of all things biological (particularly snakes, birds, and butterflies), a walking compendium of knowledge ranging from identifying what’s in owl barf to climate change.

    And for those of you that can’t get enough of her¹, you’ll have a shot at an in-person event in just about five weeks:

    This is going to be amazing. I’m taking part in a @scifri event on Jan 16 in Boston! Come see a video about my comics (and my interrupting pet birds), chat with folks including the amazing @mariswicks, and check out a ton of art and science collaborations.

    Just for the uninitiated, @scifri would be Science Friday, the long-running NPR show which — among other public services — broadcasts the annual IgNobel Prize ceremony. Ira Flatow has hosted the show since its inception, and he’s been an entertaining, effective communicator of Science Stuff ever since the early Newton’s Apple days. Yes, I watched it from the premiere episode. Yes, I am old.

    I expect that readers of this page are already familiar with Maris Wicks.

    Anyways, the event that Mosco’s so rightly excited about would be the Science Friday Create Curiosity Fair, to be held in the pubic space of NPR member station WBUR, on 16 January 2020 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. The event is all ages, general admission US$10, kids under 12 free with registration. In addition to Mosco and Wicks, you’ll have folks from the Harvard Museum of Natural History², the New England Aquarium³, and other sciencey types from the region.

  • Speaking of the IgNobel Prizes (and we were, just about two paragraphs due up), did you know that one IgNobel laureate has also won a Nobel Prize? It’s true! There was a levitating frog involved!

    Unsurprisingly, it’s a white dude, which fact would also not surprise you if you’ve read the latest from Maki Naro (cartoonist, science communicator, and Best At Drawing Totoro) and Matthew Francis (physicist, science writer, bowler hat enthusiast, and author — with illustrations by Naro — of Who Owns An Asteroid?) on why women are systematically excluded from the science Nobels.

    It’s a good read, one that’ll make you mad. And if anybody says Well, chicks just ain’t good at science, ask them whose notes Watson and Crick cribbed from and who discovered pulsars. I could go on, but honestly, this hypothetical I’m just a believer in merit and ability bozo hasn’t heard of Watson, Crick, or pulsars, so screw that dude (of course it’s a dude).

Spam of the day:

Keep yourself AND your wine warm this winter 15 bottels of our AMAZING Holiday wines

So this appeal from “Thanksgiving Wines” (which arrived four days ago) is apparently that rare wine merchant that believes in keeping their bottels [sic] warm, which will only accelerate the march to vinegar. Try again.

¹ And how could you, really?

² They got dinosaurs.

³ They got squid.

Fleen Book Corner: Mammal Takeover!

What can you say at this point about an Abby Howard book on extinct critters, evolution, ecological niches, and Science Magic? Much like the earlier entries in the Earth Before Us series, Dinosaur Empire! and Ocean Renegades!, Mammal Takeover! dives into an era of geological history, looks at what the world was like and what animals filled which roles, courtesy of Ronnie and Ms Lernin.

It’s basically a 120 page expansion of the ten pages that Larry Gonick devoted to the Age of Mammals in his classic Cartoon History Of The Universe, vol 1 (starting at the Big Bang, ending with the emergence of humans), only with the benefit of 40 more years of accumulated knowledge. Gonick didn’t know we were in the Sixth Great Extinction, or the threats of anthropogenic climate change; Howard has the responsibility to confront those issues and make them compelling (but not terrifying) for her audience of 5th +/- 2 graders, which she manages with aplomb.

Plus, folks that know more about extinct critters and how to artistically convey them¹ think she’s doing a good job, so who am I to contradict them? My only complaint is that we didn’t see all of the truly bizarre creatures during the so-called Age Of Horns (horned mice! horned jackrabbits! deer with weird-ass horns sprouting vertically from their snouts!), and aquatic mammals got a brief presentation (there’s a bit on where whales and other cetaceans came from, but nothing on the pinnipeds (I am all about the sea lions).

So that’s pretty much it for the Earth Before Us series — one book on the timeframe of dinosaurs, one on multicellular life before dinosaurs, and one on everything since the K-T extinction event. Whatever she works on next will be excellent, but for now, get the set of three EBU books for the dino-loving kids (of whatever age) in your life. The ones that don’t now about pre-dino life or post-dino life will probably end up with a obsession. Here’s hoping that Ronnie and Ms Lernin can find other topics to explore, but we’ll also have these trash receptacle-centered Science Magic journeys to enjoy time and again.

[Editor’s note: Thank you.]

Spam of the day:

South Beach Skin

You mean sun- and cocaine-damaged? Sign me up!

¹ Dr Mark Witton is not only an expert the large pterosaurs known as azhdarchids, he is also one of the world’s premiere paleoartists. He is why we think of large pterosaurs as flying giraffes that could spear you with their beaks. I love his work.

You Don’t Have To Be In Central Jersey

Stepping back from webcomics for a moment; got family coming in for the weekend, because of the very personal nature of the relationship we have with arthritis¹. When I first met my wife, she was newly diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis; her mother had dealt with it for more than 40 years at that point, and noticed the symptoms quickly. Thanks to having been treated from an early stage, she’s largely in good shape, but that can vary from day to day.

My mother in law, though — it was not physically possible for me to make my hands assume the shape that hers were stuck in. Think claws and you aren’t too far off. She dealt with it for most of her life, and the constellation of similar autoimmune diseases that accompany it. She ultimately wound up with one a/i condition that slowly degraded her lung function and eventually killed her.

But in her last ten years? Until the last one, when moving without portable oxygen got to be too much? She spent a bunch of Decembers here in New Jersey for the local iteration of the Arthritis Foundation’s annual 5K run/walk fundraiser. At more than 80 she did that course, accompanied at one time or another by most of her eight kids. My wife’s been adult honoree twice, and despite the December cold not being the best thing for her joints, has been out there each year, for her mom and herself.

If you’re anywhere near Central New Jersey, you can participate in this year’s event; it’s on Sunday. If you’re nowhere near, there are literally dozens of AF runs this weekend, probably some of which are near you.

Or you can give to my wife’s team², as she (and her oldest brother and her younger twin sister) make their way in public to remember their mom and try to make sure that nobody else in the future has to deal with the same struggles. I’ll be part of the EMS standby, as usual. If you come by, say hi! Anybody that helps us to remember Welma Pierce gets a free high five.

Non-spam of the day:

The Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run is the original festive race for charity. 100% of your registration fee and fundraising go to a great cause!

Damn straight.

¹ There are several kinds, broadly classifiable as You used your body too hard when you were young and now you’re paying for it (osteoarthritis) vs Autoimmune disease of the joints (rheumatoid arthritis). We are discussing the latter.

² And some of you have, in response to tweets I’ve sent out. I see you, and I appreciate it more than you can ever know.

Breaking News Of The Happiest Sort

From Ian Jones-Quartey, About eight minutes ago as I write this:

Hey so @rebeccasugar and I have been a couple for 12 years … and yesterday we got married! To each other!

Oh, hooray! I only met Rebecca Sugar once (at another wedding, as it turns out), but I’ve followed Ian’s work since he was in high school, and known him since his SVA days. He’s a sweet guy, and Sugar is widely and justly known for creating one of the most humane stories of modern times, making countless kids feel like the world is for them, too. Be happy for them, and remember that Steven Universe Future debuts on Cartoon Network in two days.

And because I need to have more than just breaking news in this post, let me note that Gemma Correll is getting an Emerging Artist Showcase at the Cartoon Art Musuem, from 20 December until 29 March. It’ll feature a collection of Correll’s favorite cartoons, including material from The Nib. I first saw her work when The Nib launched, and I’ve been a fan ever since. It says something about how much her sensibilities match mine that, without knowing of my preference for her work, my wife gave me a birthday day last year that was illustrated by Correll. If you don’t know her work, check it out.

Okay, back to being deliriously happy for the bestest young animators in the world. Y’all have a magnificent day.

Spam of the day:
Spammers don’t get to share the day with Rebecca and Ian.

Friggin’ Foxes

So my brain’s a little slow on account of my normally very somnolent greyhound waking us at 4:00 this morning, barking her head off. For the record? Greyhounds got big lungs and when they bark — which is generally and thankfully rare — they’re loud, like the Last Chorus of angels is on its way to Armageddon loud. She was refusing to move, on high alert, staring out the window very intently at a friggin’ fox that must have been scratching around the front porch and woken her.

This one was pretty nonchalant, sauntering down the steps and out our yard, sniffing intently at the curb and wondering why anybody would bark and such clearly innocent scrounging behavior. Then somebody out for a very early drive came down the block and the little ruffian turned tail and hauled off at great speed, looking far less nonchalant and more put-upon, as foxes are sometimes known to be. Anyway, I’m a bit tired today, so don’t expect a lot of insightful commentary.

  • Which is pretty lucky as I’m all out of insightful commentary about a godsdamned national disgrace:

    Yesterday I saw four different GoFundMe’s pop up in my feed for creatives with medical bills they can’t handle. Each one a heartbreaking situation.

    Surprising no one – they were all in the U.S.

    That being the start of a thread from Jim Zub, wherein he very kindly does not ask why Americans hate themselves and their neighbors so much that we allow ourselves to be bankrupted by bad health, or perhaps just allow ourselves to die if we aren’t rich enough to be bankrupted. I don’t get it, I’ll never get it.

    One of the four¹ is probably David Gallaher — whose work I’ve been following since the launch of Zuda all those years ago — and whose life has been upended because of his poor choice to be born with a seizure disorder:

    Friends, I am trying to raise money for my seizure recovery and medical bills. It’s been a long difficult year, so any support is welcome. …

    If you click through to the GoFundMe page, you’ll find:

    [L]ast year, at 43 years old, a sudden resurgence of chronic seizures beginning in 2018 caused out-of-pocket and out-of-network medical expenses to grow to over $63,000. I have tried to appeal the expenses and have tried to work with the hospital to lower bills to $25,000. Even then, this is money that I just don’t have — money it will take years to pay off.

    Let’s be clear — Gallaher paid for insurance, at a cost of more than US$1100 per month, for more than a decade. Call it in the vicinity of US$150K for the privilege of subsequently being billed US$63K. Without insurance, who knows how deep in the hole he’d be. As established, I hate the necessity of asking you yet again to contribute in this time of need, and I hate the reality that the possibility of healthcare in this country depends on how big your social network is. The only thing I hate more is the certainty that Gallaher can be spared much turmoil if we deal with this deeply imperfect system now, and resolve to act in a way to change it in the near future.

  • But you know what? Zub’s a great guy, and I don’t want his only mention on the page today to be such a bummer. What else you got goin’ on, Zub?

    The gang at Marvel asked me if I’d be interested in bringing several Robert E. Howard characters together with a bit of Marvel magic (by way of Moon Knight) in a sweeping sword & sorcery story. Of course I said yes, but as soon as I did I felt an intense pressure to create something that felt appropriately pulpy, mysterious, and intense in the way the best Robert E. Howard stories do.

    That’s Zub telling us that he gets a new 4-issue miniseries to play out all his fantasy storytelling chops on Conan: Serpent War, the first issue of which dropped today, and the remainder of which will be released by the end of January, to be followed by his run on the regular Conan series starting in February.

    And if that’s not enough Zubby goodness (Zubness?) for you, consider:

    I’ve been writing the official D&D comic series since the launch of 5th edition, but I’ve been playing D&D since first edition when I was 8-years old. Each year IDW releases a new mini-series that builds on a theme or setting being promoted in a recent D&D product.

    The Baldur’s Gate heroes (including Minsc and Boo, cult favorite characters from the famous Baldur’s Gate video games) have adventured through four previous comic mini-series — and now they’re heading into their most ambitious adventure yet: INFERNAL TIDES, built on elements from the recent Descent Into Avernus adventure source book (which I also did story consulting on for Wizards of the Coast).

    That’s Zub telling us that his inner eight year old is vibrating with excitement that transcends time and space. Infernal Tides drops next Wednesday, and as a reminder his other current official D&D tie-in wraps up the Wednesday after that. Even in a world of magnificent, malicious stupidity, I’m glad we’ve got Zub doing stories that will bring joy to the next generations of kids with stars in their eyes and dice in their hands.

Spam of the day:

Play piano in a flash learn to play keyboards now

You have obviously mistaken me for somebody that can keep pitch and rhythm straight in his head.

¹ I didn’t even see the other three that Zub mentioned. And I’ve seen so damn many of these at regular intervals, only the names that I recognize sink in anymore. This has to stop.

Doggos, Lottie, And Somebody Needs To Smack Jeeves

There are few people that crank out comics to the same degree as Rich Stevens; based on the very simple counter method he uses to name his strips, there are 940 strips in the current iteration of DS, and an even 4000 before the site redesign. That 940th strip is a little unusual, though, since it’s from yesterday and no new 941st has appeared yet. Stevens has certainly taken a step back from M-F to M-W-F updates when he’s under crunch time and/or vacation¹, but he generally lets us know what’s up.

Then again, considering what’s up, I’m inclined to give him a pass:

i want to name her “baby yoda” but i think i’m going to get outvoted

she’s six months old. rescued out of a hoarder situation. very sweet. other doggy has to learn to be with her, but we’re optimistic. this might be her first blanket. name pending.

Olive AKA Doctor Olivia AKA Princess Tapenade

thunder was anxious at first, but right now they are both mangling balls in sight of each other. thunder actually PLAYED WITH HER in the snow!

Thunder has never successfully made a dog friend to play with before today. This is a Cyber Monday MIRACLE.

Dogs are the best. That is all.

  • I had already started writing this post when the news broke; ordinarily, this would have been the top story, but I was too lazy to shift Rich’s dog down here to the unnumbered list zone, so I’ll make it up by using this one for the picture up top. New John Allison comic series, y’all! Paired up with Max Sarin again! The return of Charlotte Grote:

    In March 2020, Boom! Studios debuts Wicked Things, a limited series starring teen detective Charlotte “Lottie” Grote, now an adult navigating a twisty new crime plot.

    That from the inestimable Oliver Sava at The AV Club, along with an interview with Allison and Sarin, which I advise you to place directly into your veins at the first available opportunity. When Allison, et al, wrapped Giant Days, there was a possibility that some day he would revisit Tackleford and its denizens, but I hadn’t expected it quite so soon, nor to feature my favorite character of his.

    And, lest we forget, Giant Days started as a six-issue miniseries, expanded to twelve, and then to more than 50; Wicked Things is described as a six issue limited series, and while I will absolutely demand nothing, I can’t help but notice the parallels. Lottie was last seen in June of 2018², her last year at Griswalds Grammar School destroy by Mildred’s meddling in Things That Should Not Be Meddled With. Now she’s 19, university in her sights, and off to further mysteries. I am 100% here for it, and encourage you all to join me on what is sure to be a wild ride.

  • Longterm readers of this page may recall that despite the rise of webcomics portals, we at Fleen are strong proponents of having your own website that you control. You never know when a site you don’t control will decided that every damn image in the universe is porn, pooch up its terms of service, or break everything. Every. thing:

    the smackjeeves update has landed. everyone please go to and laugh hysterically

    Note that as of this writing, that article is showing an error; presumably, they’ve yanked it down because of issues such as:

    no button for “first” or “most recent” page. html stripped from page captions. no comic title at the top of the page. soulless design. no redirect to the new site from its original smackjeeves url. no easy link to the “about” section, which is crammed in a corner. hideous archive

    just uses the comic cover for every page in the archive rather than a thumb of the page itself. literally no way to link outside of smackjeeves. literally nothing on the author bio other than your name and a link to your comic.

    no mass editing of pages :) all previous page captions changed to comments rather than captions :)

    figured out what happened to the page captions – if you had written it in the “author comment” section, it became a regular comment. if you had added alt text to the page, that is now the page caption. also captions are now max 400 characters

    max width for pages seems to now be 690px

    new page captions also wont allow for new lines

    Y I K E S. Let this serve as your periodic reminder that nobody will ever care about your stuff more than you care about your stuff, and that the best thing you can go is — I love this — do yourself a small favour if you can and host your comic like it’s 2006 again THEN cut it up and mirror it elsewhere.

    And hey, not for nothing, but 2006 is probably a bit early. Pretend it’s 2012, that’s still before Google Reader was unceremoniously killed and we slipped into the worst timeline.

Spam of the day:

We buy homes 4 Cash

First, stay the hell away from my home, you freak. Second, Gmail assured me that this message was in Japanese, and when I translated, heck if cheesy clipart of a home and a stack of money being offered up in open palms didn’t appear. Weird.

¹ I’m not sure he distinguishes between the two states.

² The final Bad Machinery story, Wen-Tack/The Great Unboxing, is only found at Wayback Machine; Allison hasn’t included it on his main site.

Endings And Goodbyes

It’s been more than two weeks now that we’ve been without Tom Spurgeon, and it feels almost unfair that the Earth continues to revolve just as it always has. True to form, The Spurge left directions that he would not have a funeral, but rather a memorial celebration, and in the best possible place for it:

In lieu of a funeral service, a public memorial for Tom Spurgeon will be held in Columbus, Ohio at The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum on Saturday, Dec 14th.

That message has been up at The Billy’s site for a week/ten days now, but yesterday further details were released:

Updated information on @comicsreporter December 14 memorial service at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum: …

The memorial will be from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, with refreshments to start, formal remarks for an hour, and an open forum for people to say what he meant to them; the Billy will be open its usual 1:00pm to 7:00pm Saturday hours. I decided over the weekend that I would go — the one time Tom and I spoke face to face he told me I had to come to Columbus, see the Library, dig into Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, and it seems the least I can do is accept the invitation.

For those that may be traveling to the Columbus area, Cartoon Books publisher and all-around wonderful human Vijaya Iyer offered some advice:

For out of towners coming to Tom Spurgeon’s @comicsreporter memorial service on December 14, I would like to recommend staying in the Short North just south of the OSU campus. The Joseph, Moxy and The Graduate are all good choices.

The Short North, I’ve discovered, is the Columbus arts and entertainment district, north of downtown and about two miles from TBICLM. Thankfully, OSU’s football season will end on December 7th, so it will be possible to obtain hotel rooms within 100 miles of campus.

If where you are in the world (geographically and economically) makes it possible for you to attend the service, I’d like to encourage you to do so. I suspect it’s going to be a lot sad, but interspersed with some real joy and laughter, because you basically can’t think of The Spurge without feeling his love for comics and just about everybody associated with them.

Speaking personally, I’ve found it a bit hard to get quite as enthused about webcomics for the past few weeks, and I think having a chance to say goodbye to Tom, to see the community that coalesced around him, will help ease that weight a bit. Maybe. Maybe not. Mourning is hard, especially in this age of deep connections — or what passes for them — with people that we may not actually know well.

Another ending that I’m contemplating today: Magnolia Porter announced what readers may have suspected, given how the story was going: Monster Pulse is ending sooner rather than later. It’ll be nine years, more or less, by the time it wraps up, pretty much all of Porter’s post-college life, and a time of tremendous growth for her comics career and skills.

I started following her on Bobwhite all those years ago, but Monster Pulse is what convinced me that she was the real deal — it was easy for me to follow a strip about finding yourself in college (a strip that, in many ways, anticipated Giant Days), but I had no experience of or love for the Pokemons or Digimons, and she pulled me in and made me want to follow her YA quasi-body horror story about personal monsters without a nostalgia hook. I’m sad to see it go, but glad she got to tell the story she wanted on her terms. Good job, Mags.

Spam of the day:

I came across your website and just wanted to reach out to see if you’re hiring?

Sure, we’re hiring. We pay nothing, we promise no exposure, and you have to best all existing contributors in a test of skill to prove your worthiness. The first test will, naturally, be conducted in French.

On The Off Chance That Anybody Is Reading This Today

Didn’t post anything yesterday. On the one hand, it was [American] Thanksgiving; on the other, I didn’t make mention of that fact or that I wouldn’t be posting; on the gripping hand, you probably found almost nothing originating in the States updating yesterday and the reason splashed all over.

Today isn’t anything in particular, as I don’t subscribe to the notion of Black Friday¹; it’s just The Day After [American] Thanksgiving, a day for leftover pie and being as lazy as humanly possible. I walked around the corner to get dog food for the pooch, cleared a bunch of sales emails, bought tickets to see Knives Out tomorrow, read some of my birthday present, considered cleaning up the leaves in my yard and driveway, and ultimately decided I’m not doing that.

Lots of webcomics folks have sales on, though — check the blogroll over there to the right, click through to somebody, hit up their store. Remember to keep an eye on shipping times if it’s for something you’re giving to somebody by a particular date.

Spam of the day:

Planet Pure Turmeric Oil

The only reason I hardly eat any Indian food is that I am not compatible with turmeric. I get flushed, jittery, low grade diaphoretic — basically, it hits me like all the stuff they put in energy drinks to magnify the effects of caffeine. So thanks for the offer, but I don’t believe I’ll be sampling what is absolutely turmeric and not some random crap you sourced for cheap, mixed with what you claim is CBD. No way that could go wrong for me.

¹ One, because I hate how retail workers are treated in/around this fictitious holiday; two, because my first day working for a salary was Black Friday 1984, which is why to this day I can recite the SKU for the trade edition of Come Love A Stranger by Kathleen E Woodiwiss and have that payment processed (That’s US$8.99, US$9.44 with tax, 56 cents is your change thank you for shopping at B Dalton), get the book in your bag, and have you on your was in 24 seconds flat.

Unless you had a credit card. The days before magnetic stripe readers were a terrible time, my children.