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What The HELL, People

I think that Chris Onstad may be on his way to topping The Great Outdoor Fight. From the improbable beginning of Todd asking for $6 million from Ray, progressing through the introduction of Ray’s sainted mother to the merest hints of what the GOF might be, there was no reason to suspect how off-the-rails brilliant the story was going to get.

Even once we arrived at The Acres and had seen some of the greatest single lines in the history of Achewood (including “Attention Workers …”, “Thomas Edison … ” and “no one said …” in the same strip, followed quickly by “Frederick H. Coca-Cola … ” a scant two strips later), I don’t think any of us anticipated how momentous and game-changing this story arc would become.

Then Ray tore a guy’s face off.

Next thing we know, it’s despair, exhiliration, friendship, found fathers, and the very Acres in flames. Our expectations of Achewood would never be the same, and even stories that would have been rightly deemed classics prior seemed slightly wan by comparison.

But now — a seemingly typical exchange for Achewood Court (Ray and Mr Bear team up to produce Williams-Sonoma catalogoue porn) has already been forgotten as the prime instigator after only a few strips (Ray’s an inveterate over-editor), leading to a contest whose ridiculousness is only hinted at (really, who would have been surprised if the storyline just petered out after that text message?), while for-the-ages lines get tossed around with ease (there are at least three on this page and as God is my witness I will find a way to work Contestants will compete as identical elephants into casual conversation some day).

But even as the story careens wildly, straining at the limits of Achewoodian logic (is this the real Chuck Williams? The silhouettes say “human”, but he doesn’t seem to have any problem fitting into an elephant suit sized for a cat or bear, or appearing in front of an audience of cat lesbians), it still remains just on this side of the boundary line between What We Have Come To Expect and Something Entirely New.

Then Roast Beef went and got his palm read, received a death sentence and next thing we know frickin’ Cartilage HeadCartilage Head!!is all up in the story.

We know Ray has proved himself a coward who would desert a dying man. We thought that he had been redeemed not six months later on Crandall’s Acres. Now his accuser is back and oh, look — Beef appears to be a dying man, what with the Lash of Thanatos and all. A’course, dyin’ ain’t nothing new for Beef (or Ray, for that matter), but still — when you got it on good authority that death has just grabbed its car keys off the table by the door, you pay attention.

  • In other news, there is nothing. Nothing matches this. Deal.


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