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Also, Artisanal Sparklebutt

Correction The entry that originally ran below should have run tomorrow; there was no strip on 23 February 2006, leaving us all in a cruel, two-day interval where we did not know what happened after Ray ripped a guy’s face off. We at Fleen regret the error and have indicated the deletion below and replaced the image above.

This day in Great Outdoor Fight history: Ray faces up to what he’s done. Watching Cody Travis eat heavily sauced pastas cannot possibly be more unpleasant than that pun I just dropped, I’m so sorry. Let’s just go check out The Tenmen and forget I said anything.

  • The thing that I love about Kate Beaton’s work — as if there were just one thing, but let’s pretend for a moment — is how often I end up learning as much as laughing. I count myself fairly well versed in history and for every Matthew Henson, Miyamoto Musashi, or Emperor Norton that I know about, there’s a Catherine Sui Fun Cheung¹, Dr Sara Josephine Baker, or Tom Longboat that I’ve never heard of.

    Today she tops them, bringing us the story of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, who was probably the first person to argue for LGBT equality. In 1867, when he had to come up with his own word to substitute for the now-commonplace homosexual because the latter hadn’t been invented yet. As Beaton notes, I only found out about him last fall, which is surprising and also sadly not surprising; I’m certain that pretty much none of us would have found out about Ulrichs without her cartoon today. It’s the most optimistic, affirming thing you’ll read today.

  • There’s also optimistic and affirming in the work of Meredith Gran — lots of it, in fact — but the characters that feel that optimism and affirmation might insist that there’s none to find. As previously noted, Image Comics is doing a comprehensive reprint of Octopus Pie from the beginning, and that process starts tomorrow with Octopus Pie, Volume 1, which I will not be buying.

    But this is only because I already own it twice, in the form of the original three self-published books (subtitled A Brooklyn Drama, A Brownstone Companion, and An Interstate Oasis, which between them comprise chapters 1-12), as well as the Villard-published There Are No Stars In Brooklyn (chapters 1-12 again, plus the bonus story The End Of The World; while I’m not above buying a story twice, I draw the line at three times².

    I also have the self-published Listen At Home With Octopus Pie and Dead Again, which between them cover chapters 13-38, meaning that I need not pick up Volume 2 or Volume 3 (due at the end of March and April, respectively), and may pick up with Volume 4 at the end of May which will print stories never before collected.

    Four volumes in four months! This is the ideal situation for somebody that needs to catch up with the best ongoing story of the past ten years. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Meredith Gran gets better every single update, and however good you thought her storytelling was, it’s so much deeper and richer than you thought. Grab V1 tomorrow, and put the others on your pull list.

  • Apropos of nothing, today’s Wondermark (number 1200, as it happens) is entirely true to life, in that it closely resembles the struggle I’ve had over the past five months to get Verizon to fix my DSL (which escalated to them pooching my landline to the point it isn’t usable whenever it rains). The only difference being I haven’t (yet!) reached the creepy old crow, but then again I expect to find one when I get high enough in the corporate complaint structure. Webcomics be damned, getting satisfaction from a company that’s been happy to cash my checks is my new hobby.

Spam of the day:

Please accept this Panera Bread gift

I don’t eat at Panera Bread because, ironically, their bread is awful. Really ought to be better at what’s right there in your name.

¹ With a bonus appearance by Beaton’s best running gag — Top Gun and beach volleyball.

² Although it appears that Volume 1 will be better than TANSIB on the key issue of sparklebutt; V1 has it, TANSIB doesn’t. Then again, my copy of ABD is better than either of the other two as it has sparklebutt made from glitter and highlighter that Gran did by hand.

I hate to discourage you, but I had Verizon service that quit when it rained for a little over 15 years, and this was in the age of dial-up and DSL. Going up the corporate structure won’t help; you need to go down until you get a service technician who knows his stuff. My problem was the connection to the office, they spent all those years looking at the connection at my end and saying nothing was wrong.

My problem is that it worked fine until they opened things up outside to fix the DSL noise issue. Since then, complete failure in the rain.

They know they did this, but their position is If we don’t see it while it’s happening, it doesn’t exist, coupled with Oh, it’s raining now? We can have a tech out there in two days when it’s sunny.

I will burn them to the ground and salt the earth.

Oh lord, that sounds exactly like the runaround I used to get from them. Toss in a little extra salt for me!

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