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In Which I Go On About Achewood For A While

Because when you get a callback across more than a decade, you pay attention¹.

The thing about Achewood being Onstad can take almost any potentially nonsensical throwaway line and go back to it whenever he likes. When, last Friday, we saw the spectacle of Todd preparing to yell BALLS louder than anybody in history, it could have been a simple bit of weirdness, and the admonition in the last panel to tune in next week (that would be today) for the conclusion didn’t necessarily mean anything.

But then there was the alt-text last week: Todd first set this challenge to himself when my 11-year old daughter was zero. And there it was: a strip from August of 2005 when Todd declared his intentions. Was there any intention at the time on Onstad’s part to ever revist? Likely not — Todd’s been pestering Ray in this manner about forever, and things either go spinning in a completely unforeseen direction (compare the very nearly identical posing and annoyance on the part of Ray six months later, at the start of what history would record as the start of The Great Outdoor Fight) or just drop.

This time, though — Onstad couldn’t have put together the spectacle of Todd’s attempt eleven years ago; even in the aftermath of The Great Outdoor Fight it wouldn’t have felt right. It wasn’t until 2009 and the The New Kings of Sapphic Erotica (starting here, before merging into The Lash of Thanatos) that the sense of complete over-the-top showbiz² is there.

It’s not just the commonality of the J Vincent J Lemoni Arena, it’s not just the surreal randomness (then: identical elephant costumes; now: color commentary from Paul Stanley of KISS) it’s the sense of unquestioned hype. Of course this is the sort of thing that would require a round-the-clock media blitz. Of course it ends the only way it possibly could for Todd (failure, followed by light corpse disrespect, and another punch in his Frequent Diers Card). Of course there’s a callback to the soft-tissue injury motif of eleven years ago.

And of course — because it’s Todd — we don’t know if the final panel declaration of THE END, INC. NO MORAL means this is actually the end any more than last week’s foresaw a second installment. We may follow Todd to his latest afterlife, we may spin in some unseen direction. Point is, it’s been a while since there was a real story arc — the last one being Téodor’s interrupted interlude with Penny — and with a pretty solid calendar year-to-date of weekly updates under his belt, Onstad just might be feeling it enough to share with us³.

In any event, we got to see Todd’s inspirational shirt again, and that makes it all pretty much the opposite of a Fuck You Friday.

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¹ Just pretend when you were young, a teacher told you to pay attention and you took it to heart.

² Not to be confused with Showbiz.

³ Of course, the possibility exists that what he wants to share with us invovled a Bead Shop.

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