TODAY’S COMIC: Inspiration

If you DIDN’T know… the legend goes, a spider bit Tolkein when he was a baby… which was the inspiration for the spiders in “The Hobbit”. Although he was bitten, the truth is it was his son’s fear of spiders that inspired him to include them in his book.

So… no royalties for Jack…

I stumbled upon a fan edit of “The Hobbit” that removes all the unnecessary stuff and tints the film to resemble “Lord Of The Rings”.  All three films are condensed into about 3 hours.  And supposedly it’s pretty awesome.  I don’t know if the site is safe.  I haven’t downloaded this myself.  Just a warning.

John Vogel white


UPDATE 2016-12-18

  After reading a book by Greg Dean about joke writing, I came to undrestand why my good comic strips were good, and why my bad ones were bad. So I’ve been changing a few to hopefully make them better.  This comic was one of them.   

Here’s the original version:

Baby Tolkein

The concept of a joke is that you tell a story to lead the audience to think one idea, then surprise them with a different meaning or outcome that is compatable with the original idea. “Take my wife… please…”

The original comic strip didn’t even have a ‘punch line’.  So I flipped things around. The bugs start out talking about how Jack inspired Tolkein to write his books. You, the audience, (hopefully) take “inspiration” to mean something positive. The surprise twist ‘punch line’ is that he inspired Tolkein in a bad way; He bit baby Tolkein (or at least implies he’s about to bite him).

There are other definitions of funny that I’ve picked up from Scott Adams (“Dilbert“) . He has a humor checklist of elements that help make a joke work.  They are: Clever, Bizarre, Cute, Cruel, Recognizable, and Naughty.  He also states that when someone’s status is lowered in some way, we laugh.  Like a pie to the face, he/she’s been disrespected and it’s funny.

Scott Adams claims you should have some of these elements to help a joke’s comedy potency. So what elements does the new comic strip contain? I belive it has:

  • Clever – Connecting Jack and the spider that bit Tolkein as a baby
  • Bizarre – A talking spider. A spider who thinks a human baby is cute. A spider who has been alive since 1892. A spider smoking a pipe and blowing smoke rings.
  • Cute – A bottle-sucking baby.  Cute-looking bugs.
  • Cruel – A spider is about to bite a defenseless human baby. A natural fear of getting bit by a spider.
  • Recognizable – Tolkein.  “The Hobbit” and “Lord Of The Rings” books. Blowing smoke rings from a pipe (very Tolkein).  The story that Tolkein was actually bitten by a tarantula when he was a baby. A natural fear of getting bit by a spider.
  • Naughty – Jack claiming he deserves Tolkein’s money.  A spider about to bite a baby.
  • Lowered Status – The baby is about to become the victim of a spider bite.  He’s visibly concerned.

Now, I can dissect this comic strip and explain to you why it’s now funny, but to be honest, this still isn’t one of my better strips.  In fact, you probably won’t get it at all if you didn’t already know about the ‘baby Tolkein’ story. I do think, however, that it’s an improvement over the original version and I feel satisfied that at least it better fits the definition of a joke.  I also figured it would be interesting to explain to you why I changed it.  

Other strips I’ve changed so far are “Introduction“, “Skitter“, and “Hangover

Let me know what you think by commenting below!

John Vogel white

(The NEW version of this comic dedicates it’s Patreon “Thank You” to Eduardo P! )