West of Bathurst, by Kari Maaren
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Monday, July 29, 2013

West of Bathurst 1317
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    Summer Contest #5 has had a small rash of last-minute entries.  I'll detail and link to them all below as I go through the winners.

    The contest had eight entries from seven people.  There was some mild rule-bending, but I don't mind.  The entries will be judged on their own merits, whether or not they conform exactly to the terms of the contest.

    It was a really tough decision.  I know everybody says that when announcing contest winners, but it really was.  All the entries were clever and clearly took the creators quite a lot of time.  I am therefore awarding all the entrants except the three winners one point each (regardless, by the way, of how many entries each had; the points go to the entrants, not the entries).  The first-place winner will receive three points, while two second-place winners will receive two points each.  No one, however, will go away pointless.  Kudos for all your hard work and ingenuity.

    I'll explain my justification more clearly below, but for the moment, I'll just say that all three of the winners succeeded in making me laugh aloud.

    As I am not a believer in screwing around with people by announcing the winner last, let's start with first prize:

    1st Prize:  Errol Elumir

    Yes, Errol has a bit of an advantage because he actually has a webcomic of his own.  However, his entry just sort of works...while simultaneously cheating, naturally.  Errol replicates my style quite successfully.  There may just be some copying-and-pasting involved here, but it's still pretty impressive how he's able to turn himself and his bandmate Debs into Casey and Marie.  The little glowing Totoro in the second panel of his strip (he has suggested that only this panel be considered if the "one-panel" rule was meant strictly, but I'm easy) serves as a punchline not just to this strip but to his own comic's previous references to said little glowing Totoro.  The humour works even without the two lead-up strips (all three strips have been posted on the Fan Stuff page).  Kudos, Errol.  Errol has received his first three points of this summer's contests.

    2nd Prize #1:  Tarina

    This is Tarina's second entry.  I like both of them, but the idea of Evil Marie chasing Marie past a brick wall with a deadly ukulele just kind of makes me happy.  I'm not sure what that says about me.  Both Maries are nicely rendered and even shaded (something I don't generally do myself).  Tarina has earned her first two points of this summer's contests.

    2nd Prize #2:  Laura

    This was the very first entry.  Laura captures the Master's tone perfectly, and she has drawn a very nice Barbara.  She even sticks in a sneaky reference to Debs and Errol.  She also manages to insert a Doctor Who allusion; she has Barbara playing a piece in 7/8 time, which is, as Laura hinted in her post, the time signature of this piece.  Let's just say that if you've been watching Doctor Who for the last three years, you will recognise the music.  Laura has earned two points.

    The other five entries were, again, fantastic.  Here's a (relatively) brief overview in order of submission:

    Nobilis submitted via e-mail; you may find the entry on the Fan Stuff page.  Despite declaring an inability to draw people, she managed to include two characters who just happened to be behind a brick wall.  The comic incorporated the required elements elegantly, even managing to build the bricks into the story instead of leaving them in the background.

    Dances With Fish decided that surrealism was the way to go and actually managed to include all, not just two, of the required elements.  The comic does include more than two characters, but no worries; rules are silly.  My favourite bit is Marie's reaction to the giant doughnut, which seems pretty typical of her.

    Tarina's other entry posits that Marie is definitely WoB's mysterious fire-starter.  Poor Elvis is the subject of her wrath.  Actually, Elvis would already have been shiny before catching fire; he's gold all over.  I like Casey's expresison of bewilderment here.

    Lumair, who submitted via e-mail (see the Fan Stuff page for the comic), gives us a beautifully rendered Casey pulling a bit of a Hagrid (as Lumair has said to me) or possibly Orpheus.  I should say now that the reason I didn't include tentacles in the list of required elements was that tentacles have a...special...place in comics:  in particular, in certain types of Japanese comics.  In cowardly fashion, I did not want to run the risk of hentai.  Luckily, Lumair's tentacles are, well, not that kind of tentacles.

    Erwaro, the final entrant, borrowed my art to create another surreal comic that includes all the required elements.  The number of bricks in this comic is truly epic.  The top half of the comic is decidedly odder than the bottom half, especially considering the seven winged angelic maple doughnuts and the saintly flying Elvis.

    Nobilis, Dances With Fish, Lumair, and Erwaro have earned one point each.

    Thank you all for the entries.  I'm sure I caused many of you to spend time comicking when you could have been doing something productive such as sleeping.  That was, of course, my goal.

    On to the next contest:

    Summer Contest #6:

    This week, we're back to little paragraphs.  In this week's comments section, please tell me what Marie's next move would be if she subscribed to the philosophy, "What would Batman do?"  Your answer will likely depend on when you submit your response.  For instance, a Monday responder will be working with less information than a Sunday responder.  When I judge the entries, I'll take into account when they were submitted, so don't worry about that.  Points may be awarded for creativity, logic, and sheer insanity.  If you submit early and actually manage to guess what Marie will do by Sunday while still working the whole Batman thing logically into your answer, you will receive a bonus point.

    Monday, July 29, 2013
    Panel 1: Marie is inside her memory of the time she was hospitalised after the fire that killed her parents. In the memory, Casey is in the hospital room with her.

    Casey: It's nice to see you again, Marie.

    Marie [thinks]: Once more, this never happened.

    Panel 2:

    Casey: I realise this may seem like a bad time...

    [thinks]: I know no one like Casey came to see me in the hospital.

    Panel 3:

    Casey: ...but I have an opportunity for you.

    Marie [thinks]: I mean, lots of people did, but I don't know who because I just told them to--

    Marie [aloud]: Go away.

    Panel 4:

    Casey: Oh, you don't want me to do that.

    Marie [thinks]: I still maintain that denial is fun.

    Alt-Text: Denial is fun when you genuinely believe you're in denial.  It's less fun when you're faking it.

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