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July 31, 2008

#204 Close To You


Will I never learn? Comics with heavy black outline don’t work; comics with no words don’t work. This has got to be the most incomprehensible one yet. I’m not even going to post a script. I want to see if anyone can guess a single thing that is going on here.

Longtime readers (hi, you!) will have been waiting for “Close to You” to make its appearance: it was the original song accompaniment to the montage in the very very old Lance and Eskimo Holiday Special. In the modern version, I changed it to Black Sabbath for a number of reasons (it seemed to go along, both emotionally and thematically, with the idea of cleaning the basement for the holidays; Lance was listening to a lot of classic rock he had found in said basement; I wasn’t sure the joke–that it’s a totally inappropriate song–would come across so much as the erroneous idea that I was shipping Lance and Eskimo). But I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to score another montage with “Close to You,” because it’s such a good montage song.

Speaking of old versions, I’m not sure if I ever mentioned that this storyline is sort of a combination of new material (the Lance plot–I never followed up on any of his relationships in the old sketchbook comics) and an old comic which was about Eskimo’s crush on the girl next door. (I retained the name “Caryn” from that comic and “Carole” from the previous storyline, which explains why I have such ridiculously similar love interest names in this storyline.) In the original Eskimo comic, instead of endangering Caryn so she could rescue her, Eskimo would put herself in danger in front of Caryn, hoping to be rescued. As here, Caryn displayed unobservant competence, quietly and without thinking saving Eskimo and then continuing on her day without finding it necessary to make conversation with the object of her rescue operations.

I decided to change it because the original version is so weird (it’s a lot harder to make Caryn consistently oblivious) and because Eskimo’s character in the new version is so much more dynamic and heroic. She would want to be the rescuer, I think. She also has a very odd moral sense (as seen in her pirate days) which I don’t think is inconsistent with placing someone in danger in order to save them.

There was one element of the original version which I liked but was not able to find a way to rescue, which you’ll be able to see in the original version of this in the Old Comics section. In the old version, Eskimo is getting tips on wooing from a talking romance novel which she finds in the bookstore while spying on Caryn. Eskimo attempts to trip into Caryn’s arms but Caryn simply helps her up without looking up from her book. The talking romance novel gets Eskimo’s attention and advises her to create an atmosphere of romance. Eskimo tries the same stunt in a rose garden, with similar results. She returns to the bookstore to ask the romance novel’s advice, and it tells her, “Okay. No more tripping. No tripping whatsoever.”

I’ve scaled down the surrealism a bit. The current incarnation of L&E is trippy, but not that trippy. (rimshot)

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Lance and Eskimo, written & drawn by Laura Hughes. Webcomic 2007-present; stories & characters developed 1998-present. Come for the surreal parody, lovable scamps, and persistent homoeroticism, stay for the passing flashes of quality!

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