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No. 304: Sestina About Multiple Rabid Delkins: The First Stanza

First | Previous | 2010-11-26 | Next | Latest

Sestina About Multiple Rabid Delkins: The First Stanza

First | Previous | 2010-11-26 | Next | Latest

Strip by: qvaak

{Samantha arrives, looks around}
Samantha: Hi Oliver!
Oliver: Hi Sam.
Oliver: Listen, I have a crazy problem.
Samantha: Is it a love problem?
Oliver: NO!
Oliver: Delkins somehow ceased to exist, and that left the universe in
imbalance..
Oliver: And Ambrose clones had some 30 000 evil schemes going..
Oliver: Are you still following?
Samantha: Yes.
Oliver: So.. we re-defined Ambrose clones into Delkins.
Samantha: And the Delkins went to star in an all-Delkin Broadway show?
Oliver: Guess Again.
Samantha: They all become ice cream vendors?
Oliver: No.
Samantha: Lived happily ever after and then died?
Oliver: No.
Samantha: They merged into Mega Delkin and destroyed Tokyo?
Oliver: No.
Samantha: Rabid Delkins are attacking!
Oliver: Hey, that's exactly right!
Oliver: You explained it beautifully and concisely!
Samantha: Gee, thanks.
{A rabid Delkin attacks}

The author writes:

Dear community, beloved peers.

I am sorry. I'm not really sorry, but sincerely claim to be. This is a story of yet another challenge I went on to test. I found a web page thingie called OUBAPO-America. I love OULIPO and of course there had to be OUBAPO. The sad thing is, they had this challenge about making a comic with a sequential art equivalent of sestina. No doubt I had to try that out. No doubt I thought Lightning Made of Owls was a perfect vessel for this kind of experiment.

There is no definite way for translating the constraints of sestina into comic format. I surely would not write the dialogue in sestina. You can make the characters speak in haiku or in sonnets, but that doesn't make the comic itself a haiku or sonnet.

The crux of a sestina is repeating words. A sestina has six six-line stanzas and then ends with a three line "envoy". Each stanza has the same six words ending the lines, alternating in a certain specific way. [Follow the Wikipedia link for a more composed and thorough explanation.] I decided my sestina funnies would have seven pages: six with six rows of four panels, and the last, the envoy, with three rows. Very straightforward. Seven pages (well, "strips") is the upper limit for Lightning Made of Owls storylines, so this was just too perfect. Fourth panels of the rows would repeat as specified by the form.

There you have it. Coming up is a 156-panel story. I claims it is seven gag-a-day comic strips - spanning into a short storyline.

Character art is, as most of you know, Birch's.