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No. 108: Duck!

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Permanent URL: https://mezzacotta.net/pomh/?comic=108

Strip by: Ian Boreham

{Two commentators are discussing a sporting event.}
Don: We're back at Parade Ground Arena for the finals of the goose-stepping world championships. The playoff is between The People's Democratic Republic of Dictatoria and the Democratic People's Republic of Despotistan.

Don: The Dictatorians made it in with extra points earlier in the day after an especially ridiculous style of salute during the 'Heads-on-Sideways-March-Past' event. What do you think they're going to do to top that, Jeremy?

Jeremy: It's a tough call, Don. Their opponents, Despotistan, are a bit of an unknown quantity. They only made it into the finals because of that upset earlier in the day.

Don: That's right, Jeremy. Totalitaria were the favourite, but that accident in 'Bayonets-Forward-Not-Looking' wiped them out. Literally.

Jeremy: Is it true that the training arena in Totalitaria is a non-standard size, since their units of length are based on body measurements of their 'Ultimate Leader'?

Don: That's what I heard, Jeremy. Heads will roll over that, if any of them survive.
Oh, look! They've started up a rather strange form of arm-swinging. I think they're about to come out with something big! Keep an eye on their parade leader, the one we've come to know as 'Big Hat' over the last couple of days.

Jeremy: They do maintain a faceless, uniform anonymity, don't they?

Jeremy: You called it, Don. He's swinging his legs higher and higher. My god, they're going straight up... near... no, past, vertical! That's amazing.

Don: He's sure to get a perfect ten from the Dictatorian judge for that!
Of course that's par for the course, and he'll get a zero from Despotistan no matter what. But if the judges from the other People's Democratic Popular Republic Commonwealth Brotherhood Homelands are impressed, this could be enough for the win.

The author writes:

Gah! My stylus is starting to malfunction, and it took forever to get the inking done.

I guess if any of the Totalitarian team survive, the Ultimate Leader will take pleasure in adjusting their body measurements.

Wikipedia suggests that goose-stepping began as a practical technique for controlling massed soldiers on the battlefield, and then became widely popular for display marching around the world, but acquired its less savoury connotations due to the world wars. It also explains the obscure derivation of the name.

I looked up goose-stepping on YouTube as part of my research, and I must say, there is some bizarre stuff there. In particular, there is a video of a strange competitive display put on at the India-Pakistan border (not really goose-stepping, just odd military things) on a daily basis.

Drawn in Krita and Inkscape.