Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gunnerkrigg Court #2, 100-200 [SEEN IT]

So I forgot to set this post to go up at 1:00 tomorrow morning before I hit "Publish Post." I don't know how to fix this, and really don't feel like fixing it, so guess what? You guys get your commentary early tonight! Wooo.

OMG, YOU GUYS. I am supper ultra happy about the reaction to the first GC commentary! I’m really happy to see everyone loves GC as much as I do. So, for your reading pleasure, I’m going to continue what you guys better have read in the meantime. Alasjflasjfls, I love you guys so much.

So, when we last left off, we were at what is probably the worst cliffhanger in the history of the world. (Actually, no – every Gunnerkrigg page is the worst cliffhanger in the world.) So, let’s continue on through chapter seven, when something (or everything) goes wrong! Start here: http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=101 . And again, NO QUESTIONS. Even if you don’t read my commentary, Tom Siddell’s story will make your life better – especially in this chunk of story, as the world of GC gets richer and sexier.

101. So we return to the story, and…wow, this looks far comfier than the last strip, doesn’t it? Both Kat and Eglamore look suspiciously happy…and here we are in the Donlan residence! Yes, both parents live on campus, while their daughter lives in the dorms. Very odd. And Anja finally has her hair down! Get used to that, it’s her usual look.

Anja and Donald are getting awful familiar. Wonder why…? 8D Donald is just about the biggest geek I have ever seen in comics.

102. UH OH, BOMBSHELL, IT HAS BEEN DROPPED.

And by panel 4, you realize, HOLY SHIT, THESE TEACHERS ARE NOT NORMAL, and then another voice in your head goes, YA THINK? So as it turns out, Anja and Donald are smarter than they let on. Except that they, evidently, have not been watching the wolf toy the way you all have…!

103. And, OOOH. ANOTHER BOMBSHELL IS REVEALED. NO PUN INTENDED. See? All of the previous generation not only went to this school, they were all friends! This becomes very important later. It’s actually the focus of a whole flashback chapter – Chapter 22, I believe (which will be in the 6th installment).

From the left, the three boys at the top are Eglamore (WOW! isn’t his hair GORGEOUS?), Donald (still a geek, as Tom points out) and Anthony Carver, Antimony’s father, looking pretty boring. The three girls at the bottom are Surma, as Kat points out (her hair is ALSO gorgeous!) Anja, who looks no different than she does now, and…you know what, Tom didn’t tell us who That Girl In The Photo, as she shall henceforth be called, was until said flashback chapter, so I’m not going to tell you either. I will give you one hint, though – she’s never mentioned again until then, other than Tom’s exasperation at fans guessing that various characters are her.

104. Hoo hoo hoo! Yes, yes, James Eglamore WAS a heartthrob at fifteen! (And apparently still is. Remember, Kat, he’s in his thirties or thereabouts!)

And more exposition comes (note how no curiosity is given to TGITP…I’ve noted it too because it makes no sense to me). Anja and Donald, predominantly Anja, are now main characters. Wait, how did the three of them know that her father had taken off? I guess he dropped Annie off without contacting them…and, wait, months on end? When exactly did he know them, if he was at the Court? (By the way, 700 pages later, this is STILL the extent of what we know about Annie’s father. Of all of GC’s secrets his is the best-kept. About the only other thing is an offhand Tomment that he taught her some self-defense.)

Also, note the bitterness in Eggers’s tone…

105. And Donald clarifies my previous confusion in Panel 1. Thanks, Donald!

Donald: Antimony, you should know that your father has made sure everything you need is provided for you.

And this is almost the extent of what we know about Antimony’s relationship with her father. (You’ll soon see she was very close to Surma.) Antimony’s acceptance of it is a little unnerving…ESPECIALLY to Eglamore, whose bitterness SHOULD be cutting the room like a knife. If it isn’t, brush up on your emotional attachments.

106. Kat’s indignance is barely a shadow of that MAD HATE I see on Eglamore’s face right now. Ooooh.

Eglamore: I knew something like this would happen. He’s never thought of anyone but himself. First Surma, and now his own child…

Wait, what did Anthony do to Surma? He may have likely been EMOTIONALLY absent at Good Hope, but he was still there as a surgeon. I guess he did get her pregnant, which did eventually lead to her crippling and death…but yeah, no love for Anthony here. Thank you, Annie, for changing the subject!

Now the adults are watching the wolf toy. But, too late.

107. Anja has magical SENSING THINGS powers! And now the wolf toy doesn’t have to be watched by ANYONE. 8P

Reynardine: Damn you, girl! And I had the perfect disguise!

No you didn’t! Anja already knew you were there! And look, violence! EGLAMORE’S ABOUT TO UNDO SOME STITCHING – how now, Anja, what’s this? SUPER MAGICAL STUFF, that’s what it is! Notice the eye with a line through it…maybe that symbol’s more important than we think. (Tom’s powers of foreshadowing are uncanny, let me put it that way.)


108. Aw, none of the art in Panel 1 looks very up to task. Rey’s got Muppet-mouth, Annie’s hair looks static, and Eggers’s neck…yeaaah. Eglamore is hating on EVERYONE today. (LOL, creepy Donald in the background not saying anything.)

Again, props to the whole ownership system. Here we are re-explaining things to the adults what the audience already knows…so to fill up the time, I will say that Reynardine looks like a kitty, a big fluffy kitty!

109. Annie: I saw how you kept him in that cell. Criminal or not, I won’t allow him to be subjected to that again.

OOOH, Eglamore just got told! OH SNAP! Also, this is the beginning of some ill feeling between Eglamore and Annie…see if you can guess why. It’s pretty complicated. I love how Annie is so calmly assertive about these matters…

LOL at Reynardine’s evil smile in Panel 7. Though, to be fair, if she had handed him over, wouldn’t Annie’s contract of ownership be void?

110. Poor adults, all their plans are fouled up by a little eleven-year-old girl. Operative word being “Surma,” Donald. Eglamore looks VERY muscly in Panel 2. And Anja speaks sense to him. What is with all these people in silhouettes with eyes in this chapter? IT’S REALLY WEIRD. And, oh, what’s this?

James, with love, Surma.

OHSNAP. Anyone that guessed that James was in love with Surma before this knife, give yourself a pat on the back!

111. And here we are, late at night at the Court. Why do they let the kids be out this late? Unless they really DO have evening classes, the meanie butts…

Kat is strangely good at interpreting adults! Though I must say she’s being pretty broad about it, if only due to lack of knowledge. (Don’t you LOVE the complexity of plot we already see? 8D) I also love the way Kat looks in Panel 4, especially the detail in her collar. It shows me the art is getting better, though it is nowhere near up to current snuff. S’pose I should mention in this strip – one thing this strip is often praised for, and which I rarely notice, is use of color. All the purples and blues of the Court, the bright colors of the myths you’ll see later…

Reynardine has a finely tuned snark generator. SPIDER!

112. Ugghhh. Of all the GC pages, this is probably my least favorite, because it’s pretty out-of-character for Reynardine. My guess is he was still angry and just trying hard to piss them off…I mean, look at his little smile in Panel 4. He got a reaction, which was what he wanted (though do notice that he was given the order to be silent!). For the record, they’re eleven years old and FRIENDS. Though shippers must’ve gone mad over Kat’s blushing in the corner over there… :P


Though, in Panels 5 and 6, THE PLOT COMES A’ CALLIN. HI, PLOT, HOW YA DOIN?

113. And all of a sudden we have to flash back to Chapter 1, more than a hundred pages ago, when Annie’s head was far more handegg-like than it is now! (Still looks a bit like a handegg…there’s aways to go yet.)

I wonder if Annie ever had as much affection for the Robot as it had for her…in a sense it was her first or second friend. LOVE Rey’s expression in Panel 6. No one manhandles Reynardine the Great! (What would Professor Oswald say if he found out?) And YAY ANNIE, GET THE PLOT ROLLING.

114. And one journey through the halls later, we are at the very unguarded steps! I like how Annie’s hair is getting more detailed in Panel 2 –

And, yep, the WEEEOOOO is just what I thought it was! STUDENTS OFF SCHOOL GROUNDS! Not for the last time, Annie runs off to do something mysterious and full of mystery! Though I must say, her art gets worse and worse as she goes farther and farther away. Look at her tiny little arm in the last panel!

115. And now this scene is starting to look a little more familiar. And now we see what that lovely brown thing was – a new wooden arm!

You should be unnerved at the different speech balloon. Also, look closely at the glass-eyed man. See if you can tell me whether or not that’s Shadow 2. These views of the Annan Bridge are gorgeous…

116. And here comes Eglamore with a thing wrapped in cloth to save the day!! I still think they should have a better security system…but maybe there’s a problem with robots so close to Gillitie. Eglamore clearly knows more than Kat could ever guess about the situation…

Which means you should get REALLY excited about a great new chunk of plot on the way! Shit is about to HIT. THE. FAN. 8D

117. And now we really ARE back where we started! Remember that Reynardine has been disallowed to talk. “The very nice man…” uh oh now we’ve added a new tendril to this kudzu plot… THAT HORRIBLE BIRD.

I’ll forgive Annie her comment as she knows no better.


118. And OH SHIT. Why does this thing know about Reynardine? Why does it hate Reynardine? And -

WHY IS THE TICTOC MAKING THAT SOUND. WHY. WHY. WHY. AND-

*totally distracted* EGLAMORE SWORD. IT IS FLASHY AND SHINY AND COOL. I LOVE THIS COMIC SO MUCH LIKE YOU HAVE NO IDEA

119. In the midst of all the confusion, I realized something about panel 1 – ROBOT’S WINGS ARE GONE! Remember, he had wings? And – OH SHIT WHAT IS HE DOING TO ANNIE OH NO OH NO OH NO

EGLAMORE KILLED THE EVIL GUY. Though I don’t think it was the sword – the sword just knocked Robot off balance, which meant he could not provide shade for the glass-eyed man anymore. (On my first readthrough, I did not notice this unknown GEM. I think it might be important…)

120. …ANNIE IS FALLING. INTO THE UNKNOWN AND SCARY. AND THE BIRD IS TAKING OFF AFTER HER. AND EGLAMORE HAS ONE HELL OF A FREUDIAN SLIP. AND-

…ASOFJAOSMHHALSJFSLJFSLFK.

End of the chapter, by the way. Tom mentions here that this is where the first book ends. This is a bit of an outdated statement – the first time Tom published a GC book, he published the first seven chapters in a collection using Lulu, but supply outstripped demand and that collection is no longer for sale. (Though apparently it shows up on eBay every so often.) Now let’s look at –

121. The first Treatise! Tom does these neat, arcane drawings every few chapters. There are three of them so far – the third was the cover for the first review, you recall.

Google Translate’s giving me a weird translation for the Latin. The words are, in syntax order, “Pray law his banishment, labor and you will find.” Yeah, I don’t get it. The rest of it I’m not sure is meant to be understood. Just be awed at how pretty it is! (Though I will say, the female symbol with wings is another form of the Antimony symbol, and I know the ball with the cross is a Christian symbol of some sort…)

Chapter 8
Broken Glass and Other Things


122. It’s a glass. Tom mentions he’s been working on this for a few months – he actually has a several-month backlog of strips. Because he’s awesome like that.

123. Oh, wow. This is the prettiest image of a glass falling I’ve ever seen. And the water touching the feet…wow. Wow.

This is definitely a different setting. It looks like…a hospital, doesn’t it? And, little Annie! 8D Little upset Annie! Isn’t she cute? I’d guess she’s eight, maybe nine in this picture. She seems to have worn some version of that dress throughout her childhood.

124. And, yes, here’s Surma, with her pretty fluffy hair! As soon as I heard her lines, I felt sobered – because she sounds so wise and sad and sick. ;__; I don’t really know why her face is hidden in these chapters – Tom has no problem with showing it later. Also, Good Hope looks very different here than it does later. Much…brighter. Maybe this is the only occasion when we see the inside of Good Hope during the day. It looks like a much nicer place than it does later, anyway…

The fourth panel here is beautiful as well. This whole scene feels quiet and beautiful. Also, it probably has the best art of Annie’s face thus far, which sorta makes the handegg-head in the next panel look kind of sad. By the way, the “now I know how that glass felt…” I always found it kind of cheesy. Unless she feels like she’s going to die…

125. It’s super sad here, because she looks like she’s resigned to death…but what’s this? THESE HORRIBLE BIRDS –

…are being helpful? The hell? Whatever, they saved Annie! Though they are quickly multiplying and goodness gracious I have enough trouble looking at one of them D8 And now we see the shores of the Annan. Look kinda dank, don’t they?



126. It would appear that, despite being horrible birds, they’re mostly just normal tic-tocing birds in that they don’t reason with humans, as Tom says. So instead, Annie blooshes and splashes. I must say, I am SO happy the Annan didn’t have any magical properties or anything, because otherwise Annie would be more screwed. It doesn’t appear to be very deep, either…

Panel 5 raises an unusual question, which is, where did Annie learn to swim, if she lived in a hospital all her life? Also, you will notice that she lost her hair clip in the water. Give the clip a fond goodbye, Panel 2 is the last time you see it. Also, you will see in the Tomments that Neil Gaiman is an even cooler guy than you already thought he was (that is to say the coolest guy ever).


127. Highlighting Panel 2 here because it’s GORGEOUS. There’s a beautiful amount of detail in the hair, and Annie looks almost mysterious in nature. Also, we see the return of the narration! The narration comes and goes. But here, it has come. Mostly later the story tells itself.

Panel 3…a light from the opposite shore. Annie’s hardly fazed that she isn’t dead, she’s just gonna go on exploring! (Though I should point out, going over to that light is probably not the best idea!) Also, as you see I Panel 4, Annie’s squeezed-out hair looks kinda awkward. Anyway, dead Tic-Toc! Dead birds always look like creepy, wrongly furry dolls. That’s the impression I get here.

128. I suppose it is easier to have sympathy for these birds when they are dead. And just when I’m convinced that these birds are alright…I discover that a) they’re actually about the size of Annie (HO-LEE SHIT), 2) Annie carries a pair of scissors with her everywhere she goes (WHAT), and 3) THE BIRD’S A MACHINE. This isn’t necessarily bad, just really chilling…and raises all sorts of new questions about the TicTocs…questions I can’t necessarily remember whether or not they were answered. Annie is very nice and polite.

129. I wonder what these chirpy noises must sound like in real life – probably really cute! Anyway, here’s Shadow 2 come back to see Annie! Except Annie thinks he was the GEM who hurt Robot. Poor Shadow 2. D8 Anyway, the gang really is all back, now!

And…YAY, THE REGIONAL FAIRIES! Regional fairies (or the “suicide fairies” as these two were dubbed, you’ll see why) get an explanation on a bonus page at the end of this chapter or the next, so I won’t explain them here, but these are Red and Blue. Aren’t they cute? Not that they’d like a HUMAN calling them cute 8D

130. Annie is very pouty-faced in Panel 1. And Red clarifies what I already made clear and which you could’ve figured out, while also raising even more questions. Oh, Tom Siddell. I am growing to love Shadow 2 here more than I did in Chapter 1 – his sounds are so cute! And yes, he is able to learn to talk.

Red seems to be the more vocal one of the two. (I love her hair – it sticks up, up! I’d like to be her friend :P) But now things are going to take a different turn…

131. I’m kind of jealous of the fairies’ clothes. I wish I could have clothes like that. And thus, the suicide fairies. This’ll be explained over the next few comics – for now notice that Annie’s head is slowly approaching a more conventional rounded shape!

132. Red: Hey, you big junk! You were supposed to smash us to pieces!

You just can’t convince humans of these things, Red! Especially not Annie- read the Tomments. They got morals an’ junk. And here we get the first mention of this mysterious “test” and its methods.

I can clearly imagine Red’s voice in my head, but it seems to be sorta masculine. (Tom says that regional fairies are all-female.) And now out of nowhere we get a guy with an owl for a head in the last panel. That is Muut.


133. …as Annie is quick to tell us?! Wait why does Annie know this guy what is going on

Not only that, but they’re REALLY cold with one another! “I have business nearby…” Both this and the thing about electrical appliances are a bit of a logic puzzle, which I’m going to let you figure out on your own before it’s explicitly stated in a chapter or two. But Muut’s pretty cool lookin, isn’t he? Very Native American.

135. Huh, what? Why did we skip a number? AGAIN?

Annie: I don’t recall asking for help from you or the others.

If you figured out what Muut is (oh, and if you used Wikipedia, you’re cheating) you’ll know what’s going on and why he can’t help someone who is, ah, living. And yay, on to lighter subjects, Mort! I don’t really know what he means by “new and inexperienced”. He’s definitely not what Muut is; was there some reason he had to remain on Earth? Le shrug. Anyway, LOOK AT THE STONE. THAT IS A BLINKER STONE. It is super vitally important.

And now…ooh, what IS that light?

136. Muut’s facial expression never changes. So here’s what we know about this light – it’s probably the spirit of a dead person, she’s a woman, and she can’t cross the river. With unusual things like this it’s best to accept them at face value. Muut is very super serious about his job.

Muut: Still such anger…

The first time I read this, I thought he said this because her mother died. Turns out it’s a bit worse than that. Still, ooooooohhh.

137. For someone who knows frickin’ Muut, there are a lot of etheric things that either Annie doesn’t know or Surma deliberately shielded her from. Such as the blinker stone. I love how super shiny it is – in later chapters it’s sometimes rendered in 3D, which is AWESOME. Lol, tubby. And apparently it makes fire. I’d also like to say I like Blue, she’s very pretty.

And as you see, GC won Outstanding Newcomer. Damn straight it did.

138. Another daydream of Annie’s…poor thing. That curtain of Surma’s is still super sad…and Annie’s actions in this flashback make me wonder what happened. Usually, when we flash back to Annie’s days at Good Hope, we see her as a very ebullient and cheerful child, but here she seems sort of…beaten. The blood is creepy…and also kind of foreboding D8

139. And now we get the explanation about the test! I like how S2 is in the background, visible but invisible. Here there’s some clarification about that test – and also some insight about the relationship between the Court and the forest. Keep it in mind. Also keep in mind Red and Blue’s friendship.

140. Annie looks kind of weird when she’s over-colored like that. And, yep, that’s what the test is – pass the test, become human! I’m going to guess it’s some sort of (permanent) exchange program with the Court…

Red: Hmm, maybe we can go on a diet when we get there.

LOL. I love Red, she’s so enthusiastic and quirky. Blue never says much of anything. Poor Annie, all over-colored and sad…

141. I love this page, it’s very peaceful. It’s amazing what can be said with no words. A dying fire, everything sleeping and still-


…hello.

142. I don’t remember the fairies reacting to her. Do they know what she is, or are they just frightened of a big white ghost lady with a sword? (Also, call me weird, but Blue’s boobs are like three times the size of Red’s non-boobs)

Anyway, yep, that was the light. I can’t tell if her giant forehead is a noble brow or just a stylistic choice, same with her sliding battle dress, and HER EYES HER EYES FREAK THE SHIT OUT OF ME. And again, Annie’s being just too poli- WAIT WAIT WHAT IS SHE DOING

143. !

BLOOD. SO MUCH BLOOD. (Note the parallels with the broken glass) BLOOD. LISTEN TO THE FAIRY, STOP DAT. FLASHING LIGHTS OH MY GOD-!

144. Kat: I’ll save you, little girl.

KATERINA DONLAN, I LOVE YO- WAIT, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU RIDING YOUNG LADY. DO YOU HAVE A LISENCE FOR THAT. How it managed to scare away the ghost lady I do not know, but ANNIE’S GONNA LIVE, WOOO~ Annie seems just as surprised as I am. And it’s lovely how Kat can act like a child and still ride that thing and it makes sense. I still don’t like how her hair looks.

145. WOAH, CHEKHOV’S GUN. Nice work, Kat! (And also her dad a little too. :3) I love how Annie is so happy to see her friend – that she values the POWER OF FRIENDSHIP a lot more than etheric power, and makes it believable, too. Also, have you noticed something about her face?

146. I love how the anti-grav casts a purple light. Kat looks really weird in Panel 1. Anyway, bye bye, Suicide Fairies! Hope you live to die another day. They may be fairies but I think they’ve grown to like her.


Definitely. I don’t know whether or not I necessarily love Annie – she’s a tough cookie to figure out. (Oooh, she has circles under her eyes in Panel 5 – she’s a Winsbury now! I don’t like the shadows, though. They make her eyes look just a little too intense here, in the last three panels.)

147. Woo, Shadow 2’s going back to the Court! I guess Annie couldn’t resist having another friend with her! And I guess now that Annie’s off school grounds there is no Robot needed. (Robot…I wonder what happened to him D8) And, oh, she took the blinker stone with her? I seem to remember she left it behind.

One thing she DID leave behind, though, was her sweater! Oops! Anyway, they’re off. BYE, ANNAN WATERS. YOU’RE CREEPY. AND BYE, GHOST LADY. STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM ANNIE.

148. And now for a return to better lighting, though I can’t say the art on this page is up to par in general…it’s a sweet page, though! (Is it just me or is the craft held together with duct tape? And why do we never see this thing again?) Anyway, poor Kat! I’m afraid this is only the beginning of some nasty new surprises for her…BUT I PROMISED I WOULDN’T SPOIL. ALFJLSJFS.

149. And now for a much calmer end page than befo – DAAAAAAMN!


GUNNERKRIGG COURT IS HUGE. And damn right, Annie, if 7QN is as small as it is this can’t just be a school. It’s more of a self-contained town…daaamn. Though, if Kat’s grown up in the Court (hey, if her parents live there…) why didn’t she know? Anyway, I like this ending because it jumpstarts Annie and Kat’s exploratory instincts. And thus really all of the plot.

150. And to come off that high, here’s that bonus page about regional fairies! I don’t know if Tom made this up or adapted it from a myth, but it’s still neat. I suppose “school” is what Red meant by “class”…perhaps there’s a special class that become humans. And as for “born,” if they’re all female…

Here, Ogee is making metal rusty.

This series straddles a careful line between science and ethereum, and here’s one scene that proves that much. Also, I have to say, as this place gets richer, it gets harder to describe…

Chapter 9
Questions and Answers


151. What a creepy fellow. Oh, when a chapter’s titled this way, you know there’s going to be trouble.

152. And we’re back in the Court! I dunno about you guys, but I kind of missed the Court a little. You know who else I missed? MORT! He’s a far more lighthearted spirit than we’ve been used to seeing so far, huh? I don’t know what “Canalis” means (when I googled it I just got pictures of some model) but I can say that the Metal Gear Solid 3 reference on the box had me rolling.

And aww, here’s Mort out to test his ability to scare once more! I love the look on his face as he goes into the vent. Also, notice his outline has gotten thicker. He looks better like this I think. Also notice that Kat’s hair has gotten a little longer.

Also, POLYSICS! I love Polysics! Another good song by them is “Black Out Fall Out.”

153. Aww, the forms Mort takes are so cute. And I dunno, Mort, if I saw a mouse I’D be pretty terrified. Mice EAT stuff. Like, your house.

I really like how Kat’s hair looks in Panel 4 – for some reason I don’t like when she has that lock sticking out. And for the record, Mort, if I saw that behind me, I’d freak out AND call the mental hospital.

Here comes Annie’s new hairstyle. The handegg-ness of her head is offset by her new hairstyle from now on, so I won’t comment on it so often. LOL, Mort freaks out over Annie! Though he isn’t SCARED of her, so much… ;]

154. Aww, swirly eyes. I’m surprised at Kat’s nonchalant response to seeing a real ghost, though I suppose with Annie’s ethereal expertise at her side it seems a bit more normal to her. And Mort goes back to being a sweetie!

That’s a neat sort of pendant Annie now has the blinker stone on. It is very beautiful. And aww, look at that blush on Mort! He’s so cute.

155. The first panel could mean many things in many contexts.

One concise explanation later, Kat and Mort know a lot more than they did a panel previous. (Tom does these explanation jumps a lot.) LOL, MORT’S SERIOUS FACE. Did he know about the ghost? It’s fairly ambiguious. More mysteries revealed, as we get another look at Muut…and questions are proposed. Perhaps, as the title promises, we will get answers…?


156. YAY, GOOD HOPE FLASHBACK. I was right, the darkness of the Good Hope flashbacks were due to it being dark. I like Surma’s wheelchair here – again adds to her austerity and almost wise disposition. And – TINY ANNIE! SHE IS SO CUTE AOSFOAJSFLJLFSJ.

And also very feisty! She must have gotten it from her mother. And we were right, she does have a history with these creatures.

157. For some reason, I seem to remember a panel of Annie saying, “Hi, I like your face!” Maybe that was in a different flashback. ANYWAY, here is where you ought to figure out what these guys are! Also, the art on this page is beautiful. I am always floored when Tom goes all-out in his work. I’m still pretty impressed that the psychopomps were that friendly to her…and then the last panel has to go all creepy on us.

158. I think because your mother could, Annie. Okay – cutest page in this chapter, if not cutest page ever –

Mort: Y’know, it’s probably because you’re so attractive. I noticed that about you when we first met.
Annie: Oh?
Kat: *creeper expression*

Okay, I don’t feel like writing the rest of it out BUT IT’S SO CUTE. All the blushing and the awkwardness! Annie seems to be taking it rather well, but perhaps she actually DID think he was blushing about the misunderstanding and not because he’s HEAD OVER HEELS FOR ANNIE. Love that tombstone, too.

159. Neat diagram about the birds, there. I find myself wondering if there is a significance to the unknown power source. And now we hear another side of the story! Hey Eglamore how ya doin’. Carrying the robot back? That’s unusual.

Why is Rey carrying the wooden arm? Why would Eglamore allow that? Very odd… and Kat’s freakout is predictable. She’s lost her best friend!

160. NO ONE TELLS KATERINA DONLAN TO GO TO BED. I think there’s a wallpaper version of this first panel. Actually, it’s in the Tomments. But still, aww, that’s sweet.

They hang around with Mort during their free periods? Wow, Annie and Kat are cool people. I really like the way Annie looks in this comic – she actually looks like she could be a twelve-year-old girl. I hope Mort actually is around her age.

161. The administrative hallway is CREEPY. But also beautiful. I am rolling right now because the name on the other door is “Ms. Jones.” You will find out when Jones actually shows up.

Why did Annie shuffle her hair before she went in? I guess girls such as myself shuffle their hair at inopportune times. WOW, EGLAMORE’S OFFICE KICKS ASS. PROBABLY QUITE LITERALLY WITH ALL THEM SWORDS. There’s the shiny one tucked away behind the table in its cloth…is that big head the same one from the chapter cover? Dunno.

162. Mr. Eglamore in a shirt and tie? This is a very unusual sight. Hi, Reynardine. And Tom is right, Eglamore DOES have terrible handwriting! (I will assume they do not have a great emphasis on penmanship at GC.) Eglamore may be a jealous angry dragon slayer teacher, but he’s still a teacher. Mind still on Surma, old chum? We’re getting a very different picture of her from him than from Annie. Annie’s Surma is motherly and infirm, James’s Surma gives knives as gifts and breaks rules…


OH SNAP

163. I’m trying to remember why Annie would have a problem with Eglamore. Because he’s mean to Rey? Because he’s unfair to her? Because of her mother? Very curious…

Yep, there’s the face, in Panel 3! And did Eggers get that reasoning from Anja? I think he did considering his actions in Chapter 7. Reading these last two panels, another layer to the animosity would be his misguided desire to protect her and also to compare her to her mother. Strange sort of Freudian complex he’s got…

164. Why would he think that Reynardine “tricked” her into going onto the bridge? Probably because he hates Reynardine. And I guess Annie’s just agreeing because she doesn’t feel like telling him the truth. Yep, she’s rolling her eyes.

Robot? DISPOSED OF??? D8!! Anyway, Eglamore, stop not telling her things. It’s going to piss her (and the readers) off even more.

165. End of the chapter already? That was a pretty short chapter if I do say so myself. Does this hallway look familiar to you? Or this lovely tract of land? Or this…wooden…arm?

Also, look at the bonus arts at the bottom of the page there. They’re pretty awesome. Also Tom doesn’t do bonus arts anymore so.

166. Bonus page! Remember when I told you to remember Annie’s instructions to Reynardine regarding the kissing?

Tom did. 8P

Chapter 10
Doctor Disaster Versus The Creepy Space Aliens From Outer Space – Featuring the Gunnerkrigg Spacemonauts


167. Oh my god. This chapter. Is the best chapter. You all better enjoy it or I’m siccing some creepy space aliens from outer space on you.

168. Class, class, class. Very brown room. Very handsome man teaching geography. Fairly average art. Winsbury twirling his pencil.

SPACEMONAUTS! THE EARTH IS IN PERIL!

Meet Dr. Disaster, the most awesome man ever.

169. So this is exactly what it looks like – once or twice a year Dr. Disaster whisks all the students in a class off to do…something. Miscellaneous but very handsome teacher we never see again looks pretty fine with that.

So here we all are in strange suits. The boys’ and girls’ WC look very dirty. We do see the brown-haired boy again, though I forget his name. Matt? Mark? One of those. The blonde, we do not. Winsbury and Janet? Ohh yeah.

170. Annie, since when have you been worried about your education? Unless you were joking. Also, I like these suits – they look very patchwork and awesome. And drama lesson indeed, if B-movies are dramatic, in which case the answer is yes!

HURRY ALONG NOW, SPACEMONAUTS! THE ROCKET AWAITS! DR. DISASTER HAS A MOTOR SCOOTER. MY GOD WHY AM I NOT IN THIS CLASS. WHY CAN’T I GO ON THE ROCKET DR. DISASTER WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

171. And here we are in…a black-and-white holographic simulation! With sudden streaks of black and grey hair! Tom said at one point I believe that these were meant to be permanent. Thank heavens they’re not; I think they’re tacky and only suited for the simulations.

Hm, I wonder why Kat knows everything about science off the top of her head and yet is unaware of the existence of ghosts in HER OWN HOME. Still, this is pretty neat technology. BYE, GUYS. HAVE FUN WITHOUT ME.

172. SPACEMONAUTS! THE EVIL ENIGMARONS ARE THREATENING THE EARTH FROM THEIR MOON BASE ON THE MOON! I love this man – he is BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE. Especially with the cheese level of his threat – THEY HAVE A DEATH RAY OF EPIC PROPORTIONS TRAINED ON THE CAPITAL CITIES OF EVERY COUNTRY THIS VERY SECOND! – as Annie says, rather unenthusiastically, “Isn’t there always a death ray?” I suppose the greater meaning of this chapter is that Annie has to learn to loosen up. But who cares. ROCKET SPACE SHIP. IT’s EVEN THE SOUND EFFECT.


173. EXCELLENT! I WILL BE SENDING DOWN AN ELITE TEAM TO DEAL WITH THE ENIGMARON MENACE! AND THESE VISUALS ARE SO AWESOME AND CHEESY ARE THEY NOT GUYS. So of course the elite team entails the entire class. And to be fair, Tom, Winsbury looks like the Bride of Frankenstein.

174. BWOIMF! HORF!

Lovin’ these sound effects! And, no, the Enigmarons do not have arms! DO NOT QUESTION THIS, ANTIMONY CARVER. Be like Winsbury, and get into it!

AN EPIC SPACE BATTLE COMMENCES YOU GUYS

175. WOO SPACE BATTLE. This kind of reminds me of a much sexier version of the local lazer tag place. (If you grew up in Maryland you have to have had fond memories of Shadowland). Anyway, ANNIE. YOU DO NOT COME HERE AND NOT HAVE FUN. HAVE FUN ALREADY. SMILE. ENJOY LIFE.

ANNIE STOP NOT LISTENING TO ME. ALSO STOP MAKING PRANCING POSITIONS. YOU ARE NOT MICHAEL CERA.

176. And now Kat tries to talk reason into Annie. But Annie doesn’t seem to know how to have fun… D8 C’mon, Annie, there can be more to it than exploring a hospital! I’m super happy with Kat in this one, even if she looks like a doof…

Wait a minute, is this plot about to actually get serious?

177. NOPE. DISASTER! IN THEIR HASTE, THE SPACEMONAUTS WERE CAPTURED BY THE ENIGMARONS AND TAKEN TO THEIR EVIL LAIR! IT IS UP TO YOU, SPACEMONAUT CARVER, TO RESCUE THEM AND COMPLETE THE MISSION! Annie’s expression in Panel 1 looks a bit unsuited to the task at hand…but, whatever. ANNIE’S BREAKING OUT OF HER BUBBLE. AWESME.


178. The Enigmaron castle is just barely following the laws of physics, and Dr. Disaster’s lookin’ pretty awkward in Panel 2. YOU FIENDS! YOU’LL NEVER GET AWAY WITH THIS! And clearly, miss pouty-face Antimony Carver, it was MAGIC. The Enigmarons are MAGICAL. Makes as much sense as anything else, am I right?

179. Ah, an air vent entry. The staple of any B-scifi movie! That and swinging down on convenient cables! And as for Panel 3, that is an immensely unsteady death ray. One push and it’s vanquished, as are the Enigmarons? Who cares, Annie’s the hero!

I love how she looks in the second-to-last panel, in any case. And also I have to smile and clap at Winsbury praising her! Maybe I was right – Janet mellowed him out quite a twitch.

180. Kat knows how these kinds of movies are done! She’s watched the X-Files! Annie, however, does not. I love the huge YES in the second panel, along with the realization that the handegg that is Annie’s head has retreated behind the fall of her hair! WOO!

Annie: I hope you like your…smashed…death ray!

Words to shake the ages, Miss Carver. Isn’t this comic just getting awesomer and awesomer? I wonder who the two people are that said “hahaha”. Probably Winsbury and Janet. Word of Tom states that those two are very popular in their class. Maybe that’s why Winsbury’s taking charge. And aww, cute in the end. And is it just me, or are Annie’s eyes more detailed than any other character’s?

181. Their ship is very zeerusty, it’s awesome. You got into a space battle, kid? WOW, I HAD NO IDEA. Huh, Paz was on this trip? She looks very nice with her streak. Also, thumbs up to the HI-5 SFX.

Annie: I suppose some things are better learned away from a textbook.

You’re about to learn that the hard way, Annie. Anyway, let’s start using a larger color palette again, shall we? Good, good. The Earth is safe…UNTIL NEXT TIME…

THE END? First name is Randy, huh? So they were having randy adventu- MOVING ON

182. Bonus page! I’ve never seen X-Files, but I hope that those of you who have are ROLLING right now. Mr. Mulder looks awkward, but to be fair he’s done in a different style. Also, I can see the dream logic, what with the needing to do homework. xD

I had no idea what Skinner looked like, so I asked my friend David, who duly informed me that he looks like this. Annie’s book is apparently a joke from the film Blade Runner. (And I have to note, Blade Runner was based off the story Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, written by Phillip K. Dick, the namesake for the school from Code Lyoko. Why do I know this? I do not know)

Also, from here, Tom’s switched to his thrice-weekly schedule, around which I frame much of my life.

Chapter 11
Dobranoc, Gamma


183. Google tells me what I assumed, that “Dobranoc” means “goodnight.” That is one angry moon. Looks like we’re going to be returning to the two strange girls.

184. Call it a hunch, but I think things are a little more serious now. Oooh, it’s a countdown. What’s it for? I’ll let you figure it out. THAT NOT SO HORRIBLE BIRD. This courtyard is very depressing. Look at it! It’s completely dead!

And that girl standing there is…Zimmy? And…WAIT WHY DOES ANNIE HAVE HER GHOST-CUT BACK. AND WHAT IS SHE WEARING. Gamma looks pretty. Wouldn’t it be evil if I just ended the commentary here?

185. Annie’s cut is bleeding ANNIE’S CUT IS BLEEDING. Annie is saying “How do you feel?” and Gamma is saying “Much better, thank you.” It’s nice to see Gamma be a little more personable.

But soft, what from Zimmy breaks? A branch, clearly. But what’s going on? We’re not supposed to know. Just soak in the feeling of the dark scene, Zimmy’s frustration, that horrible bird…


186. Well, whatever that was, it’s nine hours in the future now. It does seem like there’s a lot of these flashback pages, aren’t there? KNOWLEDGE IS POWER! By the way, HAPPY 2007, EVERYONE!

I don’t think we’ve seen Annie or Kat in regular wear yet. And I wonder what month it’s getting to be on their calendar. And here’s Zimmy and Gamma, sittin’ in the library. I wonder if they sit there all day. Annie looks pretty in what she’s wearing (I very much like her new hair, she’s evolved so much) while Kat seems more tomboyish. And still smarting about the big-nose comment, which is a little more obvious in this encounter than in the last…six chapters and one year ago. daamn.

187. Kat: You’re such a butt!

Kat does not seem to know many swear words yet. Aww, Zimmy’s angry…but Gamma doesn’t get it. BUTT IS FU- hey, what’s happened to Gamma? Gamma went nighty-night. And-

What’s this? Is this kindness, even fear we see in Zimmy’s eyeless visage? It’s so sweet…even though you’re probably as confused as Annie and Kat are. The comic will explain.

188. It has to do this first, though. Remember how everything got all dark around Zimmy when she was mad on the last page? This static in her head is kind of like this. I can’t give an exact count, but this strip happened at least a year and a half previous. Isn’t this an awful city? (Tom says it’s fashioned after Birmingham. He does not like Birmingham.) Zimmy’s so sad…and there are so many spiders…but Gamma makes it all go away, somehow. The visuals here are brilliant. I love how dingy everything is.

189. Now back to the library. It’s super sweet seeing Zimmy so concerned, even giving concessions to Kat. I never noticed Annie’s outfit had a long skirt before. I don’t think Zimmy is very used to being nice to anyone. Doesn’t look like she’s had much love or care in her life at all. Except from Gamma.

Zimmy doesn’t sleep, she says? So that’s the THIRD indicatior that Zimmy isn’t quite normal…


190. Back in Birmingham. This is perhaps a month after the first one. Looks like a repeat of what’s going on now. And yes, if you didn’t figure it out, they live on the streets. SAD AS HELL.

Except for, you know, THAT HELLBEAST COMING OUT OF THE WALL AN’ SHIT. And somehow, Gamma being awake will make it disappear…Zimmy is far weirder than we first expected. I love how Gamma looks in the last panel – terrible, but brilliant artistically. And I can feel Zimmy’s pain right through the screen…

191. Here, Zimmy explains what I sort of told you. Reynardine (who we haven’t seen in a few chapters, eh?) calls Zimmy a demon, though I think Tom has said she is human and has human parents…somewhere. So, no, we really don’t know what Zimmy is, other than the clues we get from her actions. It’s like the greatest example of show-don’t-tell I’ve ever seen. Zimmy is very lucky she found Gamma.

And about Annie “helping”…remember how she can see psychopomps? Yeah. UH OH, GHOST SCAR. So I’m not going to say anything else; you should get an idea of Zimmy’s powers. But why is she annoyed by the storm…? Ooooh.

192. Wha-wha-WHAT IS THAT THING. It almost looks like Reynardine/a Rogat Orjak! It’s beautiful, but also horrible. In panel 3, you will see Zimmy has a white circle on her shirt. That same circle is on her dirty uniform. Tom has not explained why. But it doesn’t matter, because (creepy) Gamma is here to save Zimmy’s day!

And if you didn’t notice in 190, YES, that’s how they resolve the language barrier. Now a lot of things make more sense, eh?

193. Oh, look at that, the date is scrambled up. Looks like this was when Zimmy was, ah, recruited. The Gunnerkrigg officials look pretty creepy. We see a few people in these same suits out of shadow later – we’re not really sure what they’re for, but I’m pretty sure they’re more general Court workers rather than just teachers.

Czarnecki, that’s Gamma’s last name. Say, who told them about these two? Or were they just watching them? You never can tell with the Court. Also, you can see that Zimmy has to interpret everything for Gamma. Let your mind settle on that. Dunno what’s with the arm, though…


194. Wait – wait a minute. IS ZIMMY RELIVING ALL THIS?! I NEVER realized that in all the times I’ve read this chapter! I just realized it now, with Zimmy in her blue shirt…! HOW DID I NEVER NOTICE THIS? THE LIBRARY IS FREAKING BIRMINGHAM! The storm must be pretty awful to her…

Thank you, Tom, for translating THIS Polish. Gamma’s circles appear to be gone, a little. How mysterious…

195. So here we are, back in the courtyard. Aww, Gamma kissed her on the forehead! Word of Tom does state that Zimmy and Gamma do love each other, love in a way that it is very hard for the Internet to comprehend.

So here we are, back where we began. Zimmy’s all riled up, Annie’s ghost scar is slightly visible (have you figured out why yet?), the ticks are made for tockin’…

196. Um…yeah. Here’s the translation from Page 2. I had no idea it was here. 8D; Well, the Polish words are still cool. And the mysterious watching bird flies away. And I guess as she gets angrier, Annie bleeds more…I love the little touches Tom adds.

The Thousand Eyes, eh? Creeeepy. I wonder why Gamma knows this and Annie does not.

197. Zimmy, shouting at the sky gets nothing done! Also, you may notice that Zimmy screaming “bastard” has been covered over by the big ol’ CRACKOOM! There is hardly any swearing in Gunnerkrigg Court; whatever swearing there is is usually covered over in this manner (in one case the chapter’s end antimony symbol served as a censor)

I love this zoom. It makes Zimmy feel so very small…and with that crack a lot of tension seems to go away. I think you should know what the countdown was, now.

The rain begins to fall…and…I can never help but smile at these three panels. Also, if you can figure out why the rain helps her, you get a cookie.

198. Does rain really make a SHAAA noise? It always seems to in comics. Very odd. Anyway, HAPPY ZIMMY! STEAMING AT THE HEAD BUT STILL DANCING! The water, the shoes, the feet…it’s a gorgeous assault on the eyes, this whole scene. Both figuratively for us, and literally for the poor demon girl dancing in the rain.


Hi, Zimmy. This is, without a doubt, the moment in the comic that always makes me smile.

199. And, oh my! End of the chapter already! Maybe it’s just the feeling of the moment, but it seems like Zimmy’s a much nicer person, even a sycophantically grateful one, when she doesn’t have all that crap in her head. And look at that, Annie’s cut is gone. And another adventure has come to an end. Zimmy, that shirt needs a wash.

Also, if it matters, I was listening to Pandora’s “Grandes Despedidas” as I read this page, and even though I don’t know Spanish the tune felt right with the calming mood.

200. Bonus page! I suppose this is what Zimmy and Gamma did afterward. Gamma seems like a sort of thing that keeps Zimmy together not only mentally but only socially – she knows Zimmy has to have her clothes washed – but also sometimes that she doesn’t. Also, her hair looks a lot longer here. GO AWAY, BLACK STUFF. I LIKE ZIMMY’S PRETTY RED EYES. Anyway, what a nice end to a chapter, with these two being happy chasing rats and spiders.

I find Zimmy and Gamma two very happy characters. Both so unfortunate, they’ve found happiness with each other.

And that’s 100 more strips of Gunnerkrigg Court! Because we made such a clean cut with a chapter’s end, there’s no need for a cliffhanger graphic. Well, it’s not that clean – there are two bonus pages for this chapter. But, clean enough I suppose. 8] Anyway, as you can see, the art has improved tremendously, everything is getting much richer and more complex, and if you have not joined me in kissing Tom Siddell’s feet you have NO soul.

Again, I will advertise not only the donation page, but also the merchandise page. As of our progress in the comic, exactly one of the items, the Treatise One print, are currently relevant to our interests (unless you count my using Treatise Three as a cover). I hope you guys enjoyed this. Friday it’s back to teatime with Dinosaur Comics.

To tide you over until then, here’s a picture of Annie with a blinker stone I drew a week ago. And look! It is now a colored version!

 

3 comments:

  1. Planet Cool (a.k.a. David)October 14, 2010 at 7:19 PM

    Your commentary is exactly as charming as the comic itself, you know that? And that picture of Annie at the end makes me giggle. Thanks for the name-drop, by the way! Can't wait to read more!

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  2. Google Translate’s giving me a weird translation for the Latin.
    I heard from someone on the official forum that it should be "Pray, read, read again, labor, and you will find". Also interesting: Annie and Kat's poses are copied from the Mutus Liber, a Hugenot text on alchemy.

    For more on alchemical symbolism there's an old thread on that topic in the forum.

    Is it just me or is the craft held together with duct tape? And why do we never see this thing again?
    Someone asked Tom this on Formspring, and he said that the Court seized the hovercraft not long afterwards.

    This chapter. Is the best chapter.
    For me, "Dr Disaster" was the chapter that bumped GC from "webcomic I follow regularly" to "absolute favorite webcomic ever, and possibly favorite anything ever".

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  3. I expect to see that image as an avatar, Carth. :P

    Ooh, upcoming chapter 12 is a favorite of mine.

    ReplyDelete