Thursday, November 18, 2010

Comic 820: Five Minutes Of Pain

five five five

[ALT: Dear Wiccan readers: I understand modern Wiccans are usually not all about the curses and hexes. But Darth Vader was recently converted from Episcopalianism and he's still figuring things out.]

[I basically forgot about a review for the latest one. Luckily everyone's least favorite hell demon "shufti" has been wailing in my basement recently. What follows is a transcription of its hellish cries. -Ed.]

Guys I just read the new xkcd and seriously, I'm in the middle of having my perceptions of the universe shattered as a result. I mean, there's just no way he can be producing decent comics, no matter what the circumstance. Think about this. It's been a year of shit since comic 631 (aloria called it VaginaGate but she's a cheap pandering whore so I will not follow suit).

THINK ABOUT THIS.

ONE. ENTIRE. FUCKING. YEAR.

WITH NOTHING BUT SHIT.

Now we've got adequacy? Not greatness, of course, just adequacy, but still. What else could be true that our preconceptions are denying us? Is the TSA really a sensible organization, the thin line of defense between us and the terrorists? Were there really weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Is Pepsi actually better than Coke? WHO KNOWS NOW, RANDALL IS CURRENTLY BLOWING YOUR MIND. As opposed to blowing his Heterosexual/Mathematical Life Partner Steve, of course.

At any rate, I think it's important that, no matter what, we act in a sensible manner here. Everyone get out there, do your part, and start killing off Randall's relatives so he can keep produce semi-decent comics. Or violate causality. Whatevs.

All right, on to some actual criticism of the comics. Lets start with the basic premises: we've got a 9/11 conspiracy comic, a noodle incident comic, a comic about witches, a comic about Star Wars, a comic about witches AND Star Wars, a pun, a riff on Rene Descartes, and a riff on a common aphorism.

Oh yeah, I left out one. It's about childbirth. No, wait, that one doesn't exist. Just repress that one people, just like all his other shitty childbirth comics.

*Ahem* What's the common element between all these? They're basically recontextualizations of common sayings or events. To put it in less pretentious verbiage (for the complete fucktards in the audience), all these comics are about taking something familiar and skewing it in some way. People say "ladies and gentleman of the jury" a lot...so what if the entire jury was made up of women?! People say "cogito ergo sum" a lot...so what if one person was a complete intellectual coward when she decided to say it?! That one dude in Star Wars mocked the Force as a religion...so what if Darth Vader subscribed to an actual religion?! And so on.

A different phrase for what's happening is cognitive juxtaposition, which - again, if you're a complete fucktard - means you have a mental image of what is supposed to be there, but your expectations are subverted by what is literally there, creating a kind of dissonance or tension that results in laughter (Once again, I'm sorry to all you fucktards, but that's as simple as it gets. If you don't understand this then I weep for you. And by weep I mean mock. You sad, pathetic bastards).

TL;DR Randy made some funny, so kill.

Oh yeah and webcomics.me has more posts now I guess. So we can stop musing Carl is dead.

[Do these hideous syllables have anything to do with the latest comics? Heaven only knows! I know they filled me with mortal terror. And also with loathing. Mostly loathing. -Ed.]

71 comments:

  1. Cheap pandering whore? well then CONSIDER ME PANDERED

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  2. I don't believe anyone posted this in the last comment thread. The "dramatization of real events" one is awfully similar to this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4YbC6OLAlo

    Seems perfectly possible that this is a coincidence (it's not a complicated idea), but maybe Randall watched this video once and it's still in his subconscious.

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  3. Bravo on the alt text for this one.

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  4. So basically, Randall is saying "look, I'm doing it wrong, isn't that funny?" over and over again.

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  5. The "Bail out!" comic. There would be a lot less whiny bitches on this blog if more of his comics were like the "Bail out!" comic. The only issue is, connecting his "theme" to this kind of silliness.

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  6. As someone that converted to Wicca from being an Episcopalian, I take offense.

    (Actually, I don't take offense. But I did convert from one to the other. Seriously.)

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  7. Good observation on the "everything is a turn on a phrase" theme, Shufti-Niggurath. Given that these were originally from a contest-style game, though, I don't exactly recommend losing sleep over it. It's an obvious artifact thereof.

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  8. Rob: Aloria: Get a fucking room already.

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  9. I thought the childbirth-comic was the best of all. "Yeah, my 'art style' is so bad you can't tell a regular woman from a pregnant one" is a bold artistic statement.

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  10. Wow, part 3 is... really good.

    The Pearl Harbor one was okay.
    The Little Rock one was simply hilarious. It took me a while to get it because the art was bad, but I laughed aloud when I did.
    The killer smartphone one was decent.
    The 119 pigs was excellent.
    And the fastest gun in the west was silly and cute so I liked it.

    The rest ranged from 'meh' to 'lame' to 'ew', but overall it was a positive output. I would love to see more of these 5 minute comics because I think they're a lot higher quality jokes on average.

    But I've been thinking... Randall never states WHEN these comics were made. It could have been years ago, before VaginaGate...

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  11. I'm a bad person for laughing at the billy joel comic and the centrifuge comic.

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  12. I smiled at the Pearl Harbor and Billy Joel ones, and actually laughed at the Little Rock and the Little Pigs ones.

    Nothing against Randall's family or anything, but here's hoping the illness lasts a long time.

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  13. Mention a tv trope again and I'll kill you

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  14. The centrifuge one was my first xkcd laugh since the one where hat-dude cuts off the wisecracking riddler's arm.
    My troll for the day: the military forgot the dx.

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  15. rob. He said "noodle incident which is a trope.

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  16. This just in - TvTropes is a widely read website and thus referencing an aspect of it is useful in conveying information!

    Also, Rob did not write this, I did, you illiterate fuckhead.

    Oh wait I referenced something Rob said, damn me for not being completely and totally original with everything I say.

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Welp, I just laughed a lot at the centrifuge comic. It's short, has a punchline, and (for me) required a little bit of a double take before it hit me. That's well done comedy!

    Unfortunately, were it turned into a proper xkcd comic, it would last for 4 panels and the joke would be hidden in the 2nd panel beneath a pile of dialogue.

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  19. The Pearl Harbor one wasn't bad. I kinda like it. The breastfeeding one was so fucking awful that I almost stopped reading the comic right there, and when I saw the "Coke/Pop Rocks" one I kicked myself for not stopping. But then I read the rest and felt better for not stopping.

    The gun one wasn't terrible. I kind of like it. In fact, I think it's probably the best of the bunch as far as I'm concerned. The integration one is probably second best, though again, Randall's shitty "art" doesn't help that one.

    Everyone seems to like the centrifuge one which is meh as far as I'm concerned, and I'll have to admit I didn't get the Billy Joel one, since I don't listen to his music. I googled it so now I can appreciate it a bit more, but I have to admit it's my own fault I don't really like that one since I didn't get it right away.

    The bottom two? Blah. Still, I have to admit this is the best "five minute comics" of the bunch.

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  20. I liked the Narnia one. It seemed like a version of the old Narnia one but with an actual joke to tell. Fastest Gun in the West was like the pony joke in the first one in that I didn't see it coming and got a chuckle out of it.

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  21. Odd how whenever Randall is phoning it in he makes passable comics which at least make me smile, and when he's phoning it in slightly less he produces absolute garbage.

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  22. I'm gonna read "Randall's Shoddier Comic Festival #3" when I come back from work, which I hope will be before lunch.

    But anyway... I'm bothered that people like the Glow comic. Yes, as I said, it can be viewed as a statement about how in Randall's "style" you can't tell a woman who's nine months pregnant and currently in labor from another who's not but... was Randall ever self-referential? Are we really willing to give Randall the credit for being self-deprecating? Come on, guys, we know Randall doesn't do that kind of humor!

    So, what I still see is a comic that's stupid and a bit disgusting(the "plop" panel definitely doesn't help).

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  23. Am i bing really stupid/unobservent in still not knowing what the hell is happening in the littlerock comic?

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  24. I thought there were only 118 elements, so why is it called "The 119 Little Pigs"? Is there something I'm missing here? It was kinda funny, though.

    I actually laughed at the integral one. The gun one was pretty good.

    I got the Billy Joel reference but didn't find it particularly funny...not awful, though.

    The breastfeeding one and the water slide one were terrible. I get the reference in the water slide one, it's just horrible.

    The rest of them were just OK. So yeah, probably the best 5-minute comics yet.

    @ The Pirate King: I'd been wondering the same thing. Are these comics he's drawn recently in games? Or are they comics he drew in games a long time ago and never posted since they weren't full comics? If they're old, maybe that's why some of them are actually decent- because he drew them back before xkcd totally sucked.

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  25. The three parts so far, for me, are all the same mix of lameness with occasional brilliance and it's impossible to rank them -- they all melt into the same "meh" swamp. Of part three I REALLY liked the "fastest gun in the west" -- for such a silly and simple joke, it was nicely drawn. The "centrifuges" comic was also good, but the rest? Either completely bland and unenjoyable, or the same old cheap "geekiness made FUNNAY!" gimmick. What's with the "brestfeeding" and "telephone" comics? Goodness gracious, this part was probably the most unpleasant of all.

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  26. Friday's update:

    Does the "fastest gun" comic remind anyone else of Kate Beaton's work?

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  27. @Anon 11:59: Maybe the dx is on the other side of the school...

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  28. Really, you guys, the integration comic? For a group that constantly complains that Randall panders to high-school kids, you sure are inconsistent.

    Billy Joel and Little Pigs were worth involuntary chuckles, the breastfeeding one was kinda creepy, and the rest were 'meh'.

    3 < 2 < 1

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  29. And: does anyone get the last one? I get the Honeymooners reference, but what does it have to do with water slides?

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  30. Ernesto, people liked it because rather than simply saying LOL MATH REFERENCE, he actually made a clever wordplay. It works because you expect him to make a nerd reference no matter what, but in this case instead of shoehorning it he makes it play off a historical event with no glaring flaws.

    This is how you actually make humor, if you missed the memo.

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  31. "Really, you guys, the integration comic? For a group that constantly complains that Randall panders to high-school kids, you sure are inconsistent."

    Most people don't take calculus in high school, and those that do barely scratch the surface of integration.

    Though I grant you it might be amusing (and less pandering) to see a comic about "Michael Bay's Laplace Transformers" which features people doing math amongst explosions.

    Or maybe it would be stupid. I dunno.

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  32. "... was Randall ever self-referential?"
    @Professor Mole: clearly you have not read the early comics.

    http://xkcd.com/6/
    http://xkcd.com/33/

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  33. I dispute that using integration in these two senses simultaneously is "clever wordplay". It is only an obvious math pun. At best it is one small step above LOL MATH REFERENCE.

    I mean, it's okay; I laughed at the Billy Joel joke, which has probably been made hundreds of times in the last 20 years. I'm just surprised that the integration comic, which is so very Randall, is being lapped up instead of torn to bits.

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  34. Oh, referencing his awful art: http://xkcd.com/157/

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  35. That was as much mocking Megatokyo as it was mocking XKCD, so I'm not sure if we can count it.

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  36. "actual religion"

    Wicca.


    HAHAHAHAHAHA, oh my god.

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  37. Oh HELLO ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM! Anyone else notice that given the context with which these were posted, we can assume that Randall actually has to take more than five minutes to draw out the little stick men he usually draws. Which is intensely sad, if you think about it very long.

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  38. I am going to be sorely fucking disappointed if it turns out these comics were from a year or two ago.

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  39. Are you even literate, IPSUM? That has been the consensus around here (not to mention some actual xkcd forumites) all week.

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  40. Anything in the most recent 400 strips range? Because I think we all agree those all are strips from that time when Randall didn't actually suck.

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  41. A decent amount of funny ones this time.

    The Pearl Harbor one made me heh. That kind of heh where your vocal cords don't actually vibrate, but you exhale kind of quickly.

    I got the integral joke right away because it's such an obvious joke. And anon 11:59, I don't know how you can tell they forgot the dx since it would have to be on the right side of the building. Anyway, I still thought it was kind of funny.

    The cell phone one was okay too.

    The wolf one made me laugh. I think part of it was because he chose strontium, which is a pretty funny name for an element already.

    I also laughed at the gun one, which might have partially been due to the fact that I was still tickled about the wolf one when I read it.

    It'll be kind of sad when he goes back to crap comics. Maybe he'll see how much positive feedback he's getting on these and do more like them. Ah, who am I kidding? Even if he forces himself to do several comics in under 5 minutes each, he'll eventually find a way to screw it up again once he remembers how little effort it takes to please the mindless Randall slaves.

    PS.
    I just discovered I already have an account here from years ago. Cuh-razy.

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  42. Integrate, smart phone, the 119 little pigs, and fastest gun in the west were all legitimately funny. I actually laughed out loud at a few of those. Not bad Randall. Also, stop making so obvious you spend about 15 minutes working a week.

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  43. In smartphone one Randall unfortunately feels the need to show us and then tell us. He could have left out the bottom bit of text and it would have been hella better.

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  44. Neither you, IPSUM, nor you, Suineder, are very literate. Mostly because you have this gross inability to read.

    You do realize there's more to a comic than drawing, don't you? There's conceptualizing, planning, writing, drafting, redrafting, then finally drawing it. This, to me, is implicit because I tend to draw comics sometimes. This, to any other person, should also be implicit because it's fucking common sense and he says so at the beginning of each of these strips.

    Five minutes to WRITE AND DRAW. "Write" does not mean penning down letters, it means WRITING.

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  45. I liked the Pearl Harbor one, but it reminds me that Randall's target audience is science savvy, but culturally illiterate. I would have found it even funnier if he had left it wordless in the last panel, so the reader has a moment of "wait! What the fuck?" and then realizes what's going on, rather than having it spoonfed.

    Also, the alt-text really made the Little Rock joke.

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  46. The breast-feeding comic was nasty. The gun comic was cute and made me smile. Due to the art, I didn't get the "integration" comic until the alt text- I was like, why are they using a gigantic whip? Did not get the Billy Joel comic or the last one about the waterslide. The rest were "meh."

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  47. The integral joke was pretty good, because it was not only a word pun, but a visual pun as well: the soldiers hoisting up the integral like the hoisting of the flag at Iwo Jima.

    Pretty clever.

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  48. Aww, you're so cute, Pitchy. Get stuffed.

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  49. "s/I think that/I saw a study once that said/g"

    What does this mean (specifically the s/ and /g)?

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  50. A few explanations seem to be in order:
    1) The Billy Joel joke
    - Based on his song "We Didn't Start the Fire"
    2) The waterslide joke:
    - Based off of a few famous quotes from the Honeymooners, best summarised by "One of these days Alice... bang, zoom, straight to the moon!"
    3) The s/I think that/I saw a study once that said/g joke:
    This is a joke about regular expressions. The "s" means substitute "I saw a study once that said" in for "I think that" and the "g" means "in every instance that it appears". Basically, this means if you just always say "I saw a study once that said" when you would normally say "I think that", you become more persuasive.

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  51. @Mr Pitchfork:

    "There's conceptualizing, planning, writing, drafting, redrafting, then finally drawing it."

    The reason we've come to the conclusion that Randy whips out his comics in fifteen minutes is because the finished work shows none of those qualities you mentioned. There have been many, many of his comics that would have been pretty alright if an editor had double-checked his work. The art looks like it never got out of the drafting stage. (Most people would use stick figures to outline the comic; Randall uses them AS the comic.) The "conceptualization and planning" often feels like he spent 5 of his 15 minutes on Wikipedia and saw something wacky.

    Maybe in good comics, there are all those steps. But it speaks volumes when 5-minute scrawls are consistently superior to their "finished" counterparts.

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  52. Maybe someone else has already mentioned this and I missed it, but re-read Randall's note at the top of each of the Five-Minute Comics.

    "...part of a game I played with friends."

    It's conceivable that Randall is stealing jokes from said companions.

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  53. ...that I drew as part of a game I played with friends.

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  54. @Gryffilion

    ...or the friends could have given him the joke idea, and then let him turn it into a comic. It is entirely likely (I'd hazard the odds at approx. 100%) that these friends read and enjoy xkcd, and know what he's doing with these five-minute comics. I find it more likely that his friends would say, "Hey, you know what you SHOULD draw... (x comic)!"

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  55. Gryffilion: Do we have confirmation that Randall actually has friends?

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  56. Who the hell doesn't have any friends at all? Hermits out in the middle of the desert, maybe, but Randall's not [i]that[/i] bad.

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  57. I didn't get the integration comic at first since I was confused by what I took to be a massive beer bong.

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  58. I still don't know what the hell that black line in the integration comic is! Why won;t someone tell me :(

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  59. Integration comic: the joke is quite old if you happen to be French... The best engineering school there, Ecole Polytechnique, is nicknamed "X" (because its symbol consists of two swords crossing.) You can prepare it in one, two, three or four years. If you integrate the school after one year of preparation, you're nicknamed "1/2", because the integral of x from 0 to 1 is 1/2. If you integrate the school after the second years, you're nicknamed "3/2" (the integral of x from 1 to 2 is... 3/2.) And it goes on with 5/2, 7/2...

    So it's old... It's like a 19th century joke!

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  60. @Anon 2:41

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integral_symbol

    @Rochambeau

    That's kind of cool. Too bad Randy's not clever enough to turn it into a comic. The actual joke is just to swap the mathematical definition and desegregational definition of "integration". Regardless, it made me chuckle.

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  61. Pitchfork: I think the point was, if he can run his entire process in five minutes here, and we actually like the comics better, what the hell is he doing in all of the rest of the time he has to write "finished" xkcd's?

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  62. @Anon 2:05

    Ahh, thanks for the explanation. Not real familiar with the Honeymooners (though I have heard of it). Familiar with "We Didn't Start the Fire," but didn't know that Billy Joel sang it, and hence didn't make the connection.

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  63. Wow, who would have thought that Randall could improve xkcd by spending LESS time on the comics?

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  64. UndercoverCuddlefishNovember 20, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    wow who would have thought that randall could earn a living by making a webcomic so terrible that a series of mediocre and still mostly unfunny doodles are seen as an improvement

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  65. I don't think the community here would like any of these comics individually. They only seem better than the usual because they're given in aggregate.

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  66. Arthur has hit the nail on the head, it's the cheerleader effect

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  67. Well, perhaps then we ought to split them up as single comics—but being in aggregate is a valid critical component, since presentation matters.

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  68. I've banged individual cheerleaders. They're still pretty hot.

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  69. @Laura:

    If I'm going to accuse a man of stealing a comic, I have utterly no problem accusing him of lying about drawing it.

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