1835 Uncle Entity.

Every so often someone will indicate that they started reading at X time, but never went back to read the archive, which is so weird to me. I can understand if this was a joke a day comic, but since it builds over time it seems strange to just jump in and pick it up as you go. I guess it’s like how some people can tolerate getting to a movie after it’s been going for a while. I like starting at the beginning. My mom is the same way, but my dad will just jump in to anything that grabs his attention and watch till he gets bored. I don’t mind one way or the other. If you read and keep reading at any point that’s fine. I’m just the type that lies to start from the start. Anyway, this stuff they’re talking about happened at the start of the comic. Also they’re talking about a movie from the dinosaur times. Anyway, if you’ve never read the archive jump back sometime. I know it’s a hard look to deal with but the writing holds up pretty well.

As far as Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome goes it’s worth watching even though it’s not “good”. It’s just a fun trash film that doesn’t have a lot to say, but what it does say is said with style. Even the most modern Mad Max movie is basically the same way. You can try to spin it as a girl power story, but that’s grasping at best. It’s a lot of style without much substance, but that’s not bad. Thunderdome is fun in a way that movies just aren’t often anymore. Earnestly trying to entertain.

The latest windows security update fucked with the drivers for the Surface pen when used in drawing software. It’s super annoying because it’s been stable for years. So long I foolishly began to take it for granted. It’s not crippling, but I can’t do my regular sketching style because of it. Which does hamper me somewhat. It would be a lot worse if my cast were constantly being dynamic, but since they just stand around looking to one side I muddled through.

31 Comments

I’ve been back & re-read the archive 2-3 times now, in the time I’ve been following this webcomic, & I’ve really enjoyed it each time, so I can second the suggestion to go back and read it, at *least* once.

Jackie, in terms of your driver issues with the pen, I had issues with my graphics drivers where the GPU was working fine for all intents & purposes, other than for allowing me to access the super-sampling resolutions for my monitor. That seems to have been fixed in the last day or so with another update, so maybe just check to see if you have one pending, hopefully it’ll resolve things.

PLEASE have John’s blinking goatee be a thing for the rest of the comic! Then we can all pretend that it’s perfectly fine to any new visitors who wander by.

better yet, everyone pretend that it’s actually there.

That’s so cute–pretending you can’t see the goatee. :D

Just went back to the archives to re-read the Thunderdome arc.

Anybody else realize how FLOOFY John has gotten over the years? ;)

I have *really* got to disagree with you about Thunderdome. There is *NOTHING* more powerful than that final scene, Savannah’s Tell. And the disarming scene – really, just how do you match *THAT*?

And I’d claim there’s deep commentary on the importance of reputation to society, but … eh, it wasn’t that deeply hidden under the methane generation feedstock.

But… Savannah’s Tell – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJ1KZvzXpKI

“This you know: the years travel fast, and time after time I done the tell. But this ain’t onebody’s tell. It’s the tell of us all, and you’ve gotta listen and to ‘member, ’cause what you hears today you gotta tell the newborn tomorrow. I’s lookin’ behind us now into history back. I sees those of us who got the luck and started the haul for home, and I ‘members how it led us here and how we was heartful ’cause we seen what there once was. One look and we knewed we’d got it straight. Those what had gone before had the knowin’ and the doin’ of things beyond our reckonin’ — even beyond our dreamin’. Time counts and keeps countin’, and we knows now: finding the trick of what’s been and lost ain’t no easy ride, but that’s our trek. We gotta travel it, and there ain’t nobody knows where it’s gonna lead. Still in all, every night we does the tell so that we ‘member who we was and where we came from. But most of all we ‘members the man who finded us, him that came a-salvage. And we lights the city, not just for him, but for all of him that are still out there. ‘Cause we knows there’ll come a night when they sees the distant light and they’ll be comin’ home.”

That – that right there is Civilization distilled to its utmost essence.

Absolutely agree with you! The Mad Max movies show hope for the future, regardless of how bad things look at the moment, and that’s a powerful message too many film makers seem to have forgotten.

Society (at least in the USA) seems to be caught up with a negative world view instead of recognizing the amazing things that happen every day around the world, as well as the little things that are good in our lives. Changing your perspective is hard to do, and I have to remind myself of it constantly, but it does help lighten your mood. At the very least, you’re alive and able to read Jackie’s comics, and that’s a pretty darn good indicator of how good life is at the moment. :)

Technically, Mad Max was written during the height of the gas shortage years, and what would happen if we didn’t have alternative sources of energy other than oil. And it revolved so heavily around that fear that today it seems largely comical to think that “OMG WW3 involved nuking cities over gasoline (or guzoleen in future speak).”

The secondary point to the movies is how insane the world would be if there was no society to drive it forward. That might makes right in the sense of the post-apocalyptic future, so groups of civilians are forced to become hard and warrior-like to fend off the chaotic rovers. Beyond Thunderdome was a tribute to a Romanesque culture where the only way to have power is to entertain the restless masses with blood combat and scrapped together technology. Intelligence only has power because it can deprive the entire camp of electricity, and even then, the most intelligent person speaks like a caveman (because he has a disdain for the mongrels who live off his creation) and has a huge bodyguard who beats people into a pulp when they don’t do what he wants.

And the group of kids in the desert? They are a prime example of what happens to hope in the absence of order. They make up a tale of hope and wonder to combat the reality that the adult ones will never return because there is no “promised land.” Even when Savanna and her crew reach a city, it’s a nuclear cesspit of broken buildings and smoke. The only hope she has is to lie to each generation that Mankind will get better (and in future novellas, it does not). Max is the best example – even the heroes are terrible people who just try to get by and go crazy at the drop of a hat.

Other than that, the movie is crazy good because it eludes to all that without being heavy handed. Instead, it’s crazy action and explosions and a guy riding a donkey backwards in the desert until the donkey dies of thirst.

Great analysis, thank you! I enjoy all of the Mad Max movies, mostly because they are entertaining, but also because they do just what you said: show hope for the future, regardless of how bad things look at the moment. That’s a powerful message, and one that too many film makers seem to have forgotten.

It’s an odd thing to start in the middle. I remember that when I first stumbled onto Between Failures a few years back I read a couple pages and really liked it. Then I proceeded to spend the next few days in the archive until I had finally caught up.

I started shortly after it had kicked off, and even then I had to re-read the first few chapters again later on because I had forgotten some of it.

I think I have to re-read webcomics every now and then because I read so many of them that I forget what happened in some.

It seems to me that this conversation with John is something that Jo would like to sneak into.

It’s been awhile since Jo was sneaky like that.

Speaking of which, am I the only one who imagines Jo appearing making the noise like Rogues do un-Stealthing in World of Warcraft?

Hey, you’re right! Ever since she became “the Baws” of the guy who trained her, she’s been more confident and not sneaking around as much (some, but not as much as before).

I actually picked up the comic on a whim and I’ve never read anything before the most recent arc with the furries so I might be able to give a mild insight on my perspective. For me stories like these are not some epic quest to follow beat by beat, but a space of time in the lives of specific people. Because of that, coming in from the middle is sort of like meeting a person in real life. We almost never meet people organically at the start of their journey unless we ourselves are responsible for it. For me, reading from that point is essentially just meeting these characters at a point in their lives that’s different from other readers. It might be a strange way to see it, but that’s one of the reasons I like it, it’s interesting to hear references to material I’ve never seen, as it gives me a different perspective than if I binged the plot whole.

“Maybe I should update my source material.”

(NB. Beyond Thunderdome is more than 30 years old … yeh you shud)

For what it’s worth:

From people who claim to be professional experts on [ US pop culture]: current pop culture is seen as current, when it is from 40 years ago, or earlier. *shrugs*

I once read a pentalogy in order book 4, 3, 2, 1, 5. I’m a patient man.

However, normally I need something to ignite (yes ignite!) my interest to get started. Lots of webcomics fail at this and start out with ten weeks of hemming and hawing … at least one title page, beginning scene where girl talks to her cat sidekick without it going anywhere (5 pages) … oh shit, I’m late for my job at the coffee shop (3 pages of running, perhaps with amusing pratfalls), on arrival smirking boss with snarky dialogue (please, just 1 page … nope, at least 2), etc. FURTHERMORE, newbies have no sense of pacing and end their weekly effortpage with a thud or a trickle. The punchline is not there or is found in panel two. There is no excitement or mystery or cliff hanging. Nothing to remember, nothing to look forward to. Perhaps they are writing it like an ordinary comic book, except the reader gets just one page a week? Then once things get rolling there’s a random hiatus of ten weeks. Sorry you guys, please support my patreon!

So for that reason it’s usually better to join up after a comic has found its voice. You can always go back and read the beginning later, knowing that, if nothing else, things will get better.

I can’t remember when I started reading this’un, really, but it’s been many years. Did I start in the black and white era, even? Maybe not. I do remember experiencing the outrage of Lezbionic Jo in realtime though. Anyway, this fine comic is the product of working like a pro, day in and day out. So many things it gets right.

Between Failures binging is easy mode. Imagine someone finding El Goonish Shive now and deciding to read the archives. *audience laughter*

I just recently reread the entire archives for Schlock Mercenary, a web comic that’s run every day without ever missing an update since June 2000. This is my fifth time doing that. It took me over a week.

I would start at the start too, but it’s not that weird to jump in in the middle. When we get to know a new group of people, we don’t get to read their history. We just go along with it and learn more about them on the go, perhaps missing a few inside jokes along the way until we’re fully integrated.

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