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To iterate is human,
to recurse divine.

L. Peter Deutsch

Space Moose Annotations

The following comments were written by Adam Somebodyorother, the author of Spacemoose. In some cases I have edited them to remove his real name, as per his wishes (that's right, Somebodyorother is not his real surname).

The dates given indicate when the comment was written, not when the strip was penned.

  • Calvin and Slobbes
    This was one of my earliest attempts to test the editorial limits of the Gateway. Space Moose's awkward first year was over, and his personality had developed into that of a full-blown sociopath. My goal with this strip was to be offensive without using any really naughty words. Nobody had ever come right out and forbid the use of foul language in the Gateway cartoons, but it was kind of an unspoken rule. I didn't know what I could get away with, so I played it safe.

    Of course, it's easy to say offensive stuff without using forbidden words like "Fuck", "Shit", etc.. In North America, these words induce idiotic knee-jerk reactions, and can offend even when taken out of context. Here's a little experiment you can try. Go up to a total stranger in North America, and say in a big booming voice, "CUNT!" They'll get pissed right off. And why?! You didn't really say anything. You didn't say, "your mother has a great big cunt," you just said, "cunt." You could be talking about anything. Anyway, I just think that people should smarten up and stop banning things like words.

  • Space Moose on campus
    It seems I experienced a brief flash of mechanical engineering fever during my undergraduate studies. Oh well. It happens to the best of us. The beast inside the high-speed wind tunnel is a beefalo, perhaps the same one from Beefalo riders of death. This strip also contains a hidden squid. See if you can find him. [December 19, 1997]

  • Terran cervoid, bipedal. Heavy smegma readings.
    This strip was in response to an angry letter written to the Gateway by an irate trekkie named Howard Roang. Howard apparently felt that the strip All 78 episodes of Star Trek was an unfair representation of trekkie lifestyle. He invited "the author of Space Moose" to attend a Star Trek Fan Club meeting and see first-hand what trekkies are really like. In this strip, Space Moose does exactly that.

    Later, I found out that Howard Roang was really a guy named Tracy Morton (yes, a guy named Tracy). He was just poking more fun at trekkies with his letter. The name, Howard Roang, was made up, but I thought it might be an anagram for something. Several anagrams of "Howard Roang" appear on Space Moose's T-shirt. [June 23, 1995]

  • Human females?
    Here is the third installment of the 1990 trekkie-bashing series. This strip marks the first incidence of a device which I call the "frame 5 pause". Right before the punchline is delivered, all the action stops and everything is quiet. There is that little bit of anticipation which would not be there if the punchline was delivered right away. I have used the pause many times since (c.f. Closet trekkie, Censored, Demented chess game), and it still serves me well. [June 27, 1995]

    Erratum: This strip is not, in fact, the first to use the frame 5 pause. It appeared only a few weeks before in All 78 episodes of Star Trek. Thanks to loyal reader, Chris Tulk, for bringing this to my attention. [June 3, 1996]

  • I'm a sea serpent!
    In case there is any lingering doubt that Space Moose's comments in the first few frames are false, consider the following excerpt from a recent article by Dave Ranney in the Wichita Eagle:
    A Sedgwick County Juvenile Court judge will decide today whether four children should be removed from a home police found littered with animal waste and whose parents spoke with them in a language created for "Star Trek" episodes.

    The children -- ages 12, 9, 5 and 5 months -- were taken into protective custody not because they spoke "Klingon" but because of the condition of their mobile home.

    Police Capt. Bob Circle said officers found animal droppings scattered through the home, which reeked of cat urine and feces. Nine cats and two ferrets were living there. Police also found an abundance of "Star Trek" magazines, posters and memorabilia, and couldn't understand the father at first because he spoke to his wife and children in Klingon. ...
    Other prominent Star Trek devotees include the members of Heaven's Gate, Edmonton's "suitcase" murderer Don Smart, and child pornography monger Bernie Hunt. Of course, that is not to say that Fantasy Gamers are any better. If there was some way to quantify social ineptitude, I wonder which group would win. (Throw in anime fans and make it a real competition.) [December 2, 1998]

  • Space Moose meets Coprophage
    Space Moose is a pretty easy-going fellow. It's rare that anything really gets to him. But in this strip, Space Moose experiences the fear of Hell as the criminal supragenius, Coprophage, prepares to forcibly evacuate the unwitting cervine's colon. Surprisingly, this strip actually lived up to its promise to be continued. That may have been five years ago, but Space hasn't seen the last of coprophage...

  • Tonight... I dine on moose feces
    Coprophage has the upper hand in this chilling conclusion to "Space Moose meets Coprophage". It is the "Three Billy Goats Gruff" ruse which Space Moose uses to escape fecal larceny. At the time this cartoon was drawn, I was taking a stupid compulsory sociology course. The strip was dedicated to my two project partners, Mike Olsen and Dave White. I almost failed the course.

  • Anthropocentricity today
    One of my favorite pasttimes for many years was calling local Bulletin Board Systems with my 1200 baud modem and wreaking verbal havoc. The original motive for drawing Space Moose was to perturb the clique of uptight BBS administrators who did everything in their power to suppress my crisp brand of humor. "Space Moose" was a battle cry my allies and I would use to announce when we had infiltrated another private message base. One day, we decided to transcend the BBS medium and start publishing in the Gateway where our enemies could not stop us.

    One of the granddaddies of my opposition at the time was a fellow who used the handle "Bald Dwarf". A graduate student in philosophy and a regular Mr. Know-it-all, he often asserted his intellectual supremacy by using big, unwieldy words like "anthropocentricity". I imagine he was once bothered by his fubsy namesake in Space Moose, but I ran into him recently and he seemed quite good-humored about how far the cartoon has come.

    The strange background characters in this strip are the creations of Fish Griwkowski. At the time, Fish was conducting crossovers between his cartoon, Poo Poo, and all the other Gateway comic strips. I agreed to participate and left him a little white space in which to draw whatever he wanted. In frame two stands Skitters, a mute creature who communicates by puking. Poo Poo's girlfriend appears in the last frame along with three eyeball balloons that were somehow instrumental in the crossover plot. [January 15, 1998]

  • Pure rubidium
    This particular strip is chock full of inside jokes - a practise which I began to avoid after reading some of the other Gateway cartoons. The background is so cluttered that it makes the strip totally confusing. A few of the references, such as "Blue Terror" and "Space Feces," will mean little to someone who isn't intimately familiar with the M.O.O.S.E. Club, where many Space Moose strips were conceived. [January 16, 1996]

  • Ducks
    I am really at a loss to understand how this strip can have any appeal at all. Nevertheless, it has its fans. Chris Blackwell writes, "What's wrong with the Ducks strip? I think it was one of your best." Three others put it in their top five lists in the 96 poll. Ducks resulted from my puerile fear of missing deadlines. Devoid of any fresh ideas, I hammered out six frames of utter nonsense and a joke so profound (apparently) that I could not even grasp it. [October 8, 1996]

    Shane Stringer attempts to explain the appeal of the strip as follows. "The bleak, sparse countryside provides a beautifully contrasting backdrop for the primary action of the scene, which is clearly a comment on how even the most civilized of men must deal with their primitive animal nature. Although Space Moose seems to acquiese to these base desires, as he follows the ducks' leads passively, his rhetorical question in the final panel shows that no man can behave in such a bestial manner without questioning his own actions. Thus, we are all Space Moose, fraternizing with waterfowl, and who among us would not, at such a time, cry out, `What the *HELL* am I doing?' " [October 9, 1996]

  • The projectile appears to be... bull semen
    In the old days, I could always rely on Trekkie bashing when I ran out of ideas. But in this strip, I actually tried my hand at Star Trek satire, temporarily assuming the role of a Trekkie myself. But that role wore off quickly - even before the end of the strip, which descends into filth with Space Moose as its guide. I don't have anything against Gene Roddenberry, I just think his followers suck. I'm pretty sure this strip was made before Mr. Roddenberry croaked. [October 23, 1995]

  • How would you like it if you were a fetus
    Here is a case of me wimping out in fear of being too offensive and not getting printed. In frame 5, instead of the lame notice, I was going to have a big close-up of the abortion vending machine that Space Moose wheeled into frame 4. It was going to have a big pair of stirrups and a robot arm with a primitive grasping instrument on it. Instead, the strip ended up making little sense. Nowadays, I would never pull any punches - especially ones that are certain to offend religious types. [November 20, 1995]

  • Brotherhood of the amorous tarsier
    This old strip exemplifies an early stage of Space Moose's evolution from goofy weirdness to full-blown filth. It bears the same whimsical spirit as the first strips, but in a very casual manner, slips a little further away from decency with mass vomitting and "smegma."

    Trivia fans will note that sitting in the cupboard with all the cans of Alphaghetti is the Wizard of Words (barely discernible in this poorly scanned image). The Wizard of Words is actually the spokesman for Alphabits cereal, not Alphaghetti. [April 23, 1997]

  • Jason Kodish: Geek Police
    Long after this strip was drawn in 1991, Jason Kodish achieved a tremendous level of infamy on the usenet. The potent combination of his density, belligerence and lack of social life quickly earned him the title of Internet's Twit of the Month, along with several other booby prizes. I have not kept up on Kodish's activities, but I imagine he is still frothing at the mouth on his favorite usenet channels and continuing research in his imaginary "Department of Gravitational Engineering".

    This strip features the young Jason Kodish (pre-baldness) who used to scream out, "put me in Space Moose!" whenever I passed him in the hallway. After enduring months of this tiresome badgering, I gave in and made his wish come true. Afterwards, I asked Jason if he was happy with his appearance. He said, "yeah, but if you do it again, I'll kill you." [January 21, 1997]

  • Censored
    This strip was submitted to the very last issue of The Gateway in the 90-91 school year. I figured the managing editor would be more inclined to print it since she was on her way out, and no longer had to protect her job. Sure, this strip is kid's stuff compared to the more current material, but it was a necessary evolutionary step. The last frame was actually drawn in full detail. The "censored" strip was pasted over top by me. It's been peeled away so many times that the drawing underneath is quite mangled. [February 12, 1996]

  • Colby Christ meets Space Moose
    Colby Christ was an interim comic strip which ran in place of Space Moose during the Fall of '91. I was on a work term, taking an extended break from Space Moose, so a couple of my friends, Don Husereau and Colby Cosh, decided to try their hands at cartooning. Colby was the gag-writer and inspiration for the rotund brooding Christ. Don was the artist, having already penned an early Space Moose strip, Space Moose in mollusc-o-rama. The result was a brief series of bizarre, crudely-drawn and variably successful attempts at comedy. The featured cartoon is a cheesy tie-in drawn by both Don and myself wherein Colby Christ shamefully passes the baton back to Space Moose. [October 16, 1996]