...Into Heresy - Ready the Foam Maiden
I think the time has come to talk about plot elements, and the kinds of plot elements that Randall might use (hence the heresy tag).
I'm operating on the assumption that the OTC is a story. If it turns out to be a puzzle or an extended joke, almost all of my analysis has gone down the wrong path.
let me dispose of those things I think are not plot. The beesnakes, squirlpies, hedgemolpy, and molpyraptors don't feel like plot to me or at least not major plot elements. They act as in the little filler arcs to keep us interested at a basic level but don't seem to connect across those small arcs. The location, Madagascar, Africa, Australia, Cassini or Randallverse doesn't really affect the plot and hasn't even affected the atmosphere of the story either as far as I can tell.
So what are the plot elements? I don't know them all, and welcome further discussion. For starters, here's my short list:
The Rising Sea
Markings on the Wow Tree.
That's not a long list for a story this long.
The rising sea is the impetus of their journey. They seem to treat it as a problem that needs more information. It threatens the tents.
LaPetite is the one element everyone seems to agree on. If she were Chekov's gun, you would think the gun would have been fired by now. She might not imply (as a gun does) such striking action, so that might be okay, but as a storyteller, if I've got something like LaPetite up my sleeve, I need to remind my audience (in a misdirected way) that she still exists. Is Randall relying on our collective memory in the OTT to do this? That doesn't seem to be his way, but maybe.
We've never had a satisfactory explanation of the dialogue from Cueball's dream. It might refer to Megan's fall from the bucket, but that, to me, is a stretch. The dialogue from frames 1130-1131:
Cueball: Our rope isn't strong enough
Cueball: Hold this or you'll fall
Does this foreshadow something of the end or action yet to happen? Climbing back down the mountain?
The Others exist, but we've only seen LaPetite who may or may not be one of the Others. Hard to know how they will affect the plot, especially when we've come this far and haven't found out anything else about them.
There are markings on the Wow Tree, but we haven't seen them and we only know that the markings are different from the ones Megan and Cueball are used to. Hard to have them influence the plot with that little to go on.
Here's the part that makes the OTC hardest to analyze: lack of conflict. Randall seems to avoid conflict even in the OtherComic. Yes, he'll have a setup for a joke, but generally the characters aren't arguing with each other. In the OTC there's been a little conflict between Cueball and Megan, mostly about whether to continue or not. Even the interactions with the molpies have been non-offensive and bland; Cuegan avoided the worst of the molpy - the snake with the daggers over it's eyes - by going around.
There are stories without conflict, but darned few. It's amazing that Randall has kept my interest in this so long without any conflict either in the main arc or any of the sub arcs.
Characters. Randall doesn't seem to use too many characters in the OtherComic and he certainly hasn't created a lot of them here. Compared to comics like Questionable Content, he's a minimalist in characters as well as drawing. I don't see him introducing a whole new set of characters near the end unless this is the first chapter in some kind of epic.
And while I'm on the subject of characters: we call them Megan and Cueball, but they don't act that much like the OtherComic characters. Their curiosity is similar, but their knowledge base and sophistication level seems much lower.
Okay. That's enough. So far I'm sticking by my estimate of 3500-4000 frames for the OTC as a whole. Maybe stretching it a little longer. If I assume that the rising and falling pyramid is skewed to the right toward the ending we can still make those numbers. An ending skewed pyramid is common in much storytelling today; once we have the high point, we want to get everything over and done.|< first < previous
Edit: fix previous link
Always act to increase the survival chances of the largest group you are a part of.