Cosmos: Old School (2001) – part two

Conflict (to coin an immensely poorly-constructed phrase) is the sauce that enlivens the ingredients of any good story; and the adventures of the Cosmos cast are no exception. Interesting personality differences and comedic misalignments between the various cast members (as well as the odd bizarre event imposed from without) propel them on their various adventures – because where would the dictates of narrative progression even go if everything went well all the time? Nowhere, basically. A double-sized serving of Murphy’s law, please!

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ABOVE: Now this is interesting – these two strips are not only the first speaking appearance of Professor pod (after a few brief cameos in 2000), but also the one and only time the A-Team and B-Team casts ever crossed paths! Well, sort of. In a very peripheral fashion. You see, Professor pod (A-Team cast member) is falling foul of the curiosity of one Timmy Masters; who later turned up as the best pal of one Peter Anderson, as part of the B-Team cast! These strips were originally going to be part of a longer sequence of strips featuring the Good Professor and Timmy, but unfortunately this didn’t pan out; and (since I later recycled the gags for another, very different story, making the originals rather redundant) they now occupy the non-canon end of the spectrum. Still, as a historical curiosity, they are of critical importance.

The next sequence of strips, by contrast, are very much in-canon, and feature the A-Team cast (Artie, Gene and co., not the human guys in the black-and-red van) in full flight. They have a decided reputation for testing the boundaries of the fourth wall, and as such I wondered to myself: what would happen if they simply stopped following my orders?

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Yep, given them an inch of free will and they unravel about a mile of blatant insubordination! Having my own characters go on strike within the very strip they appear in put me in a bit of a bind – how to create gag-a-day material with no one there to present it? I had no choice: I had to step into the breach myself…..

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And there you have it, a salient lesson in proper employer-employee relations: when all else fails, whining and complaining, blackmail and (following a hasty cover-up of compromising documents) gratuitously-generous conciliatory gifts always smooth the way for the resumption of regular business! What’s a few million dollars in lost revenue and the risk of having my good name dragged through the mud between friends?

And no, you can’t see the Bikini Police story.

TO BE CONTINUED….

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