News for August 2008:

Joe Tue, Aug 26, 2008 So... so there I am. I'm minding my own business, see? And I say to myself, I say, "I'm going to finish this comic at a reasonable pace for a change." And because I say it out loud, these people nearby mistake me for a terrorist, a crazy terrorist, see? I was... I was in Beijing at the time. So folks were on their guard for that sort of thing, because of the heated political climate. So they call for police to arrest the crazy man talking to himself, and the Chinese police come running, and I get spooked and run to the nearest building I see in hopes of finding shelter just long enough to reason out a solution to this madness. And inside the building I see... a... a race! Yes, that's it, it was a race of sorts, with many men running. Men in running clothes. Just then the police broke through the doors I had previously bolted shut with a piece of broken wood, and I saw no alternative but to join in the race and hope to lose myself amidst the crowd! I ran as fast as I could and before I knew what had happened I had won the race, which turned out to be an Olympic event. I forget which one. I was in the Bird's Nest, see? Imagine my surprise! I was all set to receive the gold in a big ceremony like I always dreamed of, but then a guy in a suit walked over to me and told me that just running in a race isn't good for winning it if I'm not a registered contestant. And furthermore, to erase the shame of my having made a fool of their athletes, the Olympic board of... Olawyers decided that my image would have to be digitally removed from the broadcast of the race. They could do that because of the time zones, see. The delay. So the same two police officers who were chasing me earlier burst into the office then, the office that the Olympic people had brought me to, and amidst the confusion I managed to subdue one of the Olympics people and switch our clothes around, so then the Chinese police drag him off and he's screaming "the American cartoonist has put me in his plaid, you fools! I'll have your jobs!" And I'm waving at him and smirking because that's just irresistible in that situation, and then the office doors close behind them and I'm alone with the other Olympics officials guys. The head guy says "Now that that distasteful business is resolved, gentlemen, we may proceed!" And they all sort of chuckle darkly and I go along with it doing my able best to imitate their gruff, vaguely sinister businesslike demeanor. And the head guy brings out this black briefcase from behind his huge desk and starts talking about how with this they'll be able to unite the world under an Olympic banner whether the world wants it or not! And he starts slowly opening the briefcase and I swear steam and thick smoke were pouring out from it, but just before he opens it completely some Olympics-looking guy bursts into the room in a wifebeater and underpants and those things that rich guys put on their legs to hold up their socks and he points at me and screams "Don't reveal the Nebulous! He is a foreign agent impostor!!" And I guess the guy I switched jackets with was a foreign agent of some sort who'd already switched clothes with the real sinister Olympics guy, whatever, so I jump out the nearest window while the Olympics guys are shrieking in inhuman tones and I land on a lovable Olympics mascot who was taking a smoke break outside the 'Nest and I bounce off his gigantic soft head and do this bitching backflip onto the pavement, you should have seen it. I throw the evil Olympics business consortium guys the finger as they lean out the window to look dour and I run to freedom, discarding the jacket as I flee! But having worked up an appetite I stop by a nearby Beijingese hot-dog stand and as I eat I look across the bar and there are the two comical Chinese police officers who've been after me all this time! We both hurriedly finish our meals and pay, like in that one Kids in the Hall skit, and then we hop in our respective vehicles and begin a merry chase which takes us across the Orient! Friends are made and adventures are had, and there are many close calls, but those two lovable Chinese police officers provide able comic relief as their cruiser becomes increasingly damaged in the madcap pursuit. Long story short, I finally save the President of Asia's life from the Olympic conspiracy, and the two Chinese cops (who finally manage to handcuff me just as I'm dusting off the President of Asia and awkwardly shaking his hand after having saved his life) are forced to drop all charges when the president announces "Why, this young man just saved my life! You blunderbusses should only hope to be as keen as him someday! I announce that all charges against Joseph England must be dropped! Unhandcuff him immediately! That's an order!" And they do of course, albeit reluctantly, and I feel kind of bad for the cops now because they were just doing their jobs afterall and now they're all flustered and defeated, so when the President tells me he'll grant me any request, I ask him to instate officers... uh... Bei and Jing as heads of security for all of Asia! And they go all slackjawed as he pins these big badges on them and I finally get my big gold medal ceremony, with heads of state and the entire Asian army all saluting me while I stand in a shaft of light and stuff, but it couldn't be televised for security reasons and I can't show anyone my medal because it's... secret, but anyway the point is I lost a whole bunch of time that otherwise would've gone towards working on the comic. The President of Asia wanted me to stay longer, he says, "Are you sure you won't reconsider? The Olympic threat is still out there! We need a brave young man like you to lead the fight!" But I say, with a grin, "Sorry, Mr. President, I already have people counting on me for another job entirely... and I'm running very late for work!"

And so now you know the story. Yessir. And, barring any more continent-spanning adventures, we'll not see a delay like that again any time soon! So rest easy. I just have to head on over to Germany to tour a newly discovered castle, and the next comic will be up in no time!

By the way, Al Schroeder's got a nifty amount of cross overing at Mindmistress, explaining the titular heroine's presence some time back. Go see!

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