29 Comments

  1. Sadly, it seems you need to use a time machine (the wayback machine) to see the Time Cube…..

  2. If it’s always in his pocket, then a time machine is neither here nor there if you want to nick a wallet – the finger-smith still has to have the pickpocketing skills to pull off the leatherwork with aplomb and be a successful slip-gibbet*.

    A time machine might be quite useful if the wallet is on someone’s bedside table while you happen to be talking to him in the living room in real time; you then hope that at some other time another version of you, taking advantage of you distracting the mark by talking to him, will has have gone back and is doing the the deed right now.

    https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/87735/17-slangy-terms-pickpockets-put-your-wallet

  3. First: I am assuming, probably incorrectly, that this is supposed to make sense as a standalone gag (I realize it’s not a standalone in general, but from Unca Scrooge’s description, I sounds as if this gag is intended to work without context).

    Second: his reaction shot in the end insinuates that the wallet was in his back pocket sometime prior to the last panel, meaning that she must have taken it out of his pocket, which puts holes in narmitaj’s theory (which is otherwise the best one I would be able to come up with)

    Third: Drazen points out that it could have ben stolen from the future, but if so, wouldn’t he still have the past version in his pocket?

    Rabbit-hole-and-not-really-relevant-unless-it-is: is the wild haired farmer referring to Doc Brown? I hadn’t realized it was established that his family was rich from farming, though it makes sense if there’s a mall on the Twin Pines property. But wasn’t it owned by the family Marty meets upon “entry” to the past?

  4. Maybe the machine stops time, so she can take actions while everyone else is frozen. ?

  5. Pete’s idea is really promising as a solution — even if not exactly in the usual scope of “time machine”. (Is there anything like a standard name for that as a device or personal superpower, this ability to freeze the world while you can still walk around in it and do things in it?)

  6. She could have stolen the wallet at a past point when it was less difficult to pickpocket (say, while he was asleep) and he’s only just realized that he doesn’t have his wallet. (Or maybe she substituted a fake wallet that he only now realizes is not his, but he didn’t notice when he put it in his pocket.)

    The strip maybe implies that he had his wallet before the last panel… .Maybe when a wallet from a different time meets itself, the timeline repairs itself by causing one of the two wallets to disappear, to avoid a paradox, which requires an observer to be enough of a paradox and so only happens when she displays the stolen wallet? It’s a stretch but most time-traveling fiction depends on a lot of hand-waving.

  7. This is Alley Oop? I thought Alley Oop was about a caveman. But I guess that has something to do with the time machines?

  8. Alley Oop is about two scientists living now who built a time machine to go back to caveman times where they make friends with Alley Oop.

  9. Is she supposed to look like Bianca Castifiore?

    Dr. Wonmug and his time machine were introduced in 1939 after the strip had been running 7 years. Time travel adventures have been a part of the strip ever since. Not always the main theme but always an option.

  10. I didn’t think the joke made sense because 1) how does it make it any easier to lift the wallet out of pocket and 2) she is fabulously wealthy. As woozy pointed out, way back in 1939, six years into the strip, Doc Wonmug invented a time-machine that brought the caveman hero into the 20th century. One of the most fundamental changes ever undertaken by a comic strip, it became immensely popular and many comics historians rate it as one of the great comic strips of all time. Back in early 2019, creative control was given to a writer, that had no familiarity with the strip and wanted to have a gag every single day. A basic premise of the time-travel was that whenever Oop or anybody traveled in time, he moved in lock sync with the modern world, so if he was a week in 1803 France, a week would also pass in the 20th century. Sayers abandoned this so that someone could be gone for a year and pop back one second after they had left. Another change that she made was to make the time-machine an interdimensional portal where the other dimensions might have versions of Oop or might have one goofy difference. Then everybody seemed to have time-machines, including ancient tortoises, present-day raccoons, Lady Worthington, and, on Sundays, a little girl who pulls a twelve year-old Alley Oop into the 21st Century, completely in conflict with the 1939 time-machine story. No conflict in the new version of the strip between the hero and some foe or villain, major plot holes on a daily basis, almost total neglect of the Moovian setting, and gags that aren’t all that funny. All drawn in a really crappy, cartoonish style and colored generally in industrial-drab gray or brown. Really tough for long-time fans who suffered through the “Bender Years.”

    CloonBounty’s question about the wild-haired farmer – this goes back to a previous story. It turns out that Doc-Womug had cloned Albert Einstein. He was unable to take care of the baby so he gave it to his aunt and uncle who raised him to carry on with the family farm. If I remember correctly, he invented some device that was going to destroy every bit of “culture” in the world – past and present; Sayers not understanding that culture includes language. I guess he also invented a time-machine because, well, every genius invented a time-machine.

  11. In the fairly recent past, three strips have had changes of cartoonist. Alley Oop of course, Nancy, and Heart of the City. I only follow HotC, and it took quite some time for the complaining to die down.

  12. You could add Mark Trail to the list. It might be worth noting that of the four Heart is the only one that hadn’t been the subject of many complaints about how far the quality had drifted from some imagined high point in the past, and even for HotC it was pretty clear Mark Tatulli was over it.

    Those complaining, of course, tended to be the first to complain about the new and generally better output (again, for Heart I think it was a bit of a wash – I like it just fine, but I liked the old one too). Some people just live to complain I guess.

  13. I also did not know much if anything about “Alley Oop”, not even that it has a caveman living in modern times.

    Which opens up a possible addition to identifying the intended originals / targets of the very pointed (and sometimes mean-spirited if you ask me) parody strips apoearing in the dailies of Super-Fun-Pak Comix. There’s one that is clearly aimed at “Dennis the Menace”, and “Marital Mirth” which seems to target “The Lockhorns” or perhaps another popular battling-couple comic. Recently, “Rich People at Cocktail Parties say the Darndest Things” does a good job of capturing a variety of New Yorker cartoonists’ style. But I had no idea of the source / target for Charley the Australopithecine, who lives with a modern family. So could that be Alley Oop? … Oh wait, Wikipedia says He appears to be a satire of Curious George. Well, now I don’t know.

    Aside, SFPC also has a recurring strip, “Percival Dunwoody, idiot time traveler from 1909”, but the particular idiocy of that does not relate back to Alley Oop or other newspaper-type comics use of time travel, apparently, as much as the general cultural spread of time travel tropes, in particular the issue of paradoxes, from written SF out to other popular forms.

  14. “Another change that she made was to make the time-machine an interdimensional portal where the other dimensions might have versions of Oop or might have one goofy difference. Then everybody seemed to have time-machines, including ancient tortoises, present-day raccoons, Lady Worthington, and, on Sundays, a little girl who pulls a twelve year-old Alley Oop into the 21st ”

    That could be a very surreal and bizarre absurdism. That actually seems like what the cartoonist is going for but she simply is nowhere nearly clever enough to execute it (although she clearly thinks she is.)

  15. When you take over something with an already established fan base, there are two possible strategies. The first is to do everything as similarly as possible to the original. Then everyone will complain that it’s an unoriginal, pale imitation of what’s already been done before. The second is to make it your own, and carve out a new path. Then everyone will complain that it’s completely lost the genius of the original.

    Honestly, as a fan of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” when they announced the reboot, I fully planned to watch it and to hate it regardless of which strategy was used.

    I thought “The Force Awakens” (strategy 1) was only OK, but it was still much better than “The Phantom Menace” (strategy 2).

  16. Well, now we have something called “Little Oop”, I guess in the spirit of Tiny Toons, Muppet Babies and Little Archie. I sincerely hope it does not follow the Little Archie formula of evil adult villains subjecting little children to horrible tortures.

  17. Really? If Buffy gets a reboot (which seems ill-advised partly due to the inability of recapturing that 90s lightning in a bottle, and partly because the conversation has moved on in part because of Buffy), I’ll certainly watch it, and judge it on its merits – it’ll either be good, or I’ll leave it for the people it’s for, safe in the knowledge that not a frame of the original has been changed,.

  18. I wasn’t a big fan of the original Buffy, so I’m unlikely to tune in a reboot. Urban Fantasy is just not my thing.

  19. @Winter Wallaby When writing is involved, no matter whether it is comics, movies, or books, it is impossible to be exactly like the original writer because no two writers are the same. If you’ve ever read a non-Ian Fleming “James Bond”, you know how true that is. Comics are a different animal in that the main characters are on display day after day (except Prince Valiant or comic books) so it is easy to pick up on any differences. For many decades, when there was a change in the writing chores, there was an attempt to keep as close to the original intent of the creator as much as possible for the fear that subscriber newspapers, who paid the bills, might drop the feature. Some changeovers where successful but others less so. When E.C. Segar died, Bela Zaboly pretty much mimicked his art but Tom Sims never came close as a writer of the strip. In a similar manner, George Wunder was a master cartoonist whose art on “Terry” was as good as Caniff’s (IMO) but, try as he might to imitate Caniff’s banter, he fell short. The ultimate test, though, was never that the writing was exactly like the creator but that it was entertaining in some manner so that the reader would still come back. In a strip like LOA, where Harold Gray had a unique writing style that was impossible for anyone to replicate, there were a number of creative teams that failed to even come close and the number of papers carrying the strip dropped until the strip was terminated. After a successful musical and film, CTNYN resurrected the strip and brought in a top-notch cartoonist, Leonard Starr. HIs “Annie” was very little like Gary’s but Starr’s version was certainly entertaining and well -done. It didn’t succeed because Starr tried to ape; it succeeded because his stories were fun to read.

    For the most part, the strips that have seen recent changes in the creative teams have been long-running features that have seen several different teams over the years. When making decisions about a new team taking over, the syndicate suits have tended to lean towards artists / writers that are deemed “edgy” because keeping the dwindling newspaper readership happy is no longer important and the hope that they can hold younger online readers. To say that “Oop” fans can’t accept fundamental changes is simplistic and unfair but going in a new direction doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with looking at where Lemon / Sayers is going.

    Let’s use the last story as an example because of the strip posted above. The story began when on 2/22, Doc Wonmug receives an invitation to a “gathering of geniuses”. Doc, Oop, and Ooola decide to attend although they have no idea of what the gathering is about. Even though they can travel literally anywhere at any time, they opt to use a jitney so that a previous joke about Oop hating to travel on a bus can be repurposed. They end up at the mansion of Lady Worthington who is fabulously wealthy (another reason for the above joke about stealing Wonmug’s wallet not making sense). She explains to the assembled geniuses that they have been invited to her home so that they can help her find her missing keys and in the very next panel, Oop pulls the missing keys out of a dresser. (just giving a plot synopsis shows how stupid the writing is) Mrs. Worthington invites the geniuses to stay the night because “it would be difficult to arrange transportation.” None of the geniuses drove to the gathering? Uber and Lyft don’t service the exclusive neighborhoods? On 3/6, over dinner, Lady W. is about to tell the assembled that there is another reason that there is another reason she summoned the group when the lights go out and, when restored, there is a butcher knife sticking in her back. Rather than calling the police, Doc decides to use the time-cube to go back before her murder to see who the fiend is. But the cube fails to work because it is being affected by a “Faraweek cage”, an interdimensional version of the “Faraday cage” which blocks electromagnetic waves. A nearly two-week hunt for the Faraweek cage ends when they find the cage in a room labeled, of all things, the “cage room”. They disable it carefully because if they cut the wrong wire (all of them are an identical green color) they will blow up the entire multiverse. Sayers though seems to not understand that the cage )two examples we encounter every day – elevators and microwaves) has to enclose the waves in order to contain them so that the cage would have to completely enclose the house to neutralize the geniuses’ devices. Over the next few days, the invention of the other geniuses (I guess only inventors can be geniuses) are tried but are ineffective to solving the crime. So it is left to Wonmug to use his time-cube to go back and stop the murder. But that is a major deviation from the basic tenets of the strip. Since the first time-travel in 1939, a basic premise has been that a person could go back in time but could not effect events that were bound to happen. Here, though, Sayers shows that it can be done as they see the butler about to kill Lady W. and stop him. But did Sayers think about what this time-trip suggests? I mean, if they can stop an ordinary person from being killed, why can’t they go back and stop Lincoln from being killed, prevent the start to World War I, or warn Pearl Harbor of the coming attack? Change can be good but when it is as poorly thought out as this, it isn’t very good? The last few weeks (!) of this story involve a bunch of tired jokes with Wonmug sending the butler to a universe of only butlers (how exactly would that work) and the heroic trio finding out that the butler was hired from “Homme Aside” butler service agency. Get it – “homme aside” – hardy, har, har.

    Sorry to be so long winded for those who followed this to the end but the strip has veered far away to being a bad gag-a-day strip. The heroes are no longer heroic and a good deal of the jokes are based on the characters, even the genius Wonmug, not being very bright. The inter-dimensional aspect of the strip has added nothing to the strip except for confusion because it seems woefully random. There is no longer any dramatic conflict between the main characters and any opponent or obstacle so the action level as dropped to zero. Factor in rather poor artwork, although not nearly as bad as some of the other reboots, and it is an absolute mess. And I haven’t even mentioned the abysmal Sunday strip, “Little Oop” who has been stuck in the 21st century for well over a year.

  20. a “Faraweek cage”, an interdimensional version of the “Faraday cage”

    Ha! It must have seven times the dimensionality!

  21. Urban Variable: I was being a little tongue in cheek. If they make the reboot, I’ll watch it, and hope for the best. But I was a pretty big fan of the first show, and it’s hard for me to see how they’ll do it in a way that I’ll find satisfying. I don’t think I can purely “judge it on its own merits,” if by that you mean not comparing it to the original. If it’s set in the same universe, and based on the same premises, it’s going to be hard to not compare it to the original.

    The reboot was announced three years ago, and I haven’t heard much about it since, so maybe it’s not happening anyway.

  22. I was thinking that for instance both versions of Battlestar Galactica have their charms (at least if you were exposed to the 1970s version the first time around), but they’re very different shows.

    I just don’t know what a remade Buffy would have to say in 2021, but I’m willing to find out if it ever happens.

  23. Sure, if I don’t like it I’ll probably stop after the first season.

    Star Trek nostalgia got me through a season for Picard and a season of Discovery, then I stopped watching.

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