A Day to Celebrate

The Fall of the Berlin Wall, 9. November 1989

(photo source)

I was still to young to really understand what’s going on back then, though.

Sandra and Woo causes black hole at the LHC

Our reader Frank posted this shocking news article in the comment section of today’s strip and I believe everyone should read it:

By Frank Hightower, Fanfic News

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) has long been feared for its ability to create microscopic black holes. This morning (Central European Standard Time), they have succeeded in doing so. Except that it was done by accident.

Karl Pierrot, Junior Researcher at CERN, was starting a typical day, checking the news and the comics on his computer while sipping coffee. Something he saw made him laugh so hard, he spewed coffee over his keyboard. Before he knew it, the LHC was starting a non-programmed experiment! “The LHC is a complicated piece of machinery,” explained Pierrot to the press; “you can’t just shut it off it starts up by mistake.”

Pierrot managed to disconnect his computer from the network before further uncontrolled orders were sent to the LHC, but the particles were already accelerating to near-light speed.

Pierrot’s supervisors, Doctors Jason Hawkings and Steve Bekenstein (unrelated to the world-famous physicists), hurried to the scene when they heard what was happening. Before their eyes, the computer’s data showed the few sub-atomic particles that were being accelerated by the collider, being turned into something with apparently infinite gravity: a microscopic black hole.

“I wouldn’t say the black hole just appeared,” declared Dr. Bekenstein to the press. “It was more a matter of a transition from a tiny star into something that could no longer support its own gravity… despite being smaller than a grain of sand.”

The Black Hole managed to “eat” a detector from the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), whereupon it “grew” to what the Doctors call “macroscopic proportions”: about one ten-thousandth of a grain of sand.

When asked about what he was reading that made him spill the coffee beans, Pierrot replied. “Sandra and Woo; it was a pretty good joke… though I don’t think my maman [French for “mother”] would appreciate it.” Sandra and Woo is a webcomic. Like the famous Calvin and Hobbes, it’s about a young child who has a pet, which only that child knows can talk. Unlike Calvin and Hobbes, Sandra’s pet is not a stuffed toy, but a real-live raccoon.

When asked if they were going to take legal action against “Sandra and Woo’s” creators, Doctor Hawkings responded, “Now, now. I think they actually did us a favor: we never thought we’d get micro- black holes this early on.” There is, however, the potential false advertising. “Sandra and Woo” claims to be safe for the workplace… ANY workplace.

If nothing else happens, the Black Hole is expected to disappear via Hawking Radiation by Thursday; when the next “Sandra and Woo” strip is scheduled to go up. However, fears that it may grow again rise everytime the Black Hole nears one of the four detectors in its journey through the collider. The Government of France is pressing Switzerland to admit the blackhole was created on the part of the collider on their side of the border. Apparently, the French Ministère de la Science et Technologie fears it may become a bigger threat.

“Threat?” asked Berkenstein when confronted with this possibility. “Well, the Black Hole HAS caused… er… considerable damage to the CMS, and that HAS delayed further experiments by another couple of years. However, black holes are inherently unstable, so the Black Hole will literally be short-lived. And the discoveries to be made from it far outbalance the near-impossible threat of it… er… getting out of the collider.”

The Government of Switzerland, on the other hand, is considering the evacuation of the area around the collider. It is also pressing “Sandra and Woo’s“ IRC chat to reveal the identity of Pokefan Frank and Birone, who on October 17 encouraged Oliver Knörzer (writer for “Sandra and Woo”) to publish “the strip after halloween” despite considering this possibility.


The Webcomic List Awards 2009

The nomination period for the most important webcomic award has begun today, the The Webcomic List Awards 2009 by the webcomic directory of the same name.

The Webcomic List Awards

After the Webcartoonist’s Choice Awards got cancelled earlier this year I proposed the initiation of a new general award for webcomics at the TWCL discussion forum. I am particularly happy that we managed to keep the number of different award categories pretty low so that only the best webcomics have the chance of winning an award. Webcomics can be nominated in the following 12 categories:

  • Best Comic
  • Best Writing
  • Best Colour Art
  • Best Black and White Art
  • Best Non-Traditional Art
  • Best New Comic
  • Most Improved Comic
  • The Innovation Award
  • Best Gag-a-day
  • Best Long Form
  • Best Lead Character
  • Best Supporting Character

The categories written in bold are the categories for which I will be one of the judges. The winners of each award category will be determined by several jury members among the 5 webcomics that will have received the most nominations during the nomination period. Not everybody can nominate webcomics, though, only other webcartoonists can do that (see the details on the nomination form) to ensure that Penny Arcade won’t get the most nominations by default ;-). Since I am part of the jury, all nominations for Sandra and Woo will be discarded. So don’t bother nominating it for any category.

So if you are a webcomic creator or otherwise involved in webcomics it would be cool if you would participate in the TWCL Awards and nominate your personal favorites. Since the vote is not open to the public, every nomination has a particular strong weight and can make the difference.

Cameos, suspicious girls and kinky pumpkins

Woo has made a small cameo in the latest strip of Scotty Arsenault’s webcomic Commander Kitty. However, he’s a little hard to identify since he is wearing clothes and is only seen as a silhouette. The strip also mentions one of mankind’s greatest inventions previously celebrated in our strip “The New Toy”: Bubble wrap! 😉

Woo’s cameo at Commander Kitty

While browsing the web I have found this hilarious photo of a very suspicious looking young girl in front of a house fire that apparently shows Larisa in her early years. Her hairstyle and -color might have changed since then, but obviously not her character. I think her smile in this photo is at least as mysterious as the one of the Mona Lisa. 😉

Larisa in her early years

Some weeks ago I was visiting the enormous baroque garden of the Ludwigsburg Palace. There was currently a big pumpkin exhibition going on and I managed to make some nice photos, but not really front page material except for the following one. I think these are supposed to be snakes, but they sure look like something else. 😉 (Click to enlarge!)

Kinky pumpkins

A short look into the future

Sandra and Woo is celebrating its first birthday on Monday and we are very happy that our webcomic has been so successful (around 5,000 visitors on update days), especially considering that it updates only twice a week and that it’s not directed at any particular target audience.

Regular readers may have already noticed it: There are more strips with Sandra (73 at the moment) than strips with Woo (61 at the moment). Since Woo is the second main character it will always be my goal that he appears in at least half of all new strips. A significant higher number is rather unlikely, though, since I’m currently having trouble to come up with ideas for strips featuring Shadow and Sid, Woo’s personal buddies, compared to strips featuring Cloud and Larisa, Sandra’s personal buddies.

Sandra then and Sandra now

If you have a look at these two cut-outs out of the 2nd and the 103rd strip, you can see a significant size difference between Sandra then and Sandra now. One could probably say she has gotten one year older as well. In the beginning I was not yet sure about the exact age of Sandra and her friends, but in the meantime I have settled that they should be 11 years old, with Larisa being almost 12. I think that this age, in which children might act very childish at one moment and already very much like an adult at the next one, has a lot of potential for humor. I also think that this age is often neglected in other comics where you either have children younger than 10 or teenagers older than 13.

Oh, and I am not that happy that “cute” is so often the first adjective used by readers on other message boards or blogs to describe Sandra and Woo. So prepare yourself to see more controversial (not necessarily political) strips in the future; many of them featuring Larisa, maybe the only girl in the world of comics whose parents are jealous of Calvin’s parents to have such an easy-to-handle son. *g*