1614: Kites

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Kites
[Dog returns with the end of a string in its mouth] [Voice drifts down from the sky] Kites are fun!
Title text: [Dog returns with the end of a string in its mouth] [Voice drifts down from the sky] Kites are fun!

Explanation[edit]

In this comic, we see Megan and Beret Guy both holding on to skyward lines. Megan's line is clearly connected to a kite, and she (like the reader) initially assumes that Beret Guy's line is as well -- only for it to be revealed that he is not holding a line for a kite, but instead the line goes up to a small dog. This move on Randall's part is known as a bait-and-switch, a technique that relies on human intuition and pattern seeking in order to play a trick on the viewer. The 'switch' portion of the bait and switch comes with the added humor of an unconventional dog that flies/floats instead of walking on the ground, so the joke comes as a surprise and with little warning to the reader.

The title text reverses the joke, implying that rather than Beret guy returning to the park with a kite, his dog has returned to the park with Beret Guy flying in the air on the kite (hence he calls down from above that kites are fun).

Beret Guy is generally fond of unconventional approaches to standard conventional issues. It is unclear if he is somehow causing his dog to fly, or if the dog's flight is simply due to its tail wagging rapidly. However, Beret Guy is known to possess several strange powers, of which this could be yet another one. The title text suggests that he does have the ability to fly on the kite himself, and to direct his dog to control the kite as well.

The comic's title is the plural form for "kite". This may be to distinguish this comic from another earlier comic that used the singular form of the word as its title: 235: Kite, or just because at the end of this comic, there are two kites present. In the first Kite comic it was possible for Cueball to climb up the line of his kite, and he thus had the same ability as Beret Guy with a kite.

A kid looking like Megan is also seen with a kite to the left in the game comic 1608: Hoverboard from two weeks earlier; probably not a coincidence. In the same comic Beret Guy is flying down from the sky on a torpedo. Maybe he could just "fly" off before it hits and explodes...

This comic is similar to the "Yo Mama" panel in 1037: Umwelt, where dogs can float and thus need a ballast to be on the ground. It could also be a variation on the joke of walking around with a stiff leash and collar, thus presenting the illusion of walking an invisible dog.

Flying dogs is mentioned in the title text of 1625: Substitutions 2. Although dogs is substituted instead of drones, there may be a reference to this flying dog here...

Beret Guy also has dogs in 1922: Interferometry, and it is possible that one of the dogs in that comic is the same as the one in this one.

Transcript[edit]

[Zoom out of Megan holding on to a long line going up to a kite high op in he air. Beret Guy comes walking in from the right. He is also holding on to a line that goes up in the air with the same slope. But the top of it disappears outside the frame to the right.]
[Zoom in on Megan standing with a roll with the rest of the line, and the line for her kite goes up in the air between her and Beret Guy who has now almost reached her. He is just holding on to the end of the line, with only a small part of the line hanging down below his hands.]
Megan: I love kites.
Beret Guy: Hey, Me too!
[Beret Guy is looking up along his line and takes a better hold on the line.]
Beret Guy: I'll go get mine, once I finish walking my dog!
[Beret Guy begins pulling the line down, rolling it up in one hand, while pulling at it with the other. The line vibrates under this extra tension, shown with lines above and below the line.]
Beret Guy: C'mon boy!
[In a drawing without a frame around it, Beret Guy has pulled in his flying dog (a small white dog with black ears). It still hangs just above head height, wagging its tail happily. The line has now been rolled up and hangs from one of Beret Guys hands, while the other still pulls at the part of the line that is going towards the dog in the sky.]
Dog: Arf arf arf
[Beret Guys takes the dog under his arm, while holding the line in the other hand, and then he walks past Megan who turns to look after him while still holding on to her roll and line to her kite.]


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Discussion

"If you didn't get it right away, and had to read this explanation, I would recommend finding a small dog and trying to fly it like a kite." This explanation made me laugh, kudos to whoever wrote it. NotLock (talk) 06:42, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

(When editing the main article, guys, remember not to overwrite tags. When Transcript text was put in someone squashed both the Incomplete tag and the one for this Discussion... anyway...) Note that it appears the dog isn't 'floating', as described in at least one place, but flying by flapping his (not particularly large) ears. If it were a wagging tail, I wouldn't be so sure (remember the robot dog from Battle Of The Planets?), but ears don't tend to noticably flap like that (when the rest of the body isn't in motion/sitting in a car, poking its head out the window). Of course full Dumbo Ears are far more overscale than these, so maybe the dog has some floating skills, the ears are merely attitude controls. - (And I can't believe I'm now discussing the precise nature of the airworthiness of a dog. Thank you Randall!) 162.158.152.227 09:52, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

That's definitely a wagging tail. Note that in the fourth panel the dog is facing downwards, and in the last panel it is facing to the left. 173.245.54.35 16:47, 9 December 2015 (UTC)
My mistake. At first glance (and, to be honest, second, third and fourth glances, at least) the 'crossed' rear legs looked like a cartoony dog-face, the tail 'flapping ears', the string was tied around the dog's 'waist' and I didn't really look much further (or realise that the dog's head in the next frame was different and more 'realistic', and looked surprisingly like the first dog's (apparent) rear end...) Not helped by there being two 'Arf's at the top-left, making that look like the noisy end of the dog. NVM... 162.158.152.227 23:12, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

there is "it's" abuse here. para 3: "it's mouth." and para 4: "it's title." --141.101.106.233 12:56, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

At first I read "kitties" instead of "kites", maybe because I'm not a native speaker and the first word is more familiar to me. So... I was not really surprised to see a dog, here. Seipas (talk) 13:42, 9 December 2015 (UTC)

My original interpretation of the title text was that the "string" in the dog's mouth was the line connecting the dialog to the characters, e.g. the two lines connecting Megan and Beret Guy's dialog to their characters in the second panel. So the voice drifting down from the sky was literally the words "Kites are fun!" being pulled (perhaps uttered?) by the dog. 108.162.216.8 14:37, 9 December 2015 (UTC)Pat

Is there any direct implication that these objects ("kite" and the dog) are really in the sky? Maybe it was draw like this to trick the readers but instead it is a forced 2D perspective and the dog is just fighting with the Beret Guy? I guess we can also assume that while Beret Guy says "I'll go get mine, once I finish walking my dog!" he actually means it (walking - not flying/floating). 162.158.102.220 01:15, 10 December 2015 (UTC)Tom3k007

The first panel. You can see the land part differ from the sky part.Bentinata (talk) 11:06, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

"That is until the dog comes back with Beret Guy as a kite..." But it's not clear that the dog did come back with Beret Guy. The dog might have been chasing him. The title text does not say the dog has the bottom end of a string (ie, the kite string) in its mouth. Anyway, I don't understand the comic. I don't know what the dog is doing. 198.41.238.32 06:24, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

The title text can implies that the dog come back on the floor with the lowest bit of the string in the mouth and Beret Guy is floating in the air as a Kite (or hooking on the kite) with the other end of the string (reverse position). --162.158.152.119 09:15, 10 December 2015 (UTC)Rayen

The title text appears to contain a somewhat cryptic reference to a very odd song from 1967, Kites Are Fun, by the one-hit-wonder group Free Design. Acelightning (talk) 09:47, 10 December 2015 (UTC)

I was surprised to see Randall's idea actually used in the Peanuts comic of June 6, 1965. The little dog resembles Snoopy, also. 173.245.54.10 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)