472: House of Pancakes
|House of Pancakes|
Title text: Fuck it, I'm just going to Waffle House.
Randall is parodying Mark Z. Danielewski's epistolary novel House of Leaves by renaming it House of Pancakes (after the American fast food franchise International House of Pancakes). House of Leaves has an unconventional page layout and style, including the colouring of every instance of the word "house" in blue, as is done on the menu. It includes footnotes within footnotes like Randall did here.
In House of Leaves, protagonist Johnny Truant (whose meta-narration is marked by Courier font as mimicked in the comic) discovers a book called The Navidson Record (represented here by the pancake menu), which in turn details a film of the same name, which in turn details a horror story of a family living in a sentient house. Truant, who is clearly intelligent and cultured, probes deeper into notating The Navidson Record—and into insomnia—until The Navidson Record consumes his mind horrifically, the same way the film in the novel consumed the author of The Navidson Record, the same way the house in the novel consumed part of the family.
House of Leaves lends itself to many interpretations, but has been called a "satire of academic criticism," which makes this comic essentially a satire of a satire. Since part of the appeal of House of Leaves is that it takes itself extremely seriously with its intricacy, multitude of both real and made-up references to academic and popular culture, and layered emotional conflict, Randall's reduction of the House of Leaves to the (International) House of Pancakes cuts a humorous edge to a dark story. The tone of the comic parodies the tone of House of Leaves: lonely, fear-inducing, and increasingly insane, but using pancakes instead of darkness.
Additionally, the mysterious "Mohawk Girl" referred to in the comic may be a nod to the House of Leaves character Delial, or to comic 147.
The word "house" is in blue in every instance, which is a stylistic attribute of Mark Z. Danielewski's novel. Every Minotaur reference is marked out in red ink, and every use of "house" or a foreign language's equivalent, such as 'haus' and 'maison' is in blue. This is not a reference to hyperlinks. It is often thought that the house is printed in blue because houses have 'blueprints.'
The censored portion of the Big Steak Omelette is "...fresh green peppers, onions, mushrooms,..." per IHOP's website for the Big Steak Omelette: "Tender and tasty strips of steak, hash browns, fresh green peppers, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and Cheddar cheese." Also, Omelette is misspelled, but that's probably just a typo.
The title text refers to the Waffle House, another US restaurant chain. The joke is that the protagonist has decided that maybe all this angst isn't worth it, and he'll just go to a different restaurant.
Clicking on the original comic links to the amazon.com page for House of Leaves.
- [All instances of the word "House" are in blue.]
- [Every day a new city, a new IHOP. And yet every night the dreams get worse. I ply the highways, a nervous eye on the rear-view mirror, the back seat piled with stolen menus. Their doors are opened 24 hours, but forever closed to my soul. This is what my life has become. This is my hell.]
- [Sidenote left: International] House of Pancakes
- [Scribbled-out sidenote right: BLOGSPOT] Strawberry Banana Pancakes Four pancakes filled with sliced fresh banana and crowned with cool strawberry topping, more  bananas and  whipped topping.
-  Driven by a nameless fear, a whisper in the dark behind me, I flee ahead of I know not what. Whenver I turn, there's nobody behind me. And yet someone is clearly stealing the ketchup. WHY? (The footnote is covered in fingerprints.)
-  My life is feeding, fleeing, fighting, and forgetting. (The above note is sandwiched in sideways in between the Stuffed French Toast and Ham and Egg Melt.)
- [Rooty Jr. A kids only  version of our house signature Rooty Tooty. One scrambled egg, one strip of bacon, one pork sausage link and one fruit-topped buttermilk pancake.]
-  The decision not to hyphenate "kids only" is likely connected to the omission of the serial comma. I wonder if the author is British. I wonder if he sleeps at night. (The following passages are have a red substance underneath them, probably ketchup.)
- [Rise 'N Shine Two eggs, toast and hash browns served with your choice  of two strips of bacon or two pork sausage links.]
-  (illegible) rent a storage unit. Sleep there. Fill it with pancakes. Leave.
- [Stuffed French Toast Cinnamon raisin French  toast stuffed with sweet cream cheese filling, topped with cool strawberry or your choice of fruit compote and whipped topping.]
-  Nightmares again. I wake up covered in sweat, and what appears to be a thin sheen of maple syrup
- (Handwritten, underlined) WHO IS MOHAWK GIRL?
- [Slanted 90 degrees left] Ham & Egg Melt Grilled sourdough bread stuffed with ham, scrambled eggs, Swiss and American cheeses.  (At normal orientation)
-  Ordered this in at an IHOP in Rochester, New York. There was blood on the floor. Some of it was mine.
- (Comic strip) Enough with your pancakes. Enough with your GOD DAMN pancakes.
- [The Big Steak Omlette Tender strips of steak, hash browns, (redacted) tomatoes and Cheddar cheese. Served  with house salsa.]
-  Woke up in Las Vegas. They're closing the Star Trek Experience today. The IHOP up the strip had pancake platters named after various states. None of them sounded like home.
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