820: Five-Minute Comics: Part 2

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Five-Minute Comics: Part 2
Dear Wiccan readers: I understand modern Wiccans are not usually all about the curses and hexes. But Darth Vader was recently converted from Episcopalianism and he's still figuring it all out.
Title text: Dear Wiccan readers: I understand modern Wiccans are not usually all about the curses and hexes. But Darth Vader was recently converted from Episcopalianism and he's still figuring it all out.


This is the second of three "five-minute comics" Randall posted during a week in November 2010. The introduction to the comic explains everything you need to know about the circumstances behind it.

Randall obviously made more than three of these five minutes comics, and one of them was published later, for a short period of time by a mistake, but an android xkcd browser picked it up while it was on-line and saved it. Since then it has been added to explain xkcd. So here is a complete list of all four comics in the entire Five-minute comics series:

Here is a list with explanations for each of the small comics:

  1. The first comic pokes fun at improbable conspiracy theories. The grassy knoll is a location famous among conspiracy theorists who believe it to be the location of an unknown accomplice in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It turns out that, somehow, this will all lead up to a theory that perfectly explains the September 11 attacks.
  2. When a woman described as having a "glow" about them, it's usually just a vague sentiment of attractiveness, specifically during pregnancy, which here very suddenly reaches its conclusion as a baby is unceremoniously plopped into the world.
  3. "Cogito ergo sum" is philosophical statement in Latin, formulated by René Descartes, translated as "I think, therefore I am". Descartes wanted to build a philosophy from scratch, starting with something he could be absolutely certain of. "Cogito ergo cogito", is Latin for "I think, therefore I think." This can even beat "cogito ergo sum" in uncontroversiality; it is a tautology, which is why the off-screen character describes it as "playing it safe."
  4. The comic on the far right is a reference to trick or treating, a major part of the modern Halloween holiday. Children go from door to door saying, "Trick or treat?". The trick is a non-serious threat to play a trick on the person if no treat is provided (but see also Mischief Night). Normally, the person at the home then gives them candy (a treat) as a response. Here, a Megan-like character, possible Danish, visits nightmares upon small children by gifting them blood. The feat of turning things into blood has been previously mentionned in 812: Glass.
  5. To bail out of a plane means to escape the plane, usually via the cockpit's eject mechanism. To bail out a boat means to manually drain water coming onto the ship with buckets. The pilots here have confused the two, although if a plane was somehow taking on a large amount of water, bailing out that water would be a reasonable course of action.[citation needed]
  6. Sometimes, TV shows will tell true stories while playing up the drama angle for ratings purposes. In these cases, they will often air a notice similar to "The following program is a dramatization of real events" before the show, to indicate that the story they're about to tell is true, albeit not as a literally accurate retelling of events. Here, the disclaimer is technically true, although the events are normally devoid of any drama whatsoever. To add some, Cueball is screaming.
  7. Black lights are a kind of lamp that filters out sub-purple light. This means that the only light it gives off is a small amount of purple light, plus plenty of ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light is invisible to humans, but it is noticeable in a few ways; it hurts the eyes, which is why it's hard to focus on things under a black light; it causes sunburns, although the amount given off by a black light is far too insignificant to do this in a realistic time; and it causes a fluorescence reaction in semen, urine, some food stains, and dust making them appear to glow, which is why the robes look dirty. As such, a "blacklightsaber" would, indeed, be a bad idea. It also causes a fluorescent reaction in clothes washed with common washing detergents (which contain brightening agents Optical Brighteners) - most notably white cotton, which is why it has been used in discothèques, because of the way people in white T-shirts will light up. Interestingly, there is a "Black Lightsaber" in Star Wars canon; a unique, one-of-a-kind weapon known as the Darksaber.
  8. Most judicial systems have a jury, a panel of impartial laypeople that, primarily, determines the guilt or innocence of a suspected criminal. "Ladies and gentlemen" is a formal way of addressing a crowd, and so Cueball addresses the jury as "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury". However, it turns out the jury consists only of women, so the "gentlemen" part is not needed. This poses a problem to Cueball's defense, which apparently relied on somewhat sexist tactics. This, sadly, is not too uncommon in real life.
  9. The commander's first line is a line from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. In the original film, the commander was cut off by Darth Vader using the Force to strangle him, delivering the rebuttal "I find your lack of faith disturbing." Instead of belief in the Force as in the movie, the "ancient religion" referred to here is actually Wicca, a modern pagan religion with two deities that is most notable for practicing magic, and is related to voodoo. So, naturally, Darth Vader puts a hex on the commander's family. (Although, to modify a quote from the Internet, Wiccans hexing you as punishment is like a hippie threatening to punch you in your aura.)

The title text notes that modern Wiccans don't really practice the whole "putting hexes on people" thing, which is true. Episcopalianism probably refers to the Episcopal Church of the United States, which was founded during the American Revolution to replace the Church of England in the colonies.


Because of a family illness, instead of regular comics, this week I'll be sharing some strips that I drew as part of a game I played with friends. Each comic had to be written and drawn in five minutes.
Comic #1
[A ninja is hiding under a diving board as a man runs along it.]
[The man jumps on the end of the board and hits the ninja in the head, knocking him into the pool.]
[The ninja floats in the water. A bullet passes through the man's head.]
[The man is lying bleeding on the diving board, the ninja is still unconscious on the pool.]
[A sniper is at the top of a hill. The sign in front of the hill says "Grassy Knoll".]
[Someone is pointing at the diagram of the previous panel.]
Off-panel voice: Wait, so what does this have to do with 9/11, again?
Cueball: I said I'm getting there!
Comic #2
[Cueball is studying Megan.]
Cueball: You look different.
Cueball: You have this... glow about you.
[They stare in silence.]
[A baby falls out of Megan.]
Comic #3
Megan: Cogito ergo cogito.
Off-panel voice: Playing it safe, huh?
Comic #4
[Two children dressed up as ghosts are standing in front of Megan at a door, each carrying a bag.]
Children: Trick or treat!
[Megan doesn't move.]
Child: Um hi. Why are you just standing there?
Other Child: Candy?
[Another silent panel as the children stare up at Megan.]
[The second child looks in their bag.]
Other Child: Oh God, my bag of candy.
Other Child: It's filling with blood.
Child: We should go.
Comic #5
[A jet is flying across the panel.]
Pilot: Bail out! Bail out! Bail out!
[The pilot and copilot have buckets, and are bailing water out of the cockpit.]
Comic #6
The following is a dramatization of real events.
[Cueball is at a counter, with several jars.]
Cueball: AAAAAAAAAAAAA I'm making a sandwich! AAAAAAAAAA!
Comic #7
[Two people are carrying lightsabers and wearing robes.]
Cueball: Oh God, my eyes won't focus right! And your robe looks... really dirty!
My blacklightsaber was not a success.
Comic #8
[Cueball is standing.]
Cueball: Ladies and gentlemen of the jury...
Off-screen voice: It seems we happen to be all ladies, actually.
Cueball: ...in that case, this defense is going to appear extremely ill-advised.
Comic #9
[Darth Vader is sitting between two people, at a table.]
Cueball: Your sad devotion to that ancient religion hasn't helped you conjur up the stolen data tapes, or given you—
Darth Vader: HEY. Wicca is a legitimate belief system!
[Darth Vader is drawing a pentagram on the table.]
Cueball: What are you—
Darth Vader: Putting a hex on your family.

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I don't know. I think the buckets in the Bailout comic are full of money. That's what I saw anyway. I think it's a political reference to throwing money at problems, which is also colloquially referred to as a "Bailout." 15:26, 27 July 2013 (UTC)

Not everything is a political jab. Also money wouldn't be represented (even in this stylised case) as circular globs of randoms sizes. So yeah, it's probably water or some other fluid.Pennpenn (talk) 04:53, 30 January 2014 (UTC)

The whole "Dirty Robes" could also be a play on a masturbation joke as semen and other fluids will become visible under a blacklight. -- Para (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I think that is almost certainly the intended meaning. The phrase 'really dirty' would have a double meaning (unclean and/or rude), and the pause is the character either:
  • Realising mid-sentence what the 'dirt' is
  • Trying to decide whether to mention the 'dirt'
  • Trying to find the politest way of pointing it out.
Anyone disagree? --Pudder (talk) 16:03, 18 November 2014 (UTC)

Episcopalians don't generally go for curses and hexes either. 02:34, 3 September 2015 (UTC)

Also, it should be noted that the commander's characterization of Wicca as an "ancient" religion is in error as Wicca dates back only 100 years to the 1920's (talk) 17:03, 8 March 2020 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Wicca precedes Xtianity, so no. -- The Cat Lady (talk) 15:19, 20 August 2021 (UTC)

Witchcraft traditions pre-date Christianity, but Wicca does not: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Wicca L-Space Traveler (talk) 12:09, 5 November 2022 (UTC)

Am I the only one that sees a connection between comic 6 and the sudo make me a sandwich comic? (talk) 22:30, 11 April 2023 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

What in the world does "cogito ergo cogito" mean?! Z1mp0st0rz (talk) 17:31, 29 April 2024 (UTC)

if you had read the explanation, maybe you would’ve found out. 42.book.addict (talk) 18:04, 29 April 2024 (UTC)
(inhales) will you
leave me alone Z1mp0st0rz (talk) 19:20, 29 April 2024 (UTC)
Questions are good, Z1m. But you do tend to make statements or questions already well covered. Perhaps if you could indicate where the explanation fails to help, rather than looking vague and as if you haven't even tried to read what is there.
Taking a deep breath and pausing beforehand may be better than saving it up until now. 20:29, 29 April 2024 (UTC)