409: Electric Skateboard (Double Comic)
|Electric Skateboard (Double Comic)
Title text: Unsafe vehicles, hills, and philosophy go hand in hand.
This comic is an affectionate parody of Calvin and Hobbes, a newspaper comic drawn by Bill Watterson that ran for ten years from November 1985 to December 1995. Calvin and Hobbes follows the daily life of a rambunctious, precocious six-year-old named Calvin and his sarcastic stuffed tiger Hobbes. The artwork in the second strip is distinctly Wattersonian as well. This comic could be referencing the typical Sunday strip format of having a top line of "throwaway panels" that had a one-off gag before the rest of the strip, which was more detailed. This was an effect of Sunday strip formatting in newspapers, where individual newspaper often lopped off the top one-third of the comic to save space. Thus, strip creators had to use the top panels on throwaway gags or else the readers of a space-saving newspaper would be missing key parts of the strip.
Calvin and Hobbes is also referenced in 529: Sledding Discussion.
Randall has a special fascination with motorized skateboards. A longboard is a skateboard that is longer, used for downhill races, and skating through less urban areas (college campuses, for example).
Mario Kart is a game series for Nintendo game consoles that allows four players to race each other while having good spirited fun like at 290: Fucking Blue Shells while throwing items at each other. The objects in the fourth panel are Koopa shells, items in the game. They can be thrown like projectiles to crash into foes: green in a straight line, red homing onto the racer directly in front. They also come in single and triple varieties. In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, two racers occupy the same vehicle, with each possessing their own item slot (in contrast with most games in the series, in which a single vehicle can only have a single item ready, and must use it to obtain another). This is reflected in the drawing of Cueball and Megan together on the electric longboard, with Megan using a Red Shell and Cueball holding the triple Green Shells.
Calvin and Hobbes frequently involves heavy philosophical discussions. In one recurring theme, they ride down a dangerous hill in a red wagon or toboggan while discussing the nature of morality, usually ending in a crash (examples   ). This comic inverts that by having Cueball and Megan go uphill while discussing philosophy. Naturally, they collide with Calvin and Hobbes' wagon - which prompts the title text.
Cueball uses the C and Python programming languages as analogies for their ride. In general, Python is easier than C and abstracts a lot of C's hairier features ("boring parts," as Randall calls them). Moving from C to Python is quite a freeing experience; programmers no longer have to worry about pointers and memory allocation, and it just lets the code flow through the programmer until they are one with the Force. Erm, computer. Although, it seems that - before the crash - the idea that programming in C (and skating without electricity) building character is about to be explored philosophically (building character is also a recurring theme in Calvin and Hobbes, as documented delightfully in the Calvin and Hobbes wiki).
Electric skateboards have been the subject of several other comics like 139: I Have Owned Two Electric Skateboards, a panel in 442: xkcd Loves the Discovery Channel, and the entire The Race five part comic series.
- [Cueball showing off electric skateboard to Megan reading something.]
- Cueball: Check it out! An electric longboard!
- Megan: Sweet!
- [Cueball riding longboard with Megan sitting onboard — people in background.]
- Longboard: RRRR
- [Megan turned around on longboard.]
- Megan: I feel like we're missing something...
- Cueball: Yeah...
- [Cueball holding 3 green Koopa Troopa shells; Megan throwing 1 red Koopa Troopa shell - like Mario Kart.]
- Music Playing
- Longboard: RRRR
- [Cueball and Megan still on longboard, going up an incline.]
- Cueball: Skating uphill like this is amazing. Years of gliding downhill and pushing uphill, and now suddenly it's gliding both ways.
- Longboard: RRRRRRR
- [Cueball and Megan after passing an S-curve and boulder.]
- Cueball: It's like going from C to Python. You don't realize how much time you were spending on the boring parts until you don't have to do them anymore.
- Megan: But coding C or assembly makes you a better programmer. Maybe the boring parts build character.
- [Cueball and Megan on longboard.]
- Cueball: Yeah... but it depends how you want to spend your life. See, my philosophy is-
- [Longboard gets into an accident.]
- [Calvin and Hobbes lying down in the grass near Cueball and Megan lying down in the grass - Calvin and Hobbes's wagon is on the path, as is the longboard - all characters seeing stars.]