This week's panel suggested by Doug Waldron

I know, I know...

Though I agree that divine intervention is just a step above "it was all a dream" on the creative ladder, I felt that Doug's idea was fully justified in this context. After all, when death and vampires collide, can angels and crucifixes be far behind?

As always, suggestions are listed in the order they were received. Thanks for playing and please join us again next Sunday!

Sunday 09/05/1999

Bill Schlimme

  • A robotic pair of scissors reaches out and snips the bungee cord tethering young Carl to the Earth. Carl can say nothing, since in space, no one can hear you scream.
  • Carl, thinking: "Or wait, is the LSD finally kicking in?"
  • Daisy, from the comfort of her spacecraft: "Carl, grab hold!" Carl thinks: "Daisy?"
  • Carl thinks: "Hey, wait a minute: I haven't even died yet! How can my own death be passing before my eyes?" Dad: "There is more to life, my son, than that which you can observe with the naked eye!" Carl: "Huh?"
  • Carl, in limbo (i.e., a black background): "Hey, how'd I get here? Hello? Anybody?"
  • A twenty minute, 2001-style lightshow begins, only ending when Carl is reborn as the StarChild.
  • Carl bursts into flames upon re-entering the atmosphere. Carl: "Flame on!"

adam ford

  • Flashback: Young Carl reaches up to a high shelf (just out of his reach) in his parent's kitchen, on the top shelf is a bottle of (yep) holy water. Carl's Mom & Dad are sitting at the kitchen table in the background, carl's dad (and his mom, if you want) are both doing the classic "Oh no" surprised thing - maybe even an exclamation mark above their heads Young Carl: What's in this bottle, daddy?
  • gonna take a leaf out of winter's booK carl and the lady drink and then dafdskl;jiejaa';d

    thanks for offering one of your copies of UC #211 scott, I was moved. I finally did manage to track one down. cheers. Duck Fat 2 with the McCloud interview should be out by the end of september.

Josiah Rowe

    Darn it! I missed reading last week's suggestions! Now I'll have to wait until Section 4 is finished!

  • Carl wakes up in a hospital. Carl: "Wh... where am I?"
  • Totally black panel. Why not?
  • Totally black panel, with text: "He's coming out of it...", or "I -- I don't believe it! His heart is beating again!" or something like that.
  • Carl: "If I come out of this alive, I'm never going to drink and drive again!"
  • Gray, blurry vision of doctors and nurses bending over Carl. One might be saying, "I think he's going to make it!"
  • Caption: "Later..." Carl is appearing on a daytime TV show. The earnest host or hostess leans towards him, and says, "Can you tell us about your near-death experience?" or "Tell us what it was like to be clinically dead."
  • I still think we could have Carl's dad appear, saying "I am thy father's spirit, doomed for a certain term to walk the night..."
  • God appears, saying: "Damn it, Carl! You're not supposed to die for at least three panels!"
  • Daisy stands by Carl's grave, tears in her eyes. "If only..." she sobs.
  • Neil Gaiman's Death appears. "Hi, Carl!" (Well, Neil already wrote a panel of CYOC, so I don't think he'd mind *too* much...)

Josiah Rowe

    But wait... there's more! This offer not available in stores. Call 1-800-RIP-CARL today. Operators are standing by. (Did you ever want to call up and tell the operators to sit down?)

  • We probably want to introduce Carl's dad for the sake of people coming to this panel from Section 2, so: Carl (in a black limbo, for setting purposes) turns around: "Dad? Is that you?" The figure of his father is seen only from behind, which sets us up for whatever happpens to Vampire-Dad in the next panel to the right. (If we've come to this panel from Section 3 above, we assume he's having a hallucination and is confused.)
  • Dad: "That was what it was like for me at the end, too."
  • Dad: "Did you see that baseball game I took you to when you were 8?"
  • Carl walks towards the Pearly Gates. Standing next to them are his mother and father. Carl: "Mom? Dad? Is that you?"
  • Caption: "Later..." Carl's body is on an autopsy table. Daisy, distraught, is standing next to Carl's body, with a police officer. Daisy: "Yes, officer... that's him... *SOB*!"
  • Carl: "We must be running out of money! I'm having a clip show!"
  • Carl: "...and it's only the four-panel version!"
  • Carl: "I'd hope this was just a dream, but I know that's forbidden!"
  • The Microsoft Monster has embraced Carl with its tentacles -- all the last several panels have been hallucinations. "Little does he realize I am feeding off his life force, his memories, his blood-alcohol content! Bwa-ha-ha!" gloats the Windows-only monstrosity.
  • We see Carl wearing a straightjacket, sitting in a rubber room. Two white-coated doctors are looking in at him through a large window. One doctor says to the other, "He keeps saying he's come back from the dead!"

Jesse Rimler

    Hey Scott! I’d just like to say that I had a great time in San Diego, I’m glad I had a chance to meet you. Your workshop was great, I only wish you could have had some more time to express your opinions and ideas (I guess that’s what Reinventing Comics is for!). Watching you play a game of chess with a fellow Carl poster (you know who you are) was also a treat.

  • Man! This could be the hardest panel to suggest for yet…All I can think of is a panel with an outline of Carl drawn against the heavens, with him thinking something dopey like “I am one with the universe”. Sorta mock spiritual, but that’s all I have. C’mon, this is tricky stuff!

    I’ve come up with an idea that deals with Choosing Your Own Carl and I thought I would share it with my fellow Carl posters. I’m not sure if people do this already but I’ll share it anyway. Since the Carl’s Big Big Picture is now pretty dang big, the suggestions are getting harder and harder to make because all the plot lines (!) need to be thought of to post a panel idea. This is hard in itself, but because of the divisions of sections, remembering what has come before is a little confusing. To make sure your idea works, sometimes you need to click back and forth through sections and tie them together in your mind. It can be difficult to keep the threads in track. That’s why I thought of something that I like to call “Paste Your Own Carl”. To do this, you need to use the “print screen” button, located on your keyboard. (Just to let you know, I use a PC, not a Mac.) Here’s what you do: Go to a section, scroll to the part you want and press the “print screen” key. Now you will have whatever is on the screen saved on your clipboard and ready to be pasted into an art program. (I paste it into Microsoft Paint, possibly the crappiest art program on the face of the ear! th, but it works for me.) Now, go to another section and “print screen” it, and now you can hook the 2 sections (or parts of sections) together allowing you to have a continuous stream of Carl, zooming in on a section of the Big Big Picture like you couldn’t before. Here’s what it looks like: Also, keep in mind that you can hook as many sections together as you want. Neat, huh? What do you think?

[It's a good idea. One of these days, I hope to create pdf files of the big board and then people could download, print and assemble it and then paste individual panels as they come out. Seeing it all at once is the ideal, but monitor technology renders that impractical -- for now. --Scott]

Travis W. Howard

    [Insert obligatory Thank You speech ala jeffjohns here.. :)] Just wanted to say nice work on presenting the panels in new ways.. any chance we might see an animated Carl strip sometime in the future?

  • [Carl thinking, confused look on his face] Waitaminute, that's not *MY* life!
  • [Carl sitting in a recliner, watching his life flash before his eyes, drinking a beer, maybe eating pretzels] Cool!!
  • (John Byrne retcon alert :P)[Carl sees a flashback of his dad as a vampire] HEY! I don't remember that!
  • [Bald Carl with tube sticking out of the back of his head, ala The Matrix] Where am I?!
  • [Carl thinking] Wish I had gotten to see my dad.. [Off panel voice, god-like lettering or word balloon] Very well.
  • [Carl-B shows up, inexplicably] Need some help?
  • [Monolith from 2001 in background] Panel reads: And thus, Carl was zapped back to earth.. but WHICH earth?
  • [Enter Superguy] [who looks suspiciously like Carl's Dad in a cape] Er, hi, need some help?
  • [Enter The Energizer Bunny] [Carl thinking] Well, how about that?! It DOES go on and on and *choke* *gasp*
  • [Carl with bubbles around head, and a *hic* balloon] Wow, my life never looked so good through beer goggles!

    I'm 2 sites behind so here's one until I can get mine up and running:

Travis Pelkie

    Hey, I just got back to school. I also just realized that I was the one who (sorta) called for Carl's dad to appear, and for all the confusion that's occurred since, I apologize. Although now I can pretend that I is a real comical book riter (sic, in more ways than one.)

  • Carl sez, gee, what would dad do in this situation? Probably drink.
  • on the same note, Carl looks at his "WWDD" bracelet, and sez, hmm, a drink is what I need.
  • Or you could get really multimedia by including a sound clip of Carl's mom or dad telling him to take a swig o' holy water. or do it without sound, I don't care.
  • or carl remembers an ancient eskimo legend, written on whatever it is that write on up there, that if anyone ever goes flying off a bungee cord off the end of a bridge, the only way to stay alive is to go trudging across the tundra, mile after mile, to Saint Alphonso's Holy Water Emporium and drive thru pharmacy.
  • or else Carl uses Impact as a way to bring back Archie superheroes no one really wanted back, but comics fans got, sigh, Joe Quesadilla (HAHA) out of the deal. For that he must drink holy water, or something, I didn't get much sleep last night, sorry.

    Enough of that. What's this about Larry Marder and Valentino? Are they leaving Image, or something? If they are, you think at some point, when all the comic books in the universe are published by the same conglomerate, that all the original Image guys will be together again. Sorry, again, little sleep, which is why I didn't get riled up about someone in my graphic design history course suggesting that comics artists aren't quite as good or talented as "professional" graphic designers. Oh well, WE know better, right?

[For those who haven't heard, Jim is taking over for Larry (though I don't think it'll be exactly the same job) and Larry will be just handling Todd M.'s affairs exclusively from now on. --Scott]

Mike Sugarbaker

  • Carl's bungie cord snaps, and he drifts through the open hatch of the now-abandoned Mir space station. (I mean, presumably they'd been keeping some Holy Water aboard just in case something REALLY bad happened.)'ve-burst-into-flame

Christopher Woerner

  • Dad as a vamipire bat flies in. Carl says "Oh no! I'm remembering when Dad became a vampire!"
  • Carl crashes through a sattelite that's carrying holy water. Afterwards, the Dad Vampire appears, and since Carl's on drugs, the holy water should look in all pretty colors next to such a foul beastie as a vampire.

Rosa Clements

  • Daisy comes out of a gateway to a parallel universe and says: "Quick, Carl, come over here"
  • Daisy pops out of Carl's thought bubble and pulls him into it (Carl is trapped in his own imagination)
  • While his life is flashig before him, Carl realises that he is actually a possessed worm sent on a mission to Earth
  • Carl suddenly becomes a beautiful butterfly
  • Carl realises that he is lying on the floor in the middle of a room surrounded by aliens

MIchael Patrick

  • Fetus Carl floating in space--big black monolith floating in back ground (maybe you could rig it so the 2001 theme song plays when someone clicks on the panel-I don't know if you can do that).

Gregg Lamse

    This is not a week for logical suggestions. Turn that left brain OFF...

  • 3 or 4 small Carls screaming "We've gone schizo"
  • A hazy black/ grey obscure panel - nothing in focus w/ caption "3 hours later"
  • Carl's hit on the head with a bottle of holy water. We see a dark bat-shape behind him.

Michael Avolio

    Call me a wuss. I don't care. Laugh at me, belittle me, and throw rocks at my head. It doesn't matter. You can't change my mind. There is simply NO WAY that I can follow that panel. It is (pardon the possible blasphemy) even better than the one Neil Gaiman suggested. (Sorry, but the truth as I see it must be heard.) This, my fellow Carl contributors, is the ultimate online Carl panel, taking full advantage of the medium it's in. This, ladies and gentlemen, is inventiveness at its best. Congratulations to Mr. Travis W. Howard and the entity known only as jeffjohns. My figurative hat is figuratively off to you both. This was also the first time I've ever laughed aloud while reading the previous week's suggestions... Scott's comment about people who use "impact" as a verb was quite witty, and jeffjohns' paragraph before his suggestions was intelligent AND humorous, an attribute which sadly seems to be a rarity in the modern world. I, too, have been chosen for the honor jeffjohns discribed, and while I was flattered and elated, I had not yet realized the extent of said honor. I must thank you, Scott, in retrospect, for your opinion of me and all the rest, for saying that I, yes I, Michael Avolio, am one of Scott McCloud's favorite people. (And to think, in addition to this, some few weeks past, I found that I had singlehandedly pointed out something that neither Scott himself nor his supportive wife Ivy had ywt seen, thus enriching their lives greatly..!) But alas, I must cease this type of formal speech; I grow weary of my use of it.

  • Suggestion? SUGGESTION? I have no suggestion! (Is this the first time anyone has written in without a single suggestion?)

    A few questions... Do you know when the Small Press Expo here in Maryland will be? And am I correct in remembering that you will be in attendance? Can you give us any further details about Reinventing Comics (for example, will it be in black and white like Understandng Comics was, or -- at least partly -- in color, maybe with some computer stuff like you used in Lincoln)? I've read your 24 hour comic a few times, but I don't GET it. Is it meant to be nonsense (in the best sense of the word), or is there something I'm missing? (A Day's Work is intriguing, by the way, and I hope to do my own 24 hour comic soon. I especially loved the panel with the row of men leaving to go to work, all the same...) One final comment, since I'm being more polite than casual... I must say I really respect how you aren't one of those creators who's all high and mighty; you really take out a lot of time for us fans... that's something I really appreciate. It's also cool how I (and I doubt I'm alone on this) feel like I know you at least a little bit. And finally, I think it's great that you allow (and, I'm certain, encourage) your family to participate in your work and to take an interest in comics in general. I'm guessing at least one of the girls'll be creatively inclined, seeing as how both you and Ivy are, but I'm just curious -- any evidence that Winter or Sky will get into comics like their daddy? Once again, I feel that I've "talked" too much, but oh well..!

[Whew! Check the SPX website for info on that terrific show. I'm extremely sorry to say that I won't be able to make it this year. I have my F.A.Q file ready and will upload it this week with some details about Reinventing Comics. I don't think anyone can make sense out of my 24 Hour comic (except Jim Woodring). Hell, even Ivy doesn't know what to make of it. As for Winter and Sky's artistic inclinations, I try not to direct their growth too much, but I am secretly proud that when they knock on my door, it's usually to "borrow" a piece of paper. --Scott]

patric lewandowski

    man, this one just sucks.

  • Carl remembers.... "Hey... there's me and dad........"
  • Carl looks at the camera: "Readers, I am sorry. This storyline sucks."

    scott, this is lame. this doth suck.

dan wheeler

  • carl's dad shakes carl by the shoulders. carl's dad: "carl! CARL! are you O.K.? you scared me for a second there" carl "dad?"
  • carl is still flashing back & he flashed back to a picture of the RIP CARL panel. carl: "Wait a minute!"
  • carl in almost the same pose as last panel but looking out he's seen us reading his life. carl: "hey, who are all you people?"
  • carl's mom: "promise me you won't drink and drive, carl." carl: "mom listen to me! this whole world is a lie!"

Drew Bell

  • Would a 2001 homage be too much? Space baby and all? Aged Carl reaching for the monolith?

David Goldfarb

    Hey Scott - both this week and last week the link to zoom out from reading the suggestion list has been busted.

  • Carl's eyes fly open, and he exclaims, "Ah!" He's lying on a table of some kind with a bunch of virtual-reality gear attached to his head. (Sorta like Jenny waking up in _Zot!_ #14.) Maybe other people are asleep on tables all around him.

    This really begs the question of how we work in the other vertical storyline featuring Carl's father again and as a vampire even. But heck, we don't have to worry about that till next week!

[That broken link has been fixed. Thanks, David! --Scott]


    "well.. here's a fine mess you've gotten us into." ollie to stan

  • Carl Two from Section One & Three Stands with Dad over the tombstones of Mom & Carl One. (with optional shovels) Carl Says, "Lets go get a drink."

    well I had oodles and oodles of ideas, but I sobered up and could only remember one.

Doug Waldron

    I really liked Kevin Pease's Owl Creek Bridge suggestion last week.

  • Carl appears on a cloud, looking slightly bewildered. An angel appears next to him: "Carl, your time has not yet come... [hands Carl a crucifix] But take this - you'll need it for your new mission in life: vampire killing person."
  • Carl continues his flashback , except the little pictures are all surreal. Carl: "Hey, I don't remember that." [Did you notice I didn't verb the word 'flashback'? Do I get extra credit?]
  • Ambiguous close-up of Carl's face: "Okay, I'm done now."
  • Daisy shows up in a space ship. (Keep the background ambiguous.) Daisy: "I'll save you Carl; grab on." Carl: "Daisy!?!"
  • Carl continues to flashback. The little picture shows his father lecturing him as a small boy: "Carl, always keep this wooden stake close at hand, in case I ever die and come back as a vampire." Carl: "Okay, Dad." The picture then shifts to a later time, Carl is a little older and perhaps a little more rebellious. He tosses the wooden stake aside, saying: "I'm tired of carrying this thing around with me. Its constant reminder of my long-lost father has been like an albatross around my neck. Besides, what are the odds my father will return as a vampire?" The scene then shifts back to the earlier time, as Dad continues his lecture: "And if you're ever stranded out in space, Carl, be sure to tie a bungee cord or something similar around your neck to prevent the air from being forced from your lungs. That should give you an extra five minutes or so of life, which could mean the difference between rescue by a passing space ship and death in the cold, unforgiving vacuum!"

    BTW, you need to give Tod Caviness credit for last week's suggestion.

Michele Nurembier

    This is not a suggestion: Carl impacts with the ground.

  • Daisy in a resturant having coffee.
    Daisy thought balloon: Hmm... something is wrong.

    Have you read the Ted Rall article on spiegelman in the Villiage Voice? If so, what do you think about it?

[I thought Rall's attack on Art Spiegelman was petty and ignorant. I was one of many pros who wrote to the V.V. to protest. --Scott]

Morgan Doninger

    Multipule suggestions? For this panel?!? What am I thinking?

  • CARL with a bummed expression. Thought balloon: "Wow, I die a lot." Bolding a lot might make it funnier, but I doubt it.
  • CARL with a less bummed expression. Thought balloon: "Well at least I never burst into flame."
  • A pink elephant's foot crushes him.
  • CARL bummed thinks: "Oh well", as he cracks another beer and drinks. In Space! Ha, ha... umm, yeah.
  • CARL's head explodes.
  • We go into Carl's eye, and it takes us into a website.

    What happened? The last one wasn't bad.

Wade Bowen

    oh, I don't have any comments or anything. sorry.

  • Carl is smacked by a falling mir space station. You can make it vauge enuf to where we cant see if he's in space or not, if that would confuse some of the paths worked into this whole thing.

Markus Gerwinski

  • We see Carl, surrounded by "dizzy" bubbles, whereas the world around him is gaining substance again (The panel border still has this "deep space" flair). In his hand, Carl is holding a bottle resembling to the "Holy Water" bottle from the other incoming thread. Carl: "What... happened... to... me...?" In the foreground, we see Dad, carefully approaching Carl.
  • Same close-up perspective as last panel; someone (Dad?) slaps Carl across the face. A voice from behind: "Which one, Carl?" (Hey, he had enough different lives to fill a bookshelf of comics!) Carl: "I need a drink!" (Maybe there's the "Holy Water" bottle again.)

    Scott, in Understanding Comics, page 59, you wrote: "McLuhan first observed that those people growing up in the late twentieth century didn't want goals as much as they wanted roles!" I'd like to put this statement as a quote on my website, so what were McLuhans own words here, please? (And who is McLuhan?)

    Actually, my brother had an idea to combine 5-Card-Nancy with CYOC. Interested?

[ That quote actually came from a spoken word album that McLuhan recorded with some people at Fordham(?) University many years ago. McLuhan is best known for his books Understanding Media and The Medium is the Massage. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of the album. Might try a web search or any library with an extensive LP collection. As for combining Nancy and Carl.. you're welcome to try! --Scott]

Brian Zimmerman

  • Carl sits back watching his life flash before his eyes and thinking, "this is pretty cool. Wish I had some popcorn."
  • Carl goes to Lake of Fire. This is followed by the check off box where readers declare if they've accepted Jesus as their personal savior found in the back of Chick Comics.
  • Carl gets reincarnated as a bug.
  • It was all a dream, an uneasy dream; Karl awakens to find he has been transformed into a giant cockroach. (Choose your own Kafka!)

    cheers, Brian Zimmerman

Zach Collins

    This site is plain fun! Weird, but fun. I gotta see more.

  • A puddle of ooze with a hand sticking out of it. Carl: Whoa, what happened!
  • The mirror breaks, causing Carl to realize: Hey, that's just a movie projector!
  • Daisy appears, and snatches him out of his dream-state with a huge robot arm.
  • Mom drives up in the other car. Mom: Get in! You're going right home, young man!
  • Carl wakes up, woozy. Carl: Man, I better go easy on this stuff...

    Just appearing on this page is okay, but I hope one of mine wins.

Nathan Kuruna

    Just one at the moment...

  • Carl looks over at the little animated Gif of his life flashing by and notices that it consists mostly of drinking beer, and crashing into that tree. Carl: It's a little disappointing actually... and repetitive. (Acknowledgments to R.M. Weiner.)

    I may or may not have additional suggestions later... What did everyone think of "Mystery Men?" (I loved it.)

[Me, I thought it was a case of Actors and Script (the good guys) versus Director (the bad guy). --Scott]


    A lot of repeats from last week; but I think they still apply.

  • Caption: But thanks to reincarnation... Carl is a little baby in some mother's arms; a dad filming him on his camcorder. Baby Carl thinking: huh?! (Think of a ll the cute Baby Carl tie ins: bibs, tumblers, plush toys, maybe even a deal with Pampers to decorate their disposable diapers...$$$)
  • But thanks to the miracle of science... Carl in stasis tank, hooked to tubes galore (Scott- we need a stasis tank/Weapon X/superhero cliche panel, damn it!)
  • Carl: ...and what a boring life it was.
  • Carl (distraught): ... a life left in the hands of complete strangers! AAAAHHH! or "...a life left to people who have nothing better to do than sit in front of a computer and make inane suggestions! AAAAHHH
  • Satan stabs Carl in the butt with a pitchfork: Welcome to hell
  • St Peter's opens the gates to heaven: Welcome to heaven!
  • Carl (or Scott): Oh no! I'm (Carl's) dead and I still have at least 2 more panels to go before a tombstone panel.
  • Carl: must...survive...until...tombstone panel
  • Carl: Scott! Help me out here, will ya!
  • Scott grabs Carl's hand and says: Carl, meet your maker.

    Hey Scott, what software do you use to creat your page and animations.

[I'm using Adobe GoLive now, after many months of hand coding in BBEdit Lite. Animations are with the shareware GifBuilder and like everyone else, I frequently make use of Photoshop, Illustrator etc. I'l have more details in the F.A.Q. --Scott]

Jeff Clear

    This is a tough one.

  • Carl remembers, "I never had a father!"
  • Carl recalls, "I used to have such good times with Dad."
  • Carl: "I had my first drink the night Dad disappeared."
  • Daisy shows up and says: "Carl! I've been looking all over for you!"
  • Carl, "I was never allowed to go into Dad's basement laboratory."
  • Carl, "Dad disappeared the night we went to the Ice Capades." Let's get Brian Boitano in this thread, too!

Steven Marsh

  • Carl: "What would I have done differently?"
  • Carl (thinking about life): "I-I just realized... my father was..."

zoom out