This week's panel suggested by

  • Ian Etra
  • Josiah Rowe (sort of)
  • Tod Caviness
  • Catatonic Cat Jan Roxxanne
  • James Dominguez
  • Ross Horowitz
  • Kean Soo
  • Sound Effect by Winter (from Dec 13, 1998's famous "A Pree! A Pree! A Ree! A Ree!" suggestion)

Zany Antics

Yeah, we're getting dangerously close to Scooby Doo territory.

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

Sunday 09/19/1999

Tom Harris

  • RIP Carl panel with thought balloon: "I should have known a cross wouldn't work on a Jewish vampire"

Michael Patrick

  • First the obvious- Carl holding Cross and Bottle out toward his lunging father. Carl: Hey Dad, How do I use this thing?
  • Carl holds cross out to Dadpire. Carl: So, Dad, you never did tell me why you left the clergy.
  • Carl scratches himself with cross and has a quizical look on his face. Carl:'re NOT my dad!
  • Carl tosses bottle to vamp-daddy. Carl: Come to think of it, I promised mom I wouldn't drink.

Matt Latterell

    I have been away, now I have returned.

  • Dad: Oh my god! A yellow object! I hate yellow!
  • Carl: What the hell is this, Pleasantville? Dad: Hey, cool, colors!!!
  • Carl: Oh whats this, I'm standing in front of some odd vampire mural?
  • Carl:Dad I can't let you die, drink my blood.....(okay so its not really good)
  • Dad: (tries to bite carl) Ow! Carl: (Holds up cross right between dad's vampire teeth, like a 3 stooges thing) Whoa! (Great dialouge eh?)
  • Carl: Wait a minute!!!!!! I don't believe in vampire! Boy...that was a close one....
  • Mom: (Hits dad with an umbrella) You told me you would get chryogenically frozen until they could cure that vampire thing!!!
  • Carl's mom comes in and saves the day. (i had to do it just incase something like this wins, then I get my name up there....unless this cheap trick wont be
  • Carl: (Stabs dad with a bowie knife) Dad: (drops dead) Carl: Wow, thank god I'm in a gang...

    I want to be a winner, I have the heart of a champion and the mind of a child....(Joe dimmagio, and a young donnie osmand)...whoo!

Patric Lewandowski

    I WON!!!!!!!!!! WOO HOO!!!! That's #2!!!!!!!! Okay... strong finsih now..........

  • Carl shoves "bottle opener" and holy water at had at dad, lodging the "bottle opener" in his heart, and splashing the water on him, killing him by burning him and a stake through the heart.... Carl: "Here dad, see if you can get it to .... work????"

    I won... makes me wish I still had a webpage. can I use my win to plug my comic? If I may, everybody please buy "Hype: The Sidekick Special" when it comes out. I apologize that it will be at least 2 weeks late. Blame that slave-driver teacher of mine... oh, buy his books of magic too. Anyway, hype, in about a month's time, e-mail (go ahead and link that one scott, it's safe) if you want one, information, etc... Thanks.

Greg Lam

  • An animated Tom-and-Jerry-in-a-fistfight cloud of dust with the heads of Carl, Dad, Cross, and Holy Water occasionally popping up.

Travis Pelkie

    I read the Spiegelman stuff, and I was gonna rant, but I'll confine it to this: isn't the creator of Little Nemo and the original Rarebit Fiend dreamer Winsor McCay, not Windsor McKay?

  • I assume this panel leads off into section 6, so I guess we don't have to wrap anything up here. So the silly suggestion is that Carl drop the cross and bends to pick it up, and his dad flies over his head. Slapstick ensues.
  • Okay, maybe Carl swings around suddenly, and his dad gets smacked upside the head with the bottle. Slapstick ensues.
  • Or Carl's dad bites Carl, sez "Your mother (or yo' mama, if it fits better) never said anything about drinking and undying!" Slapstick ensues.
  • Giant drunk monkeys. Slapstick ensues.
  • A Carl from another dimension appears to save his other self, and sez, "You shall not make this Carl undead as you did to me, Daddy-O!" Slapstick, again, ensues.
  • Carl's mom comes on, and the shock of seeing his wife (unless of course, Carl is a, umm, bas----), and the shock of seeing her causes Carl's dad to stop his no good evil ways. Sure, slapstick ensues.
  • Mike and the 'bots, with nothing else to do, start commenting on the storyline. "Let's just hope John Agar doesn't show up." Opportunities abound for, yes, slapstick to ensue.
  • Or John Agar actually does show up, throwing a spanner in the works, as those wacky Brits say. Slapstick might ensue, but I wouldn't count on it.

    This gets stranger and stranger. Travis Howard, I don't get your Carl A and B thing, I was posting before you, so I should be A, nyahh! Just kidding, but I liked those father son and holy spirit suggestions. Umm, they were yours, right? My STM is poor. Speaking of the Spirit, didya hear that DC supposedly has picked up not just the Spirit, but apparently all the Eisner stuff! Wowie Zowie! Now if DC will just reprint some of those Bushmiller Nancy books, we'll be all set. And hopefully continue the New Adv's of the Spirit. I know Kurt Busiek did at least one story, would you ever consider doing a computer graphix Spirit story, Scott? (If you had time, that is...) And have you and Kurt ever done any work together? Just wondering.

["McCay" indeed. As for Eisner, your info is correct. BTW, keep watching the web for which I think will be up later this year. Kurt Busiek and I collaborated on several comics in high school and college before we became pros, but none since then. That may change soon. --Scott]

Travis W. Howard

  • [Carl bends over to pick up a coin] Oooh, a penny! [Meanwhile, MS Monster and Vampire Dad collide in midair above bending Carl}
  • [Carl's Dad mutates into a Rabid Chipmunk (tm)] Enter: Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and Carl as Dave.
  • [Insert Neil G's Guilt panel, dialogue now reading]: I can't cope with the guilt! I've killed my father!
  • Enter: Daisy, dressed ala Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Panel depicts dead Dad on floor with Daisy having just stabbed him with a stake. Carl says "Whoa."
  • Carl does a double take at Vampire Dad and bottle. Carl says "Wow, this stuff's GOOD!"
  • Tombstone panel: Tombstone reads: R.I.P. Carl's Dad. Carl stands over grave drinking the holy water, or trying to open it with the "bottle cap opener"
  • Carl wakes up. (wavy lines last panel are him waking from his dream) "Whew, it was all only a dream.."
  • Enter: Indiana Jones. He's lasso'd Vampire Dad and says "Hurry kid, hand over the Cross of Coranado, now!"
  • Old Carl with Lil CarlJr and Lil Daisy on his lap, he's obviously telling them a story. "And THAT kids, is how your grandfather died." Kids have shocked looks on their faces, or wide eyed.
  • Carl standing over dead Vampire Dad. "Fangs, but not fangs Dad.."

    I HIGHLY recommend that everyone pick up Alan Moore's Tomorrow Stories #2 this week! The Greyshirt story (similar to The Spirit) is in my opinion an excellent storytelling exercise. Are there any other examples of this type of storytelling style that anyone knows of offhand? Oh yeah, obligatory web link (one more left to use after this :P) - Matt Feazel's Cynicalman Comics!

Nat Gertler

  • Vampiric maybe-Dad is ripping away Carl's shirt, saying "Must... destroy... black... shirts... at... midnight..."
  • "Danged if I know how it works" sez Carl, tossing cross over shoulder, impaling it right between Dadpire's eyes. (Hey, you could make the eyes little x's, to show he's dead! I love little x's!)

Jay Sabicer

  • Carl (looking at holy water bottle): "Waydaminnit...this bottle has a twist-off cap." While still looking away, Carls casually hands crucifix over to advancing vampire/Dad. Carl: Here, hold this a sec. Vampire/Dad (not quite aware of the magnitude of the situation): Uur??
  • Carl: You're an Angel! He materializes in a 7-11 store, vampire-free. Carl: How 'bout some bakery sticks?.... Uh, (looks around) where did you go?

Ian Etra

    Yay! I won! Wait. So did lots of other people.

  • Carl pops bottle cap off of holy water, accidentally spraying Vampiric Dad, who bursts into flames. Carl doesn't notice.
  • Since we already have both holy water AND a cross... Carl bends over to pick something shiny off the floor- "Hey, a silver bullet! Neat!" Meanwhile, Dad goes sailing over his head. Or, in the same vein...
  • ...Dad, leaping into the air, accidentally impales himself on the wooden stake ceiling fan, while Carl enjoys a refreshing holy beverage.
  • R.I.P. Carl.

Josiah Rowe

    Hmmm. Not a whole lot of maneuvering room here.

  • Carl's Dad shrivels up from the combined force of the crucifix and the holy water. As he dies the death of the undead, he croaks: "Carl -- now you will never know --"
  • Plain action panel. VampDad attacks Carl, who defeats him almost by accident with the holy water and crucifix.
  • As Dad attacks, Carl thinks, "I should never have fallen asleep while watching Buffy!" (This avoids being the "Whew! It was all a dream!" by being merely a delusion of Carl's.)
  • As Dad attacks, Carl thinks, "I should never have fallen asleep while watching the Hammer Horror Marathon!"
  • Carl, fleeing the Vampire Dad, says, "That's not my dad! That's Christopher Lee!"
  • Carl, fleeing the Vampire Dad, says, "Hmmm... what would Peter Cushing do?"
  • Carl, still oblivious to his father's vampiric state, says, "Hey, Dad! Remember when we used to go out for steak and eggs?" Dad thinks, "Stake? No!" All right. That one's pretty lame.
  • Full-panel sound effect: "HISSS!" (Is it the hissing of the undead father, or his flesh boiling away from the holy water? Tune in to CYOC next week to find out!)

Tod Caviness

    Jeez wow ... I'm kind of glad I missed the last couple weeks.

  • Carl pops open the holy water and drinks, as Dad sinks fangs into his neck. (Optional Horrible Pun - CARL THINKS: "It's got bite, I'll say that ...")
  • Carl, struggling with the bottle, walks back to the car as Dad impales himself on a conveniently-located wooden stake. (It could be on the back of a chair. Or, um - a display for the Absolut HolyWater. Or something.)
  • Carl pops open the bottle with some difficulty, spraying the contents into Dad's face. CARL: "Oops ..."
  • Carl's Dad snatches the cross away from him. DAD: "Ah - been looking all over for that. I'll be taking it to the Halloween party tonight."

    I give. Where's my Carl t-shirt?

[That's what Ivy keeps asking me. --Scott]

Catatonic Cat Jan Roxxanne

  • "ooo, it's a nice one too, look Dad!"
  • Carl prys the cross under the bottle cap as dad draws closer to him. Carl (gruntinly) says "Uff! Dosen't... work... very... well..."
  • Carl gets the cap off, spraying the holified water (or alchohol) all over "Dad". Carl exclaims "Whoa! That came off easy! Sorry Pop!"
  • Carl, standing face forward, with the cross and the bottle in his hands, is rudely cut off: "I wonder how this worrRRKK!!"; as "dad" takes a big slobery chunk out of poor, suprized little Carl's exposed neck.
  • Face shot of Carl, tossing the cross and holy water, in back of him, unknowinly, directly at "Dad". Giving no thought, and shrugging, exclaiming "NAW.I'm more of beer-guy."
  • -As Dad is hurling threatingly through the air, with his soul-less blank stare eyes, he spots the cross in Carls hand, and shrills from his alchohol weakend vocal cords "HA! You fool! Crosses will not stop us DOPPLEGANGERS!!!"
  • "Hey Dad!" says Carl, whipping the cross strait around, knocks Dad square in the jaw, Only having to say "Wup, sorry." for his mistake.

    Again I miss the chance to watch cartoons while being educated on story mechanics at your frivolously well designed web-site. ARRRGG! CURSE YOU!

James Dominguez

    I never even get close with these, but it is fun to participate.

  • Carl pops open a bottle of Perrier, which spills over the cross and then onto his vampire Dad, burning him.
  • As above, but skip the Perrier and just make it holy vodka or something, rather than holy water.
  • As above, but just the first half, setting it up for a burning vampire in a later panel. Carl pops off the bottle cap, and the drink spills violently, sprinkling through the air, via the cross. You might want to add some kind of sparkly effect to indicate the liquid has been blessed.
  • OR... Carl uses the cross as a bottle opener, but it comes loose, flies through the air and embeds itself in VampDad.

    I like the idea of Holy Vodka... :)

Mario Cavallini

  • Dad leaps PAST Carl, tackling the angel (who may or may not be Daisy). Carl is overwhelmed with the poignancy.

Chris Watkins

  • Carl holds cross and bottle loosely -- seemingly about to fall to the ground -- as he does a cartoon "take," eyes buggy, hair spikey, leaping in the air, and shouting "ZOINKS!"

    great scooby opportunity...

Travis Pelkie

    I'm here again. Forgot to mention Ithacon 24 on the 25th, in Ithaca NY. Jim Shooter and Roger Stern will be there. Hopefully that's not too much of an ad to offend you, Scott. I do have a few suggestions, too!

  • Is it illegal for Carl's vampire dad to burst into flames?
  • Or Carl's mom shows up, sez to her husband, "What did I tell you about Carl drinking and you undying?"
  • Yeah, I used up all my good ones yesterday. Maybe Carl's dad is really a rabid chipmunk, and he'll eat Carl's or Scott's brain. And then in comes Gnatrat...
  • Or we go to a meanwhile, and see Carl's mom, or Daisy, thinking, "hmm, wonder if Carl's dad has made Carl a member of the undead yet?" This introduces suspense and introduces a new plot element, since there's still about 5 panels left (going into section 6), and Carl and his dad fighting wouldn't make for exciting reading.
  • An army of Giant Undead Monkeys (or GUM, for short).
  • Or else that angel comes in and sez "Geez, this guy'll never figure out what to do with that," and causes Carl's vampire dad to burst into flames!!! or just makes him undead (showing that visually might be difficult, but hey, it's not my problem!)
  • Carl thinks, "shouldn't this cross be silver, tho?" as he gets bitten.

    Hey, this panel suggests a lot to me. Or to paraphrase Steve Martin in The Jerk, "This panel really speaks to me!"

Mike Sugarbaker

  • Carl bends downward, holding the bottle between his knees so he can pry at it with the cross using both hands. Thanks to this crouched position, Dad lunges and flies right over him, missing completely. Optional: Carl says "Stupid thing... doesn't... (grunt) seem to work..."

    When in doubt, go for slapstick. Also, this potentially introduces a Flying Vampire Dad into section 6.

Markus Gerwinski

  • Carl (with a look at Dad's vampire teeth): "What is this, groundhog day?" (Sorry, couldn't resist... ;-)
  • Carl turns: "Dad, could you --", by accident knocking him out the vampire teeth with the cross.
The rules extensions to Five-Card-Nancy, that my brother and I invented, are
quite simple. I don't think you'll have too much work about it...

The idea is this one: In Five-Card-Nancy the players may only put their
panels to the right of the last one, thus composing a classical
single-thread comic. Like this:

[Panel 1] [Panel 2] [Panel 3] ...

In Five-Card-Carl, every player is allowed to decide whether to put his card
to any side of a panel, thus creating a crosswise-multi-thread comic like
CYOC. E.g., after the first 3 panels are already put down, the player whose
turn it is may choose between several possible places for his panel:

?Panel 4? (a)
[Panel 1] [Panel 2] [Panel 3] ?Panel 4? (b)
?Panel 4? (c)

Of course, if Panel 4 is put on position (a), it is to be interpreted as
"before" Panel 2.

There are just three restrictions that forbid placing a card at a certain
position. One of them is: It is not allowed to "complete the square" like

[Panel 1] [Panel 2]
[Panel 3] ->Panel 4<-

The other two are defined by two special kinds of cards: Tombstone cards and
"I promise" cards.

A tombstone card may only be put after (i.e. to the right or below) any
other card, and it ends its thread in this direction: It's forbidden to put
a card after a tombstone.

An "I promise" card is the opposite: It may only be placed before (to the
left or above) any other card, and you mustn't put a card before it. It
"ends" a thread "backwards in time". (Of course, the first card lying on the
table at the beginning of the game has to be an "I promise".)

In any other way, these two kinds of cards are treated like every other
card: If one of them fits into the storyline, has to be jugded by the other

Okay, that's it. I hope you'll like the idea.



P.S.: Do you know the card game "Once upon a time"?

P.P.S.: Hell, I *have* to take this opportunity: Thank you for writing
"Understanding Comics"! In some manner, this book saved my life, or, at
least, the life I'm living now. In 1995, I was seriously thinking about
giving up one of my most passionate dreams: Becoming a writer and/or a
comic artist. In that same year, I got your book as a Christmas present.
After having read it -- especially after having read chapter 7, "The six
steps" -- I threw myself into writing and into *learning* how to write.
These days, the first time one of my novels has been accepted by a
publishing house, and another one is running as a serialized novel in an
online magazine. Once more, thank you!

[Excellent ideas for the game, Guys. You're almost as obsessive-compulsive about this sort of thing as me. A rare gift (curse?). Haven't played "Once upon a time." Thanks for the kind words on U.C. --Scott]

Morgan Doninger

    So I says to my buddy Ross, check out the I says. He says sure, and he wins. Months since I win anythin', and he says sure and wins...

  • Carls hand slips and he accidently impales his own vampire dad with the cross. The pain, the pain.

    Still tired, still must sleep.

Douglass Barre (Age 29)

    So, Scott, are you familiar with the comic strip "Jim's Journal"? I just picked up the collected treasury ("The Pretty Good Jim's Journal Treasury," ISBN 0740700073) and was realizing how in some ways Carl reminds me of the protagonist, Jim. So, here's my homage entry. Heck, if Brian Boitano can make it, Scott Dikkers has a chance...

  • CARL is sitting at a table, eating a cheeseburger. CAPTION: "So I dealt with all that stuff. Then I went and got a cheeseburger."

    More as it comes to me.

[Sure, I remember "Jim's Journal." Haven't seen it in years though. Wasn't it at M.I.T. or UMass originally? --Scott]

Jim Adcock

  • "Carl, have you seen my new realistic-looking vampire teeth?"
  • Carl's father breaks the fourth wall looking back over his shoulder at the audience and saying "This sucks" with Carl and his toys in the background.
  • Carl's father, though a vampire, loves his son, and is racing to defend Carl from the werewolves that were about to spring from off-panel, against which the cross and holy water would be useless.
  • ...or zombies
  • ...or zombie Carls (Sliding Doors style)
  • Carl's dad bursts into flame, saying threateningly "You've crossed me for the last time!"
  • ...or Frankenstein's Monster
  • "On the other hand, maybe not." "Help! I've burst into flame!" "Whew! It was all a dream." "Enter: Thor." "Carl dies, um...somehow"

    Hey I had to!

Douglass Barre (Age 29)

    Have I mentioned my hatred of vampire stories (despite having written far too many of them) yet? Sure I have...

  • CARL is sitting in a movie theatre with DAISY. On the screen, we see a stat of the previous panel. CARL is pointing at the screen in shock. CARL: "Oh my God! That's me up there!"

    "Whew! It was all a dre--" What? No, I'd never be so cheesy! This is a classic literary metafictive, uh... illustrating the paradigm of the, um... dichotomy between reality and fantasy something-or-other.
    Oh, fine.
    It was all a dream.
    But, damn it, it gets rid of the stupid vampires!
    We now return you to your regularly scheduled suggestions.

fat momma

  • the cross is really a water gun and it squirts holy water at carl and misses and a drop lands on his dad

Michael Avolio

    Note to Travis Howard: I'm glad I got a reaction out of you. I'm sorry it was related in any way to Roberto Beignini.

  • Vampire Dad -- how 'bout an action figure?;) -- is knocked back by someone off panel. Carl is stunned.

    Scott... When's the FAQ section going up?

[Actually, it's up NOW! --Scott]

Ross Horowitz

    hoo hoo. got last week on my first try

  • Carl opens bottle and accidentally sprays the contents in Dad's face.
  • Same as above, but Dad yells, "I'm melting..." a la the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Carl opens bottle and spray misses Dad and Dad yells, "Aha!"
  • Carl gives bottle and opener to Dad. Dad cringes.
  • Same as above, but Carl says to Dad, "Be my guest."
  • Carl can't open bottle with cross. Cross pops out of his hands.
  • Carl can't open bottle with cross. Cross pops out of his hands and flies toward Dad, impaling him through the heart.
  • Enter: Sluggy. (Discovered this from someone else's plug and am now addicted to the strip.)

[Morgan says he's very happy for you, Ross. --Scott]


  • Carl bends down Carl:OOOOH! Look. Beer! Vampire Dad sails over his head.
  • Carl: Maybe it's time to open up a can...
  • Carl:AAAACHOOOO! head down, hand back, holy water shoots over shoulder towards dad
  • Panel looks almost identical to the last, except Dad disintegrates in midair and his ashes fall to the floor, as the sun comes up.
  • Panel looks almost identical to the last, except Dad turns into a bat and flies away.
  • Carl hurls holy water at dad, strikes heroic pose and shouts: Flame On!
  • Dad mouth clamps down around Carl's entire head. Carl: MMMPHHHHhh
  • Dad mouth clamps down around Carl's entire head. Carl: HRRMMphhh
  • Either Carl or Dad laying on a psychiatrists couch. Psychiatrist: Go on, what happened next?
  • Carls dad is stopped in midair. Vampires can't cross running water, and there is a trickling stream of holy water leaking from the bottle and running across the floor.

    Scott-- Have you ever thought about having some weekly polls? I love the questions that Tony Isabella has on his daily column?

[Bizarre coincidence: I was just thinking it would be fun to have a pop-up menu quiz when this post arrived! Still don't know if it's worth it though. The question I was thinking of was "What's the most satisfying thing to put down a garbage disposal?" --Scott]


  • In midair, Dad completes his transformation into a werewolf, effectively rendering carls weapons useless
  • split panel with the angels watching this scene on television "GASP!!!" and either demons or vampires doing the same "YEAH!!!"

James Brophy

    I have sugested many a thing and I want to make this clear... I JUST WANT ONE PANEL!!! Is that really too much to ask? :OP

  • The crucifix rises from the base of the panel as its light makes Carls Dad fade away. (Close-up of his face set behind the crucifix)

Kean Soo

  • Carl opens the bottle, spraying holy water all over the place.
  • The cross slips off the bottle top, accidentally spearing Dad.
  • Mom (secretly a Vampire Slayer) pushes Carl out of the way. Mom: "Look out, Carl!"
  • Carl takes a drink from the bottle as Dad takes him by the neck...
  • Carl tosses the bottle over his shoulder, hitting Dad in the face. Carl: "This doesn't work! It isn't even a bottle opener!"

    zoom out