In January 1991, the Gulf War was visibly on the horizon. The Operation was Desert Shield, not Desert Storm yet. And the U.N. had just issued an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein stating that he had better pull his troops out of Kuwait by April 15 or there would be a Storm coming.
Meanwhile, back in New Jersey, college officials were doing what college officials do, misspending tuition. The moral of the strip, of course, is this: If a school is making money from you, do not delude yourself into thinking you are the customer. You are not the customer. You are the inventory.
The mobilization of troops into the Persian Gulf happened at about the same time as the first airings of the "This is your brain on drugs" television spot. At the time, practically everyone in the United States was buying into the "feel-good show" (Danny Elfman, "War Again") wherein we got to "watch the bad guys get their butts kicked" (ibid). That victory seems more hollow now, but that still doesn't detract one bit from the sheer joy of seeing Jay whack the heck out of an innocent raw egg. Some things are just fun to draw.
Meringue, like revenge, is sweet and best served cold.
It should come as no surprise that I've never been much of a joiner. And at TSC, fraternities were never much of a big deal anyway since they didn't get their own houses; your only tangible reward for all that hazing would be a shiny jacket. But it sure seemed important to the people participating. This strip is in reference to a bunch of people who formed their own fraternity without the permission of the "real" fraternities, and the resulting brouhaha.
It was only logical that my observation of the frequency with which one could expect to encounter the name Jennifer should serve the introduction of female characters to Absurd Notions.
The housing situation at TSC was ridiculous. The inadequate space was overbooked, and if there was a space open in a building other than the one you had chosen to live in, it took ages for the administration to shuffle you there. Travers/Wolfe ("The Towers," a popular choice despite the unpleasantness of the rooms themselves due to the fact that if you lived there, you didn't have to eat Decker food) had plenty of rooms meant for only two people housing three "temporarily."
Surprise, not. Yeah, their names are the punchline, but so was Woodstock's once. When I drew this, I was really proud of having fit six people, all saying something, into a panel. That victory is kind of overshadowed by the mistake of crossing talk lines in the last panel. Never do that! Anyway, Jyg's and Jag's reactions foretold how their character development would progress years later. Jag is adventurous, and Jyg is more closed-minded. Unfair, of course, since one name is pretty cool and the other I really wouldn't wish on anyone.
In the popular myth of college life, an especially large amount of hype surrounds Spring Break, which to a lot of students actually means nothing more exciting than a week at home with one's parents, sometimes with homework to do, just like in high school. Our heroes somehow bought into the hype.
A college president's periodical of choice is the alumni newsletter, not the student newspaper. This administration was especially disinterested in criticism, indeed seemingly oblivious to it. Long after I graduated, Harold Eickhoff was finally ousted with a vote of no confidence, a thing that there had been rumblings of the whole time I was there. He wasn't affected much by the decision: the college invented an honorary position for him in which he keeps the same salary he had as president. I guess some people are just too good for an ordinary IRA.
Yes, I've always been making excuses. Actually, I think there was a good reason for having skipped that week, like insufficient space in the paper or something. There was definitely a good reason to be laughing at the letters page, as the Signal had done some reporting on a recent Student Government meeting, and the representatives, proving themselves worthy of a future in real government, got very angry and insisted that a newspaper should not be allowed to print unflattering things about the Student Government Association, even if those things are true, relevant, and a matter of public record. The center panel was cut and pasted directly from that page.
This one could stand on its own, but in fact I did it right after a real blackout at the college. Power failures at TSC were significant events, not just a matter of sitting in the dark, oh no. You see, the fire alarm systems in the dorms wouldn't work if the power was out, so in the name of fire safety, everyone on campus had to evacuate and spend the night in the student center, and maybe try to sleep if they felt optimistic about it.
A lot of teachers did this. It tended to leave the latter half of "finals week" open for moving out, but it also meant much less time to study for many students.
This was the year-end crossover with Random Occurrences and Other Things by Joe Bakter and Ian Wood.
In case you hadn't noticed, the college version of Absurd Notions was generally five panels long, an
unconventional number that naturally became the object of "panel envy" in other comics. This radical method of
closing the "panel gap" did not meet any resistance from me, because I really enjoy drawing explosions. Many
comics break the fourth wall all the time, but few go so far as to bust through the ceiling.