by Adam Thrasher and Colby Cosh
Version 1.1(html) (January 1, 2000)
This FAQ document was started by Adam Thrasher, bon vivant and author of Space Moose, in 1997. Since Adam has the same trouble finishing text documents that he does finishing comic strips, the FAQ was completed in November 1999 by his aide-de-camp and fellow M.O.O.S.E. member Colby Cosh. Contributions to the FAQ and other questions about the strip may be submitted to Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions labelled "AT" have been answered by Adam. "CC" answers are those supplied by Colby, and this introduction is his work.
Much of the lore behind Space Moose is preserved on various parts of the Space Moose website, www.spacemoose.com. This FAQ, which is intended for only the most rabid fans, will avoid repeating information available there. In the "annotations" section of the archive, many of the individual strips are explained, and insights into Adam's arcane working methods can be gained. The "controversy" section adequately covers the controversies (duh) surrounding such cartoons as "Antlers of the damned."
We do not have room in this FAQ to recapitulate the most famous events in Space Moose history, namely Adam's punishment by the university over the cartoon "Clobberin' time" and his successful appeal. Check out the "Clobberin'" link from the "Controversies" page; the story is told there with admirable fairness to both sides, which unfortunately leaves out a lot about the profound stupidity of Adam's enemies. The Space Moose/"Clobberin' time" affair is now a part of Canadian history, having captured the attention of the nation's media and its intellectuals. It may be the most important fight over free speech on a Canadian university campus to date, and although Adam triumphed before the university's appeal board, there are still many outstanding issues left to be settled in future cases.
Q: Who is this man known to the four corners of the Earth as "Adam Thrasher?"
CC: Adam Thrasher is a graduate student in biomedical engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Barring a catastrophe, he should receive a doctorate early in 2000. (His need to complete his doctoral thesis explains the shocking paucity of strips in 1999.) All correspondence after this date should be marked either "Dr. Adam Thrasher" or "Senor Rico Suave."
Born in London, Ontario on September 9, 1971, Adam moved with his family to Edmonton at the age of 10. He received a B.Eng. in mechanical engineering from the U of A in 1994. His scientific work involves creating computer models of the human body; these models will, in turn, be used to develop appliances ("hybrid orthoses") to allow paraplegics to stand and walk with mechanical assistance. Adam would also like to see his work adapted to the creation of super-soldiers like those in the movies "Cyborg" and "Universal Soldier."
Q: That's not his real name, is it?
CC: Yes, it is.
Q: How did you start drawing Space Moose?
CC: Adam answered this one in an interview with Edmonton Sun columnist Kerry Diotte, conducted in April 1999. "Thrasher gave birth to the licentious moose while doodling in [Edmonton's] Ross Sheppard High School. 'I was trying to make a friend of mine laugh, so I drew this thing with all the stereotypes of a goofy character--lopsided googly eyes, buck teeth that hang out, and antlers.' Space Moose, the character and cartoon, debuted in the Oct. 3, 1989 issue of The Gateway, where it's been featured ever since. [The Gateway is the University of Alberta's student newspaper and the longtime home of the strip.] For the first year, the strip was a collaboration with pal Jason Kapalka, but now Thrasher is solely to blame."
Q: Who is Jason Kapalka?
CC: Like the man says, an old pal from university. Kapalka graduated from the U of A, and his early involvement with Space Moose does not seem to have hurt his career as a San Francisco-based Website editor, screenwriter, and computer game tester. He regards the cult that has grown up around his co-creation with a mixture of horror and pride.
Q: Has anyone else collaborated on Space Moose? What was the deal with "Colby Christ Meets Space Moose"?
CC: Space Moose started out as a three-way collaboration between Adam, Jason Kapalka, and pharmacy student Donald R. Husereau. Don fell by the wayside first, drawing only one actual Space Moose cartoon ("Space Moose in Mollusc-o-rama"), although he remained an invaluable advisor and wrote the complete text of the brilliant strip "The lesions aren't herpetic." Within a year, though, Adam was definitely the principal author and artist behind Space Moose.
In 1991, Adam, who was in a cooperative program for budding engineers, departed the U of A campus for a term of practical work experience. He spent four months working on natural-gas pipeline corrosion for Northwestern Utilities in Edmonton. During this time, all work on Space Moose ceased, and Space Moose's place in the Gateway was filled by "Colby Christ," a cartoon whose central character was the co-author of this FAQ. Don drew "Colby Christ" and had worthless help on the writing from the "real" Colby Christ, i.e., me. "Colby Christ" was generally quite indecipherable, occasionally offensive (a joke about little kids with leukemia drew hate mail that would have made Space Moose proud), and funny once or twice. At one point, it was formally declared the least popular strip in the Gateway by a poll of the paper's contributing cartoonists. Don convinced the editors to allow the crappy strip to continue for a few weeks more, until a triumphantly returning Adam could intervene. The Space Moose cartoon now known as "Colby Christ meets Space Moose" was a segue between the strips, drawn by Adam and Don.
Over the years, I have contributed a few vague ideas to actual Space Moose cartoons: I invented the Animal Kingdom Kumite and Adam co-opted it for the strip. Jason Medwid, Adam's former roommate, has had a larger profile: the "10K charity fun run" was worked out with his help, and he pitched in on the lyrics sung by the daft folksinger in "Hey Mr. Businessman." The line "Your rights end where my feelings begin," from "Political science," is his work, and he added at least one figure to "Where's Space Moose."
Paul Diedrich's role (see above) in the development of Space Moose is too large to be easily summarized. Indeed, history will remember him as the inventor of the name "Space Moose," and the cartoon was originally composed for his delectation. His influence continues: the recent episode "I hate U" was based on a Paul Diedrich premise. Ian Gilmore's anti-social spirit infuses the cartoon in a multitude of nebulous ways. Two Space Moose fans from Edmonton, Iain Getty and Kris Tabin, have contributed storylines; Tabin devised "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and Getty wrote "Why are we going to the airport?"
Eamonn Muldowney was a U of A student who drew a cryptic, bizarre Gateway cartoon called "Neil the Nerd." It is a legend in its own right, as is Eamonn. An admirer of the moose, he added his distinctive art to "The origins of Space Moose" during a late night in the Gateway office, and later did a couple of unauthorized Space Moose episodes. A similar indignity was inflicted on Adam's work by Gateway staffer Chris "Fish" Griwkowsky, whose cartoon pig, Poo Poo, appears in the lower right corner of "Anthropocentricity today."
Q: What happened to Space Moose's mane?
AT: Space Moose's mane disappeared some time in 1993. The change was made for aesthetic reasons. The original drawings of Space Moose always had hair, but after a while, I decided that the shaved head looked better. Sometimes, the hair is useful--for example, in the "Summertime tips" strip, where he slicked it back to look suave, or in "Extreme Space Moose," where the mane looks like fire and adds intensity to the drawing.
Q: What is the meaning of "bee?" Who's that retarded guy who keeps cropping up in the strips?
AT: "Bee" is an inside joke. The origins of the word go back to when I was in high school. I had the honour of riding the bus every day with a young man who had Down Syndrome. He would always sing softly to himself, and one day I learned that his melodic stylings were simply utterances of the word "bee" at different vocal pitches and sustains. [Adam's representation of this fellow has appeared often in his comic strips and other art. He goes by the name "B. Bobby" or "Bee Bobby," which is a phrase that appears in some of the early strips. He appeared as "Retard Boy" in "Stupid Man and Retard Boy." -CC] Fascinated by this, my friends and I quickly adopted the word into our everyday vocabulary. It is an expression that, depending on how it is intoned, can mean many different things. For example, a quick flat "bee" means "I have made a simple intellectual mistake." A high-toned, sustained "bee" means "Hello, how are you?" A "bee" which suddenly drops in pitch expresses shame and disappointment, as in "Curses, it appears I've soiled myself again."
Q: What's with all the nose-petting?
AT: The nose is the most wonderful appendage of the body. It is the only part of the body that never stops growing. If you have ever seen anyone without a nose, you would know how disconcerting it is. So, why not pet it once in a while to show your appreciation and make sure that it's okay?
Q: Is there a sequel to "Who's ready to kick some fucking ass?"
AT: No. I never intended to kontinue it.
Q: What happens after the zombies emerge from the trunk in "Whore fury"?
AT: The strip ends.
Q: What's wrong with "Ducks"?
AT: Nothing. And everything.
Q: Where is the Fellatio Barn?
AT: It is believed to exist somewhere in the Alberta wilds near the town of Beaverlodge.
Q: Where did you get the phrase "It's clobberin' time"?
AT: Growing up, I was a big fan of superhero comic books, and my favorite character was Ben "The Thing" Grimm, one quarter of Marvel's Fantastic Four. The Thing was a powerful strongman covered in a thick layer of rock. He was the coolest. He loved to kick ass. At the onset of every battle he would bellow, "It's clobberin' time!"
Q: Where do you get your ideas?
AT: From my ass.
Q: As an aspiring cartoonist myself, I wonder, how the fuck were you able to come up with such fucking hilarious shit so often?
AT: I'm smarter than you.
Q: Do you plan on making more T-shirts?
AT: I don't plan on making new T-shirts anytime soon. I'd like to unload the existing stock first.
Q: Will you do a custom strip for (my friend's birthday, my mother, my sociology prof, etc.)?
Q: My name is _________. I'm the author of the wacky, offbeat Web comic strip called __________. Do you want to trade links with me?
AT: No, I don't.
Q: Do you have any female fans?
AT: Not only do I have female fans, I have female fans who are trapped inside the bodies of male fans.
Q: Do you actually believe in the stuff a lot of your strips seem to say?
AT: Most of my strips are satirical, so the ostensible message that I convey to the reader is NOT what I believe in. In fact, it's usually the opposite. For example, "Aspects of cinema" may seem to suggest that male roommates should be drugged and sexually assaulted on film for the entertainment of others. I do not actually feel this way. I just found the idea funny to think about. (No roommates were harmed in the making of that strip.)
My cartoons, more often than not, challenge the reader to think about things that are horrible, reprehensible and irredeemable. If I have achieved that, there seems to be only two possible reactions: anger or laughter. I aim for the latter and put up with the former.
Q: What cartoons have influenced your work?
CC: From the Diotte interview (see above): "The irreverent cartoonist, who was an avid comic collector as a kid, says he's been inspired by the likes of fellow ink-stained wretches Gary Larson (The Far Side), Scott Adams (Dilbert) and Matt Groening (The Simpsons). He's glad they pushed the envelope to allow biting cartoonists such as him to thrive. 'When I grew up, newspaper comics were sickly sweet,' notes Thrasher, who lists Marmaduke, Family Circle and Ziggy as the cartoons which he finds offensively lame."
Q: What does your family think about your cartoons?
AT: I get a wide range of reactions from my family, mostly cautious bemusement.
Q: What materials are used in the preparation of Space Moose?
CC: Adam says he used to use anything he could snaffle from his mother's office, but now the cartoon is inked with a black Sanford Uniball.
AT: I pencil lightly first with a really hard lead (about 5H). All my strips are drawn on ordinary 20 lb bleached paper, the kind that one would typically steal from a photocopier at work. I also use a portable drawing board with a T-square that I bought for my freshman engineering drafting class.
Q: What colour is Space Moose's "Star Trek" shirt?
CC: Space Moose has been spotted in the uniforms characteristic of the original "Star Trek" and the ill-fitting one-piece familiar from "Star Trek: The Next Generation." In the colourized versions produced by Space Moose fans, Space Moose has been seen both in the distinctive red of the doomed security officer ("Calvin and Slobbes," "It's Barney") and in officer's green ("The origin," "Bulbous yet agile"). Since the colourizers can't even agree on Space Moose's own exact hue, and since Space Moose has never been given a formal Starfleet rank, speculation may proceed freely. Surely, if he were serving about a real spaceship, Space Moose would attain high rank in short order.
Q: How do you get away with your humour?
AT: I often do not get away with my humour. Sometimes it brings on a lot of heat. Because I spank sacred cows, I tend to upset the tight-sphinctered people who worship them. They will sometimes go to incredible lengths to censor my cartoons and censure me. [See the "Controversies" section of the website for more info. -CC]
Q: Why does Space Moose upset people so much? Has the world gone mad?
Q: Where do these people get off with their complaints against Space Moose? Can't those fuckers see it's just a cartoon, made to give people a good laugh?
AT: No. They can't.
Q: What type of car does Billy drive?
CC: Someone once recognized the front panel and identified the car, but Adam lost the relevant e-mail. Automotive fanatics take note. The car changes from strip to strip anyway, so who gives a rat's ass?
Q: What is in the cup that Billy is often holding?
AT: Billy is a honey badger, which suggests that the beverage might be honey or mead.
Q: A "honey badger?" What's the deal with that?
CC: Glad you asked. The honey badger (Mellivora capensis), or ratel, can be found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and even on the Indian subcontinent. Interestingly, Billy is a member of the Mustelidae family, which includes weasels and otters as well as badgers. Your standard-issue honey badger is similar in size and shape to the more familiar European badger (Meles meles), but his whitish-and-black colouring makes him look something like an overgrown skunk. For the full skinny on the honey badger, you can consult the Brockwatch Badger Pages created by the estimable Steve Jackson.
Note that the honey badger, like many small mammals, possesses an anal gland which it is wont to rub on vegetation, landmarks, and other honey badgers. Honey badgers also communicate with their fellows by means of feces. The honey badger lives in a symbiotic relationship with the famous "honey guide" (Indicator indicator), a species of bird that will attract the badger's attention and actually lead it to a beehive. The badger emits a noxious blast from its anal gland, which paralyzes or chases off the unfortunate bees. He then tears the living fuck out of the hive, eating most of the delicious honey therein. Then the honey guide eats what's left behind.
These are just a few of the honey badger's revolting habits. Although Billy seems somewhat more domesticated than the idealized honey badger of Mr. Jackson's precis, it is probably true that only Space Moose could stand to have a honey badger for a roommate.
Q: How come Billy doesn't look anything like a real honey badger?
CC: For the same reason Space Moose doesn't look like a real moose.
Q: Have you ever thought about animating Space Moose?
CC: Adam has had informal talks with an American television producer--a real one--about creating an animated version of Space Moose. He has never received a concrete cash offer for the television rights to the strip, however. It is very difficult to imagine the strip making the transition to U.S. television with its feculent glory, and Adam's artistic integrity, intact. He is waiting to hear from the Swedes.
Q: What's with all the anal sex?
CC: Does Space Moose bug you about your lifestyle?
Q: Is Space Moose gay?
AT: Space Moose's sexual orientation has long been a subject for debate. In 1997, I conducted a web poll asking readers to determine whether they thought Space was homosexual, heterosexual, bi, or whatever. 42% of the people who responded said that the moose's sexual orientation is "undefinable." 24% responded "bisexual." As many said he was "asexual" as those who said he's "homosexual" (3%).
My personal opinion is that Space Moose simply likes illicit sex. Since gay coitus is so taboo (and since most of his friends happen to be male), that is the brand he most often indulges in. Still, he is not exclusively gay, because he hits on Miranda (see "Like taking a big dump"), and he fantasizes about screwing women (see "Hey, Mr. Businessman"). To Space Moose, the best sex is sex that is perceived as wrong or inappropriate. Missexual?
(CC: It's interesting that Adam feels he only has one vote on this issue. I have always felt that Space Moose was basically heterosexual but would do ANYTHING to create chaos. Chicks are what gives him spontaneous erections in shopping malls [cf. "Saved by the fat fuck"], but he'll drill glory holes in his own walls to piss people off [cf. "Glory holes"]. Obviously he does have a thing about anuses (ani?), but so do a lot of heterosexuals. Of course, there's also the fact that he is neither human nor even of Earthly origin. "Missexual" is definitely the best formulation I have seen.)
Q: Are you gay?
AT: Like you wouldn't believe.
Q: Were you ever molested as a child?
Q: Does Space Moose have a navel?
AT: Yes, an innie.
Q: Is there anyone Space Moose hasn't offended?
AT: Space Moose has yet to offend an intelligent person.
Q: Does Space Moose have any famous fans?
CC: Adam once received a brief but encouraging e-mail from someone plausibly claiming to be Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert." It is not known who is responsible for the apparent Space Moose reference in a background painting for the Fox TV cartoon "Futurama." (In the episode which first aired on December 12, 1999, sharp-eyed fans spotted a booth for the "Bull Space Moose" Party. The moose depicted looked "more like Bullwinkle," however, according to one viewer.)
AT: On the last day of 1999, I received e-mail from Steven Kerzner, the creator/executive producer of City TV's Ed the Sock, a polemic Canadian curmudgeon. Because I am a big fan of Ed (he once undulated on air with Geri Halliwell), I was delighted to have Kerzner describe Space Moose as "nicely illustrated, well-paced and very funny."
Q: Can you tell us about the backgrounds of the characters?
CC: A couple years back, Adam prepared profiles of the lead characters for the TV series that was being discussed. The profiles make up an FAQ all by themselves. Here they are:
Prophesied to one day return to his home planet Olmak and defeat the mutant tyranny that enslaved his people for centuries, Space Moose was sent to Earth in a robot-piloted space craft, the Mauve Armadillo, which touched down in the back yard of newlyweds Alan and Greta Moose. The young couple instantly fell in love with the unusual baby and raised it as if it were their own. Space underwent a typical Canadian suburban upbringing that consisted of collecting Star Wars action figures, playing Missile Command, roller-skating to Abba, and salvaging second-hand Penthouse magazines from dumpsters.
Precocious throughout his childhood and adolescence, Space Moose rocketed through grade school. His parents and teachers foresaw a great academic future for the peculiar-looking wunderkind, and pushed him towards all the finest schools--Oxford, MIT, Harvard, Phelps--but Space Moose eventually disappointed them all by enrolling in the local University of Alberta. Four years later, with a zoology degree in hand, Space Moose made his boyhood dreams come true and became the Generation X version of Merlin Perkins.
BILLY THE BIONIC BADGER
Displaced from his rocky burrow at the tender age of two, Billy spent most of his youth in a Swiss laboratory. As part of a behavioural study, he was fed a liberal diet of Fritos and beer and forced to watch American television nine hours a day. One year into the study, just after NBC announced the cancellation of "Alf," Billy escaped from his cage in a fit of despair. The janitorial staff found him the next morning passed out in a urinal, and mistakenly returned him to the wrong lab. For the next week, Billy underwent a series of surgeries which eventually replaced all his skeletal muscles with advanced silicon polymer servo-actuators, rendering him the world's strongest rodent. [This is a joke. Adam knows that badgers are not rodents. Don't write. -CC] Billy was featured at a series of international medical and cybernetics conferences until, during a symposium in Canada, animal rights activists kidnapped him and took him to the plains of Alberta where he could live within his 'natural habitat'. As soon as Billy saw the frozen grasslands, he said, "Fuck this. I'm outta here," and enrolled in engineering at the University of Alberta. It was there that Billy formed his lifelong bond with Space Moose.
Little is known about the origins of this diminutive chrome-dome. According to Space Moose, Bald Dwarf spent some time in jail "for killing a cow with his bare hands," and managed to shorten his sentence by agreeing to take part in medical experiments. Years later, after becoming clean and sober, Bald Dwarf undertook a liberal arts education at the University of Alberta. He is now working on one of the longest and most pretentious Masters' theses in the history of formal education. Bald Dwarf can often be seen grand-marshaling equal rights parades for various minority groups.
Of Space Moose's cohorts, Marlo is probably the most normal. His family moved a lot when he was growing up, so Marlo never had many friends. He occupied himself instead with juvenile fiction and computer games on his Commodore 64. Marlo hooked up with Space Moose in university, having vied against him for the top grade in a Computing Science class. Marlo was convinced Space was sleeping with the professor (he was) and initiated an investigation. Space Moose proved he was worthy of his mark through a series of independent oral exams, much to Marlo's chagrin. As a joke, Space invited Marlo out for a consolatory drink, and Marlo has been hanging around ever since. Having had somewhat of a moral upbringing, Marlo does not agree with Space's seek-and-destroy philosophy of life, and tries to curb the antlered one's nihilistic ventures whenever possible. Despite the animosity between them, Space Moose cannot help but see a little of himself in Marlo.
Q: Speaking of Marlo, when did he first arrive in the strip?
CC: In 1994. His auspicious debut was "A little something from abroad." Adam says "At the time, I had not intended him to return." But then he realized the comic could use a straight man, and he brought Marlo back to complain about the hot salsa in "A urinal puck for dessert." And not a moment too soon.
Q: What ever happened to Billy's tank treads? In the early strips he's got them, but later he has legs.
AT: Well, they didn't so much disappear as they were put away. Billy comes with modular components.
Q: Who, or what, is M.O.O.S.E.? It's mentioned in the strip once and another time in one of Adam's cartoon annotations.
CC: The M.O.O.S.E. Club was an official club on the University of Alberta campus; Adam was its president for most of its existence. The acronym "M.O.O.S.E." has no formal connection to the idea of "Space Moose," except insofar as mooses are pretty fuckin' funny. The club began as a clique of modem owners, back when modem owners were an identifiable group. Eventually it attracted like-minded sodomites from outside the cyberworld, including many of the people named above as creative contributors to Space Moose. M.O.O.S.E. had no official mandate beyond the general spread of chaos, and members would meet in the M.O.O.S.E. office to create free-form art, scatological conversation, and explosive devices. Concepts from the office were often imported wholesale into "Space Moose." The Space Moose strip "Pure rubidium" captures the atmosphere perfectly. The full legend of the M.O.O.S.E. Club would require an FAQ all its own. Suffice to say the signature cry of "MOOOOOOOSE!" is still sometimes heard wherever chaoticians congregate.
Q: Are any of the recurring characters based on real people? Is Marlo supposed to be Adam?
CC: People apparently keep asking Adam whether Marlo is an "Adam" character. This may be because Adam often disavows Space Moose's own outlook on life. The question arises from a basic confusion between cartoon characters and real human beings. Adam is not Marlo. He would never buy a "Shit happens" T-shirt, although he might buy one that said "Shit is delicious."
Curiously, there is a real "Bald Dwarf," although any resemblance between the person and the cartoon character is probably purely coincidental by now. In the pre-Space Moose years, when the strip's original collaborators were known to haunt local computer bulletin boards, one of their frequent interlocutors was a guy who went by the name "Bald Dwarf." He called himself this, it turned out, because he was tall and hairy. He had many fans in the world of cyberspace, but the consensus among the Space Moose set was that "Intellectual Dwarf" would have been a more apt nickname. This "real" Bald Dwarf, Tom Cantine, is still alive and kicking... Visit Cantine's lair and judge for yourself.
Q: How come so many of the first-year Space Moose strips make no sense?
CC: The first year of Space Moose was full of obscure references to sebacious Edmonton BBS denizens like the original "Bald Dwarf." Examples include "Jackhammer Johnny" and "Wishbringer." That's why those strips mostly make no sense. They're in-jokes that got into the campus paper for some reason. Quality control was a real problem then, as now.
Ironically, the strips themselves are pretty confusing even if you do get the "inside" references. Adam would prefer that you just ignore the 1989-90 episodes of Space Moose. With respect to Jason Kapalka's gag writing, the real jumping-off point for "Space Moose" is the ingenious "Calvin and Slobbes," the first strip of 1990-91.
The "Thanatos" who appeared in three strips in 1990-91 is another BBS refugee, but those strips make sense even if you don't know that. Sort of.
Q: What other real people have appeared in Space Moose?
CC: Paul Hansen, who worked with Adam at Northwestern Utilities, inspired the strip "I'd do just about anything for a million dollars." He also appears as a proto-Marlo figure (but note carefully: he's not Marlo) in "Closet Trekkie." Adam's rendering of Hansen in these strips is quite dead-on by his standards.
Paul Diedrich is the recording engineer in "Live or on Memorex" and takes an axe in the face in panel 5. Oderus Urungus and Beefcake the Mighty, members of the band GWAR, also appear in this strip. GWAR is a recurring Space Moose theme and an enduring passion of the artist.
In "Superstardom," Space Moose moons Edmonton's socialist mayoress of the day, Jan Reimer. "Space Moose meets Tooker Gomberg" features former Edmonton alderman Tooker Gomberg: see the relevant cartoon annotation for an explanation.
"Jason Kodish: Geek Police" features Jason Kodish, a local eccentric. Kodish was famous at the U of A for being "that creepy little guy who always hangs around the Chem building for no apparent reason"; he was also named Biggest Asshole on Usenet, or some similar title, in a poll one month. Kodish, in his inept way, insisted on being featured in a Space Moose episode. Adam granted his wish by assigning him to the Geek Police, although clearly the real-life Kodish would be better suited to the Dork Platoon.
Hemp activist David Malmo-Levine, who later became a central figure in the Canadian government's Spraypec scandal, appeared in several episodes of Space Moose. Malmo was among protestors at an APEC conference in Vancouver who were hit with gallons of pepper spray by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Later, at a public inquiry, a Mountie was quizzed on why he had to use pepper spray to subdue a pathetic little man like Malmo. Good question.
The "potential victim" in "The faster, the safer," is named for Adam's friend Danean Rentz, but the resemblance is vague at best. U of A students' union candidate Terra Tailleur inspired "Never vote for chicks" and is depicted semi-accurately in that strip. Chess master and educator Bruce Pandolfini plays a zookeeper in "The only remaining rhynchocephalian."
"Space Moose and Friends" features, of course, the cast of NBC's "Friends." This strip may be Adam's greatest triumph of representational draughtmanship, which is to say that everyone in the strip looks like who they're supposed to look like. Cool.
Q: Are there any episodes of "Space Moose" we haven't seen?
CC: If you haven't bought Adam's book, "Triumph of the Whim: A Space Moose Collection," you're missing out on a half-dozen of so of the best strips he ever did (including one simply called "Stoma!"). He has kept these strips out of the Web archive as a bonus for his customers, and they never appeared in the Gateway.
In 1990 or thereabouts, Paul Diedrich actually drew at least one complete Space Moose comic of six panels. It was totally unpublishable--it circulated only amongst Adam's friends--and hysterically funny. Unfortunately for posterity, it has gone missing from Adam's private papers.
Q: In "You know, Billy, I've been thinking," Bald Dwarf is playing with some kind of big rectangle that goes "Wubba, wubba." What is that?
CC: It's a wubba sheet. I.e., a large piece of transparent Lexan (TM) that makes a "Wubba, wubba" sound when flexed.
Q: In "Triceratops scat," Billy buys "mountain climbers and a rope bridge playset" from the movie "Hang On." What is "Hang On"?
CC: There is no movie called "Hang On." When the Sylvester Stallone vehicle "Cliffhanger" came out in 1993, it was advertised with posters that said "Hang On" in huge letters. The running joke at the time was that the movie was actually called "Hang On" and not "Cliffhanger." Billy has obviously been takin for a ride on his new toys.
Ironic postscript: since the term "cliffhanger" is a fairly obscure English idiom, the movie "Cliffhanger" was actually entitled "Hang On" when it was released on video in Germany. Therefore, to German residents, this obscure old joke makes even less sense. Sorry, Fritz.
Q: What is CJSR?
CC: It's the University of Alberta campus radio station. The episode called "CJSR" is one of a series of single-panel strips that Adam did to illustrate the U of A student handbook.
Q: What's up with "I did a bad thing, Billy"?
CC: That's the actor River Phoenix, who died of a drug overdose outside the Viper Room in Hollywood in 1993.
Q: The guy holding a "Stop animal violence" sign in "Stop animal violence" looks exactly like Chad, the luckless video clerk from "Renting a video." Is it Chad?
CC: The resemblance is unintentional (says Adam), but yes, that's obviously him, isn't it? Since "renting a video" came later, he obviously survived the attack of the kodiak with fetal alcohol syndrome.
Q: Re: "Ask my ass." What IS the movie where Kevin Bacon rapes all those juvenile delinquents?
CC: It was called "Sleepers."
Q: On the cake you drew for the strip's 10th anniversary, there are only nine candles. Is this even worth mentioning?
AT: Sure, but it would be even better if you also mentioned the other, more grievous mistake in that drawing.
Q: Why do so many Web-based comics include zombies and other gratuitous undead? (The person who sent in this question mentioned Penny Arcade, Sluggy Freelance, Red Meat, and Bob the Angry Flower.)
CC: Even Garry Trudeau used zombies in Doonesbury (Uncle Duke was turned into one back in the '80s). Zombies are funny. It's like asking why cartoon characters have googly eyes.
Noam Chomsky: a linguistics professor employed by MIT, noted for espousing leftist idealism. He is worshipped as a god by many pseudointellectual anarchists.
dik-dik: a shy, hare-like antelope indigenous to eastern Africa. It is one of the smallest antelopes, measuring only about 30 cm (12") at the shoulder.
Andrea Dworkin: a not particularly attractive feminist author, lecturer and spewer of anti-male invective.
pileum: the top of the head of a bird from the bill to the nape.
PKU: phenylketonuria, a metabolic disorder characterized by severe mental deficiency.
priapism: persistent abnormal erection of the penis.
rohypnol: the "date rape drug"; when taken with alcohol, it produces disinhibition and amnesia.
rubidium: The 37th element, a highly reactive alkali metal.
stoma: a prosthetic hole in the wall of the abdomen created to provide artificial passage of bodily elimination.
volvulus: a twisting of the intestine that causes obstruction.
coprophage: a human, or any organism, that eats feces. Adjective: "coprophagous."