Well, Darin sure looks dumbfounded by today’s revelation, but I suspect that’s his default state anyway. And across town, at Mega Comics headquarters, that one editor (who looks like Sesame Street’s Grover has shaved his face) looks equally astonished. He may be thinking, “Haven’t we gone over this road several dozen times in comics? Spider-Man was a clone for a while…comic books these days seem packed to the gills with clones…”
(That’s my hazy recollection. Unlike some I could name, I haven’t followed comics for several decades so all my info is second-hand.)
GroverShave may also be thinking something along the lines of, “Say, isn’t this a really stupid idea? Why would a hero’s arch-enemy clone that hero, rather than kill him? Is the clone programmed to let Doctor Centipede free just as he’s about to capture him? Isn’t that kind of annoying, having his schemes stopped all the time by his own creation? Should Pete go back to his old job of bringing us coffee, while simultaneously shutting up?”
And here we have the number one problem with “tell, don’t show.” Since we’ve never had a glimpse of The Amazing Mister Sponge (or TAMS for short), much less any hint of his adventures, none of this means anything to anyone. So what if TAMS is a clone? It changes nothing. Our lives, hitherto untouched by TAMS, have not had their courses altered in the slightest by this latest development. Even the characters here are just chatting–there’s certainly no hint at all of Pete bemoaning that he is being asked to change the nature of his signature character into something else. There’s no sense of loss, or dreams slipping away, or anything…it’s just another day for Pete, and like most days, it ends with your creations ground down under commercial pressures.
Or so we assume, again. Pete looks excited in the last panel, but is that because the idea appeals to him, or is he simply desperate to keep his job? Without a hint, we’re just looking at bad drawings spouting bad dialogue, with nothing to tie either to any human experience.
I hate to say it, but the scenario below has more of a connection with an audience–any audience.
Yes…above, everything revolves around Les, as Tom Batiuk clearly wants. But at least in this scenario, there’s someone we can hate. The Amazing Mister Sponge? I have no opinion about him one way or the other. I’ve been given no opportunity to form an opinion of any kind…which, given the reception Mr. Batiuk’s work usually gathers, may be by design.