rodney kill the violinssssss
#406; In which there’s a Problem in the Orchestra

Enjoy this Classic Wondermark, originally published May 9, 2008 and newly colored by Philip R. Obermarck!

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MISSIVES. (see all)

I’m podcasting the making of the next Wondermark book!

This post has a lot of big announcements in it!

  1. More new products in the store!
  2. A preview of my new podcast and other bonus material I’ve been posting on Patreon!
  3. An embarrassingly personal note from me.

In the last post about all my new stickers and pins, I teased that there would be more new products coming to the store soon. THAT DAY HAS COME.

In the studio, we’ve been making coasters out of cork! (Click the image for a closer look.)

I'm podcasting the making of the next Wondermark book!

These are some of 15 different coaster designs to choose from.

If you’ve visited any of my convention tables recently, you’ve probably seen these!

The surface is laser-darkened cork, bonded with a central layer of acrylic for stiffness, then backed with a sheet of soft felt made out of recycled soda bottles.

I'm podcasting the making of the next Wondermark book!

I now have a selection of them in my store, along with some wooden magnets made using the very same laser.

[ Coasters at Wondermark Brand Dry-Goods ]

There’s bonus content available on Patreon!

Patreon is a subscription site that lets you get bonus content from folks like me for just a couple bucks a month. Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been posting to my own Patreon page lately:

I’ve started a new podcast, and you’re invited!

I'm podcasting the making of the next Wondermark book!

It’s called “Malki on the Mark”, and it’s all about the making of the next Wondermark strip collection.

Here is a 2-minute teaser:

In this post I explain a bit more about what it’s all about:

The podcast will be a sort of journal related specifically to the design, production, Kickstarting, printing, and fulfillment of this particular project.

You’ll get to follow along through the entire process as I explain all the things that are happening behind the scenes with the production of the book, and the decisions being made along the way, that I normally wouldn’t bother to share (but that end up making up most of the actual process).

If you’re interested in book design, or crowdfunding, or project management generally, or just want to listen as I (SURELY) encounter unexpected problems and have to figure out how to deal with them, this will be the show for you…

My hope is that you’ll find it interesting to follow along as I embark upon a project that will be sure to have lots of twists and turns!

Every time I do a big project like this I think, “If only I had been keeping a journal, or doing recordings along the way, to keep track of all the minutiae that readers and customers will never see, but that are a necessary and inevitable part of any project, and that I personally find fascinating.”

Well, this time I’m doing it.

As I explain at greater length in the post I’ve quoted above, the podcast will be a reward for folks who support Wondermark by becoming monthly patrons.

I’ve posted six episodes so far.

Sometimes it’s just me talking in EXCRUCIATING DETAIL about book design, and other times it’s me talking with a comics-making pal!

To give you a sense of it, I’ve made Episode 4 (featuring a discussion on Kickstarter reward strategy with Sam & Fuzzy‘s Sam Logan) free for everyone. It’s 43 minutes long.

[ Malki on the Mark Episode 4, feat. Sam Logan

Patrons also have access to other behind-the-scenes series:

2 Minutes to Wondermark timelapsed screen recordings (with after-the-fact commentary added) of me making each Wondermark strip.

Back in January, I started screen-recording the making of (almost) every comic, and with these commentary videos, I’m showing you the process.

Here’s one that I posted recently:

• Archive Dive in which I look back at various individual comics from the past 15+ years and explore common themes at absurd length, such as “Five Wondermarks Based on True Events” and “Five Wondermarks that Foresaw the Future”.

• From the Roll-a-Sketch Vault — basically the same thing, but talking about what went into some of my favorite Roll-a-Sketch drawings, rather than comics!

These series are irregular and will be added to as time allows.

Of course you can also still get in on the final few months of Patreon-exclusive Wondermark Cast Cards — 2018 will be the last year the Cast Cards are offered.

Here are a few that went out to our monthly Cast Card subscribers earlier this summer!

I'm podcasting the making of the next Wondermark book!

I'm podcasting the making of the next Wondermark book!

[ Subscribe to Wondermark on Patreon ]

Finally, a brief scheduling note.

In a couple days, I will be having surgery to remove a marble-sized mass from my right wrist/forearm.

It is (supposedly) minimally invasive surgery, but in advance I don’t have a good indication of how much it will affect my ability to work. It’s possible that my dominant hand will be immobilized for a period of some weeks.

I’m sure I will still be able to fill orders from the store, and I expect to figure out a way to make and post comics on something like a regular schedule, but just in case, I ask for your understanding in case the typical posting schedule ends up suffering somewhat.

I am a bit nervous about the upcoming recovery period (and the upcoming absurd medical bill, because we live in America), but the truth is I won’t know anything definitive until it goes however it’s going to go!

But don’t worry — I’m confident we will be able to follow the Sick Elephant Saga of 2018 to its upcoming dramatic conclusion. (Or will it ever end????)

Anyway, friends, let’s be real, this is a definitely a good time to pick up something from the store, or the other store, or to become a patron. Thanks for reading down this far!!

New Hyperbolic stickers & new enamel pins!

I’ve been teasing these for a while, but the day has come — the new crop of Hyperbolic Upgrade Stickers is now available!

New Hyperbolic stickers & new enamel pins!

[ Stickers on Wondermark Brand Dry-Goods. ]

Previously, stickers of this type were only available in preselected packs.

UNTIL TODAY. Now you can order any of my stickers (there are actually 38 different designs in total) à la carte.

I’ll put just one sticker in an envelope and mail it to you! I don’t even care. I’LL DO IT ALL DAY.

Oh — and I now have enamel pins too!!

New Hyperbolic stickers & new enamel pins!

Pins on Wondermark Brand Dry-Goods. ]

I am only an amateur pin collector myself. But I’ve been watching other artists make pins for a few years now, and it seemed like SO MUCH FUN from a design perspective.

And it is! I have a ton more ideas that I think could make for good pins. This first batch is (largely) adaptations of slogans that are also on stickers.

But there are some other design ideas I have that I think would work BETTER as pins than stickers, and I would very much like to make some of those. Maybe an animal set with a sea lion, a piranhamoose, an elephant on a penny-farthing…

That can come in time, though! First I have to see if people like these pins. Pins are REALLY fun to make, but they’re a bit expensive to make a ton of just on a whim.

I hope to add to the Wondermark pin collection over time, if folks are into pins!

A lot of times, when I have new store stuff to post, I find myself holding off, because I think “But I’ve got OTHER stuff to post before much longer, so I should wait a bit, and post it all together.”

This is a BAD STRATEGY because then months go by and things come up and I never make the post. I am trying to break the habit of being shy about stuff I’m making that you might enjoy.

So, yeah, fair warning, I’ll have other, different stuff to post about before long! Other stuff from this same store, even. But who can say when that will be?

In the meantime, the pins and stickers are available right this second! (You can also get books and puzzles and drink coasters and whatever else, too… Everything that used to be in the store is still there.)

[ Wondermark Brand Dry-Goods ]

Six things I just learned about Inspector Gadget

Six things I just learned about Inspector GadgetInspector Gadget costume available from

Last week at Gen Con I had the pleasure of learning a bunch of dumb stuff I didn’t know about Inspector Gadget! And now I will share it all with you.

Like everyone in the world, I watched the television program as a kid, and chuckled along to the antics of the terrible lawman and his orphan ward and cryptid dog. I knew about the two live-action movies as well, though I’ve never actually watched them all the way through. And I vaguely knew that there were some various other Gadget adaptations out there.

NOW, however, I know all that AND these six other things, which I will share with you now:

THING ONE: Inspector Gadget had a moustache in the original pilot, but DiC (the production company) was sued by MGM because he too closely resembled their own Inspector Clouseau.

Rather than re-animating the pilot, a line of dialogue was added to later showings, in which Penny comments on the moustache and Gadget says: “It’s so that nobody will recognize me. I’m on vacation, absolutely, totally and completely off duty.”

Here’s the original version of the opening theme with the moustache present: [On YouTube]

THING TWO: In the 1999 live-action movie, there is a scene in which Inspector Gadget covers a lady with 100 gallons of toothpaste. It’s just as terrible as it sounds:

I agree with one of the YouTube commenters: “Why would they even put that much toothpaste in him anyway? How often is he gonna come across a situation that requires a crap load of toothpaste like that?”

THING THREE: There have been THREE spinoff television shows since the original:

Gadget & the Gadgetinis (2002–2003), in which the Inspector has been promoted to Lieutenant and Penny has built him two miniature robot sidekicks. [On YouTube]

Gadget Boy & Heather (1995–1998), in which the brain of an adult policeman has been placed into the body of a child for some reason, and the child given all the typical crimefighting gadgets. The villain is an 8-armed spider-lady named Spydra. [On YouTube]

A current CGI version of Inspector Gadget (2015–present), a “sequel” to the original, presently available on Netflix in the US. In this version, Dr. Claw has a teenaged nephew, whom Penny has a crush on. [On YouTube]

There have also been two animated movies: 2002’s Inspector Gadget’s Last Case [wiki/YouTube], which features Jaleel White (Urkel) as Gadget’s car, and 2005’s Inspector Gadget’s Biggest Caper Ever [wiki/YouTube], which features Bernie Mac as Gadget’s car.

THING FOUR: Inspector Gadget once met the Mario Brothers:

For this live-action segment, Gadget was played by Maurice LaMarche, who would go on to voice Gadget in several of his other animated incarnations once Don Adams had retired from the character (and from this world).

If anyone can make it through the entire thing, let me know what happens.

THING FIVE: There are, surprisingly, not that many interesting covers of the Inspector Gadget theme song on YouTube, but this one done in Mario Paint is rather charming:

I particularly like its judicious use of the Yoshi sound effect.

THING SIX: Speaking of the Inspector Gadget theme song, it turns out that the one we in the English-speaking world all know so well is merely a VASTLY INFERIOR ITERATION when you learn that in other languages, IT HAS MORE LYRICS.

Here’s the French version:

It doesn’t have the “Go, Gadget, go” breakdown in the middle, but oh là là, DOES IT EVER HAVE LYRICS.

Our friendly local Francophone at Gen Con broke them down for us. There is a lot of repetition, but in summary and with some idiomatic translation, it goes something like this:

Eh la qui va là // Hey there who is that
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Eh la ça va pas // It’s not going well
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Oh la je suis là // Hey there I am here
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget

C’est moi que voilà // It’s me, I am here
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ca va être la joie // It’s going to be fun
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Au nom de la loi // In the name of the law
Moi je vous arrête // I will arrest you
Je vous arrête là! // I’m gonna stop you there!

Go Go, Gadget à main // Go Go Gadget hand
Flash, Gadget au chapeau // Flash! Gadget in hat
Hé ho, Gadget au poing // Hey ho, Gadget fist
Oh la, Elastico-Gadget // Oh that’s Elastico-Gadget

Les bandits sont là // There the villains are
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ils n’échapperont pas // They will not escape
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Si l’inspecteur fait gaffe // If the Inspector watches out
Fait gaffe aux gadgets // Watches out for his gadgets
Qui marchent ou marchent pas // Which may or may not work

Go Go, Gadget à main // Go Go Gadget hand
Là-haut, Gadget au chapeau // Up there, Gadget in hat
Go Go, Gadget au poing // Go Go Gadget fist
Qui c’est? // Who is that?
C’est Elastico-Gadget // That’s Elastico-Gadget

Et puis patatrac // And then, bang!
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Voilà le chef qu’est là // Look, here is the Chief
Ouh Ouh! // Ooh ooh!
Salut chef c’est moi // Hello, Chief, it’s me
Inspecteur Gadget // Inspector Gadget
Ça n’en finit pas // It just never ends!

I’m super charmed by the mention of both Gadget “hand” and “fist” (they’re different?), and then the mysterious “Elastico-Gadget.” It sounds like it could be his springy legs, but the video shows his helicopter hat at that point! WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON.

If anyone can advise if either the Spanish version or German version communicates any new insight, please leave a comment on this post…

Until then, I’ll be humming “C’est moi que voilà, Inspecteur Gadget” for the foreseeable future.


Edited to add: Lots of good comments on the Twitter thread for this post, too!