It’s great to see the sphinx again, but this comic really struggles. Your art, as usual, is excellent, but the last panel of the comic has no independent punchline- everything that happens in it has been outlined in the previous panels. All it’s got going for it is that it depicts a humorously absurd situation. Except, people who come back to your sight are fairly intelligent, curious people. They wonder about things. And the humorous absurdity of the situation is short-circuited by the few moments the reader inevitably wastes trying to figure out the sphinx’s un-figure-out-able joke. By the time you remember you’re supposed to laugh, you’ve forgotten to. The quickest fix I can think of is to add a trailing second punchline in a word balloon coming from an audience member, near the bottom of the panel. You’ve almost got that with the two women looking at each other and shrugging, but the joke needs to stand out more, and draw the reader’s eyes away from the impossibly bad joke as quickly as possible. That thing is a black hole of humor.
By the way, *really* enjoyed last week’s comic. Solid, funny dialogue.
“In a room!! With a bed in it!! And some nice music playing!!!”
I appreciate you taking the time say all that–I wish more people would offer such insight. I fully agree with your analysis (I was well aware that this comic was in no way as good as it could have been, but I realized it too late), although the lack of an independent punchline was no accident–It was merely a failed experiment. A solution would be to make the classical music joke MORE obscure–make it plainly obvious that there’s no way to “get” the joke (make it just a punchline, ideally–something like “…and then Bach says, ‘That’s why it’s called The Well-TEMPERED Clavier!'” You get the idea.). The problem is that what I used in the strip is an actual joke (albeit a fantastically obscure one) and so there is time wasted trying to figure it out, like you say. All told, the comic ends up being a metaphor for itself, with the baffled readers pictured in the last panel. But I welcome such artistic failures, for nothing ventured, nothing gained. and I have gained from your remarks. Thanks again for your comments! The more insight, the merrier.