Game of Thrones is probably this year’s #1 influence on how I think about kings. Now this. I tell you.

Inevitably, I’ve moaned to some of you people about the rat that invaded our apartment a few weeks ago. One evening I actually saw him, and we (i.e. ALL THE WORLD’S INHABITANTS) were disappointed by Paul-the-dog’s lackluster response to that interloper. He was all hey, yeah, I think, no?

The rat seems to be gone, but the concept of rat kings has been hanging around my mid-conscious, a not-so-subtle metaphor for the way people inflict terrors on themselves when they pursue ambitious plans single-mindedly. Maybe I am tired? Well.

Rat kings, since they’re mytho-historically associated with plague and disaster, have also been reminding me of this terrifying story I once heard (I can’t remember who to attribute it to, and a cursory Google search didn’t turn much up. If anyone finds it or knows, leave a comment?). Ahem:

One afternoon two children walked into a small town in France and stopped a man walking down the street. “Should we sweep,” they asked. “Or should we rake?” The man didn’t know what they meant, so he brought them around to ask other townspeople. “Should we sweep, or should we rake?” The crowd conferred, and laughing, they agreed: “You should sweep. If you rake, you’ll just leave something behind. Sweeping is thorough. A much better way to clean up.” The children were satisfied, and went on their way.

A few months later, World War II descended on Europe, and millions died. The countryside was swept clean.

Every time I hear that tidy like folktale (or indeed, just think of it) I get a chill. I’m not sure why – presentiments of horror just hit me the right way?

Anyhow. This Sunday I’m leaving for a vacation, and dadgumm it I could not be more pleased. I have been very bad this year about giving myself time off, giving myself the emotional leeway to relax. (See also: tired.) But what does this mean for you, dear readers? It may mean a week or two without a new comic. (We’ll see what I feel like getting up to on the road.) Check back; perhaps I will offer some little treasures to tide you over. And if not, at least you’ll know I’m happy.

In the meantime, I wanted to sign off with two things:

1. A plug for Celine Loup‘s dreamy and ecstatically strange new comic Honey. You can see some pages here – it follows the secret lives of bees. Except, they are women. Except, they are free-loving, caustic, jealous, violent, beautiful creatures you’ve never seen before.

2. And just for fun, here are a few of the search terms that people have used to reach my site lately. These always blow my mind a little. (And if you are one of these people: hello! I swear to god I’m laughing with you.)
– hard thing
– independence day quotes for feeling nostalgic
– maths comics
– packaging foam
– there are shadows because there are
– what does will smoth say when he punches the slien in independance day
– work-life balance comic

Do I need to remind you? “Will Smoth” says Welcome to Earth.