Fallen Prince – Chap. 3, Act 2, Strip 26

For technical reasons, Monday’s update arrives a day early on Sunday, whereas Thursday’s update will be a day late and be posted on Friday. Statistically, this means everything will be perfectly on schedule, so if I hadn’t told you, you’d have never noticed!

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But of course Mowgli looks perfectly fresh – he’s been kept fresh professionally in a high quality industrial refridgerator. Too bad it wasn’t Umslopodagra, though – if he had been kept fresh like that, he’d know be the fresh prince of…OK, OK, I’ll shut up. >_>

Too bad the Pterodactyl had to return to this lair at that very moment – if that didn’t always happen, you could call it an unfortunate coincidence. So you can just call it a plot necessity, which is a closely related concept.

The appearance of firearms in this strip follows the concept of Chekov’s gun, at least in the way Nolan understands it: if guns are useless at some later point in the story, the audience won’t care if they haven’t been consistently present up to that point. It’s a kind of “didn’t matter in the end” thing.

That the guns are worthless isn’t any surprise at all, of course, even if Sir Lostalot’s rifle looks like he could take down a charging rhino with it – it’s not a matter of the gun’s power, or how tough a monster could be logically expected to be. It’s just a matter of sorting order: the first weapon you employ always turns out to be useless. (That observation is probably also what causes B-movie villains to always save their strongest henchman for last.)

And thus Umslopodagra gets to finally make his long-foreshadowed sacrifice. Aside from his general heroic nature and his red shirt, another aspect that clearly pre-destined him for such a fate was the fact that he was the toughest member of the little group, and thus the natural first target of any monster that wanted to prove its threat level.

As far as FX go, Umslopodagra’s death was relatively easy to pull off – the pterosaur/modified bat model was just about large enough, so they just removed the head and the actor had to mimic being stabbed by it right through the large packet of extra chunky tomato sauce under his shirt. With a little bit of pained expression, grunts and other sound effects, the effect as a whole was perfectly…cost-efficient.

More on Friday.

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