Not-so-subliminal messaging – Chapter 2, Strip 47

And now – if you dare! – Look! Into the Hypnotic Eye! You cannot look away! You cannot look away! You cannot look away! – You are under my power!

OK, so I admit that my subliminal messaging isn’t all thatsubliminal. Heck, it isn’t even subtle. Well, you have to play with the hand you are dealt…

Panel 2 is, of course, an allusion to the 1960 movie ‘The Hypnotic Eye’, which featured an evil hypnotist using a stroboscopic ping-pong ball to force beautiful girls to disfigure themselves. The hypnotist is called ‘Desmond’ in the movie (no, his assistant isn’t named Molly), but his accent gives away his true identity. Audience participation was all the rage back then, so the people in the movie theater were invited to join in when Desmond tells his on-screen stage audience to gluck like chickens. I haven’t managed to find anybody who admitted to actually doing that when they saw the movie, but then, I haven’t actually found anybody who admitted to seeing it. On an interesting sidenote, the movie’s creator mentioned in an interview that the inspiration for the movie sprang from a discussion whether it would actually be possible to hypnotize the audience – into believing that they saw a great movie, and spreading the word. XD

The spinning thing in panel 2 is the good old ‘Pinwheel Optical Illusion’, which in fact has quite a history of being abused as a fake ‘hypnotic’ effect in B-movies.

As regards panel 4, I just thought I should have the adumbrating shadows pop up again, so people wouldn’t forget about them completely. I’m not Agatha Christie, after all. (But the murderer was mentioned before – on page 3, where it says:’…passes an inconspicuous looking man in the street…’)

The ‘Almon’ Professor Doctor mentions in panel 5 is Almon Brown Strowger, who invented automatic telephone exchange in 1891. Variously described as ‘eccentric’ or ‘insane’, Strowger was an undertaker in Kansas City. He came up with his ground-breaking invention because he suspected the wife of his local competitor, who was working as telephone operator in the local BELL exchange, to reroute calls from Strowger’s customers to her husband’s office.

‘Prof. Griffon’ is also an allusion, but I think that’s just too obvious. XD

A new voting incentive goes up today, a sneak peek at the cover of the upcoming Harry Potter book. With the simultaneous take-over of Scholastic books by Kodansha and Warner Bros. by Toho, some people worried that the final book in the series would end up being geared too much towards a Japanese audience, but I think one look at the cover will dispel any such rumours.

On Thursday, BMC meets the Invisible Man!

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