Here we arrive, at the beginning of the story. I guess it’s still technically Part 2, but it is the chronologically first portion anyway. It is the catalyst of the events that lead up till last Thursday’s altercation. Buckle up and get ready to enjoy the ride. We’re not entirely sure how long it will last. The lack of direction extends beyond the narrative of the strip.
Even though this strip is telling a story, we are maintaining our self-imposed three panel boundary for the moment. My feeling is that, if it takes more space to tell a joke, you are probably trying too hard to sell it. I have seen many strips take simple jokes and draw them out over 6-10 panels in an attempt to ensure that everyone reading would understand them. That is the situation we are most trying to avoid right now.
There are plenty of good exceptions. John Allison’s Scary Go Round and Bad Machinery strips are massive stories with numerous multidimensional characters. The humor is subtle and not the primary aim of the strip. In order to tell such complicated stories he needs to use a longer format. The Sunday format of Calvin and Hobbes usually contained more action and told a self contained story in a similar fashion. Perhaps someday we will evolve to such a point as to make good use of that length, but for now we will stick with the three hit combo formula.