This week's panel suggested by Jimmy (with a slight dialogue trim for space considerations!)


We're going to take a week off while I'm at the massive San Diego ComicCon July 20 - 23! I'm an Official Guest this year. You can find me hanging out in Artist's Alley part-time and on the following panels:

  • Thursday: "ONLINE COMICS!" 2:30-4:00pm. Don't miss this panel! I'll be joining some amazing talents on this one including Cat Garza (, Patrick Farley (, Steve Conley (Astounding Space Thrills) and the incomparable Kyle Baker (.com)! This is the only panel of its kind all weekend on this extremely important topic. Be sure to get in line for convention badges by Noon so you aren't still outside the gates at 2:30!
  • Friday: "Spotlight" on, uh... Scott McCloud. 4:30-5:30pm.
  • Saturday: "Innovating Comics." 2:30-4:00pm. I'll be joining Ben Katchor, Will Eisner and (if memory serves) Paul Pope and Frank Miller! YOW!
  • Sunday: "New Cartoon Worlds to Conquer." I crash another truly exalted line-up: Lewis Trondheim, Gahan Wilson, Ben Katchor and Kyle Baker.

As always, suggestions are listed in the order they were received. Thanks for playing and please join us again IN TWO WEEKS on Sunday, July 30th!

Sunday 07/16/2000

Morgan Doninger

    Now with the tombstone directly underneath this panel, I assume Carl's gotta go, but not all the way for the tombstone at the end. Hmmm. Well then how 'bout:

  • Carl is standing over the smoldering Bert, cross raised like a dagger. CARL: I killed him! I can't take the guilt!

    Vampires do smolder when doused in holy water, right?

[All the ones I've met... --Scott]

Kelvin the Lion

  • Carl's dad lunges at him, all dripping flesh and disgusting looking. "If I go I'll take you with me!"

Nat Gertler

    Look out! Here comes the San Diego Con!

  • Carl, thot: "Dang, I could really have used one of his kidneys."
  • Shot of Carl's heart, breaking.
  • Carl, swelling. "Oh no! I'm alergic to Vampire remains!"

    Due to government rationing, only those born during September through December should Wang Chung tonight.

James "DexX" Dominguez

    OK, I can't join the Chicago 24 hour comic pilgrimage - the slight problem of the Pacific Ocean being in the way - so I am going it alone this week. It's gonna happen! Just have to fit it in around seeing X-Men The Movie. :)

  • Carl is showered in flaming gore as his father explodes. Onomatopoeic suggestions: "Floom!" "Splodge!" "Splam!" (I like the last one - a combo "splat" and "blam")
  • Even more gruesome than the first suggestion, Carl's melting and steaming father grabs him. I see a nice nose-to-nose facial closeup of his father's flesh dropping onto Carl's terrified face. Dialogue... gotta be simple. Choose between, "Help me!" or "Join me!"
  • Ethel advances on Carl, stake in hand, with a dangerous look on her face, saying, "You were alone with him..." Carl is suitably terrified. :) A bit crowded, but maybe a simple "Mom!?" would be good.
  • In a similar vein (no pun intended) - the angel from over to the left a bit appears in a blazing storm of light. He/she is alone in the frame, and, pointing, says in big bold capitals, "I HAVE COME FOR YOU!"
  • Ditto for the one above, but instead of the friendly looking androgynous angel from earlier in the comic, make it a sinister skull-faced Angel of Death... or even the Reaper himself, if you like. Hey, Carl has died so many times now, he and the Grim Reaper must be on a first-name basis...
  • Oh, a simpler version of my first suggestion - Bert bursts into a massive roaring column of flame, and Carl falls backward from the blaze, shouting "Dad! No!" Onomatopoeic suggestion for the inferno: "Foom!"
  • A group of robed people in robes (a small group, to fit in frame) carrying torches, appear suddenly. In front is a zealot of some kind (Frair Fang, anyone?) with a big flaming torch, screaming, "They must be cleansed!"

    That's it, I'm spent. Oh, Scott, I loved the new Zot!. I have never read it before (My age was a single digit when you wrote the first one) but I slipped into the ideas and imagery very comfortably. Oh yeah, and I Can't Stop Thinking is great, too.

Craig J. Clark

  • In his weakened state, DAD lurches forward and chomps down on CARL'S neck. MOM can look on, alarmed. DAD: "If I'm going down, I'm taking you with me!"

Glen Seymour

    I can't say I particularly like the previous panel, since "mom" isn't dealt with, oh well. >From the left branch, mom is a dead angel. Therefore, mom's either undead, or that wasn't mom that just saved Carl.

  • Carl looks at mom, "You may look like my mom but you're not her!"
  • Carl pokes his finger in dad's gooey eyeball. "Ewww, I need a beer"
  • Mom bares fangs, "Now it's my turn to drink"

    I've been trying to think of a 12,462 word suggestion, but then I realized, a picture is only worth 1000 words, and you won't take suggestions for 12 images at a time.


    Help! I'm being held hostage in a chinese fortune cookie factory. Your Lucky numbers are 3, 7, 9, 13, 27, and 42.

  • Carl clutches his ears screaming, as Dad/Vampire breaks into song.

Tad Ramspott

  • Carl's dad, looming over Carl's shoulder, fangs out: "No."

Dan Pollard

    'kay, this is a little close to 2Help! I've burst into flame", but...

  • Carls dad, a seething vampire fireball, grabs hold of Carl, CARLS DAD, I may die, but I'm taking you with me,

    'course then we have to think of an out for the next panel along...

Lee K. Seitz

    Do you realize there are 24 different paths to this panel? And in those, Carl's mom is either: a) dead from being struck by a Carl-driven car saving another Carl, b) dead from being shot by a hunter saving Carl, c) a monster, or d) alive. And not only do we have to continue those, but we also have to both kill and not kill Carl. Let's not make things easy or anything!

  • As he dies(?), Bert lunges and bites Carl.
  • A 16 ton weight falls on Carl.
  • Carl's mother (appears? and) changes into a monster (again?), and says, "miss me?" (I think this one *really* works for all possibilities, I'm just concerned whether you can show her appearing (for some paths) & changing in a single panel.)
  • Since nuclear war is forbidden, aliens suddenly invade the planet, wiping out Carl & co.

Marcellus Cadd

  • Well, his father is in burning agony or something like that... He reflexively grabs Carl by the throat and begins to strnagle him, screaming "What have you done to me?"

    This way, it can lead to Carl's death or Carl can fight or slip die later...

David Bedno

  • Carl is on his knees, holding the cross up to the sky with both hands, shouting, "What have I done?"

    Remorse. Pathos. Overacting. What more can you ask for?

Ben Cirillo

    It makes no sense, yet, in a sick twisted way, it does...

  • A truck comes careening toward the two of them! Dad (looks over shoulder): ... the hell? Carl: Holy! The truck is, naturally, a beer truck...

    Originally, Thor was going to enter and burst into flame during a dream of nuclear war while reciting all 12,463 words of the brand new Carl theme song, before deciding on the other hand, maybe not. But I guess that's not cool, so I came up with this instead.

Ross Lincoln

    My suggestions weren't up, so I'm reposting them. sorry if perhaps I just missed them.

  • Carl is in a restaurant, alone, with a bottle of beer in front of him. Thinking "gosh, I hope my blind date goes well. i wonder what she's like"
  • Dad is holding some envelopes, his clothes are shredded. he looks angry. "Son, the bank keeps calling about your student loans!"
  • Carl, looking downward introspectively. SShaded around his edges. Biting his hand, thinking "how can I tell him I'm not really his son, but an imposter from the 25th century?"
  • Carl is suddenly wearing a tuxedo. "wow! I didn't think you'd show up for my wedding!"
  • same scenario. "wow! I never thought you'd show up for the emperor's wedding."
  • Carl is alone on a beach, in front of the statue of liberty. "I'm the last one? You MANIACS!!! YOU BLEW IT UP!!! DAMN YOU ALL TO HELL!!!"
  • carl, stepping out of a delorean, wearing a vest. "This time machine should help me solve my romantic problems."
  • Dad, holding a weird cane, says "Yes, but this time, the advantage is MINE!"
  • Carl just shrugs and says "oh, wait, I see you every day. Hi."
  • Carl asks "Quick dad, how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop???"

Grant Schreiber

    Why does this remind so much of SQUEAK THE MOUSE? Ah, the violence! The undying! And the dead!

  • Smoke rising from dying vampire Dad. Carl gagging, choking, holding his neck: "Gasp! Oh No! I'm allegric to vampire fumes!"
  • Dad melts into a puddle. Carl leaning forward has some goo on his finger. "Wonder what this stuff tastes like?"
  • Carl looks at Mom. "Gee Mom, I think you killed him." Mom: "And I'm just getting started!"

    This is more fun than a round of Five Card Nancy! And that's pretty fun too!


    Now that we know what a prish of soda is, I've got to suggest this:

  • As Bert crumbles into ash, he sinks his fangs into Carl while screaming, "A Pree! A Pree! A Ree! A Ree!"

Markus Gerwinski

  • The obvious one first: Carl starts dissolving himself in the same way as Dad. "What's... happening... to... me...?"
  • Dad, in rage now, blindly attacks Carl.
  • Dad falls over. Behind him, Mom/Daisy/Scott is standing with a colt, aiming at Carl: "And now for you..."

    Hi Scott, I just came from reading "I can't stop thinking" #2. I'm starting to grab the idea - it's like publishing an online newspaper comic: One article with each "issue". Very cool - by just existing, it proves your thesis of the web as a medium to increase the diversity of comics. (Of course there's still a lot of other topics from RC I'd like to discuss with you at length...!) As for me I, I didn't forget the ideas we already talked about... if only the day had 36 hours, they already were reality. (Yes, I know, lack of time always is a miserable excuse - sigh!)

Patrick M. Roach

  • Dad explodes into flames, at the same time falling over Carl. They both scream "AIEEEE" in a shared balloon.

Shane Culleton

  • Carl's dad sneezes, spraying Carl with germs and causing him to be infected with a particularly virulent form of influenza!

Jason Turner

    Doesn't Carl have to die as a result of this panel? (and also live, of course...)

  • Mom says to Carl "Wow you've got Dad all over you!"

Josiah Rowe

    So you've replaced the links to previous sections with a link to the Big Big Picture?

  • The Blue Angel (re)appears at Carl's shoulder, saying, "Now your work is done, Carl." Carl looks suitably bewildered.
  • The dying Bert turns into the Microsoft Monster from Section 2 and wraps a tentacle around Carl's neck! (Dialogue, if needed: "No, Carl – it's me: your WORST NIGHTMARE!")
  • Carl grabs at his chest, saying, "I don't think I can take any more of these shocks!"
  • VampiBert grabs Carl's shirt and croaks: "Now it is too late... for both of us..." Carl looks suitably bewildered.
  • Enter: Satan (from Section 4). SATAN: "No, Carl... I am your father." CARL: "NO!!!!" (Perhaps, to connect to the R.I.P. Carl panel below, in his fit of despair Carl starts to fall out of the panel? Trying to "think outside the box" here.)
  • VampiBert attacks Carl with one last burst of energy, a la any Hollywood horror flick you care to name. BERT: "Yes, son... and I'm taking you with me!"
  • Enter: Jesus Christ. He's pissed (in the American sense [angry], not the British sense [drunk] -- I don't want this to be "CYOC, by Garth Ennis!"). JESUS: No, God's MY dad, not yours! That's for blasphemy! Jesus zaps Carl with a bolt of lightning. In the best Carl tradition, Jesus and the lightning bolt are in color. (I had a theory about how only the supernatural/noumenal/spiritual world appears in color in Carl, but Brian Boitano kinda screws it up. On the other hand, since he takes the place of Jesus in the "WWBBD" panel, maybe he could do the same here... nah. It's a lousy enough suggestion as it is.)
  • VampiBert, in Carl's arms: "Yes, son... we are all undead... and now that you know, you must join us... and reside... in the GRAVE!"
  • Ethel the Vampire Slayer stands over Bert's body. She holds the bloody stake in her hand and shrieks madly: "All vampires must die! And drunk drivers too!" Carl looks on in fear...
  • Enter: the Video Store Guy from the original Carl strip in UC. Carl looks suitably bewildered.

    Some of these "transformation" panels could use animation, a la the "whole life flashing before my eyes" panel... but is that still comics? Hmm... a lot of return appearances this time round. I guess the return of Zot! has put me in a nostalgic mood.

Steven Padnick

    Ooh! My first suggestion gets in. Let's go two for two.

  • Angel/Mom takes Carl by the hand and says, "it is your time"

Nathan Alderman

    Great job on "Reinventing Comics," Mr. McCloud! Now, as for Carl, I think I'll take the Hamlet approach...

  • Carl holds a gun to his head, despondent. "My father is dead! I can't go on living!"

    Of course, in Hamlet, there was a lot of other stuff inbetween despondency and death...

Michael Avolio

    Aaaargh!!! I would've been one of the winners last week if mine had gotten through! The Zot! online comics and "I Can't Stop Thinking!" (everything's gotta have an exclaimation point..!) have been great. The four comic shops in my area have sold out of Reinventing Comics and are ordering more. I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

  • Carl has tears in his eyes. Dad, dying, says weakly, "Carl... I always... loved..."
  • Carl, as an old man, sits in a bar talking to someone in the shadows. Old Carl says, "...and that's the last thing I remember," or maybe, "...and that's how it happened." (A caption that reads "YEARS LATER" is optional.)
  • The Neil Gaiman panel from Section One. Carl (in close-up): "I can't cope with the guilt! I'm going to kill myself!"

    Scott, could we work backwards from a gravestone panel on this section? (seeing as how it's the last one and all...) Is that mailing list ever going to happen? What about that "super-secret project with another well-known comic pro" you referred to in that Comic Book Resources audio interview a couple years ago? And finally... Remember, everybody, we still have that spare Carl from Section One...

[Aeee! Questions galore! First of oll Michael, my apologies that some suggestions are still not making the journey. I wish I knew why! As for working backwards...Hmmm...The Mailing List may yet happen, but I need to get more organized first. The "super-secret project with another well-known comic pro" may yet happen, but *he* needs to get organized. As for the spare Carl...We'll see! --Scott]

Mark Raen

    Thanks a ZOT! for picking my suggestion (dialogue) a few weeks ago. Wow, this weeks panel is a little tricky, here's my suggestion:

  • Bert: face down, dead on the ground. Carl: looking down at Bert, his knees start to buckle and he says "my chest is burning!", like he's having a heartattack.

Bill Schlimme

  • The "camera" pulls away, and it turns out that Ethel (or is it Fran?) has pierced the heart of Carl, instead of Bert, and Bert, instead of shrieking in agaony, is laughing at the irony -- maybe Bert smokes a lot, making his laugh not unlike a shriek of agony.
  • Bert lunges for Carl's tender neck.
  • The Pink elephant from section one sits on carl.

    Hey, what will happen once we've completed section 6? Will CYOC just cease to be? Will we have to start all over again?

[Once Section 6 is done, we will have completed Choose Your Own Carl, opening the way for other as-yet-unspecified other Carl permutations such as "Carl Jam," "Tear Away Carl" and "Infinite Carl!" --Scott]


    Wow! Haven't been suggesting for a while...

  • Mom: You're next Sonny!
  • Dad (lashing out at Carl ): I'm taking you with me!
  • Dad: No Count Cazimir, the shape-shifting vampire! (morphing into bat)
  • Scott (to audience): Sorry for the interruption, just wanted to make sure to tell you about my new book, it's called Reinventing Comics...
  • Scott: Buy my book.

    I went to Art Spiegelman's lecture about comics at UCLA (Comix 101). It was great. I recommend it to everyone. Highly recommended. Some very interesting insights about the power of caricature and the role of Jews in early comics history. What's more, he hardly mentioned superhero comics, making it a non-issue, allowing him to focus on other subjects of race and form. A great lecture on early comics as well. Also, I saw Timecode by Mike Figgis and I coulldn't help but think of Carl. Interesting flick. Sorry about the potshots, Scott. I'm midway through your book, and it's great. I must say the first half is a lot denser than UC, in a good way. A lot more footnoting too. Some great comments about the comics industry in the early 90s. Don't you think Image were the mannerists of comics? Their stuff seems so whacked out now (multiple crossovers, rip-offs, and God, those layouts!). Good work Scott. Congrats.

Jimmy (again!)

    OOPS! Just forgot to tell you that Art Spiegelman mentionned you as an authority on web-based comics in his lecture.

  • Dad:Damn!

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