Here at the Laugh Tracks blog, we like to give readers insight into the behind-the-scenes discussions that are part of the editorial process. In the above WuMo Sunday, from Jan. 12, a massive Pac Man is seen ravaging an unspecified metropolis. I thought the strip was hilarious, and I love the ambiguity about the intentions of the boy operating the joystick. Is the mass destruction part of an elaborate game hack that he's been engineering for years, or did he just wake up one day, fire up his Apple IIGS and look out the window to discover he's playing an apacalypitc version of Ender's Game? I tend to read it as the latter, but that's certainly up for debate.
The debate we had in editorial, however, was whether Pac Man should have an eyeball or not. My co-editor, Ryan Rice, argued that Pac Man absolutely does not have an eye. "But I don't expect kids these days to know or care about that," he added with a note of resignation — and perhaps a tiny amount of bitterness. Now I've spent many, many, many hours at a Pac Man cocktail table, but had to vote in favor of the eyeball. The reasons being: A) It's how the strip's illustrator, Anders Morgenthaler, originally drew it. And B) It looked funnier that way.
In the end, we received no complaints, and when I opened up the Sunday Kansas City Star and saw the strip in full color, I felt like we'd made the right decision. And that, my friends, illustrates yet another lesson about the role and function of editors: We often do absolutely nothing, but even then we put a whole lot of thought into it.
Read more WuMo comics right here.