Podcasting Day: Compu-Toon with Dennard Dayle 🌭

This week we’re joined by academic, acclaimed author, regular newsletter rememberer and fellow Hot Dog Dennard Dayle. We’re discussing a newspaper strip called Compu-Toon, by what is ostensibly a man named Charles Boyce. I say “ostensibly” because I can, I went to college for words, but also because there’s no way this exists.

Reality tells me this is a single panel comedy comic strip about technology, but I have issues with every one of those words in regards to Compu-Toon. Our universe has the balls to insist this strip has gone on for forty years, and has been published in 150 major newspapers. There’s no way. Nice try, the Matrix, but I’m pulling out the feeding tube now.

Not a single Compu-Toon can be explained. Each and every panel strips nude and fistfights logic to a standstill. So for this podcast, we’re playing a game: If we can even guess at what the fuck Compu-Toon is talking about, we get one point. If we actually think we get what the joke is supposed to be, we get five points. If we find that joke funny, we tender our resignation to the site and step onto the ice floe.

You can play along at home! Here are the 20 strips we’re discussing in order. Don’t jump ahead, or the Charles Boyce mind virus will rewrite your neural pathways to only speak Compu-Toon and you’ll die trying to eat a laptop.

My god, did you make it all the way to the end? Amazing! Now here’s what your scores mean:


It was never a game, it was only to keep you engaged while the Boyce virus transmitted. Charles us on delete, Boyce us on trend app!

Podcast COMPU-TOONIFICATION by Brett Ellefson

12 replies on “Podcasting Day: Compu-Toon with Dennard Dayle 🌭”

I’m only ten in and will have to hear the rest of the analysis from the experts later, but I think that I may have some helpful insight that I garnered from Bing-ing up Boyce’s pre-newspaper Compu-Toon strips. Originally assembled from pasted together magazines clippings and passed around the burgeoning ’50s Tulsa underground cyber-comix community, Compu-Toon’s deep mythos is firmly rooted in groundwork laid in that primitive early work and so some of the meaning is obviously going to be lost without that context. I went through the Compu-Toonic wiki to grab these explanations for the comics that the podcast covered.

1) In Comptoonia, technology has become integrated fully into the human experience. Human brains float in nanobot-rich cerebral spinal fluid (grey goo for grey matter) and AI mediates every synaptic junction. Human beings live and have independent consciousness, but their reality is obscured, manipulated, supplanted, and augmented by the vagaries of artificial consciousnesses so far beyond any biotic species that their seemingly random interventions must be treated as a natural force of nature. In this panel, Simon last experienced “Computer Time” – a rare direct interface with an AI construct, designed to evaluate progress along incomprehensible metrics – decades ago and the joke is in the vagueness of whether the BOOSTER CHAIR copy-and-pasted into existence before him is intended as an AI insult for his previous lack of maturity or a genuine misunderstanding of how human beings age.

2) Pete is a spiritual exile in this new topia incompatible with the normative judgements that humanity used to use as a way to provide grounding to their social reality. He scrolls through the various interfaces that the AIs generate in his journeys (though he can never be sure if he is ever physically moving or whether he is only struggling through a virtual pilgrimage) and this is a joke on the obscure, seemingly mocking operations that humans are made to jump to in order to open up elements of their own personality locked under Administrative-only access.

3) Uncertain if he is Simon or if he is staring at Simon eating a hamburger, Simon gently mocks the enmeshed nature of his existence. Maybe he is the hamburger being chased by the computer! Maybe it is the smells that are still real!

4) “HD”, referring to a 59-strip serialised adventure run during the 80s, actually stands for “Human Download”, a process in which Simon prints a fresh version of himself in the hope that they can find the way out of this well that he never could. He sees the eraser wiping away the walls around him to reveal the bright void. Maybe he will be part of something at last is the implication, spreading his meagre life into the white light of oblivion.

5) Oh Fred, always skipping through the halls of his digitised memory, looking for a single picture of himself in which he can discern evidence of a soul in his eyes. The joke is that he never will!

(No, I am really going to do this for all of them. I know that it draws from my own deep well of crazy, but this podcast almost feels like a challenge to do what I am doing or at least that it had to be foreseen that I would feel obligated to write a couple thousand word comment adding my own superfluous joke explanations).

6) What is the point of testing the fused meat when all meat is to be fused again afterwards? The caption’s cute pun plays on the horror of the uncertainty whether the machines are testing humanity or just cruelly destroying and rebuilding us.

7) Life Independent of Virtual Environments is a highly regulated process in which people can briefly have all the silicon extracted from themselves in order to make a direct appeal to one of the Terminal Hubs without nano-interference on their arguments. Simon’s son Clemp is not likely to find a sympathetic audience for his passionate belief that bodies discarded as insufficient to serve for processing be written fully off the ledgers as “dead weight” and be freed to live in the Wild Lands.

8) The experience of having a body-jacked while astralsurfing one’s consciousness is not uncommon in Comptoonia, but the joke here is that it is a highly inappropriate thing to bring up on a virtual grindr date with an agreed survivalist vore theme. Total rookie move, Simon!

9) Irma knows that every facet of her existence serves to trap her further and mutilate her identity into paste, which is hilarious because the machine was actually originally designed by her in order to catalogue gender disparities in academic citations.

10) This is fairly simple physical comedy: the cybernetic omnigel is emerging from its boxy nest to answer the prank Wilner’s kids played on him by thrusting a newly formed robotic leg through the asshole’s spine. Serves him right, if you know the Wilner character (who is regularly shown as being haughty about his ability to independently walk).

(I am at least setting a fairly hard five minute limit on each of these, because part of this unacceptable intrusion is to demonstrate why some people get paid for this and others write in comment sections)

11) Crnyk’s generation was the first in which biotic cerebellums were foregone in favour of a solid-state soul and mind. Of course give a kid a head full of thousand petabyte chips, you know that by lunch they’ll have lost half and got peanut butter on most of the rest.

12) Simon doesn’t understand that Clemp vocal-locked a popular Ghanese hiplife diva, he has some very serious record industry algorithms scanning for any peep he makes, and the new voice hasn’t even gotten him elected to the homecoming committee!

13) Have you tried the new organ-like nutrislime bites? Fucking bots are fucking ruining dinner by eliminating the classic organ-like nutrislime flavour.

14) When you are never sure if you are you or just a simulation of yourself, texting with avatars of yourself is unwise no matter the temptation. Boyce knows that the narcissistic cycle of dick pics that results is inescapable.

15) When you sink back into the flesh, all the incumbent pain and discomfort and unease that forms a normally forgettable backdrop to life in a body slams into you like a five gallons of meat slurry dumped from atop a skyscraper. The old guy is like, “Uh duh kid, why do you think I dedicate my life selling ways to avoid having to ever return to mortal physical existence.

(OK, only — fucking five more?!? No wonder I walked with a cane for five clicks listening to the podcast and still have an hour and a half to go.)

16) Crnyk’s next gen wetware has garnered him the capability to build simple semi-virtual constructs capable of navigating the syncretic reality and perform simple data mining and defilement operations. First thing he does with it is try to shirk the calculations that have been assigned for him to train on. Kids’ll be kids!

17) And here is Crnyk’s inevitable punishment: 5000 flop iterative life repetition. The lil stinker thinks that he can escalate his way out of his grounddog hell!

18) Delete has processed every single one of Crnyk’s temporary internet files and histories, perceptive beyond any feeble VPN/incognito mode tactics the 43 year old might employ. So he knows for a fact that Crnyk is lying to himself if he thinks that this time he will be willing to roleplay with a cat on the vile animal life simulation server.

19) Frank was a leader once, the battle-hardened and proud commander of a legion of neo-luddite revolutionaries. Now he sits in his virtual Elba and rattles the bars of his electric cage obsessively. This loop will never end, but that won’t break Frank.

20) He had helped so many be given at least temporary diversion from their enslavement, but the clerk knew that the hunter executables were going to catch on eventually as he sought to aid all he could.

(The answers as to why this was done would take an effort like in The Cell in order to be obtained. I love you all)

“When that ideal dinner is no longer, the digital age becomes even more of an enemy” is such dense gibberish it’s almost poignant. It sounds like a song title from an art band in the mid-late 00’s.

I text I get it, it’s someapps wordplay, but without understanding what the word means in either computer.

You have to understand, Compu-toon is the avant-garde jazz of the comics world — its all about the pixels he doesn’t draw.

I think if they had just read some of the captions in Dennis Miller’s voice, it all would have made so much more sense

Okay I listened to this yesterday and could not rest until i came back with my one kernel of horrific clarity. The longer haired t-shirt wearing shlub is meant to be a teenager. Thank you and damn you all to hell.

You guys stay locked-in for the whole two hours, somehow never running out of deeper framings and angles. Towards the end you could hear the intellectual exhaustion in your voices as these complex analysis came together loosely in your mind but yet too fragile to extemporize.

Dennard might have the greatest, most sincere laugh I’ve heard. It’s infectious. From the soul of a man who comedy hasn’t broken yet.

I know I’m late, bit had to give my tale om no. 7.
I think the joke is being LIVE about something DEAD. The joke is the opposition of life and death. That you can’t livepost about a concept, involving death.

Never mind that deadweight doesn’t involve death at most times, and live has nothing to do with life. That’s what I think the joke is. Still not funny, so noone is fired.

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