Life on the Fourth Floor is a year old today! Yippee! The final two panels of the next strip are coming together.

So, yeah, I was taking a look at the awards ceremony for the 2006 WCCA’s and, as in previous years, it was a mix of comedic brilliance, incomprehensibility and the random distribution of awards to whichever nominee deserves it most/least (largely the former).

What’s the deal with the awards ceremony, though? I love the idea — a comic version of the Oscars, with fabulous dresses, red carpet, autocues, hosts and everything all drawn — but what about the execution? Comics like Multiplex, Theatre Hopper and 13 Seconds did a really good job of making me think I was watching a real awards show, but some of the artists just had people in a room talking about awards and how if — hypothetically — such awards existed they thought that they might be given to the following list of people… What? Way to break the illusion, guys. I mean, we all know it’s not a real ceremony but at least make an effort, make it fun. One strip just had some guy in a subway. It went something along these lines:

 Guy takes a drink from a vending machine, remarking about how it hits the spot.

He thinks about how he’s been chasing a pink ghost-monster through the subway tunnels.

He sees a TV screening the WCCA awards and realises he forgot that the WCCA’s were on tonight. And the nominees are…

 Piss! You forgot to turn up, guy! You were meant to give away that award but instead you got caught up chasing a pink bat. Wow, that must suck.

When I first opened that page I thought I’d clicked the wrong link and gone to a winning comic instead of the next presentation. Moments before we were in a studio audience and now… what? Stale subway air? That is something of a non-sequitir. It makes me suspect that this Jess Calcaben realised that the award presentation would be a good advertising opportunity and made a comic that continues the story of his strip in order to hook in loads of new readers. It’s an advertisement with the added bonus of a tenuous, almost coincidental link to an award of some sort!

It even said at the bottom of the strip ‘Based on a story and character from Dreams in Synergy’. As if that wasn’t already blatantly obvious. Maybe I’m getting this all wrong. Maybe he just wanted to present the award in the best possible way. He took his character and his bat-monster and made a whole new strip, just for the WCCA’s. And set it in a subway tunnel. I don’t get it. Maybe if the bat monster had flown in with the envelope or something then I might be able to see where he was going with this. Maybe some red carpet on the floor. Anything.

And what about the guy who presented the award before our Jess? This weird guy who keeps morphing into different shapes is struggling to put up a poster on his wall and so decides to call each one of the ‘Outstanding New Character Design’ nominees to ask them how it’s done. It’s the same thing as before. Perhaps made worse by the fact that most of the time he uses the power of his mind to hold the phone.

I don’t care if I ever get nominated for one of these awards but I would love the opportunity to make one of these award presentation strips. Seriously, WCCA guys, if you’re reading this pick me next year. I’ll make it funny, I won’t make it a shameless plug for the Fourth Floor site and I’ll actually set it at an awards ceremony! I can’t believe I should have to specify that.

EDIT: They never got back to me. I can’t imagine why. Life on the Fourth Floor would later go on to win the award for Most Improved Comic at the webcomics award ceremony my mother threw for me in her living room.