From a Cave in the
The Unofficial Pibgorn Tribute Site
The unofficial GoComics Style
Guide A long-overdue Thank You
The Confusion Couch
The Confusion Couch Cookbook (Direct link)
The Confusion Couch Email Vault
(it's like Jazz - if you have to ask, you won't
Note: This page has been updated not at all in the past several
years. I'm tired of being poked and prodded by people. Updates will happen.
It came into existence on United Features Syndicate's Comics.com website in 2002, after an initial three-week run in 2001 called A Fairy Merry Christmas. Originally appearing daily except Sunday, on February 13, 2006 McEldowney announced that he reluctantly needed to cut back to three times a week on Monday,
Wednesday and Friday, citing the burden of maintaining two comic strips. McEldowney ended his partnership with United Features Syndicate on April 18, 2007 and resumed publishing Pibgorn at GoComics.com on May 14, 2007. On August 1st, 2007, McEldowney began publishing the preliminary sketches for Pibgorn as filler material after each installment. These gave a good insight into his drawing style. On Monday, July 14, 2008 Brooke announced in his blog that
he was wanting the story to proceed at a brisker pace, and in spite of time concerns, he was returning to a five day per week schedule. The intermediate sketches were then
moved to a page of
their own at GoComics. The
Wikipedia article, while very informative in its own right, once
contained information and illustrations regarding the characters and the
story arcs, but much of this material did not survive Wikipedia's
rigorous editing requirements. For the benefit of those who love
this strip, or the merely curious, I present that material here.
Disclaimer: This page is a labor of love. It is authorized by no one.
Any complaints about the website should be directed to
nobody will ever see them. If, however, you see something that's
inaccurate and needs correction - then write me at
firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll correct
the error and credit you with the change. All information, images, and characters
are copyright by the artist or Universal Uclick, are
subject to change, and
are presented here for illustrative and educational purposes only.
Incidentally, the name is pronounced "PIB-gorn",
and not "PIG-born". A
pibgorn is a Welsh reeded hornpipe - we see Maurice playing one here:
If you want more information on the
Welsh pibgorn, including hearing one played, go
heroine of the story, Pibgorn is a fairy who would rather be
anything else. She began life as a nameless wood sprite, was
re-christened "Oola Inch" in an earlier but unpublished
strip called "The Titans", and took on her present name in
2001 for her debut in A Fairy Merry Christmas. In her natural state she's beautiful and
lithe, with reddish-blond hair and gossamer wings, six
inches tall and covered with dappled green skin (yes, folks,
that's not a body stocking, fairies and demons for the most
part go naked - McEldowney's word is "starkers".) She's curious, passionate, a bit
and somewhat of a rebel at heart.
Possessed of the usual
variety of fairy magic, she can discharge plasma ("To cast
an effective spell, all I really need is good, solid body
contact."); wrap those beautiful wings
around her body and transform them into all sorts of
clothing when the need arises; and use her tool of choice, the
baiser de la fée (a fairy's kiss - magic always
sounds more impressive in French). With this she can assume
human size, shrink others down to her scale, and heal
injuries. Magical energy of this nature, however, is not
cheap, and she often needs to regenerate in a candle flame
or by transforming herself into a tree to photosynthesize.
Tiring of fairy work -
mostly lugging dewdrops from place to place for hundreds of
years (she's currently 471, and old enough to know better,
thank you) - she left the fairy world and is now involved in
the important work of protecting mankind from a
Pibgorn has a former
church organist for a lover and a succubus for a best friend
and business partner. How she got from there to here is a romp
through time and space, earth and Hell, politicians and
lawyers, love, sex, triumph, loss, growth and
self-discovery. But don't think this is a soap-opera
strip... far from it. For all its phantasmagoria, McEldowney has created a world of warmth and humanity.
People, fairies and demons alike show their best sides and
their worst. You might even see yourself in one of the
is a succubus. She was introduced to the strip as
Geoff's girlfriend, and at the time the author indicated
that he had no idea what she would become, but has since
developed into one of the strip's three main characters.
Drusilla is around 825 years old1, tall, extremely shapely, with long jet-black
hair and covered - usually - in red-dappled skin.
She was sent from Hell, charged with infiltrating a
place of worship to see how readily the congregants would
capitulate to evil. Unfortunately for her, she fell in love with Geoff, and
abandoned her assignment, for which she was later tormented by a
demonic game show host in Hell. As the story
developed, however, Pibgorn and Geoff became lovers, and
despite being a demon, Drusilla has determined to watch
over and protect the couple, and subsequently all of
humanity, in the name of her love for Geoff. For
someone so archetypically evil, there is a goodness
about her that she can't hide - which makes her very
endearing. Oh, and did I mention that she's drop-dead gorgeous?
As a succubus, Drusilla does what succubi do - she
glories in the passions of the flesh, spends the
occasional vacation in Sheol, discharges bolts
of plasma with hip-grinding pleasure, revels in her
sexiness and misses no opportunity to invade the dreams
of hapless men (and other demons) to ravish them in
their sleep. Not only does she get a huge kick out of
this, but she learns lots of things along the way which
are important to the storylines. She has formed a
partnership with Pibgorn to protect mankind from the
demons which are massing to unleash Armageddon. Geoff's
love for Pibgorn seems to be no barrier to Drusilla's
carrying him away for an occasional passionate interlude
when the mood strikes her.
We have learned somewhat of Drusilla's past - we know
she has been Shakespeare's lover and once had a
daughter, whom she subsequently lost - but there is much
about her that remains to be learned. Whatever she
does, it will be sexy.
Geoff is an Episcopalian
church organist - or was, until he became persona non
grata in his congregation. He woefully commented that
his parishioners razed
his home and sowed the ground with salt, although this
may be figurative. If he has a
last name, we don't know it. From a stodgy life in an
isolated cottage among predictable and boring humans,
Geoff has been catapulted into a world of fantasy he
never dreamed existed, let alone that he would
Geoff rescued Pibgorn from freezing to death after
her wings had iced up on an unauthorized
winter solstice flight. In exchange, she pledged
to become his slave for life, which made Geoff rather
nervous, given how sticky Episcopalians can be about
things like magic and fairies. Initially bumbling
through his adventures as an unwilling observer, Geoff
has developed a greater understanding of the world of
magic, fairies and demons and has begun to appreciate
the rôle he plays in helping to save humanity from the
forces of darkness. On occasion, however, the old organist still
surfaces, and we often see Geoff with a bemused
look on his face that seems to say "How did I get myself
into this mess?" Despite finding himself in the
most unusual predicaments, he somehow manages to maintain a calm
sense of decorum; he is, at heart, a very decent person.
He is also a very talented musician. He has
superb keyboard skills, including organ, piano and
even the accordion. (Did you know accordion music
is the ultimate force against the powers of darkness?) When
Geoff cuts loose on the squeeze box, his volume magically boosted by
Drusilla, it's a bit more potent than - with all respect
to Charles Schulz - "polkas,
schottisches and waltzes" Not only talented, we
see that Geoff has a deep understanding of and
appreciation for musical history. At one point he
desperately attempts to reconstruct Mozart's "Requiem"
Oognat is the
hair fairy. If you ever wondered where that
dratted hair in your mouth came from as you woke up,
or found one in your eye, now you know. Her
job is to make life interesting for us mortals.
Normally covered with - you guessed it - hair, she
looks somewhat like a cross between a pixie and a
life as a minor character in the "Internal
Fairy Harvesting Service" story arc, but later
played an important rôle as Bottom in "A Pibsummer
Night's Dream". Like some of the other
characters in Pibgorn, she has passed through the
veil of death at least once, only to be magically
restored with a thermonuclear baiser de la fée.
|Maurice is a field mouse, one of three speaking
animal characters to be introduced to the strip, and
the only one who has played a part of any
importance. He is a true friend to Pibgorn, very
practical, solid and down-to-earth by nature.
Heartbroken the first time Pibgorn is killed (oops,
a spoiler!), he becomes the magical instrument of
her restoration to life. Geoff's first kiss from
Pibgorn gives him the ability to understand Maurice
when he speaks, which comes in rather handy in more
than one instance, even though it remains somewhat
unsettling to poor Geoff. Maurice appears in several
episodes including an important part in "The
|Prince Crewth is in charge of the fairy realm.
Given his nature, it is surprising that McEldowney
didn't draw him with pointy hair, instead of making
him look like a cross between a satyr, Theodore
Roosevelt and William Howard Taft. Crewth
works hard at being lazy, capricious, bureaucratic
and insensitive, like many politicians of today. He
can also be murderous without a shred of conscience.
As well as providing comic relief, he functions as a
vehicle for some of McEldowney's opinions of modern
leadership, and is not what one would expect for a
denizen of the fairy kingdom. But then, almost
nothing in the Pibgorn universe is what you would
Prince Crewth's advisor, doctor, and attorney.
He combines all the worst qualities of a court sycophant
and the latter two professions, and while he serves
at Crewth's pleasure, we have no doubt that he has
only contempt for his sovereign and considers himself
to be the true power behind the throne. Gaggot looks
somewhat like a wizard, with long gray hair and
beard, and thus far we have seen no magical
qualities about him.
Luciano is a fly.
A 37-lb housefly, by his own description, at least when
he's functioning at Pibgorn's human scale. He's Prince Crewth's
court assassin, and his first assignment was to bore
Pibgorn to death by reading her the quarterly
financial report. Unfortunately for Crewth,
Luciano falls head over heels in love with Pibgorn
and is unable to carry out his assignment.
Luciano played a pivotal rôle in the first episode and has
been given a very substantial part in "Lena the
Drusilla's daughter. To say more would be to spoil
the story for those who wish to read it, although
the details are listed in the story arc below.
She is one of McEldowney's most tragic figures.
The gang from 9 Chickweed Lane
allows characters from both his universes to make
visits to the other on occasion. Edda and
Solange the cat appear on an overturned mug in "The
Internal Fairy Harvesting Service". The "Pibsummer Night's Dream"
story arc featured the following cast members:
Amos van Hoesen
Thorax is a
unique case, appearing often enough to be considered
a main character in Pibgorn, although he originates
in 9 Chickweed Lane. We know very little about him
other than that he seems to be Not of This World, a
"non-linear, omniscient entity and llama cheese
mogul". After all, he keeps a quantum anomaly in his
garden shed. He can work magic, although he does so via
technology. Whereas Drusilla can only with difficulty transform
herself into a gateway between two universes, Thorax creates a
stable quantum rift using a cigar box, a few nails, a light bulb and
other assorted trash. When pressed to reveal the secrets of his
knowledge, he demurs, saying "What good is omnipotence if it is nobbled
by a knowledge of what it does?" McEldowney
often uses Thorax as a sort of deus ex insanitate,
both for comic relief and as a spokesperson for pragmatist and egalitarian viewpoints,
although those are poor and oversimplified characterizations of his
Satori is a computer-generated character from a program called
"Suzerain" who appears in "Lena the Horrible." I enumerate her
individually here because she's beautiful and complex, brave, passionate
and driven. Monomaniacal in her quest to rid her world of its evil
queen, she nonetheless is susceptible to love, even that of a
15-year-old2 hypergeek. It's not hard to see why he fell so hard.
Roger and Lena Egg, and Igor
Lena Egg, the eponymous heroine of the episode "Lena the
Horrible" is an 8-year-old hellion and succubus-wannabe.
Together with her brother Roger, she becomes involved in a romp
through a demonic holo-world, and ends up saving Drusilla from a
powerful demon. Her stuffed bear, Igor, does not escape the
action unscathed, being granted the gift of speech as the byproduct
of a plasma-laden kiss.
Other characters appearing in Pibgorn have included Mozart,
Shakespeare (although not implicitly mentioned by name), Orlando Pick, Tom Torquemada
- an infernal game-show host, and various other personalities central to their
The Story Arcs...
Spoiler Alert! The following summaries contain most details of the
plotlines, including twists and resolutions. If you'd rather be
surprised, skip this section.
These capsule summaries were
originally posted on Wikipedia, but did not survive the rigorous editing
standards. They are reproduced here for your reading pleasure. The episode names were kindly
provided by Mr. McEldowney.
Please note: These summaries are
extremely detailed, perhaps to a fault. This is the way they will stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
If you don't like the way they are written, write your own...
(Thanks to 3Xp4t
for suggesting the breakout structure.)
1. The Girl in the
Coffee Cup 03 Dec 2001 - 25 Dec 2001; 11 Mar 2002 - 9 Nov 2002
2. The Poltergeist in
the Piano 11-11-2002 - 8-9-2003
3. The Borgia Cantus
8-11-2003 through 1-17-2004
Daughter 1-19-2004 through 6-12-2004
5. The Internal
Fairy Harvesting Service 10-12-2004 through 3-26-2005
From March to May of 2005, Brooke published the first 20 Pibgorn strips
in annotated format
6. Mozart and the
Demon Lover 5-23-2005 through 2-8-2006
7. A Pibsummer
Night's Dream 2-13-2006 through 3-19-2007
8. Lena the Horrible
3-21-2007 to 3-16-2009
Pibgorn and the Volcano on 77th Street and Park
Avenue 3-17-2009 to 11-19-2009
The Stone Coin 11-23-2009 to
Note: The following arcs will be updated soon (11/6/2012)
and the Graveyard Shift 1-21-2010 through 12-17-2010
12. Pibgorn and the Brunch with Death 12-27-2010 through
13. Mozart and the Demon Lover (Annotated) 11-9-2011
14. Pibgorn and the Djinn of It Beginning 9-18-2012
Interludes - Strips appearing
outside of storylines by way of filler or explanation.
About the Author
Brooke McEldowney's biography can be found at Wikipedia
here, and his official Pibgorn Livejournal is
here. He also
maintains a blog about 9 Chickweed Lane at the Chickweed
Cafe. Beyond what you can read about him in the media, much can be deduced
about the man from the worlds that he creates. He has a great love
of the beauty of the human form, and draws a well-turned ankle (and
thigh, and waist, and... well, you get the idea) with precision and
devotion. Much of his skill in this area he attributes to having
spent much time sketching ballerinas while studying music at Julliard.
His characters can be gut-wrenchingly attractive. More than this,
Mr. McEldowney has a classically-educated mind which is also unfettered
by convention. His flights of fancy are difficult to describe without
experiencing them, but fortunately his work is available on the web, and
in the case of Pibgorn, in two hard-bound collections - The Girl in
the Coffee Cup and Pibgorn Rep: A Midsummer Night's Dream,
both of which are available by writing to
Until the man writes his autobiography, or publishes an
annotated anthology of his work, it is senseless to say "Brooke thinks
this or that." However, based on the dialog he writes for his
characters, as well as the contents of his various blog postings and
emails to fans, it's fair to extrapolate a few points about the world
that Brooke would create were he King of the Universe.
It would most likely be a world
that works for everyone; a world of peace, common sense, responsibility,
love and honesty. And lawn chairs.
In the course of a radio
interview, Brooke once discussed other artists and musicians whose work
he admires. Some of his comments, along with samples of the works of
these individuals, can be found
McEldowney's strips seem done more as a means of expression rather
than for the purpose of making a living. It's plain he doesn't
particularly care for syndicate restrictions on format, deadlines, or
political correctness - all of which combine to make Pibgorn a much more
suitable forum for his artistic and philosophical expressions. On
the web, an artist can do far more than in print. That's not to
say he's completely free... a few modifications were demanded to the
final scenes of the Shakespearean adventure, which were happily
corrected in the book. Other changes were requested for 9
Chickweed Lane. Curious? Click here
He also cares neither for scorn nor
kudos - he draws to please himself, and that's that. I for
one am grateful for what he has brought to the world. That said, he is
extremely gracious to his readers, answering emails and comments
personally when he is able, keeping us abreast of developments on his
weblog, and occasionally dropping in to the Pibgorn discussion forum at
Incidentally, his daughter runs her own weblog entitled
The Snark Ascending.
Surely the apple falleth not far from the tree...
Thanx and a Tip of
the Hat to...
that shadowy figure who hovers
over Brooke's shoulder and tells him, "No, dear, that's not funny;" who
screens his email to separate the "wine on the lees well-refined" from
the dregs thereof; and who otherwise keeps the good man healthy and
happy - the power behind the throne, as it were. For all you do,
to help make it possible for the Master to continue doing what he does
so well, bringing such bounteous joy to so many, on behalf of all of us,
our heartfelt gratitude.
Both Pibgorn, the Girl in the
Coffee Cup and
Pibgorn Rep: A Midsummer Night's Dream are available in
hardcopy, by sending email to
According to Brooke, "Let them know your zip code (if you have one) or your
location (if you don't), and mention how many copies you'd like, if you want
to pay by check or by credit card via PayPal, and if you want it shipped
priority or media mail. They will be back in touch with you probably within
the day to give you all the particulars."
A front page for the books is at
are beautiful, and the artwork breathtakingly detailed, much more so
than visible on a computer screen. If you love
Pibgorn, you owe it to yourself to pick up these collections. And
no, Brooke didn't pay me to say that...
published book, Hallmarks of Felinity, has become a
collector's item. A recent check showed 10 copies available at
Amazon through private sources at prices between $56.00 and $163.00.
I have a mint-condition copy... $50,000 and it's yours.
At one point, a lively community of followers of the work of Brooke McEldowney sprang up over at Gocomics.com.
Unfortunately, the comments board was infested by internet trolls, and
comments for both Pibgorn and 9 Chickweed Lane were shut down. It has
been replaced by a discussion forum, the Comfy Couch of Confusion 2.0.
Fairportfan has created a page of 3D stereo
photography, and a tutorial on how to modify 2D images for 3D
Fairportfan's 3D Tutorial
Fairportfan's 3D Drusilla
Captivated by the possibilities, I created my own 3D
image of Satori. What I learned is that it's not easy - my hat's
off to Fairportfan who has done some very nice work.
Cross your eyes slightly until the two images blend to see the 3D
One line makes all the difference:
Sometimes an artist goes back to tweak his work, if he
*cough* "remembers" that he had forgotten something... Click
here for an example.
One of the participants in the community is Ranma_one_half,
who has begun a series of monologues reminiscent of the old detective
pulps. The name "Joe Minotaur" came from a comment he made in the
forum that perhaps some of us were sitting too close to the Minotaur
(monitor) while admiring the characters. You can find his blog
1. From an entry in
http://officialpibgorn.livejournal.com, dated 24 July 2008 @ 07:32 am
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