Cameos. They’ve been around almost as long as webcomics have been. It’s like cartoonists have an inherent need to borrow each other’s characters for a quick peek in the other strips. This is more often found in gag-a-day strips rather than longer storytelling strips, but even with the more dramatic strips, cartoonists seem to have a need to occasionally sneak in someone in the background, no matter how unlikely or improbable (without time machines, at least).
Sometimes this takes a turn for the surreal, as Darren “Gav” Bleuel can attest. He actually has a web page dedicated to Gav Spotting, not just of Gav the character, but of the blue-haired cartoonist himself. The most famous of this is of course the near-billion Gavs existing in Schlock Mercenary, but he’s appeared in such diverse locations as Clan of the Cats and now El Goonish Shive.
Somehow… it seems fitting to see Gav as a disgruntled physics professor, having to deal with magical schoolgirls hovering in the hallways and violating all those precious laws of physics. I’ve met Gav, and he’s a wonderful chap. Polite, decent, doesn’t seem the mad scientist type at all. (And yes, he does have blue hair. (Except when I changed his hair dye to pink, that is… though that’s the only real amusing part of that forum discussion…)
Dan Shive is another of those real gentlemen of people. (Actually, most web cartoonists tend to be pretty decent. Sure, there are some jerks out there, but well over 90% of the cartoonists here tend to be decent caring people.) He already awarded Gav with a cookie, a guinness and a hammer for all the work he (Gav) does in Keenspot/Space. And now he’s immortalized Gav (yet again) with this weary put-apon physics teacher.
Thing is, I’m studying to be a teacher. I’ve been a substitute before. I know what it’s like. And Dan did a damn good job of not only having Mr. Bleuel look and act like a teacher… but also in still being Gav, through and through.