As you know, I have been trying to find an old several-panel comic strip about cavemen since the late eighties. Surely you knew that. In this strip, a caveman has caveman friends, a canine huppy dod companion, and gets pelted with rocks by a pretty rock trone gul. The strip was in an English Lit book from some forgotten freshman class from long ago that I was required to buy.
Googling “rock trone gul” doesn’t get one very far. It didn’t get me very far in the nineties, and it didn’t get me very far in this millenium either. Weird. But I’ve tried, fitfully, to google little snippets of caveman-speak every few months, knowing certainly that someone, somewhere, would type the appropriate caveman words into their blogs or whatnot, and my decades long quest would finally bear fruit. Rock trone gul. Huppy dod. Issa Ip. Hom tink issa hig. It would happen.
It was the holy grail of googling. Never any hits, but the strip was so good that I knew in my bones that eventually something would pop up. And it has.
“Ip Gissa Gul,” by George Booth. It was a combination of apt search phrases, apt cache searches, and apt Wayback lookbacks that cracked the nut. The catalyzing clue came from a spanish archive of the alt.motorcycles newsgroup. Somebody, for a message or two, used brief snippets of caveman-speak as his signature: “Whu Ip doon huppy dod?” “Hom tont ho.” “Hom tink issa gul!”
It was the break I was looking for. Mostly, it showed that I hadn’t hallucinated the whole thing. An hour later I was rummaging through The New Yorker archives looking for an image. I didn’t find it, but I did find confirmation of the strip’s existence, the strip’s Booth-ness, and the strip’s availability in a giant outrageously expensive compendium that I’ll wait several years before buying. Hell, I’ve waited this long.
I’m a goddamn genius. The only thing that could ruin it is if someone were to say to me “I knew that; why didn’t you just ask me?” because that would require me to curl up into a fetal ball for a week, maybe ten days.