How to Visit the Mirror Universe


A while back I was contacted by a reader in the UK who was working with a new website that sells soccer (or football) related t-shirts. They wanted to know if I’d like to design a shirt for them. I replied that I know next to nothing about American football, and even less about FIFA. Indeed, I had only one idea for a shirt, which I told them (thinking it would demonstrate that I’m not the guy for this job). Instead they wrote back that they liked the idea. I was as surprised as anyone.

The shirt’s available for purchase now. I think this one's UK only (turnabout is fair play). If you have any ideas for a soccer related shirt, they’re all ears.





I promised a book contest, and here it is. I will ask a question. You will post an answer to said question in the comments section of this comic ("How to Visit the Mirror Universe"). The answer need not be correct. Heck, you don’t NEED to answer the question at all! Please do leave an e-mail address though. A commenter will be chosen at random to win a signed copy of my third book, “The Curse of the Masking Tape Mummy” (which is available for sale now).

There have been several questions about the books on my bookshelf, so here’s a clear shot of them.

Now the question. Which four books on this shelf exist because of John Hodgman?

DISCUSS!! The winning comment will be chosen at random on the morning of Thursday, February 9th.

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Reader Comments (210)

No idea to the question, but I must say, Rick is definitely my favorite character in this strip.

Oh... oh, no! I think I was transported to the mirror universe, too!

(For real, though, your comic always gives me the lulz. Love it.)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

Hey, great cartoon...panel 3 changed my whole world all makes so much sense now.

When will we see an appearance by non-goateed Scott?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikie

John Hodgman is obviously responsible for all the Douglas Adams books.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPepperguy

I'm just in it for the money...or book, as the case may be.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRigorousSchism

Why does the mirror universe always have the hot women?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPapaSloth


Also...the four books with words and pages.

I know, I'm terribly witty.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine the Great

This has got to be the best odds I've had of winning anything for ages....

Really enjoy your comic.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKevin B

All hail!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd M

Those before me have already said the clever things. This is the line for the free pig-in-a-blanket sample, right?

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSandy

Randomly Pick Me! Randomly Pick Me! Randomly Pick Me!

Any chance we can win the John Hodgman books too? Just askin...

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIvan

Areas of My Expertise, More, and All: authored by Hodgman; Watchmen: character of Ozymandias inspired by Hodgman's Deranged Millionaire; If Chins Could Kill: character of "Ash" inspired by weird weekend Hodgman spent in college; Batman, the Dark Knight Returns: Commissioner Gordon clearly patterned after Hodgman

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Frye

Is "happy creepy" Rick truly opposite of "depressed creepy" Rick? I cry foul.

And just because I want one of your signed books so bad, I'll guess that none of them are, because you switched out the jackets and none of those on the shelf are the books originally in those jackets.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

I'm going to go with the 3 Douglass Adams book and The Dark Knight Returns, because nobody would see it coming.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbek11

None of them. The Hodgman books were left in a neat pile atop a stone switch to keep it from activating a rolling boulder of death - the idol on the shelf is evidence enough of that. (Those same books are now in the possession of René Belloq, though.)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Areas of my Expertise
More Information Than You Require
That is All
If Chins Could Kill:

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdawgie

I'm going to go with the three he authored, and the one he was the agent for (Chins, apparently). Thank you to previous commenters for sparing me the trouble of making something up for the fourth book.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom

I'da like that there book thingy you're giving away, and I'm going to give answers others have given, because I think they know more than me about this kind of thing. Three of the books are by "PC Guy" himself, and one of them he edited or green lighted or he knew the sister of the wife of the friend of the mother of the gardener of the author of the Chin book, so that's my guess/vote/answer/thingy.

Love your four-boxes-plus-cookie-cutter-people-plus-clever-words-in-balloons-plus-pretend-boring-words-outside-balloons thing you have going on here.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBob

The answer is "The first three ("All", "More", and "Areas") and the idol, because shortly before Ragnarok, Hodgman will be cast in bronze and whatever survivors make up our future generations will know he was our god.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMark

From left to right, John Hodgman wrote That is All (the spine just says "ALL," but that's the full title), The Areas of my Expertise, and More Information Than You Require ("MORE"). He was also the literary agent for Bruce Campbell, who wrote If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-movie Actor.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkane2742

Most people have given the obvious answer: the books written by John Hodgman plus the Bruce Campbell biography. Obvious, but wrong. In actuality the universe needs those books and created Hodgman to write them. Those books do not exist because of Hodgman; Hodgman exists because of those books!

The correct answer: the four books written by Douglas Adams, or should I say “Douglas Adams”? In fact Adams never existed as a separate entity. Those books exist because John Hodgman (1), traveller from the parallel dimension designated Dimension 1, wrote them under an assumed name. Think about it: have you ever seen Douglas Adams and (any) John Hodgman in the same room at the same time? (To preserve dimensional symmetry, the Hodgman from our dimension—Hodgman (A)—will visit Dimension 1 and write their equivalent to Adams’ books.)

(When you say to leave an e-mail address, will the one in the Author E-mail field will suffice?)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHarold

I dunno about the answer to the question you asked, but I hope you have "Dirk Gentleys Holistic Detective Agency" as well.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStreetwise guy

long time reader, first time poster. love your stuff, keep up the great work! and i loved the shirt, even if i am an american football fan through and through

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersteve

Don't Panic!!!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDaphne Dinner

I never win contests like these, but I'm commenting anyway. Kudos, Scott, for owning the Douglas Adams books - I see his influence in your work. That's high praise, indeed. Love your stuff! Everyone loves weekends, but for me I merely have to get through them while I wait for the next Basic Instructions.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

My assumption is that the question is a trick, as we are clearly in the Mirror Universe, so the ANSWER to said "trick question" is:

"Spoonerisms" by Rick
"My Life as the Emperor of the Moon Men" by Rick
"Allaying Scott's Fears" by Rick
"How to Make Love to My Wife" by Rick

(because John Hodgman is a pseudonym, obviously, as well, in the trick question asked in your alternate universe)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBI Fan

Which ones exist *because* of him? Well now, we've stepped into the realm of philosophy (and mirror universe physics). If my attempt to cast this message into the intellectual abyss is successful, all the more books will exist because of Mr. Hodgman. In fact, he will find the paper, perform the appropriate bindings, and manually enter the text of each and every page. In short, all aspects of the book will exist because of Hodgman, the lone publisher.

Or if I fail, four technically will because he had something to do with authorship. On the plus side, my failure may eradicate all the books Rick's caused to exist, so we do have that upshot. It will be like they never were...

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick

I have the first two signed, I'd love to have the third one to complete my set!

For my answer:
"Which four books exist because of John Hodgman? The three that list him as author (Areas of my Expertise, More Information Than You Require, and That is All) and Bruce Campbell's autobiography (If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-movie Actor), because Hodgman was his literary agent."
---- digitalbusker

And today's comic was great as usual!

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt


February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterScott

First of all I think I should win the book AND the Indiana Jones statue. At first glance I thought that it was some kind of creepy fertility god or something, then I realized the big guy just has the little guy in a modified Iron Sheik "Camel Clutch."

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlan

The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency
The Long Dark Tea TIme Of The Soul
Last Chance To See

Because I'd rather believe that Douglas Adams is alive and living under the alias 'John Hodgman' than accept that he's dead.

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

In answer to the question/comment posted earlier about the "Raiders" idol, I have to mention that it is a fertility symbol; she's female, and apparently giving birth. (I already posted earlier, but forgot to type in my email last time... sorry!)

February 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCR

Everyone's already answered the question (I mean the second comment got it correct), so I'm going to phone it in and say I totally want one of those football shirts!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I can't see past the glare off the freshly-spray-painted idol....

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMugician13

147th comment!

A book contest and this gets way more comments than usual!

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterxenapan

Trick question. Hell if I know. I'm just commenting to get the book.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNate @ House of Annie

In the mirror universe there is no John Hodgman. There is no spoon. All that remains constant is the idol...

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa from Indiana

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIda

Can you repeat the question?

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStephen

I guess, the four books, that exist on this shelf because of J. Hodgman are the Douglas Adams books, because J.H. gave them to you.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNachti

It is a trick question: all book exist because of John Hodgman.

And the t-shirt is awesome.

February 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Silberstein
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