The last Sticks and Stones cartoon was published in Dec 2020. After 19 years, I think that Sticks and Stones has run its course. The plan was to hang on for a nice round twenty, but the stories began to feel hackneyed, and the characters weren't developing, so I thought it better to quit while ~ahead. I'd like to give a massive thanks to Ted for taking a chance on S&S, and to all 3 editors, Ted, Amy and Sarah, for tolerating my tardiness and never nitpicking.
I hope the final cartoon didn't feel like an unhappy ending, but just in case, here's a little background on what happened next...
Dalston went on to develop drovers for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA. They were very impressed by his 'outside the box' thinking, and use of everyday kitchen ingredients in field trials.
Gibbet consolidated his pension with several 6 month stints on oil rigs, which allowed him to retire early to a cottage in the Scottish borders. This cottage was coincidentally within walking distance of the Metamorphic Rushton Group.
Morag finally broke out of endless short-term postdoc contracts, and took the next horrific step up the scientific ladder to become a lecturer. She continues to work on 'stereonets that resemble faces', but unlike Dalston, knows that it's better left at home.
The Dean retired to a mansion in the home counties, with plenty of spare time to sequester rare fossils in his private collection. He still longs for the halcyon days when students didn't have magenta hair.
Dr Bullface escaped the redundancy cull, and continues to research microfossils. And to complete the jigsaw, he finally did meet the highly cited, divorced, hairy micropalaeontologist of his dreams.
Thanks for reading. Dave. 30/11/2020
Sticks and Stones is a monthly cartoon published in Geoscientist magazine, it started in April 2002 and I'm forever grateful to Ted, the editor, for taking a chance on it. The following is a bit of info on me and the cartoon itself, but to be honest the most fun part of the site is the archive.
Hi my name's Dave and I write and draw Sticks and Stones. I studied Geology, tending toward sedimentology, and now work in stable isotopes. I'm a self taught cartoonist, influenced by the likes of Calvin & Hobbes, Bloom County and The Far Side. My favourite cartoon from the archive is September 2008, followed closely by Nov 2008, so I guess late '08 was my purple patch.
I'm still sketching for fun, but am taking a break from cartooning projects. If you fancy a chat about anything, cartooning or otherwise, drop me a mail to this address:>
Dalston, described by one geologist as "a few taxa short of an assemblage", seems to have turned into the hero of the cartoon, if that's the word. When not being policed by Gibbet or the Dean, you'll find him researching his latest crackpot idea, and whether it's being knee deep in porridge looking into mantle convection or playing hopscotch with a monkey on a bed of plaster of Paris, you can guarantee it's not been done before. His first name is Gideon though I never really worked out why, we're stuck with it now I'm afraid. Never seen without his trademark bobble hat.
Gibbet, first name Xavier, often plays the straightman to Dalston's buffoon. When not being rollocked by the Dean, usually on Dalston's behalf, he bemoans the fact that not enough research money is put into his pet subject - the metamorphic Rushton group. He has worn the same khaki shirt with the sleeves rolled up since the 60's, back when beards were compulsory for any self respecting geologist.
Morag, world expert in stereonets that look like faces, first appeared in April 2006 as a PhD student, so I guess by now she's a postdoc unless her project has really dragged on. Like Gibbet, Morag is often the one rolling her eyes at Dalston's latest cock up. She is definitely not based on an Edinburgh PhD student called Margaret.
The Dean, real name Edgar Niceday, is very much of the old school. He yearns for the days when social media meant a stiff brandy down the club and side partings were compulsory, speaking of which don't stare at his hair implants. When not rollocking Dalston, he is rollocking Gibbet.