Goldfish3As a child, I didn’t have a lot of normal pets. My family moved around a lot, and my mother was too much of a clean-freak for indoor pets. Also, she didn’t like cats at all (but they loved her). I had a couple of dogs and a cat who were outdoor pets before we started moving, but not after. Mainly, we had unconventional pets that didn’t have fur and didn’t take up too much space. There were the inevitable turtles, and the inevitable plastic bowls with a little island and a palm tree in the middle. There were a lot of lizards, most of which my brother and I caught ourselves (which probably explains at lot about Doctor Coldblood). There were a few insects (mostly large beetles and preying mantises). The turtles usually didn’t last that long (from what I’ve learned about the reptile trade, most of them were probably in poor health before we got them), but we got very good at taking care of lizards. We read books and did the best we could with them.

Mostly I feel bad about the goldfish. I don’t think I ever had many of them, and mostly when I was very young. Goldfish look so simple. They have a bowl, and some rocks, and they swim around, and you feed them some stuff that comes in a cardboard cylinder. But I suspect I often fed them too much, or the wrong thing, and let them get too hot, or too cold, and I don’t ever remember cleaning a fishbowl, so it was probably very bad to be one of my fish, and that explains their short lifespan. Sorry, goldfish.

So that’s what suggested this particular panel. On some level, that’s what I think of Doctor Head-in-a-jar as, a goldfish, but one with intelligence, and self-awareness, and a growing list of resentments. Mostly, he just takes it. But I somehow imagine him making mental notes, watching everything, remembering everything; making his fishbowl plans. And one day, he will act. Nobody will see it coming. One day, Doctor Head-in-a-jar will have his justice. For himself. For the goldfish.

Did I mention how sorry I am for all those goldfish?