381: Mobius Battle

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Mobius Battle
Films need to do this more, if only to piss off the people who have to feed it into the projector.
Title text: Films need to do this more, if only to piss off the people who have to feed it into the projector.


The Möbius comic strip as an animated GIF.

A Möbius strip (the comic's spelling Mobius strip is also acceptable) is an object with only one surface and one edge. It can be created by taking a strip of paper and twisting it 180 degrees before taping both ends together.

The idea of the Möbius strip has been used here to create a comic strip that could potentially loop forever. In it, Cueball is standing in front of a ball. Then another Cueball runs in and kicks the ball, which hits first Cueball in the head, due to which he falls out of the panel. The second Cueball then turns away, retaining the first Cueball's original position, only flipped horizontally. Because of the nature of the Möbius strip, if the comic strip were to be printed out in such a way that the comic could be seen on both sides of the paper — such on tracing paper, or on one "side" of a strip of clear plastic or film — the comic would repeat, so that the second Cueball would become the first Cueball, and someone else, potentially the original first person, would push them out of the comic becoming himself the first Cueball. This means that neither person ever really "wins," and the comic could thus be conveying an anti-violence message in this respect. See also the title text of 1890: What to Bring.

The comic's viability as a Möbius strip preserved the use of symmetrical letters in a palindromic word to denote laughing ("HAHAHAH") as well as using symmetrical punctuation for the other character's grawlixes. A similar use of a Möbius strip in story-telling can be seen in Wind and Mr. Ug by Vi Hart.

Finally, at the title text, Randall jokes that he would like to see actual films do this solely as a joke on projectionists, who would have a difficult time feeding a Möbius strip film reel properly into a normal projector due to the twist.


[Cueball is standing next to a ball. A flash appears on the left side of the panel.]
[Another Cueball comes in from the left, preparing to kick the ball.]
[The other Cueball kicks the ball into the first Cueball's head.]
[The first Cueball is lying outside of the frame. Second Cueball points and laughs.]
Second Cueball: HAHAHAH
First Cueball: !#^*!*
[Second Cueball is now standing next to the ball.]
[To the right, the strip above is looped around like a film strip, but a one-half-turn is put into the loop to make it a Möbius strip.]

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The gif should alternate left/right in order to properly portray the battle. 06:48, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Look again, it does already! -- 08:20, 8 July 2013 (UTC)

Technically, there's only one guy. He passes through the comic twice for every one time the ball passes through. 20:37, 17 December 2013 (UTC)

The explanation says "[the projectionist] would have no way to feed a Mobius strip film reel properly into a normal projector." That depends on how you define "normal". I just tried this on my grandfather's 16mm cine (film) and it worked fine. I cut ~300 frames from the start of a movie, twisted 180°, and spliced. Since my projector loads from the side it went in no problem and I used empty takeup reels to hold the loops. This wouldn't work on 8mm, though, cause the holes are only on one side. Can't speak to 35mm or IMAX film; I suspect not, because they have soundtracks, but I don't know for sure. Oh, I just thought of something to try with my 16mm loop; if I cut it in half lengthwise I should have a 600 half-frame 8mm loop, right? I'm not gonna try 'cause I don't have any way to cut down the middle in an exact enough way but that would be cool to try. Oh, and isn't it spelt Möbius? 03:15, 13 January 2015 (UTC)