1302: Year in Review

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Year in Review
All in all, I give this year a C-. There were no aurora visible from my house and that comet evaporated. They'd better not cancel the 2017 eclipse.
Title text: All in all, I give this year a C-. There were no aurora visible from my house and that comet evaporated. They'd better not cancel the 2017 eclipse.


Many news organizations will recap the major stories of the past calendar year in late December (typically before the year has actually ended). This includes specialized news outlets such as sports stations which recap major sports stories or best plays of the year. Here, Cueball, as a news anchor, expects Megan to talk about major news stories of 2013 such as the roll-out of Obamacare, the election of Pope Francis or the death of Nelson Mandela, to give a few examples.

Instead, Megan only recaps one thing which was important to her: She did not see the aurora borealis (i.e. northern lights) in 2013, the dazzling natural geomagnetic light display caused by the solar wind. In 2013 a solar maximum was expected at its solar cycle, but the activity of the sun wasn't as heavy as before. So, a northern light had been very rare in this year. Megan has never seen the northern lights, and she is frustrated that it did not happen for her in 2013, thus overshadowing all other events. She even leaves in the middle of the review when she notices the sky clearing up, as she wishes to check if there are any northern light this evening. This may very well be Randall's own frustration which is displayed here.

It turns out in the title text that Megan is actually reviewing the astronomical year, only considering astronomical events. She even rates it much like a movie review, although she seems to use the A-F grade scale. She only gives the year a C- (C minus), which would usually be the lowest passable grade, so she just lets the year pass in spite of the two failing events mentioned in the title text.

In the title text, Megan specifically complains about not being able to see aurorae from her house. If Megan actually represents Randall's frustration, then to expect to see it from a house in Massachusetts would be a lot to ask for. Usually, people who wish to see Northern lights will travel to an arctic area and stay away from light pollution from cities. But in years with heavy solar activity, northern light may be visible even south of Massachusetts.

The title text also refers to Comet ISON. In February, a rough estimate of the comet's behavior predicted that it would become brighter than the full moon, a prediction that was widely reported by the media even though it was based on limited data and astronomers knew that it would not reach this brightness. In the end, although it was visible to the naked eye, it was never as bright as anybody hoped and apparently disintegrated on November 28, 2013, at its close approach to the sun.

The title text also refers to the 2017 total eclipse, which was visible as a partial eclipse for a few hours throughout North America on August 21 Monday, including a 100-mile wide band across the United States where it was a total eclipse for a couple of minutes in the early afternoon. Eclipses are completely predictable - although the weather might be cloudy so that the sun is blocked during totality, they will happen anyway. So Megan is being extremely pessimistic to even suggest that the 2017 eclipse might get canceled. Humorously, her statement that someone might decide to cancel the eclipse makes it sound like a concert that could be canceled by the organizer. It seems that Megan thinks that the "they" who could cancel the eclipse are the same "they" that caused the comet to disintegrate and the solar activity to stay low. Anyone with the kind of power to stop a solar eclipse from happening would be god-like compared to humanity. The next time that the eclipse was mentioned was in the New Year comic for 2017: 1779: 2017. The subject of the title text of that comic is the likelihood that the eclipse will indeed happen as planned.

All in all, the comic suggests that the only events of significance to Megan (and Randall) are astronomical ones; the actions of humanity pale in comparison.

The joke of Megan answering a question in an interview in an unexpected manner has been used before in 1111: Premiere.

Interestingly in 1037: Umwelt there is an aurora story line where Megan stays inside at her computer even though it can be seen from her own state, letting her friend go out alone. (So not the same Megan for sure).


[Cueball is a news anchor sitting with his arms on a desk looking at Megan, a reporter shown in a feed on a screen to his right. There is a title below the feed.]
Cueball: We go live to our 2013: Year in Review!
Megan: Thanks!
Megan: In 2013, I didn't see an aurora.
Cueball: I- what?
Title: Year in Review
[Zoom to the top part of the screen with Megan. Her text is written above the screen without a frame around this segment of the comic.]
Megan: The northern lights. I thought this would finally be the year.
Megan: But it didn't happen.
[Back to the original view but Cueball has turned more towards Megan, with only one arm on the desk.]
Cueball: Oh. Uh... What about the rest of the year?
Megan: What do you mean?
Cueball: Any big news stories?
Megan: Oh yeah, tons.
Title: Year in Review
[Same setting but Megan turns away from Cueball, who has taken both hands of the table. Megan is looking to her left at something off screen. Beat panel.]
Title: Year in Review
[Cueball turns back to face the viewers, both hands back on the desk, as Megan is leaving the screen, walking out to the right, her face already hidden by the frame of the feed.]
Cueball: ...Well, that was 2013: Year in Review.
Megan: The sky's clearing up. I'll be outside.
Title: Year in Review

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The eclipse happened according to schedule.

"...she never saw an aurora borealis (or australis)" Australis? She specifically states northern lights. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

True, but first she says that she never say an aurora, period; so I think that we can assume that she never saw the southern lights either. —TobyBartels (talk) 19:22, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
She should have played Half-Life 3 ... oh, wait ... (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Eclipses are so predictable I suspect that the 2017 eclipse was already predicted by Chinese before christ. I mean, they executed two astrologers in 2134 BCE for failing to predict one, so I'm sure others worked hard to save themselves. -- Hkmaly (talk) 10:22, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

I think the joke of the comic is that she's giving an actual review/critique of the astronomical year itself, like one would review a movie. This is in contrast to the expected summary or recap of events occuring during the year. 13:17, 11 December 2013 (UTC)Pat

Good point; you should add that. —TobyBartels (talk) 19:22, 11 December 2013 (UTC)
I added it now... --Kynde (talk) 19:55, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Coincidence that this was released the same day as rewind YouTube style 2013?--Mralext20 (talk) 16:31, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

I think that another subtler point this comic raises is the idea of how ridiculous it is to critique "the year" in the first place. The idea of Megan giving the year a grade highlights this, because why would you grade an arbitrary designation of time that has no agency or animacy in the first place? The title text pokes further fun at this by implying that the people behind the "Year in Review" have the power to cancel the solar eclipse, as if the news station suddenly not only has the power to pass judgement on an entire year, but they can also take away a freaking eclipse if they feel like it. Worth mentioning? --Mynotoar (talk) 07:17, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

I don't think that it's the news station that can cancel the eclipse, but a different "they" (presumably the same ones that destroyed the comet). —TobyBartels (talk) 10:31, 12 December 2013 (UTC)
I mentioned these "they" that can stop eclipses and destroy comets etc. --Kynde (talk) 19:55, 29 June 2016 (UTC)

Interesting to note she sat inside working on a computer during aurora back in april of 2012 in 1037[1] --Calvsie (talk) 16:22, 12 December 2013 (UTC)

Is it a coincidence that the comic number can be rearranged to form "2013"? (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I was thinking the same. I'm not sure it is important though, but say he had this comic ready in good time planning to release it before new year, then Randall might have chosen this comic number for that reason... --Kynde (talk) 19:29, 29 June 2016 (UTC)
it might not be a coincidence. remember 1000 and 2000? plushie fan (talk) 14:31, 22 November 2023 (UTC)