The Twelve Days – Postscript 2 – series from familiar comics

As noted by commenters during the course of the Twelve Days postings, and in the Addenda section of that post itself, sometimes a familiar comics source will touch on the Twelve Days song lyrics, illustrating and hopefully finding a joke in the lists of gifts. Sometimes this has even taken the form of a series of daily appearances for a half-dozen or even a full dozen strips.

Mother Goose and Grimm

“MGG” had the start of a run in 2011, concluding at Five with a kind of recap/roundup:


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Then in 2012 they did a full run of twelve!


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

This didn’t mean they were burnt out on the Twelve Days Song material altogether, but later appearances were not as extensive. Here is a singleton from 2016 touching on first and third day:

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Off the Mark

The OTM series or singles referencing the Twelve Days song seem to encompass an almost-full series carried out over two years. The second year had a postscript of an attempt to return many of the canonical gifts at a department store returns window. Then there was a singleton on the twelve drummers, and some later repeats in color.

Here is the kickoff, in 2002:

Then in 2003 they pick up the story with the infamous “apricot sauce” panel for Seventh Day:

Yes, we used those plumbers in our own run-thru!
Here, from 2004, was an OTM singleton but with content based in the Twelve Days gifts:

And the 2002 series included a detached postscript of an attempt at the returns window.

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Argyle Sweater

We couldn’t locate an extensive series from the Twelve Days song for the “Argyle Sweater” strip, but they did have some separate panels that relate to it. Both these examples are from this year. We used the “ten lords a-leaking” (sent in by Andréa) in the course of the run of our Twelve Days thread. And after that, a nice example of a single-panel comic taking on multiple gifts from the song; here instead of a department store returns window, it’s a food ordering window.

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New Adventures of Queen Victoria

This series, from 2006, proceeds normally (so to speak) thru five, then jumps ahead to twelve to get it over with! (Oh, and do we need a geezer clue for “Prince Albert in a can”?)

The Twelve Days – All Twelve

And on the Twelfth Day (05 January) — A day of drumming!

Cynthia Yeh, Principal Percussionist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, announcing the end of the world on the bass drums in a performance of the “Dies Irae” section from Verdi’s “Messa da Requiem”.

And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Striking the mighty hammer-blows in Mahler’s Symphony No. 6.

And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Jazz percussionist Max Roach as “Max”, leader of the house band at Billy Pastor’s Café in the film “Carmen Jones”. The band inserts a jazz break and drum solo into Pearl Bailey’s musical number “Beat Out Dat Rhythm On A Drum”, Oscar Hammerstein’s adaptation of the Act II Gypsy Dance “Les tringles des sistres tintaient” from Bizet’s “Carmen”.

And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker (19 August 1939 – 6 October 2019) was an English drummer and a co-founder of the rock band Cream.

And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Maureen “Moe” Tucker of the Velvet Underground. From the performance of “Heroin” in the video of the MCMXCIII reunion concert.

Watch VU MCMXCIII Heroin at YouTube . And watch Moe Tucker create the overwhelming pacing.


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Timpanist Wieland Welzel of the Berliner Philharmoniker finishes off the Symphony No. 5 of Dmitri Shostakovich
Still at the Berliner Philharmoniker, it takes *two* timpanists at eight kettles to finish off the 112 minute performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 3 in D minor, at a concert 29 Feb 2020 under batonless direction of wunderkind Lorenzo Viotti.

For those into timpani, here is Part 1 of 3 of a tutorial on changing and tuning TIMpani heads, by TIM Genis of the Boston Symphony. A little inTIMidating as he starts off with saying it is simple, and showing the ten products you will need. Fun as this is, it isn’t the one I was looking for — let me know if you find one about the excitement of receiving the delivery of the new “skins” and the start of the installation, from a big-name orchestra percussion section.


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Djembe circle class

Djembe class recital, Old Town School of Folk Music 2013. This one brings ten drummers!


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Third Coast Percussion — they do have drums, just not too evident in this picture!

And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Drumline is much more than drums in a line!

And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

And how could “Little Drummer Girl” have been an instantly comprehended title had there not been the song “Little Drummer Boy”.

But maybe not everybody loves that boy:


And from the Eleventh Day


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

And a bonus on the plumber == piper theme!


And from the Tenth Day


And from the Ninth Day

Detail of Feiffer’s “Dance to Spring”

Ist das die richtige Anzahl tanzender Damen? NEIN!


And from the Eighth Day


And from the Seventh Day

And you can have a listen!


And from the Sixth Day


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

And a bonus of six more geese laying — or at least being encouraged to do so.


And from the Fifth Day


And from the Fourth Day


And from the Third Day

Sarah Willis and other members of the horn section of the Berliner Philharmoniker

And from the Second Day


And still around from the First Day

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Credits, Addenda, and complete series

Comics and other images were contributed by Rob S., Andréa, Kilby, and other readers.
The Liz Climo panel for Six Geese was picked up from a discussion on Arnold Zwicky’s blog, which takes an interest in analyzing the language of comics.


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Twelve-days series from familiar comics

“Mother Goose and Grimm” has more than once run thru the twelve days, with different levels of punning. Usually they run these *before* Christmas Day, as a sort of countdown; and skip weekends. (We at CIDU have followed the traditional pattern of starting on Christmas Day and counting forwards until 06 January.) The 2012 series of MG&G, for interest, started with the first day on Wednesday, 12 December 2012, here. The “two hurtled gloves” was used here in draft (until the tee-shirt with the hybrids showed up) and was from the 2011 series, which started on Monday, 19 December 2011, with a “Partridge Family” joke., and did not go on for all twelve.

“Off the Mark” similarly had full or partial series around 2002, 2003, and a one-shot in 2004. These also took a pre-Christmas Day quasi-countdown approach. This strip also gives a nice example of a one-shot panel or strip referencing several of the Twelve Days gifts via some gag like the store returns window seen here — with variations seen pretty often. Our 11 plumbers plumbing came from one of these OTM series. This very recent “Argyle Sweater” also puts a long (but not total!) list of the items into one transaction, in this case a purchase rather than returns (and for eating!).

“New Adventures of Queen Victoria” has had a series, with jokes about the accumulation of gifts. (As faithful reader Deety let us know, back on the First Day!😀 ) It seems to be used for reruns; the 2020 version started with the First Day just on 21 December. A GoComics comment for the Second Day entry answers one of the usual math questions (below) and nicely shows their work for each kind of gift. The 2006 run may have been the original (the dates in the drawings match the publication dates), but it runs for a five-weekdays-plus-Saturday span only, jumping from a nervous Fifth Day to a sudden escape with a Twelfth Day intervention.

After completion of this thread on 05 January, we will make a new post, as a postscript, to sample or present some of those partial or full twelve-day series from familiar comics.


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Other kinds of presentation, and Math

The featured image at the top of the post puts all twelve days together in a grid of boxes, with a representative for each kind of gift in the day’s box. That one is straightforwardly traditional and plain representations, but there are good examples of satiric or political-editorial intent in that format, such as this Ted Rall. After completion of this thread on 05 January, we will make a new post, as a postscript, to present a few of these 12-icon layouts.

For a detailed account of the history of the song and variations in the gifts accumulated in the lyrics, see the Wikipedia article. After completion of this thread on 05 January, we will make a new post, as a postscript, to present the table of historical lyric variations from that Wikipedia article.

Maybe someone can find and link the math-problem treatment of summing the total number of each kind of gift, on the assumption that the gifts mentioned in different “daily” run-thrus do accumulate — so that, for example there are 5 gold rings for day 5, another 5 gold rings for day 6, etc., for a total of 40. Which item has the highest total count? Which the lowest? What is the total of gifts for all kinds? Do the partridge and its pear tree count separately? If you don’t care to do the work yourself right now, here is how a goComics commenter summarized it for Queen Victoria readers. Now tell us, what is that series {12, 22, 30, 36, 40, 42, 42, 40, 36, 30, 22, 12} related to? It’s not quite a binomial expansion, or a diagonal of Pascal’s triangle …
Note from Second Day: There is a nice exposition from CIDU faithful reader Woozy on some math questions for the Twelve Days!.

And here is an interesting graphic account of some of the numbering questions:


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

Parodies, stories, and radio plays



Also there is an epistolary story parody similarly based in an assumption of accumulating quantities, in which the fair lady receiving the gifts gets increasingly annoyed in each letter, up to the cease-and-desist order. Please do find and link!
Update: Many thanks to faithful reader Shrug for finding and sharing this publication of a transcript exactly that story! And in turn, the collector who runs that blog has provided a link to an MP3 audio file of what seems to be the original radio presentation of this story.
Further: Actually, it is listed on the Wikipedia article in the Parodies and Other Versions section. If only we had been reading closer, sooner.

(And how charming that the lady in the skit turns out to be named Cynthia – pleasing for a reason you will see on Twelfth Day!)


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:

The Music

We have been concentrating on the lyrics so intently, we mustn’t lose sight of the music itself!

(Answers start around 6:30)


And a bonus Sea Shanties comic:











(Top graphic credit: Xavier Romero-Frias, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)
Little Drummer Boy phono single cover art: for usage see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Single_Harry_Simeone_Chorale-The_Little_Drummer_Boy_cover.gif#filelinks