SCOM is possibly my favorite character in this comic strip. He started out in strip #10 as a cantankerous Self Check Out Machine (which is where the abreviation SCOM comes from) who was a bit grumpy and had a penchant for destroying books, but he has become, in my opinion, the central character of the strip. Much like Opus in Bloom County, he was initially a background character who has evolved into a lovable, naive, interesting character through which we can explore the library with new eyes.
By the way, if you have never read Bloom County, please make every effort to do so. Sometimes the references to political and world events from the early 80s might be a little obscure these days, but the characters and art are great and the stories are funny and interesting. Berkeley Breathed, the creator of Bloom County, is a cartoonist hero of mine, along with Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), Gary Larson (The Far Side) and Bill Amend (Foxtrot).
Anyway, back to SCOM, we soon discovered that he could walk, that he'd been specially made by the CIA to work in the Library of Congress, and that he had a theft prevention system which included twin duel machine-guns and a missile. I sort of started thinking of him as a mix between R2-D2 and Mary Popopins' purse, in that he could contain almost any electronic device within him, and it would sort of be believable. Remember how Mary Poppins fit a whole coat rack into her purse? Remember how R2-D2 had, like, 576 different tools in the Star Wars movies? That's what I'm talking about. Here is a list of things we've seen SCOM equipped with:
- Satellite Dish for missile tracking and TV reception
- Electric Zapper
- A webcam
- A karaoke system including speakers and a microphone
- A toaster
At one point we had SCOM's guns replaced with a salad shooter and a caulking gun, and his missile replaced with a telescope, which really cracked me up. I drew the image of SCOM below during that period of time, so even though he now has his guns back, please enjoy SCOM trying to look cool with his replacement attachments.