Ladies and gentlemen, it's the beginning of May, and that means it's time for the Zoofights Colosseum to get into gear. Mix up a bucket of rat's milk and paint thinner, and get yourself ready for a truly grizzly start to the summer. Tonight is the start of a festival of bloodsports that will see more than 20 artists bring you rivets, railguns and sucker punches until there's no fighting left to be done.
That's right, Sports Fans - it's time for Zoofights V.
(If you haven't seen this before, it's basically a big thing where we make up some monsters and draw them fighting based on the outcomes of arguments about which one would/should win in a fight)
This is a tough time to have a zoofight. Things have changed since our golden era of space stations and champagne. Most significantly, human civilisation has been decimated in an atomic war, sparked by an attempt to give squid access to the internet. It was kind of our fault.
Or rather, we should have said something about it.
You may remember from crude paintings daubed on the walls of your caves and tin shacks that our last tournament featured a competitor from the nightmare squid/war future described above. If your tumour-riddled ancestors were particularly good with a clay-daubed thighbone, you may have been able to distinguish it attacking a space station from Jupiter's atmosphere, while being savaged by a giant moth that thought it was God.
If not, I suggest you read what happened. All will become clear.
In any case, the squid got beat, and that's why there are now two suns in the sky. Unfortunately, absolutely nothing was done to avert the advent of the Seanet project, and so a few decades after the tournament, the whole damn thing happened anyway. Some squid got hooked up with VoIP, the ocean gained sentience, and a whole lot of nukes got launched. You know the rest.
Luckily, our guys knew what was up. They called round the international elite and started selling places in our state of the art, futureproof cryo-bunker. When the mushroom clouds started blooming, we finished our brandies and settled down for centuries of comfortable sleep under a mile of rock and lead.
Now that our monitors have assessed the remnants of humanity to be capable of attending an unparalleled spectacle of violence and chance, we are back in business! The aim of the game is the same as it ever was: beef up 16 animals into relentless monsters, then make them fight and bet on it.
I'm afraid to say that not everything has gone to plan, however. The fuses on the coolant pump for sector G went down about 70 years back, and we lost Castro, the Belgian aristocracy and 70 tons of foie gras overnight. On the bright side, Fidel's torporgic humidor made it through just fine, so we're cool for cigars.
To be fair though, unless you're reading this from an LCD screen implanted in the back of a prostitute while sipping complementary champagne in the Cryolounge, cigars and foie gras won't be on your agenda for the next three weeks.
Instead, you can enjoy a wide selection of sawdust pastries, carrion chunks or scavenged human flesh from any one of our concession scaffolds. Bring a blade, though, because we'll be throwing it from a gantry in burlap sacks, with strict orders to gun down anyone who makes a move towards the security cordon. Things could get rowdy.
Nevertheless, there are fine drinks for all at our legendary bar, and the hot drugs stand will continue its timeless tradition of handing out piping hot psychedelics for all and sundry.
So come one, come all, park your rusty dune buggies, and take part in the spectacle of this year's Zoofights. The first round's on us.
How it works
Shortly, you will be presented with the first of eight matchups for Round One. These matchups were chosen randomly during the AMINAL WARZ event a month ago.
The outcome of the fight will be decided by your arguments, your conviction and your anger. Make clear in a post in the comments which contender you think will win the brawl, and if possible shout down and rubbish anyone who disagrees with you.
Votes with diagrams or graphs or pictures will get 5 rather than 1 point, and possibly even more if they are super awesome.
Generally, there will be 48 hours between the announcement of a fight and the fight itself, to allow time for it to be drawn, coloured and possibly animated. Sometimes there are delays, so the best way to keep informed about the fights is to join us on Twitter or Facebook (links in the sidebar).
In that time, we will monitor the strength of arguments here and on the website via a scoring system, and then feed that into a random number generator to get a result.
Basically, one word votes don't count, and every word said in support of an underdog increases the chances of a surprise victory against the odds.
How does the tournament work?
16 beasts enter, meaning there are 8 fights in round one, which produce 8 winners and 8 Loser's League contenders.
In round two, the winners square off in four round two bouts, and the LL fighters have their own four fights.
In round three, the four contenders that have won both of their fights go head to head in two semi-finals, while the four winners of the Loser's League fight the defeated opponents of the semi-finalists in a terrifying Royal Rumble.
The winners of the semi-finals then fight, with the winner going on to face the winner of the Royal Rumble for the tournament trophy.
First fight incoming shortly....