End of the Universe

The End of the Universe from the perspective of the Space theme

Beginning sometime around the middle of 2007, no later than the appearance of a Cheshire Cat chasing a Rat through strip 1621 on July 5, 2007, the development of the storylines in Me, Fantasy, Steve and Terry, Space, Cliffhangers, Star Wars, Martians, Pirates, Harry Potter, Nigerian Finance Minister, Death, Shakespeare, Imperial Rome, and Mythbusters began leading toward a variety of strange and curious events, ranging from time travel in several of the themes including the death of Me in strip 1800 on December 31, 2007 (later revealed to be killed by himself traveling into the past), a meteor heading toward Earth in Martians, to "curious" events related to the Large Hadron Collider in Shakespeare and Death. The Cheshire Cat chasing the Rat appeared in almost all of these themes at various times during the development of the storyline. All the various events culminated in climaxes in strips 2162 - 2166 each of which contributes to the extreme fireball in strip 2166 on December 31, 2008. And in the great tradition of a variety of time travel stories, the End of the Universe in different times somehow occur simultaneously. Strips 2167 through 2175 for January 1 - 9 of 2009 show blank panels, starting with four white panels on January 1 then fading through through progressively darker shades of blue, gray, red and finally black for a full four panels.

Finally, in 2176, the entire cast of Irregular Webcomic! (with the possible exception of Me and the Cheshire Cat and Rat) are arrayed on the Infinite Featureless Plane with Head Death demanding to know who destroyed the universe and several characters denying responsibility. At the "same time" the Cheshire Cat and rat were generating paradoxes, Me, now Death of Going Back in Time and Murdering Yourself (DoGBiTaMY) created a paradox by refusing to murder himself, Adam and Jamie created a paradox by setting off dynamite in a way that would kill their younger selves from 20 or so years earlier, the clones-of-Hitler's brains-in-jars order the activation of a time machine that is apparently capable of damaging the fabric of the universe, the Large Hadron Collider damaged the fabric of the universe by causing time loops in the Shakespeare theme, and the spaceship occupied by Loren Ipsum and Ishmael passed the point where there would have been a chance for them to stop a large asteroid from crashing into the Earth.

During the course of this over-arching story arc, readers learned that the Cheshire Cat can apparently travel through time without assistance. Readers also learned that the Rat was sent back through time as a test subject in the Space theme, with a cybernetic eye to send images of its travels to the ship where the time machine operates. Any additional meaning to their appearance has not yet been revealed.

Coincidentally, on January 2, 2009 a glitch occurred in the domain routing that resulted in a go-kart web site homepage taking the place of IWC from approximately 01:30 UTC until 05:00 UTC, causing a number of readers to e-mail DMM accusing him of a major prank in relation to the end of the IWC Universe.