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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"Fun With Dick and Jayne"
Short story
Firefly: Still Flying
Written and Drawn by Ben Edlund

(Page numbers come from the first edition, May 2010)


A piece of Jayne Cobb's boyhood is revealed in a vignette.


Story Summary


Using crude bludgeoning/cutting weapons, two boys named Dick and Jayne are killing animals (mostly rats and stray dogs) around the local spaceport. The port control pays them four credits for every one. Little Jayne is a bit squeamish about it, throwing up and telling Dick to stop the carnage.


But not long after, the two boys are having a ball at the Meat Raffle, where they have used the money they earned killing strays to sponsor a hobo in the bloody fights.




Notes from the Firefly/Serenity Chronology


Since this vignette takes place when Jayne Cobb was just a boy, it must occur before any other story in the chronology thus far.


Didja Know?


Featured in the book Firefly: Still Flying, a retrospective of the series, "Fun With Dick and Jayne" is a two-page words-with-pictures story such as might be found in a young children's book. The story itself, however, is not particularly meant for children (unless maybe you were to compare it to a Grimm fairy tale), highlighting the contrast in the stereotypical Western notion of the "innocent childhood" with the crassness of a character like Jayne Cobb.


Didja Notice?


On page 1 of the story, notice that Dick is wearing an orange, knitted cap (a chullo) that is essentially identical to the one Jayne's mother sends Jayne as an adult in "The Message".


Dick is also wearing a Blue Sun sweatshirt.


On page 1 of the story, the presence of a couple of spaceships sitting in the background and the mention of "port control" by Dick suggests the two boys are in a spaceport.


On page 2 of the story, the hand-painted sign held by Dick and Jayne and their shouting of "Sic 'em, Speshal!" suggest that their hobo is called Speshal Raygun.


Also on page 2 of the story, notice that, despite their status as minors, Dick has a lit cigarette in his hand and Jayne appears to be holding a bottle of booze.


One of the hobos in the fight (possibly Speshal) has some tattoos on his arms. One of them appears to read KP3112. The significance of any of tatoos is unknown.


Obviously, the details of the story suggest that Jayne grew up on a rough world, probably one of the border worlds largely outside the influence of Alliance law. The Ghost Machine reveals that his homeworld is Sycorax.


Unanswered Questions


Who is Dick? Is he just a friend of Jayne's? A brother?


Little Jayne shows at least a small bit of altruistic feelings at the beginning of this story, with his squeamishness at Dick's killing of animals. Would he have grown up to be a very different person on a less hostile world? Or without the influence of Dick?


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