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Smithson Thus Far... ·


I like Helen's little raiding outfit. I should've drawn her with a ponytail more often.

The conversation in this strip is based directly on almost every conversation I had in college. I'm looking at YOU, Jaye.

Ah...too much dialogue for one strip. The problem with the personality sprites is that they tend to hover where the word balloons would normally go, leaving less room for text.

Maybe it's just me, but Common Sense may be the sexiest of Helen's sprites. And the least often seen.

The inclusion of dialogue about potential love slaves is another nod to my college friends. We often chose concubines for ourselves. It's a sign of our extreme nerdiness that we all had official love slaves selected from the cast of "Babylon 5." And it's probably a sign that I was the nerdiest of them all that mine was Vir. I actually drew a series of comic strips on the subject while I was in college, but I lost them. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Doing shadows is HARD. I tried, though. I really tried.

Here Madblood does the Romantic Rope-Swing, but fails to scoop anyone into his arms in the process. This is his key mistake. It's like how the first Jedi to draw his light saber will be the one to lose the duel. Once you get that opening move wrong, you're doomed.

This is one of Andrew's all-time favorite Narbonic strips, because Andrew's a sucker for a boob joke. I'm pretty fond of it myself. The weird spidery robot, and Madblood's sad little thought to himself at the end...good times, good times. I forgot to draw in the crucial "GRAB!" sound effect and had to paste in that little rectangle, though, which is kind of sad.

"Flats or heels?" is lifted from an episode of "Red Dwarf," another huge influence on Narbonic. Derek Kirk Kim used to say that he liked Narbonic because it reminded him of "Red Dwarf." Probably because I stole all the good jokes from it.

Abandoned acid factory. Sometimes I want to hug myself. The illegibility of the text and continuing lack of backgrounds aside (where the hell are they?), this is a pretty good strip. In fact, this whole week of strips is good. The characters are getting interesting, and I'm starting to hit the right tone. Six months in, there are signs of hope.

I don't know what magazine Mell is reading, but the back cover says, "Little. Evil. Different," which was the personal motto of my friend Mee-Lise. She's little and evil.

Helen is much bigger than Mell in that last panel. I needed to be more careful about that.

Leon Arnott (l) says:
"And For Today... Helen's got her Master's right? there's that 'whipping him into submission?' comment.. I see a Master Helen (Mistress Helen?) ... mebbe my brain just goes to bad places..."
--Christopher Ellmann, 5 Dec. 2000
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"Oh, my... I'm already envisioning *reams* of Narbonic lemon fanfic yet to be written. Perhaps in some universe Dave really *will* learn what it's like to be held for an afternoon at the mercy of two deranged young women...

With this fate now inescapable, Sarge, you *have* to introduce a few more male characters, 'coz I just don't get much out of yuri.
--Michael A Benedetto, 5 Dec. 2000
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"But my characters are so sweetly and innocently evil... why, why must there be porn? I knew that sooner or later the bad karma would come around for the time I wrote that Ranma/Babylon 5/Dave Barker crossover fanfic, but what you're suggesting..."
--Shaenon, 5 Dec. 2000
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday's Comic: I know I'm not the only one who can spot up to four pure-white squares, each approximately the same size and shape as the MS Paint eraser tool...

(Perhaps they are a new variety of ghost orbs, supernaturally captured by the comic-rendering process?)
Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says:

Leon, re "I know I'm not the only one": As one who has been there (and it was in pretty much the same timeframe too) I'm well-equipped to recognize the artifacts of not yet having learned that black-and-white linework is not best scanned in MSPaint (or, probably, any other graphics edtior) as a color picture.

Izeas GT (izeas_gt) says: Also just off Helen's left elbow in panel one; that one's kinda squiggly. It's pretty easy to see with a laptop screen, if you open it wide enough. On another note; I've no clue why Shaenon opted for JPEG for Narbonic.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Common Sense has that Sexy Librarian thing going.
Rachel S. (masamage) says: Did anyone take Bester?
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Oh, man... I know I'm going to regret asking this, but did anyone take Mollari?
Chris Brunner (cjbrunner) says: I'd have to go with Lyta. Just started re-watching the DVD's last weekend. Go fig.
Izeas GT (izeas_gt) says: I've only watched the first disc of season one. Might get to see more after finals. Been planning to watch it since reading Everything Bad is Good For You.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday's Comic: In the third panel: Manga background speed lines, or Western character motion lines? I guess we'll never know.

Appearances of personality sprites: 4.
Mike B. (epenthesis) says: Oh, God. There's no way you can upload those, is there? I miss them....
John Weiss (cheshirecat) says:

Well, Vir does have six... 

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Oh, God. There's no way you can upload those, is there? I miss them....

They must never again see the light of day!

In response to the other B5 comments: Yes. Every major character was taken. Kosh was taken.
Virgil Greene (klyfix) says: One is now curious as to just what kind of content those strips had. Hmm.....
K G (muppetk) says:

Oh god... I'm torn between wanting to bury the B5 strips and trying to remember who my love slave was... dammit, did I grab Captain Smiley or Bester of the evil glovesex?  
I remember who had Ivanova (duh), and G'kar... and I think Kosh. :D  But I can't remember the rest.  *fears discovery*

Rachel S. (masamage) says: ...Wow, is that a consistent trait of light-saber duels?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: K: You got the Box, of course. There was no question. I can't remember who ended up with Bester.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday's Comic: I for one appreciate your panel 1 shadow work! Even in only two colours I can see that, in keeping with the tone of your genre, the Crystal of Super Metroid Water Level shines like a veritable Silmaril.

"Smooth. Very smooth." That's what I thought when I saw your linework in panel 4. Your skills have quite noticably improved since three panels ago.
Brian Fallstrom (alfador) says: Super Metroid had Maridia, not Marinia. And if I remember correctly, Darth Vader drew his saber first when he went up against Obi-Wan in episode IV. But a) I could be remembering it wrong, and b) Obi-Wan could be said to have won that anyway. "If you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: HONK!
Pete (westrider) says:

So glad I got my Internet connection up in time for this one. While not my favorite by a long shot (that's quite a battle), this is probably the Narbonic strip I think of the most. Every time I see someone get shot down or screw up while attempting to impress a MOS, in real life or fiction, this pops into my head. 

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday's Comic: It's called the Theftbot five hundred-thousand! Had it been merely the Theftbot fifty-thousand, or the Theftbot five million, it would be but a shadow of its current apex of absurdity. Verily, the author of this comic Knows Her Stuff.

Also, panel four wins you hugs and smiles for the most impressive airborne eyebrow yet.

Boob jokes: 0001.
Tara Tallan (ttallan) says: I think that the placement of the sound effect works well. It goes with the actual grab, which is, after all, between the panels, in that little closure space.
Dave III (dave_iii) says:

This is what I consider "acceptable bounds sex humor". In the first place, we see nothing... this fact allows us to imagine exactly what's going on- heck, Theftbot 500,000 might have just as easily grabbed Helen's head. (Doubtful, but Parent Groups can't prove otherwise.)  Second, this kind of joke is used very sparingly- lending it more impact when it does occur.


I give it a ten. ^_^

Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: Comment not related to the comic, but to something I read on the forum, which I am not a member of otherwise I would comment there: I don't think you're "way out of [Ursula Vernon's] league, Shaenon. I bet she would be happy to collaborate with you on something if she wasn't, you know, already busy. :) I know I would love to do something with you, but you really are out of my league. WAY out of my league...
Esther the Pester (pester) says: Look at those spikey fingers, though. I mean- ouch.
M Lowe-Hentges (annechen67) says:

Ah, Madblood designed the fingers for stealth, not comfort. After all, the programming was subconcious, and he really did not intend to be a remove away from the action.

 It also provides strong indication that his creations don't fall far from the tree.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: But I never do anything as strong as acid....
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday's Comic: I must credit you for the succulent double profile in panel 3. If my memory serves me correctly, that panel is Wally Wood #4.

Backgrounds, schmackgrounds, I say. Just do what I do and toss in some gradient fills and funky EarthBound battle backgrounds. It's all good.
Dave III (dave_iii) says:

Well, obvously, they're next to the (recently emptied) display case of the priceless Crystal of Marinia, in the private vault of the Al Tsahir family, who recently immagrated from Turkey and have guarded the gem for thirty generations.


Anybody can see that

Mee R. (mee) says:

Hey, G'kar was one sexy man-lizard, y'all.

And only someone truly filled with sweetness and light would have gone for Lennier.  I call NOT ME.

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Man-lizard-marsupial! And he digs human girls.

Lennier, though, is a real snob about his romance. And has murder in his soul!

Aaaaaaaanyway. This is one of my favorite Narbonic strips, especially in the first year.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Ivanova is god. That is all.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Clearly, scale alteration is one of the crystal's multifarious properties!
Rachel S. (masamage) says: Excellent expressions~. I especially love Helen's adorable face in panel three.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday's Comic: In addition to my previous suspicions regarding Mell's hair, this episode leaves me wondering how it can sway so dramatically from just the slightest of head movements.
Leon Arnott (l) says:
Will someone please tell me that I did not just save Saturday's strip to my harddrive so that I could open it in Adobe and rotate it in order to read "Ellman reads this." Because I will feel very silly otherwise.
--Illogical Vulcan, 10 Dec 2000.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile