Rachel S. (masamage) says: This has historically been the strip I use to introduce people to Narbonic. (Usually followed by a whole lot more, but still.)
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday's Comic: That full-body shot that is panel 1 ain't too bad, either.
Total occurences of the "I'm evil" catchphrase: 2.
Total occurences of Shaenon congratulating her past self: 3.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Obligatory response to panel 4:
"I've got it. We laser our way through."
"An excellent plan, with just two drawbacks: One, we don't have a power source for the lasers, and two, we don't have any lasers."
Matthew Miller (mattdm) says: This one makes me, actually for real, laugh out loud.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday's Comic: Can I safely assume that Dave was perusing a webpage entitled "Mr. T Vs. Ellman?"
Y'know, when I read the fourth panel, I suddenly had a terrible involuntary premonition that Dave's fixed car came at the price of the Crystal of Last Story Arc, as Helen realised that she never really wanted it after all, as Madblood was what she actually desired. Of course, in reality Helen simply robbed Madblood blind, thus subverting the moral of the entire story. So, thank you for resisting the vacuum-like pull of Conventional Narrativium.
Incidentally, what exactly was the origin of the "...and the women who love them" snowclone?
Jeffrey Channing Wells (jaychanning) says: Leon: Yeah, we know that Helen keeps the Crystal for pretty near the entire run, since it's the thing that's powering the cellular destabilizer, which itself keeps on making cameo appearances throughout the strip. Thank goodness.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: My guess is that the snowclone started with "Bad Boys" or the equivalent.
Steve Ford (sford) says:
I just spent almost an hour at tvtropes.org.
Darn you Leon, darn you to heck.
David Cunnius (capnq) says: I think the phrase originated with the mid-'80s bestselling self-help book Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them.
M Lowe-Hentges (annechen67) says:
Restoring a 1967 Kombi to "like new" comic sparkle? Having dealt with a 1970 Type 2 chassis, all I can say is Madblood must have had a hellacious credit limit.
Emphasis on the word had once Helen got through with it.
James Rice (jhrice) says: Did you plan for Artie to be as major character as he turned out to be, or was he originally only a bit player?
Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says:
Heh. GIven the circumstances, I think it's entirely appropriate for Artie to lapse once. Besides, he doesn't find his humanist vocation for a bit yet, does he?
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday's Comic: Another story arc means another Webcomic Time update, whether you like it or not.
The previous story arc, "Professor Madblood and the Crystal of Marinia", happened over five days - one for the TV interview, one where the ornidroids were wrecked, one where Helen 'cases the joint', the night of the duel, and the early morning car crash. So, let's say Novembers 20-24. Let's further assume from context that Dave's car repair happened one day after that.
Thus, today (by which I mean 3 Jan. 2001) marks the beginning of the temporally consecutive arc triptych, "Smart Gerbils/Dr. Narbon/Dave's Dead, Dave".
Now for another issue of contention: early on in Narbonic: Director's Cut I accused Helen of breaking character somewhat by abandoning interest in the Narbon family abomination, the ur-gerbils. Well, today marks another such turning point for our Helen, because Artie is the last gerbil-related heresy that Helen ever produces, up to the very end to the comic.
Consider it: all of the subsequent smart gerbils were created by Artie, that Vincent woman predates the beginning of the comic, the ur-gerbils are the offspring of those from The Job Interview, the slime gerbils never even existed, and the gerbil ray, though built with good intentions, never worked in the first place. Unless my memory of various throwaway gags has betrayed me, Helen seems to be silently shedding one of her defining motifs.
(But, I suppose it could be argued that Artie's static presence sufficiently obviates Helen's need for any more gerbil manifestations from Narbonics Labs...)
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:
This is one of my favorite gags in the strip, as the classic scientist's attitude to her subject, suddenly upended by... the subject's attitude.
"Success for who, lady?" But then, Artie is enough of a success himself, to render further experiments irrelevant. It's not just that he's smart...she's created what turns out to be another mad genius! OK, he's not an evil mad genius, but hey, you can't have everything.
In light of the later revelation of the Tinasky experiment, one could argue that this is her lifework, and gerbils as such are just convenient raw material. And note that this too is inherited from her mother!
Matthew K (mattk) says:
I've been told that chimps react roughly the same way to boring tests.
Also, give Artie a break. If he's been listening to Dave for too long, he may not know any other words yet. And he's just learning to be nice to the humans!
Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says: Benjamin Franklin informs us that beer is proof God loves us.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: James Rice (jhrice) says: Did you plan for Artie to be as major character as he turned out to be, or was he originally only a bit player?
I always intended to keep him on, yes.
ribbles (ribbles) says: Helen still tests things on her gerbils - she tried the transmogifier on one, but it just turns it in to another, identical gerbil.
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:
Not even MAD science can avoid the Harvard Law of Animal behavior.
"Under carefully controlled experimental circumstances, an animal will behave as it damned well pleases."
Jon the Mighty! (jonskerr) says:
As an aspiring horologist, I'd like to beg you to carry your pocket watch again, Shaenon. They're keen! Get an antique one with a fusee, that's a tiny little bicycle chain with links 0.03 mm wide! They're super-keen. Ever since attending the last Narbincon, I'm getting more and more mad. It's great! I quit my $22/hr phone company job (so yeah, I'm less evil) and now I wear a lab coat every day at watchmaking school!
Rachel S. (masamage) says:
You got to draw Munchkin cards? How awesome!!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday's Comic: Now, Shaenon, there's only so much nerd-celebrity namedropping that our delicate stomaches can withstand in such a short span of months before spirals start forming in our eyes and our heels are suddenly where our heads used to be.
By the way, what on Earth would Helen want with subliminal mess- I mean, an orbiting spy satellite backslash death laser? (Apart from sending Foreshadowing Chills down your readers' backs, that is. Poor, poor Dave.) And how did she get it into orbit in the first place? (Please let it have involved mad backyard bottle-rocketeering.)
Fourth-wall dialogue: 9. (I lost track last time, saying 'five or six' instead of 'seven or eight' but now all is well.)
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"And speaking of suggestions you won't take seriously (I'm sorry, Julie, I'm afraid I can't do that), may I suggest names for the gerbil? If a boy, I like:
Ernest of Nine
Li Mu Bai
Arthur C. Gerbil
And if a girl:
--Julie Hamilton, 5 Jan. 2001
Robin Zimmermann (packbat) says: Heh. I once wrote a 1000+–word paean to base six – I'd forgotten Artie proposed it here. :)
Brian Fallstrom (alfador) says: I've seen the gerbil card (as I own a copy of the expansion in question) and it is indeed one of my faves. :3
David Cunnius (capnq) says: Since Dave hasn't gone mad yet, this could be the strip's first example of someone simply not seeing things that are too weird for them.
M Lowe-Hentges (annechen67) says: Still trying to get the font right for the "Mad Steed Disease" curse card that causes your steed to - well, you know the illustration, anyway.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Oh, you don't have to be mad to not see the abnormal. Rather, not seeing things like Artie is a sign of being hyper-normal (aka DULL). Dave's simply no longer fazed by gerbil-based weirdness by this point.
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"For the uninitiated, I dedicated a recent strip to Marrissa Flores Picard, heroine of a series of infamous "Star Trek" fanfics written by one Stephen Ratliff. In the extensive Ratliffverse, Marrissa runs the Starfleet Kids' Crew, becomes heir to the throne of the planet Essex, wins a series of horse races, wipes out Romulan fleets with chilling ease, all but destroys entire alien races, breaks diplomats' legs, periodically dresses as Sailor Moon, and ultimately takes over Starfleet. Many hate and fear Marrissa, but I have a powerful fondness for the bloodthirsty teenage despot.
I had to wait for a strip in which Helen was especially *evil* to run a dedication to Marrissa, but it occurred to me long ago that the two have much in common:
1. Both are female.
2. Both are blondes.
3. Both wear a lot of pink.
4. Both are evil and heartless and ruthless and cruel (but cute!).
5. Both have parents missing and presumed dead.
6. Both have second-in-commands who happen to be engineering geniuses.
7. Both are, like their authors, Roman Catholics (at least, I think Helen is Catholic, with the Italian surname and all. She doesn't seem terribly devout, however, and, unlike Marrissa, has not yet been personally advised by the Pope).
8. Both have been suspected of eating human flesh (check out Adam Cadre's brilliant but obviously disturbed "Dark Marrissa 1: The Master Builders" if you doubt me).
9. Both have omnipotent teleporting stepbrothers who wind up marrying Chelsea Clinton. Wait, that's just Marrissa."
--Shaenon, 5 Jan. 2001
Leon Arnott (l) says: So, like, what happened to the tradition of daily dedications, anyway?
Jeffrey Channing Wells (jaychanning) says: Leon: They ceased when the strip first moved to MT; the MT architecture did not support them, IIRC.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Yeah. There's a workaround that would have allowed me to keep doing dedications, but it was kind of a pain, and by that time I was running out of ideas for dedications anyway. As Andrew can attest, I used to sit at the computer for about half an hour every night, racking my brains over the damn dedication.
Bill Livingston (billfl) says:
On the other hand, there is the story within the story embedded in the file names.
As for Marrissa - I'd love to see a steel cage death match between the two of them.
Matt Blackwell (mattblackwell) says:
Marrissa would win, of course. She always does.
Besides, knowing Marrissa, it's likely to end up involving horse races and singing.
Mike B. (epenthesis) says: Bless you for remembering the musical.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday's Comic: Out of all of the comics thus far, this is my new All-Time Favourite Episode (beating out the previous contender.)
(This comment is dedicated to Adam Cadre, author of the very silly Flowers for Algernon game. Goshdarnit Adam, that's the second time in two days.)
Jon the Mighty! (jonskerr) says: This isn't a "just silly" comic, it's brilliant! Not only does it have the crackin' joke about the nicotine, but it shows another nerd-thang, that lots of smart programmer-type guys can't spell worth diddly. Even when they've got their joneses satisfied.
Rachel S. (masamage) says: Okay, I for one definitely want to hear you sing that song.
John Wells (johnwwells) says:
I was kind of surprised to learn that Adam Cadre, author of the brilliant text adventures Varicella and Photopia, was also the Eye of Argon MSTer. I cannot imagine anybody better qualified to do a Narbonic game.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:
Highly belated comment: Just to say that I stole ... er, "was inspired by" that elevator shaft in Tuesday's second panel. I even added a somewhat-recognizable fossil.
BlackWolfe Coyoten (blackwolfe_coyoten) says: I have always been a fan of the "Flowers for Algernon" strip. :D
Alex O (alexo) says: Re bug with a feature:
Nick Alcock (nix) says: Leon: highly belatedly, might I point out that Helen never *did* get her laser into orbit, because the whole thing was a test as part of the Tinasky study. The death ray was a melted mail sorting machine before Dave got his hands on it; presumably it hooked into an existing orbiting laser (probably owned by another mad scientist or mad government). Or, hell, if you want to be really scared, perhaps Dave's mysterious power of unknowing mad science through repair actually *created* the orbiting laser. Log In or Register to post a comment! It's free!
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