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Note that Helen has made use of the cellular destabilizer she was planning to build with the Crystal of Marina. Also that I misspelled "destabilizer." After this, Helen will immediately forget that she owns a cellular destabilizer, and it will ultimately end up as a raffle prize at the company Valentine's Day party.

As was mentioned last week, all the insane superintelligent gerbils are named after folks from the Nonhuman Students Organization at Vassar. Hi, Marc! Hi, Ben!

The song list continues...

7. "Science Genius Girl," by Freezepop

I'm a science genius girl
I won the science fair
I wear a white lab coat
DNA strands in my hair
When I clone a human being
It will want to hold my hand
When I clone a human being
It will be a member of my band


Of course, Freezepop wrote an actual, intentional webcomic theme song: "Here Comes a Special Boy," about Philippe of Achewood. But you can't really blame them, inasmuch as Achewood is one of the greatest comics of all time.

TRUE SCIENCE FACT: When my friend Jason Thompson was first becoming obsessed with Achewood, playing "Here Comes a Special Boy" would cause him to totally flip out.

Look! The cellular destabilizer! With the Crystal of Marinia itself embedded within! IT'S ALL WITHIN CONTINUITY!

Okay, okay. Obviously, the more immediately arresting sight here is my ridiculous rendition of Sir Pounce strapped to a cartoon dynamite array with a clock on the side. At least, I hope everyone can tell that's what's going on. It was kind of hard to fit into the panel.

Song list:

8. "Weird Science," by Oingo Boingo

My creation--Is it real?
It's my creation--I do not know
No hesitation--No heart of gold
Just flesh and blood--I do not know
I do not know
From my heart and from my hand
Why don't people understand
My intentions...


Another obvious one. Sadly, it was wasted as the theme song of the vastly undeserving movie of the same title. That's right, I'm going to come out and say it: Weird Science is a lousy movie. It's not even weird science. It's weird random magic crap that doesn't make any sense. And even leaving aside the magic-lady-drops-from-the-sky-to-be-love-slave-of-creepy-teenage-virgins premise, which I'm already sick of because I work in the manga industry, the whole film has a weird sexual vibe, what with the sleepovers and the group showers and the Anthony Michael Hall walking around in panties and the unanswered question of where they got those bras they wear on their heads. The only sexually healthy moment in the entire film is when we get to see Bill Paxton's naked butt.

My friend Derek Kirk will defend this film for the same reason anyone ever does: the part where the guys make the computerized boobs grow and shrink. To that I say, "Fie!" Revenge of the Nerds is ten times the nerd movie that Weird Science is. Allow me to delineate.

Weird Science: Lame nerds who aren't even very nerdy, not even Anthony Michael Hall.
Revenge of the Nerds: Satisfyingly nerdy nerds.

Weird Science: Nerds use cruddy fake science that involves hooking Barbie dolls to Commodores to make random magic crap happen.
Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds use plausible science to achieve clear goals: spying on sorority girls, giving football players jock itch, and being served by a robot butler.

Weird Science: Timidly covered nudity.
Revenge of the Nerds: Bush.

Weird Science: No girl nerds; only female characters are hot fantasy objects.
Revenge of the Nerds: Omega Mu, the nerd sorority, predates the nerd fraternity, Tri Lam, proving the supremacy of girl nerds. Also, it includes Michelle Meyrink, the nerd dream girl of the 1980s: she starred in Revenge of the Nerds, Real Genius, and Nice Girls Don't Explode, and dated Crispin Glover.

Weird Science: "Happy ending" has nerds cave to conformity by transforming into 1980s-era cool kids, i.e. soulless Yuppie scum. They throw a big party for their popular classmates, get cookie-cutter trophy girlfriends, acquire expensive cars and clothes, and probably grow up to run an S&L.
Revenge of the Nerds: Truly inspiring ending has nerds stand up to society and take pride in their nerdiness, ultimately inspiring their entire college campus to embrace the way of the nerd. In the sequels, this precipitates the transformation of their college from a jock stronghold to "nerd Israel."

Weird Science: Does not feature Curtis "Booger" Armstrong.
Revenge of the Nerds: Features Booger.

Really, my only serious criticism against Revenge of the Nerds is the scene where Louis tricks the hot coed into having sex with him by disguising himself as her boyfriend. Remember, nerds: date rape is not cool, even if you think of a really clever way to do it! Other than that, Revenge of the Nerds suffers only from not having an awesome Oingo Boingo song on its soundtrack.

And, of course, Real Genius is better than either movie. But it doesn't have Curtis Armstrong.

Why did I color the explosion? I...I don't know. I just...don't...know. Sometimes my thought processes are arcane and obscure even to me.

Everyone was indeed upset that I killed Sir Pounce. And, later, that I condemned him to Hell. HAHAHAHAHA! Even late in the run of Narbonic, I occasionally got email asking me to resurrect Sir Pounce. Alas, he's like the Bucky of the Narboniverse: only Sir Pounce stays dead.

(Note to non-comic-book-nerds: Bucky is Captain America's dead sidekick, and the subject of a long-standing fan truism that he was the one character who would never be resurrected. They brought him back a couple of years ago. And now Captain America's dead. This month, anyway.)

Song list:

9. "Wonder Wine," by Shonen Knife

Wonder wine you gave me
Wonder wine you know what it is
Wonder wine you gave me
Did you experiment with me


Heck, I love Shonen Knife anyway, and this song always makes me think of Helen and her mother, slipping compounds into goblets of pink wine.

I can't believe I so much as considered cutting Artie's teeny-tiny gerbil sprites. I mean, how freaking cute are they? And, on the scale they're presented, they've got to be the size of little bitty ladybugs.

This does, however, bring up a metaphysical question that people have actually asked me in the past [SPOILER ALERT OH YES SPOILERS]: when Artie is in human form, are his personality sprites human or gerbil? Answer: gerbil, because that would be cuter.

Song list:

10. "Inventions," by Stuart Davis

Put your hand inside the jar
Goddammit I'm in charge
Keep those wires in your mouth
Don't spit 'em out
I'm inventing what will be
The thing that tells me
What invented me


A genuinely creepy song, and a good one for the later stretch of Narbonic. I got it off the last Narbonicon CD; thanks again to the Narbonicon folks.

The gray fill in the first panel is unpleasantly distracting. But I like Mell's gun in the last panel. As I said in last Sunday's notes, around this time I started using reference for guns, which was a huge help. Guns are actually really easy to draw. They're basically just stacks of rectangles.

In response to James Rice, who commented yesterday that it was a shame I never drew the gerbil sprites with human Artie: I live to serve.



Song list:

11. "Apeman," by the Kinks

I think I'm so educated and I'm so civilized
'Cause I'm a strict vegetarian
But with the overpopulation and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I dont feel safe in this world no more
I dont want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man


Songs about turning into an ape (of which there are a surprising number; see also "Monkey Man" by David Byrne and "De-Evolving" by the aforementioned Jonathan Coulton) always make me think of Artie. But the speaker in this song actually sounds a lot like him. Also, I'm a big fan of the Kinks. So there.

The "KAMIKAZE!" in the third panel is weirdly darkened. It would be some time before I'd finally buckle down and start doing proper bold text. Sigh.

"Viva El Presidente!" is a reference to an episode of "The Young Ones" in which Mike takes over the house and installs Vyvyan as his commandant and personal thug. Vyvyan marches around stomping people and screaming, "Viva El Presidente!" It's a pretty fantastic episode.

Song list:

12. "An Example Show," by Do Peterson

In this example, we have 100 affected sibling pairs: 15 that share 0 alleles identical by descent, 48 that share 1 and 37 that share 2 alleles identical by descent. What this means for recessive and multiplicative penetrances is that the maximum likelihood estimate of our sibling recurrence risk ratio derived from the data is significantly, highly significantly greater than 1. A similar result can be seen for the additive penetrance.

Not a mad-science song, but actual science set to music! Do Peterson presented his biostatistics dissertation as a pop album, My Dissertation. He followed it with another album, Muscles and Magnets, with tracks like "Hooray for NMR Spectroscopy!" He's an inspiration.

68 comments:
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday's Comic: Any and all continuity nods are appreciated. However, the question that is raised is whether or not the gooey mush that results from dissolving a Caged Beast of Ambiguous Species would retain the orange lustre of the living specimen. Surely, one asks, such a concoction would be coloured only by the discarded hairs floating in it? And is this not out-of-character for our dear Dave, who has been in the employ of Narbonics Research for more than five months, and should really know better by now?

Also: In light of recent comments re: webcomics controversy, I've come to the realisation that I've been altogether too complacent in my hard-edged, no-spin criticism of this online comical strip. So, I shall now attempt to meet my expected quota of lambastery in the following paragraph:

The critical problem with today's strip is that its central gag is merely a variant of the standard "over the top" joke whereby the extreme extrapolation of certain variables leads to dissonant (and thus comical) conclusions - which, despite being an old staple of cartoon humour, is (no doubt owing to the great accessibility thereof) overly saturated Internet culture, from the infamous Chuck Norris facts to casual mentions in Dinosaur Comics episodes. In this instance, the kitten is deemed to be so cute that its intrinsic appeal (the exaggerated variable) overpowers the evolutionary defensive instincts of the rodents. The straight, predictable delivery of said gag, in conjunction with its reliance upon an empowered cute character for increasing popular appeal, motivates me to declare it below fitness for the palate of the discerning webcomic connoiseur. Should one decide to extrapolate from this single episode and declare it indicative of the level of humour of the entire Narbonic comic strip, and of the personality and breeding of its author, one can derive a significantly negative regard for the both of them.

...Okay. Now, if my calculations are correct, you, the creator, should now be engulfed in feelings of crushing shame. And possibly also bargaining.
Dave III (dave_iii) says: Too Long; Didn't Read ^_~
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: No, Dave never really learns.  His "ooh, free food/drink" reflexes are just too ingrained.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Leon:  augh, my eyes! ;-)

I like the way the Bengal tiger, a feared predator bigger than all the gerbils and any two of the lab staff, gets relegated to an offscreen demise (and further indignity).  It doesn't even rate a face-off with Mel!

 

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: I like the way the Bengal tiger, a feared predator bigger than all the gerbils and any two of the lab staff, gets relegated to an offscreen demise (and further indignity).  It doesn't even rate a face-off with Mel!

Obviously. That would require some effort to draw.
Wallace Good (good_the_third) says: Oh really, Sarge, you always pretend you don't like drawing, but if your skills are adequate to convey such a coherent plot, I think you really need a different reply.  I'd suggest something about leaving things to our imagination...
nathaniel miller (skavensrule) says:

As Ironychan metioned in her strip a few months ago, "Only a genius cartoonist can blow up a cute kitten and still have it be funny."

We bow down before your greatness.

Chris Reed (animeraider) says: Real Genius!!! I'm so glad you said that.
Brian Rogers (billionsix) says:

I will say that I liked Weird Science. But I agree that it was not a Mad Science movie. The title and the song do not fit.

The song, however, is way awesomer than the movie. It captures everything that Mad Science should be, in my opinion. It describes the sheer joy of creation.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Yes!  Real Genius!  I'm old enough that I not only saw it when it first came out, I immediately recognized the giant foil-covered object in the Professor's house!  Mom used to buy those for my sister and me when we were children, oh so many many years ago ... of course, we didn't have the cool multi-megawatt laser to heat it with ...

I have to agree, "Weird Science" sucked.  "Revenge Of The Nerds" was good, "Real Science" was excellent ... but for pure Mad Science, nothing beats "Young Frankenstein".  I wish I could have been on the set the day they filmed the scene where Dr. Frahnkensteen performed his Great Experiment ... "GIVE MY CREATION ... LIIIIIIIIIIIFE!"  Now *that's* Madliness!

 

Kristy Valenti (alienjukebox) says:

Curtis Armstrong is always awesome ... whether as the boyfriend of the poetic Agnes DiPesto, the snow-sniffing Charles in Better off Dead, or as Scooter in The Terrible Thunder Lizards.

 

Speaking of Alice DiPesto, The 80s was kind of a golden age for female nerd sidekicks as well, wasn't it? Annie Potts was great in the Ghost Buster movies, and they even added in Irma as a foil for April O'Neil in the TMNT cartoon. 

John Wells (johnwwells) says:

Every year, the incoming freshman class at Caltech watches Real Genius on a giant screen.

This is basically required.

Alex Jay Berman (alexjay) says: Might one say that it's a moral imperative?
Chris Gleason (bkitu42) says:

It must be noted that 1) "awesome Oingo Boingo song" is redundant, and 2) my wife has a huge girl-crush on Shaenon.

I'm dreaming again

There's life underground

It doesn't ever move

And it doesn't make a sound

--Oingo Boingo

Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday's Comic: Like I said yesterday, "In this instance, the kitten is deemed to be so cute that its intrinsic appeal (the exaggerated variable) overpowers the evolutionary defensive instincts of the rodents." I was expecting an in-universe excuse explanation to be revealed, but for reasons of prudence I decided not to expound upon that point.

Also, let us not be too premature in lauding the cartoonist's finesse with hilarious kitten detonation until said detonation actually happens.

And yes, the cellular destabilizer has a sideways electricity pylon shooty-zap Dalek thing. All you need to do now is stuff a freshly shelled brain into the glass chamber - resting on the crystal for warmth - and you'll have the greatest Narbonic villain that never was.

Fourth-wall dialogue: 10. (Aww, you had such a good streak going there.)
Ian McAlias (idonotlikepeas) says:

But Weird Science has that part where... there's that thing that... it's got...

Yeah, you're right. Revenge of the Nerds is twenty times the movie Weird Science is.

Magnolia Pearl Porter (magnoliapearl) says: I. Love. Curtis. Armstrong.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (jaychanning) says:

I recently watched parts of Weird Science for the very first time just a few days ago.  I say "parts of" because I didn't actually make it through the whole film; it was just icky.  ATTENTION HOLLYWOOD CIRCA THE 1980s:  I WANT A MOVIE CALLED "WEIRD SCIENCE" TO ACTUALLY CONTAIN WEIRD SCIENCE.  IS THIS TOO MUCH A THING TO ASK?!?

M Lowe-Hentges (annechen67) says:

I will be the first to agree the movie Weird Science does not contain sciecne in any form.

There was the possibility to introduce the mainstream to technomagery, but no, they had to ruin it.

If Bill Paxton's butt is the only saving grace for the film, that's pretty sad.

Back to the comic: Kittybomb! It's cute and deadly to those larger than its mouth!

Andrew Cole (flaccus) says:

It's always possible that the gerbils have been infected with Toxoplasma gondii -- that's evil and biological and full of mad science. I point you to the truly excellent New York Times article <a href=http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/26/science/26angi.html?ex=1184212800&en=c8253a449735e758&ei=5070>here</a>, which contains the sterling phrase, "A parasitized insect, however, finds itself with the odd compulsion to head for the nearest body of water and jump in, at which point the ripened, writhing worm bursts its host apart like a comic book villain rupturing from a mild-mannered disguise, and starts seeking another freshly born-again worm. "

It's like a mash note to evil scientists!

John Belden (beldar) says: Sir Pounce has become "Kitty Kitty Bang Bang" from the HOL roleplaying game. Another reason I love this comic.
Michael McLawhorn (mhoram) says:


"And, of course, Real Genius is better than either movie."

 

Hallehluia!  Sing it sister!  

 

Mike Batcok (batcok) says: Yep, Val Kilmer is a good distraction from the lack of Curtis Armstrong
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

How It Should Have Ended has a pretty awesome short for Weird Science:

http://howitshouldhaveended.com/Divx%20links/Weird_Science.html

I think they're absolutely right.

Dylan Meconis (dmeconis) says: HELLS YEAH OINGO BOINGO.
Although Danny Elfman would reportedly sigh and shudder anytime somebody brought up "Weird Science", since it was rather aggravating to have his biggest hit be a theme song for a crappy movie.  
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

TV Tropes doesn't seem to have it listed (or, if they do, I couldn't find it), but Dave's line "On the other hand, they are cartoon rodents." is an excellent example of "self realization"; the knowledge that one is merely a character in a cartoon/movie/book/play. (And whose fate is controlled, for better or worse, by the whims of his or her creator.)

Also, the only thing that I found memorable about Weird Science was the line, "So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?" That's pretty much my first thought (in the first-person singular, of course) at the beginning of the day...
Scott Pendleton (tuanscott) says:

I haven't said anything yet in the Director's Cut, but I just have to brag that my grad school advisor was the science advisor for Real Genius and he played the math professor in it as well.  Dr. Martin Gunderson; look it up.

Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says: Uncle Ben! Uncle Ben's stayed dead! *clings to that*
James Rice (jhrice) says: I am assuming that's Sir Pounce making a cameo appearance in the final strip, sitting on Demon Slayer Seth's shoulder.   You can tell me different, but I'm sticking with my assumption.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: I'm a definite cat person, and I'm not given to laughing aloud, but when I hit this strip on my first run through the archives, I cracked up. "THEY RIGGED MY KITTEN TO SELF-DESTRUCT!" is a great line to start with, and then you actually blew up the cute kitten. It was totally unexpected!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday's Comic: A few webcomic characters who also stay dead: Black Belt, Reka, Jovia, and the megaGAMERZ.

I would like take the time now to congratulate you on successfully drawing figures with their arms wrapped around their heads, without said figures suffering the dreaded malays known as "three foot arms", "liquid humerus" or "double elbows."

But! While you may think this move of killing off the 'cute character' may sate my inner lambaster, who on recent occasions decried your reliance on said character's cuteness for purveying over-exposed brands of internet punch-line, the spontaneity and randomness of the kitten's slaying merely relegates Narbonic's state of humour toward the 'wacky' end of [ 172 words removed - Ed. ] horse you rode in on.

Fourth-wall dialogue: 11.
Leon Arnott (l) says:
"The body count so far:

Three gerbils: Eaten by Sir Pounce.
One Bengal tiger: Liquefied by Helen, drank by Dave.
One adorable kitten: Blown up by the gerbils, with an indifferent assist by Mell.

We're nowhere near the body count of the first story, what with the entire pack of ur-gerbils being slaughtered by a rabbit, but we've already got a disturbingly high feline death count.

As much as I'm in favor of random and senseless violence, I can't help but hope that Sir Pounce somehow got separated from the explosives in-flight. Then again, I also can't bring myself to kill off my Sims.
"
--Kevin Mowery, 7 Feb. 2001
Joseph Abbott (faxpaladin) says:

 

Edwin: TV Tropes calls it "Genre Savvy."

Leon Arnott (l) says: I wouldn't call Tuesday's comic a case of "Genre Savvy" because the phrase 'cartoon rodents' (the 'cartoon' adjective being the important one) and the way in which Dave is looking over Helen's shoulder toward us tend toward my classing it as a straight-up Fourth Wall reference.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Uncle Ben sort of came back last year, but then got killed again.  ;)
Sean O\'Neil (sponeil) says:

Not everyone was upset. I don't have anything against adorable kittens, but this was one of my favorite strips. It was so over-the-top and unexpected that it made me laugh, and the hate-mail comment from Helen was priceless.

Of course, if anyone ever made a live-action show based on Narbonic, they would have to cut this part. It wouldn't be nearly as funny with a real live kitten and a real-looking bomb. ;-)

Amity McGinnis (calamityjane) says:

Leon Arnott: Okay, I'm finally actually registering, because the image of "dreaded malays" is Just Too Much. ^_^ The word you were looking for in your comment on Wednesday's comic is malaise. Malaises, come to think of it, since malaise isn't plural. Dreaded malays would probably be wielding machetes.

Pete (westrider) says:

Ah, another one of my all time favorite lines. I think about half of those are from Narbonic, actually.

 And, yes, I'm a total cat person, but this was pulled off too perfectly to not laugh out loud.

Amity: I had the same reaction to that misspelling. Machetes, and probably some kind of really scary face/body paint .

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: I saw Shonen Knife live in SF about eight years ago. Their cover of the Monkees "Daydream Believer" is a fave. But "Wonder Wine" over "Devil House"?
Graham Robinson (grahamrobinson) says:

This is it. Maybe not the finest installment of Narbonic ever - there's way too many great strips to come - but the first truly great Narbonic strip. Wonderful dialogue, wonderful evil, and best of all a willingness to kill cute animals in amusing manners. There's always the worry with a new creator that they'll turn out to follow all the hideous Hollywood rules, like "don't kill the dog". Here Shannon proved she was going to go wherever the story took her, thank goodness.

Cheers,

Graham 

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Edwin: TV Tropes calls it "Genre Savvy."

<>Ah, okay. Thanks.
Andy Holloway (garran) says: This is right about the point where I first started reading the strip. Now I can comment without fear of creating a time paradox!
Sean Duggan (duggansc) says:

Sean:
If you think that killing kittens doesn't sell as humor, watch Boondock Saints some time. Every time that cat gets accidentally blown away, there's someone laughing in the room. And yes, it's generally not just  the same sad sick soul doing it. *shrug* Personally, I think it's as much the randomness and shock of the moment (particularly the first time you see it), but there is some humor in it.

-From another Sean... 

Daniel Barkalow (iabervon) says:

Amity: I think he meant maladies, not malaise.

James Rice (jhrice) says:

I think that is the biggest "take" Artie ever does in Narbonic, and heck, it's probably the biggest "take" of any character in Narbonic.    It's too bad you never drew the gerbil sprites around human Artie.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Is it safe to assume that Ethan dies after spending his last breath to gasp out his message?

 'Cause if he doesn't, by my count, there's an insane superintelligent gerbil unaccounted for.

Christopher Heiny (clheiny) says: Narbonic sprites rule! Sometimes I wish I had some of my own. They probably wouldn't be as well drawn, though.
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Video of the song and lyrics are on the message board.

 

John Wells (johnwwells) says:

I would like "Science Genius Girl" even more if the line were "When I clone a human being, he/she will want to hold my hand."

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday's Comic: Artie is trying to come to grips with another aspect of the human condition - the second of the self-awareness paradoxes. A science-fiction staple if there ever was one.

Y'know, I've just noticed that the vast majority of sapient non-human characters in Narbonic have a tendency to gravitate toward humanity in form and mind: Artie, Caliban, Dr. Pim, Lovelace, and even the Madblood robots strive to become more human-like. Any transformations that depart from humanity, such as Future Helen, Giant Robot Dave, and Mad Dave, are invariably cast in a negative light. What kind of message do you think we should interpret from this, with regard to scientific advancement and the mad science genre itself? (20 marks)

Appearances of personality sprites: 5.

Another Mystery Solved: I hereby confess that I did in fact misplace a "d" in a Very Important Word just yesternoon. My apologies to those whose sensibilities I may have offended. What I actually meant to say was "lambdaster".

(That is, one who wields profane knowledge of the lambda calculus for nefarious purposes. Don't underestimate Evil Mathematics.)
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Leon:  Mostly that, "Nonhuman Students" aside, this is a strip by and for humans....  Note that Artie, Lovelace, and the Madbots were all created by humans, for human purposes.  Arguably, one could say the same of Caliban, albeit on a different time-scale.  >:-)   And of course, aliens are always a mirror for humanity....

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: "Who's going to build my death ray...and grow poison flowers, poison flowers with me?" - Mono Puff ;) Too bad we never saw Dana's sprites...or did we?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Y'know, I've just noticed that the vast majority of sapient non-human characters in Narbonic have a tendency to gravitate toward humanity in form and mind: Artie, Caliban, Dr. Pim, Lovelace, and even the Madblood robots strive to become more human-like.

It's not that they strive for it, exactly--of that list, Caliban is the only one who's 100% happy to be more human, and he does get to goink Mell--but it's true the characters tend to develop in a humaniform direction. The strip has an anthrocentric bias that I'm sure Artie would find appalling.
John Wells (johnwwells) says:

But what about Zeta? Artifically stripped of her gerbility, she is only able to find happiness when she uncovers her nonhuman roots and befriends a gerbil and a giant robot foot. And Foot, too, is an inspiring case - after taking the necessary and just step of defying his human master and confiding in another nonhuman, he is able to find a place for himself in the world without ever sacrificing his essential giant robot foot-ness.

James Rice (jhrice) says: I've been acknowledged!   That is a really good drawing.  What do you suppose the evil gerbil just said?
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: Probably something to do with exchanging tutoring for sexual favors.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday's Comic: This is an excellent episode. If it were stripped down to just the first panel, it would still be funny. If it were stripped down to just the first and second panels, it would still be funny (and even more cheekily perverse than the complete strip itself, due to its implication that an exploded kitten would have any scientific value).

And it's got Mell providing her familiar brand of zany comic relief (despite seemingly lacking a few fingers).

Nominally on topic: "Yes, but the oppressor is you" reminds me of the critical line in the very silly rock opera God Slayer.

Total occurences of the "I'm evil" catchphrase: 3.
Dave III (dave_iii) says:

Leon: I totally get where Helen's coming from with those first two panels. Given, the exploded kitten is tragic. But WHY did the kitten explode? That, my friend, is SCIENCE!

Chab Guthrie (chab) says:

Chab says:

Friday's strip is one of those -- and there do seem to be more than one (a credit, perhaps, to a Vassar College education) -- that sum up everything that is NARBONIC.  Further analysis is not necessary.  One quick read through answers all. 

M Lowe-Hentges (annechen67) says:

Alycia Shedd says: Probably something to do with exchanging tutoring for sexual favors.

 Either that, or giving directions on what to do with his other hand.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

What do you suppose the evil gerbil just said?

"Hey, you know what the answer should be, so just show him how to rig the data!"

Rachel S. (masamage) says: Well, the dude seems to be a student, and also seems to be slightly darker-complected, so yeah, I'd say given Artie's taste in men it's easy to guess what the devil-gerbil is saying.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday's Comic: I'm going to assume, with no other information available, that Artie is using in place of a soapbox nothing less than a Shaenon-brand cigar case.

Also: "Humane".
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: And Artie begins to grasp that he has summonned something he cannot put down....
David Cunnius (capnq) says: Another example of Science Set To Music would be Tom Lehrer's "The Elements", in which he sings the periodic table in the style of a Gilbert & Sullivan "patter" song. I suppose his "New Math" would count, too.
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Wait a second...do you know The Mitosis Waltz, by Moxy Fruvous?

If it's ze secrets of life zat you seek,
Zen srough a mi-croscope you must peek!
Andy Holloway (garran) says: Appropriately, Leon Arnott's experiment has escaped his control.
Chab Guthrie (chab) says:

Tom Lehrer's NEW MATH always counts!

Incidently, a note to Dave:  the -then younger- programers, who made the first big breakthroughs in programing, all went to grade school when they were teaching NEW MATH.  It's good to know base 12, etc.

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile