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Hello and welcome to the first Open Call Guest Artist Week here at Narbonic! Our first strip, a tribute to the timeworn online-guest-artist tradition, was drawn by Matthew Blackwell.
This strip is dedicated to Matthew Blackwell.
Strip #2 is the work of Michael Levy. As you can see, the addition of more guns and an actual visible death ray improves my art dramatically.
This strip is dedicated to Michael Levy.
Behold: an adorable strip by fellow Nice cartoonist Isabel Gonzalez, who draws Namir Deiter. Look how cute! EEEEEEEE!!!!
This strip is dedicated to Isabel Gonzalez.
Next up is a strip by Tall T, who draws a strip called Once Were Stars. Anyway, check out hs strip.
This strip is dedicated to Tall T.
Steven Chin sent me this strip at the last minute. I think he drew it with a mouse. It's really cute.
This strip is dedicated to Steven Chin.
And this one comes from Willow. I don't usually think about my cartoon characters this way, but Mell looks really hot here. It kind of freaks me out.
This strip is dedicated to Willow.

I don't have too much to say about the guest weeks because I didn't draw 'em. Some of the cartoonists here are from The Nice, a webcomics collective I'd recently joined. Steven Chin was a volunteer at the Cartoon Art Museum; he also gets a mention in this Sunday strip.

Guest Artist Week!
This economy-size strip was created by Tea Fougner and Mike Stutzman. Enjoy!

This strip is dedicated to Tea and Mikey.

This strip is dedicated to Tea and Mikey.

This strip is dedicated to Tea and Mikey.

Tea Fougner and Mike Stutzman were college friends of mine. Mike, if you're reading this, I didn't know you all that well at Vassar, and now I'm sorry I didn't, because your LiveJournal posts are always awesome.

I really like everybody's crazy round faces (oh, and visible nipples) and the plethora of "Twin Peaks" references. This is a pretty great-looking comic. Also, is that a Furby in the second panel?

Oh, and never let it be said that I miss a chance to shill: Narbonic Volume 5 is out, just in time for the holiday of your choice! Check the swag page for more details.

Guest Artist Week!
Another Sunday-length strip, this piece is the work of Jennifer Meyer. I'm sure that it will leave you, like me, equally amazed, impressed, and terrified.

This strip is dedicated to Jennifer Meyer.

This strip is dedicated to Jennifer Meyer.

Eeek! Manga faces! Hee. I do like the thoroughly frazzled Artie in the last panel. And Mell's welding mask. I should have drawn so many more welding masks in Narbonic.

Guest Artist Week!
And one more four panel strip: this was written by Robert McCarthy and drawn by A. Willey. I kid you not.
This strip is dedicated to Robert McCarthy and A. Willey.

The following images were created by Morrigan on HeroMachine. Here's Helen:
This strip is dedicated to Morrigan.

Here's Mell:
This strip is dedicated to Morrigan.

And here's Dave, rendered in "the celebrated Farago style":
This strip is dedicated to Morrigan.


At last the truth can be told: A. Willey was in fact my boyfriend and regular Narbonic fill-in artist, Andrew Farago. Did this fool anyone?

Willey is Andrew's middle name, which is why his doppelganger in Li'l Mell is named Mr. Willey. Rob is one of my coworkers at Viz. He writes a webcomic called Hell on Wheels, which I drew for a while. We'll see more of him over the course of Narbonic.

I'm pretty impressed that the Hero Machine site still works. In later years, people also had fun making Narbonic characters for City of Heroes and City of Villains and stuff like that. I don't think any character generator offers anything like Dave's hair, though.

Due to the weird way the archives for this guest week are formatted, I don't have seven separate installments for the week, so I need to fill today with bonus material. And you know what that means: gerbil photos! I apologize for not running these earlier, but reader Cris has two entire Flikr sets of Griff the gerbil at sci-fi conventions: ICON, which I used to attend myself when I lived on the East Coast and was an even bigger nerd than I am now, and DragonCon. You can also see Cris's excellent Helen Narbon costume.

Also, yesterday Dave Van Domelen mentioned in the comments that the South Park character generator might be good for reproducing Dave's hair, so I went ahead and did the cast. This is what I do all day instead of my real job.




I'm very impressed that the generator offers a reasonable simulacrum of Dave's facial hair.

Guest Artist Week!
This little slice of paradise is the work of Derek Kirk. You can see much, much more of his work right here.


I'll never forget this one showing up in my inbox. Andrew looked at it over my shoulder, scrolled down to read it, and said, "Geez. It's funny, too."

Actual line from the email to which the strip was attached: "if you're really bored and got nothing else to do, I do a weekly comic myself you might want to check out."

What, Derek? Really?

This was before Derek Kirk Kim, then merely Derek Kirk, became known as the Eisner, Harvey, and Ignatz Award-winning creator of the graphic novel Same Difference, or the writer of the Minx graphic novel Good As Lily. It was also before I met him. At the time he drew this, Derek was living in Korea; he came home to the Bay Area a few months later, and turned out to be friends with pretty much all the cartoonists I'd been hanging out with. I'm not sure how he found Narbonic in the first place. Anyway, Derek ended up becoming one of my best friends, at least until he totally betrayed me by moving to Portland last month and not even telling me. Have a good time up in Portland with the LOSERS, Derek.

Derek is one of the few people who draws Dave with visible eyes, which certainly ups his cute factor.

Oh, those colors. Those warm autumnal colors. How do you make Photoshop do that? Just shoot me now.

47 comments:
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Hey, I never saw this bit!
Valerie Kaplan (shinyhappygoth) says:

The correct guest week is still to be found at the following links:

http://www.narbonic.com/070201.html

http://www.narbonic.com/070401.html

http://www.narbonic.com/070501.html

http://www.narbonic.com/070601.html

http://www.narbonic.com/070701.html

http://www.narbonic.com/070801.html 

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: I guess I really shouldn't complain, but those strips are running about a year early, it is a different set of guest strips that should be running.  Also, these strips are in the archives, (at entry 185).  

Aw, nuts...Okay, I've gotta fix this.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eh?
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday's Comics:

1) Poing, indeed. (But if I were drawing it, it would be Mell doing the poinging.)
2) No comment.
3) Helen's hair's the right size, insofar as her canonical hair size is 'right.' But Artie isn't quite visible enough.
4) Does Helen have eyes in this one? Well, at least her new shirt is fitting.
5) Hmmm... needs to be sillier.
6) Not only that, but Dave looks to be only three-quarters his proper age. It's a miracle what ridiculously high voltage can do for your looks.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday's Comic: Being unfamiliar with the parodied film, all I can do is remark on the delightfully doughy qualities of the character models.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Well, since you got the correct guest strips up, my comment for yesterday makes no sense.  I'll have to delete it now.

Monday's retroactive comment:  the Isabel Gonzales strip is so cute, I'm gonna start watching Adult Swim for the Narbonic Anime!  It's gotta be there somewhere, right?

Tuesday:  I think the critter in the second panel looks like some sort of Pokemon (can't remember them all) holding a rolled-up newspaper.  Also, Helen's hair looks like Syndrome's from "The Incredibles".   --- Panel 8: Mel, slumped over in her chair, looks fantastically hot --- next-to-last panel: love the 4 different pairs of reverse-silhouette eyes.

Mikey Stutzman (docmanhattan) says: Yes, I'm reading, and I'm flattered. Also: It's not Furby; it's Jigglypuff (as Log Lady.) Good call by the above commenter.
Brianna Smith (bsmith) says:

Suprisingly, that actually looks more like Igglybuff, the baby form of Jigglypuff.

 Which didn't actually exist at the time, not even in Japan, I think. You predicted a pokemon!

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: Is the ear a Twin Peaks reference or a Blue Velvet reference?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

*Fevered brain overloaded by manga schoolgirl Helen* ... excuse me, I need a cold shower and a lie-down ...

Hey, y'know how all of Sailor Moon's friends were named after other planets?  And remember there was a theory about a dark planet that causes mass extinctions on Earth every few million years?  Helen could be "Sailor Nemesis"!  "And by the Power of Nemesis, I will destroy the world!  BWAHAHAHAHA!"

Mell as the swordswoman is also hott ... Artie the Pokegerbil is ... well ... say, what does a brain hemmorhage feel like?

 

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday's Comic: What a horrifying machine.

I am much in favour of Ms. Meyer's art style. But... gradient fills?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eegad. Great strip! I've never seen this one before!
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Alas, Helen can't be Sailor Nemesis. In the Sailor Moon continuity, the planet Nemesis is actually Death Phantom, who is Wiseman, who is a form of Chaos, which is the ultimate evil that seeks to destroy all life. So that planet wouldn't have a guardian Senshi.

Also, Helen only seeks to destroy some life. X)

Rachel S. (masamage) says: Wait, correction: That's only true in the manga. In the anime, apparently Nemesis itself is only a planet and gets a second chance. So there could totally be a Sailor Nemesis in the far distant future. But she'd probably have to be good.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: Women with swords are hotter. Well known fact.
Valerie Kaplan (shinyhappygoth) says:

Have any of you read Sailor Hellblazer?  Despite what it sounds like, it is probably the best fanfic I've ever read.

 http://www.thekeep.org/~rpm/vertigo/sailor-hellblazer/

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Lex got a wig in Superman Returns!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday's Comics: Yup, that's Dave all right. But even more impressive is how well Mell has been reproduced.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Talk about dimensional anomalies ... the "four-panel strip" has three panels.

In the 1978 "Superman" movie, Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor had a whole variety of wigs.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: I think the South Park generator might come close to Dave's hair.
Andy Holloway (garran) says: I was fooled.
Chris Brunner (cjbrunner) says: I was fooled too!
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: Does anyone else besides me see a resemblance between HeroMachine Mell and a certain videogame character?
http://www.compucorgp.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/nell26.jpg


James Rice (jhrice) says:

Damn, those are really good!   I could see an entire Narbonic in South Park episode.

 

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday is the day I admit to never seeing more than 20 consecutive seconds of South Park ever. How could I have let this happen?

So, exactly how many electronic character generators have the (first three) Narbonic characters been reproduced in? I'm sure you're in the running for a webcomic world record or something.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Neat, but why does Dave have a cigarette?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Oh, *please* turn Mell loose in South Park!  I can see it now ... it would start with her joining the other kids at the bus stop ... Cartman mouths off to her once too often ... "OMIGOD! She killed Cartman!  You -- hero!"  Their admiration would last five seconds, until Mell decided that homicide was fun and wipes out the rest of the cast (except for Kenny -- she'd befriend him just like Sergio) ... she goes on a rampage and wipes out the entire town ... we see her and Kenny standing on the school roof laughing in evil triumph ...

At this point, Cartman wakes up in his own bed ... runs into the bathroom where is mom is taking a shower ... "Mom, I just had the most awful dream!" ... but it's not his mom in the shower -- it's *Patrick Duffy*!  And Mell is standing right behind him with a knife and an evil grin ... close up on Cartman's face (insert music from "Psycho") ... cut to black screen and closing credits.

Lenore Hoyt (landsnark) says:

Ed, you are one messed up dude. 

That's aah-sum!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: NOOOO! MY EYES!!!
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Wow, I really didn't need this mental image of Artie as Lemmiwinks.

So I'm going to give it to all of you.

Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says: I think South Park Dave has the same hair I picked for myself when I went to the generator in 2005.
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Those are cuuuuuute times cute, especially Artie. And I don't even like the show. :)

Anyway, because of you, I have just spent several hours South Parking my entire ten-person immediate-family-plus-spouses:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v254/masamage/spfamilysm.jpg

 So yeah, now to do the nieces and nephews...

Rachel S. (masamage) says: Ha ha on Helen's expressions of subconscious lust.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Oh dear. I forsee the s**t hitting the fan around here soon...
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday's Comic: Quite possibly the best guest strip of them all? At least, it is the one I remember most fondly.

Questions: can Helen really command a completely convincing human simulacrum using only two joysticks? Why does their futuresque gimbal-mounted monitor only display in grayscale? And can't you imagine Dave's sudden, inevitable disappointment being slackened by an equally sudden appreciation for the technological finesse of such a convincing artifice?

But wait. Why is this fine piece of work also temporally located at August 24, 2003? And what, I wonder, ought to be there instead?
Andrew Perron (ununnilium) says:

The entire strip is genius, but *especially* Dave's love-stricken look in the second-to-last panel.

Just don't push the "Act Coldly" button, Helen!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Looking at what Dave is eating ... now it's eight in the morning and I want a corn dog.  Phooey.

Of *course* Helen can perfectly control a humanoid simulacrum using an off-the-shelf RC controller!  At the risk of over-belaboring a point made many, many times in this comic, "What part of *mad* science don't you understand?"

Chab Guthrie (chab) says:

The monitor displays in "grayscale" aka BLACK & WHITE because only black and white video displays are cool aka ARTISTIC.

And the great difference between Mad Science and science is that Mad Science always puts the ARTISTIC first!

I refer you to the film HELLBOY and rest my case. 

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Because he used this for reference is my guess

http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/?id=3547677&refnum=936527
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: Umm... If she's a robot (android?), wouldn't cotton candy gum up her internal workings? (Unless, of course, Helen thought ahead and gave her some sort of stomach/receptacle into which it could go...)
Brian Moore (brianmooredraws) says:

I think the monitor's actually an old Philco TV, with an Omnidirectional Control Antenna grafted on:

http://history.sandiego.edu/GEN/recording/exhibits.html#group04 

Also: Poor Dave.   

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

What happens when a robot develops a sweet tooth?

http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=20

That's what.  Delicious, I tell you.

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Brian Yes that is the one I was looking for.

 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Slightly-belated Big Freakin' (tm) gun count:  I'm not counting any of these in the guest strips 'cause they're non-continuity.  Holding at 9.  Still awake at 12.
Tea Fougner (teaberryblue) says: So, I'm going through strips to think about whether there are any I want to buy and decided to add my commentary for the strip Mikey and I did:

Panel 1:
Artie is quoting The Elephant Man
Panel 2&3:
This is a scene from Lost Highway.
Helen's poofed-out hair is a reference to Eraserhead.
The creature in the corner is, as was already pointed out, Jigglypuff as the Log Lady from Twin Peaks.
Title:
Red Velvet curtains appear in Twin Peaks.  
Angelo Badalamenti is a longtime artistic collaborator of Lynch's and does work on most of his soundtracks.
Panel 4:
The ear Dave is carrying around is from Blue Velvet.
Twin Peaks references:
The blackboard in the back says "The Tibetan Method"
Helen's tee shirt says "Eat at R&R" which is the diner in Twin Peaks
The donuts and smoked cheese pig on the counter.
Panels 5&6:
Coffee is also a huge thing in Twin Peaks
That's Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks
Panel 7:
Mell's ride-on mower is from The Straight Story
The laughing gas party is a reference to Blue Velvet
Panel 8:
"Hot damn, that's some good coffee" is from Twin Peaks
Panels 9&10:
"Now it's dark," is a quote from Blue Velvet
Panel 11:
This is pretty much exactly a scene from Twin Peaks, except that in Twin Peaks, it's a dancing midget and not a dancing gerbil.
Mark Chapman (aardvark86) says: Does anyone else have trouble with the Steven Chin and Willow ones? They're just blank space to me.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile