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Triple Threat Guest Week!

Okay, something a little different this week. What we've got are three week-long storylines by three different guest artists. Why? Because people send me these things. This strip is by Andrew Farago:


This is by James Rice:


And this is by Orin J:


What a weird week. Again, I wanted to kill time between the fakeout ending to "Island of the Ur-Gerbils" and the eventual resolution of the surprisingly lengthy D-Con/desert island story arc. At around this time, multiple people sent me week-long sequences of guest strips, so I was all, "Hey, let's run these!"

I admire James Rice's ability to build not just one strip, but six, out of existing artwork. Webcartoonists everywhere can learn from him, and in many cases already have.

Orin actually sent me a lot more than the six strips reproduced here, but I never got around to running them all. Sorry about that, Orin.

I know I'm biased because he has sex with me and all, but I'm partial to Andrew's "Ultimate Narbonic" week. (Yes, that's why it shows up twice in this update--that, and it's the easiest way to get it to display on the frontpage using Tooncasting.) This was not long after Marvel launched its "Ultimate" line of relaunched properties theoretically aimed at new, younger, hipper readers, so we had talked about what a hip teen relaunch of Narbonic would entail. In Andrew's vision, it's kind of like a John Hughes movie. Also, as always, I enjoy his inexplicably badass Dave.

Triple Threat Guest Week!

Okay, something a little different this week. What we've got are three week-long storylines by three different guest artists. Why? Because people send me these things. This strip is by Andrew Farago:


This is by James Rice:


And this is by Orin J:


James Rice writes: "I started these strips by witting out a script for each strip. I then hunted for gerbil drawing that could illustrate each line. I made a rule that I would not use any drawing more than one time. The first couple of strips weren't much problem but towards the end, I was cobbling together gerbils Frankenstein like, from as many as three or four different drawings."

All things considered, it's pretty surprising that this is the only time the human members of the cast get turned into gerbils. In regular Narbonic continuity, it's more likely for the gerbil members of the cast to get turned into humans.

Andrew's teenage version of Helen is very, very cute. I also find his teenage Dave oddly endearing. In Narbonic Earth-1, of course, the characters did not know each other in high school, so please feel free to treat this as a dream or an imaginary story.

By the way, that there in the last panel of Andrew's strip is the only successful drawing ever done of the top of Dave's head.

Triple Threat Guest Week!

Okay, something a little different this week. What we've got are three week-long storylines by three different guest artists. Why? Because people send me these things. This strip is by Andrew Farago:


This is by James Rice:


And this is by Orin J:


James Rice writes: "Despite being turned into a gerbil, I figured that Dave would be even more horrified about being caught naked in public. I also figured that Mell couldn't resist pointing it out to him."

Dave really had gotten turned into a lot of random stuff by this point, hadn't he? After this arc we get into the next phase of transformation storylines: random people turning into Dave.

Holy crud, Andrew's goth-y Mell is adorable. And this really is like a John Hughes movie. Also, I like the gerbil that comes out of Mell's lunch bag and steals Helen's food.

I notice that in Ultimate Narbonic, Helen is the one who wears a flannel shirt. That's fine with me, since it's what I wore in high school.

Triple Threat Guest Week!

Okay, something a little different this week. What we've got are three week-long storylines by three different guest artists. Why? Because people send me these things. This strip is by Andrew Farago:


This is by James Rice:


And this is by Orin J:


James Rice writes: "To keep the gerbils straight for me and the readers, I kept their positions consistent through the entire week, Dave is always left, front, Artie is left rear, Helen is right front, and Mell is right rear. Dave and Artie always face right, Mell and Helen always face left."

I should have drawn Artie in a tiny lab coat. I'm sorry.

You can tell that Ultimate Narbonic takes place in an alternate universe because Helen and Mell are helping Dave get a date, as opposed to actively sabotaging any and all attempts he might make at a normal life.

I like Mell's hair up in a bun in Orin's strip. She's kind of rocking a sexy librarian thing there.

Triple Threat Guest Week!

Okay, something a little different this week. What we've got are three week-long storylines by three different guest artists. Why? Because people send me these things. This strip is by Andrew Farago:


This is by James Rice:


And this is by Orin J:


James Rice writes: "I added this strip after the others had been mostly finished. I noticed that Dave kept unintentionally insulting Artie, so I added this one where Artie has had enough of it. The mad Artie in panel four was made from four different gerbil drawings. I think that Helen's punchline at the end is my favorite joke of the whole set. Gawd, what a horrible tail in panel five. I should have hired an artist to redraw these for me."

Much, much later in Narbonic, Artie is better equipped to beat up Dave, but never does. Another opportunity lost.

Andrew was clearly having fun fooling around with the Photoshop colors at this point. Also note his Chris Ware-inspired interstitial captions.

Triple Threat Guest Week!

Okay, something a little different this week. What we've got are three week-long storylines by three different guest artists. Why? Because people send me these things. This strip is by Andrew Farago:


This is by James Rice:


And this is by Orin J:


James Rice writes: "The KNIOB is the obvious sound effect that would reverse the effect of one that went BOINK. I had only been intending this strip to bring everything back to normal as Dave says in the last panel, but after finding good drawings of Dave and Helen, I couldn't find a good drawing for Mell. The best one I could find had her looking up, and kind of worried. I wondered what she might be looking at, and the idea for the tails popped up. I think it worked out as a good final joke. I really have to thank Shaenon for letting me live out my dream of being a cartoonist. It was a lot of fun, and I learned it is far, far, harder that it looks."

Don't let James fool you. Being a cartoonist is actually super, super easy. You just need to make some cartoons.

I think Andrew's teenage Dave gets progressively nerdier-looking over the course of the week. He's very nerdy here. Maybe it's the bow tie.

38 comments:
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

This update gives me a peculiar feeling of deja-vu.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I know I'm biased because he has sex with me and all ...

Wait, was this a contest I missed?  I'm gonna have to re-read the archives again ... gimme a minute .................
OK I'm back, I see now, it was the "If you ask her out, treat her nice, fall in love with her, give her a ring on Valentine's Day and marry her, you can have sex with a well-know webcomics artist" contest.

I entered something similar, but my contest judge was a world-class quilter. 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: P.S. to James Rice: "Scientific Progress Goes Boink"
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Or, in this case, scientific progress boinks.
James Rice (jhrice) says: Opps.  I inteneded to send Shaenon info to post about these strips.  Yes, the images are taken from Narbonic strips and edited into a new strip.  I did want to change the style a little so I added some shading and other accents.  As Ed noted above the, the BOINK sound effect is a nod to Calvin and Hobbes.  It seemed to me that sooner or later, one of the human characters, most likely Dave, was going to end up as a gerbil.  This story was my idea of how it would happen.  I included Helen and Mell because they seemed to be left out of such things. 
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Neat.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

I have to admit, Dave mistaking the bomb guy for a salesman is actually pretty fitting for his character. Good job, Orin.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

I'm impressed that gerbil-Dave, -Mell, and -Helen can recognize each other.  Maybe they have brithmarks...

 And soon, Dave will realize that  his cigaraettes are now roughly the size of telephone poles.  This might get ugly.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Hey Jude" by The Beatles) 

I'm glued ...
Those guys were rude ...
Now I'm stuck to
This stupid locker.
Now Helen will stare at me with contempt
Then she'll attempt
To make me deader, deader, deader, deader,
Deader, deader, AAAAAAAGGGHH!

Dave Rood (surrdave) says: Johnn--Helen can tell gerbils apart (she once grabbed Artie out of the chaos when there were still twelve other superintelligent ones); Dave's ability to distinguish identical robots might have translated now that he is a gerbil, or he's just fixated on Helen; Artie always was a gerbil; and Mell generally talks to the room rather than to a particular person (she only cares about identifying targets).
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

They're gerbils. Their olfactory abilities just got a whole lot better. And Dave smells like smoker, Helen smells like strawberries (it's her shampoo), and Mell smells like gunpowder residue.

I like Ultimate Helen's heart-shaped glasses; the spot-pink makes them. Ultimate Dave appears to be wearing a letter jacket. I have to wonder what he got it for. Math team? Brain Wars?

kicking_ k (kicking_k) says:

A letter jacket? I thought  it was his flannel, with the sleeves ripped off to be badass or something.

I think the gerbil-humans can recognise each other because they still have their original voices.

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: That there jacket does have an "N" on the left side of it. Or is that "a" "N"? And it's on the right in the drawing, but on Dave's left side.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
That there jacket does have an "N" on the left side of it. Or is that "a" "N"? And it's on the right in the drawing, but on Dave's left side.

I can only assume that the Ultimate Narbonic cast attends Narbonic High School, because Helen, like Roosevelt Franklin, is so cool they named the school after her.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: In my next life, I want to be drawn by Andrew Farago.  In this life, I think I was drawn by R. Crumb during the heavy drug use days ...
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eegad.
Leon Arnott (l) says: "After this arc we get into the next phase of transformation storylines: random people turning into Dave."

Now that would be intriguinly bizarre. A mysterious plague of Dave Davenports ruthlessly assimilating the hapless citizenry, much like that villain of Greek mythology, Agent Smith. ...But in the actual Narbonic storyline, those so afflicted are neither random nor plural.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

Ah! That's what Mell's been missing all this time: thick eyebrows. Now she's fresh and new all over again!

"...and I guess I'm used to Mell's..." Mell's what? Come on Orin, you can't leave that hanging. What does Mell's noun have to do with Dave lying on his front during surgery?
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Leon:  A mysterious plague of Dave Davenports ruthlessly assimilating the hapless citizenry, much like that villain of Greek Geek mythology, Agent Smith.

 Fixed that for you... :-)

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
Au contraire, Leon. Most of the main cast gets turned into Dave in the upcoming months. Except Mell. Nothing really bad ever happens to Mell.
Kathy Moon (flipkat) says: Mell's form of anesthesia, I suppose. Not that a hit to the chin wouldn't knock him out.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eep!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

The other difference between Ultimate Narbonic and real Narbonic is that in reality, Mell can't do a "Heh heh heh" to save her life. At least, not yet.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Big Freakin' (tm) Gun count = 21
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Wait, you think Helen and Mell are helping? This really IS an alternate universe. :)
Dave Rood (surrdave) says: Well, you did draw Artie in minister's robes.
Leon Arnott (l) says:

"Au contraire, Leon. Most of the main cast gets turned into Dave in the upcoming months."
Granted, but it's a tad misleading to collectively group Helen's transfiguration with Artie's and Madblood's, insofar as an entire 6 months separates them, and is interrupted with Dave turning into Madblood.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Forum is down for about the next two days or so, while the forum staff upgrades to PHPBB3. Thanks!
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: While it's not exactly being turned into Dave as such, Mell did get the Dave-spray tested on her.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Top guest comic:  "Hey Heather, guess who wants to axe you to the prom?"  (Heh heh heh ...)
chic geek (onechicgeek) says:

"That's it Davenport! You 'n' me, Right now!" God, that's great! I love that panel!

And the prom thaing? Dave-"Did you threaten Heather?"

Mel-"Axe me no questions and I'll tell you no lies..." 

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:  PHPBB3 is how you spell that disgusting sound kids make when they spray their food all over the kitchen, right?
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Only if three kids do it at once, Sam. It's also the sound of a spit take.
kicking_ k (kicking_k) says:

Yes! I am correct! The gerbils stil have their original voices!

I'm really liking Teenage Helen, partly because she seems to have both my 1994 wardrobe and hairstyle. Though my sunglasses were oval and blue. Ah, the 90s.

Younger-teenage Mell is seriously adorable. Not that Mell isn't always cute.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

But the lingering question is, what became of the remaining Orin strips? And where can I buy some of these Grade-A Suckers?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Top comic, last panel:  Add a thought balloon for Mell, "I can't believe Heather only charged me $500 to take out Dave ... wonder if I can salvage his skull for a hood ornament?"
Matt Katinas (nidoking) says:

I sympathize with Dave so much... I think most women would rather face the laser rifle than go out with me, but the optimist in me says I'm wrong - it's actually ALL women.

Yes, that's optimistic, because if that's not the case, then there's something wrong with me that even I haven't figured out yet.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Leon: You'll have to find one yourself, but it'll be worth it! ;)
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile