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This is, of course, based on the ending of the original "Alien," an awesome movie. The art looks pretty good in this one, especially the first panel. It turns out I'm good at drawing the surface of the moon.

I take at as a point of pride that characters in my strips are seldom happy to be surprised by hot women with big smiles on their faces. Dave looks really frightened in that last panel.

Dave is well, well past the point in his henching career where he can eke any enjoyment out of Mell straddling him like that. He's just annoyed by the whole situation. Lord, I love Dave.

I think I wrote this strip immediately after writing the previous one. It's more of a conversation than a gag-punchline setup, which I like.

The art is pretty good in all the strips this week. Maybe I'd switched to a new pen or something. I notice I'd started to do a little more shading, thank goodness.

[SPOILERS] Helen knew Dave would be okay because, having recognized the Dave Conspiracy's teleporter technology as his work from the future, she knows he's not fated to die yet. She's awfully cavalier about Mell and Artie, though.

Because I'm a big softie, I think Helen and Dave are really cute in this strip. Helen is not very good at making intimidating threats.

There are times when the limits of my drawing style produce amusing effects, and I think the third panel here is one of those times. Yes, that's the best drawing of a space pod crashing into Helen's underground lab I could manage.

I think this is the only time you get to see one of the meathooks hanging from the ceiling of the lab. The existence of meathooks was, if I remember correctly, first mentioned in Jeffrey Wells's very long fanfic; I then worked a line about them into the bonus story in Narbonic Volume 1. I'm probably the only person excited that an! actual! meathook! appears in this strip, but trust me, I'm very pleased.

"Meathook" is a funny word.

I wrote this fairly early in the scripting for "Doppelganger Gambit." It'd fit just fine into the ending of almost any Narbonic story arc. I still think it's pretty funny.

Manganello's Irish Pub. I always put some care into the characters' drink orders. Helen has wine, Dave has Guinness, Mell appears to be still drinking pop. Nothing for Artie, although I probably just ran out of room to draw.

Dave's line in the last panel was originally longer, and I shortened it at the last minute to, "Right. Successful." That's why the word balloon is so big.

47 comments:
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: If nothing else, that seems to have bled into the forum story as well.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Let 'Em In", Paul McCartney)

Someone's hiding in the pod;
Someone's grinning at us!
Wish we hadn't grabbed the pod,
Wish we'd taken the bus!
There's only one chance;
Open the door,
Let her out!

She was conquering the Earth,
She was ready to rule!
Now she's in the upper berth,
Grinning, "Gotcha, you fool!"
Only got one chance;
Open the door,
Let her out!

Wants to harm me ... imagine that!
Lost her army ... and her hat!
That's a bad plan ... there's no doubt!
Open the door; let her out!

Now she's hiding in the pod;
Now she gives me a stare!
And in micro-G it's odd,
What that does to her hair!
Just like the movie,
Open the door ...
Let her out!

Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

Now this is just silly. But at least Dave recalls what happened the last time he was in this exact situation. (And then, Mell hadn't even leveled up to Deposed Space Empress yet.)
Tei Kae (tk) says: Well, got through the entire mess up to this point and the only thing I have to show for it is an irrepressible desire to draw Helen in a multitude of outfits. Gah! What's wrong with me!!!?! That said, wonderful stuffs.
Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says: Dave almost looks clean-shaven in Panel 3.  The difference is astounding.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Egad.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Tonight" from "West Side Story", Bernstein & Sondheim)

Today, today,
I almost got my way;
Today I was so good, I was bad!

Today, today,
I'm thinking, "What the hey,
I admit, that was really quite rad!"

Okay!
I gained from Madblood's screw-up,
Until the base you blew up!
It's worse than Y2K!

That's how ... I play,
Creating disarray
Ev'ry way ...
Today!

Jon W. (kd7sov) says: So... they are still in the escape pod, right? In, effectively, free-fall? So why is Mell's hair, in particular, behaving as it would in a room on Earth?
Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says: Now, HELEN straddling him is another matter entirely.
Sean O\'Neil (sponeil) says:

IMO Dave got plenty of enjoyment from the straddling, and it would seem more accurate to say that he was past the point where it would be at the top of his chain of emotions (in a situation like this). We men have very short emotional chains, but there's always room for lust on it, especially at Dave's age and dating status.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ooh, Dave, you budding manipulator...
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: Dave knows the Evil Rules. Henchmen don't kill the Archvillain's Nemesis, because she wants to do it personally.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

The thing is, Helen's assuming an immutable, causally closed model of time travel, one which is soon shown in this very webcomic to not be the case. That's a slightly irresponsible leap of faith on her part!

...Then again, I suppose the point of her spending the past few hours on that off-panel machine is to confirm or refute this very hypothesis.

Dave's scheme score: 4. You'd think he'd be a little more melancholy about having saved his romantic rival and doomed himself to loneliness.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "December 1963 / Oh, What a Night", The Four Seasons)

Boy, what a day!
Took a spaceship to the Moon and back!
Saved the Earth from robot sneak attack!
We're OK, but what a day!

We couldn't stay!
Moonbase blew up and we had to leave!
Madblood's still got more tricks up his sleeve!
Anyway, 'twas quite a day!

Well, we ...
Took the robot army and we turned them Socialist!
Oh, gee,
They probably will show up in some plot twist!

Some crazy day!
Ended up destroying Madblood's place!
Mell, she almost shot him in the face!
Say oy vey, boy, what a day!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Helen assumes Mell will be fine because she's MELL. Artie, however, she remains cavalier about.
Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says: Meathooks rock.  I once specifically carried a written fight scene into an unused slaughterhouse, so I could get some meathook action involved.  Nobody got hooked, but a few were hazards to be avoided and there was some swinging around on them.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Careful! You're giving me ideas.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

This science-themed webcomic has incredibly lax attitudes with regards to the portrayal of falling space objects. First that satellite...

Oh, how glorious it is to be returned to your natural habitat, to again see vibrant skies above, and to feel, unhindered, the burden of your own mass. And just in time to clock off and drive home, with nought to show for your travails in the war of the heavens.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Feelings", Morris Albert)

Meathooks ...
Big ol' rusty meathooks ...
Hanging from the ceiling
Of Helen's lair ...

Rusty ...
Bare, unused, and dusty ...
Still, they're quite appealing,
Lending an air ...

Meathooks!
'Cause we're complete kooks!
Sometimes the staff will swing on them,
When afternoons are slow ...

Meathooks!
They add a neat look!
I've never really used them, guys,
But hey, you never know ...

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Lovin' Mel's glasses in panel 4
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: I thought that was the "skyhook" the escape pod had been swinging on....  :-)
Elaine Corvidae (elaine_corvidae) says: @Tiff Ditto.
Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: Mell's going to find the controls for the AA Telsa ray and use it on Santa, mark my words...
Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says: Yep, as Leon implies, if you knocked down a sattelite just as it passed overhead, it would probably land several states west. (Momentum, doncha know.)  Actually, "knocking it out" probably wouldn't change its course significently at all.  (An object in orbit is just coasting along on momentum, after all.)  So I'd guess that the "tesla ray" is actually some extremely powerful gravity gun or tractor beam, which actually seizes the pod and pulls it down to Earth.  (At a sufficiently controlled rate that it (and its passengers) don't just go "Splat!")
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Leon, you would write the least funny comic of all time.
Mark H- (eyeharvester) says: Yeah, but it would be HILARIOUSLY unfunny.
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Justin Kane says: "Meathooks rock."

Unless, of course, *you're* hanging from one... 

Bart Janssens (blackcatmoebius) says: There's that Helen Smirk again!
Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says: Well, actually the "smoke a cigarette" part would have to be left out of some endings.  But still, it would be a funny strip anywhere you used it.  (I especially like Helen's worried look in panel #2, and Helen & Mell's enthusiasm in #4.)
The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

Wait, Dave smokes?

The Auld Grump

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

Dave should note that what he just went through was most definitely not half as terrible as that 'D-Con' arc. And he should bear in mind that he was the only one who was transmogriformed into a marginally healthier body at some point.
Leon Arnott (l) says: "Leon, you would write the least funny comic of all time."

Submitted without comment.
Jon W. (kd7sov) says:

@Leon: Leaving aside the validity of the "without comment" note... the "There's More!" is in present tense. I would like to know where the more is.

Isn't Mell still under 21? I don't have firsthand experience with bars, but from what I've heard her enthusiasm confuses me.

Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says:

Bartender: ID please.

Mell: *pulls out bazooka*

Bartender: ...yeah, I guess that looks like you.

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: Wow. Dave's got his *own* number...
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

That one's funny because it has handlebar mustaches.
Kathy Moon (flipkat) says: Mustache? I thought he was wearing glasses.
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: That's got to be a mustache. Who wears glasses under their nose?
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

At the beginning of this storyline, the bar was serving Artie, and Artie was... well, less than three years old, any way you figure the time distortion.

Though I suppose it's possible that he's got a fake driver's license that identifies him as a 22-year-old capybara hybrid by day, masked swordsman by night.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says: Also, the strip where Mell was established as being 19 was at the end of the first storyline, in late 2000. She should be at least 21, possibly 22 by the middle of 2003.
Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: And her I thought you did it to emphasize how shortly he said it. Gives it a *freezey* quality.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

Dave, don't forget that Artie had to cope with your lousy eyes. And Helen was really only laughing at Artie. (And, I suppose, at the absurd felicity of a life that shows her three of her beloved for every one that was lost.)

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "You Belong To Me", Pee Wee King, Redd Stewart, and Chilton Price)

See the secret fortress on the Moon!
Send a techie and a violent goon;
They will sabotage it very soon,
With no risk to me!

Caused the robot army to rebel!
Got the lunar fortress blown to hell!
Ev'rything has turned out super-swell,
With no risk to me!

And I got so much done without you,
Maybe I'll just ditch you two ...

While you threatened "Wolf" with his own gun,
I was down here watching, having fun!
We're successful when the day is done,
With no risk to me!

Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says: I use a roomy word balloon to imply either the character is leaving a lot unsaid and/or the listener(s) expected more to be said.
Paul Anderson (pmanderson) says: Shaenon cut the roomy balloon comment off short. It looks to readers like Dave cut it off short.

Where's the problem?

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