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Smithson Thus Far... ·


It's moments like these, when a talking gerbil created by mad scientists is arguing with demons about his soul, that I think this strip is a little weird.

I've mentioned this before, but originally there was a lot more quasi-religious humor in this storyline, especially about Unitarians. I cut nearly all of it for time and because I decided it wasn't all that funny. This sequence, with Artie using his powers as a Unitarian minister and generally good guy against the demonic horde, is practically all that's left.

Aw, I like this one. It's kind of Terry Pratchett-y. It's not often I can pull that off.

Dave speaks for me here. I was about ready to end this rocky storyline and move on. I give myself credit for getting through this plot stuff pretty darn quickly, though. It's pretty hard not to make plot-heavy sequences drag.

The death ray in the last panel is shaped like an Eero Aarnio ball chair. It's got a nice modernist look.

Readers with long memories will recall that Narbonics Labs based its teleporter on the teleporters owned by the Dave Conspiracy. It wasn't entirely plagiarism, since [SPOILERS, sort of at this point] they were all designed by Dave. The Dave in the future. Who got the idea from himself. It's kind of messy, but I just watched "Donnie Darko," and I think it works better than that.

This is one of several points in Narbonic where Mell does a bunch of cool stuff off-panel, freeing me from having to draw an action scene. Good work, me!

I do like the utter insanity of this conversation. Also Dave is 100% correct.

Well, this is a bizarre turn of events. I can't remember how I came up with this, although I definitely wanted to do something with the Dave Conspiracy around this time, just to remind people it existed. I was going to need the Daves, occasionally, later on.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Remember the old adage mens sana in corpore sano - a sound mind in a sound body?  In Artie's case, it's animus bonum in corpore gluteus minimus - a good soul in a weak-ass body.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

It's the look of sincere concern on the demons' faces that make this strip beautiful.  It's like Dr. Seuss channeling Brueghel.

Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says:

I like the smug look on Artie's face in the second panel.  It's the sort of look that I associate with people who campaign for Nader and the like.

And making fun of the Unitarian "religion" is always funny!

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Hey, Carl! Nice double-offense post.

Cesario VIola (cesarioviola) says:

I just love Artie. 

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: :D This strip should be the image for "Affably Evil."
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Artie really has fostered a bond of trust between these immaterial immoral immortals. For one thing, none of those lugs sense that this could be a trap. For another thing, it isn't.
Leon Arnott (l) says: And in non-bonic news, apparantly our host's Machine of Death story has been illustrated by Roger Langridge? No doubt you got to pick him personally, or vice versa. Or both at the same time by accident.

(P.S: Today would be an awfully good time to buy the thing, or so I'm told.)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Secret Garden", Bruce Springsteen)

Who's there outside the room?
Who's knocking at the door?
There's demons bringing doom,
There's three or maybe four ...
They've got a job to do,
They're killing us tonight ...
So let's let ... them ... in, they're so polite!

See how they wipe their feet ...
They ask permission first ...
They'll try to keep it neat
When all our heads they burst ...
Yes, it's a grisly end
With no escape in sight ...
But see the de-mons be-in' so polite!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

First panel: I was SO waiting for a Knock Knock joke, but I guess Helen and Artie are too erudite for such.

Joel Brackenbury (mockferret) says:

Knock knock jokes can be erudite. See:


Knock knock!

"Who's there?"


"Eek who?"

"Eek-wals M C Squared!"


Knock knock!

"Who's there?"

"Alfred Nobel"

"Alfred Nobel who?"

"No, just Alfred. And that's why I had to knock."


Knock knock!

"Who's there?"


"God who?"

"God-el's incompleteness theorem!"


And so on and so forth...

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

The poor fellow is awfully generous with his very mortality. Has he even had time to properly comprehend what he's missing out on down here in life? Is he, perhaps, still not quite believing all this to be true?

"[I'm] evil": 5.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Lucretia MacEvil", Blood, Sweat & Tears)

We're evil and tired!
Dave is greasy-faced as well!
The demons desired
Just his soul to take to Hell!

Nice-seemin' ex-demon makes sacrifice!
We're sayin' OK, don't have to ask twice!
Answer is uninspired ...
Evil, plus we're tired!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Death ray, death ray.  Doesn't anyone make a 'down for the weekend with flu-like symptoms' ray?  THAT would be evil.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Even in defeat, Helen will not let her ego be besmirched.

Mell's face isn't actually covered in soot - she's still blushing from the fact that all the able-bodied Daves were skinny-dipping at the time.

What's worth pointing out is the kind of teleporter Mell is holding up - it's the portable kind that Dr. N used back in aught-one. For all we know it could be the very same remote that she once held in her wicked hand.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Mell doing cool stuff and getting dirty off-panel I can deal with.  What I'd like to see is Mell getting cleaned up on-panel.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I would submit that it's approximately three times funnier to hear Mell describing it later, anyway.

It'd be even more funnier except that the panel of Mell clocking some Dave with a 'gator would've made up a lot of the difference.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Hee. "Burlap sacks." I don't know why little detail is so important, but there it is.
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

It's all about the grants.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

The scary part is that nobody told Dave that the remote teleporter works via satellite.

Mell's face isn't actually covered in soot - she haven't noticed yet, but the teleporter gave her the Daves' five o'clock shadow.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Father Figure", George Michael)

We're facing demons,
And it's seemin' we're in danger ...
Mell came back!
The Daves, she found 'em!
Then she roughed 'em up and stuffed 'em
In a sack!
This total remote thing
Brought her home now ...
Without it corrupting
Chromosomes now!

I could build a teleporter
Operated by remote,
With a data flight recorder
Run by software that I wrote!
I'd unplug it and debug it
'Til it's safe for ev'ryone!
I could build a teleporter ...
If I had the funds!

Jon W. (kd7sov) says:

I gotta say, I love how that particular demon always looks so cheerful, even when it's using exasperated wording.

N B (davecloneseven) says:

Dave's assuming the satellite uplink, since that's how he'd do it if he'd designed it (which **SPOILER** he did).

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Very nice. A master stroke, if you will.
K. Williams (crazy_quill) says: Helen is concerned with protocol an ettiquette. Mel is concerned with the state of her prisoners. Caliban and the demons are just concerned.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Draggin' The Line", Tommy James)

Dealing with demons in Helen's cellar ...
Caliban doesn't know what to tell her ...
She's got a plan, it's our fannies that Helen saves!
Tradin' the Daves!  (Tradin' the Daves ...)

Helen's a genius, although demented,
Making a deal un-pre-ce-den-ted,
She'll overthrow status quo, and she's making waves ...
Tradin' the Daves!  (Tradin' the Daves ...)

She con-trols
The demons, that's how she rolls!
She's swapping some evil souls,
They're just what Hell craves!
Tradin' the Daves!  (Tradin' the Daves ...)

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