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"What the hell?" doesn't sound like a reference to anything, but I was specifically thinking of an episode of "Mr. Show" where Bob Odenkirk and David Cross are attacked by Adult Superstar, their daughter from the future, and Bob yells, "What the hell?" in this strangely rednecky tone. So if you're reading this strip aloud, please try to use that voice. Thanks.

"Acid pits and alligators" was probably inspired by the issue of The Tick where Chairface Chippendale throws the Tick into a pit full of man-eating alligators and cows. They end up kind of canceling each other out, although not necessarily in the way you'd assume.

So, basically, everything in this strip is lifted from other sources, plus it's carefully structured so I don't have to draw anything difficult. I love this strip.

Mell does not care for complex continuity. She's got some serious crazy eyes in that last panel.

See, sometimes Artie's pretty smart. I wrote this one way early. Some of these old scripts are burned into my brain because I had them sitting around for so long before using them.

Look, it's Dave's little tweed hat. I always like it when he wears that thing.

The movie Mell is describing is Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, which, as mentioned before, was a huge influence on this storyline. Caliban is wearing a T-shirt for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, who perform in the movie for absolutely no other reason than that they were friends with Wim Wenders. The completely crazy sequel has U2.

Most movie theaters haven't sold popcorn in those striped tubs in about a thousand years, but I always draw them that way because it looks cute. I still really like the way Mell came out in that panel. Around this time I started sometimes drawing her with her hair pulled back from her forehead like this, rather than falling down over her glasses, and it generally looks pretty good that way.

So here's Iris, the new member of the gaming group mentioned by Seth way back at the beginning of this storyline. It had always bothered me that I didn't have any women in the gaming group, and Seth's disappearance into the gaping maw of Hell provided a vacancy. Hence Iris. Like all the members of the gaming group except Dave and Seth, she's based on a real person, in this case my friend Laura.

My friend Laura, on whom Iris is based, is a writer and editor for a tech magazine, and at the time I wrote this she was running a Sailor Moon RPG. Somebody in the comments yesterday said that Iris looks kind of like Tip from Skin Horse; this is, of course, mainly because I can only draw a limited variety of facial features, but Laura has commented that she and Tip had the same hairdo for a while.

Iris does eventually get to run her Sailor Moon game. ZOMG SPOILERS.

And thus ends "Demons." It's one of my least favorite storylines, but it does end pretty well. So there's that. Next up: a guest week, and then we move into the beginning of the end of Narbonic. Really.

38 comments:
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: I love Helen's expression in the 4th panel... and those goggles!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

It's interesting how the word "GIGANTUMUNGUS" calls to mind a very specific kind of largeness that is more silly than it is imposing and frightening.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I still maintain that hearing Mell describe what went down is a whole lot funnier than any actual depiction of it could possibly be.

And the Chairface Chippendale episode is one of the reasons that I maintain that, good as the cartoon was, the comic was worlds better. No man-eating cows in the TV show!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "My Favorite Things", Rodgers & Hammerstein)

Wrestled and won with this big nasty 'gator,
Then I ran into this Dave who's a hater,
Threw him in acid; well, he wasn't thrilled ...
These are few of the things that I killed!

Girl-eating cows and a fire-breathing fungus!
Big nasty robot that's gigantumungus!
Hands that had buzzsaws, and kneecaps that drilled ...
These are few of the things that I killed!

In that hell-zoo, as I tell you
How I dodged that trap,
You tell me that Dave built this teleport thing?
You think I'll believe ... that crap??

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Whenever Mell has this much dialog, in my head it sounds like my niece who has developed a circular breathing technique that lets her talk faster and faster for minutes on end at higher and higher pitches until only dogs can heat her.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

Strictly speaking there was one man-eating cow in the TV series, in 'The Tick vs. Arthur's Bank Account'. [pushes glasses back up nose]

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Little did Chairface suspect that alligators are the natural enemies of cows!

Rob (rrreed) says: Mell clocked the guard with a 'gator? That would have been something to see!
il biggo (biggo) says:

dvds office is a jerk.

I'm seriously in love with all the women in Narbonic. There, I said it.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Mell steadfastedly refuses to acknowledge Helen's shocking revelation.

(That strategically placed sinewave thing-on-the-wall is a nice touch.)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Leon: I think that's a DNA double-helix.  Probably from Dave, he's kinda tightly wound.

(TUNE: "The Rain In Spain", Lerner & Loewe)

What pain!  It's plain, Mell sprained her brain again!
(That isn't all right!  This isn't all right!)
What pain!  It's plain, Mell sprained her brain again!
(She'll feel it all night!  She'll feel it all night!)

Where does it pain, when we explain?
     In her brain!  In her brain!
Why does it not hurt Helen's brain?
     Insane!  Insane!

What pain!  It's plain, Mell sprained her brain again!
So please refrain, or else the pain won't wane!

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

All I have to ask is, how does Artie sit idly on the edge of those fairly tall glasses without them tipping over?
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Special coasters.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

The glass alone probably outweighs Artie. Full, it certainly does, and by a considerable amount. He's not going to overbalance it.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

If I hadn't used "The Rain In Spain" yesterday, I could have written, "Oh dear, I fear the beer in here's not clear" today.

OK, we know the window reads "Manganello's Irish Pub", but what's the sign behind Dave in panel 1?  "Guinness strength", perhaps?  (Factoid:  my stepdaughter and her husband have a "Guinness as usual" poster in their kitchen.  I like them.)

Rob (rrreed) says: @Ed—"Guinness for Strength" is a classic Guinness advertising theme.
Norman Thallheimer (normanrt) says:

Peter Falk played an excellent Peter Falk.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Appropriately, it looks like it's still February weather outside.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Danke Schoen", Kaempfert, Schwaback & Gabler)

German thing ... three-hour German thing ...
Caliban, on a date, will bring ...
Melody ... stares con-fus-ed-ly,
With her colored-stripes
Popcorn tub,
Saying, "Cripes,
Where's the dub?"

Something "Wings"?
U2 sings
German things ...

Rob (acoustic_rob) says:

Wait, Nick Cave was in that movie?  Gonna have to see it again.

fluffy <3 (fluffy) says:

Other things that haven't been like that for years but which are still portrayed as such in cartoons (off the top of my head):

  • Telephones (rotary dial, or even the old original Bell hanging-earpiece ones)
  • Doctors' head mirrors
  • Impoverished people wearing barrels in lieu of clothes
  • Round black bombs with lit fuses
  • Computers with CRTs and floppy disks and coiled keyboard cords

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I'm incurably romantic, and my favorite films are Wings of Desire, Casablanca and Bulworth.  Anyone who took me to one of those on a first date would be staring down the business end of some serious nookie.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@fluffy: and mainframes with massive lightboards and big tape drives

(confusador) says:

@fluffy: and good luck finding a soccer ball colored like a Telstar. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telstar_%28football%29

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

@ fluffy<3: The worst part is that I've seen a few of the older newspaper comics with two or more of those things *IN THE SAME FRAME!* (TV Tropes even has a name for it: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SchizoTech )

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

She looks a bit like Tip.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

Dave seems to be somewhat unaware of the threatening light in which he has cast this retelling of events.

I wasn't sure if Seth really was vacuumed up feet-first, so I checked that strip again, and not only has my hair turned bright silver from sheer terror, but I'm suddenly wondering how the demon managed to engulf him by his legs while he was standing upright. Oh well.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Touché, Iris. Touché.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

"Now I am become Seth, the D&Destroyer of worlds ..."

  -- from the Bhagavad Geeka

Eeyore the 3061st (eeyore3061) says:

What you're missing Iris, is that the 'weirdo power struggles' are just another level of 'Gaming'.  Just wait till the generation of gamers that come from when it's 'socially acceptable' go into politices, business, etc. 

"Heh, heh, heh" ;) 

Sean Duggan (duggansc) says: @Pete: "It eats you, starting with your bottom," at least according to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. :)
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Unaware? I'm pretty sure Dave was making a deliberate (and successful) Intimidate check there. He's finally starting to embrace his Evil.

Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

Actually, it was David's being sent to the moon, followed by being stuck (or, rather, unstuck) in time, causing him to miss 10 weeks of D&D, that got him kicked out of the gaming sessions. giving Iris his spot.  It was Seth's feet-first departure that allowed Dave to return.  See January 26 & 27, 2004.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

...Wow. The beginning of the end of the Director's Cut.

Bo Lindbergh (blgl) says: At least it wasn't a Sailor Moon LARP.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: A Sailor Moon game... sounds kinda fun.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

Iris has decided to take their word for it that Dave being a girl was kind of hot. Presumably she thinks that questioning that aspect would be seen as implicitly accepting the time-traveling moon zombie story verbatim.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Tip doesn't look anything like Iris. Their glasses are completely different.

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