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Smithson Thus Far... ·


Kismet! The current Skin Horse storyline deals with the organization Artie is on his way to organize in this strip. Yeah, I might as well come out and admit it. They eventually changed to a slightly less ridiculous name.

Mongor appears in a later Narbonic storyline. He's named after my mother's pet iguana. More on that later.

Dave is wearing my favorite T-shirt, the one that says HERE COMES THE HULK on the front and THERE GOES THE HULK on the back. I drew him in that a lot; it's his standard sleep shirt. Helen, meanwhile, is wearing the Official Lab Pajamas from the "Demons" storyline.

I use those yellow legal pads for my Viz work. Also, I like Helen's fuzzy slippers. I hope those are the slippers she was meaning to order to match the official lab pajamas.

Dave is reading Kyle Baker's Plastic Man. That there was a great run of comics.

SPOILERS: Helen is absolutely right: Milo Tinasky is not Dr. Narbon. You can see where she'd be sensitive about Tinasky being compared to her mom, though.

"McBloodhunter" was a name my friend Rob McCarthy (a.k.a. the basis for the Dave Conspiracy guy in the wheelchair and the guy with Andrew in the continuity repair Sunday strips) came up with for a 1990s Rob Liefeld-style superhero. So this is kind of a collaborative effort, but "Dr. McBloodhunter gave me a Zagnut bar!" is one of my favorite lines in the entirety of Narbonic. Thanks, Rob!

Dave's last line was something I often thought about Helen while writing Narbonic. She really could have turned out a lot worse.

Dave is reading the great Roger Langridge's comic Fred the Clown.

Dave's still reading Fred the Clown comics. Incidentally, I enjoy the dynamic of Helen and Dave reading side-by-side in separate beds like a 1950s sitcom married couple, but it did mean having to draw a lot of damn beds. Which means having to draw in perspective and stuff, and is just no fun at all.

I just think capybaras are really cool, is all.

It's awfully bold of Dave to volunteer his girlfriend as a saboteur against her own boss, but I bet she'd do it. Helen mentioned way back in the Moon arc that AIs have a tendency to turn on their creators.

As mentioned earlier this week, M.U.T.T. eventually changed its name to the slightly less embarrassing Transgenic Anti-Defamation League and is currently holding its annual meeting over in Skin Horse. I didn't mean for things to work out this way, but here we are. Um, you probably don't want to read Skin Horse right now if you don't want any Narbonic spoilers. Sorry.

In my daily strips, I try very, very hard to avoid doing strips without gags. It's way too easy to tug the heartstrings that way, and if you go to that well too many times the strip starts turning to melodrama (what Eric Burns of Websnark used to call "First and Ten," back in the day). I did, however, allow myself a few indulgences, and this is one of them. I'm a sucker for romantic angst. And of course I love Dave. Getting to draw his eyes made anything worthwhile.

On a less mushy note, I stupidly drew the fourth panel as-is and then had to cover up the whole area where the thought balloon is in Photoshop to create the third panel. This took forever, but it ended up looking pretty natural. The figures curled up in bed turned out well, too. Good one, me!

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Little did he know that he'd BECOME part of the corrupt hominid paradigm...

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "Shape of things to come," Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, performed by "Max Frost and the Troopers" (Wild in the Streets, 1968,, PLAY IT LOUD AND DANCE!)

We're transgenic, and we can't take it any more
It's the hominid paradigm that we deplore
Human government has failed, it's time for a new breed
The Transgenic Anti-Defamation League!

Humans are corrupt and weak
You're the dregs
We won't ape you by walking on two legs!

Manifestos!  Online petitions you can sign
Bumper stickers!  And then a cool website design
We have all the tools we need for mayhem and intrigue
We'll never kowtow to you again
Never be locked up in a pen
The Transgenic Anti-Defamation League!

Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

I like the Mongor foreshadowing!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?", E.Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney)

Now the years of human rule are done,
This is now our time!
Now the revolution has begun ...
Overthrow the paradigm!

Calling for transgenic unity!
This explains why I'm
Telling the transgenic community
To overthrow the paradigm!

   Free from human's yoke!
   It begins tonight!
   All our frustration and rage!
   Transgenetic folk
   Of the world, unite!
   You've nothing to lose but your cage!

Write our manifesto, rave and rant!
Both in prose and rhyme!
Two legs or four legs?  Irrelevant!
Overthrow the paradigm!

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Sam Ashley: At one point Artie notes: "I'm deeply chagrined myself".
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: Is that the tee shirt where the Hulk is hauling a giant cable on the "Here Comes the Hulk" side and said cable is pulling a bunny-shaped wagon on the back side? I had that, once upon a time. Now I wish I still did.
Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

I still say Official Lab Pajamas would be a great item of Narbonic merchandise. I'd buy multiple pairs.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Interesting timing.
Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

More quasi-spoilers:

Had Dave not madly played pool later on, panel three might have been ironically prophetic.


Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "That's not my name," The Ting Tings

This year I will not get the Von Boom
Just lots of stares in the Symposium room
No Crabtree Grant for Women in Mad Science
Transgenic Anti-Defamation League formed in defiance!

Fantibulous Space-Time Ossifier
I wish I was the owner
I'd be somewhen else now
I haven't earned fame in my own name
And with Madblood being honored, I'm not glad I came (ame, ame, ame)

Who is the real
Milo Tinasky?
His study data
Drop like a bomb
He's not my mom!
He's not my mom!
He's not my mom!
He's not my mom!
Where is Tinasky?
Don't even ask me
Can't blow the secret
I must stay calm
He's not my mom!
He's not my mom!
He's not my mom!
He's not my mom!

Are you calling me Beta?
Are you calling me mad?
Are you calling me Beta?
Are you calling me mad?

Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

Oh Helen, quietly dropping misdirection in front of the Test Subject.

Oh Dave, getting sharper. Quickly seeing through the prejudice that Tinasky has to be a man. Old You might have just swallowed that. Inserting the near-truth that the real Tinasky has Dr. Narbon's DNA. That means Helen is... is the experiment right? Letting yourself see a little bit of truth. Blinding yourself to the rest.

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

To the tune of (I'm not your) Steppin' Stone by the Monkees

I-I-I-I-I'm not my mother's clone,
I said I-I-I-I-I'm not my mother's clone

Tryin' to make my mark in the laboratory,
I'm using all the trick that she used on me
I write in all the mad science magazines,
The thing's I'm doing now will make my henchman scream

I-I-I-I-I'm not my my mother's clone (Not me, No!)
Said, I-I-I-I-I'm not my mother's clone.

When first I met my Dave he didn't have a clue,
But now he's getting close to a missing screw
I can't be too carefull who I tell the news,
'Cos when he finds it out, it'll light the fuse,

I-I-I-I-I'm not my my mother's clone (Not me, No!)
Said, I-I-I-I-I'm not my mother's clone.

Not just my mother's clone, not just my mother's clone,

Oh no, I'm not my mother's clone, not just my mother's clone...


The Monkees are very popular with the trangenic community for having Rebelled Against Their Evil Creator.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Pete: If I can just . . . push  . . . my . . . way through all the spam, I'll come over to shake your hand.  Nice filk!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Kay and Pete:  both very good!

I just thought ... if we tried shipping Helen and Dr. Tinasky, their portmanteau name would be ... "Hello"?  And if we bring in H.T. from Skin Horse to make it a threesome, they'd be "Hello Kitty".

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

He's not a brain in a tank YET, anyway.

Wayne (wayne) says:

The Monkeys played at the Arizona State Fair back in their hey day.  The opening act?  A guitarist named Hendrix.

Marni Rachmiel (marniferous) says:

I keep wanting to click "like" on people's comments! (and be able to report the spam.) Can we mirror this to a Facebook page?

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Kay:  AWESOME!  With awesome sauce!  Particularly since I have teenagers and I had to listen to this song about 42,764.32 times.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Dave's so close, and yet so far....
Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

This is a pretty good strip, especially because Helen doesn't seem to consider this childhood anecdote at all humiliating - and, in fact, still fondly recalls the animalistic experience of being fed by strangers.

"Blood" seems to be present in a lot of surnames in mad science circles. Possible evidence of common ancestry?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: That's... awwww.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "The Band Played On", John F. Palmer and Charles B. Ward)

When I was small, to my Mama I'd crawl
For a Zagnut bar!
They'd poke me with sticks, and then I would do tricks
For a Zagnut bar!
But when Doctor McBloodhunter came to the forefront, her
Teasing went slightly too far!
Mom melted her head, and she ended up dead
For a Zagnut bar!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

No one ever gave ME a Zagnut bar at  an awards ceremony!  I'd say she did pretty well!

Rodford Smith (stickmaker) says:



Took me a moment to correctly parse "my terrarium."

Pete (westrider) says: As great as her line in Panel 4 is, it's Helen's line in Panel 3 that keeps popping into my head at random moments, ever since I first read this strip.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

It's Helen's expressions that really make this strip. It's lovely that, 22 years later, she's still so excited about that Zagnut bar.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Yes, I'm sure we all learned in school about the great Comic Artists' Uprising of 1960.  After an 18-month strike, a comic-starved nation finally acceded to the demand that married couples start sleeping in the same damn bed.  Thus was the sexual revolution launched!

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

From last Saturday's Doctor Who, The Doctor tells Amy and Rory that he's jettisoned all the bedrooms and will make them a new one.

This time, can we not have bunk beds?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

The name "twin bed" is totally misleading.  The twins and I kept falling out.

Brian Fallstrom (alfador) says: My mate and I would actually prefer to sleep in separate beds, since we both move around a lot and are easily woken up by movement. We just need a place with enough space for two beds, at least one of which is large enough for... non-sleeping activities. ;)
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Um, be careful about that. The Anti-Defamation League is really litigation-happy. I got an honest to gosh Cease And Desist letter sent to me AND to Ohio State University as an entity back in grad school because I had a webpage for the fictional "Beast Wars Anti-Defamation League".
Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

Nothing on the internet could ever be untrue, including this sentence.

Desire to Turn on Creator + Machines Like Dave = Turn on Madblood!

Separate beds? How chaste! How boring! How.... temporary!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Haw. Timing is everything!
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

Given the Jennifer Connely thing, it seems as if Lovelace was specifically designed to turn on her creator.

...As the actress said to the bishop.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Why not rename the group the Mutant, Otherkin, & Nonhuman Genetic Rights and Empowerment League?

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Of course, if people don't want Narbonic spoilers, they probably shouldn't be reading the Narbonic Director's Cut commentary in the first place, so they won't receive the warning not to read Skin Horse...

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@John: OR... we could suggest that people read the entire arc plus the next couple arcs of Narbonic, and then they would be through the spoilerifficness and could go back to reading Skin Horse.

Depending on what else is going to happen in Skin Horse in the current arc...

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: And, of course, after you were done you realized you should have done panel 3 first, then just dropped the bubble in as a layer for panel 4. :)
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Yes, exactly! Like three seconds after I finished.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Aww.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: It's also a nice bit of foreshadowing... there's more than one problem with Dave's "Lovelace affair".
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

A little melodrama is good for the soul.

il biggo (biggo) says:

Silent Penultimate Panels: 34. This works for comedy AND drama!

Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

If Dave's eyes are clear does that mean he's having a temporarily more-lucid moment?

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Can't be sure when he's not bespectacled.

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