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Dave is already taking his tie off. He's not into dressing up.

Strips like this one are basically all about the facial expressions. Helen's expressions are pretty good here, but Dave's eyebrows in the last panel are the best. Also note that I was already bored with drawing hotel hallways. The rest of the week is set at a hotel bar, which was slightly more interesting to draw.

Aw, Titus is great. Why is the whole strip not about Titus? Somebody do a spinoff strip about the adventures of Titus, and send me and Jonathan Towne all the money.

Dave has now managed to undo his tie and discard his jacket. He must really be sick of dressing up for this strip.

Drawing the bar was actually pretty fun. You can tell because I didn't gradually give up on drawing backgrounds over the course of the week. So, yeah, good work on that, me.

Titus constantly looks at least mildly freaked out, which is appropriate for Titus. He does not have an easy life.

Like Jonathan Richman says, true love is not nice. And are there any problems of the heart that can't be answered by Jonathan Richman songs?

I kind of suspect I just did this week of strips because I enjoyed drawing Titus so much. He's just so irritated all the time! Also, where the hell did he get that forehead scar?

If Dave has Titus around all the time to commiserate with him, he could probably avoid a lot of misfortune. That's why Titus has to vanish after this storyline.

Tom Hart quoted Dave's last line in his introduction to Narbonic Volume 5: "But the correct answer to Dave's question is NO! Of course not." And yet the characters must soldier on.

Originally I didn't think Titus had actually had a relationship with a mad scientist, but something about the way his face came out in the third panel made me change my mind. Maybe this advice is based on personal experience. I kind of like the idea that Titus is rather popular with the mad-science ladies.

36 comments:
Amy Fiori (amy82986) says:

I'm really impressed by Artie's expressions.  You can barely even see his face at this distance, but you can still tell how he's following the conversation -- and rolling his eyes in the last panel.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Drawing Artie's tiny, tiny face was always a challenge.

Oh, and if anyone's interested, the second half of my prose story "The All-Night Truck Stop Polka Band" is now up at Strange Horizons.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Your story has the same ending as this strip.  "We have no idea if this is gonna work, or end in disaster.  Let's do it."

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

It is the only way to live.
The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

Oh, Jen's been Spammin' on the Spamoad,

All the live long day....

Spaammerrss. Spamming Spamilly like they were Ms. Spam!

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

"Anything, you say"?  Dave's been through a lot....

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(A) "I'm trying to reclaim my ancestral home and family legacy, the ruler of Europe wants to imprison me, a mob of prisoners is trying to kill me, and an evil entity is living INSIDE MY HEAD!"

"I've been through worse."

(B) "We've been trying to define the rules that govern our lives, arguing with our creator over whether or not he exists, and now we find out our world's going to end and we're being sent to Portland, Oregon!"

"I've been through worse."

(C) "I'm trapped in an alternate dimension with an older version of myself, trying to free an enslaved city, save my critically injured friend, and find my way home."

"I've been through ...

"Also, we're out of coffee."

"....OK, you got me there."

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

I still want that Narbonic RPG.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

Man, even the spammers like this story line.

Amy Fiori (amy82986) says:

@Ed:  OK, I got Girl Genius and 1/0.  What's the last one?

Michael Suttkus (suttkus) says:

Sluggy Freelance.  The entire city is out of coffee.  THE ENTIRE CITY!

Plus, he forgot to mention the demon invasion.

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

Dave's not completely relaxed yet. His collar is still buttoned....

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

The coffee's back up in 4U City, so Titus still wins. :)

Brian Bogue (badbear) says:

@ Ed, and what is wrong with Portland Oregon?  \:-|

Mark Temple (mithril) says:

Titus really nees to get together with Nodwick of the henchman's local 245 and swap "i've been through worse" stories. given that nodwick dies about 12 times a day on a slow day, and his destiny in the universe is "entropy sponge, who bad things happen to so the rest of us can be fine"....

(http://nodwick.humor.gamespy.com/)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Everything's Coming Up Roses", Styne & Sondheim)

Let's have a drink ... a drink in the bar, Titus ...
Won't stare at your scar, Titus ...
It may sound bizarre, but Titus ...

I'm in love!  I feel joy!
I'm a happy and fortunate boy!
Feeling nice, feeling good,
When I'm talking to Helen 'bout Lovelace!

She's so nice!  She's so smart!
Just the thought of her fills up my heart!
Feeling more ...than I should,
When I'm talking to Lovelace 'bout Helen!

   One's a ... mad girl,
   One's a voice on the phone!
   If I ... had girl,
   I'd want a girl who's a bad girl!

Helen's now ... helping me!
She'll see Madblood and then swipe his key!
Then I'll meet ... Lovelace soon!
(Did I men-tion the Moon?)
But this, thinks Titus, isn't right, can't be!
Why is Dave always talking 'bout Lovelace and Helen to me??

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

When you're always waiting for the BOOM!, or the portal opening, or the mutant vampire sqaush to attack your leg, or your right elbow to start taking commands from a distant ectoplasmic entropy, it's hard to unwind, even with a buddy.

Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

This is scary. I'm having a hard time telling the real commens apart from the spam

(not yours, eddurd. You're always awesome)

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I knew Ann Landers slightly when I lived in Chicago: I'm not sure "evil Ann Landers" isn't redundant.  (Actually, she was a feisty, tart-tongued old broad.  I liked her.)

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Fourth-wall appalled outbursts: 61. Titus's sudden burst-into-ranting is actually quite well delivered, thanks to the silent penultimate panel (36), and especially insofar as it denotes that, among the many things Titus has endured too many times, romance help ranks among his most disliked.
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

I'm wondering if there's a rule for who gets fourth wall breaking powers on Narbonic. Certainly, if you work at Narbonic labs, you have fourth-wall breaking powers. Madblood does to, and here Titus gets them. Did Lovelace break the fourth wall a couple of strips ago too?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Put Your Hand In The Hand", Gene MacLellan)

REFRAIN:
I can't stand being handed these damned Ann Landers problems!
I can't stand being handed these damned Ann Landers woes!
All these true confessions
In my drinking sessions,
And my peace of mind, it goes!
I can't stand being handed these Ann Landers drama shows!

Man, I hate like hell when total strangers tell
Me all their trouble ...
Bring me another drink, and this time, I think,
Make it a double!
But Dave keeps on tellin'
'Bout Lovelace and Helen,
And he just can't figure 'em out ...
And he keep on talking, though I'm blocking up my ears and shout ...
   (repeat REFRAIN)

Jon W. (kd7sov) says:

It's not a scar.

He just thinks he's an Igorina.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Titus's scar came about when he decided to have his unsightly third eyebrow removed.
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

If you want to ponder the non-wacky route, two of my three brothers have forehead scars from running into the edge of fireplaces as kids. The other one has it on his chin. Why so many hearth-related injuries, I have no idea. They all happened in different locations.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Rachel--My brother cracked his head open that way, too. It wasn't even a real fireplace; it was the fake decorative hearth in our house in Texas.
Daniel Barkalow (iabervon) says:

Dave's relationship isn't life-threatening all the time; on occasion, he's already dead.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

What's scary about today's spammer is, I know a woman at work named Fei Fei.  Now I'm thinking that in the next design review, she's going to stand up and start trying to sell shoes ...

(TUNE: "Addicted To Love", Robert Palmer)

My friend, you're not ... the first who's had
A passion for ... a girl who's mad!
She gets into ... your heart and head,
And pretty soon ... you find you're dead!
It just takes ... a special fusion
Of masochism ... and self-delusion!
When danger looms ... then I don't wait,
You'll find me in ... another state!

See, I've got an instinct that I use to survive,
Oh yeah!
Henchman's always living on the edge of a knife,
But I really must admit that I'm addicted to life!

I won't play with fire 'cause I'm addicted to life!
Situation's dire, but I'm addicted to life!
Breathing I desire, 'cause I'm addicted to life!
See you later, squire!  I'm addicted to life!

Wayne (wayne) says:

Fei Fei is absolutely right, the animation is really just that good.  But I'm addicted to MBT's, wearing a pair of their sandals right now.  Air Jordan's just don't enter into it.

Sarah T (sarahtea) says:

Titus is great. He's like a less-mutilated, less lispy Igor from Discword.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

...aw man.  Titus needs a hug. :(

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Those stiches track his eyebrow weirdly well...

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Something", The Beatles)

Something in his furrowed brow,
Tells me he's speaking from experience ...
Something makes me wonder how
He managed to stay alive
When monsters did not survive!
(doo doo doo doooo doooo dooooo...)

Something in his angry frown,
Tells me he's had some past unpleasantness ...
Some disturbing s*** went down ...
He managed to get away,
And live for another day!
(doo doo doo doooo doooo dooooo...)

To see your love mutate and die ...
Do not want, do not want!
It brings a tear, still, to my eye ...
Mem'ries haunt, they still haunt!

Something in the way he drinks
Tells me he's needing some forgetfulness ...
I would guess his love life stinks!
He drinks to forget his past,
'Cause mad lovers never last!
(doo doo doo doooo doooo dooooooooooooo...)

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I'm picturing the Skin Horse team being called in to deal with the acid-vomiting lizard creature now.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Titus had a relationship with Mongor?

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Mongor was never gunned down by the feds.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile