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Smithson Thus Far... ·


This strip would've been way clearer if I'd drawn the last panel as a long shot of Artie alone at the bar, with the ice cream. This bugs the hell out of me now. Why didn't I do that? It would have been such an improvement.

I did draw a nice ice-cream sundae, though.

That is a very funky sound effect in the second panel. I like that.

Titus's first instinct in a bad situation is to get the hell out of there. That's how Titus has survived for as long as he has. He must really like Ginny if he's pausing to take her along with him.

"My ingenious weapon!" still cracks me up for some reason.

Titus knows all the mad-scientist tropes. That's the other reason he's survived for as long as he has.

Man, that's cold-blooded of Helen. Not that it'll do any lasting damage to Titus, who's extremely tough. Still, as easy as it is to forget this, you really don't want to get on the wrong side of Helen.

As ruthless as this strip is, my heart is strangely warmed by Mell waving happily away in the third panel. Having a tiny Mell in the background, doing something appropriately Mell, is always good.

One of my all-time favorite Narbonic strips, and thanks again to Jonathan Towne for creating the character of Titus. The only thing that keeps these strips from being totally sadistic and grim is Titus's attitude toward the whole thing. He's been through worse.

Helen knows all the tropes, too.

Sometimes you have to feel for Artie, spending his life running around trying to staunch the needless carnage the humans around him are exasperatingly intent on causing. On the other hand, he is a total buzzkill.

Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

Context made it obvious.

If Artie's anything like my rats (and me), he's probably lactose intolerant.

What did you draw the rest of the weekend?

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says: Spoooooon!
Doug Wykstra (dougthehead) says:

Artie is never going to be able to set a tab at that bar again.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Pockets?  Arthur?  Arthur?  Pockets?

Dan Bongard (danbongard) says:

I agree with Grant, it was obvious in context. Not doing the expected thing (showing Artie alone) made it funnier.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Shaenon>> I did draw a nice ice-cream sundae, though.
Grant> What did you draw the rest of the weekend?

I see what you did there ...

(TUNE: "Money (That's What I Want)", Berry Gordy & Janie Bradford)

Here's a tasty Rocky Road sun-dae!
Artie says that Helen has to pay!

    He's got no money!  (What ... will he do?)
    No pockets, too!  (What ... will he do?)
    No re-ve-nu-u-u-ue ...
    What will he do?  (What will he do?)

Artie says, with Titus he did gab!
Titus ran off, left him with the tab!
    (repeat CHORUS)

Helen, suddenly she runs away!
Artie, once again, he has to say ...
    (repeat CHORUS)

Listen to him as he raves and rants!
He's diminutive and has no pants!
    (repeat CHORUS)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Grant McCormick: If Artie's anything like my rats (and me), he's probably lactose intolerant. In fact, nearly all mammals lose the ability to digest milk sugars when, or shortly after, they're supposed to be weaned. The more interesting story is how (some) humans managed to become an exception.
Bob Ulus (bobulus) says:

Is this the only time we ever saw Titus grinning? It's funny that it's a faked grin for Narbon's sake.


Titus with a happy look on his face just looks...weird.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

@Shaenon: Dave thought Ginny was a Narbon clone, and now I'm wondering, too. She looks so much like Dave and Helen's daughter, who does have access to a time machine, after all.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

On a related front, I was looking through Narbonic Volume 6, and came across the strip where Helen says she sold all of Mell's "DNA samples to a government bioweapons program."  Had you already developed Unity and Skin Horse when you wrote that?  Or did you remember that line and run with the idea once you started working on Skin Horse?  In other words, are you just a genius, or are you a genius genius?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Who'll Stop The Rain", Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Titus-Sense, it nags him!
Danger is quite near!
Helen goes and snags him,
Filling him with fear!

Now e-nun-ci-a-ting,
Making each word plain!
Separation ... punctuation ...
Bad for your brain!

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

@Kay: Whoooooaaaaaa.

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

Is that the gerbilizer she's holding?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Wednesday morning, still seeing Tuesday's strip

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Chomping at the bit to write a new filk, Ed?
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: There does seem to be a casual link between survival time in the "Narbonic" world and Genre Savviness, yes.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Even the most genre-savvy can't help but fall back into old patterns...

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Please Forgive Me", Bryan Adams)

We're at the Mad Sci Symposium ...
Now, Titus, you see
Just what could maybe happen
'Cause I'm Tinasky ...
If Dave goes mad, he might go berserk ...
But then you disarm me, and say you'll harm me ...
Starting exposition ... you forget your mission!
(This distraction always works.)

And as you ramble on and on,
Suddenly the light ... begins to dawn!
While you shout and rant and rave,
Here comes my backup, with a smile and a wave!

Did I mention, that there in back of you
Is my henchman?  She got the drop on you!
It's an old trick, but still effective, true!
Yeah, my sidekick, she got the drop on you!

fluffy <3 (fluffy) says:

I have to say this is probably one of my favorite Narbonics too.

Roland Hansson (elaborate) says:

Yeah, Titus is probably my favourite side character, even bumping Helen's mom to 2nd place, though it's a tough contest :)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

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

Someone's knockin' on my skull
With the butt of a gun!
First cold-cocking by this girl,
Doesn't know how it's done!
Here's how to do it ... hit me right here ...
Knock me out!

Someone shot me in the knees
Now I'm feeling such pain!
Miss, I'd like it if you please
Try to hit me again!
This is the spot now ... base of the skull ...
Knock me out!

    Helen Narbon ... in her coat,
    With her intern ... she will gloat!
    They're both evil ... there's no doubt!
    Do me a favor, knock me out!

Someone's knockin' on my skull,
She's not doing it right!
I'll recover, though, in full
Sometime later tonight!
But for the moment ... hit me right here ...
Knock me out!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

I would never have thought Mell would admit there's something violent that she can't do.  Practice, dearie, practice!

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Hey, when all you have is a BFG, everything looks like a target.

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

This is lol good....

Sean Kinlin (seaking) says:

I love the fact that Titus says nothing when he's shot in the knees, but emits an "Ow" when he's hit in the head.  Perhaps he has no pain receptors in his limbs...

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: In the buzzkill department: stanch.
Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "What's the buzz," Tim Rice & Andrew Lloyd Weber (Jesus Christ Superstar, 1971)

Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does
Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does
Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does
Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does
Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does
Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does
Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does
Kill the buzz. That's what Artie always does

I would rather not know
If you really kneecapped Titus
Or you killed Antonio Smith
You'll bring troubles that will smite us
My lost ignorance was bliss

[repeat chorus]

I would rather not know
If you're skulking after Madblood
Or you make Dave lose his mind
It can only lead to bad blood
With the mad scientist kind

[repeat chorus]

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Hey. If you don't find a body...
Bob Alexander (rea5245) says:

I find it disturbing that Helen ordered Mell to kill somebody. It's sobering; it makes it a little harder to laugh at her "evil".


John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

She didn't; she just ordered Mell to silence him, and gave Mell a choice of methods, not all of them fatal, for doing so. She's just assuming that Mell, being Mell, chose the fatal option.

Though I suppose it's arguable that telling Mell to do something and allowing her the option of accomplishing it by killing someone, when you know Mell well enough to make that assumption, makes you as culpable in their death as if you had specifically ordered her to kill them.

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