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Smithson Thus Far... ·


But enough about Helen and Dave and their thing! Let's get back to Artie and his much more horrible evening! Even though my perspective drawing is crap as always, I did manage to give Dr. Narbon an appropriately insane bedroom. The bars on the window are probably the best touch. I still wasn't very good at drawing Artie naked, but I just needed time.

Artie's fondness for pockets has come up in Skin Horse as well. They're just really useful, is all.

I wrote this early on. I still enjoy it.

When this strip first ran, people expressed skepticism that Dave would need an hour for whatever's going on over there. Poor guy gets no respect.

The third panel has Artie's eyes the way I ended up drawing them. I'm probably the only person who cares about this, but I gradually shifted from doing Doonesbury-style parenthesis-shaped eyes to this sort of Archie Comics look. I continued to give Artie dot eyes for a while but eventually gave it up.

This was designed as filler strip to keep the plot going, but I like the timing from panel to panel. I also like that Dr. Narbon apparently leaves half-finished glasses of wine all over her lair. And barrels of... stuff.

I remember Eric Burns liking Mell's final line in this strip, but for me it's all about her line in the first panel. Because it's true. Notice how I got around drawing that? I'm so smart.

I also like the dorky photo of Young Helen. Again, depictions of Helen as a kid tend to be based directly on me.

Sorry for the late update. My computer was down last night. But now at last I can comment on this strip, which... You know, I remember being unhappy with it at the time, mainly because Artie's expression in the last panel didn't come out the way I wanted, but looking at it now it's pretty good. You really can't go wrong with Mell saying "junk."

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Now, when Dr. Narbon comes in with the riding crop, that he can take ... it's the black mask, cowboy hat, and the way she keeps calling him "Silver" that freaks him out.  Plus, nobody can keep up with the "William Tell Overture".  (Except Malcom McDowell.)

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Well, human Artie. You'd been drawing naked gerbil Artie just fine for years.
Lenore Hoyt (landsnark) says:

Now I totally want this bed.  Talk about putting a notch in the bedpost...

Jed Blue (froborr) says:

The funniest part about this, to me at least, is that Saturday's strip is the beginning of Dave going EXACTLY where Artie thinks he's about to go.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

If you mean "being in Helen Narbon's bed", you're in the process of becoming wrong about that last bit, Artie.

Pete (westrider) says:

"I still wasn't very good at drawing Artie naked, but I just needed time."

And practice. Lots of practice. That's definitely something that should be practiced often :)

Daniel Barkalow (iabervon) says:

John: Nonsense! It'll be ages before they make it to a bed, let alone Helen's.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I was executive director of a nonprofit, which led me to derive this organizational theory: Nonprofits need a Peter Pan, someone with the big vision of how things should be.  But what they really need is a Wendy, someone who knows how to sew the pockets on.  Vision is important, but, fundamentally, nothing gets done without the pockets.  You don't want a Peter Pan for your E.D., you want an überWendy,  So, yeah, I get the pocket thing.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

In all seriousness, who is Dr. Narbon even going to call on that? And why would it be worth being traced by INTERPOL? And how did they run phone lines to an abandoned diamond mine deep in Brazil? And who is going to deliver... NNNNGGGGGG. Sanity. SANITY. ::breathes:: Close one. NICE TRY, NARBON!

il biggo (biggo) says:

Cordless phone.

With fixed keypad.

Well, it's a mad scientist's lair, after all.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Of course she has a phone by the bed ... how else would she order Chinese food and box wine delivery while ravishing her captives?

Tyler Wright (tylgar) says:

Hehe.  Gotta love mad scientists and their inability to think things through.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Cordless phone.

With fixed keypad.

Well, it's a mad scientist's lair, after all.

Such things existed in the Dawn Times.
Diane Castle (deecee) says:

I just can't believe that Artie of all people misspelled 'occasionally'.  He must have done it on purpose to throw off eavesdroppers.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: ... which is how Dr. Narbon finds out that Artie is working for her daughter. That's kind of awesome.
Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

You'll probably eat those words tomorrow, Artie.

Steven Ehrbar (see) says:

In all seriousness, who is Dr. Narbon even going to call on that?

Her daughter, of course.  To ask her daughter why she hasn't been calling.

Rob (rrreed) says: Tsk, Shaenon, cordless phones with fixed keypads still exist! It's usually a supplemental keypad to use with a speakerphone in the base for when the handset isn't… handy.
Chris Robertson (hiddenwindshield) says:

I have a phone exactly like that. The base is also a speakerphone, and the keypad means that it can be used without the handset.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Well, each of them is technically providing half a life, in genetic terms...
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I think Dave figured out how to do the Konami code on Helen. 

Wayne (wayne) says:

Just because Dave could possibly be a little quick off the trigger first time doesn't mean he might not be able to rally the troops and be ready for a second encounter quickly.  Happy Fun Time = Foreplay + Really Happy Fun Time + After Play which can easily lead to Rinse & Repeat.  I, for one, really like the Cuddling In The Afterglow phase, especially since it can lead to Rinse & Repeat.

Michael Suttkus (suttkus) says:

I can understand the scepticism that he would need an hour, but who thinks Dave would know how long Dave would need?

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

@Wayne: Thanks for sharing.  Are you busy Saturday night?

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Is that radioactive waste, or the new, weird Pepsi symbol?

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Okay, I admit on occasion to have made light of the artist's tendency to draw disembodied heads emerging from behind vertical edges (24 times), but I think today's example is... stretching even my patience.

But I will also admit to approving of the little symbolic detail of Mell's door knocking over the wineglass.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Mell's philosophy: shoot first.

What do you mean, "questions"?

James Mirkle (jmzlost) says:

Is there a difference?

Neil Smith (usoki) says:

Outside of the excellent Mell/Caliban dialogue you always write, I think these next few weeks have some of the best Mell one-liners.  There's something about a silent Artie that makes for a great foil.

Rob (acoustic_rob) says:

Sam: Why can't it be both?

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I have to keep reminding myself that, at this point, Mell does not recognize Artie in his new outfit.

Ruben Krasnopolsky (ruben) says:

I like Mell's cheerful "You wanna be?" ...

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Sam: Is there a difference?

Wayne (wayne) says:

It's new, weird Radioactive Pepsi!  Gets over 700 MPG in fusion-reactor equipped Deloreans!

Wayne (wayne) says:

@Kay: Saturday is yoga, the air show/open house at Holloman AFB (take many good photos opportunity) followed by homework, possibly housework, and prepping for the HTML class that I'm teaching next week.  Next Saturday I'm going to Phoenix, and with my wife's work schedule, the second or later Saturday in November would be much better as she has most of the month off.

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Barrels of wine, I'd presume. Irradiated wine?
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

'Authorservice' isn't a real word, or even a trope name, but today's episode is loaded from start to end with whatever that word, were it real, might signify.

Fourth-wall dialogue: 63.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Shall We Dance" from "The King And I", Rodgers and Hammerstein)

He needs pants!
In this evil remote Brazilian lair!
He needs pants!
He might settle, at least, for underwear!
Just a glance
Shows us more than he really wants to share ...
Artie looks so beguiling
When he's starkers, Mell is smiling
And she won't even look askance!
His complete lack of trouser
Will amuse her and arouse her!
He needs pants!  He needs pants!  He needs pants!

(confusador) says:

Leon, there's a trope for everything: Author Appeal

Though this is certainly the acceptable, even encouraged, sort

James Rice (jhrice) says:

I also really liked Mell's first line.  Of course I'd have really liked to have seen it too.

Jed Blue (froborr) says:

Something about the last panel bugged me for a while. Eventually I figured out that it's the way Mell's holding her gun. Specifically, she cannot possibly fire it from that position, even accidentally. I just can't see Mell ever holding a gun that way, it would be like a panel showing her putting the safety on.

Young Helen is completely adorkable, though. Much love for that.

@Leon: Wouldn't that fall under the trope "Author Appeal"?

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Mell's first line falls under the tropes of Noodle Incident and also Offscreen Moment Of Awesome.  (And whatever tropes cover author/artist laziness.)

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says: Ed: A massively funny filk! However, to complete it, you need the introduction to the song as well: We've just been introduced I don not know you well But you transported in and interfered with our great feud The Doc and I agree You're sexy as can be And so, our plan, hunky man, is to keep you in the nude (Who needs pants?)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I agree, Mell's "I've seen your junk" is one of my favorite all-time lines.

(TUNE: "Think", Aretha Franklin)

I've seen your junk!  (JUNK!)
Seen your junk when you're standing in the nude!
I've seen your junk!  (JUNK JUNK!)
Drop the sheet and don't be such a prude!

Let's go down, let's go down, let's go way down to Brazil ...
You ask what I'm doin', I tell you I'm sent down here to kill!
I'm a black ops specialist, and I know what "secret" means,
But there ain't no use in bein' obtuse when I've seen your franks & beans!

I've seen your junk!  (JUNK!)
Seen your junk when you were standing there!
I've seen your junk!  (JUNK JUNK!)
You were lettin' your li'l friend get some air!

Seen your ... seen your ... seen your ... weiner!
Seen your ... seen your ... seen your ... weeeeeeiinerrrrrrrr!

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