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Smithson Thus Far... ·


This was one of the last strips I wrote for this storyline. You can always tell a plot-advancing strip by the walls of dialogue.

Artie may be judging Mell too harshly here. Or maybe not. It comes up again before the end of Narbonic.

The note was for Eric Burns of Websnark, who had recently expressed skepticism about "infinite canvas" webcomics. I wish I'd done more of this kind of thing in Narbonic, although it plays hell on the print collections.

I managed to get through this entire storyline without drawing the exterior of Dr. Narbon's lair. Good work, me!

How do they stay balanced in this position? For two strips, even?

Artie's fear of heights, at least when he's in human form, comes up later. At this point I was getting close to the end of the strip and didn't have space to build up a lot of additional foreshadowing, but one little detail couldn't hurt, right?

Seriously, that's one heck of a balancing act.

For Dr. Narbon, this whole thing is just an opportunity to fake her own death for the zillionth time so she can get the Dave Conspiracy off her butt. As far as she's concerned, everything's worked out just fine.

Beyond that, I wanted to do a classic Falling Villain Death. The trope particularly befits a mad scientist, as it so neatly symbolizes a hubristic fall. There will be another one before the end of Narbonic. [BIG SPOILERS: The Narbonic universe being generally friendly to mad scientists, neither one actually ends in death.]

Well, that was good timing. I like the way the art came out in this one, even though most of the background shapes were created by just tracing my French curves. I've never figured out how to use French curves.

You people are going to make inappropriate jokes now, aren't you.

I remember writing this one pretty late in the storyline. I think I've mentioned this before, but I always enjoyed drawing Mell's little vigilante outfit. This storyline got me accustomed to drawing her hair swept back from her forehead, which I started doing a lot more in the last year of Narbonic.

Mell drops the idea of assassinating Dave after this storyline, only to pick it up again later when Dave causes her additional problems in "Angels."

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

If it's a sonic thing, will it turn you into a hedgehog?

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: DUN, DUN, DUN!!!
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: I'm almost afraid to ask what said sonic thing is *really* for...
Leon Arnott (l) says:

"How the HECK are you going to do this one in print?"
--Noah Ramon, 14 June 2005.

--Shaenon Garrity, 15 June 2005.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: I WANT one of those.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Five Hundred Miles", Hedy West)

Artie, please!  Don't go that way!
Kindly listen when I say
You must stop, or you will drop
A thousand feet ...
A thousand feet, a thousand feet!
Although the view is kinda neat,
To your end you will descend
A thousand feet!

I advise you to come back!
There's some info that you lack ...
Through that door, there is no floor
For you to stand ...
Nowhere to stand, 'cause it was planned
That you would land on rocks and sand!
Through that door, no floor no more
For you to stand!

When you post this strip online,
Canvas Infinite works fine ...
Ah, but when
You print it, then
How will it fit?
How will it fit, how will it fit?
We'll have to fold it just a bit!
Crease and tuck, and with some luck,
We'll make it fit!

Jim Crider (autojim) says:

I particularly dig the macaws flying by the waterfall. Because Brazil! :)

Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says:

I believe that this was the point when I started reading Narbonic daily despite the archives being behind the subscription wall.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

Dr. N last used this kind of flying tackle during Helen Beta's parent-teacher meetings, which, for reasons owing to Dr. N, also involved thousand-foot drops.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

How do they stay balanced in this position?

'Cause Dr. Narbon has mad balancing skillz.  (Get it?  "Mad" skillz?  Hee heeeeee, I kill me ...)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Jon Stout: Yeah, especially given where she found it. Or maybe she just needed to clear out the colony of flesh-eating waterbugs.
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: /* [BIG SPOILERS: The Narbonic universe being generally friendly to mad scientists, neither one actually ends in death.] */ I've always figured that the God of the Narbonic universe is a bit of a mad scientist Himself/Herself. Both fictionally and metafictionally, come to think of it.
Michael Taub (otakuloki) says:

"You people are going to make inappropriate jokes now, aren't you."


No.  You've already made all the good ones in your head.  It's no fun if we're just repeating ones you've already heard.  :(

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Well not now.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: "Never send a man to do a rodent's job!"
(I'll let you figure out what the job is)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

You don't need French curves, you have Irish curves.  Which are what attracted Andrew.

(TUNE: "Drive My Car", The Beatles)

Now Doc and Artie fell out the door!
And I don't see either one no more!
But then a voice that's familiar I hear,
That says, "Mell, could you reach down here?"

Not to say how cute you are?
Artie, ooo, that's oh so hard!
Doctor Narbon's fallen far,
So what do we do now?
(ohcrap, ohcrapcrap!)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Isn't that the point of French curves? To provide a compact selection of curves you can trace?
Mason Kramer (masonlk) says:

How is now different from any other time?

Tim Jewett (ryushikaze) says:

There are no innappropriate jokes about french curves. Plenty of downright filthy and salacious ones, but they are all appropriate.

Wayne (wayne) says:

I tried tracing some French curves once, but she was ticklish and wouldn't stop giggling and twitching.

Thomas Plummer (dracomax2011) says:

Heh, heh, heh. Good timing. 


What? French curves are serious buisness,

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

Right, not now, obviously. Later. Over daiquiris.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

"So sorry to inconvenience you." Harsh, Artie, harsh.

Simply as a matter of spectacle, I quite like this ending. Unanticipated transformation at a critical moment is a trope as old as Cinderella, but it nonetheless still has a dreamlike charm to it. And our two characters, having been brought physically closer together earlier on, now find themselves emotionally closer than either of them realised.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Of course, by the time Mell (dang it, does she get one L or two?) picks up the idea again, it'll be too late -- Dave will be quite able to defend himself.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile