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Hey, new storyline! And after this we're really getting into the end of Narbonic, and I can't believe we're nearly already there.

Dave is looking good because of increased confidence and whatnot (look how much better his posture is!), but also because he's not wearing that flannel shirt all the time. It's got to be getting pretty worn out after five years.

The box in the first panel is labeled "Spare Heads," another Red Dwarf reference. Mell is reading Bitch magazine, to which I still have a subscription. Good magazine!

Man, that's a big jar of pickled eyeballs on the shelf. Who needs to buy pickled eyeballs in bulk? The box in the foreground contains gersters, the hamster-gerbil hybrid (which looks exactly like a gerbil) that was Helen's first mad-science creation, as explained way back in this week of strips.

Also, it appears that Helen has followed through on her threat to kick Dave out of the Secret Meeting Closet in this week. Which is good, because there's no point to a Secret Meeting Closet unless you always have someone to keep it secret from.

This is basically just a filler strip, here to re-establish the plot (it's really easy to forget what's going on in Narbonic by this point), fill out the week, and draw Mell toting a giant gun around. By this time I wasn't all that interested in making sure that every week ended on a cliffhanger, especially since not everyone read the strip on Saturday anyway, but was very important to me that the particular strip at the end of this week fall where it did. For emphasis.

All that said, I always like seeing Helen's cheerful handwritten notes in the backgrounds of strips. The sign in panels 2-3 reads, "Danger! Do not open the slow cooker!", a reference to events in Jeffrey Wells's ongoing Very Long Fanfic.

Around this time I got an old Life Science Library book on machines out of the free-book bin outside a bookstore and started using it for visual reference. Hence the big industrial lathe thing in the first panel. It came out looking pretty sweet.

The books in the background of the second panel are The Starbuck Avenger and Mundementia One, two of Jeffrey Wells's serial online fictions. Happily, you can read them on his LiveJournal.

Mars has underground steam caverns when present-day Dave and Helen go there. When the Victorian cast goes there, it has an army of shapeshifting alien women. It's probably because of the quantum.

This strip is awesome and deserves all the prizes. I basically drew the entirety of Narbonic so I could draw this.

And yes, Mell is sorting a big bin of grenades. Because REASONS.

Sooo...this is kind of an important strip. I tried very hard to avoid doing strips without punchlines, but every once in a long while it had to be done.

The movie is Bride of Frankenstein, the model for all mad-scientist fiction. Beyond that, I don't have much to say, except that I'm still pleased that I drew such good cars in the first panel. Drawing cars is hard.

34 comments:
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

Mell is now regretting all those times she only almost killed Dave.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "She's A Beauty", The Tubes)

Dave is clean, and freshly shaved!
He's looking happy and well-behaved!
What a strange good mood he's in!
It's rather peculiar, 'cause he's never been!

When I mention all these things to Mell,
She will retch and she'll be repelled!
Though some things I'm not sure about,
Still, I must admit,
Dave's a cutie!
He's looking serene and fit ...
Dave's a cutie!
(Ew, please don't say!
I know, but hey!)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Hey, I've got flannel shirts that are at least 20 years old and still decent looking.  (Some might be 30 years old!)  Of course I don't wear the same shirt (or even exclusively flannel) all the time....

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: The best part about this, of course, is how horrified Mell seems to admit it.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

"Are you enjoying instant?" is the best line, implying that the loss of break room appliances is the most important issue, and, additionally, that no one can bother to buy new ones.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Venus", Frankie Avalon)

Hey Deimos ... oh Deimos ...

Deimos in the stars,
That orbits 'round the ruddy planet Mars,
Our coffeemaker's now your satellite ...
That simply isn't right!

Deimos, we have found
Why folks prefer the coffee that is ground,
'Cause instant tastes like mud that's slight hot ...
We need our coffeepot!

Deimos!  Greek god of terror you are!
Son of the god of war!
Now you're a coffee bar!

Deimos, if I may
Request a cappuccino down this way?
Vanilla shot, and easy on the foam ...
Send Mr. Coffee home!

D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

I think the real question is 'Who doesn't need to buy pickled eyeballs in bulk?'

Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says:

Actually, that's one of the more impressive  (and impressively drawn) giant guns that Mell is toting.  Reminds me vaguely of a GW flamer.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

I think we're overlooking the most important detail: that sliding metal door in panel 1 has two middle seams? How does that work?

Helen is beginning to suspect that Mell has been caching firearms in the hallways. She distrusts this kind of lair security, much preferring, in the case of intruders, to push the button on her desk that opens all the specimen tanks in unison.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Big Freakin' (tm) Gun count: 47

Michael McLawhorn (mhoram) says:

I remember my frequent disorientation because I would check narbonic from work, and history was behind the paywall, so I'd keep missing out on important events only to have their resolution first thing on Monday.

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

@Leon: The door's open. You can tell because the middle part doesn't have those diagonal "This Surface Is Shiny Metal" lines on it.

Why the black floor appears to stop at the threshold is not altogether clear. I'm guessing on the far side of that doorway is a white-floored room full of light that's bright enough to obscure the view of whatever else might be in there. Either that, or a giant room-filling blob of white yogurt or something.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

It doesn't have two seams, Leon; it's just open at the moment. Note shiny lines on the door panels that are absent in the open space.

I note that Helen's line isn't, "Where do you keep those?", it's "Where do they come from?" I had previously assumed that Mell was stealing stuff that Helen (or Dave) had built and stashing it in hammerspace, but now I'm entertaining the possibility that Mell is actually spontaneously generating weaponry through sheer force of will. I'm guessing she picked it up as a feat at level-up after having to go through the hell of living on an island where hardly anything was a gun.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

The best part of the Underground Steam Caverns of Mars is the low Martian gravity - it's like real-life sensual slow-motion.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "All I Have to Do Is Dream", The Everly Brothers)

We're underground
On planet Mars!
There's no one 'round ...
The place is ours!
You know that I want you
In the Martian cave ... of Steam!
(Steam, steam, steam!)

I didn't pack
A bathing suit!
When clothes you lack,
You look so cute!
We'll do what we want to
In the Martian cave ... of Steam!

Dave is nearly gone ...
Helen's working on
Neural nerve nuclease!
She can find a cure,
I'm sure!
But not for a couple of days!

Now we'll defrost
In Martian spa,
Where Helen lost
Her blouse and bra!
There's nothing we can't do
In the Martian cave ... of Steam!

The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

Always the bloody quantum!

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Hey, it's not like the Victorian cast ever went underground. Besides, maybe the shapeshifting alien women decided to branch out into tourism.
Jonathan Yao (jonathansce) says:

I like that Dave undid Helen's hair bun.

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

Those are good enough REASONS for me.

JP Chabot (speedball) says:

You know, a couple swapping into each other's bodies could be a great trust-building exercise if they could reproduce it.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

It's a little bit exhiliarting that this webcomic, having already developed a heady library of transformation and teleportation storylines, is now skipping over several largely equivalent storylines in rapid succession in just this one week.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh heh heh, as the saying goes.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

This is about the third or fourth different way that Dave's gone to Helen back.

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

However, it may have gone too far if they reproduce *during* it.

Neil Smith (usoki) says:

I love how we can tell that's really Dave simply because of the slouched posture. It really says a lot about the variety of your art style.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Can't help but notice that that's not a promise, Dave.

John Wells (johnwwells) says:

This is easily one of my favorites. Maybe it's just because I'm a huge fan of Dr. Pretorius, but I think the expressions in the last panel are a perfect bridge to the rest of the story.

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

The overlay of those lines from the movie is so awesome.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

This is a memorable strip indeed. I didn't notice that those highly apropos quotes were verbatim film dialogue until you mentioned it.

(It can only be out of a goofy love-soaked sense of irony that both of these people have chosen to watch Bride of Frankenstein.)

What's interesting is that both of them know of a future where they have stopped loving each other. Dave believes it can no longer happen, and Helen knows one reason why it still could.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

I notice he didn't actually promise...

Joel Brackenbury (mockferret) says:

 

This raises an interesting point - given Dr. Narbon Senior's claims of Dr Praetorius trying to flirt with her, is Bride of Frankenstein a documentary in the Narbonic-universe?

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: I personally love the parallels between the dialogue and Helen-and-Dave's situation.
Charles Wilson (roidesfaux) says:

I have long considered this to be one of the best Narbonic strips ever.

John Dallman (jgd) says:

"It still sends us reports from Deimos" is a great response to any vague reference to a piece of equipment. I plan to apply it to work's computer recycling.

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