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Smithson Thus Far... ·


It is possible that these are actual endearments used by actual people who may or may not be Andrew and myself. No comment.

Helen's poster advertises Vigoradium, one of many turn-of-the-century radioactive health products. Back in the early days of radiation science, people weren't sure exactly how it worked, but it could be used to treat diseases like cancer, so it must be healthy. Right? So people bought radioactive drinks and pitchers that would irradiate your water and whatnot. Until people's jaws started falling off. This is one of the reasons the U.S. now has the FDA.

Iris has threatened to run her Sailor Moon game in the past. Now she's finally made good. This was based on a game run by my friend Laura, the basis for Iris.

Freddy, the blond guy, is wearing a T-shirt that reads "Mock Man." Mockman Press is the imprint of my friend Jason Thompson, the basis for Freddy. Speaking of which, go order Jason's new Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath graphic novel collection! It's great!

I love Dave's little tweed cap. I used to wear caps like this all the time, but I kept losing them. It was too heartbreaking.

Eric, the goateed fellow, is wearing a Mick Foley "WANTED: Cactus Jack" T-shirt. Because Eric is awesome, that's why. I love the way he came out in this strip, by the way.

Iris's game, what little we hear of it, is loosely based on the Hades arc of the manga Saint Seiya, a.k.a. Knights of the Zodiac, which I edited for Viz, and which is also awesome.

Man, Iris has giant arms in that third panel.

This comes up later in Narbonic, but now there's a whole other "Battlestar Galactica" for Dave to acquire on DVD. It's a great big beautiful tomorrow.

For the first time, I went to the trouble of having the gaming group sit around a table and drawing it from different angles, instead of having them all sit in a row, Knights of the Dinner Table style. This represents a lot of effort on my part, so I hope yinz appreciate it.

This strip is supposed to be a setup for horrible destructive things happening to Iris's house, but not everybody seems to get it. So, um, sorry. Sometimes writing is hard.

As I've mentioned before, Iris is based on my friend Laura. Her husband collects insects, and they've got a pretty sweet bug collection in their house. They also have a lot of nerd toys, hence the action figures under glass in the first panel. Incidentally, I believe they're Sailor Moon, Batman, and Death.

You can tell I was trying to put some effort into actually drawing backgrounds and stuff. I'm not sure what plane each individual item exists on, but at least there's recognizable appliances and cabinetry and so on. And Dave's even got a two-liter of the popular Ellmann's Own soda.

The apple in the first panel is based on a supermarket Disney encyclopedia when I was a kid. The subject of that particular volume was art, and there was a page where Mickey and friends showed you how to paint shades of color using a painting of an apple as an example. The apple had this enormously exaggerated, multi-colored shine that, even as a kid, struck me as weird-looking. For years, growing up, I wondered if I had some kind of vision problem because the colors on that apple, the very model of Disney-approved coloring, looked wrong to me. I was close to 30 before it occurred to me that it was probably just a badly-painted apple.

Also, I never did learn how to do shading.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

It's the 'surreptitious' part that makes it perfect.

Off-panel head pokes: 30. Dave's body got nauseated halfway through panel 2 and left his head and both hands bobbing in midair. By panel 3 it's trying to start the car using only Dave's wrists.
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Also the drinks, plates, and such glowed so pretty....

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Strangers In The Night", Kaempfert, Singleton, & Snider)

It cures your ills now!
No need for pills now!
It give you en-er-gy ...

Want to lose some weight
And be a winner?
Just irradiate
Your freakin' innards!
You'll be feeling great,
For all the world to see!

Your tackle super-sizing!
Your girlfriend finds surprising
Just how much you've grown!
If she'd only known ...
New-found talents you'll be showing,
In the dark, your d**k is glowing!

You're no longer sad,
Your spirit's flying!
Really, it's too bad
You'll soon be dying!
If you're really dumb,
Take Vigoradium!

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Hmm.  I guess you weren't kidding about "No comment(s)".

Sean Duggan (duggansc) says: Of course, these days, you just get "supplements" of questionable provenance from companies that are desperately fighting laws that might require them to report if people die after using their products...
Cat Bascle (mage_cat) says:

I get an extra giggle out of this because when I was an undergrad, my university's anime club's mascot was a lion girl called Rumi-chan. The university's mascot was a lion named Roomie after an old football coach, so when when of the members designed the club mascot, we just went with the obvious for her name.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eee!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

The best part of this strip is how seriously they're all taking the game.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: Theme from "Sailor Moon")

Off to play on a weeknight!
Keeping his innermost geek right!
Help the innocent and weak fight!
A Sailor Moon role-playing game!

Fighting all these monsters will tire us,
As we find a scroll of papyrus ...
Got a mean GM whose name is Iris!
She runs the role-
Playing game!

N B (daveclone7) says:

I get a little nerdy giggle just from the fact that the 12-sider is about the most useless die there is.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Honestly, the only thing that seems unrealistic to me here is that the players would actually put up with having to put that much effort into the transformation sequences. As opposed to "Oh, I totally was transformed! This entire time! See, look at my character sheet!" C'mon. Someone else had to be thinking it.
Chris (khade) says:

They probably just do each transformation a few times in the whole campaign, the first time, whenever they really want an impressive slo-mo transformation, just before the climax, and if they get a new powerup that changes the costume.  Any more is just filler.  I'd suggest using Nanoha as an example, each character gets a full transformation twice per season, the first one, and the last one, with maybe one to show off the new suit.  Been a while since I last saw that one.

John Wells (johnwwells) says:

I think I played this with my sister when I was little, except it was called Pretty Pretty Princess and she mostly was interested in getting me as dolled up as possible.

I was a very docile big brother.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

It's only when Dave falls in love that he starts gloryhogging his Helen-induced exploits. Truly, a vast well of five years' worth of pressurised braggartry has burst forth. There are no survivors.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

According to Danielle Corsetto (backed up by the Chicago Manual of Style), it should be S.O.'s

Without the apostrophe, it looks like a distress signal, and without the periods it looks like slang. (I wrote this so's you could understand.)

Ain't puncuation fun?

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Leon, thanks for letting me add "gloryhogging" to my vocabulary.

Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says:

I hope you realize, Ed, that I'm expecting a classy riff on one of my favorite songs from the musical 1776; "Sit Down, John!".  If I had any skill at filking I'd feel bound to do it myself.

(confusador) says:

I'll have to disagree with the CMS on this one (surprise), since I read S.O.'s as "Significant Other's", eg "my girlfriend's cat."

Maybe "S.O.s"?  That would still be confusing at the end of a sentence, but looks all right elsewhere.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

This discussion is subtly, eerily portentious, especially coming out of last Saturday's strip. It's not so much foreshadowing as an ironic reminder of turmoil to come - a dark mood invisible to all but the reader.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Shaenon, you're not old enough to remember "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", are you?  I saw the "Century Of Progress" exhibit at the New York World's Fair in 1964.

(TUNE: "Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow", Sherman & Sherman)

There's a bright new Battlestar collection
Coming out this month on DVD!
Yes, a bright new Battlestar collection,
And Adama's calling out to me!

Dave has a love, so new and pure!
His friends say "Enough!" because they're sure
That time will pass and his love will fade,
But he's unafraid ...
Unless he's swayed

By a bright new Battlestar collection!
Coming out this month on DVD!
What a bright new Battlestar collection!
I'll buy two or three!

Matt Buchwald (themysticalone) says:

Yinz! I lvoe it when you speak Pittsburgh.

Lenore Hoyt (landsnark) says:

Maybe "we all have Essos"?  I'm surprised at the style manual using the "grocer's apostrophe" to pluralize S.O.  There's just no way for this not to look awkward in print.


"For the first time, I went to the trouble of having the gaming group sit around a table and drawing it from different angles..."  And it looks GREAT--it always surprises me to look back at earlier strips and see the dramatic difference in style and sophistication of the artwork, since the change is so gradual through time as not to be noticed when I'm reading the serial in order.  This strip seems to my (admittedly untrained) eye to be a really developed and mature piece of work.

Sam Robb (samrobb) says:

Yinz.  You are truly in tune with your Pittsburgh roots n'at :-)

Chris Brunner (cjbrunner) says: For the record, I got it, and I thought it was *hilarious*!
Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I have been routinely impressed by your readers' intelligence and wit, but not everybody got this!?  What part of "I tend to cause foreshadowing" is remotely ambiguous?  That's as funny a fourth-wall break as anyone has ever written.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

When I first read this, this was my favourite strip of at least the past year.

Also, I really like her blouse. It really conveys just how much more respectable she is than basically everyone else in the webcomic.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: This seems pretty obvious to me... it's like whenever you see someone carrying a cake somewhere on TV. You know it can't end well...
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

I thought it was a great sequence:

  • Panel 1:  Long-time readers get it.
  • Panel 2:  Drop-in readers get it.
  • Panel 3:  Iris gets it.
  • Panel 4:  Dave lampshades it.


Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Me And My Shadow", Billy Rose & Dave Dreyer)

See me foreshadow,
In your house so nice and clean!
It may get bad, oh!
Your collections smashed to smithereens!

Each fragile antique vase,
The real Persian rugs ...
Each glass collection case
The rare mounted bugs!

But, see me foreshadow ...
Having an a-po-ca-lyp-tic scene!

Wayne (wayne) says:

That would be such an awesome super power: Causes Foreshadowing.  It would probably cost like Luck or Unluck, 15 points per dice.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: /* This strip is supposed to be a setup for horrible destructive things happening to Iris's house, but not everybody seems to get it. So, um, sorry. Sometimes writing is hard. */ Hey, *I* got it. I thought you did fine.
Village Wizard (villagewizard) says:

I can't exactly remember whether I got it, but I strongly suspect I didn't. It wasn't really obvious. Not for anyone not intimately familiar with the relevant genres, anyway. Seems to me you probably have to love to overanalyze, instead of liking to just go with the flow, in order to have the mindset to understand this kind of joke.

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