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Smithson Thus Far... ·


I like that Caliban gets a little character moment here, but really, this strip is mostly good for the exchange between Helen and Dave in the first panel. Sometimes the punchline ends up in the first panel, and there's nothing you can do about it.

It's hard to draw a crowd of characters and make them all turn out the right size and so on. This came out okay, though you'll notice I made up for the difficulty of fitting all those characters together by not bothering to draw any backgrounds.

At last Caliban's figuring out how life works in the Narboniverse. Good for him. Also, I drew a pretty good armchair.

Look! I got circle templates for drawing word balloons!

Serrognathus platymelus siki is the stag beetle. Those guys are great! They're huge and want to crawl all over you and freak you out with their enormousness.

I wrote this one fairly early. You can see the microwave is unplugged in the strips where Dave is working on it. Foreshadowing!

I wish I'd come up with clever refrigerator magnets to draw in the background.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but of all the possible concepts for hypothetical Narbonic spinoffs, "Seth and Caliban sharing an apartment" is still my favorite. Seth is just so great for everything.

(Okay, technically Li'l Mell and Skin Horse are both Narbonic spinoffs. But they don't have Seth in them.)

Mallomars aren't vegan either. Artie keeps drifting further away from moral purity. He's vulnerable to the temptations of the flesh.

Googling this issue brought up a bunch of links to recipes for homemade vegan Mallomars. I refuse to believe that's a good idea.

Matthew Mather (madtinkerer) says:

"Sometimes the punchline ends up in the first panel, and there's nothing you can do about it."

In the Portal series, especially Portal 2, great care is taken to establish particular patterns of comic dialogue in order to twist and break those patterns later on to keep things fresh.

In my optinion, sometimes you really should put the punchline in the first panel to keep things fresh. It certainly didn't hurt in Portal 2.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "The Marines' Hymn" aka "The Halls Of Montezuma", author unknown)

In the balls of Dave P. Dav-en-port,
I can put my mortal fist!
In the junction where the hairs are short,
Where the tissue won't resist!

With his yet-still-living lady friend,
There will be no fun tonight!
But one fact on which you can depend,
Being mortal sure does bite!

Rodford Smith (stickmaker) says:


Nothing Helen can't fix.

On second thougt...

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

You're off by a week, Dave.

Kether Malkuth (kether) says:

Oh, Iris's husband shouldn't be worried about his beetles. I'm pretty sure Helen can clone as many as he wants. She can even add extras.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

No one is even trying to put out those comedy background flames. Which is appropriate, because they can't actually set anything alight. Iris could roll around in them and barely dry the ichor out of her hair.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

So if a crushed beetle is left behind ... Ariel must be Sgt. Snorkel?

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Whether or not Dave unplugged the appliance before working on it, and then forgot to re-plug it when he turned it on, or whether Dave really did encounter it unplugged and subconsciously ignored the obvious solution for the more self-interested one, is anyone's guess.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Today, if Dave tried the same thing, it would start summoning Ford F-150 pickup trucks.

(Because it's a "Mike Rowe" wave, that's why.)


Reuben Phillips (psychohippie) says: (facepalm @ Mike Rowe wave)
Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

Ed, that was one of the most spectacular puns I've heard in a very long time. You totally just made my fortnight (or "Ford-night"?).

fluffy <3 (fluffy) says:

Well jeeze, I'd HOPE he'd be smart enough to unplug it before working on it.

Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:


Seth is a pretty awesome concept. the hopeless geek, thrust into a real life Adventure story. returns to earth a badass. still a hopeless geek.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

And they're not hypothetical.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

The best way for Iris to escape the chaos of multi-eyed planar beings and ruined floor tiles is to retreat into a shōjo fantasyscape immediately.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

If Caliban got killed by his roommate and went back to Hell, would that be a fate worse than Seth?

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Well, with Sergio in Skin Horse, Seth could show up too. Maybe Anasigma hired him to do the extirpating.
Pete (westrider) says:

I would totally read "Seth and Caliban share an apartment"!

Tho it could maybe use a slightly catchier title ;)

Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says:

Seth needs to be in Li'l Mell.  Or Skin Horse.  Or both.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: What's a Mallomar?
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

I don't shapeshift often, but when I do, I eat large Reese's Cups.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

This might well be the only reference to that elephant-in-the-room, the Shapeshifter Baggage trope. Albeit a very oblique one.

(If this really is the secret of Artie's ability to produce 6+ feet of humanity from less than a foot of rodentia, then all I can say is, Popeye he ain't.)
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "When You Wish Upon A Star", Washington & Harline)

When you're stealing Mallomars,
Don't need other candy bars ...
When you raid your boss's desk,
She yells at you!

Center is marshmallow goo,
And they're choc'late-covered, too!
What a dish!  They're so delish,
They can't be true!

    Hu-man taste,
    Sensing such ecstacy!
    I hear them calling me,
    "Come eat us, Artie!"

Though they make my tummy sick,
Wash them down with Nestle's Quik!
When you're eating Mallomars,
Your teeth ... rot ... through!

Bernard Sheehan (smilodon) says:

One of the most delicious cookies you can buy. Unfortunatley it's out of season right now (they're a winter thing.) Now I really want one. Oh well Fall isn't that far off.

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

Quick google reveals biscuit, topped with marshmallow, coated in chocolate. As a point of reference for my fellow Brits. it looks pretty much like a Tunnocks Teacake.

Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says:

Mallomars are delicious, is what they are.  And yeah, a vegan marshmallow is probably a pretty poor marshmallow.

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