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Smithson Thus Far... ·


All I remember about this strip is that it took forever to draw, by my standards. I mean, I drew that door four times. That's, like, four doors!

Artie's relatively new job as Helen's lab assistant continues when he's not in human form, apparently.

Yeah, so over in Skin Horse, Unity is a construct zombie with a cloned brain. Her brain apparently came from the DNA of a top assassin which was sold to the government by a mad scientist. And that's all I have to say about that, except that it's nice when everything falls together so neatly.

Aw, I like this one. I probably should have drawn more one-off gags about Artie changing form. Speaking of which, his earlier efforts to control his shapeshifting through Zen meditation must have paid off, because he seems to have a handle on it now.

Artie's yelling blows Helen's hair out of its bun. Ah, cartooniness. Excellent.

From here to the end of the week is a plot-heavy, foreshadowing-heavy sequence of strips, and it was hard to make it funny. Funny and ominous don't go all that well together. But this strip is pretty good, mainly because I enjoyed drawing Artie being exasperated.

Helen looks like she can't believe she did it herself.

A while back, I commented that the main point-of-view character changed from Dave to Artie around the end of "Lovelace Affair." You can really tell in a sequence like this, which is basically Artie dealing with the issue of What to Do About Dave.

I don't know what the little logo on his T-shirt is. I should have thought of something clever, but Artie doesn't seem like the type to wear clever T-shirts. By the time of Skin Horse, he's taken to wearing shirts advertising the various causes he earnestly supports, probably acquired as freebies for volunteering to collect signatures outside the Berkeley Bowl, but at this point in his life he doesn't have those.

End of the year, 2005! I can't believe we're already entering the final year. I'm getting teary-eyed...

Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

It says something about how much leeway they gave Mell in life that the cacophony of rapidly dwindling ammunition supplies is something they're missing.

(I choose to believe that instead they're pining for her hitherto unseen daily afternoon showtunes performances.)
Marni Rachmiel (marniferous) says:

This strip is a whole new angle on Memorial Day.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

All hopes that Unity would not turn out to be related to Mell on more than just a conceptual level were as futile as they were ignorant of our author's nefarious whims.

What does it say of Helen that Mell is suddenly "ones"? Any moment now she'll be mentally demoted to "the office intern" and jotted down on a resupply form.

Stunned Penultimate Panels: 49. It's really quite improbable that Helen vacuumed up every hair and spit glob the girl ever shedded and hocked - what she really means is she sold the IP rights of her genome to the goverment.
Chris (khade) says:

He He He!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "M-O-T-H-E-R", Howard Johnson)

M is for Munitions that she smuggled ...
E is for Explosions in the field ...
L is for the Law books that she studied ...
O is for the Ordinance she'd wield ...
D is for her DNA we sold off ...
Y, she went up Yonder Yesterday ...
Put them all together, she's the Mother
Of Unity, who's built to slay!

Matthew Mather (madtinkerer) says:

So that would technically make Unity and Mell... sisters?

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

I see Artie found a way to instantly dress after transforming.  Helen must have been so disappointed.

Yesterday, Matthew Mather suggested that Mell and Unity are sisters:
tune: "Sisters," Irving Berlin, White Christmas, 1954

Sisters, sisters
We're a scary pair of killer sisters
I can fight 'til every foe is overthrown
I'm just like her: my brain's a clone!

Caring, sharing
DNA of which you should be-waring
I'll be President and bring apocalypse
I can sew on new nips and hips

We're very violent
And rarely silent
We'll challenge you to a brawl
We haven't met yet
But, if we do, bet
On mayhem that ends us all

Helen Narbon
Sold some DNA to make a carbon
Many men have tried to beat them up, but they're all dead
Lord help us all should
These two join their forces for no good
'Cuz I'm an assassin
And I'm gonna nom on your head!

John Wells (johnwwells) says:

I just realized that Artie is basically the gerbil equivalent of Bruce Banner. I am kind of chagrined that it took me so long to make that connection.

il biggo (biggo) says:

(*hic!*) CRASH! scuffle

Heh .-)

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Papa, Can You Hear Me?", Marilyn & Alan Bergman and Michel Legrand)

Helen, do you hear me?
Right there, standing near me,
Quietly at work, you turn away ...

Now my shape I'm shifting!
Now your hair I'm lifting!
Now you're taking heed of what I'm say-ing ...

Dave's become a danger!
Ev'ry day, he's acting stranger
Than before!
Madness breaking out!
So here's a warning I will shout,
You can't ignore!

I verbally attack now!
Your hair is blowing back now!
A faceful of alfalfa breath, a small saliva shower!
Helen, hear me shouting!
You respond by pouting ...
"Someone's learning to misuse his su-per-power!"

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Notorious", Duran Duran)

Meh, meh ... melodious!  Melodious!
Meh, meh ... melodious!

Helen, listen to me ...
You've been at work for a year!
Stand there, looking gloomy ...
Why are you keeping Dave here?
Look, we're getting nowhere!
No use to stand about,
At you I'm shouting!
Staring blankly through me ...
You have succeeded, you fear!

Look for a cure now,
And you say you've found it!
You say you're sure now,
There's no two ways around it!
You've got a potion, and madness it's destroying!
With my emotions, are you simply toying?
Are you enjoying the sound?
(Meh, meh ... melodious?)

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

Helen's tiny mouth and lack of eye contact is quite good at conveying her tone of voice here.

I don't have anything to add except that I forgot to mark the 50th Silent Penultimate Panel yesterday. It seems I only marked that milestone... with silence.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Artie's expressions in each panel are just perfect.  Panel 4 is the same face I have when dealing with my ex.

Rodford Smith (stickmaker) says:


It's the anti-"Power Girl boob window."

Reuben Phillips (psychohippie) says: I agree with Leon. I can almost hear Helen delivering these line matter-of-factly. "matter-of-factly" even a word? Phrase?
Cat Bascle (mage_cat) says:

@psychohippie has a listing for it:

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

Head things: 35. Helen is practically melting with shame here.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile