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Smithson Thus Far... ·


This is arguably the smuttiest Narbonic strip, and at the time I had reservations about doing it. In retrospect, however, I have no regrets. Helen and Dave's mad-science sex life makes me laugh.

SPOILERS: Poor kid.

I asked Andrew which beer to go with, and he said Red Stripe. A few years later we moved into a house in which the previous owners had covered a couple of leaky windows with a giant floor-to-ceiling Red Stripe banner, cut into strips. It took a while to get that replaced. So Red Stripe got its revenge, I guess.

SPOILERS: His friend. Yes.

It's great that Dave has someone to go to for guy talk. And also great that the guy is a gay mutant gerbil.

Dammit, I was drawing hands way too big.

Aw, what the hell. You can't say Dave hasn't earned his moment of bitterness.

I drew the characters sitting on this park bench a bunch of times in the final year. I always had trouble drawing it in perspective, but I always had trouble drawing everything in perspective.

SPOILERS: By the time of Skin Horse, Artie still has yet to fall in love, but his comments here may not be accurate. It's possible he's just angsting around, like he does.

I didn't have enough room for the dialogue in the third panel, and I had to do a lot of fiddling on Photoshop to get it legible. Why does Dennis Kucinich have to have a relatively long name?

Kucinich and ANTONIO SMITH aside, Artie kind of has a thing for Latin men. I'm sorry we never get to see the alfalfa delivery man.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

"Wrong time" indeed.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

And here she is again.

My question remains, as it has for the last several years: Would you please tell us her name, Shaenon?

Tim Jewett (ryushikaze) says:

There are many good names you could pluck out of places. Dorothy, Ozma, Melody- as a deliberate 'honor/snub' to Mell... Yes, her name. Give us her name!

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

I always laughed at her line every time I reread this strip, knowing what it really means.

@sam: I think you missed Shaenon's "P.S. to Kay: Yes indeed." to Kay's "Is it "Rosalind,"[...]?"

Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

This is a good strip. It says what everyone's thinking, but doesn't dwell on it. Unlike these characters.

This is also good because it establishes the kid as a recurring presence in this bar by giving her an innocuous but memorable moment of public embarassment. It's impressive how crafty this webcomic can be, how much storytelling utility a mere auxiliary punch-line can turn out to have.
Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

Everyone wondering about her name; check back in the comments. Kay guessed it.

What's great is that this strip works on two levels. If you read it withough knowing the whole story, then this girl is just feaked out by the lunatic. If you know who she is, though, she has a whole other reason to be squicked here.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "What Do You Get When You Fall In Love", Bacharach & David)

What do you get when you lose your love?
The hearts grow apart, the souls estranging,
End to the love, and gender-changing!
I'll ... never be a les-bi-a-a-a-an!
No girl-on-girl for me again!

    Back then, we used to share our hearts,
    And dreams, and passions, and lady parts!
    Mutual fun and cunnilingus!
    I tell ya, hun, who needs a dingus?

What do you get when you lose your love?
You're left with a life that you feel dumb in!
Child, this is not the time to come in!
I've ... lost the only girl I wa-a-a-ant,
Plus Artie as a confidant!

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

"Chekov's Bystander"


Jennifer Rutherford (jenfullmoon) says:

Eh, she probably has to be a Helen Gamma or Delta. I only wonder what the middle name is.

(Disclaimer: I don't know jack shit about Greek letters enough to know what "gamma" or "delta" mean or how high they are in the alphabiet.)

In retrospect, I super love the lesbian sex strip, especially for WHY the little girl in the bar is so freaked.

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: This is without question the Narbonic strip I laugh loudest and most consistently at.
Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says:

Given that Shaenon's work all seems to be set in a unified fictional universe, I suspect we'll learn this name at a plot reversal yet to come.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

*goes and checks*

Rosalind Franklin!  Sweet.

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

@sirgarberto: In evilmidnightlurker's defense, Shaenon's reply to Kay is easy to miss. It doesn't even appear on the same page as Kay's question. I missed it, too, until you pointed it out.

@jenfullmoon: Gamma would be next after Beta, but that naming pattern only applies if she's a clone, which [SPOILER (as if anyone reading this doesn't already know)] she isn't.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Ed, this is beyond classic, and thinking about it in Dionne Warwick's voice made me crack up in the dentist's waiting room.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

When I was in Jamaica, I lived on Red Stripe (and banana daiquiris), and I love the stuff.  Plus the Red Stripe Ambassador TV ads are the funniest things on Earth.  In other words, "Booooo, Red-Stripe-hating-snobs.  Hooray, beer!" (

Troy Smith (tcreole) says:

Are they in Target? Because MY Target doesn't have a bar, just a stupid Starbucks. JEALOUS!

Chris Gleason (thebkitu) says:

Hooray floor!

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

If she's going to keep up with the saying more than is immediately obvious, her last line really ought to be "I kinda have to leave now".

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

For my next question: Rosalind Narbon, Rosalind Davenport, or Narbon-Davenport?  (Or Davenport-Narbon, even?)

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

It's a somewhat regrettable state of affairs that Dave can only grouse about Helen to one of her employees / offspring. He's already underestimating the effects that losing his job will have on his social sphere.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Animal", Def Leppard)

We split up!  We just fell apart!
She would break my spine ... but never broke my heart!
The way she treated me ... was like I've never seen!
I knew she could be bad ... but this was just plain mean!
And evil too!

   Just like a failed ex-per-i-ment ... (nuh-uh)
   I'm sor-ry, you know what I meant ... (well, duh)
   Like a mou ... like a ra ... like a lab ... animal!
   Like a mou ... like a ra ... like a lab ... animal!

So cold!  Like she didn't care!
Such a stern expression ... (though she had nice hair)
I'm like an old lab rat!  I'm like a guinea pig!
Did I just give offense?  Hey, Artie says, "No big ..."
   [repeat CHORUS]

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Dave rhetorically referring to Helen as a demonic horror who consumes souls: 3. I'd almost forgotten why I was keeping track of that statistic.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

This strip being what it is, it's actually kind of surprising that "she drinks souls" doesn't appear to be literally true for any known value of Helen Narbon.

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says:

Artie/Sergio OTP

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Depends on how you define "connect".
Cat Bascle (mage_cat) says:

I've been habouring Artie/Sergio thoughts mayself, ever since the Li'l Mell time travel story.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

Good punch line!

Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says:

The crowded text box is worth it for the humor in somebody trailing off in the middle of ANTONIO SMITH, FORENSIC LINGUIST.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: I also like that Artie's homosexuality gets treated as not a joke, but the setup to someone else's joke. Besides his own experiences, Dave's just too geeky to care. (Like these guys: ).
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile