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There's Andrew in the last panel! I drew him and myself into a few different strips in the last year.

Caliban appears to work at a Starbucks, except that it's got a big counter. Don't ask me.

And there's me!

I don't know why I didn't just put "Cal" on Caliban's name tag. It never occurred to me that he could have a nickname until Jeff Wells wrote a chapter of his story Tales of the Starbuck Avenger with Caliban in it, and people called him that.

Eric Burns of Websnark visited San Francisco about a year before this strip ran, and we hung out together. I made a point of writing down his coffee order so I could do this strip. All the planning was totally worth it.

SPOILERS: The ironic thing is, that's pretty much what happens.

"Pair of drawers" is old-timey diner lingo for two cups of coffee. This may be Mell's most obscure bit of slang, unless that honor goes to the slang she borrowed from For Better Or For Worse.

Dave is genuinely touched here. This is the nicest thing Mell's ever said to him, or possibly anyone.

Damn, I love this strip. Seth always makes me so happy. The best part is him answering a how's-it-going with, "As prophesied."

I wonder if Seth is still in college at this point. Does he have a job? What does he do when he's not smiting demons or playing tabletop RPGs?

27 comments:
Matthew Mather (madtinkerer) says:

Was this before or after the Coffee Incident in Girl Genius? Giving a Spark plain coffee is bad enough. The exact effects of Spark-brewed coffee on Sparks are undocumented, but presumed to be even more dagerous. Ordinary Mocha Talls are probably just a little more potent than Normal Coffee, but probably still not a good idea.

In this case, Dave hasn't had his breakthrough yet, but one would think he would have to give up Starbucks after his breakthrough.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: So it seems he was drinking some real booze as well, before switching to stimulants.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Caliban's brusque reply is one of the most satisfying non-answers you could give for that well-worn question. Somehow, though, even elevator sex sounds a little tame for Mell.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I'd filk "Love In An Elevator", but there's no way I could improve on it here.

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: I always assumed 'Caliban' *was* the nickname.
Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Okay, this commentary makes me gleeful.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Caliban went from fiend to caffeined.

P. Ipsum (vitupera) says:

Oh man, well played.

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: For the record, I've gone from soy to skim, at least with vanilla. The soymilk got to be a bit heavy for me. Which is to say I'm increasingly a wuss. Also, the vanilla is now sugar free, which has changed things... not at all. Why aren't all those syrups sugar free? On the other hand, soy and hazelnut just work together.
Freddie Freelance (freddiefreelance) says: At first I missed the "wor" in the first word balloon and read it as "You been King here long?" Of course that brings to mind the famous Milton quote about Hell & Coffee Houses: "It's better to Rule in Starbucks than to Serve in Heaven."
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

So is Eric a regular, or does Caliban retain enough demonic powers to be able to tell at a glance a mortal's name and evil coffee order?

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: All I'll say is, keep your tips up to date and if Cal starts to speak in Enochian, step back and revise your order to a frozen coffee drink.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: You can take the demon out of eternal torments of Hell, but you can't take the eternal tormenting out of the demon.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Cal is a bit of a wag, coyly alluding to the hotness of a woman who has thrice tried to murder Dave (and got damn close, too).
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Camelot", Lerner & Loewe)

Way back when I was just a minor demon,
I wanted to escape from all that rot!
Now mortal life is more that I was dreamin',
For Mell is hot!

I know your human heart may now be breaking,
But you'll recover soon (or maybe not) ...
But with my girlfriend, love I'll soon be making,
'Cause Mell is hot!

    Mell is hot! Mell is hot!
    I hear your anguish venting, too!
    Mell is hot! Mell is hot!
    I like tormenting you!

The sex is so incredible and varied!
I'll even sleep upon the soggy spot!
Although it may be not
Essential to the plot,
My mortal life is peachy-keen and swell,
For Mell is hot!

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

All I want to know is why Mell seems to know Helen's complete sexual history, and more specifically its mortality rate. How many of Helen's partners has she seen die? (How many did she execute??)
Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

Ok, see, that sentence stumped the hell out of me every time I read the whole thing again and ended up in this strip. Glad to have that out of the way now.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I always though it meant a short cappuccino.  ("Drawers" = "shorts").  Huh.  Live and learn.

P. Ipsum (vitupera) says:

For my money, "Wherever we go, we go together" is the nicest thing Mell's ever said to anyone, but to Dave, yeah, this is definitely at the top of the list.

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

Mell's clearly serious in the middle panels, but I can't decide whether the last panel is her balancing that out by making fun of him.

Reuben Phillips (psychohippie) says: No, Rachel, I really think that Mell IS proud of Dave. Also, glad to have that "pair o drawers" thing cleared up.
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: :) I always did think this was an oddly sweet moment.
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Seth does folk-dancing.
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

This is the best delayed payoff that the Gender Swap arc could have ever hoped for. And neither of these heterosexual D&D nerdboys misses a beat or thinks anything amiss.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

As TV Tropes would call it, "Brick Joke".

My wife has me running errands this morning, or else I'd filk "To Zürrr, With Love".

Wayne (wayne) says:

Personally I prefer using 'As fortold in prophecy' when making ominous statements.  But that's just me.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Belated: I don't think Dave is wholly heterosexual anymore. See "I'll never have lesbian sex again."
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile