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Strangely, this strip is more topical than ever. Thanks, Republican National Convention!

The third panel didn't come out as well in the final strip as it did in the thumbnail, but the second panel came out better, so I guess it evens out.

I didn't think of Artie's final line until the last minute. It was totally worth the wait.

When this first ran, some people thought it was ridiculous that Mell wouldn't know what was in Nutella, but seriously, there are a lot of parts of the U.S. where people don't eat Nutella, like, at all. I never had Nutella until I came out to the West Coast and everybody was putting it in crepes.

I think those people were just showing off their knowledge of condiment spreads.

I worried about doing this strip because I wasn't sure if people would remember who Bill was. (ANSWER: He's Dave's mundane brother.) But it had to be done.

My fondness for the word "denouement" comes from the "Tick" cartoon, specifically the Deadly Bulb episode.

Man, it took forever to come up with Helen's final punchline here. Sometimes the gags don't come easy. In the end, I guess it turned out all right.

The impotence thing is meant as a joke, but it's listen on TV Tropes as Helen's actual reason for not using the cure on Real Dave. I need to be careful about what I say in my comic strips.

23 comments:
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

It occurs to me that strong weirdness censors probably can't be genetic the way mad science is, because having one is not conducive to long-term survival.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Unforgettable", Nat King Cole)

You're invisible ... when you are small ...
He's unreachable ... can't hear at all!
Though you're saying you were mean to him,
Things unlikely are unseen to him!
Science insane
Can't pierce his brain!

Unperceivable ... he cannot sense!
Unbelievable ... that's he's so dense!
Boring and annoying, he's a pill!
Let's go drink, 'cause it's so risible
That the nerd can't hear invisible you!

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

@Sam: Eh, I dunno. I usually think that the censor blends well with survival instinct and just makes them think there's something more mundane to run away from.

Bernard Sheehan (smilodon) says:

Mel's Jacket is great. The clothing in the later strips are more varied and looks better on the characters.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Artie's probably violating EPA standards about exposure in the workplace.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I'm kind of amazed that Mell was not only able to figure this out - to the point that she doesn't even bother looking to confirm - before Mr. "Someone has to be the superintelligent one", but resist saying anything about it until after Artie turned into a naked dude in front of Dave'.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Don't know why, but this strip just cried out for a calypso beat:
tune: "Man Smart (Woman Smarter)," Norman Span

If you're so smart, my gerbil friend
What's the flavor of Nutella, then?
The West Coast hipsters put it in their crêpes
I like the flavor, but I'm just not hep

That's right, Nutella is (uh!) choc'late
That's right, Nutella is (uh!) choc'late
That's right, Nutella is (uh!) choc'late
That's right, Nutella is (uh!) choc'late
That's right, Nutella is (uh!) choc'late and hazelnut

Neil Smith (usoki) says:

I can attest to this.  One of my former roommates first encountered Nutella when he and his family were vacationing in Europe.  They could not get over how amazing the stuff was, and they made sure to buy a ton of it to take back to America with them.  They spent all of their leftover Euros, and filled the free space of everyone's suitcases with it- at least 3 dozen jars.

It was quite a blow to their ego when they discovered that the local WalMart had been carrying Nutella for months.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

I just thought Mell was thanking Artie for confirming things she already knew (and possibly for explaining them to the audience).

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

Nutella being chocolate was something of an in-joke in my childhood. My brother would often declare that "Nutella is chocolate!" in a manner unintentionally reminiscent of Soylent Green, I would deny it with mock-scorn, and back and forth we'd go. Ahh, memories. And that's what I think of this episode of the Narbonic internet webcomic.
Hilary Bruce (cameoflage) says:

My fondness for the word "denouement" comes from A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Thanks to some clever editing on the part of our author, we don't have to sit through the awkward and decidedly un-dramatic pause where Artie hurriedly changes into his nearest stash of emergency clothes.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

One of the more amusing side-effects of school integration in the early 70's was that, as a 7th grader, I was taught that "denouement" was pronounced "de NOW ya ment". The same teacher also taught us about "Alfred Lloyd Tennyson", even though his name was printed in the proper form at the bottom of every page in the section of the textbook that talked about him.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

You know, to clear the backlog of projects, she could have made more than one mundane clone ... but that would get expensive when the Bills start piling up.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Leon: But he still manages to trash the furniture.
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

"That's French for 'when we beat up the supervillain." :D

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

@Rex Vivat, from Monday: the problem is that Bill-level censoring doesn't disguise the weirdness as anything mundane, it removes the weirdness completely such that the censored person sees and hears absolutely nothing whatsoever.  Bill was totally unaware of a gang of Madblood robots singing and dancing in his living room.

Matthew Mather (madtinkerer) says:

My fondness for the word "denouement" comes from A Miracle of Science where it's explicitly conected with SRMD, that universe's version of Mad Science ability.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

The first Dave suffered a mountain of insults over these many years, but this is just plain mean. It's like the subtext of all those car-smashes suddenly became text.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

"I used to be an insane genius, bent on world domination.  Then my doctor told me about Notmadatall™.  Now, I can live a normal, worry-free, incredibly dull life!"

Notmadatall™ is not for everyone.  Do not take if you are nursing, pregnant, or if your girlfriend plans to make you pregnant.  Side effects may include personality changes, lack of mood swings, lower intelligence, loss of memory, loss of imagination, loss of interest in science fiction, unnatural interest in polka and accounting, impotence, puritan work ethic, post-nasal drip, flying eyebrows, twisted knickers, spontaneous combustion, voting Republican, hair growth on internal organs, the vapors, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, the hokey-pokey, rectal-cranial inversion, and death from other madmen or madwomen who have not taken Notmadatall™.  In rare cases, death has been avoided and quality of life has improved, but don't bet on it.

"Ask your doctor about Notmadatall™ today!"

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

I'd prefer being the mad, evil genius, myself.  I have a lot of uses for a death ray.  I'm pretty sure we don't see all of the side effects that Ed lists.  Perhaps they will appear in Narbonic 2.0.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I think the side effect that gets Dave' might technically qualify as "suicide".

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

To be fair to Clone Dave, he doesn't seem like he's much worse a person (or a sysadmin) than Real Dave was at the same subjective age.  He's just not Proto-Mad Scientist Dave, for better or for worse, which anyone who's known him for long finds baffling and unsettling, Helen more than most for a variety of reasons.

I think the fact that Clone Dave either hates Artie or can't see him is clouding Artie's judgment a bit here.

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