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This...this comic is excellent. I approve of this comic.

Thank you, me.

This is one of the first strips I wrote for this storyline, unsurprisingly. In a way, all of Narbonic had been leading up to the not particularly shocking revelation that, as much as Helen loves Dave, she loves him even more when he's totally raving bonkers. I had to cut a fair amount of his speech down to fit into the strip, but I hope the raw sexual magnetism comes across.

As much as I like this strip in general, I was always kind of happiest with the little throwaway bit of Dave snapping his virtual fingers to fix his avatar. That's very cool, Dave.

The glasses on Dave's hologram have one shattered lens and one transparent lens. He's still in the early transitional phase of madness.

Sometimes the need to bring characters up to speed on events dovetails perfectly with the need to say "goink" as often as possible. Also, with a lot of strips featuring Madblood, the actual joke often ends up being less satisfying than coming up with the properly flamboyant way for Madblood to phrase things.

Mell's face came out perfectly in the third panel. It's so rare and precious when that happens.

This is another of the strips Narbonic has kind of been building up to, although I wrote this one a little later. Getting all the dialogue into the last panel was hard. I got better at this over time, but it's still a little cramped here.

So of course Dave is quoting Helen in the future, thereby setting up a paradox where Helen quotes Dave, inspiring Dave to quote Helen, inspiring Helen to quote Dave, etc. But it's also, for no particular reason, a quote from The Iron Giant, including the layout of the second panel. I don't know why. I was just thinking of The Iron Giant.

The punchline is no good, but I didn't want to end without a punchline. Very few strips merit that.

Drawing sound effects is fun.

Around this time I was making an effort to draw people from different angles, so please enjoy the backs of Madblood's and Dave's heads. I draw layouts like this in Skin Horse a lot nowadays.

49 comments:
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

It's kind of surprising how many times in the last six and a half years I've found an excuse to use the line, "Dude, he's gonna waste us with his awesome rack."

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

John, I agree completely.  This is probably the best line in all of Narbonic, and it makes my day when I have a chance to use it.  I'm desperately jealous of whomever owns the original of this strip.  CURSE YOU, PEOPLE WHO DISCOVERED NARBONIC WHILE IT WAS STILL RUNNING!

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick," Ian Dury and the Blockheads, 1978

Danger lurks in Madblood's lair, Dave has taken over there
Oh crumbs. Holee... Lookee yar, Lovelace is his avatar

Waste us with your awesome rack. Waste us! Waste us!
Use the boobs you used to lack. Waste us! Waste us!
Waste us with your awesome rack
Rant away, Dave, don't hold back
Waste us! Waste us! Waste us!

James Rice (jhrice) says:

As good as today's strip is, tomorrow's is even better.

David Blake (vivavi) says:

I love love LOVE this strip!  Best punchline ever!

Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

Mell, you really shouldn't laugh at a dead woman's breasts, especially while they're being demonically possessed by a male nerd.
JP Chabot (speedball) says:

You just had to turn Dave into a girl one last time, didn't you?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Madblood's base is just going to rack and ruin.

Wayne (wayne) says:

Saw an awesome rack at Costco a couple of weeks ago, I think it was by Kitchenaide.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

I think it's sweet how Helen leaps to the defense of Dave here.

David Blake (vivavi) says:

Dave's swirly madness script is cool.  Especially the little saturn dot on the "i".

James Rice (jhrice) says:

This might be Helon's best line in the whole run of Narbonic.  I love the little blushs.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Note the similarity of the central two panels to panel 5 of the July 2 Sunday feature. Clearly, this strip is autobiographical.

Joseph Abbott (faxpaladin) says:

I didn't get to ask this yesterday, alas, so I'll ask here: in Monday's strip, are they hearing Dave's voice or Lovelace's?

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: All your base are belong to us!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

Dave's computerised form now has the coherence and focus that his quivering human form struggled in vain to maintain. He is mad, but now he's single-minded.

I find it cute that Helen finds a loud, domineering Dave intensely erotic - I suppose he's the best bits of Madblood and Dave combined.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

It's a simple case of mind over madder.

Pete (westrider) says:

Narbonic in general, and this strip in particular, was entirely responsible for the creation of my Mad Scientist Fetish.

Eric (erichamion) says: I know Helen doesn't really scan in place of "Yell" (unless you pronounce it something like "Heln"). The mood of the song just seemed too perfect to pass up the opportunity, so I did the best I could.

Tune: Mountain Flowers by TMBG, from Album Raises New and Troubling Questions
Do you notice something different?
Look at my unfrosted lenses.
I can see it all so clearly,
So I will make the whole world pay!

Helen
I know, I know, I know, I know

There's no way it's accidental,
You've made me an insane genius.
I've got news for you, Tinasky:
I'm your guinea pig no more!

Helen
I know, I know, I know, I know
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: *This* one. Oh, yes. :D Brilliant character moment here.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

And... the T-shirt has gone black.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

And "I've misread this entire situation, haven't I?" is the second best line in all of Narbonic.  Which means that I'm only extremely jealous of whomever owns the original of this strip.  And, yet, I still CURSE YOU, PEOPLE WHO DISCOVERED NARBONIC WHILE IT WAS STILL RUNNING!

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

Madblood is cute when he uses umlauted words. Which was essentially just this once. Unrelatedly, Mell is cute when she's doing mocking impressions of people behind their back. Which was also just this once!

Silent penultimate panels: 54.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

The problem with writing a filk for this is that nothing rhymes properly with "goinked".  I had to go for partial rhymes ... and the tune that came to mind is already a comedy song.  For those not familiar with the original, it can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae-Hjm0JCc4

(TUNE: "Trauma To The Groin", Heywood Banks)

We now must gather weapons,
We now must sally forth,
To way up past the everlast-
-Ing ices of the north!
See, Madblood shot his minion!
His nose is out of joint!
But the thing he doesn't realize
Is that Dave and Helen goinked!

   [CHORUS:]
      Oh, Dave and Helen goinked, yeah!
      Dave and Helen goinked!
      Madblood's kinda clueless
      Because Dave and Helen goinked!
      It's not a search for power,
      It's not a need for coin ...
      The situation's critical
      'Cause Dave and Helen goinked!

One night when they were all alone
In a chatty mood,
Sharing all their inner feelings
Over Chinese food ...
Then Helen shared her dumplings,
And Dave, he shared his pork!
They have no need for chopsticks now
'Cause they just wanna fork!
   [repeat CHORUS]

When Dave and Helen broke up,
He took it rather bad!
He left his mind so far behind
And now he's truly mad!
Our future fate is clear now,
So let me put it thus ...
What Helen did to Dave back then
Is what he'll do to us!
   [repeat CHORUS]

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

"Oinked" rhymes with "goinked".

Something for people to bear in mind if they ever want to write a filk about Kermit and Miss Piggy.

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

I'm with Mell here. Even if Madblood misread the situation, he's right anyway.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

There's only one Dave, and he's annoyed.  Since there aren't two of him, he's not pair-annoyed.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

I feel tri-annoyed after that one, Ed. ;P

Jim Crider (autojim) says:

Helen's expression in the 3rd panel is money. :D

Jonathan Yao (jonathansce) says:

Hmm, did Helen start up the Tinasky Study before or after Dave was hired?  It sounds like after, but I just want to be sure.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

The difference between a mad scientist with a plan and one without a plan is often not apparent to outside observers.

Actually I guess mad scientists always have a plan, so scratch that.

Troy Smith (tcreole) says:

Ed, that is factually incorrect. There is another Dave back at Narbonics labs, remember? Helen cloned him. And if he's working in IT, I guarantee he's annoyed about SOMETHING.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Jonathan: After.
Andrew Barton (andrewandkatebarton) says:

The Skin Horse site is still munged.  Is anyone working on that?

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Andrew, I haven't had any trouble accessing Skin Horse this week, from either my MacBook or my iPhone.  What kind of munging do you encounter?

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Panel 3:  I think Helen really needed to tell Dave that the love affair wasn't part of that.  Dave has often doubted whether her affections were genuine, and that doubt seems to be much of the motivation for his vengeance.

Perhaps the omission is dramatically necessary (or just too much text?), but it does seem like a blunder on her part.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: I think you tried to make up for it with Mell's goofy face in the last panel.
Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

I find it really interesting from their points of view in the Twin Timelines, they each heard the other one dis them with the "Not Enough" line first. That's the risk of Love in a single timeline too, huh?

David Blake (vivavi) says:

Harsh, Dave.

It's such an heart-rending moment, I can't help but think of this as the true fork in the timestream, even before the swimming pool.  That if events were allowed to progress normally from this point on, it would set the tone for the next twenty years as all the Narbonic crew go on to become bitter and estranged.

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

I always loved this paradox. A perfect implementation of a double Ironic Echo.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Helen doesn't have a defense, Mell.  You can tell, in the second panel she looks so defenseless.

Troy Smith (tcreole) says:

I love two things about today's comic more than anything else, and they're related:

1) in panel one, Helen is literally wearing her heart on her sleeve.

2) Because of the way she's holding her hands in panel four, her heart has turned upside down after what Dave has said.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

Oh, lawyers.

mickey f (other_mickeyf) says:

Actually, leaving out Mell and the word balloon in the last panel would have worked very well, in a different kind of way.

Ruben Krasnopolsky (ruben) says:

Love is not enough / You do not love me enough.  Works in both sad ways.

John Daughtson (daughterman) says:

Huh, it seems I've always interpreted those "Not Enough" statements differently.  I interpreted Helens line to Dave as "Apparently you don't love me enough to give me a better life than a brain in a tank," and Dave's line as, "Your love is not a good enough reason for me to withhold my revenge."

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

Artie spends a whole lot of this storyline falling, doesn't he?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

In "Peanuts", Linus once had his philosophy of "Runism" ... no problem is so big or complicated that it can't be run away from.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Sounds like Rincewind.

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