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Smithson Thus Far... ·


It felt weird drawing these two together. I know Zeta already met Dave and Artie back in the road-trip storyline, but having her interact with more of the main-cast characters feels like serious crossover action. It was kind of hard to draw Mell and Zeta together. That said, I think they team up nicely, and Mell planning to kick Zeta's ass is excellent.

Wait a minute! Narbonic should have been all about the globetrotting adventures of these two! Dammit, I did it all wrong!

I dig these dome sheds. They look cool and were easy to draw.

I also love Foot. I'm kind of sorry I didn't have more room for him in Narbonic, but maybe Foot is better in small doses. I like to think he and Zeta had many adventures on their own, stomping things.

When this strip first ran, people made many inappropriate comments about the ladies' love of Foot. I assure you that the Foot love is strictly platonic. Anyway, I swear I don't laugh at my own strips much, but Mell's line in the second panel still cracks me up. She's seen a lot of messed-up things, you know.

Where did Mell get a machine gun? The same place as usual, I guess. Also, that was an incredibly stupid thing for that hamster to say.

I've mentioned this before, but the hamsters were all named after people who worked at Viz. Joel is named after editor Joel Enos, an awesome guy and one of the few people in this crazy mixed-up world who properly appreciates Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld comics.

It takes a lot of time, effort, and planning to set up something this stupid, but it's so worth it.

I'd just gotten my hair chopped off for Locks of Love, hence the short haircut. Andrew is reading Derek Kirk Kim's first comic, Cell, which Derek doesn't want you to read.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Speaking of crossover action... I think Skin Horse could really use some Zeta.

Cat Bascle (mage_cat) says:

I wonder if, come the time os Skin Horse, Artie introduces Zeta as his sister, and if he does, how much explaining they feel the need to do about it.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

What I find a little hard to believe about this meeting is that Zeta remembered to pack winter clothing.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

What I find even more hard to believe is that no one has written Zeta/Mell slashfic.  Then again, given Rule 34, it's probably out there somewhere.

Of course, there are other romantic pairings about to be revealed *cough*Foota*cough*

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

@Leon: She's a freelance foreign correspondent. It's her job to be prepared for anything.

The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

Zeta... has an evil grin in that last panel....

Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

The hamsters mustn't be that great at piloting those suits if these people have managed to get this much of a head start over them on largely flat terrain - unauthorised missile blasts notwithstanding.
joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Gerbils vs. Hamsters: An Eternal Struggle, Whose Outcome May Hold the Balance of the World, As Long As Everyone Else Doesn't Destroy It First.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Love And Marriage", Cahn & Van Heusen)

Mell and Zeta, Mell and Zeta,
It's a comic that I could do later!
Just a thought in passin' ...
A jour-nal-ist and an as-sas-in!

Thug and writer, thug and writer ...
With a pistol and a Zippo lighter!
Seeing all the world's thrills,
And beating baddies with their ... girl skills!

   Go, go, going where there's killin' ...
   Foot is their sidekick!
   Blow, blow, blowing up the villains!
   It's ... a true-and-tried trick!

Mell and Zeta, Mell and Zeta,
They will leave behind a smoking crater!
Vi-o-lence, they crave it!
It's such a thrill
Each time they kill
A whole darn vil-
-Lage just to ... save it!

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Spinoff!  What are you waiting for?

Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says:

But she's already DOING a spinoff!

Marni Rachmiel (marniferous) says:


Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:


Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

@Vlad:  You mean Skin Horse?  Another spinoff then!  I guess it will be a while.  We haven't seen the Seth-and-Caliban one yet.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

If he really is indestructible, then, logically speaking, they couldn't dismantle him. ...Not that they would even if he wasn't, because hey, Foot's basically a walking throne, fit for psychopathic dictators large and small.
joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

This is another one of those great strips where the punchline naturally develops from the characters' personalities and conversation.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Leon, I always assumed that Zeta called him indestructible because he was demonstrably whole and undismantled by the hamsters.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Those girls, I swear.  Give 'em an inch, they'll take a Foot.

Mason Kramer (masonlk) says:

Thanks, Ed. I was going to make that joke, but you saved me the effort. :)

chic geek (chicgeek1) says:

Poor Foot, it must have been awful being subdued and locked up like that. We'll never know de agony of de feet.

(yeah, yeah, I know it' s 'Foot', singular, but I could be accurate or I could make a lousy pun)

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Has Foot availed himself of the services of Skin Horse?
Wayne (wayne) says:

A ticklish situation, a real nail-biter.  Yes, I know, that's pretty callous of me, from now on I'll try to toe the line.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

@Leon: Every ruler should have a Foot.

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

I don't think there can exist any sentient being that could not love Foot. I refuse to believe it.

vicka corey (drbrain) says:


Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:


Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

I don't see what's so messed-up about this show of affection. Just look at that indomitable arch, that reinforced heel, that armoured instep crafted for maximum pulverising force. Only someone blind to true engineering craftsmanship could resist pressing their body against him while gently, soothingly stroking his ankle.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Eve Of Destruction", P.F. Sloan)

Across the snow field ... we are racing!
And hamsters with robots ... they are chasing!
Though Madblood we hoped to ... be debasing!
Now Zeta, her old friend ... she's embracing!
Today, many strange things ... I've been facing,

   But dude, this
   Is totally, totally, totally messed-up, at best!
   Though, if truth be told,
   He's oh so cold-
   -Ly destructive!

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Platonic as it might be.... Has anyone ever requested an image of Foot wearing a pimp hat? If not, let me be the first.
Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

Jon, Shaenon does commissions!

I speak as an extremely satisfied customer.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Hmmm...once Narbonic: the Director's Cut finishes in a bit, will we see a time-shifted Skin Horse: the Director's Cut?
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

@ Jacob Haller: Word!

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

Who can imagine the exhiliaration of riding a bouncing foot in hot pursuit of malefactors? Who in such a position could distinguish the lurching of their stomachs with the thumping of their hearts? Every organ in their bodies is shuddering, if not from massive footsteps, then from quivering firearms. Truly, this is a heady combat fugue-state that would give berserkers pause.
Chris (khade) says:


Or would make you think you're mario, which isn't a bad fantasy at all.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Foot must be running Windows.  He's booted up in strafe mode.

N B (daveclone7) says:

I apologize if this question was already covered in previous comments, but if the hamster-mechs have camera heads, why do the hamsters need to stick their faces out the front? Is there a third hamster in there monitoring the video feed?

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

There's a "just another day at the office" feel to this strip that I like.

Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says:

@N B

I think those are head-mounted lasers, actually.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Is anyone keeping score of ironic questions?

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

The third panel is so awesome that apparently it's the only part of this strip that my brain ever remembers. Every time I see this strip, the first, second, and fourth panels feel new and surprising and unfamiliar.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:


Joseph Abbott (faxpaladin) says:

This. Is. My Favorite. Strip. In the whole series.

And that's saying a lot.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

Mell isn't even bothering to aim - then again, does she ever? She's surely the sort of gunner who subconsciously tries to prolong her gun battles as much as possible.

Regarding the background: my theory is that most of the island's ground-level buildings got jettisoned when the humans were captured, to save fuel. The others were blown off by high-altitude arctic wind, I guess.

(Incidentally, if the word balloon stalks are correct, then one of the mechas has wisely responded to this attack by turning invisible.)
Brad Jones (kazrak) says:

What faxpaladin said. When the cartoonist wins, everybody wins. (Except the hamsters.)

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

I'm with Andrew on this one. Clearly, Zeta failed to achieve the goal she set in the Sept 1 strip.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: @Tetra - Hey, she's made the stupid work for her. That's even better.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile