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Smithson Thus Far... ·


This is basically a plot strip with only a mild gag. I just hope the art is clear enough. Drawing a guy walking through a teleporter portal from one mad scientist's laboratory to another was stretching my artistic limits.

This is possibly the darkest sequence of strips in Narbonic. It was hard to draw. But I couldn't resist having Dave circa 2000 meet the Dave of six years later, after everything he's been through at Narbonics Labs. Also, I liked the chance to revisit both character designs. So...yeah, here they are.

I dig this strip. It's one of the ones that doesn't have much of a punchline and just lets the characters talk, which is great when it works. I probably could have done a bunch more strips of the two Daves just talking together.

Dave has a deep well of self-loathing, and this is the strip where it comes out. I think this is maybe the darkest Narbonic strip, but it had to happen.

Okay, this is just a plot connecting strip, but I continue to enjoy any time Mell addresses Artie as "little buddy," which she does regardless of his physical size at any given time.

Also, Artie's tiny bandages and cast. Awww.

It's been noted in the comments that Dave's death here strongly resembles his death by death-ray waaaay back in the "Dr. Narbon" storyline. This is partly deliberate, and partly that I only have so many ways of drawing Dave lying around being dead.

The word-balloon tails in the last panel are confusing. Oh well. At least I drew stacks and boxes of paper in the background, presumably including Madblood's collection of girlie magazines.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Remember, kids, if you see a glowing energy portal, and you don't know where it leads, don't walk through it.  Tell a teacher, parent, or sane scientist.  (*The More You Know*)

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Since the first time I rea through Narbonic, I wondered about how Mundane Dave could see the portal. Is it so obvious that it gets through even his juiced-up weirdness filter or has he been off his meds for a day?

Valerie Kaplan (shinyhappygoth) says:

jdreyfuss: Maybe it's not actually weird enough in appearance to trigger his weirdness filter.  It's just a rectangular thing.

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

Remember, test subjects, if you see a glowing energy portal, and you don't know where it leads, you should totally walk through it. There will be cake!

(End obligitary reference)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Jdreyfuss:  He sees it, he just doesn't know what it is.  And he's still a nerd, so he pokes into it.

mickey f (other_mickeyf) says:

Isn't Dave (the one apparently going throught the portal) a hologram at this point? Or have I lost track? (Not that it matters.. to mis-paraphase Howard Taylor, the suspenders of disbelief are still holding up the pants of reality.)

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

mickey f: This is CloneDave.  Helen decanted him in a sad attempt to replace RealDave.  Madblood killed RealDave, but not before he took over Lovelace to become HologramDave.  Later, HologramDave will take over CloneDave's body to become the new RealDave.  (*The More You Know*)

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

The pattern of broken windows in panel 3 matches Hologram!Dave's glasses.  (OK, so you'll need to trust me on this until tomorrow.)

It's so nice that the two Daves could meet up and have a warm, leisurely talk, with 2006!Dave mentoring 2000!Dave and---  What?

Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

This might be my favourite part of this final arc. The clone-Dave arc would have been woefully incomplete if it didn't build to this moment, Helen's post-breakup transgression finally revealed.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Wow, it's different.
Rebecca Salazar (geeklady) says:

The black and white t shirts on the Daves are a nice touch.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Wednesday:

Dave accidentally said "with" in panel 2. :P

Dave is amazed at how much of an open book Helen has become. When he was in love, he never would have thought himself capable of reading her this easily.
Leon Arnott (l) says: I think what makes this week so good is that Cyber-Lich-Dave finally gets a chance to just rant at someone. And who better to thunder at than Mundane Dave, a man symbolising the six-year lie that Dave was just another human - a symbol of his mental imprisonment, his powers denied to him.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Of course Cyber!Dave is angry.  He's beside himself.

(Oh, come on, someone had to say it.)

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

@Ed: So CyberDave is beside himself with anger, but don't forget that Mundane Dave is also beside himself-with-madness. ;D

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

This little sub-arc is a perfect way for Dave to express his basic self-loathing.  Super uncomfortable!

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Talking to yourself is not weird at all when yourself is standing right there.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Speaking of standing right there....

(Tune: "I Saw Her Standing There", John Lennon, Paul McCartney)

Well, he was just my young clone,
I sure should have known,
And the way he looked was sad beyond compare.
So how could I call him twin brother? (Ooh)
When I saw me standing there.

Well he looked at me, and I, I could see,
None but Helen would have brought back that old hair.
She wouldn't clone any other, (Woo)
And I saw me standing there.

Well, my heart went, "Crap!",
When I saw that sap,
And I held his gaze in mine....

Oh, I got all this how?
I'm a friggin' genius now!
And before too long I knew how he would fare.
I'd rather not look like another, (Woo)
Since I saw me standing there.

Well, my base went, "Zap!",
When I saw that sap
And electrocuted him.

Oh, I laid it on thick.
Maybe this time it'll stick.
And before too long I killed him in my lair.
Now I'll never look like another, (Ooh)
Since I saw me standing there.

Woo, since I saw me standing there.
Yeah well, since I saw me standing there.

Eve Elliott (stroth) says:

"I'm your future, and I hate you."


That right there may be the singe creepiest line I have ever read.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Tetra Valent, that filk is a masterpiece.  Brava or bravo, as the case may be.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Oh my god.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Tetramendous!  Brava (or bravo) from me also.


Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

The first time around I didn't see this coming and it has really stuck with me since.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

... because while Clone Dave is kind of a jerk, he's also an innocent, and it's scary to see Hologram Dave swat him down like a fly.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

"As flies to wanton boys are we to th' gods. They kill us for their sport" - King  Lear, Act IV, Scene 1

Knowing Shaenon's proclivities, I can't help but imagine this went through her mind while she was writing CyberDave's interaction with Mundane Dave.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

@Leon:  It's too bad that Madblood gave up on space-based operations.  Otherwise he too could have had an orbiting death-ray for Hologram!Dave to use on the other Dave.  Then the parallel would have been even more awesome.

(Thanks, Kay and Ed!  I'm male, for the record.)

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Farewell, Dave'.  May the afterlife bureaucracy deal with you kindly.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Don't lie, Shaenon. We all know you just like showing off your ability to draw manass. :P

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

This strip just shows how Cyber!Dave is rotten to the corpse.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

This Dave seemed rather limited while alive, but he gets around pretty well now that he's dead.  Compare the surroundings in Panel 3 with Panel 4 from yesterday.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

The last two word balloons may not point perfectly to who's speaking, but it's clear enough in context that it doesn't matter. I wouldn't worry about it.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

It being cinnamon floss is a nice detail.

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