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I never did explain what it is that Helen knows better than Dave does (besides the "Danger Mouse" theme). It is, of course, Dave himself.

"Danger Mouse" was a major early childhood influence and probably has some echoes in Narbonic. Also, "Just help drive these electrodes into my skull" is a very, very Helen line.

Okay, the giant Artie in the foreground of the last panel looks all kinds of wrong. I dropped the ball on that one. Although it does make this look kind of like a "Mark Trail" strip, which is cool.

This episode is heavily informed by my college Ranma 1/2 obsession.

I was very worried about the plausibility of having Helen go into the computer network after previously establishing that Dave had to delete Lovelace to make room for himself. Hence all the strips explaining Helen's trip into cyberspace.

This is another proud moment for Professor Madblood.

Helen came out pretty damn well in the second panel. A wire up the nose is apparently essential to the brain-transfer process.

In the original thumbnail for this, Mell's last line was, "I'm off to die in the closet." Then I looked at it and I was all, wait, that's just confusing. Or possibly more interesting.

I was distracted by amusement at the idea that Madblood actively wants to die alone and unmourned.

The second panel is based on the common illustration of the Monkey King in the Buddha's palm, which traditionally symbolizes being completely and utterly owned. I was thinking of my friend Gene Yang's graphic novel American Born Chinese, which came out around this time. If you'd like to learn more about the Monkey King, consult your local library or get yourself a copy of Gene's book.

41 comments:
Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

Well of course she knows Dave better than he knows himself. That's what this story arc is about!

It is kinda funny that there just happens to be one cartoon that Helen's a bigger nerd about than Dave. (Official Leon Headcanon: Helen was singing the theme song when she drunk-crashed his first car.)
joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Are we really sure Mell is the best person to be driving anything into someone's skull that's not supposed to kill her? Maybe Helen should ask her rival mad scientist with an unrequited crush, or her unknowing former test subject who has only recently come to terms with being a genetically engineered gerbil, or the three-inch-tall rodent with a broken arm. Y'know on second thought maybe Mell is the best choice.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: Theme to "Danger Mouse")

He's rebooting!
He's computing!
He'll rebuild, he can't be killed in normal ways!
Out of time!
He's online!
You can bet that he will set the world ablaze!
Da-ven-port ...

He's synthetic,
Cybernetic,
He will boast that he's the ghost in the machine!
Davenport,
Vengeful sort!
Helen tellin' Mell 'n' Artie, "He's so mean!"
Da-ven-port ...
Da-ven-port ...
DA-VEN-PORT!

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

Oh, crumbs, chief!

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

There's a new Danger Mouse series being made, or so I hear...

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I just figured that Helen's plan involved every verse of the Danger Mouse theme song. 'Cause that's the kind of plan Helen would have. The whole cheesing Dave off by reminding him that she's a font of endless suffering was clearly just spur-of-the-moment improvisation.

Dominic Corbin (lnick) says:

I expected her to know madness better than Dave, as she's had more experience with it.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

It's like Mark Trail would be if it were awesome and also the giant foreground animals were actually supposed to look like they were saying the dialogue!

Madblood's got facial hair. Someone better punch him with the Fists of Justice.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Scorekeeper?  How many times during the run of Narbonic did Artie say, "Let me supervise"?  (I know how many times it worked: 0.)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Mell is malletjusted.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Artie kind of looks like a certain other webcomic's muskrat here.

Rob (acoustic_rob) says:

"Last desperate billion-to-one chances succeed nine times out of ten." -- Terry Pratchett

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

That looks like Sweetheart from Skin Horse to me in the last panel....

Mason Kramer (masonlk) says:

That was my thought, Sam.

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

Tropetime!

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HyperspaceMallet

The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

Oh, come on Mel!

I know mallets aforethought when I see it!

 

The Auld Grump

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

"What's that?  Ah -- plausibility?  Don't talk about -- plausibility?!  You kidding me?!  Plausibility?!  I just hope we can read a gag!  Another gag!"

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: In that third panel, Helen is beyond surprised. I think she's never felt more wholly positive towards Madblood.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Kay Gilbert and I collaborated on this one:

(TUNE: "Start Me Up", The Rolling Stones)

Jack me in!
If you jack me in, I'll go find Dave!
Jack me in,
While you just pack it in 'cause you're not brave!
If you jack me in,
Collective asses I will try to save!
So, no, Lupin!
Can't believe the offer that you gave!

    You're such a hero -- not!
    Why did I think you're hot?
    I have a half-assed plot ...
    You said, "Hell's bells,
    It sounded good."
    You weaseled out just like I knew,
    Knew you would!

Jack me in!
Help me jam electrodes in my head!
Jack me in!
Do it quick before we end up dead!
Jack me in!
No more Lovelace, only Davenport!
Jack me in!
With my old consort I will consort!

    We lack capacity!
    There's no more memory!
    No room for him and me!
    I'll take the chance ...
    Keep on your pants!
    You're just too craven,
    It's still Dave I crave and crave!

Jack me in!

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

@ Tetra: Madblood is who we thought he was. He's what we thought he was. We fought him before. I mean, who the hell treats the Crystal of Marinia like it's BS? BS! We fought him over the Crystal of Marinia, Madblood is who we thought he was. That's why we took the damn arctic base! Now, if you want to crown him, then crown his ass; but he is what we thought he was and we let him off the hok!

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says:

This comments section is making me feel like I'm on the Judge John Hodgman podcast this morning.

Mark Chapman (aardvark86) says:

Bravo Ed and Kay!

Andy Holloway (garran) says:

As a minor character on Buffy once said, "If you're not jacked in, you're not alive!"

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

@Joe: Yes he is, and it looks like Madblood is also going to fail to win the Bombardi Trophy this year.

@Kay and Ed:  Good one!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Why the wire up the nose?  Obviously, the carrier wave is a sinusoid.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Ed, that pun was so bad it gave me a nosebleed. :D

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

A wire up the nose is apparently essential to the brain-transfer process.

Possibly you were remembering that the olfactory nerves lead straight into the brain.

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

Verily, Ed, thou art the Nostrildamus of terrible puns.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Friday:

Mell's also upset that Artie's human body is now even more inaccess... no, shut up Leon, let her have some dignity.

Madblood's dream makes sense when you think of him as the son of Felix. He's from Old Madness. Dying forgotten would be downright iconoclastic.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You", The Beatles)

    Although the end is near,
    It's much too crowded here!
    I was hoping I would die alone!

In the wreckage of my Arctic lair,
Helen's comatose and lying there!
To the other two, my fate I will bemoan ...
For I always dreamed I'd die alone!

When the gerbil says that he is gay,
The assassin girl will run away!
Just like Captain Kirk, it seems I've always known
It will be my fate to die alone!

    Want to die alone,
    Without a single tear shed!
    With no one there to mourn,
    Or curse that I was born,
    Yes, my dream has been to die alone!

But I won't achieve my hoped-for doom
If there's other people in the room!
It appears the opportunity is blown
To achieve my dream and die alone!

    Dying ... dying ... bye!

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Aw man, I love Last Minute Sharing Time. It's what comes after that I'm not so sure about.

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Madblood seems to have the "dying unmourned" part pretty well wrapped up.  His mother might miss him, though, a bit.

Ed, you have reached a new high.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Panel 2 is actually an interesting panel, when it comes to Mell. Concern is not a common expression for her.
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Trust me, folks, you want to learn more about the Monkey King.

Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

This is a good way of establishing that we are, in fact, in virtual reality, an electronic dreamscape. You could think of this as the "end boss of Narbonic" but I'd rather think of it as a meeting of the scientist-gods in an artificial astral plane. (Please forget that there literally is an astral plane in several earlier storylines, tata.)

Being clasped in a giant palm is a great symbol of complete and overwhelming defeat by itself, but I appreciate the extra literary reference.
joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Impressive how, even in his domain, Helen still does have some control over Dave.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Dave is now the Ahddub ... he has achieved Endarkenment.

Wayne (wayne) says:

@Ed: well, he achived Endorkenment a very long time ago.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

I like to think that Helen is actually sorry that she's ruining Dave's evil rampage.

David Blake (vivavi) says:

He's stolen her thunder more than once over the years.  I think she's entitled.

Viktor Dosk (hugin) says:

Well, she killed him. He's not exactly had it all his own way. 

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