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Smithson Thus Far... ·


I love this strip. I love it a lot.

The bookstore is based on Comic Relief in Berkeley, which is now Fantastic Comics. Andrew's hanging around in the first panel.

So basically, Artie becomes a schoolteacher. It's questionable whether this will help him advance his agenda at all, but at least it'll keep him busy, and some kids will learn how to read.

I've mentioned this before, but of the four major characters, Artie is the only one whose character arc still has a long way to go by the end of Narbonic. He's still very young and has many adventures and bad decisions ahead of him.

"Garioli" is from a piece of old nonsense writing by Samuel Foote, although it should be spelled "Garyulie." The passage is more famous for giving us the term "grand Panjandrum," but maybe it's not very famous for that anymore either.

I thought that someone needed to ask Dave what it was like being a mad genius, but there probably wasn't any chance of getting a useful answer out of him.

I just want to say that I don't like the shirt I drew on Artie. It's his last appearance in Narbonic; I should have dressed him better. I didn't have a lot of imagination when it came to clothing.

That's me in the foreground of the first panel. I used to wear that hat everywhere.

And there's Andrew in the first panel. I gave us a lot of cameos here at the end. After all, when would I have the chance to draw us into Narbonic again?

Nowadays, I use the cracked light bulb for sketches a lot. It's a nice little icon.

I wrote this one way, way early on. It's the oldest strip in this storyline. And you know what? It looks AWESOME.

James Rice (jhrice) says:

Hey, is Dave borrowing the Narbonic Lab's teleporter, or has he constructed a new teleporter?

Leon Arnott (l) says: Monday:

I like Dave's mad-genius-logic, and how it's outwardly indistinguishable from proof-by-assuming-the-solution.

Dave's vacant gaze is probably identical to the one he used to have behind those frosted specs, yet here it gives him this distant, world-weary look. Like a sad muppet.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Operator", Jim Croce)

Now it will help my find my friend!
You'll see it's easy to be there and be talking with him!
A finite answer space
Will locate the proper place,
By using a unique algorithm ...

Isn't that the way mad genius works?
It seems impossible
To do what I do without even trying,
But there's a logic that is underlying
It all ...
I know that you may find
It hard to understand
Just how my madman's mind
Can do the stuff I planned,
But that's not why I'm here!
So let's chat and have a beer!

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

It's nice to see Dave turn Artie's little predictability trick back on him.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Dave is now too chaotic to be predictable!
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: And some of those bad decisions look good in chiffon.
Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

It also lacks the effectiveness, Artie.  No one's been able to make much headway yet.  My many teacher relatives all agree that Artie's plan is doomed.

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

Ah... that would explain why we only see Artie in Skin Horse, then; his character arc still needs to be fulfilled.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Yay, robospam!
Leon Arnott (l) says: Tuesday:

All I have to add is, how massive is he that he can just lean on a store bookshelf? Those things are calibrated for maximum eye-level real estate.
Chris (khade) says:

I think the bots are getting smarter.  I'm not sure if that's worrying or encouraging.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

I think that's an armchair.

David Blake (vivavi) says:

Artie seems like the type who finds adventure and mayhem no matter how hard he (misguidedly) tries to acheive normalcy.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

The road to Li'l Mell is paved with good intentions.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

According to the salesbots they have Ph.D.s now. Obviously they need to hear from Skin Horse or those doctorates aren't going to be worth much when they get discriminated against by humans.

mickey f (other_mickeyf) says:

I hope we all still  have many adventures and bad decisions ahead of us.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

I see "yonan" and my first thought is "yoni." The fact that asking about her mad genius makes her giggle kind of confirms that association for me.

K. Williams (crazy_quill) says:

The Grand Panjandrum is still famous amongst Fforde fans.  

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Dave!  Go wash your mouth out with mad soap this instant!

Jim Crider (autojim) says:

I believe the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest still gives out the Grand Panjandrum's Special Award each year.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

"Garioli" sounds like some kind of mad pasta.

Actually, recalling what Helen's breakthrough was like, maybe it is.

(idv) says:

Having just finished Anathem... I'd say panjandrum is alive, kicking, and over-used.

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

So I gather that we're not talking about this panjandrum?

Leon Arnott (l) says: Thursday:

Ambiguous language! The great equaliser.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

If Dave had only said, "She's as perfect a girl as I can conceive!"

Mark Chapman (aardvark86) says:

Ah Ed, not everyone is a mad genius wordsmith like you!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Artie needs to get some fashion advice from Tip.
David Johnson (axel) says:

I look forward to Artie's autobiography about growing up among mad science: "I'm Missing a Logical Step Somewhere"

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

And Dave's still smarter than he thinks he is.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Now if they ever animated Narbonic, for this strip would they have to use ... Flash animation?

(Yeah, I just wrote that, and I'm ashamed of it myself.)

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

You should be proud of that pregnant pause, Ed. You could drive a train through it. It's perfect.

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

I agree with Joe, Ed--the pause is perfect. If anything, what you should be ashamed of is failing to don sunglasses and finish off that quip with a "YEEEAAAAAAAAAHH!!!"

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

Ed's home shall forever be known as The House of the Rising Pun.

Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

We're so outta time, there's nearly nothing left! :' -( Goodbye, 12 years!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: That never works at my job interviews....
Leon Arnott (l) says: Saturday:

The implication here is that Davenport is the only Dave in the world who is a mad scientist. Which I guess is in keeping with the story of this comic, that Dave's prior identity as "a guy named Dave" is so anathema to the trappings of mad science that his latent genius is a shocking revelation.

I almost forgot that Dave has been back in the Conspiracy for awhile. They aren't actually still planning to kill him, except perhaps for being incredibly threatening to their upper circle just now.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

"You know, I have no idea" is the best threat in the universe.


Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

The twitch sells it.

Chris Gleason (thebkitu) says:

The Dave Conspiracy has always reminded me of the halcyon days of the Jeffrey Johnson Continuum.

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Oh I get it. I need to wait until I get the interview to make veiled threats toward my potential boss.

Rodford Smith (stickmaker) says:

>Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

>"You know, I have no idea" is the best threat in the >universe.

I thought it was "Absolutely nothing. Ever."

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: A conspiracy of shadowy people who stand behinds the scenes of the world defined only by the first name they have in common? No comment.
Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

Did he give them the bucket of fried chicken?

(Forgive me if this is explained later; it's my first time through Narbonic and I don't want to skip ahead in the original series....

Chris (khade) says:


If' it's your first time, why are you reading the Director's Cut?

Everything is spoiled here.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Man, I love this moment.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile