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Smithson Thus Far... ·


Mojo Nixon is romantic, right?

And Dave's bizarre-sounding plan to Artie makes perfect sense! He really is a mad genius!

The island storyline, way back in 2002, closed with a fakeout ending, so I liked the idea of bringing the island back for the real ending. Plus, islands are cool.

Speaking of previous Narbonic storylines, remember when Shane Wegner composed a soundtrack for "Battle of the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil"? Because, with the help of Jon Sack, he also composed one for this week of strips. Here's Epilogue: Sunset on the Island of Gerbilflies and Doom, copyright Shane Wegner.

Shane describes this track as "some soothing, islandy music (inspired by Oahu?), with a few gentle shrieks and chirps of Gerbils in the background. I imagine this is how the movie ends, with the final hammock/madness/anything's possible epilogue." On Paul Marino, who assisted with the "Diamond Mines" music, and Jon Sack, who assisted on "Epilogue," Shane writes, "It's like Helen, Dave and the Doomsday Machine. I give them the slightest blueprint/description/request of what I'm hoping for, maybe a really rough midi sketch and stand back, they make it awesome."

I dig this so much I cannot do my excitement justice.

I like the idea that Dave typically gets Helen gifts that are transparently for himself. Come to think of it, the island kind of falls under that category too...

It'd been a long time since I last drew the island, so I tried to put an effort into drawing the vegetation and stuff. I hope you enjoy these ginormous leaves.

So now Dave has a new job as mad-science liaison to the Dave Conspiracy, and Helen has a spot for her next evil lair. That certainly worked out nicely. Mad Dave is a much better schemer than Sane Dave. Also he has a lab coat, for Science.

Are we really this close to the end? How did that happen? I'm all choked up.

So anyway, Helen winds up with an island lair, which is easily the most boss category of evil lair. It probably ends up being Dave's island, too, eventually, so he really isn't giving it up for very long. Does he know that? Probably. Dave is cunning now.

Did Helen know that it would all work out this way? Possibly. Helen has always been cunning.

The first panel was inspired by a scene in Lea Hernandez's graphic novel Cathedral Child. I liked the idea of Helen and Dave standing on a cliff, overlooking the future.

I also liked the idea of smooches. I'm a big irrational softie.

This is it, folks. The last daily Narbonic strip.

I wanted the relationship between Helen and Dave--and, for that matter, most of the plot lines and character developments--to end on an ambiguous note. No matter what happens, at least they seem ready to have fun doing it. That's the best any of us can hope for, I think.

Thanks for reading and rereading, everyone. Final Sunday strip tomorrow.

Joseph Abbott (faxpaladin) says:

The music's not playing for me (and the plugin itself works, because I just went back and listened to "Diamond Mines" again...).

Lapo Fanciullo (lapuspuer) says:

I should have done this before.
I binged through Narbonic as it was long-finished, then I binged through the Director's Cut as it'd be shortly-finished, all the time telling myself "I really should take the time to register and post a comment some time". Somehow I managed to not realize how little time I had left. Now I've been reminded.
So here I am at last, looking for something to say. Awesome comic. Awesome fans (I've had a lot of fun reading the comments). Would say more, but there's no way of saying what this comic has meant to me and keep this comment within a reasonable length.
So, that's it. Thank you.

Leon Arnott (l) says: 6:

Setting this final scene on the isle, probably the most whimsical surviving Earthly location in the comic's history, gives it a very rarefied, enchanted air. Isn't that what romance is about - igniting passions so heady that reality feels like a dream?
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

I was going to ask whether they were called buttergerbils or gerbilflies, but you're way ahead of me as usual.

...I see pokeballs in a certain child's future.

Ryan Flores (justen) says:

I wanted to say this. I love this comic. I've already read through it many times and can't get enough. I'm also a fan of Skin horse. Thank you very much for this comic and teh directors cut as I willmost likely be visiting this comic again in the future and telling friends about it. It has ben a long road and I am glad I have taken every step.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Thanks again, everyone. Also, MP3 player... FIXED.
Leon Arnott (l) says: 5:

I like the long shots this week has. It feels like a long pan-out.

Dave's clear glasses and tiny mouth really give him an off-putting glazed look. If you wanted some way of making him still appear mad while skirting the upper bounds of normal, you succeeded.
David Blake (vivavi) says:

He's just trying not to explode from keeping the smug off his face.  He just caught Helen totally off guard twice in a row!

Helen's punchline is one of my favorites.

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

I'll buy you a PS game, my friend,
If I get to play it too.
I've finally gone insane, my friend,
So I know what I should do.
I'll give you the gerbil island,
The island might buy your love.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(Continuing from above)

   Might buy your love, true!
   Something I can try to do!
   Might buy your love, true!
   Woo-woo-woo hoo!

Dinner, you admit, is kind of sweet
But love you still deny!
Saying that the island's yours, complete,
Is sure to stupefy!
Giving you the gerbil island,
The island might buy your love!

(TUNE: "Can't Buy Me Love", The Beatles, in case you couldn't tell)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Oh, and thanks Daibhid.  Good job!

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

"See, we can even have separate lairs!"

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: Helen's cutest expression is when she has no expression.
Wayne (wayne) says:

Realtor pitch: "Yes, this island has his and hers lairs, hot and cold running madness there, let me tell you!  It's low mileage, only been flown over the Antarctic once.  Originally owned by a bunch of uplifted gerbils, but they're all dead, so no worries about infestations or progressive Randians.  Utilities have already been built-out with amazing high-speed internet connections and an armory that will make you weep!"


And Daibhid and Ed: good job!  Though I've got "Another Girl" locked in my brain for some reason, comes from listening to nothing but Beatles to and fro the observatory Sunday night.

David L (fots) says:

I'm kind of curious if Shane has this music up for download anywhere?  Somhow or another I was able to grab a download of his last song, but can't seem to figure out how I did it anymore....

Jim Crider (autojim) says:


Thank you. Thank you for years of fun. I think it was Esther Friesner who provided the reference that got me here, and I've been here ever since. The director's cut commentary was every bit as fun as the original run, which in and of itself is rare. So, thank you again.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Esther is the greatest!
Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

David L:

Tamar Lindsay (tamar) says:

I had a peculiar thought... compare Dave's face with Betty Boop.

Leon Arnott (l) says: 4:

I think the leaves really contribute to the rarefied atmosphere of this scene. I like the symmetry of Helen being given a of a new lair, given that the comic starts with her old lair office being demolished. While it was moody and subterranean, the median strip lab was always just a hole in the ground that she didn't have the dollars to do better than. Hardly an Arctic base or a Brazilian diamond mine.
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Is not being volcanic a plus or minus for a tropical island lair?

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Sam:  For a mad biologist, it's a plus.  Mad physicists might prefer the volcano.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "This Land is Your Land" by Woody Guthrie)

        I own an island!
        This now is my land!
        From the soggy sea-shore
        To the high-and-dry land!
        No need to panic
        If it gets volcanic!
        This is the island meant for us!

An eye that's twitching
Or a nervous quirk'll
Convince the five Daves
Of the Inner Circle!
Now this is my gift
To repair our love's rift!
This is the island meant for us!
    [repeat CHORUS]

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Sam: Mad engineers definitely prefer the virtually limitless geothermal energy available from a volcano lair, but like David said, a mad biologist probably prefers not having a looming environmental factor that will eventually wipe out her work without her say-so.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: He gives her the island, she gives him the bird. It works out.
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: :D Always did love that last panel. Just the look on her face when she says "not anymore"...
David Johnson (axel) says:

I can only assume the lab coat was also part of his deal with the Dave Conspiracy. Or perhaps something they insisted on. If they've got a mad science liason, he should at least look like a mad scientist, after all.

David L (fots) says:

Rex Vivat: Thank you


Helen's comment of "Not anymore" is priceless. :)

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

Very clever, Dave. By making her deny your ownership of the island, you also trick her into accepting your gift.

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

@axel: Unless the lab coat just sort of spontaneously grows on a scientist once he or she goes mad--you know, like the Goatee of Evilness(tm) does.

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

I agree with everyone who says that Helen's "Not anymore" in the last panel is perfect, but I admit I was kind of expecting her to say it with an expression similar to the one Dave has in the same panel--the one that says, "I'm awesome! I own an island! Go, me!" (The expression she's got also works great in that panel; it just wasn't the one I was expecting to see.)

David Palmer (viadd) says:

Doctor Horrible's vestment ceremony with The Evil League of Evil is shown on his blog.  Presumably the Narboniverse has similar rituals.

Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

I walk by leaves that big to go into the underground tunnel where I commit certain deeds!

There's no way Helen planned this end result of getting an island from her minion all along..... is there?

Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

(Piggybacking on Daibhid's and Ed's excellent contributions from Tuesday....)

   [alternate chorus:]
   Can't buy your love, oh?
   Everybody tells me, "Nah".
   Can't buy your love, oh?
   Bwa-ha-ha, hah!

Say you don't need that old style Dave
And I'll be satisfied.
Tell me that you want the kind of rave
That's from a brain that's fried.
For I don't care too much for saneness,
'Cause saneness can't buy me love.

Leon Arnott (l) says: 3:

It would have been a very self-confident Helen indeed that predicted Dave would extend the hand of amends like this, after all this. Maybe she counted on Dave falling under those powerful fixations that mad genius creations have with their creators - and, as he lamented in the bar, that she's the only tie he has to the mad science world.

Perhaps all these things are actually true, but let's not forget he's also closing the wounds for his daughter's sake. In a sense, their coming back together is just as inexplicable as their having been together in the first place. Sometimes you just can't predict the flushed emotion.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Cunning + cunning... an explosive combination.

I wonder if Antonio Smith ever became a cunning linguist?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Tetra: very nice!

@Soitbegins: Well, Zeta did mention that he's actually married.  And Artie mentioned that he's Latino, so his wife is probably Hispanic also.  (Insert obligatory "taco" joke here.)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "I Want To Hold Your Hand", The Beatles)

You tinkered ... with my brain ...
And I was seeing red!
You made me ... go insane ...
I want to kill you dead!
That's what the old me said ...
I want to kill you dead!

In twenty ... years from now,
Disaster was widespread!
I ruled the ... world, somehow,
And I had killed you dead!
You're just a brain instead!
I killed your body dead!

   My mind into Madblood's computer
   I did hack!
   Old me fell victim to a shooter ...
   Now I'm back!
   Now I'm back!
   Now I'm baaaaaaaack!

This island's ... just our size,
To build a Lair of Dread!
Let me a- pologize ...
Don't want to kill you dead!
Let's live in love, instead!
(And possibly get wed!)
Don't want to kill you dea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ea-ead!

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

Sure they're cunning, but are they as cunning as a pig in a wig?

Wayne (wayne) says:

Is there a volcano?  I don't remember.  Can't have an island lair without a volcano.

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

@Eddurd: I'm not sure Dr. Smith's ethnic background has ever been established in canon, Latino or otherwise, unless I've missed something. Are you thinking of the strip a couple of weeks ago in which Artie says that he gets hot for "Slim, bronzed Latin men, actually ... there's just something about linguistics"? I always understood that line as an explanation of why Dr. Smith is an exception to the normal pattern of humans on whom Artie develops crushes, like, "Normally I just go for Latino dudes, but dang, I'd totally make an exception for that Dr. Smith and his linguistics!"

(Sorry, I tried linking to the strip a couple of different ways, but I couldn't get the link to work. It's the strip from October 27, 2006, for anyone who wants to find it in the archives.)

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

@joe: Or as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University, but has moved on and is now working for the UN at the International Commission of Cunning Planning?

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

@Ed: She said that he's married to grammar, actually.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

"And actually married."

Dave Sullivan (davex) says: I got hooked on Narbonic somewhere around year 2 and read it daily until the end. Then I did the same for the Director's Cut. I can't believe another six years has gone by! Scary! By the way, I met you and Andrew in Boston two years ago yesterday. You very generously gifted me with the first Skin Horse book. Thanks again for that and for all these years of entertainment. You're a major talent with a tremendous body of work to be very proud of. I'll miss the daily visit with your gang of lovable loonies. If you decide to do Director's Cut II, I'm there!
Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Remind me - did Helen give Dave an island every time *she* tried to kill *him*? I'm sensing a possible issue for marriage counseling in the future...
James Rice (jhrice) says:

I bought the original art of this strip from Shaenon, sight unseen, a few weeks before the original end of Narbonic.  I'm glad I did.

Leon Arnott (l) says: 2:

These people are bonkers. But then, they're both gods among people, so why not let them blast through the mending process? They're villains - bouncing back in time for next week is what they do.

I believe this is a callback to, if not their first kiss, then at least their zeroth kiss. Or maybe our host just really likes an especially swoopy-lifty kind of smack.
Shane Wegner (shanewegner) says:

For the record, Jon (and Paul) did so much more than "assist". seriously the ratio is like 3% me saying "hey you know what would be cool, a mysterious island song and it should maybe have these instruments --> [list, sometimes a midi]" and 97% Jon going "I am good at making music and am strangely amenable to carrying out your suggestions, my Liege!" I'd be the worst evil genius ever, giving entirely deserved credit to minions like that!! Definitely a sweet song. Thanks to Shaenon for making an island scene that fits it!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww. It's a lovely future~
Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Tara to Willow: "There's so much to work through.  Trust has to build again . . . on both sides.  You have to learn if you're even the same people you were, if you can fit into each other's lives.  It's a long and important process and can we just skip it?  Can you just be kissing me now?"

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

To Andrew and Rex:  as John said yesterday, when Zeta said that Dr. Smith was "married to grammar ... and actually married", I took that to mean that, in addition to his linguistic work, he had an actual flesh-and-blood homo sapiens of the female type for a mate.

Rest assured, Shaenon, years from now your fans will still be splitting hairs over obscure, throw-away lines in your work.  You must be so proud ... *sniff*

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

I like how Dave clearly isn't listening in panel 2, just waiting for his opening to grab her like that.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: But he still says "Please?" He may be mad now, but he's still a Nice Guy. Exit, pursued by an ur-gerbil.
Pete (westrider) says:

Kay, are you trying to get Helen shot? I do not want this to end with "Your lab coat..."

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

To Ed: Right. Zeta's comment makes Dr. Smith's marital status pretty clear--and, as his assistant, she'd probably be in a position to know such things about him. What I was questioning was your assertion that Artie had identified him as Latino, when, if anything, Artie's line seems to imply that he isn't.

Leon Arnott (l) says: 1:

Whatever happens, I hope their kid gets to wreak more global havoc than either of them combined.
Tetra Valent (4_valent) says:

... and they lived evilly ever after.

It looks like Helen actually prefers the second alternative.

David Blake (vivavi) says:

There's no reason they couldn't live happily ever after while also destorying the planet together!

David Blake (vivavi) says:

Actually, I hate happily ever after endings.  In my mind, "They lived happily ever after," means "They settled down and stopped doing all those things that made you like them and enjoy reading about them."
So, yay ambiguity!  If Rosalind's hints about the future are anything to go by, I'd say Dave and Helen will continue to save/threaten the world for many years to come.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Thanks for posting and reposting, Shaenon. It's been one heck of a wild ride.
joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

It's truly been an experience. Many thanks.

Daibhid Ceannaideach (daibhidc) says:

To quote Granny Weatherwax "You can't make happiness. All you can do is make an ending".

And I can't believe we've reached this one already. 8-(. Thanks, Shaenon, it's been fun.

Kyle Rudy (kylerudy) says:

It was even better the second time around. Thanks for sharing Narbonic with us, Shaenon. As far as webcomics go, it'll always be my first love.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: I'm voting for the maelstrom thing, it goes well with boxed wine. Thank you, Shaenon, for the trip down Augmented Memory Lane.
John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Awww.
Marni Rachmiel (marniferous) says:

It's been awesome! Thank you so much, Shaenon, for all the cleverness, laughter, and delight that is Narbonic. True greatness and greatly loved. <3

Justin Grubbs (jjgrubbs) says:

I discovered Narbonic just after the Director's Cut started. I was in high school and it was the first webcomic I'd ever seen. This was the start of many things, and I can say, with all seriousness, that it has had a noticeable and lasting impact on my life. So, for who I am today, thank you.

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

If only there was a way to go back and do the Director's Cut again, one day at a time, without any manual bookmarking, etc. Is there?

Many thanks, Shaenon, it's been great.

Also thanks to Ed and Kay and several others for all the excellent filks, which at times were almost funnier than the comic of the day.

Michael Suttkus (suttkus) says:

It was a great ride, both times!  Thank you for what rapidly became my favorite webcomic, and has yet to be displaced.

I look forward to your annotations of your comments in the third run.  : - )

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