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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Chris Reed (animeraider) says:

New strip! New strip! New Strip!

Welcome back Shaenon! Hello Jeffrey!

/me is happy

Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

Curious. So we have, presumably, a man (by the gender-inappropriate remark, and the apparent hair on the character's arms and leg) stareing down a Uber-lion (or some such). but its okay, because he is a psychologist. This should be very interesting.

 oh. and i do belive that is a folding chair he is holding. nice. not what i would want to be holding while stareing down a lion, let alone an Uber-lion. but still. nice.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:



In other news: Congratulations on the inception of a new webcomic, may it reign long! 

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Sweet! Subverting the canonical "lion tamer" image with a *folding* chair.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: Pink angora sweater?  Gender-inappropriate?  If this guy's name is "Glen" (or "Glenda"), I'm going to kick someone.
Robin Zimmermann (packbat) says: You know how Eric Burns wrote that Websnark entry where he pointed out the panel where he first fell in love with Questionable Content? Panel four.
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says: I love that rocking horse logo, just love it!
Rob Wright (mirk) says: I'm looking forward to this new project of yours, Mrs. Faragarrity.  An auspicious way to start the new year. 
Steve Ford (sford) says: Now granted, Roberta Frost hand-knit sweaters punch up tired wardrobes with color and fun, creating design and sophistication. True, women are wearing Roberta's colorful collection to work, to play, and to party -- with pants, with skirts, over leggings, and in lieu of blazers. And yes, there are even scarves to be had.  But gender-inappropriate?  I searched her entire line and didn't see that category.  (A category I'm always on the lookout for, btw.)
Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says:

I completely approve. :-D

 Hi again, Shaenon. Nice to meet you, Jeffrey. :)
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Now that I'm awake and caffeinated, I begin to ask questions. Who genetically modified the lion? Who is sitting on a roof with a deadly long-range weapon? Two characters in the Gerrityverse come to mind...
Jordi Kroon (jordi) says: If there's such a thing as a perfect start for webcomics, this is it. Glad to have you back Shaenon, and nice to meet you, Jeffrey.
A.G. Hopkins (blackbyrd2) says: Skin Horse is made of awesome! Oh wait. That belongs elsewhere.
Magnolia Pearl Porter (magnoliapearl) says: I really missed having new Shaenon-drawn stuff. Having this to look forward to leaves me DOUBLY excited for 2008.
Robin Zimmermann (packbat) says: sford: Perhaps our psychologist isn't a woman?
John Wells (johnwwells) says:

Question 1: Why does he have to dress as a woman to talk to the lion?

Question 2: Is Unity a code-name?

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Obviously the lion can talk. o.0

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

The protag gripes about the sweater, but not the skirt? Hmmm.

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: So much for the sniper-is-Mell theory. But she has a canine partner! Arf! Woof!
K. Myers (bassetking) says: This is going to be a GOOD year. At long last, Sarge is back!
Ava C. (waterfly) says: I was wondering about the skirt as well...odd not to mention it, or the shoes(which appear to have stiletto heels on them) but to talk of the pink angora sweater being gender-inappropriate.
Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

Tiff:  One must remember that Helen Narbon and Helen (Beta) Narbon are both still out there somewhere. We should expect genetically-modified animals to pop up as a matter of course. 

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

 It's the peter pan collar that is the problem.

It's inappropriate to ALL genders.

There seems to be a LARGE dog (or other animal) sitting behind Unity.

I wonder what that is about? 

William George (thewilliamg) says:

Getting comics is like getting herpees, isn't it?

Medicate yourself all you like,  you can't get rid of that itch.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Now this is a situation I have never, ever gotten myself into.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: I'm still thoroughly unsure as to the sex of the psychologist. It could be a girl, I mean my sister's arms are that hairy. I don't know.
Evan Kennedy (kneefers) says: I've been wondering, does this take place in the same world as Narbonic? Sort of a Shaenon-Garrity-universe?
Brand Willis (brandyllyn) says: The lion's use of 'cowardice' makes me think we're not in Kansas anymore.
Steve Ford (sford) says: When a sentient being with lots of very sharp pointy stabby things asks one a question, one would be wise to answer without a lot of day dreaming.
Pete (westrider) says: The Lion's dialogue in Panel 2 just screams "Mad Science" at me. I wouldn't be surprised if there were some sort of connection, but it could just as well be separate.
K G (muppetk) says: EEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: I am reminded of a Xxxenophile story involving a secret agent trapped in the body of a dog....
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

I notice that: 

1) 'Tip', in addition to the gender-inappropriate sweater, is also wearing gender-inappropriate (a) skirt, and (b) high heels.


2) 'Unity' does not look like Mell Kelly... KIDDING! She actually kind of does.


3) The dog can TALK?!



Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Awwww...Unity has the sweetest pout.
Steve Ford (sford) says:

I think it's the rifle that makes Unity look like Mel.  But I must admit a bit of spatial confusion on the silhouette on panel 2.  Does Unity have two pigtails?

This darn comment board's spelling checker doesn't work.  And since it's not just a normal html text box, firefox's spelling checker doesn't work. 

Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: Yeah, looks like she does have two pigtails. See the zigzaggy line above the first in the last two panels? What I'm wondering is, is Unity black? Something about the way she's drawn makes me think she is, but it's subtle enough it could just be dramatic lighting. She doesn't really look like Mell, IMHO.
A.G. Hopkins (blackbyrd2) says: Sounds to me like Tip and Unity are on a team designed specifically to recover super-intelligent animals created by Mad Science. But for what purpose? FOR WHAT PURPOSE?? BUAHAHAHA!
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Pigtails usually come in pairs, otherwise it's a ponytail. Of course, some avante-gard girls wear one on the side. Mel does not strike me as the pigtail-type of girl, or one that would work for the government. The 'dog' appears to have gerbil-y features, and since 'it' talks, it is an obvious genetically modified animal, so could be transgenetic (or maybe the lovely Shannon just draws that way). I only say 'it' because the animal's gender has not yet been revealed. In other news: So, it's official; Tip's a he. That makes his entire outfit gender-inappropriate, unless he's a transvestite. Maybe it has to do with the sex of the lion's dead master, some psychological trick to make the lion less aggressive. If that's the case, it doesn't seem to be working, unless the lion chewing on Tip's head in a gentle, loving way.

Marvelous Patric (themarvelouspatric) says: maybe unity is a relative of mell's somehow?  like unknownst to her?  and then we can have a huge crossover battle?  and all sentences will end in question marks?
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

Oops! I made the mistake of saying DEAD master. The master was arrested (I'm assuming they don't cuff dead people). My bad. As to Mell, or the Narbonics, or Dave or Caliban (Tip's resemblance...) even being a part of this universe, one can only wonder...

Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: There's no way that Unity is related to Mell. Unity is not an Irish name. At least as far as I know. I also think it's sad that we're all hoping so desperately for some kind of crossover. It's pathetic. Of course, that doesn't mean I'm not hoping the same thing.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: And after further analysis, I think Unity is black.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: I just realized Unity is wearing a lovely heart motif blouse, the perfect accessory for her profession - in Shaenon's world. (P.S., I want a rifle like Unity's in .308 Winchester. Then she and I could go for long walks in the countryside, shooting antler points off deer. Woot! When I die I want to come back as a character in one of Shaenon's comics.)
Rachel (admiralshazbot) says: I think Unity's got one long ponytail flying around her. In the second panel, it's waving in the wind next to her left cheek.
Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: The heck?! Okay, the reason why we were confused about Unity's appearance is now explained. She certainly gives a whole new meaning to being half black/half white...
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: As long as all the bits are female, I'm cool with it. ;)
Owl Mirror (owlmirror) says:

OK, so far we have:

  •  A Cowardly Lion
  •  A boy-who-might-be-a-girl (or vice-versa) named "Tip"
  •  A talking dog
  •  A Patchwork Girl.

I do believe that the Oz theme (dare I say obsession?) started by the Garrity-Wells team in "A Brief Moment of Culture" is showing itself in this story as well.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. We haven't been in Kansas for quite some time now.

Rachel (admiralshazbot) says:

So wait, is Unity transgenic as well?  And where does the dotted line fit into the genetic makeup?

Assuming Unity's genes have been messed with, that makes three of four characters warped perversions of science.  The other one's a very cute cross-dressing psychologist.

I LIKE this cast. 

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

"As long as all the bits are female, I'm cool with it."

They seem to be, for now at least. Don't count on them staying that way.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Well, let's do the inventory here.

1) Unity. Appears to be sewn together some way, source material possibly from 2 transgenic clones? Unknown. Somewhat likely to be creation of mad scientist.

2) The dog (possible name Sweetheart?). Can talk, appears to be fully sentient. Likely genetically modified. Highly likely to be the creation of a mad scientist.

3) Leo, the lion. Can talk, appears to be mostly sentient. Transgenic//modified. Known mad-scientist creation record, name of creator: Dr. Bloodworth (possible alias of Lupin Madblood?).

4) Tip. Male. Appears to be creation of own parents. Currently wearing female clothes, reason indeterminate (though from point-of-view logs, appears to dislike it at least somewhat.) Definitely not the creation of a mad scientist.


Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: "Holy Bele and Lokai, Batman!"
A.G. Hopkins (blackbyrd2) says: Since mad science seems to be the theme of the day, let me suppose that Tip's own genetic 'thing' is a cycling gender. Presumably Tip got called out while still female, but shifted en route to the emergency, and apparently didn't bring a change of clothes. This presupposes the shifting is involuntary. Otherwise, Tip is not just shifting gender, but entire personalities, and the psychologist is male.
A.G. Hopkins (blackbyrd2) says: Also; "Oop. Got him by the head again." FTW.
A.G. Hopkins (blackbyrd2) says: And, for So It Begins, Unity appears to have at least four or five separate bits, probably many more. Color of hands appears reversed from color scheme of face, and there's a seam across her neck. While trunk and one arm could be one piece, it seems likely that the divisions are much smaller. That doesn't mean she can't be from just two cloned donors, but it seems likely that there's more.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Anybody every consider just reading the comic?  And letting the authors entertain us?  Yes, the whole "let's try to outguess the authors" is mildly entertaining, but they've had several months to develop the characters, settings, and plot; we're trying to do instant analysis from a few (possibly misleading) hints in a few minutes.

I prefer to let my mental state revert to childhood, let the grown-ups drive, and just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Shaenon, I want a cookie.  NOW.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

I would like to officially protest being called a "grown-up".

Steve Ford (sford) says:

Don't worry Channing, I just turned 50 and I'm definitely not a "grown-up".  Although there are times that it is handy to pretend to be one when confronting miniature humans with behavior problems.

Ed, we're just having fun.

Owl, you are brilliant.

Cameron Nielsen (cameroncn) says: Someone on the forum has very usefully pointed out that Unity is pictured sunbathing in the background of Shaenon's website. Needless to say, this is relevant to the question of how many different bits she is made of. (Also in the background doing various Tiki-ish things are Dave, the talking dog, Taylor and Taylor, Mell (with armament), Sergio, Artie, somebody from Trunktown, and two characters from Smithson whose names I forget at this time.)
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: I kind of figure that Unity is made up of a pair of siamese twins. The parents didn't want to lose either so they took parts of both. Creepy, but better than chopping one off and letting them both die.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:
"Hey! What's Doctor Bloodworth?"
"Oh, the same as anyone else's."
(Sorry, but I just could not resist.)
M Lowe-Hentges (annechen67) says:



Good show. 

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: tip wore white to the final test a vintage 1930s day dress low neckline
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Well, that is one way to make your patient unhand you.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Leo needs to read "Paradigm Shift" to learn the proper method of consuming a human being.  And maybe get hold of a copy of "To Serve Man".

By the way, I realize I was in error yesterday.  Jeffrey is the writer of the story, so he is the one whose clever tale we should allow to guide us into a realm of wonder, mystery and humor.  Jeffrey, my inner child sits at your feet, smiling up at you and demanding a cookie.  NOW.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

Shaenon and I are both writing, actually.  The art is, thankfully, all hers.

Ed, you may have a cookie once you've finished your broccoli.

Valerie Kaplan (shinyhappygoth) says: Don't worry, Thomas, I'm archiving it.  I'll post the link occasionally, when it reaches the end of a sentence or paragraph or something.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Shaenon and I are both writing, actually. The art is, thankfully, all hers.

This week's scripts are pretty much all Jeffrey, though. He was the one who kicked off the actual writing.
Mary Potts (queenofcapes) says: The first panel of the latest strip is quite possibly the Apex of human art and literature.  May I clip it and use it as my sig for the internet?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: May I clip it and use it as my sig for the internet?

But of course!
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

That's a pretty nice looking lion.

Can I have everybody's brocoli so I can finish my laser?



Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says:

Can I have everybody's brocoli so I can finish my laser?

Oranges work better if you're trying to power it acidically. Also brocolli smells bad when drained of its life force.

BDan Fairchild (tirerim) says: Whee!  This looks like it's going to be fun.
BDan Fairchild (tirerim) says: However, it would be really nice if the navigation arrows were at the top of the comments instead of the bottom.  Or ideally at the top of the comics as well as the top of the comments.  Having to scroll through 70 comments when moving back and forth gets tedious.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Alas, BDan, I think the arrangement is hard-coded into WCN and thus out of our direct control.
bzzzzd (bzzzzd) says:

QUOTE:BDan Fairchild (tirerim) says: However, it would be really nice if the navigation arrows were at the top of the comments instead of the bottom. Or ideally at the top of the comics as well as the top of the comments. Having to scroll through 70 comments when moving back and forth gets tedious.

To alleviate the tedium, try CTRL-END to get to the bottom of the page really really really fast. Really. (CTRL-HOME for the top)

Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: Wow Shaenon, it's the start of a strip and no floating eyebrows. You certainly have come far since Narbonic. (though, to tell the truth I never had a problem with the floaty eyebrows)
Joey Manley (joeymanley) says: testing comments
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile