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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: "Just Cobras" my heiney.  
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says: Not again!!!
Jack Charos (jackofchaos) says: Sigh... I'm 0 for 4 on predicting cuteness...
Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says: *pokes a dangerous animal* for THE psychotic nature show host, rest in peace dude.
Incog Neato (ghede) says:

Ok. Now I'm really expecting spiders, then monsterous flies next. The cobras are being harassed by spiders, then the spiders are being harassed by flies the size of baseballs.  Then Tip swallows a horse, I don't know why.

Yes, I know somebody did that reference already.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: ...sigh. Dirty-minded me can't think of anyone swallowing a horse innocently.
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Hi!!! with three exclamation points!

Amway salemen cobras?


So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

See, the cobras did come out cute!

Today on the Mad Scientist Wars:

Escape??, or The Final Comeuppance of Professor Zobot.

Only on Comics By Shaenon II - !! Visit it today!! 


Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: So, let's remember, kids.  They have hazmat suits and crutches just lying around going spare, but they do not have gloves or forked sticks.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Looking at cobra in panel 4 ... what is this, product placement for Target stores?  I suppose Tip's earrings will sprout an H&R Block logo next ... (well it's that time of year y'know).

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

I wish I had a door that said "Fweeee".

Ed, that's not a Target logo, the snake swiped Andrew's t-shirt. 

Ryan Boes (thatguy) says:

Why do the cobras harass the robots?

 They want the robots' flying machines.

Snakes on a Plane

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

I wonder, did all these guys get irradiated, or did the silverfish just join a pre-existing Situation?

Maybe Tip should have Unity throw the Department of Irradiation folks down here to live with their creations.... 

Jack Charos (jackofchaos) says: so... mongeese next?
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

Ok, I admit: The first thing that sprung into my head when I saw the cobra's greeting was "Oh God. Ditzy cheerleader cobras."

And as for the next creatures that Tip might encounter, I'm still rooting for sentient energy beings. However, I will say that what I'm BETTING on are intelligent action figures. The nerd in me is hoping that this turns into a "real live cobras verses G.I. Joe" sort of thingy.

Indigo C (indigo) says: Yay! Friendly cobras!
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

"So, let's remember, kids.  They have hazmat suits and crutches just lying around going spare, but they do not have gloves or forked sticks."

One of the crutches makes a fine forked stick.



Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: So, let's remember, kids.  They have hazmat suits and crutches just lying around going spare, but they do not have gloves or forked sticks.

Well yeah.  It is a government institution after all.


Mica J. L. (autumnestuary) says: ...Where are the crutches in panel three? 
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Say, aren't the heels on those boots drawn a little forward of where they'd be in the real-world equivalent?
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

No, there are plenty of shoes like that . they can just be a little tricky to get around in. Hills, gotta watch hills.

 And the snake? How did we just not expect this? Oh, well.

My money? TRIBBLES. 

Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: I the only one imagining "Alvin and the Chipmunks" voices for these guys?
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Oh, those trepidacious eyes!

 They're adorable.


Rachel S. (masamage) says: They're aggressively childlike, I notice.
Jack Charos (jackofchaos) says:

Cute, yes... and yet I suspect that they're still dangerous.

Being  covered in very poisonous snakes that apparently have the psyche of children might not be the best place to be. Beware- children bite!

Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

On the plus side, being wrapped in snake is a good way to get over any lingering fear thereof.

 When in high school, we had a pet king python in one classroom.  During a snowstorm, the school lost power, and to keep the python alive we had to take turns letting him curl up around us inside our jackets.  So, speaking from experience, having a 12+ foot long python wrapped around you inside your jacket does wonders to cure any lingering snake phobia.

Presumably lots of baby cobras does the same thing.  Provided you don't get bitten or anything... 

Incog Neato (ghede) says:

Gah! Can't... Move... Falling... into... diabetic... coma...  Only sound.... shall be.... D'aawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. D'awww. D'awwwwwwwww.

Martin Olsson (martinolsson) says: My mom was a lady... That's Peter Pan, right?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

Well, now the question is simple.

Is the 'lady' reference saying that their mom was a female snake (in which case the snakes are airheads), or that their creator was a lady mad scientist (in which case they're just dumb)?

Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says: Awwww. Now that's the way to stay protected from stuff!
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Tip, quit while you're ahead. Take the cute snakes upstairs to live in your office.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

This is going to be the next big fashion thing.  A jacket made of live cobras; the ultimate in personal protection.

Today's band name:  "Kawaii Cobra".  Come to think of it, that would be a good name for a cartoon show as well.

NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: There are no words to express how delighted my inner child is at this strip. She now has a new catch phrase, as well. "Hug me!!"
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Rachel Blackman:

1) OK, that's serious dedication!  I'm not even snake phobic, but a 12' constrictor could certainly kill a human (if not eat one of the smaller kids)

2) A 12' python fit under your jackets?

3) Unless you had frost forming inside the classroom, I'm pretty sure you could have just thrown a blanket or coat over it and let it go torpid for the duration.


Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: And, frankly, that's all most snakes want from a person. We're big, mobile warmth-buckets.
Indigo C (indigo) says: Cuddly Cobras who are sweet-natured basically. Delightful.
Incog Neato (ghede) says: So THAT's why the cobra's were "attacking" the robots. HEAT.
Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: The robots are warmy too?
Mary Potts (queenofcapes) says: EEE! They're so cuuuute!!!  Please tell me there will be plushies of them someday. ^_^  Oh, I want to hug them! *SQUEE!*
Patricia Lupien (patricia_lupien) says: God, that's cute! Cobras acting like 5-year old kids. You win at kawaii today.
Sor Cyress (sorcyress) says:

I want them. 

OHMAN, do I ever want them. They are frigging *adorable*

Also 'hug me!' *melts*


So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Today on the Mad Scientist Wars:

The Dawn of the Day of the Deranged Do-Gooder, Fluffy the Giant Rabbit, and Why I'm Never Working With Jane Narbon Again. Also: Ares Comes.

on Comics By Shaenon II - !! Visit it today!!

David Given (dg) says:



Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
In the scripts for this storyline, only the cobras were described as "adorable," but with my art style just about everything turned out kind of cute. Therefore, the cobras have to be extra adorable.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

. . . . . . CUTE!!!

Ohmigodohmigodohmigod.. . . I-It's too much. And- and they- eeee!

Can we keep them? Please? they just HAVE to become regulars of some kind.

Snuggly!   Less than three*


* <3 

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:


Aaron Shades says: "Can we keep them? Please? they just HAVE to become regulars of some kind."


Here! Here! I strongly second this sentiment! Snakes get such undeservedly bad P.R. most of the time (i.e. "Snakes on a Plane") that some friendly snakes (even child-like cobras) would be a nice change from the usual snakes-as-Evil stereotypes. 

Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: I don't think Tip appreciates his job as much as he should. I mean who wouldn't love to be hugged by a bunch of adorable cobras. Besides we all know that the only thing these guys are gonna want from Tip is some pacifiers. Unfortunately, since all the government pacifiers have been coated with the serum that Helen originally planned to use on herself before Artie switched it out with the sex change potion, they will grow 20 feet long and eat each other. Or Tip. I guess that's a possibility.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Snakes On A Tranny (Transvestite, not transsexual, in this case). ;)
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Martha: The robots must be warmy - the laws of thermodynamics do not suffer thwartage.
Brian Rogers (billionsix) says: Shaenon did it. She made cobras cuddly. All the others comics can stop trying.
Joseph Osako (schol-r-lea) says:

Today's band name:  "Kawaii Cobra".  Come to think of it, that would be a good name for a cartoon show as well.

YE Gods! When I read that, the first thing my brain did was turn it around...

Cobra Kawaii Dojo!

I now have this bizarre mental image of Martin Kove throwing a six-year-old Will Zabka into a pit full of cobras to teach him the 'snake fist' technique ("But snakes don't have fists..." "Don't be such a whiner, Johnny! I'm gonna make a MAN of you if it kills you!") 

Joseph Osako (schol-r-lea) says: I just realized that the proper ending of that last posting should have been, "even if I have to throw you into a cursed spring to do it!" The best lines always come to you too late...
Matt Blackwell (mattblackwell) says: I hope those earrings are clip ons, otherwise Tip will be spending the few few panels screaming in pain...
Rachel S. (masamage) says: I was just thinking the same thing, Matt. Except I guess they could be on hooks somehow.
Kevin (notsteve) says: I just noticed - does Skin Horse have a filename story too?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: I notice that one of the snakes has made off with Tip's earring...
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Yes. I've been assembling a copy of it here. Someone else has been keeping a better one - punctuated and so on, where I haven't been doing more than dropping in paragraph breaks as seemed appropriate - but I don't remember the URL for it offhand.

I've got the Narbonic one, too.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: J. Osako:  Maybe that's what happened to these cobras?  They originally were kids, but wandered away from the family picnic and fell into the cursed spring?  "Aaaiiieee!  You fall in 'Spring of Drowned Baby Cobra'!  Very sad story!  Baby cobra fall in and drown one thousand two hundred forty-five years ago!  On Thursday!"
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Bismollian cobra babies!
Elaine Corvidae (elaine_corvidae) says:

Eee! Baby cobras make me much happiness. :-)

Any guesses as to what "Mom" might turn out to be (other than she used to be a lady?).

Magnolia Pearl Porter (magnoliapearl) says: I just watched Chuck Jones's Rikki Tikki Tavi which makes this even more excellent.
Sor Cyress (sorcyress) says:

I think mom is Tip --even after he said he wasn't a lady, the cobras might still mistake skirt for femaleness. 


Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

That brings up an important point.

Are Tips ears pierced?

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Today on the Mad Scientist Wars:

Professor Tinker and the Benevolent Man, Jane Narbon's Experiments, and Regrowing Your Body for Dummies.

Only on Comics By Shaenon II - !! Visit it today!! 
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

. . . .  the poor things! They need some mice, or- ah,well, not gerbils. . . but  even bugs. . .  oh, yeah, well, they need food!

And teddy bears.

Are we going to get names for them soon? Please? 

Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says:

Can you imagine  Tip telling them to eat the silverfish? How great would that be?

Mica J. L. (autumnestuary) says: I yelled this across the house read this one aloud to my mother, and she agrees- the cobras are frickin adorable. I want to pick them up and huggle theeem! <3 (Although this may be inadvisable in real life...) 
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says:

It would appear Tip has been taken in as their surrogate mother.

Frankly, I just don't know what to say. Except that maybe Tip should get these guys a microwave. 

Derek Burrow (bard) says: I dunno about "mother".  I'd say more "substitute teacher".
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says: OK we have a Timmy and a Trina.
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

You know they really are cute.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ay yi.
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says: And so the circle is complete.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: The mice always wait for their lab samples to thaw before eating them, like good little boys and girls.  Do not actually feed frozen mice to your cobras.
Incog Neato (ghede) says:

"Scientists are our friends"

That would make a good T-shirt. Maybe with Dr. Frankenstein along with it, doing a little "research" 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Mice-A-Roni!  The Skin Horse Sub-Basement Treat!

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Hm, does bagged mouse taste anything like jugged rat?
Indigo C (indigo) says: I think they need a space heater. 
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: I'm with Blodgett. 'Scientists are our friends!' would be an awesome tee shirt.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: It would be an even better t-shirt if you put 'Heh heh heh.' directly under that.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Today on the Mad Scientist Wars:

A Conversation with the Men In Black. Also: "For Science!!"

Only on Comics By Shaenon II - !! Visit it today!!
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

So the one that mangles big words is Tina, the one who is in the middle is Tommy, and the one who wants to be held is as of yet unnamed. 

Probably another T, no? 

Mel Van Weelden (kessalia) says: Since it looks like Trina was calling for mom like she expected mom to answer, where IS 'mom' and when is she gonna pop out? And since the weekend is so close, are they gonna be evil and cliff-hanger us?  :P
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

"And since the weekend is so close, are they gonna be evil and cliff-hanger us?"

 I would be so disapointed if they didn't, I mean "What no evil?"


Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

No comment needed (OK if I had $700 I would buy it)

Martha Mintz (muffinthamighty) says: And three years from now Tip gets this sorted all out...
Nich Maragos (nichm) says: Today's installment finally made me click through to WCN to see whether or not this storyline was called "The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly."
Jack Charos (jackofchaos) says: The only solution is to eliminate one of the links in the chain.
Jack Charos (jackofchaos) says: Oh. And the mushrooms definitely aren't cute!
Sean O'Kelly (malakai47) says: Too bad over the course of those three years he completely forgot why he went down there in the first place.  That poor lipliner is lost to time now...
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: Snakes don't even have noses. how can theey get sniffly?
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: And that being several millennia in silverfish years, their civilization has risen and fallen in the meantime, and nothing remains for yards around but the broken-off legs of one of the Ozymandias trophies from Cat and Girl.
John Wells (johnwwells) says: Jack: Mushrooms are ALWAYS cute.
John Wells (johnwwells) says:

A bit of Googling... and

"Q. My snake makes a hissing sound every time he breathes in and out. Why is he doing that?

A. Look closely at your snake's nostrils. It may just be a piece of stuck shed skin from an improper shed. If there is none, there is a good chance that it is a Respiratory infection. In mild cases, a raise in the temp. and proper humidity levels will be enough to clear it up. If your snake has a foamy substance in his nostrils, it is a sign of advanced Respiratory infection, and should be treated by a vet."

Conclusion: Snakes really do get the sniffles.

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says: Solution Unity Kerosene match
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Alcohol burns cleaner and is less likely to set off the smoke detector. Just make sure it's not ethanol - you wouldn't want to waste something you could drink.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Well, now, to get rid of the mushrooms ... just call some plumber (and his brother) to come in, climb through all the tubes, and jump on top of them.  If there are any megalomaniacal turtles down there, the plumbers can kick them out of the way as well.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Seeing the chorus of "Noooo!" in the first  panell immediately made me visualize a scene from Freakazoid. Specifically, the episode "Candlej---." A bunchof children in the camp warn Freakazoid not to say "----lejack," with a similar chorus of "Noooo!"
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: At least the snakes say the mushrooms are able to talk. Which, of course, means that they don't speak English at all. Or any language Tip knows.
Indigo C (indigo) says: Or they're psychic mushrooms and communicate telepathically.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

dvandom:  Oh, come on.  What are the odds that the mushrooms actually speak English?  I mean, really.

D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

Naturally, the mushrooms are being menaced by giant badgers, forcing them to do their bidding.

I vote Tip eventually snaps, breaks down, and nukes the site from orbit. 

Robin Zimmermann (packbat) says: Relating to the storyline title: am I the only one who's thinking of Hello Kitty?
Patricia Lupien (patricia_lupien) says: My husband says this hold storyline reminds him of a Looney Toons cartoon with the Chicken Hawk trying to all these things for everyone else in order to get a chicken. He suggested Tip get a little Red Wagon.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Adam Underfoot! You fool!! Don't you know better, man?! Anyone who says 'lejack' always has something happ-




Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

John Wells (johnwwells) says: Jack: Mushrooms are ALWAYS cute.

And delciious.  You forgot delcicious. 

What was it someone said earlier about Tip finding out there's no bottom to hit? 


apple apple (mutevampire) says: at this point isn't Tip dealing with a benign enough group that isnt as rooted in as, say, the centipedes or silverfish are; that he could just bring the trio upstairs and get them positions in similar fashion to his company usually does?
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Today on the Mad Scientist Wars:

SoItBegins's Refusal
, The Benevolent Man Escapes, the Preparations of Professor Tinker, and The Fate Of The World Rests In Jane Narbon's Hands. Again.

Only on Comics By Shaenon II - !! Visit it today!!
Jane Narbon (lady_madsci) says: Will they be the Super Mario kind of mushrooms? =D
Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

apple apple: only problem there is that the company probley doesnt have a day care... and putting the corbas in one could cause some problems in any case.

 talking mushrooms: we only try to eat the corbas because our tyrant King tells us to. please, free us from the spiked Turtle king of the talking mushrooms!

iam sorry princess, the solution to this problem is in another section of the sub-basements.

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:


Problem: Talking mushrooms.


Solution: Pizza! (They go great with onions, olives, pepperoni and sausage...)

Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says: I wanna' see the mushrooms that eat cobras.
Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: ...and at this point Tip realizes he could just go out and buy more lipliner.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Mushrooms got fangs....
Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says: Is that a SINGING fish? *shudder*
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: No longer are the creatures cute and cuddly. Those zombie heads look like dead children.:(
Martin Weld (ikari_gendo) says:

What are the horrible, foul-smelling mecha-fish from "Gyu" doing in the basement?  And when did they become sentient?


And where the heck did Tip's lipline end up? 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says:

You know, I think the best thing for Tip would be to find his way out and buy the credenza.

Oh, no. Don't tell me he's lost!

Rockphed (rockphed) says:

Tip is an ex-marine.  He doesn't get lost.

He just loses the directions to his destination.

apple apple (mutevampire) says: disembodied zombie heads.... could this be a tribute to the Zombie Woof story in Narbonic?  (notices that the necks are even the same as Dave's was during those strips)
Scott Davidson (mrson) says:

YAGH! The horrid fish-thing on metal legs! One of my greatest fears! Run away! Run away! 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Personally, I love the Scottish sentient water blob.

Zombie heads are scary ... but not as much as coming home and finding out my wife got a perm.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Yeah, this is definitely getting out of hand!  I suspect Tip is discovering the real reason nobody comes down here... politics!  Maybe he should just set up an Abandoned Species League....

At least, request more funding for Project Skin Horse!!

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: ....the zombie heads are a total Bill Holbrook reference, aren't they?
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Welcome to the United Nations,Tip. We hope you enjoy your stay with our many fascinating soveriegn nations.
apple apple (mutevampire) says: Still don't see why Tip didn't just bring the snakes upstairs, removing a link and solving the only problems Tip actually cared about 8^P
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:


Ohmigodohmigodohmigod the freaking FISH WITH THE FREAKING LEGS!!

If you'll excuse me, I'll just be over here in the corner hyperventilating now. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Today on the Mad Scientist Wars:

The Plot of Jane Narbon, The Benevolent Man and the Search-Party, and the Creation of the Spaceway to the Planet Mars. Also: The Quintessentialist and the Last Resort.

on Comics By Shaenon II - !! Visit it today!!
Brand Willis (brandyllyn) says: By the time he gets back to the silverfish theyre going to be flying about in hovercars.
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says: Dude, I love the surly mushrooms.  Freakin' love 'em.  I'd so buy a plush surly mushroom, hint-hint.
John Vertical (tropylium) says:

This is starting to look more and more like a shaggy dog story. Or an impending crossover with The Repository of Dangerous Things…


  1. Yay goombas; but shouldn't they be dotless?
  2. "We"? How does one quantify wave monsters?
  3. To me the fish doesn't look like having robotic/insectoid feet as much as being attached to the machinery by levers. Not sure if that's more or less creepy.
  4. What the zark is the background in the last panel? Floating platforms in a cavern, with frosting?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
....the zombie heads are a total Bill Holbrook reference, aren't they?

Only if they then say, "As zombie heads, we are heads that have been zombified," and one of them marries one of the fanged carnivorous mushrooms. Who turns out to be a bunch of silverfish in disguise, thus shocking the zombie head community, but the zombie head who objects most zealously to their union is secretly in the closet about having a body, and when the couple's zombie/silverfish/mushroom daughter who's also a supergenius discovers the truth, she and her vegetarian cobra boyfriend come up with a blackmail plot...

I've spent way too much of my life reading webcomics.
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Shaenon, stop giving away the rest of our dang scripts!
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:


It's time for Tip to go back upstairs and let Unity handle this one. 

Ryan Boes (thatguy) says: Politics can always be circumvented by guns.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile