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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Incog Neato (ghede) says: Izzat the first swear? I don't recall any others... but then again I don't feel like trawling through the archives to satisfy my curiousity.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

Outside Over There? So, what, Goblin kidnapping small children here?

heh. Great, creepy childrens pictiure book.

Rob (rrreed) says:

With apologies to George M. Cohan. You knew someone was going to think of it…

Over There, Over There,
Send the word, send the word over there
That Skin Horse is coming, Skin Horse is coming
The drum's rum-tumming everywhere
So prepare, say a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware
We'll be over, we're coming over
And we won't come back till we're outside Over There.
Rachel S. (masamage) says:


That was a deeply unpleasant shock.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Dunnn de dun dun...
fluffy <3 (fluffy) says: I seem to recall there being a single instance of the word "shit" in the entire run of Narbonic and it seemed incredibly out-of-place. I somehow feel like something has lost its virginity here.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Nick seems like the type who will be permanently stuck with his virginity.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

It's the Evil Midnight F-Bomber What F-Bombs At Midnight!

Also, seeing as how Shaenon lives in San Francisco, I could do a song parody to the tune of "Disco Duck" entitled "Frisco Fuck".  (I shall now wash my hands out with soap.)

Rob (rrreed) says: Hmm…
Project Skin Horse —> The Velveteen Rabbit.
Pixiedust —> Peter Pan?

The chapter title is "I Can Fly", after all…
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: What a potty-mouth! Someone oughtta run Spring Cleaning through his hard-drive or somethin'...
K C (spotweld) says:

If the kid's name is Anakin, I for one will be seriously disappointed. 

Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says: I was less disoriented by the swear as I was by not being certain whether I ought to recognize the characters.
Rachel (admiralshazbot) says: That shirt wins.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: My friend Urian has that shirt. I want it so bad.
N La Teer (zapatos) says: Dr. Lee has a most excellent moustache.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Water has other uses? What are they?!
Rob (rrreed) says: I use water as a convenient and inexpensive fuel for my car. But don't tell OPEC!
Or the biodiesel grassroots crowd.
Or the manufacturers of lithium-ion batteries.
Or the natural gas consortium.
Or the Ethanol Croppers Cabal®.

Heck, just forget I said anything…
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: It's the Thermodynamics Police you've really got to watch out for. They have no sense of humor.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

This is one of those strips that has to be re-read several months from now, after the story arc is finished.  Then the references to "producing" and "washing it" will make sense.  In the meantime, I am muchly confused, and I impatiently desire more information about these peoples.  Darn you, Shaenon K. Garrity!  Darn you to heck!  And back!

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Ed, assuming you're not being facetious, methinks 'tis produce, not produce, and nerdboy doesn't want to wash his veggies before eating them. In fact, nerdboy probably doesn't wash anything.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: Tiff, that's what our beloved evil writers want YOU to think. I'm siding with Ed. ^-^
Basil Jelly (basil_jelly) says:

Nerd boy lives on the three basic food groups. Cans, bottles, bags.


Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says: Basil: that is somewhat reminiscent of when I was in college and my best friend told me my three food groups were caffeine, alcohol, and solids.
Rob (rrreed) says: Thermodynamics Police, EVERYBODY FREEZE! You can't win! You can't break even! You can't even get out of the game!
Incog Neato (ghede) says: Nonono, You can break even. But once one game is over, you play one right after until you can't play no more.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Tiff is correct.  This is what happens when I read comics first thing after gettting out of bed.  I must remember: coffee, THEN comics.

Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says:

.... am i the only one that wants to knock this guy out and shove him in a health food store?

... okay, mostly I just want to hit him.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Cheezus, kid. Spaghetti-Os and a McDonald's straw, and you get vegetable matter too. Leaves your hands freer.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: This would be more surreal if I hadn't met someone just like him back in college in '77.
Michael Martin (mcmartin) says:

Re: the earlier "pixie dust = Peter Pan": Putting down my guess that project Pixiedust is for transhumans that are matured too quickly - thus both reaching adulthood at 3 and never growing up.

Babyheads, as Lethem called 'em.

Alycia Shedd (leeshajoy) says: I just realized what's printed on Nick's shirt... :D
Rob (rrreed) says: Well, considering that bottle of Snap Cola has to be at least 61 years old, I'd expect there to be mold, too.
Rockphed (rockphed) says:

Is his mom dead, or is she unity?


And the third law of thermodynamics is NOT you can't get out of the game.  It is "But you can tell how fast you are losing." 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

He's an elderly gentleman, so I vote for Mom being dead.

Also, I notice a "y" on the soda bottle label in panel 2, so maybe it's "Snappy Cola"?  Oh, snap.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: "Snappy Cola" did make a cameo appearance in "Narbonic" (Jan 31, 2002).  Ain't Google great?
Rob (rrreed) says: Rockphed: I learned #3 as, "You can't get out of the game" since entropy cannot be eliminated or removed entirely from a system, only minimized. I suppose it depends on who you had lecturing.
Eric Meyer (anvilwarrior) says: I don't see why his mom couldn't be both dead and be Unity, or part of her anyways.
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

Interesting that everyone is taking the ellipse to mean a direct continuation, whereas I thought it was meant to imply that time had passed, and so just asumed that he was talking about Unity. 

Looking at it now though, I'm inclined to think I was in the wrong.  Hmm. . . 


Michael Weiss (rotational_symmetry) says:

My guess: Nick is an awesome gamer d00d that a shadowy government agency uses to field test high-tech military equipment without his knowledge.  When he plays a first-person shooter, he thinks it's just a game, not knowing that he is in reality controlling a deathbot on the other side of the world and that real people are dying.  That "high-density retinal camera" ain't for elite gamers, man.

Basically Nick is a kid who's lost his mother and lives a life of games and make-believe, not realizing that his actions have consequences.  In that respect he's just like another Lost Boy who never grew up (hence the storyline title).  Looking forward to seeing Tip swoop in as mother figure Wendy (and maybe Sweetheart as Nana?).

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:
Ah, Ender's Game...

Omigosh, I just picked up this old issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction from the '80s where Orson Scott Card has a total nerdfight with Michael Bishop over Bishop picking on Richard Nixon in one of his books. It turns out that Orson Scott Card does NOT approve of evil fictional Nixons.

I didn't get the magazine for that. I got it for Skin Horse reference. But the Nixon fight was a nice bonus.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: I kinda miss the Dreamcast.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says: Anyone else see some tribal idol vomiting in the first panel? I know what it is, but I also know what I see... LOL
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: ...I honestly am no longer certain if I saw it before you said it, NigaiAmai, but I certainly see it now.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I saw it as an R. Crumb character eating spaghetti.

This weekend, I'm going to ask my wife to "weed my asparagus".  And she will tell me to kiss her asafoetida.

Mary Potts (queenofcapes) says: Yknow, I think it may even be *funnier* if taken litterally. *g*  
"And when you're done, sweet thing, these tomatos need watering..."
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says: I'm pretty sure it was meant literally- that's the whole point, y'know?
fluffy <3 (fluffy) says: I still have my Dreamcast, which I keep around solely for Chu Chu Rocket and Mr. Driller.  Considering those are both available on Nintendo DS (well, GBA in the case of CCR) maybe I could free up some shelf space.
Steve Ford (fordsfords) says: Would somebody please take pity on a culturally-challenged old person and tell me the significance of Nick's tee shirt?
Typhin Reynard (typhin) says:

Up Up Down Down Left Right Left Right is more often known as simply "The Konami Code".  It became especially famous for its appearance in Contra on the NES, where it bumped the number of lives from 3 to 30.  Since the game was a port of an arcade game designed to eat quarters as efficiently as possible, there weren't too many who could actually beat the game without using the code.  The code is somewhat incomplete, as it is normally followed by B, A.

As Konami continued to make games, the code continued to appear, though later they would mess with it.  For example, in Gradius 3 (SNES), using the code will give you all your powerups, and then kill you.  (The most evil version was another Gradius game, but I forgot which one.  Using the code gives you full powerups, but then kills you after a couple seconds of gameplay.  I can't remember how many lives I went through, assuming I'd overlooked a shot amidst the hail of laser fire I was throwing out, before I realized what was happening.)  Usually, another version of it will still work, such as swapping "L R L R" on the shoulder buttons in place of "Left Right Left Right".

...And I'm sure that's far more information than you needed or cared about.  ^_^;;

Typhin Reynard (typhin) says: Ah, okay, I had missed it before, but the second line of the shirt is images of the buttons for B A and Start.  So the code isn't incomplete after all, I'm just blind.  ^_^;;
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Steve:  Most video games today have "cheat codes" -- if you press a certain sequence of buttons, you can unlock hidden features in the game.  One of the earliest cheat codes was in a game for the original Nintendo -- the game was developed by a company called Konami, which is why this sequence is known as the "Konami Code".  Many games today use this button sequence for some form of cheat (depending on the game).

Rockphed (rockphed) says: Even advanced flight sims are pretty dull.  If you want a good game, it needs aliens, explosions, and arcade violence.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Mmm.
Rob (rrreed) says: The advanced flight sims have two things the arcade ones lack. Realistic handling characteristics when the plane is damaged, and a plane designer. Put them together and… well, you try bringing in the National Aerospace Plane Orient Express after two of its scramjets have blown…
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Now if I could only figure out what Kraid's is/are ...

(second panel, just above the disk in the background)  One of these days, Shaenon's just going to pencil in the words "obscure reference" in the background ... hmmm ... unless some other cartoonist beats her to it ...

Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

Ed: Mayhap this is Kraid as in Kraid and Ridley, the minibosses from Metroid?  I can make out an H- maybe it's Kraid's Head or something?

Also, props for the "obscure reference" idea.  That's awesome. 


Steve Ford (fordsfords) says: Thanks Typhin and Ed.  Although I'm actually about the right age for it, I never did much gaming.  Hmm ... I don't actually remember much of the 80s.  Must have been a good time.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: This set of strips in particular needs Pop-Up Video tabs all over the background. I have to amuse myself somehow.
Aaron Shades (prof_tinker) says: Isn't that what we're here for?
Brian Rogers (billionsix) says:

Some writers, like T. Campbell will try to sell us on the idea that geeks and fanboys are misunderstood heroes, just waiting for the chance to shine. Others, like David Willis and Shaenon Garrity, take the route that many geeks are antisocial, self-loathing little turds with no real redeeming personality traits.

Guess which one is probably closer to the truth. ;)

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: They're both right.
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: And by both I mean all.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Neither, thank you.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Although it's true that Nick is an antisocial little turd, he is quite possibly my favorite character in the entirety of Skin Horse. I have issues.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: Panel one. Chick or chicken in the bag?
Rob (rrreed) says: Chicken in the Balrog!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: "Chicken In The Backdoor" (a new fetish website)
Q. Pheevr (q-pheevr) says: I think that's a C, not a B, so I'm going to go with "chicken in the car and the car won't go."
Q. Pheevr (q-pheevr) says: And that's how you spell Chicago.
Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says: Nick=geek equivalent of the swearing friend in Sexy Losers.  Boo-ya.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile