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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Tip is sort of random, isn't he?
Robert Hutchinson (ertchin) says: Heh. Yeah, I knew I should've held off on blathering elsewhere for a couple of days. I doubted, and am ashamed.
Connor Harris (connor) says: I wish I could say that I could relate to either side but I really, really can't.
Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: At times Tip's naivete in anything remotely logical just plain reminds me of a mixture of Dave and Caliban. Is it wrong that I compare everything in life to Narbonic?
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: I swear. He's an Impudite.
chic geek (onechicgeek) says: "And the pelvic thrust...really drives them insane!" Of, come on, after the first panel. you were all thinking Rocky Horror, weren't you?
Kim Brunner (kimbrunner) says: Connor: Me neither... ::sigh::
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: .... I've never seen Rocky Horror.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Well, Dr. Lee, do you still think of psychology as not being one of the "hard" sciences?

Panel 3 == perfect t-shirt!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

I was just thinking the same as Tiff ... t-shirts and bumper stickers with "I do not sleep with random transvestites!"

Also, bravo to Tiff for her "hard science" line.

"To understand your motivations, Dr. Lee, we must probe deeply into your subconscious."  "Dr. Wilkins, that's not my subconscious."

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Actually, I'd say Tip is the opposite of "random" -- his Reality Distortion Field bends the world around him....
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: Would anyone like to see some real Mad Science that I've been working on? (I have a professional interest in AI, which is where my username comes from.)
Rob (rrreed) says: What about pseudo-random transvestites?

Hmm… Wonder if Tip has Plateau Eyes. But if Tip really has a Reality Distortion Field™ and starts to go all Wanda Maximoff on us (assuming he isn't sued by Steve Jobs first for patent infringement), I'm outta here!
Rob (rrreed) says: @Pete I, personally, would love to see some really Mad Science!
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:


I'm training a neural net to recognise emotions from gestures. The experiment is at

Jeremy Berg (pisceneanteater) says:

@Justin Grubbs: I'd say the larger problem is that, based on your sentence structure, you're including Skin Horse as part of "real life."  This is troubling, as top-tier webcomics are clearly superior to real life.

. . .and no, it's not wrong. 


Ray Dillinger (bear) says:

Wait....  Shaenon works at the cartoon art museum in San Francisco, right?  It's in the SOMA district, near the Metreon, a short walk from the SF Museum of Modern Art, about two or three blocks south of Market, between third and seventh streets...

And she's writing about a cross-dressing fashionista with disturbing powers of seduction? Not that there's any shortage of those really, but I'm wondering if this character is based on who I think it's based on....  

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Andrew's the one who works at the Cartoon Art Museum. I work for Viz Media. This in no way clears me of accusations of exposure to cute blond cross-dressing coworkers.

I was thinking of doing a Sunday feature sometime on the many inspirations for Tip. He's a complicated man.
Ray Dillinger (bear) says: There's a particular guy I'm thinking of who haunts that general area of the city - I see him three or four times a week. He's blond, wears his hair shoulder-length, he's very tall and slender, and favors green outfits - cashmere sweaters with flowy skirts, pale green sundresses in the summer, or sometimes a green blazer and knee-length skirt with a white blouse. And he usually has some pretty young woman on his arm.... I don't know his name, I just see him occasionally when I'm in that area.
Drew (pseudowolf) says: Does Tip have a newsletter and can I subscribe to it?
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Rob, obviously a pseudo-random transvestite is what you get when you solve for a complex imaginary root.
Rob (rrreed) says:

Unity wandering Area 51.

With no Sweetheart oversight.

I'm giving 3:1 odds on a body count of 12 with a 3 casualty spread. Who wants a piece of the action?
Bryce Utting (butting) says: hmmmmm.  define "body".
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Body, n. - more than one piece of flesh that Unity doesn't need as spares.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eegad.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Sorry, Sweetheart, in this case pros call Bullshit!, kick over the coffee, and walk out.

What a great word balloon with points for all the speakers!

Tshirt idea - "Gavotte makes me Hot!" in fancy lettering and surrounded by bees.

(Ed, Tiff is an obfuscatingly-monikered "he".)

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Rob:  I'll take the under on that.  I don't think there are that many people in this area.  Of course, Unity will just have to blow them into smaller bits ... which gives her more of a selection to shop from.  ("Oooh, nice butt!  I could use that ...")

@Tiff: Gomen nasai (Japanaese for "sh*t, dude, my bad)

John Campbell (jcampbel) says: Aw, Sweetheart's a good dog.
Rob (rrreed) says: "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."

"And he looks stunning in a black, off-the-shoulder dress."
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Hmmm ... Dr. "Lee" is named "Virginia" ... is this some sort of Civil War reference?  After all, Tip spent most of his time as a researcher applying for "Grant"s.

Or maybe these are just coincidences, and there's no point Lincoln them together.

David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

One of the advantages of being evil, I would imagine, is the ability to give into temptation without feeling too guilty about it. Like, for example, going off and watching a Cher concert rather than working. Well played, Tip. Well played indeed.

Although I gotta wonder where he got those tickets. Surely he wasn't expecing this... Or were they standard gear for him considering Sweetheart's plans for what they might have needed him to do?

Drew (pseudowolf) says:


Knowing Tip, he likely got those from Cher.

Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: Ed, since Skin Horse is a secret American government organization, wouldn't those have to be U. S. grants?
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: The appearance of hairy cleavage in panel three is rather disturbing. Not in a bad way, necessarily. Just disturbing.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: I think that's Tip's chest hair partly blocked by his knees...
Dov Mittelman (silentspeaker) says:

Or maybe these are just coincidences, and there's no point Lincoln them together.

Sher, man. You keep telling yourself that.

I wonder how long Tip can stonewall her for?

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: ...... [jaw drops]
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Oh, man, the REDACTED. That was hilarious.

... Wait, are we allowed to talk about REDACTED here? 

Chris Reed (animeraider) says: Censoship in a webcomic? That' just REDACTED REDACTED with monkey REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED. Seriously.
Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

you can make a particle beam weapon out of a CRT moniter.

 i am stockpileing them for the inevitable robo'pocalypse.

Rob (rrreed) says: And I, for one, REDACTED our new REDACTED overlords!
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Having actually worked in offices where even the typists (this was some time ago) had Top Secret clearances, this is exactly the sort of humor we enjoyed. Just talk into the salt shaker, the wire recorder's batteries are a bit weak. I used to draw a cartoon in the log book, every page of which had to be stamped Top Secret. Actually, we had a clearance above Top Secret but it's classified still and I can't tell you what it was. Don't wipe of the marinara sauce unless you use wine, it leaves a toxin that is deadly to marmosets. OTOH, is Jeff really that tall? I'm pretty sure Shaenon is taller than I am.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: [taking exactly half of Joyce's comment with a large grain of salt]
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Fnord!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Jeff has a sonorous voice?  Funny, he doesn't look Sonoran.

OK, that joke is a lot funnier if you know that "Sonora" is the area of northwestern Mexico just across the border from Arizona and New Mexico.  I'm imagining Jeff reading this with a bad fake accent, like something out of a 1950's western.  "REDACTED?  We don't need no REDACTED!  I don't have to show you any REDACTED REDACTED!"

Terry Smith (wcfan) says: Since the destroy bots are public, just imagine what is secret.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: So that's why I see a Dr. Manhattan-blue chipmunk REDACTED around the basement of the National REDACTED REDACTED with the REDACTED of Liberace and REDACTED llamas. Off to breakfast - I'm having REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, baked beans, REDACTED, REDACTED, REDACTED, and REDACTED.
Dave Rood (surrdave) says:

I just like to say "redacted".  Redacted redacted redacted.  Redacted redacted, REDACTED, redacted.  RE-dacted.


The word is now forever ruined for me.  I wish  could redact it from my vocabulary.  

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: TerroRedactyl! It Came From The Bureaucracy!
Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Joyce: I hover somewhere around 6'3" tall, depending on the day.  I believe the cartoon figures are approximately to scale.
Drew (pseudowolf) says:

Joyce: "Actually, we had a clearance above Top Secret but it's classified still and I can't tell you what it was."

Tippy-top Secret?

Actually, when my dad was in the military, one of the secretaries liked to occasionally mark random inter-office memos as "Tippy-top Secret".

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Whatever you say, say nothing

When you talk about you-know-what,

'Cause if you-know-who should hear you,

You know what you'll get.

 They'll take you off to you-know-where,

For you wouldn't know how long,

So for you-know-who's sake, don't let anyone

Hear you singing this song.  -Makem/Clancy

David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

Nooo! The government got to the cartoonists!

Now there's no way to be sure that Shannon and Jeffery are actually still creating their own strip anymore, or if it's been silently replaced by a shadow team of black ops government writers and artists to serve as propaganda fodder.

Paul-André Hamel (tek27) says:

Mad science and politics are NEVER a good combination... Unless its the government giving out madsci grants.

How else would they keep up the supply of random threats to the country needed to plausibly maintain the military as large as it is?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Yeah, I'm 5'10", which means Jeff has about five inches on me. He's way up there.

Cartoon Jeff is wearing an Achewood "Here Comes a Special Boy" T-shirt. I'm wearing the New Orleans water meter cover pendant I've been wearing constantly these days. Tip is wearing...good lord, who knows, but I'm sure he'd be happy to tell you in detail.
Rob (rrreed) says:

Lovely REDACTED, wonderful RE-DAC-TED,
Lovely REDACTED, wonderful REDACTED,
Lovely RE-DA-A-AC-TED…
Rob (rrreed) says: "Well, on second thought, let's not go to Homey Airport—it is a silly place."
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Eh, Shaenon's not THAT tall. She could fit in the back seat of my old Buick Somerset, after all.
Bill Livingston (billfl) says: A chipmunk?!!?  That'd never work!  Well not without at least three REDACTED REDACTED, and REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED mayonnaise REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED for REDACTED, same as in REDACTED!
Kevin (ofscience) says: Oh, so the big departments with all the defense funding get to use REDACTED.  All we get is a lousy CENSORED.
Mark H- (eyeharvester) says: O...kay.
Rob (rrreed) says: Interesting insight into Sweetheart. Guilty conscience? Does she regret shirking some responsibility she had in the past?
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: No, she's just a dog. They're all like that. Except the Basenjis.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Hoo boy.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Panel 1:  why is there such a difference in meaning between "I saved your seat" and "I saved your butt"?

Panel 4:  Superb.  (Both Unity's line, and Sweetheart's reaction.)

Dan (selcouth14) says: "I'm not shirking responsibility!" with panel 2 would also make a great t-shirt. Make it so.
Dan (selcouth14) says: "Plutonium: Your Hazardous Friend." would also...also make a great t-shirt. With glow in the dark lettering for 'Plutonium' of course.
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: "... but you punch just one rabbit..."
Rob (rrreed) says: Nick Zerhakker, I presume. And he's an Osprey, to boot—talk about having an identity crisis! But he can fly, all right.

Hmm… Nick's "Dr. Lee" is male. Did Dr. Virginia Lee decide that a father figure would be a better avatar than a mother figure when dealing with Nick?
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Zodon, is that you?
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Somebody built a helicopter from a Kit?
eNoob (boonead) says:

Rabbit-punchers? That's pretty tame language for Nick.

Interesting theory on Dr. Lee...

Carl Muckenhoupt (baf) says: Given the font change, I suspect he's being bowdlerized.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: I was thinking the same as Carl, that random words are inserted in place of obscenities, just like Zodon in "PS 238".
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Oh, and I couldn't pass up the chance to do a song in honor of "Plutonium, Our Hazardous Friend" ... and speaking of "Friends" ...

(TUNE: "I'll Be There For You", The Rembrandts)

You take some neutrons and bombard uranium ...
Beta decay, hooray! Now it's plutonium!
Oh, there's a million things that you can do!
A double-u-em-dee or R-T-G, your friend is good ol' P-u!

I'll de-stroy for you!
(With Minuteman missle shots!)
I'll de-stroy for you!
(Just like those cute cool kill-bots!)
I'll de-stroy for you!
And we'll destroy ourselves toooooo-oo!

Ray Phoenix (graypheonix) says:

And people wonder WHY the non-human sentients want to destroy. 

 Then again, I'll bet the rabbits had it coming to em.  

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: This - explains - everything.
eNoob (boonead) says: Or maybe Nick IS human, and he's just hidden behind the Osprey!
Rob (rrreed) says:

Or maybe Nick IS human, and he's just hidden behind the Osprey!

Then Sweetheart and Unity probably wouldn't feel the need to immediately run and get Tip. He's the Skin Horse agent with the least amount of field experience—but is the one with a doctorate in psychology, making him perfect to deal with an Osprey AI having an identity crisis.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile