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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Rob (rrreed) says: AG-I?
  • Artificial General Intelligence (Conference)?
  • Arizona Genomics Institute?
  • Adventure Game Interpreter?
  • Association for Geographic Information?
  • American Grippers, Incorporated?
  • The Alan Guttmacher Institute?
  • Agenzia Giornalistica Italiana?
  • Auxiliary General Intelligence (NATO) Intelligence Collectors?
  • Australian Gastroenterology Institute?
  • Antwerp Gemological Institute?
  • Agency for Goofy Investigations?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Just because it's the season...
(TUNE: "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch" by Hague and Seuss) 

You're unwanted, Dr. Tip;
You're a waterproof rum punch!
So please take your mottled-fourleg team and take a flying lunch,
Dr. Ti-ip!
Your shifting-hasp puppets aren't helping me, so just get the weird-looking birch and the female dog out of here, and don't get your Victoria's Secret ...
[restart music]
Panties in a bunch!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Eddurd: MY BRAIN!!!
Rob (rrreed) says: BRAVO! BRAVO! ENCORE!
Mark Orr (agentoracle) says: Aww frig, not even Skin Horse can save Nick?  I guess this means i have to read every EULA from now on to look for "and it's totally allright if the US government scoops out your breain and keeps it in a tupperware jar, just click here."
William Hostman (aramis) says: Marc: that is the EULA for the uniform issue in basic....
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

 not even Skin Horse can save Nick? 

I'd be more discouraged if this weren't Monday's strip. ;-)

And suddenly it's dawned on me, that we might be looking at SH's new "team car"!  (Take that, Department of Jetpack Suppression!)

David Toboz (professor_zobot) says: To Eddurd: Heehee! That's just amusing. I love your songs!
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: It's probably easier to cultivate family and close friends than it is to read every EULA's fine print.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

This will probably come up later at some point, but AG-I is a government-sponsored superhero team and training institution. It's basically like the X-Mansion, but run on public funds, which probably means the Danger Room is really run-down and kills a couple of kids a year until they get the next levy passed.

They have a really catchy theme song, though.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

They have a really catchy theme song, though.

OK, you know that page in "Li'l Mell" where Sergio escapes her clutches ... and she pauses for a moment, smiles and says quietly, "A challenge ..."

Me, right now.  >:-)

Rob (rrreed) says: "Vinnie, it has been brought to my attention dat youse hasn't been makin' yer weekly starfish quota. I would hate ta have ta make an example of youse," said Don Beacho Comberoni
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: .......
Ray Phoenix (graypheonix) says:

Mostly?  I think sweetheart has no interest in helping because, hey, let's face it, this is a human brain, not an other-source-of-evolution intelligence.  I think if the brain of the guy was scanned, and the brainwaves replicated onto a computer, and was then altered, THEN it's under the pervue of their department. 

 That would be how Sweetheart would view it I think.  Main point?

 You called the wrong agency, doc, enough said. 

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: OK, I had to look Don the Beachcomber up. Some references just don't travel. I still can't work out why a sentient beehive would be interested in Polynesian-themed restaurants.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: It's the umbrellas in the fruity drinks.
Joe Hoffman (joe6pack) says: Tiff - I was wondering what "waterproof rum punches" were.  Thanks!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" by Cyndi Lauper)

A mob boss -- takin' out his foe;
And Tybalt takes a stab at Mercutio-o-o;
But my bloodlust is second to none!
Oh, I'll just kill ev'ryone ...
Yeah, I'll just kill ev'ry --

That's what I really wa-a-ant!
It's fu-u-un!
I'll get my Big Freakin' Gun
And then I'll kill ev'ryone ...
Just wanna kill ev'ryone!

Rob (rrreed) says: @Ray: I'd think that General Sal would know which agency to call if for no other reason that there's almost no one else for her to blame farther up the chain of command other than the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, or the Commander in Chief. Thus I conjecture that there's still something unknown about Project Whirligig, Nick Zerhakker, Nick's brain, or Nick's "reawakening" by Gold Bug that led to Project Skin Horse being called in rather than one of the other agencies.
Drew (pseudowolf) says: I get the sense that Project Skin Horse is kind of like the Men In Black. They don't answer to the government. They ask too many questions.
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Maybe they can legally declare Nick a zombie in order to put him under Skin Horse jurisdiction? Or enlist him? Maybe Unity isn't a Skin Horse case, just a caseworker.
K. Feete (katastrophe) says: Poor Tip. This is the difference between *research* psychology and *practical* psychology....
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

I'm inclined to think that Sweetheart would, under normal circumstances, at least try to help them get in touch with the correct secret government agency.  Even if it isn't her jurisdiction, she was still sent here on the job, so she probably would usually feel a responsibility to get the correct group in on it.

Note the use of Normally and Usually.

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: ....But she does seem to be happier now.  I guess Tip trancends all species.
Scott Lawrence (risky) says: All it takes to make me happy is "Just The Tip".
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: Mmmm. That's good Impudite.
Terry Smith (wcfan) says: Knowing exactly what to do is a HUGE skill. Awesome.
Rob (rrreed) says: Tip is the Charles Steinmetz of ladies men!

I am not going to ask if he uses chalk, however. The puppets are enough as it is!
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Did... did Tip just use his superpower on Sweetheart?

I am disturbed. And impressed.

But mostly disturbed.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Nice.
Zander MacDonald (zander) says:

Actually, I think he used his power on Sweetheart while she had full knowledge he was doing so. Which, to me, ups both the impressed and disturbed quotient by an order or magnitude.

It has taken me forever to actally start commenting, so hello everyone, but now that I have I should be a semi-regular face around here. You all rock, Shaeron and Jeffrey foremost, but I am sure you will all understand that. 

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Woohoo! Steinmetz! The GOD of EEs!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Gimme Three Steps" by Lynyrd Skynyrd)

I was havin' some fun
In Area 51
With a chopper, name of NicK;
When there came Ginny Lee,
She was a sight to see,
But she said, "Get lost, and quick!"
I said, "I'm a doctor,"
So I really rocked her;
Did the Sideways Mambo with her!
But Sweetheart was mad,
I did what I had
To do to soothe her ruffled fur.

I said, "Gimme one half,
Gimme one half hour,
Gimme half an hour with Nick;
Gimme one half,
Gimme one half hour,
And I'll make him less of a prick!"

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: Woot for the smug leader expression!
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Does Tip's superpower work on disembodied hackers haunting high-priced military hardware? Guess we'll find out.
Rockphed (rockphed) says: If Nick were a woman, I would expect it to work.  Otherwise, he would be treated to a Noodle Flumphing Barhah Hamburger banana bazh party.  And showtunes.  Lots of showtunes.
Rob Davidoff (eofpi) says: I think that Sweethear is pleased because Trip even tried his superpower on her--shows her thinks of her as woman enough for it to be worth a shot. Thus, by trying to use his superpower to convince Sweetheart, he convinces Sweetheart.
eNoob (boonead) says: Wow one apology and that's it? I was expecting it to get worse before it got better, in a sitcom kind of manner.
Rhiannon McCullough (kaiserin) says:

Yes kids! Korea and Japan two different countries!

 You have just made an Asian Studies major very happy! 

Rob (rrreed) says: Virginia strikes me as more of the grown-up Skuld type, especially given her "invent first—why bother with questions?" attitude. But she's just not Mad enough or technologically advanced enough to be a Washu Hakubi.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Steve Ford (fordsfords) says: Just spent 15 minutes looking up what might be meant by "moeh glasses".  We live in a scary world.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Steve: Once you've had a group of Studio Ghibli employees discuss which megane character you should cosplay as, we can talk.

P.S. They decided I should be Arale from Dr. Slump.
Almighty Hat (butjustcallmehat) says:

I've been reading for ages (wonderful comic, by the way!  I am happily along for the ride!) and had to register just to post this, mostly because I've been waiting all day for someone else to think of it, regarding Wednesday's strip.


Maybe Sweetheart looks so smug there because Tip is playing this exactly the way she wants him to?


Nick isn't under Skin Horse's jurisdiction, technically; they can't help him.  Of course Sweetheart wants to help him, she's a good girl.  But she's in charge of those other two yahoos as well as knowing exactly what her job does and doesn't entail.  Can't just hand Tip and Unity whatever they want, after all, and it's not like they were particularly well-behaved in the car.  


So Sweetheart says they can't help Nick, and gives Tip the cold shoulder.  Tip, following his Tippishness, turns to the nearest available relatable person who is not a 'real' woman (and thus potential conquest; perhaps Tip should substitute the word 'ordinary' from now on) or Nick (and thus a potential patient) to find out what's going on with Sweetheart, because it's out of character for Sweetheart not to want to help.  Unity, being Unity, tells Tip exactly what he needs to hear-- the truth about the fact that he's been freakin' insensitive-- and Tip, being someone who likes to think of himself as conscientious, goes forth to apologize.

And Sweetheart can say that she 'only' let Tip have half an hour with Nick as a concession to following procedure, AND she gets her apology, plus bonus compliments.  (Hey, it means a lot to a working dog to hear you're good at your job.)  The half-hour isn't up yet; all hell could conceivably break loose, and then anything Sweetheart, Tip, and Unity do isn't Skin Horse operating out of its jurisdiction so much as Skin Horse cleaning up its own messes.


Because Sweetheart is Alpha Bitch in the field.
Terry Smith (wcfan) says: She should be Dr. Kim....
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: Somebody needs to make Nick go though the Asian Unicodes and look at all the different alphabets - Unified CJK, Hiragana, Katakana, Hangul, and (my personal fave) Bopomofo.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Hail Hail The Gang's All Here", original melody by Arthur Sullivan)

We see
The real Doc Lee!
No male European,
She's a hot Korean!
Now Nick can give offense
With a manga ref-er-ence!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says: How aout Li-vmeoutofthis?
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: I have this frightening image in my head now of Tip as Joker.
Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says: A "Read-Or-Die" reference?! Hot-Diggity!!! I *LOVE* this webcomic!
Joyce Melton (halfelven) says: Subtlety. Everyone gases upward into the windshield while talking to Nick. :)
Higgle Hoges (higgle_hoges) says:

Edwin Quantrall said: A "Read-Or-Die" reference?! Hot-Diggity!!! I *LOVE* this webcomic!

Yeah, I'm just suprised that only one other person noticed it.

Andrew Farago (andrew) says:


I edited the <i>Read or Die</i> manga for Viz, so there's something weirdly incestuous about turning around and using it for a pop-cult reference in my strip.

Justin Grubbs (the_purple_knight) says: Shaenon, were you really logged in as Andrew?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Wow, I totally was! I must be logged in as Andrew on my laptop.
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

...Which is weirdly appropreate given Dr. Lee's skin changing in today's strip

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: That's it! Next time I'm at a party and someone asks what I do for a living (and I don't feel like answering their computer questions), I'll tell them I'm an albino falcon wrangler.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Secret Agent Man" by Barri and Sloan, sung by Johnny Rivers)

There's a guy who leads a life of service.
Whenever he shows up, clients get nervous!
Yeah, your problems he will fix,
Then he'll go and score some chicks;
The odds are he'll be late for work tomorrow ...

Secret ... Welfare Guy!
Secret ... Welfare Guy!
Has a little backless number
That'll make your eyeballs fry!

Rob (rrreed) says: You know, Nick raises a good point. Obviously Skin Horse clients don't find the agency, it finds them. The question is, how? Nick's fortunate (relatively speaking…) in that—like U.N.I.T.Y.—he's part of a multi-billion dollar military project with substantial oversight. But what about the products of all the "garage Mads", like Sweetheart and Leo? How does Skin Horse locate them if they don't call attention to themselves? Just how widespread are the Misfits of Science?
Scott Lawrence (risky) says: Dude, if someone is calling me a bad name, don't censor it to albino. I don't want to be called an Albino either.
eNoob (boonead) says: @Rob Reed: They follow the rampage.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Rob (rrreed) says: @Boone: It's the quiet ones that don't go on a rampage that I'm wondering about. Sweetheart's a good example: how did she get involved with Skin Horse if she or her littermates never went on a tear? We've already seen the kind of "rampage" she's capable of.
Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: Well, they do circulate pamphlets....
Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says: @Rob Reed: You forget that Sweetheart ate her creator, which probably caused a bit of a ruckus somewhere along the way.... (see Wild Things: August 25-30, 2008)
Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says: Super Secret Welfare Guys...wasn't that the idea behind the Fox show, Secret Millionare?
William Hostman (aramis) says:

Just because she ate her creator doesn't mean Sweetheart killed him first....

I suspect she got hungry after a lab accident killed him.

Randall Brynsvold (randy_b) says: risky, "albino falcon wrangler" could easily be a wrangler of albino falcons, which is most likely because it's most absurd.
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says:

Hmm... intriguing. I would expect Sweetheart to be able to spell. Or maybe she can and the word in question just triggers an uncontrolled reaction or something.

Still, it's cute.

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Yes, I think we can say that Sweetheart's instincts are intact.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Walk Away Renee" by The Left Banke)

Dou-ble-you ay ell kay!
You don't want for Sweetheart to overhear!
This flopping hel-i-cop-ter said the magic word ...
You think she heard?

Terry Volkirch (terry) says: I'm starting to think that Dr. Lee is a little too unethical for my taste. I'm starting to rethink our budding relationship. I think my girlfriend would be relieved too, if she knew. Tip seems a better choice for Ginny. Perhaps they can cancel out each others' flaws.
chic geek (onechicgeek) says: And did you notice Tip seems to have no qualms about Sweetheart overhearing the "rolling around in a dead squirrel" part of that comment?
Michael Taub (otakuloki) says: Doesn't every woman like to find that just right scent to enhance her natural aroma?  Sweetheart may be a woman, but her ideas of what is and is not a good scent may still be all dog.
Michael H. Payne (m_h_payne) says:

Might Tip in the last panel mean "Don't say W-A-L-K!"?  He seems, after all, concerned that Sweetheart might overhear...


Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: @Michael: Dog owners know that you spell words instead of saying them.  It used to confuse the heck out my dad's dog whenever he watched baseball on TV; he kept yelling "OUT!" and she'd automatically run to the back door.
Michael H. Payne (m_h_payne) says:

Ah.  I see.  Thank you.

I'd never before realized how much not having a dog limits me...  :)

Mike Again 

Matt Hume (mithical) says: My dog was smart enough to learn that when we spelt something we were talking about her. My family and I had to get pretty clever to relay messages to each other about her. "Have you taken the furry creature for a constitution in the green area today?"
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile