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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Mason Kramer (masonk) says: Unity just isn't allowed any fun, this trip, is she? No unnecessary violence, no snacks, no lurching....
Katie Powell (pencilears) says: grahh snaaAAAaaacksss! =D
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: Theme from "The Addams Family")

They made a tricky landing!
And after, still were standing!
Their questions are demanding!
The Skin Horse Fi-eld Team!

While Tip's in Rome, researching,
The buzzards start a-perching
Where Unity is lurching --
The Skin Horse Fi-eld Team!

(budududum budududum budududum)
No snacks ...

Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says: Honestly a filk based off of Copa Cabana would have been more appropo here.
Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(To the tune of "No Woman No Cry" by Bob Marley)

No lurchin', no snacks
No lurchin', no snacks
Hey little Unity, don't eat no more brains
No lurching, no snacks

I remember when we used to sit
In the Shadow Government office in Washington
Ob-a-serving those Jetpack Suppression jerks
And the Department of Irradiation
Good friends we have, good friends we have lost
Mostly because you went and ate 'em
In this great future, you can't escape the past
It gives you indigestion

No lurchin', no snacks
No lurchin', no snacks
Hey little Unity, don't eat the bystanders
No lurchin', no snacks


So It Begins (soitbegins) says: *snicker*
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Wait a sec, does Unity have three arms in the last panel there?!
Katie Powell (pencilears) says: that's the hood of her hoodie.
Joseph Charneskie (mutantsentry) says: Thats her hood hanging behind her...
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: I'm kinda surprised Sweetheart didn't go face down Tip with the "What kind of leadership is this?" talk, but Unity lurching for snaaaaacksss IS funnier.
David Toboz (professor_zobot) says: Now I'm left to wonder... is "Lurching" considered a cultural thing for zombies? Like Discworld dwarves and axes? I could see the collective undead as having a cultural way of walking.
Ada Kerman (momerath) says: Actually, it looks as if the Sheriff is the one who gave the orders that Sweetheart is following.
Davidson Corry (dai) says: Sweetheart is facing down Tip. It's called a "white mutiny": follow orders to the letter, mindlessly, until disaster. Hilarity ensues.
Kenneth Reeves (tetramorpheus) says: Actually, I believe lurching is practically "cultural" for Discworld Zombies, as is brought up in Monstrous Regiment, (Vimes sends Reg Shoe down to calm his, err, "fellow countrymen"). And as for "white mutiny?" That sounds like most days of my relationship...
Jon W. (kd7sov) says: Well, remember when Dave was a zombie. He certainly went in for the lurching thing. Also falling apart, which Unity doesn't so much, but that's clearly based on physical makeup.
Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says: @dai: I thought about the white mutiny angle, but a white mutiny is performed with head held high, ears perked up, a cheery voice, and a bright, happy smile. SW is 0 for 4.
John Breckenridge (jbrecken) says: Unity would probably be very good at the Thriller dance.
Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says:

Sweetheart is the kind of dog that would have pushed Timmy into the well, huh?

Benjamin Whetham (crosshair) says: After timmy has fallen into the wekk 15 times, I would too.
Mark H- (eyeharvester) says: John: I think this calls for some fanart...
Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: No Cartesian duality of mind and brain for this zombie - it's all toMAYto toMAHto to her. Or snacks, anyway.
Andy Wetmore (efogoto) says: On second thought, it was only because she heard "piece of mind". Simple Pavlovian response here.
Mason Kramer (masonk) says: Iiiiii think it's time to change the "no snacks" order before Unity overrides it....
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

Sweetheart's discovery in the first panel worries me greatly.  After all, we haven't really seen any local dogs and the racers aren't supposed to be here for a few days, so where is all the dog spoor coming from?  And why can't Sweetheart track them?

Still, at this point, feeding the Zombie is probably the slightly more pressing matter.

Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says: New change in strategy, Sweetheart: let the Zombie eat!
Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(To the tune of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" by BJ Thomas)

A zombie's a-chawin' on my head
She's just a gal who didn't get properly fed
Needs a chewy bite
That zombie keeps chawin' on my head, she keeps chawin'

So I did me some talkin' with my gun
I said that I didn't like the way she got things done
Snackin' on the job
That zombie keeps chawin' on my head, she keeps chawin'

But there's one thing I know
Her teeth may look quite frightening, but not for biting
Cause she don't practice proper dental care and hygiene

A zombie's a-chawin' on my head
But that doesn't mean that I will soon be walking dead
Lurching's not for me
Cause she ain't got the canines to crunch my skull casing
So Unity
Quit hasslin' me

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: *blink*
M. Alan Thomas II (crazydreamer) says: Ho boy. I was afraid of this: They're all werewolves. The whole town. Including the Sheriff, who just made off with the team leader.
Nate Cull (natecull) says: Huh. That makes a surprising amount of sense.
NigaiAmai Yume (nigaiamai_yume) says:

Hum, what kind of werewolves, though?

And what time of year is it???

Nights are LONG in the winter in Alaska......... If they're the kind that change the ENTIRE time a moon is full and it's dark.........

*grabs popcorn, and tosses one to Unity*

Marleen de Kramer (malabarista) says: Maybe they're the belt-of-human-skin-with-seven-buckles kind. The kind who change *deliberately*.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Always On My Mind", by Christopher, James, & Thompson, recorded by lots & lots)

Maybe we should have fed her,
'Cause we knew that it was lunchtime ...
But I thought I knew better,
"Let's get working now, it's crunch time!"
I've spent hour after hour now,
Not a scent trail I can find ...
Now she's gnawin' on my mind!
We both want some "peace" of mind...

Benjamin Whetham (crosshair) says:


I can certianly see where keeping UNITY hungry would be a good thing. If they run into trouble all Sweetheart has to say is. "There's your snack."

K C (spotweld) says: I imagine in some societies the light gnawing of the head could be cconsidered a sign of affections....  hyena society maybe.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says: Test...okay, comments are working again.
KaT Adams (kat_adams) says: Awww... poor thing is just trying too hard to handle this XD
EvilMid nightLurker (emlurker) says: How conveeeeenient. :)
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Oh thank goodness, shaenon. Those poor 'Bad Behavior' people must have gotten swamped. :( 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Wow. I guess hunger spurs initiative.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Oh, I see.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

The one on the right ... that's Andrew, correct? 

(TUNE:  "Dirty Laundry" by Don Henley)

We spent all day, couldn't find a track ...
We pause a minute just to have us a snack ...
Look there sitting in the back!
It's the missing Guardsmen!

We trudged all day through the ice and snow!
Come back inside now, and what do you know!
I don't care how Farago,
I'll find missing Guardsmen!

(Yeah that joke was bad,
Guess it could be worse;
Bet you all are glad
It's the final verse!)

K C (spotweld) says: does Unity have a superrpower?

(Or does this happen only when it's funny?)

John Breckenridge (jbrecken) says: Did Unity eat her mittens?
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

"Those poor 'Bad Behavior'" folks were bouncing mail by noon. :-(

I love how Sweetheart manages to look utterly disgusted with just her eyes showing.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: Actually, David, the email address wcn had for them was bogus. Should had been bad.bots@etcetc rather than just badbots. (I got an email through via extensive research)
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Well I am somewhat comforted to see that there are actually men in the town now.  The fact that these are the supposed to be missing guardsmen, is worrying me though.
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: So far no one has reacted oddly to either the Zombie or the Talking Dog.  I totally understand Sweetheart's frustration, there is something odd going on here.
EvilMid nightLurker (emlurker) says: I find it odd that Sweetheart opened the conversation at all...
EvilMid nightLurker (emlurker) says: ...maybe they're not seeing her as a dog, in the same general way that Dave's brother didn't percieve talking gerbils at all?
Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says:

Just don't let it be Blueberry Waffles.

And if Unity can't have a Danish, can she at least have a Swede?

Katie Powell (pencilears) says: badum tish
Ray Dillinger (bear) says:

It's looking like the town is instantly and very deliberately  providing whatever it needs to come up with to make this into a "move along, nothing to see here" sort of mission. 

Mayor distracts mission commander immediately after mission commander is identified.  Missing guardsmen show up immediately after dialog gives away that they're what Sweetheart and Unity are looking for. 

Combine that with spoor all over but Sweetheart can't pick up a trail, and I think there's some kind of shapeshifty thing going on. Need a female mayor capable of distracting Tip? Shapeshift.  Need missing National Guardsmen?  Shapeshift.  Need to NOT look like the same creatures who left spoor all over?  Shapeshift.  The reason Sweetheart can't find a trail is because you can't track something that never left. 

So, yeah, it's some sort of creepy shapehsifting monster, or colony of shapeshifting monsters. Fortunately, they're serving danish.


So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Something's up, yeah. I don't know if it's shapeshifters, but it's something.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Saaay, that reminds me... has anyone else here listened to an old sci-fi radio show episode (one of those old things) where the episode's name was "Mars is Heaven"? Because the plot there and here might ring a bell...
William Hostman (aramis) says:

BOSS?! Black Ops Social Services?!? Nooo!!! Every Old SciFi Gamer knows BOSS is Bureau Of State Security!!!


I'm being sarcastic, in case  anyone was unclear...

Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says: Ray; Actually, only Sweetheart was looking for the Guardsmen.  Unity was looking for snacks.  And yeah, she's found them too.  But finding snacks at a diner isn't all THAT creepy!
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Sweetheart: I AM BOSS!
Laura P. (madcatofmars) says: And thus, with a single reference to an incredibly awesome children's book, Shaenon demonstrates the interconnectedness of all things  to the great Edward Gorey, the illustrator of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.  Truly, he is an influence for all things wise and wonderful.
Laura P. (madcatofmars) says: No, wait, he only illustrated the cover.  Argh.  But still.
Drew (pseudowolf) says:

@SoItBegins: I've never heard a radio version of it, but I've read the short story. Freakin' creepy.

BTW, I read it in Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume 1. It's a collection of short stories voted the best from 1929-1964 by the Science Fiction Writers of America. Great stuff, as is Volume 2, which is a collection of novellas. (Although now it seems it's called Volume 2a, since they put out a second collection of novellas as Volume 2b, which I haven't picked up yet)

I'd highly recommend them to anyone who likes Sci-Fi.

Jacob Haller (jwgh) says: For those who aren't following it, Nick managed to update his livejournal:
Mark Chapman (aardvark86) says: Ray, but what if it's *shapeshifting* danish?
David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Mark Chapman:   Tell it to change into a bagel, and schmear it!
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "We're Not Gonna Take It", by Twisted Sister)

Get this girl a danish!
She looks a bit insane-ish!
If she wants a main dish,
It's on me!

We gotta quickly act
To keep our brains intact!
Once the girl has snacked,
We can flee!

Daniel Roby (aserialpeace) says: maybe it's Evil Coffee?
Jon W. (kd7sov) says: I'm wondering how people (including herself) decide what to call Sweetheart. According to Maya, her full name is "Captain's Fancy Valentine Sweetheart". The other SHers call her Sweetheart. Here she's self-identifying as "Agent Fancy". On what basis are these decisions made?
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Laura: Alas, it was Jeffrey who named Sergeant Willoughby. I was the one who decided he should be played by my husband.
M. Alan Thomas II (crazydreamer) says:

Aww, someone's got a crush on Unity. . . .

Wait, that's not cute, that's disturbing. 

Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says:

Ed: That sounds better if you used the song, "We Built this City."

Okay, so that's two weaknesses against Unity: Blueberry Waffles and Kawaiiness. (Someone please give Unity a mallet.)

John Wells (johnwwells) says: "Willoughby." Twilight Zone reference?
John Campbell (jcampbel) says: "Disturbing" is if he still feels that way after finding out about the weird rotting sludge she leaves on her sheets sometimes.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" by The Tokens)

In the peaceful Alaskan village
The zombie gives her roar!
She's so cute, yeah, she's such a hoot!
See, I've met Black Ops before!

A-less-a-yak-a-more-a-boom ...)

James Rice (jhrice) says:

I can't decide if this is turning into "The Thing" or "The Country of the Kind".  But either way it's getting weird.



So It Begins (soitbegins) says: OK, seconded. This is weird.
Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says: I sometimes wonder if Unity might have a bit of a crush on Tip.
James Kehl (shykta) says:


I wonder if Tip's mad powaz have backsplash or an area of effect, and if they work on Unity. Or Sweetheart. Ewwww.


Mari Fox (silverfox) says: Suuuuuure, the zombie gets a wookie hitting on her but can I? Noooooo. Hmph, now I sulk. ;)
alphatango (alphatango) says:

My first time posting here -- just wanted to drop a note to say thanks to SKG+JCW for much amusement.

 ...And to glare in Ed's general direction, since I now fully expect to have "A-less-a-yak, a-more-a-boom" constantly running through my head for the first few hours of my day tomorrow.  During orchestra rehearsal. While we're playing Shostakovich 10.

 (P.S. "No boom today. Boom tomorrow. There's always a boom tomorrow.")

KaT Adams (kat_adams) says: Poor Miss Fancy. She /does/ try...
Philippa Fearn (pippaf) says:

Does the line. "This town changes you."  Ring any bells?

Rob (rrreed) says: @alphatango — "I am the right hand of vengeance and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart!"
Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says: Heheheheh.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Something funny is going on, I can feel it...
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

At least Tip knows where his privates are.

Q: Why is Tip like a shaky floorboard?
A: You can keep both in place by nailing them.

maggie d (sophistre) says: ...uh oh.
Terry Smith (wcfan) says: Yeah, he's barking at the moon, that's where he is!
Joe Glow (joe_glow) says:


"oh, he's around somewhere."

James Wolf (wolfmanjames) says: "I schtupped the law and the law's fun!"
Charles Lavergne (yun) says:
There I was completely wasted
Helicopter down
Partners wonder where to go next
So they search throughout the town

They don't know what it's like
They don't have a clue
They found what we're looking for
When they went to get some food

Shaggin' the law shaggin' the law
Shaggin' the law shaggin' the law
Shaggin' the law shaggin' the law
Shaggin' the law shaggin' the law
Andrew Kunz (miyaa) says:

So I was right: it is Canadian Alaskan Werewolves. (Which reminds me of a local fur coat store's jingle, Alaskan Furs, Alaskan Fuuurrrrsss!)

Next Week on Skin Horse:

  • Tip nails Julie, and finds a new fetish for dog collars and handcuffs.
  • Sweetheart finds the other private, and well, they do more than just sniff each other's butts, if you know what I mean.
  • Unity finds herself on a Jerry Springer show: Military men, and the Zombies who love them! 
  • Nick has way too much fun with the Travel Brain application for Facebook.
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

...Andrew Kunz, you make me sad in a new and special way.

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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile