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Shaenon: Chris and Marcie. I'm so happy to be doing more with the Department of Irradiation. Like I ever pass up an opportunity to draw more lab coats and goggles.

The original concept for the D of I came from an email from Jeffrey way back in December 2007, while we were working out the plot of "Borrowers":

Also in my mind, the "lab down the hall" responsible for the silverfish is the U.S. Department of Irradiation, consisting, in its entirety, of two very wide-eyed and earnest scientists whose job it is to expose things to radiation. Just... things. Whatever comes down the pipe, really. When the government hasn't specifically tasked them to expose something to radiation, they just kind of do it themselves to pass the time, because they're bored and awfully lonely.

I was the one who made them into geeks who play tabetop RPGs with Nick after hours, because that's one of the important services I provide on this strip: nerding things up.


Channing: I'm so happy with the way these two are developing. And, yes, I share Shaenon's fondness for lab coats and goggles, which -- my hamhanded story-specific efforts notwithstanding -- are worn by none of our present core cast. That's why we need guest characters!

I was so excited at Geek.Kon a while back when they had a "Settlers of Catan" game set up in the gaming room. I was all, like, "That's the game that gets a brief offhand mention in my webcomic! So I sat down to read certain little chunks of the rules so I could haphazardly throw offhanded references in so people will think I'm super cool even though I don't actually understand it at all write from a position of experience in case the opportunity presented itself.

It was pretty pathetic, come think.

20 comments:
Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "Youth of the Nation", P.O.D.)

First day of the rest of our lives
We silverfish wish
We could have kissed our existence goodbye

Didn't leave any pheromone trails for the hive
One day chewing the scenery
Then Verdi opened our eyes

Unaware, we just did what we always do
For entree, d'Ulisse
Then some noshing on Figaro

But who knew that this day wasn't like all the rest?
Instead of Alceste
We took 3 TeV to the chest

Call us blind, we didn't see it coming
The pile was running
And the synchrotron humming

Gamma ray blasts, it happened so fast
This pimply-faced kid
And a girl behind lead glass

Maybe they grew up ducking the rules
Or maybe they just like
Nuking stuff for the lulz
Or maybe they needed their servers debugged
Whatever it was
I know it's because

They are the D of
Irradiation
They are the D of
Irradiation
They are the D of
Irradiation
They are the D of
Irradiation

Liza the Lizard was only twelve
Inches long
With a rock to herself

Then down comes a ray and scrambles her atoms
Now she's fifty foot high
And smashing Manhattan

She bites subway cars in all the wrong places
But there aren't superflies
In Grand Central Station

Makes a run for the sewer, but sooner or later
She'll have to face up
To the giant alligator

Who's to blame for the lives that physicists claim?
No matter which cities you crush
It don't take away the pain

That I feel inside, I'm tired of nuclear fire
Beaming out of my eyes
It's the fried leading the fried

I guess that's the way all opera goes
Will it ever make sense?
Only those two kids know

They are the D of
Irradiation
They are the D of
Irradiation
They are the D of
Irradiation
They are the D of
Irradiation

Katie Powell (pencilears) says: gahh, i love these charactors so very much.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I wrote the strip that mentions "Settlers of Catan" at a party where people were playing it. I get invited to some wiiiild parties.
Katie Powell (pencilears) says:

well it is a good game, I've got settlers and the expansion packs for cites and knights of catan and seafarers of catan (more rules and cards and more areas respectively)

it's the best excuse for inviting people over to my dorm. everybody loves catan. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Marcella!
Rob (rrreed) says: I sincerely hope that Chris doesn't plan to pull a Bruce Banner down the line. He is working in the Department of Irradiation, after all…
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

NOTE:  seeing as how the original tune has some lines repeated backward, I tried to throw in bits of the Disturbing Palindromic Marching Song of the Gerbils, but I couldn't get them to scan.

(TUNE: "Roses Are Red", Aqua)

Roentgens are rad, yeah!
Ultraviolet too!
Look out, Marcella,
Chris is sweet on you!
Roentgens are rad, yeah!
Ultraviolet too!
Zap, spit! O Tip, spaz!
Zap, spit! O Tip, spaz!

Just down the hall, right
There in Annex One,
Two little nerds just
Wanna have some fun!
Chris and Marcella,
Spending all their days
Bombarding random
Stuff with gamma rays!

They're invisible, unpredictable!
And they create bizzare mutations ... undepictable!
But who knows when crystal en-tities take over,
Who knew how Marcie would look with a makeover?

Da re ra sya rho!
Da re ra sya rho!
Da re ra sya rho!
The only thing she knew was,
Da re ra sya rho!
Da re ra sya rho!
Da re ra sya rho!
That roentgens are rad!

Michael Bonar (luffyzoro) says: I started reading this comic after I finished Narbonic. It was completely unrelated, but then I noticed you drew this comic too! Anyway, love Narbonic and Skin Horse!
Hilary Bruce (cameoflage) says:

Nate, your filk made me sporfle. (How's that for a sentence full of impenetrable jargon...)

Elaine Corvidae (elaine_corvidae) says: Nate, that was completely amazing. I am in awe, sir.
Timothy Whitcomb (timothywhitcomb) says:

Question: does drawing on lined paper help arrainge th proportions of characters? Or does it matter?Just curious.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Timothy: That's possible. I draw in lined notebooks because they're cheap.

Rob: Nobody plans to pull a Bruce Banner.
Timothy Whitcomb (timothywhitcomb) says: I understand! Cheap is good..i frequently recycle teh clay I use over and over before I buy a new batch.
Melissa Trible (tamtrible) says:

A friend has a theory that online versions of Settlers of Cattan never work because part of what's fun about the game is being able to say "I've got wood, I'm looking for sheep" in public...

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ed hardy (edhardydiscount) says:

I really, really enjoyed this. The humor works brilliantly, and the animation is much better than I had imagined. The way you have “blended” (hehe) it all together makes this look like a solid, whole product, as good as any Pixar short. Probably better. But then again: That’s my opinion.
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ed hardy (edhardydiscount) says:

I really, really enjoyed this. The humor works brilliantly, and the animation is much better than I had imagined. The way you have “blended” (hehe) it all together makes this look like a solid, whole product, as good as any Pixar short. Probably better. But then again: That’s my opinion.
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile