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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Thomas Levy (ergonomytch) says:

Pleeeease be Lupin "Wolf" Madblood!

Derek Burrow (derekthebard) says:

I was about to say: "I smell a Narbonic crossover coming on.  Somebody's gonna rescue Helen and Dave from that island and the crazy will occur."

Kate Cunningham (katfairy) says:

Under no circumstances could this possibly go horribly wrong.

John Goard (darthmiho) says:

Oh please Shaenon I beg of you. I've been waiting for this. Also methinks dave not lupin. Dave got carted off at some point after the end of the comic and before the wedding.

Rob (rrreed) says: One word.

Alpha. Not Beta, Alpha.
Sara Stevens (runeofprotection) says: hehehe, everyone is rooting for their favorite mad scientist to come in. As someone who started reading Narbonic after it was finished, I would love to see either Dave or Helen but...what if it's their daughter?
Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

Uh, one hundred fifty (150) years ago . . .

That would be either Victorian Helen (who still looks like Amelia Peabody to me, even to the brolly), or Victorian Madblood who did the construction.  Since Moustachio is a robot>¹ — er — Mechanical Man, the constructor would almost of a certainty be Madblood.  I wonder if this was pre- or post-Mars?

Now, for the contemporary repairman:  one of the Helens, Dave, or Madblood . . .

Helen the Younger's specialty of Biogenetics is wrong — unless she were to transplant Moustachio's clockwork brain into a human body².

Helen the Elder would just make off with Moustachio, and in a year or so you would hear of him terrorizing Mardi Gras down in Rio.

Either Dave or Lupin could repair Moustachio.  Dave would automatically add improvements (the self-winding death-ray/Blu-ray player, the satellite internet link, etc.).  Lupin would do a straightforward repair, but would upgrade Moustachio's brain with the latest octocore technology.

Any which way this goes, hilarity would definitely ensue.

¹ 'Robot' was not added to the English until the 1920s, by R.U.R., which was actually about Androids (as opposed to the Star Wars Droids, which are actually robots).

² Probably another Dave-clone — I'm sure she has a few spares packed away here and there.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "New Soul", Yael Naim)


I'm on parole, cause I built a Real Doll
And I gave her laser arms and sharks for eyes
So in due course, they sent me to Skin Horse
Oh it's going to be a wonderful surprise

La la la la, la la la la la la
La la la la la la la la la la la

I'm on parole, cause I ran the bankroll
For the Ubersteppenwolfenhitlersteins
There's this program, kind of more a test run
I'm sure everything will be just peachy fine

La la la la...

This is a happy end, we'll be the best of friends
Everything is more fun, with my Evapo-Gun(tm)
Top-secret criminals, love toxic animals
We'll take you far away

I'm on parole, cause I nuked the North Pole
(Well I don't like Santa Claus OR Superman)
And I maybe, cloned a dragon baby
But I'm sure when you see her you'll understand

La la la la...


Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Ah, the old "if you can't beat them, have them join your team" plan. 

Michael Taub (otakuloki) says:

As far as I can recall the only Narboinc Mad types who were ever brought in for justice were not Helen (Alpha or Beta), Dave, nor Lupin. 


It was the hamsters. 

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: And the hamsters are right in Skin Horse's mission statement.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Drops Of Jupiter", Train)

We gotta fix poor ol' Moustachio,
But we lost the manual long ago, hey ...
He's almost from the Middle Ages;
We just can't look in the Yellow Pages, hey ...
Let's call some power-mad criminal soul,
And make him an offer of early parole, hey hey!

So tell us!  Tell us what you plan to do!
Fix a broken spring with Super Glue,
Replace the gears that rusted ...
Yes, I'm certain you can be trusted!

Let's go!  Better not disturb the man,
Let him do whatever he can;
We won't disturb him
While he's repairing our Thin-ko-ni-um!

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

@katfairy:  Under no circumstances could this possibly not be awesome.

John Goard (darthmiho) says:

Please not the hamsters. I miss Dave and Helen so.

John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

The hamsters weren't Mad; they were just riding on Dana's coattails.

... Huh. I just realized that what Helen created was not just an intelligence serum with unfortunate side effects, but a formula that turned ordinary gerbils into mad scientists. And that Artie, the intended recipient of the formula, got the intelligence but not the madness (or at least not much... the gender-swap formula was Artie's design...). Was even Artie a byproduct of the line of research that led to the sanity gun?

But, anyway, if the guest-art montage in the last Narbonic strip - which is, I believe, the only indication of the hamsters being taken into custody - is taken as canon, then Dave was also apprehended at least briefly.

I note that our creators have, to date, carefully walked the line where this could be, but is not confirmed to be, the Narboniverse. I'm not sure whether that's a point in favor of or a point against a possible Narbonic cameo here.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: MUAHAHAHA!
Mary Potts (queenofcapes) says:

Oh please have an official crossover! Pretty please with sugar on top! =D

Paul Gadzikowski (pgadzikowski) says:

"A top secret experiment program involving deadly criminals." Because there's no way that could go wrong.

Sean Riedinger (ariamaki) says:


OK, that is phenomenal.

Rob (rrreed) says: Just because the program usually goes south—waaaaaaaaaaay south—after a while in the Thunderbolts is no reason to believe it won't be different with Project Skin Horse involved.

You know what, let me get back to you on this…
John Campbell (jcampbel) says:

Ah, if the King of England gives you any guff, just go, "Look behind you! It's a coalition of barons who want you to sign a great charter!" And then, -BAM-, leg sweep!

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

i wonder if they'll send dr lee.

Rockphed (rockphed) says:

Dr Lee is sane, remember.  She can't be a mad scientist.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

Because my dream crossover would would be with A Miracle Of Science ( -  if you haven't read it you really need to right now. I mean it, go ahead, I'll wait... )

(Tune: "Dream Police", Cheap Trick)

Vorstellen Police, he's got a dark broody past
Vorstellen Police, she's the whole planet Mars
Vorstellen Police, together they fight space crime, oh no!

Mad science is quite a simple disease
The Institute calls it SRMD, SRMD

They're waiting for me, they're looking for me
In the starlit night
She spacewalks without air
The girl with diamond hair

Vorstellen Police...

Well the Institute said my work's a disgrace
So I'll show them all from my Venusian base

But they're waiting for me, they're looking for me
In the starlit night
She's everything I fear
The girl with diamond hair

I chase their cars, crash them on Mars, they won't leave me alone
I shoot their ships, bootleg their chips, they won't leave me alone
They spy on me, I try to hide, they won't leave me alone
They persecute me, but muhahaha! I cannot fail!

Cause they're waiting for me, they're looking for me
In the starlit night
She's hot beyond compare
The girl with diamond hair

Vorstellen Police, he's got a gun and two fists
Vorstellen Police, she's got a nanotech kiss
Vorstellen Police, together they fight space crime, oh no!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Have I Told You Lately", Rod Stewart)

Shall we call the Institute today now?
Can they send somebody out this way now?
Someone with genius madness,
(Hopefully, not much badness)
To repair our metal man!

These are folks we don't call every day now ...
But we need, as quickly as they can,
Someone with steampunk know-how
To fix Mou-sta-chi-o now,
Make him run the way he ran!

A mad genius fits the bill!
Long as he's useful, we'll
Ignore his crime!
The Pommie who wears the crown
Knows he can take us down
Anytime!  Anytime!

Shall we call the Institute today now?
Can they send somebody out this way now?
Don't care if he's psycho crazy,
Long as he's not too lazy
To repair our metal man!

Sebastian Banker (sebbo) says:

Do I detect the great smell of...crossovers?

Machine union + down-on-his-luck mad cyberneticist.... I'm definitely envisioning someone trimming his goatee in his mom's basement here.

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Which parts of London?
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I blew up London,
I blew up France
I want to blow up New Amsterdam.

John Goard (darthmiho) says:

Come on Dave, not stinky old madblood.

TÃ¥rd Ãksnes (elpollodiablo) says:

Look out behind you, your Highness, it's Oliver Cromwell!!

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

i wonder if dr lee might flip if she starts thinking about things too hard.  take a look at her bio page ;)

Kate Cunningham (katfairy) says:

Aw, Unity has more potential love interests than Tip now!  That's just not right...

Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says:

Is it completely implausible to guess "Victorian Madblood"?

Rob (rrreed) says: The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the phrases, "some old expert in antique clockwork" and "experimental program involving deadly criminals" together?

Time bombs. Ticking time bombs…
Ronnie Simonds (ronrab) says:

Calling it now: caveman.

Pete Bleackley (petethemadscientist) says:

You know, Madblood would work well in this strip because it was his androids who started the Machine Union. But I'm guessing it's going to be a new character. I'm also guessing female.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

Or a dinosaur!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Nate: ... with a frickin' laser?

(TUNE: "Sometimes When We Touch", Dan Hill)

Moustachio got broken,
So we called the Institute ...
They've got someone eccentric,
But whose knowledge is astute!
I gave my name and spelled it,
And my Visa number too ...
Approval, though, withheld it
"Til I see what he can do!

Slightly out of touch
With computers, cars, and such;
The modern world's too much ... to see ...
A mask so he won't bite,
And some leather straps so tight;
He might be going ... on a date with Unity!

Kenneth Reeves (tetramorpheus) says:

I gotta say I love the change in Sweetheart's expression between pannels three and four. Masterfully (Mistressfully?) done.

Scott Malcomson (calbeck) says:

Is it telling that, before seeing this strip, I went out and picked up a nice chianti?

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says:

Aw, Sweetheart's trying so hard to stay optimistic!


John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Nate: "Mad genius watchmaker dinosaur" officially has my vote.
Randy Goldberg (drgaellon) says: Have the lambs stopped screaming yet, Tip?
Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme)

Insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!
Insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!
Insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!
Hero with a screw loose!

He's the world's foremost expert on brass and steam!
He's a Swiss Victorian paleontologist's dream!
When the King of Prussia attacks
He'll keep those zeppelins off our backs!

Insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!
Insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!

The D. of P. Defense got stuck in time!
They aether-warped to Space: 1899!
Franz Ferdinand blew up the moon
And started World War I too soon

thanks to insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!
Insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!
Insane genius watchmaker dinosaur!
Hero with a screw loose!

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: is Dr. Lee still on base? if so this could ge interesting for Tip.
Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

@10-0-0-1: No, she left without giving him her phone number. Remmeber?

at just about everyone else: cry it out. No Narbonic crossover.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: *head smack* right i forgot
Terry Smith (wcfan) says:

Not yet anyway...

John Wells (johnwwells) says:

She must be legit; the glasses are a red herring. I mean, just flat-out asking what their security precautions are? It's too straightforward.

No mad genius in their right mind would do it that way!

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

...She's not the mad scientist, people, she's the forward observer!

Or that's what she claims, anyway...

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

Man Who Once Win Fist Fight With Large Pig


Man who once win fist fight with large pig
He is Project Skin Horse lobby guard.
He is being Agent Konstantin.
He is sometime Russian KGB.

Man who sometime Russian KGB
He not wearing woman's underthings.
He is naming biceps clever names.
He is knowing Unity and live.

Man who knowing Unity and live
He is lucky having all his limbs
He is chatting Dr Engelbright
He is maybe Poet Laureate

Man who maybe Poet Laureate
He is knowing Unity and live.
He is sometime Russian KGB.
He is man who fist fight with large pig.

He is chatting Dr Engelbright
He is naming biceps clever names
He is being Agent Konstantin
He is man who win fist fight with pig.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "This Could Be The Start Of Something Big", Steve Allen)

Now here's Doctor Engelbright, she's doing an eval
Before they can let some madman out of the brig!
And Konstantin says, "Oh, sure!  This building is kept secure
By man who once win fist-fight with large pig!"

"Perhaps you are wish to hear the names of my biceps?
The right is Kalashnikov, the left one is MiG!
Am also impressing gals by showing off pec-tor-als
Of man who once win fist-fight with large pig!"

Although the guard is cute, the Institute needs surety
Before some crazy genius guy is loosed!
So they're not saying yes 'til they assess security ...
(If Doctor E. meets Tip, she'll get seduced!)

Now Konstantin sits all day, at desk in the lobby ...
He's snacking on Gatorade and Newton of Fig!
Protecting of Annex One!  Not needing of any gun,
Just man who once win fist-fight with large pig!

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

well, i'm impressed.  a big pig might weigh 100kg.  and sure they don't have fists, but those little hoofsies are dang sharp.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Thanks, Nate. Now I have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themesong stuck in my head. I officially hate the 90's.

As for Dr. Englebright, she maybe the first person whom Tip can't succumb to his wily charms. Althought she may already be in love with Charles Babbage.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to see about legally changing my last name to "Lovelace."

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I like this one, Nate.
Nate Cull (natecull) says:

@Shaenon: Yay, thanks!

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Umm, guys?  A 'big pig' might be as much as 1600 pounds (over 700 kg). And that's in the REAL world.  And pigs are DANGEROUS in real life.  A wild boar of several hundred pounds is a threat to life and limb, even if you have a rifle and hunting dogs. 

N B (daveclone7) says:

I'm more impressed that Konstantin is apparently twisting his neck over 90 degrees to the right in the last panel.

Rob (rrreed) says:

"I am Hans."
"Und I am Franz."
"And we just want to [clap] PUMP... you up!"
Daniel Nolan (ubbm) says:

Dr. Lee warns Tip that Skin Horse is being watched and now this Dr. Engelbright is snooping around.Plots within plots.

M. Alan Thomas II (crazydreamer) says:

@Diane: Where are you getting that figure? For boars, Wikipedia informs me that Russian boars, which appear to be the largest wild boars, are only ~300 kg (~660 lbs.) at the high end, but maybe there's a Sus species that's larger? Even at "only" 660 lbs., I still wouldn't want to fight one!

Rob (rrreed) says: What could possibly go wrong?

A case of mistaken identity, perhaps?
Mark SHANKS (drhistory) says:

Just like another staff member?  So they are sending out an evil transvestite?  Or maybe a nuerotic and angry talking Chihuahua?

Woof Arf (woofnarf) says:

Every year, the criminally insane go without the much needed support that would allow them to express their potential and be what they were meant to be.  Instead, they are derided by society and cast aside because they are so misunderstood.

But with you help, they can be so much more!

Imagine their satisfied, triumphant cries of

"Jeepers! I killed more people than I thought possible!  You guys rock!"

"Hot diggity!  I've actually obliterated Japan!  Thanks so much!"

"Goodness gracious!  Toronto is really breath-taking at night with that pulsing, radioactive glow!  My dreams came true!"

"Ma! The denizens of Istanbul are now my mindless puppets! Top of the World, Ma!  TOP OF THE WORLD!!!"

"The carnage, the ashes, the mass hysteria and chaos - it's everything I hoped it would be!"

"I could never have been able to torture all these people if it weren't for your support."

With your help, we can help these poor tortured and misunderstood souls to go forth and achieve their ultimate dream - to help them make their unique and personal statement that will allow the rest of civilization to point to and say

"WE GOTTA WASTE THE S*NUVAB*TCH NOW!!!" - uh, sorry - I meant "Fly, little ones! We love you and believe in you!"

Show that you care.  Won't you give generously to the FRAternity for Killers, Kindred Spirits, and the Evilly Demented or FRAKKED?

"An evil mind is a terrible thing of waste."

Kenneth Reeves (tetramorpheus) says:

Since when does any Sane Institution need to label itself as such?

D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

tetramorpheus: Because every responsible organization is into composing, these days.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE:  "Crazy For You", Madonna)

People, listen to what I say ...
Let's all greet out special guest today!
Tip uncertain, but Unity says "Cool!"
While repairing Moustachio,
They will smile and be polite; although,
When he or she the whole world rules,
Then they'll show all those fools!

Because they're crazy insane!
Twisted genius that we can't contain!
Let's have a welcome from the Skin Horse staff!
This twisted brain ... lets out an evil laugh!
They're crazy insane!

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@tetramorpheus: look up 'Suspiciously Specific Denial'

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Connolly: Don't you mean decomposing?

Rachel S. (masamage) says:

What an awesome institute.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: Big Energy in Little Spaces, Opshop)

So we're from the Institute
Nice lair you've got
We're the fools you want to show
So come on and give us your best shot

You're thinking we look like squares
And you know I guess you're right
You see we specialise
In the sane study of mad genius
Sane study of mad genius

We'll see you at our place
Someday, someday
We'll have a chat about your zeta bomb
We'll see you at our place
Some day, some day
We'll get those dreams out of your head
But until then

There's Tesla waves rolling
Backwards in time
As far as the eye can see
Mind controllers and C-beams

It's a tragedy
A million wars that can never be
Unless you come and work for us
Unless you work, oh
On the sane study of mad genius

Tom Powell (top1950) says:

Okay, since 'Tip' is the only one concerned, that means the evil genius has gotta be a hot babe!

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

So raise your hands all who will be deeply surprised if Dr Engelbright turns out to be the evil genius...


Dave Corbett (mr_dave) says:

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

So raise your hands all who will be deeply surprised if Dr Engelbright turns out to be the evil genius...

I actually will be surprised. Unless, of course, Dr. Engelbright turns out to be a colleague of a certain Dr. Tarr and his partner, Prof. Fether... 

Derek Burrow (derekthebard) says:

Tip, meet Helen.  You'll be the bestest of friends.  Till she kills you.  But don't worry; you'll get better.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

Yep, she'll definitely be a hottie. Tip, meet Dr Engelbright.

Corgi (corgi) says:

I'm thinking Nate's fascinating poem needs to be fitted to Coulton's 'Code Monkey' song.

Rob (rrreed) says: @Dave Corbett—Tell me, do you have many dreams within a dream?
John Chapman (slabgar) says:

Madblood - he was a roboticist.

Nate Cull (natecull) says:

(Tune: "The Parent Trap", title song, 1961 Disney movie)

If your robot's nuked
Call the Institute
They know the best minds of the age
They'll send someone skilled
But first you better build
Whatcha gotta build?
A Frothing Cage

If you lose your mind
You needn't get behind
At your job - your friends can arrange
Help for the perplexed
Just put one at your desk
Put what at your desk?
A Frothing Cage

If it's tough at work
Since you went berserk
And you lost your friends cause you shot 'em
Think inside the box
It's got Plexiglass locks
And electrified grilles on the bottom

Madness needn't be
A workplace tragedy
You can literally wipe off the rage
Keep your team alive
For $99.95
Just $99.95 -
The Frothing Cage!

Saliva removal kit sold separately. Madness containment factor rated up to 3 Narbons by the Institute for Ethically Ambiguous Research. Void where prohibited.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Behind Blue Eyes", The Who)

Tip can't know what it's like
To have no chance
In romance ...
To be surprised!

Tip suggests it ain't right
To be caging
Someone raging ...
'Cause it's ill-advised!

But they'll be here in an hour,
Requisitioned by Gavotte!
Tip won't use his ... superpower ...
Unless she's female!  (And fairly hot!)

Dave Corbett (mr_dave) says:

@Rob RRReed: I used to, but nevermore.

Sherry, anyone?

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