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Smithson Thus Far... ·

E.T. the Eccentric Type (et_the_eccentric_type) says:

I Laika like that!

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

At this point, I would say "All of my muscles are named Putin. Every. Single. One." and then just stare at Konstantin for a while.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Did you read the Newsweek story on Putin? When he goes fishing, he wades into a freezing river and grabs fish out with his bare hands. He's a flippin' Bond villain.
John Wells (johnwwells) says:

I'm in the mud with Konstantin,
I'm taking off my slip;
He is showing off his chest
(It's that kind of strip.)

Mighty glutes, mighty delts,
Quadriceps of enormous size -
But I've never seen... but I've never seen
Such muscular thighs!

Laika virgin
Touch it for the very first time...
Laika virgin,
When his leg locks into mine!

Dr. Lee is bringing popcorn,
I think we'd best make haste.
If we want to stay PG,
Keep this above this waist.

You're intense and immense,
Common sense says I should retreat
But your muscles make
But your muscles make
Me look so effete!

Laika virgin

dexitroboper (dexitroboper) says:

All Tip has to do is name one of his muscles "Rambo" and Narrativium will do the rest.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: This is ridiculous.
Timothy Tylor (timtylor) says:

But what of the Deltoids muscles? Are they just nameless drudges to you?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Mexican Hat Dance", traditional)
(It's the tune used by Yakko on "Animaniacs" when he sang the countries of the world)

Bert is my bicep,
And Ernie's my tricep,
Latissimus dorsi is Dan ...
Ted is trapezius,
Ed's gastrocnemius,
Deltoid is "Triangle Man"!
Harry the hamstring
Just won't do a damn thing,
He's fighting with Quincy the quad!
Rectus abdominis,
They're still anonymous,
What else is left in my bod?

There's my gluteus Glenn,
And my soleus Sven,
And my pectoral Timmy is teasin'!
Bicep femoris
I think is called Doris,
Don't touch "Light of Culture and Reason"!

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

I always figured Putin for the kind of guy who would go fishing with a case of vodka and a box of grenades.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Well, he hasn't named his biceps, but what about 'Senor Colossus'? 

Putrin is what Magneto looks like without the helmet.

Drew (pseudowolf) says:

@Shaenon: That's not Bond villain activity. It's called "Noodling" and people in the Southern US have been doing it for years to catch catfish.

Erik Waer (raistandantilus) says:

To be fair, lakes and rivers in the Southern US are slightly warmer than those in Russia.  I'd still give the man props for that.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

Wait, Putin fishes like a bear? Smacking salmon out of the streams? Holy Avatars, Batman, he's the embodiment of the Russian Bear! **impressed**  And yeah, 'noodling' I'm familiar with (it's not as hard as it sounds, though I've managed to catch all of ONE fish and that's it, I totally sucked at it when I tried it), but Russia's gotta be colder than, say, Mississippi. **shivers**

Kendal Reed (auditors) says:

Huh... this is interesting. I'm stuck somewhere between "whoa, all of his muscles have names, this guy is a huge badass" and "awww, he remembers all those dogs that got shot into space for science, this guy is a big sweetie."

Wayne (wayne) says:

I live about 20 miles from Holloman Airforce Base and the Alamogordo Space Museum where Ham the Space Chimp is buried, can't say that I remember many space dog names though.  White Sands Missile Range is just across the basin, they have a really cool missile park including an original German V-2 and an original Vader helmet given to them by George Lucas.

Is it sad or truly geeky that the only way that I know Madonna's Like A Virgin is because of Weird Al's Like A Surgeon?

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Obviously, Putin is a superpowered individual.  Hero?  Villain?  You make the call.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I'm stuck somewhere between "whoa, all of his muscles have names, this guy is a huge badass" and "awww, he remembers all those dogs that got shot into space for science, this guy is a big sweetie."

This strip highlights Konstantin's sensitive, intellectual side.
Prodigal (prodigal) says:

I'm still trying to write a filk of "Lesbian Seagull"  because of that "Lesbian Darkseid" comment from last week, but I swear that song is so bad it transcends human capacity for parody...

Brandon Gorley (bowtothebard) says:

@Ed: Wait, wait, wait . . .

 . . . DON'T touch the Light of Culture and Reason? Doesn't sound very Tip-ish to me.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Noodlin' isn't the only thing Putin has done. He's...

  • Hunted and tagged white Siberian tigers.
  • Actually dived down hundreds of feet in semi-cold waters.
  • Oh, yeah, once ran the KGB during the latter days of USSR.
Putin is trying to be a combination of Chuck Norris and that Dos Equis Most Interesting Man in the World guy.

casimir (casimir) says:

Happy to see that K. is not one for russian into something.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Andrew, you've got me envisioning Putin doing a variant of the Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" commercials.

And I don't know if that's good or bad.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

Oh, there's gonna be some prime slashfics on Marcie's hard drive after today...

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: I think you mean some more prime slashfics.
Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 Out of curiosity, does Konstantin's family come from Georgia? I know of a couple of villages that have fighting festivals remarkably similar to this. No, really.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Heh.
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Dave: Maybe it's four o'clock in the morning here as I type this, but you mean the country Georgia, or the redneck state of Georgia with Atlanta? Because I could see either place having such a tradition. And noodling.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Yellow Submarine", The Beatles)

Used to be ... back in the Motherland,
How we used to fight ... way back when,
We would drink ... until we couldn't stand,
Just to prove we're ... manly men!

Tip observes ... that this is odd, 'cause
He is ready to ... fight, but when?
And Konstan-tin won't drink vodka
That's polluted ... with estrogen!

Don't want vodka that's touched by estrogen!
We are manly men!
Want no estrogen!
Don't want vodka that's touched by estrogen!
I will say again!
Want no estrogen!

otrstf (otrstf) says:

Could be either Georgia, I'm always expecting the 'other' one to rename some village 'Atlanta' any day now. And the Flavored Vodka Marketing Board is interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe&etc...

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Marcie's losing it...

Steve Ford (fordsfords) says:

Whoa, that is one big bottle K is holding.  That should definitely lubricate things...

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: Every single line coming out of Konstantin's mouth is my new favorite.
Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

Absolutely freaking hilarious....

John Kayser (gg_crono) says:

The russian martial art is called "sampo", I think. With a P.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: I still find it amusing and a bit disturbing how excited sweetheart and Unity are over this, but when does our resident bee hive show up to join in?
Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

Who says Gavotte isn't already in the area?  If you spread out sufficiently, just THINK of how much you could see.  The singleform women have only /one/ vantage point, but a gestalt consciousness could watch from every conceivable angle.


(Yes.  Even that one.)


(Alright, yes, and that one as well, I suppose.  But what's wrong with you that you'd even suggest that?!)

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: This is... awesome.
Adam (10-0-0-1) says: a fine pint, the drones might even have little cameras so she can cut a recording to sell later.
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Get Over It", The Eagles)

Come in to work, what do I find?
A ragin' Russian, with fighting in mind!
"We must fight for honor, you and me!"
So we go to the river for some privacy ...
But we've drawn a crowd, and I wonder, "How'd
All the ladies find out?"  Hear them shout out loud!

"Get on with it!
Get on with it!"
Eatin' nachos and watchin' us grapple and hit,
"Get on with it!  Get on with it!"

Standing in mud, stripped to the waist,
All the girls urging us to make some haste!
Ev'ry little lady, sitting there,
With a margarita and a folding chair!
Naming our muscles, naming them all,
Then we lower inhibitions with some alcohol!

"Get on with it!
Get on with it!"
Hear the shout comin' out from the women who sit,
"Get on with it!  Get on with it!"

Thought that I knew a private place where we could go ...
But instead, we're on hi-def video
And five point one Dolby stereo!

Wendy and Marcie, and Ginny Lee,
Gerda and Sweetheart and Unity,
Drinking and watching, urging us on,
Looking like they're sitting on their own front lawn!
We don't have to fight, we can talk this out...
But the half-drunken dames give an angry shout!

"Get on with it!
Get on with it!"
I'm afraid that the ladies won't let us quit,
"Get on with it!  Get on with it!"

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: I think Sweetheart's more annoyed that things are failing to proceed in a (dis)orderly fashion as a matter of principle.
Dieter M. (tangerine) says:

Monty Python?

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: "I still find it amusing and a bit disturbing how excited sweetheart and Unity are over this..." The distinction between Konstantin and Tip slathered in mud while mostly naked and fighting, and two Goblins who are preparing to execute the Lhurst Ritual upon princesses is mostly resolved by squinting.
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Where's Tigerlily Jones?

Wayne (wayne) says:

Sweetheart's more annoyed because I didn't notice anyone bringing her water bowl.  How's she supposed to drink alcohol?  The glasses they use don't have a wide enough opening or base, she'll knock it over too easily!

If Gavotte had enough cameras, she could synthesize a 3-D experience...  James Cameron move over!

Glen Williams (effpeekay) says:

Wait. Naked man-on-man negotiation trumps nearly-naked man-on-man mud wrestling?

If I had known that, my graduate assistantship would have gone down totally differently.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

It is only now, ten years and change later, that I finally realize why my graduate thesis was so problematic, to wit:


Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

Man, if we required a no-clothes policy for the presidential debates before each election, there'd be an entirely different kind of representation going on.  And 'serving the public' would take on a whole new meaning. **ponders**

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

...and, thinking about Tip's past military career, I wanna see them fight it out too.  To use a Pratchettism, Tip's gonna CHEESE Konstantin, you watch.

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

Which one of them said 'Yes'?

Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 My biceps are Walter and Marten. And they are just as pale and flabby as one would expect. But they have animal cunning, and plot against me!

 I mean, geez, they follow me around everywhere.

Cesario VIola (cesarioviola) says:

I think Tip could take Konstantin too, but I doubt we'll actually get to find out...

Philip Cohen (treesong2) says:

Sweetheart is intrigued because she's a skinny. You got a problem with that?

Punk Rock (daebrayk) says:

Look, this is... this is bad. Shaenon? Jeffrey? If you read these comments, this is to you.


To be straightforward, I came here to read Narbonic, and I'm all out of Narbonic. I did not expect Skinhorse to be Narbonic. At least, that's what I told myself, but I lied. 

What I'm trying to say is, this is painfully shallow, and weeks of...Jesus christ, mud wrestling? Has only made me mad enough to say something about it. 

The characters are flat. In the Brave little Toasters arc, when the little blonde girl was playing to their tastes in turn, she was outlining basically everything about these characters. Unity eats brains and kicks ass. Sweetheart is a very good dog. Tip gets into girls pants. You don't need to hear that--you already knew this. Here's a tip; so do we! 

There has been a grand sum of no character development through the course of the series. You could take the Tip from the third arc, drop him into the current arc, and fuck-all would happen. He would be minus a throbbing crush and he would wonder where the helicopter had come from and why it was talking and that's about it. 

Or perhaps you were going for a comic that was primarily plot-driven. With plots like "Psychiatrist mud-wrestles security guard" it's easy to see where you might have been mistaken.

If you had been writing a porno, maybe.

Did you see that? I just compared your plot to porn. I bloody well hope it hurts. 

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

I like porn.
(confusador) says:

No one's commented yet on the fact that today's Narbonic features Mell demanding Dave kiss Caliban?  It occurs to me that Shaenon's strips have to be some of the most ship-friendly in existence.  And I suspect that's intentional, thank you very much.

Punk Rock (daebrayk) says:

Who doesn't? But this is all the plot and complexity of a porno with none of the sex. It's a lose-lose. 

More can you possibly justify devoting this much time to this? I keep thinking, every time an arc ends, "This is it. Stuff's about to get serious. A plot is about to happen." and every time it swerves off into one more wacky adventure. I would, under normal circumstances, accept that this is just a webcomic where wacky, lighthearted adventures occur, but *you wrote Narbonic*. Come on. *Narboniiic*. 

Can you imagine devoting four-and-counting weeks of Narbonic to "Artie and Caliban duke it out shirtless in storage room C"? No, because you would have to actually show storage room C, but also no because it would be terrible writing!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Awww.
Adam (10-0-0-1) says: I sense the start of a beautiful bromance, that and Unity writing slashfics about it.
Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

Dr. Lee, if you weren't already lost, you are now.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Summer of '69", Bryan Adams)

They're gonna grapple,
Tip and K from Annex One!
Got some drinks; vodka and Snapple!
Gonna watch and have some fun!

Shirts are off, muscles revealing!
Girls are ready, but the guys won't fight!
Sitting 'round, talk about feelings ...
Gotta tell you, this just ain't right!

K is getting analyzed,
And I'm saying "Holy crud!" now!
Kinda wanna watch these guys
Get violent and fight in mud now!
This is the worst I've ever seen!

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

Never bring a knife to a gunfight, and never bring a psychologist to a mud-wrestling match.

Wayne (wayne) says:

Not to say "I knew it", but...


But at least we got the term 'grapple-making' added to our vocabs.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

So we're going to declare comradely good-chumship and skip right to the drinking-vodka-until-we're-insensible stage?  Hardly seems right.


Nick flies down and hovers low, sending globs of swamp flying onto everyone.  In Skin Horse, MUD wrestles YOU!

Kirt Dankmyer (xiombarg) says:

Look, there's nothing wrong-being with a man and his feelings commencing with the grapple-making.


In other news, the concept of what Unity might do when she finds something "hot" is terrifying.

clark brooks (czark) says:

Today's strip is not answering the fundamental question of whether Tip found it necessary!

casimir (casimir) says:

I'm kind of baffled by Unity's comment and don't know what to make of it. Any enlightenment out there?

Dieter M. (tangerine) says:

Casimir: I didn't think much of it this morning other than "Well, she's weird, and in this crowd that is saying something."

But, on reflection -  UNITY is alone among the girls present in that she lives in the primal, lizardbrain feed/fight/fu..ornicate (well, maybe she doesn't properly express that one) , without really accessing what we would consider higher brain function, on anything other than a base, almost subconscious level, and that mainly for the purposes of communication/control by superiors. 

In short, she's the opposite of all of the brainpower present.

Seeing a couple hot, mostly-naked guys having a deep, intellectual conversation is probably for her what "office porn" is for the rest of us.  Visually, it's something that she understands immediately, and grabs her attention, while what is actually HAPPENING is something different from her experience, probably to the point of being exotic. 

Sure, she's seen Tip do his psycho-analysis gig before, but it was always in a context where it was preventing her from doing what SHE does best, and so it irritated her.  The situation is different here, since she's paying attention instead of just thinking "blah blah blah, let me kick ass already."

Or, it just illustrates that UNITY's the weirdest one of the bunch.  Either/or.  ^.^

Mary Potts (queenofcapes) says:

Considering how she felt about TIGERLILLY JONES, does this mean Unity is Bi?

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

...different strokes for different folks; and man, I don't know of a more different folk than Unity.

Derek Burrow (derekthebard) says:

...for some reason, this makes so much sense.  Psychology is brain porn!  Its two brains getting it off on each other.  For a zombie, who slavers over the thought of brains all day, what could be hotter?

Brian Rogers (billionsix) says:

Or, Unity thinks that peaceful resolution is taboo, dirty and wrong, and against everything she believes in, and therefore the perfect fetish fuel.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Or... Doctor Lee used another one of those code phrases on UNITY, with this result.  Or...

E.T. the Eccentric Type (et_the_eccentric_type) says:

Oooh, yeah... you can non-aggressively mediate with me any day...


Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 Somehow, I don't think Unity's "programming" KNOWS what to do in this situation.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: For Unity Oprah and Dr Phil must be like the playboy channel.
So It Begins (soitbegins) says: @Derek: You might be right...
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Nah, I'm with Brian here. Peaceful resolution from two attractive, mostly-naked men? It's... yeah, fetish fuel.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: It's a twist on hurt/comfort slash.
Kirt Dankmyer (xiombarg) says:

I particularly like how it annoys Sweethart.

"No! There's a protocol for what makes for hot boy-on-boy situations and THIS IS NOT IT!"

John Breckenridge (jbrecken) says:

(Tune "F Her Gently,"  Tenacious D)

This is a song for the wrestlers, but zombies, listen closely.

You don't always have t'assess him hard,
in fact sometimes that's not quite your cue.

Sometimes you've got to name your pecs,
and go ahead and give names to your biceps too.

Sometimes you've got to strip,
Sometimes we've got to watch, Tip!
Sometimes you've got to say,
"K, I'm gon' analyze you softly.
I'm gonna test you gently.
I'm gon' advise you sweetly.
I'm gonna check you out discreetly."

And then you say, "Hey, I brought my puppets."

And then you say, "Wait a minute, Konny.
I think you've got somethin' deep inside.
We can bring it out for you."

That's how this team works!

"What's your psyche's condish?
That's cool with me; it's not my specialty but I'll see what I can do."

"What's your favorite drink?
I'm not gonna mix it But I'll order it from the girls over there!"

"And then I'm gonna shrink you completely.
And then I'll assess your interests discretely.
And then I'll understand you completely."

"But then - I'm gonna ASSESSSSS YOOOOU HAAAARD!"

Dieter M. (tangerine) says:

So wait... that half-formed explanation that I pulled out of my ass... was -right-?

I need to listen to my ass more often.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says: Or at least pull things out of it more often.
Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

That's one! Who's next?

Derek Burrow (derekthebard) says:

That last panel is made of win.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Well.

I think I know where this is going...
Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 Well, wherever it goes, there we'll be. And it will be awesome.



Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Why Don't We Do It In The Road", The Beatles)

Why don't we rassle in the mud?
Girl fights are best while in the mud!
That boy-on-boy fight is a dud,
So let's just shed each other's blood!
Ev'rybody's watching us ...
Why don't we rassle in the mud?

Yeah, come on Tip, assess him hard,
As now Konstantin you bombard,
With questions he can't disregard!
Oh yeah, pull out that Rorschach card!
Deep into his phyche now ...
Yeah, come on Tip, assess him hard!

Now Wendy's shoved by Unity!
And Gerda asks with lustful glee,
If zombie likes this normally ...
"Nah, she was just plain bugging me!"
Right into the cruddy mud ...
Now Wendy's shoved by Unity!

casimir (casimir) says:

Just prior to action, Unity quickly named her forearms Alexander Pushkin and Vladimir Putin.

The time for hesitation's through. It's time to wallow in the mire.



Daniel Barkalow (iabervon) says:

Casimir: Unity doesn't name her forearms. They already have names when she gets them. It's like adopting pets from shelters that way.

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Hey, Jeff and I got interviewed by a guy about Skin Horse. Go read!
Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Shaenon: awesome article! 

Sean McLane (zodo) says: Am I the only one whose first thought upon seeing panel 3 was "Into the mud, scum queen!"?
Elaine Corvidae (elaine_corvidae) says:

OK, so according to the intro to the interview, Vol. 2 came out earlier this summer. Why can I not find it? It isn't listed on Couscous Collective. If anyone can provide a link to buy, I'd be deeply grateful.

Edwin Quantrall (reynard) says:

What Diane said! You guys rock!!!

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

Elaine: Volume 2 will be out very soon indeed. It's at the printer now.
Punk Rock (daebrayk) says:

Oh yes, having it end with the phenomenally unexpected "Unity defies social expectations and pushes someone into the mud" strip made it well worth the three weeks. Bravo. I don't think you could match this writing quality for the next arc if you tried.

Jim McGrath (scaryjim) says:

@Punk Rock: you know, if you dislike the storyline of this FREE, DAILY COMIC STRIP GENEROUSLY PROVIDED BY SHAENON AND JEFF you could always take your grouching elsewhere. Some of us happen to think it's pretty good... :p

Now go back to 4chan before you run out of troll food... *sigh*

Punk Rock (daebrayk) says:

Bit late on the reply here, but I've got to say, I'm neither a troll nor a 4channer. I also dislike the idea that a webcomic shouldn't be held to any sort of standards of quality or taste, but I can't bring myself to explain why when I know that no-one is going to read it anyway. It has something to do with the human condition, I'm sure of it.

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