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Smithson Thus Far... ·

Charles Lee (atomicsnarl) says:

My wig is wet, my hair is wet...

JP Chabot (speedball) says:

Oooh, cute. A harpie.

Louis Richards (lummer5000) says:

Sorry JP, that terminology is not politically correct.

She's an Avian American.

Unless, of course, she's a big fan of the silent Marx brother. Then she'd be a Harpie, but that has nothing to do with her genetic profile.

Mark Chapman (aardvark86) says:

Sweetheart, as ever, looks adorable when she's disgruntled :-)

Viktor Dosk (hugin) says:

Tip's line in the last panel makes no sense to me. That said, the harpie is the first Skin Horse character I've found attractive, so this page is a winner. 

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: And so it continues, as always.
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

How drunk do you have to be to have sex with a vulture and end up with a Harpie?

I also wonder about such things when I'm watching the Little Mermaid. Or reading some D&D book that implies that humans can have sex with such creatures.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

Unless, of course, she's a big fan of the silent Marx brother. Then she'd be a Harpie ...

... which would make her daughter a Chickie, and her husband a Grouchie?  (If she knows Tip, no wonder her husband's grouchy.)

(TUNE: "Stacy's Mom", Fountains Of Wayne)

Skin Horse agents, off on a business tri-i-i-i-ip ...
Sweetheart gives a warning now to Ti-i-i-i-ip ...
"As a human, watch how you speak and act,
Dealing with transgenic folks requires ta-a-a-a-act!"
She's saying, "By appearances, you shouldn't judge!"
But when they're greeted, Sweetheart says, "Oh, fudge ..."

Ooh, Chiffon!  She looks just like a swan!
Is that her name, or clothing she has on?
She has pretty wings,
She's wearing pretty things!
Will Tip be a Don Juan,
Or share his clothing with Chiffon?

Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 Please tell me her name is some variant of May.

Eric Burns (ericburns) says: I'm glad I'm not the only one who looked at her and thought "Swanmay" instead of "Harpy." ;)
Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says:

I thought "Siren."  Was I the only one who drew that conclusion first?

Ray Dillinger (bear) says: Man, Swanmays and Selkies got the *easy* kinds of lycanthropy. When's the last time you saw a mob of villagers armed with pitchforks and torches out to get a swanmay? Plus, there's no real murder-level guilt trips to deal with, even if you go feral for a while. That said? Hmmm. Clearly not a Harpy; it was an important part of the Harpy story that they don't have hands and can't create anything. Swanmay? Classically swanmays were shapeshifters and the human shape wouldn't have wings. But that's not an important part of their story, and authorial license would allow a half-and-half form. But this is Skin Horse, which is nominally science-fiction, not a romp in legendary fantasy. This character is some kind of transgenic, presumably of a type created within the last couple of generations, and as such embodies whatever the authors want her to.
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

It occurred to me: maybe she's a cross between a human and a pink flamingo?

Kirt Dankmyer (xiombarg) says:

How sure are we the character is actually female?

Mason Kramer (masonk) says:

Nothing is certain, Kirt, but "she" does seem to have some slight breast definition. Of course, so does Tip in some outfits and poses.

Me being dense, I took the feathers as tassles on an outfit on first glance.

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: *jaw drops like a cartoon character, but not quite Tex Avery levels of exaggeration*
Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

Sweetheart, you're talking to the guy who seduced half of your own pack! There is no such thing "Tip's superpower doesn't apply"

Brian Petery (ugwump) says:

@masonk: Are you sure that's breast tissue?  Flyers need extremely strong pectoral muscles.  Seems to have solid shoulders, too.

... does seem to be wearing lipstick & mascara, tho.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Harpy?  Siren?  Nuh-uh.

That there is an E'telekeli!

Jennifer Brock (jennibrock) says:

Will we also be seeing the black swan?

Brian McPherson (brian-m) says:

She has human hands, so she's probably not a harpie. I'd wait until we find out if she has human legs before making up my mind though.

Mason Kramer (masonk) says:

Brian: Nope! If I was sure, I wouldn't have said "seems." :) We need more figure studies, or a declaration, possibly a name... any or all of which we might get in about an hour.

Philip Cohen (treesong2) says:

evilmidnightlurkerwhatlurksatmidnight: No, E'telekeli is (will be?) a person, not a class. That's maybe an e'girl or e'guy, like C'mell will be about to have been a c'girl.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

You know, really Tip's an ideal choice for this sort of event; after all, he HAS spent an amount of time on all fours himself.  ---errr, as a wolf, I mean.  **halo**

Euel Ball (euel) says:

And the Wilkin mojo kicks in with no effort on his part.  Hot tubbing with champagne, and oysters in the Starlight Room, how does he do it?

woozy (woozy) says:

Niue's a polynesian Island not far from Tonga.  Captain Cook refered to it as Savage Island (and Tonga as the Society Islands) because the first inhabitants chased him away with Teeth Died Red. The idiot Tony Horowitz wrote an amusing chapter in his reprehensible "Blue Latitudes" book.  An airport was built in 1977 and since then the population has declined by 2/3.

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Looks like it's true.....every town IS a party town when Tip's around.

Rachel Blackman (rainpacket) says:

(To the tune of Camptown Races, because it's midnight and that song is ridiculously easy to filk)


Tip eats oysters with a bird

Mo-jo! Mo-jo!

Seduces her without a word

Wilkin's mojo works!

Take the hotel tour!

Drinks at the Starlight Room!

Niue will come back for more;

Sweetheart's seeing mission doom.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Have You Ever Seen The Rain", Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Tip just met a lovely bird!
Though it seems a bit absurd,
She sure ... seems to likes what she sees!
Sweetheart's sinking into gloom;
Others find the Starlight Room ...
Tip's pure ... mojo crosses species!

We're gonna go ... have some oysters and champagne!
We're gonna go ... have some oysters and champagne!
Seems that Tip has the craziest luck!
We're gonna go ... have some oysters and champagne!
We're gonna go ... have some oysters and champagne!
Seems that Niue is ready to pluck!

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I'm reminded of a Chris Rock saying.

"Remember, there's no champaigne in the Champaigne Room."

And also...

"Remember, no one ever goes to Hooters for the wings."

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ta-dah!
Jon W. (kd7sov) says:

I don't see why Sweetheart is surprised that it crosses species. Niue certainly appears to have a large percentage of human phenotype, and was probably raised in a human or human-based society.

Also, I think we were theorizing a little while back that it works on her, Sweetheart.

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: No, there's no SEX in the Champagne Room. There's certainly sparkling wine (if not, strictly speaking, Champagne). Niue has no hooters to speak of, so it'd have to be for the wings.
Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

I take it this is the same Niue whom, along with a Mr. Squeakers, Maya Winona Thundercloud telephoned in the 8/11/08 strip to report to the Chimeric Anti-Defamation League on her and Lim-Lim's progress at restoring transgenic dignity after Sweetheart's rampage and capture?
Adam (10-0-0-1) says: ohhhh nice catch Andrew, if that is the same individual then she might have an interesting opinion on sweetheart due to that event.
Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

Am I the only one who's thinking that the champagne room and hot tub are going to be exercises in horrifying filth and squalor?

Norman Thallheimer (normanrt) says:

I know, porpoises are not fish, and that is probably not a bicycle his tank is mounted on, but it does call into question as certain comparison about women needing men...

I wonder if he's any relation to Doctor P'Wheet?

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Well, he won't be getting trouble for touching the food with his hands, that's for sure.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Well, at least I know now that the seafood mix is dolphin free.

And I wonder if he had any other porpoise other than economic domination of Akron?

Mark SHANKS (drhistory) says:

Danger, danger Tip....

"Part-Macaw" is scary.  These are birds that like to destroy things just for the laughs.  Hell, I've watched a Macaw get into a friend's cupboard to toss individual wine glasses to the floor to hear them shatter....then cackle and do it's happy dance before throwing another.  Or chew through the perch they are standing on, because it's there....and it can.

James Mirkle (jmzlost) says:

So, you're saying they're pretty much humans who just look like birds? -JMZ

qiqihandbags qiqihandbags (qiqihandbags) says:

will it be happy or angry when it scream?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Eight Days A Week", The Beatles)

Tip with girl transgenic,
She is part macaw!
Taking route that's scenic,
Crazy things he saw!
Mister ... Squeakers ...
Talks through ... speakers ...
His brain's hooked up with wires,
He'll squeak to speak!

    He'll squeak to speak ...
    Reminder for the meeting ...
    He'll squeak to speak,
    Ignore him at your peril now!

Makes a Subway sandwich,
Customers are thrilled!
Doesn't use his hands, which
Takes a bit of skill!
Working ... nightly ...
Acts po- ... litely ...
The owner of the franchise,
He'll squeak to speak!

Jennifer Brock (jennibrock) says:

Brings to mind Johnny Mnemonic.

Johnn Reynolds (sleepyjohn) says:

@Jennifer: Johnny Mnemonic brought everything to mind.

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: And this is the trouble with black-and-white comics.... Note yesterday's "swanmay" theories, as we can't see the colors of her feathers! (Of course, Tip's "chiffon!" was rather misleading as well.)
Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

@jmzlost: The other way around

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

@sleepyjohn: This is, of course, the exact function of a mnemonic.

John Ames (commodorejohn) says: *squee!* We just better get a nice color picture of her on Sunday...
This guy I know (thisguy) says:

Ooh, does this mean she has colorful hair? Count this as another request for a Sunday color portrait!

Also: Is it just me, or are the spambots on this board on the verge of gaining sentience? qiqihandbags's post is right in the middle of Uncanny Valley if you ask me. *shudder*

JP Chabot (speedball) says:

So do you guys think she's a blue and yellow makaw or a a red and yellow?

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

what, not a quizno's?

woozy (woozy) says:

Yay!  I said we needed to see Leo again, didn't I?

Hey!  He's wearing glasses.

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Of all the people you don't want to lion you.... a heavy one with big spikey claws and teeth is a great candidate.

James Rice (jhrice) says:

I'm sure Tip would much prefer a cougar.

Dave Estep (cyaegha) says:

 Ah, nothing like old friends showing up unexpectedly.


Doug Wykstra (dougthehead) says:

Next three strips:  Tip and Leo get in a water balloon fight, argue in a treehouse, create an amazing scientific device out of a cardboard box.

The Auld Grump (theauldgrump) says:

I... needed that. :)

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Hobbes wasn't a lion.

Calvin wasn't a transvestite. As far as we know.

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

LEO: "Lie on your back."
TIP: "Lion, you're back!"

(TUNE: "Lean On Me", Bill Withers)

From ... some chimerae
I must defend,
I need to watch my back!
But ... coming my way,
Here's an old friend!
Seems like the cat came back!

Li-on me!
Saying hello,
Just 'cause you see
Someone you used to know!
Dude ... you weigh a ton!
I don't wanna be
Someone to li-on!

    Now you're so glad to see me,
    You give me a hug!
    Do you need ... to sit on my stomach?!
    Got my glasses all steamy ...
    It's me you will bug,
    'Til I read ... your stupid webcomic!

Li-on me!
I'll say hello!
Friendly I'll be,
Until you let me go!
One ... chance and I'm gone!
I don't wanna be
Someone to li-on!

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: The brick joke returns!
Sor Cyress (sorcyress) says:

Calvin was(is) the narrator from Fight Club. Alternatively, he's now dating Jason Fox. I have kindof a complicated personal canon for my childhood comics...

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: Is it just me or does the placement of Leo's tail make Tip look like a mermaid in the last panel?
Paul Lenoue (palenoue) says:

Wait, the lion is a web comic creator?  I thought Tip and crew were supposed to integrate transpecies _into_ society, not remove them from society ;-)

Sam Daniel (samhdaniel) says:

Didn't see that coming, but then neither did Tip....


@ed: Another excellent effort....

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Well, crud. They were right when they said "There's no way a human can make money off webcomics, son"....

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

.....Ok, how?!?   I've seen his webcomic.  It has art like XKCD and writing like a bad political argument.  How does that even work?

Viktor Dosk (hugin) says:

It discusses gaming, that's how. Hey, it works for CAD.


And that's enough of the Lion. Can we get back to Niue now? 

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Smooth Operator", Sade)

Was a mess ... but now success!
He's thanking Tip!  Watch out, don't rip that summer dress!
We never saw ... how he can draw!
A hundred grand, got cash in hand  -- I mean "in paw"!

His artwork is lousy, his humor is lame ...
Every punchline is the same ...
Still, he's acquiring fortune and fame!

You wonder how?
He's a comic creator!
Comic creator!
Comic creator!
Comic creator!

Lions romping, antelope chomping, playing games!
All the competition he's stomping, taking names!

He's a comic creator ... comic creator ... comic creator ... comic creator ...

Wayne (wayne) says:

I find it interesting that there's a serendipitous synchronicity between Narbonic and Skin Horse this week, both are at conventions with the same subject, only different alignments (Narbonic's neutral/chaotic evil vs Skin Horse's chaotic good).

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Ah, wish fulfillment for webcomic artists everywhere.  Would that it were true!

Rob (rrreed) says: So THAT'S the creator of Dilfield! No wonder he's such a recluse. Or is it Garbert? I can never keep those two straight.
Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

.....Ok, how?!? I've seen his webcomic. It has art like XKCD and writing like a bad political argument. How does that even work?

I could say a lot of rude things here about a lot of webcomics, but instead I'm just going to enjoy that we're debating the merits of the lion's comic strip like it's a real thing. Such is the compelling richness of the Skin Horse universe.

And yeah, it's weird that this ended up running at the same time as the rerun of the convention storyline in Narbonic.
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: In a word? Audience gratification. The strip gives a forum to express popular opinions for the gaming cognoscenti to agree with, a forum for a strawman version of the popular, unenlightened opinion, and then the first forum eats the second forum in a bloody way. It's harder to distill "give them what they want" to a purer state. Well, I suppose the Lions and the Gazelle could all be ridden by attractive naked women, but this way Leo can keep his dignity.
Eric Burns (ericburns) says: (Yes. I am fully aware 'audience gratification' is two words. I leave it to the reader's discretion as to which word was the word I was referring to.)
Diane Castle (deecee) says:

No no no, it's THE MERCH!  His money people are cranking out the merch.  Every transgenic, sentient beast of prey out there wants some, as well as some transgenic herbivore types who don't get it.

Mason Kramer (masonk) says:

Of course it's a real thing, Shaenon. Why, you even put a couple of the strips up one Sunday. I saw them. They're real.

And I think the art is a step above stick figure.

Rob (rrreed) says: @Diane—or, to paraphrase the immortal Yogurt,

"Moichandising, moichandising, moichandising, where the real money from the movie webcomic is made! Skin Horse: the T-shirt! Skin Horse: the Coloring Book! Skin Horse: the Lunch Box! Skin Horse: the Breakfast Cereal! Skin Horse: the Flame Thrower!"
Tom Powell (top1950) says:

Skin Horse: the Doll.... "Adorable"

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Heh. The flamethrower sounds there a gift-wrap option? Perhaps with a really *big* shiney ribbon on it? I'm sure most friends and relatives would find such a gift rather....heart-warming....

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Leo's real brilliance comes in the tailoring of his merchandise to transgenics. Anyone can design and sell a t-shirt, but Niue, for example, would find herself unable to wear one without significant modifications.

The solution? Scarves, Sashes, Adhesive Buttons... you get the idea. People want to wear their fandom in the open, and when you can't have sleeves on account of not having any arms...

Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

Mayhaps the window in the Fourth Wall just opened a bit too widely?

BTW, nice glasses.


Rachel S. (masamage) says:


Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Well, you know, I checked out, and I did spend the whole night.  So yeah, that is realistic.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Knock-knock! Wall 4 TRANSPARENSIZE!
Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

"Hello, is that maintenance? Yes, can you get the lads round to the fourth wall? Yes, I'm afraid it's broken again...right, thanks a lot, byee!" *click*

That said....short of Leo's comic being a front for ENRON Mk.2, a massive fraud scheme, some sort of hideous scheme the likes of which I dearly hope I can't imagine, or a money-laundering scheme....I still, like Tip, have trouble coping with the words "making six figure sums" and "webcomic" in the same galaxy. It just feels like, somewhere, something very, VERY strange has happened....

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Someday My Prince Will Come", Larry Morey & Frank Churchill)

Someday the bucks will come!
Though you may think it's dumb,
All the readers will pay us, I know!
And we soon will be rolling in dough!

Up to my ears in ink!
Worst of my fears, I think,
Is that fans won't buy!
But still, I try and try ...
I know that the bucks will come!

Dan Corbett (rmelifr) says:

In a Web Comic world, anything is possible! Animals can talk, multi-ethnic zombies can be cute and lovable and webcomic creators can make 6 figures!!! (Pats Shaenon and Jeffrey on their heads and slowly backs away while maintaining eye contact)

David Harmon (mental_mouse) says: Well, Tip did give one hint: if you count the cents, Leo could be making a few thousand. Or, this could be the lurking menace that will make the convention... "interesting", and possibly even tie into the torching of the sentient swamps.
Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

If Shanneon is a lion, then I'm guessing Jeffery is a gerbil. Or vice-versa.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Shannon isn't Leo. Leo is more like Jeffrey, in shape of glasses if nothing else. Also that Shaenon disavowed any blame for what we actually saw of AsLAN.

Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says:

Double-posting: I would actually like to see more of AsLAN, because I'm weird like that.

Ben N (mittfh) says:

Of course, the first 5 figures of Leo's earnings could be zeros... or he might be getting paid in something like Zimbabwean Dollars... :) So that aspect of the scenario needn't necessarily be unrealistic.

This guy I know (thisguy) says:

Begging pardon, but doesn't the Fourth Wall only restrain the characters? As the creators of the comic, Shaenon and Jeffrey are, by definition, on our side of the wall. At least until they start interacting with the characters themselves, in which case all bets are off.

Wayne (wayne) says:

One of my favorite phrases at work (city government) is "And that's why we get paid the big bucks (in a parallel universe very much like this one)".

Andrew Cole (andy4hire) says:

Shaenon and Jeffrey: My understanding is that the webcomics that rake in the big bucks (or the webcomics equivalent of big bucks, anyway) do so mainly because of three magic words: Merch, y'all, merch. SH merch so far consists of, what, the books? They're a great start--and I think we're due for another one soon--but what about other stuff? T-shirts! Car decals! Plush baby cobras! Official D. of I. Irradiators! ... More t-shirts! (Got more ideas, anyone? Seriously, there's like a whole thread in the Forum for this stuff.)

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Baby cobras on a T-shirt......HUGS!!!

Yeah, SH has a lotta stuff that'd make good T-shirts.


....although "6 figures" it aint.

Rob (rrreed) says:

Skin Horse: The Bedspread!
Skin Horse: The Bubble Gum!
Skin Horse: The Collectible Pogs!
Skin Horse: The Trading Card Game!
Skin Horse: The Toothpicks!
Skin Horse: The Dessert Topping & Floor Polish!

And of course, now in its fourteenth smash year on Broadway…

Skin Horse: THE MUSICAL!
Owl Who says South (owlsayssouth) says:

you forgot

Skin Horse: The Sentiant VToL Aircraft!

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

I'd buy the Tilt-roter. Just make the vehicle cheap as chips, but the optional language filter/ "Push to mute" button really, REALLY expensive.

And there's always spinoffs:

Skin Horse: The Opera!

Skin Horse: The Movie!

Skin Horse: The Game!

Skin Horse: The Movie of the Game!


Rob (rrreed) says:

Skin Horse: Also The Musical! (based on the opera based on the movie based on the game based on the musical based on the webcomic)
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The education bestowed on Shaenon K. Garrity by her parents had been expensive, athletic and prolonged. ... full profile