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87 comments:
D. Connolly (theogrin) says:

"Okay, anything weird?  Out of the ordinary? ...strange?"

Also, it says nothing good about me that the first thing I noticed was that the final symbol in the dolphin's text is the icon for a game called 'QuadRadius'.

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

They're not all that *subtle*, these spambots...

How a dolphin manages to have a brow, I'll never work out....regardless, he's one seriously cool unamused cetacean.

So It Begins (soitbegins) says: Ah, but is he an unarmed cetacean?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "You Gotta Be", Des'ree)

At the meeting here tonight,
Members had an awful fright!
Someone was attempting to destroy us all!
Sweetheart now is asking me
And Niue, too, if we,
If we noticed anything un-us-u-al?
Was anything ...

CHORUS:
    Was anything odd?  Was anything strange?  Was anything stranger?
    Was anything off?  Was anything weird?  Was anything weirder?
    Was anything rare?  Was anything queer?  Was anything peculiar?
    Did you see, did you see anything at all?

We do not appreciate
Folks who joke about our state!
Ev'ryone's unusual in their own way!
She talked to this one door-knob,
Quite stand-offish, what a snob!
Would ... not ... play, no wa-ay!
    (repeat CHORUS)

Ray Dillinger (bear) says:

I think it's really cute the way the rest of the council refuses to acknowledge that Niue is completely bonkers.  I like her.

Jeff Klein (jeffklein) says:

It's a transgenic convention. There probably IS a standoffish doorknob, which I DEMAND to see before the storyline ends.

gwen patton (ardrhi) says:

Oh yeah?  Well..YOU'RE a standoffish doorknob!

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

By the way, if you're interested in seeing what my writing is like without any pictures, I have a short story up at Strange Horizons. Go read it!
Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

Sweetheart in panel 4: self-knowledge is cute.  Tip in panel 4: self-delusion, less so.

William Tracy (afishionado) says:

I just discovered Sweetheart's personal theme song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGC1zFjQ8Ts
Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

An evil Canadian scientist at that, Eh?

 

 

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

Given that Artie is a rodent in his normal form, it wouldn't surprise me if Tip didn't notice him.  Especially since Tip would be looking for a hot black guy.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: As we Narbonic readers all know, however, Artie would never create that level of harm *intentionally.*
Rob (rrreed) says: True. Artie falls into the Harry Dresden school of heroics, "…saving the world, one random act of destruction at a time."
Rob (rrreed) says: But to get all Batmanuelish for a minute, what's the motive for the (smoke) bombing? Who (or in this case, what) benefits?
Adam Underfoot (unnatural20) says: So let's lead on to question two: Is this the real Artie, then? Or perhaps a very cleverly-disguised someone else?
Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Hot Blooded", Foreigner)

He's a ...
Hot gerbil!  I really like!
He's hot enough to make my blood pressure spike!
It seems suspicious, though, that he wasn't there ...
That hot gerbil, hot gerbil!

When we met in Cleveland town, someone tried to burn us down!
And we started to choke ... when the room filled with smoke!
Nylon and acetone!  Did the bomber act alone?
And we didn't see ... gerbil was an absentee!

Now Artie, sir ... we're all wondering just where you were!
The girl with fur ... is not the finest judge of character!

For that ...
Hot gerbil!  Muscular guy!
The other chimerae, they all nearly die!
You'd better have an airtight alibi,
You hot gerbil, hot gerbil!

Daniel Ross (nentuaby) says:

My prediction: It was Artie, but with surprisingly good reason. He is a good-but-arrogant supergenius, after all; machiavellian manipulation for the manipulee's own good is kind of their thing.

Jeffrey Channing Wells (channing) says:

@William Tracy: Good find on that song.  And catchy, too!

Shaenon Garrity (shaenongarrity) says:

William--That song is awesome!
Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

Okay, I'll throw my own ideas into the mix. It WASN'T Artie; however, he discovered their plot and changed the venue to keep his fellow transgenics safe. He then either went after the bad guys in the original location (possible but not likely, unless he was planning on trying to appeal to their sense of reason, which IS possible) or was nabbed directly after changing the venue (much more likely) and is currently in their clutches. Bet he hiccups, escapes and shows up in his gerbil form to confront Tip and Sweetheart.

Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

Sweetheart, that lil' ole prude.

Jared Anderson (the_shrike) says:

Put it down as "improving interspecies relations".

John Sears (john_sears) says:

Improving them all night long.

Mark SHANKS (drhistory) says:

Gee, and I was under the impression Sweetheart was only into hot Goblin on Goblin action...  Now it turns out she's into classic slash-fic?  What's next?  Getting her kicks being walked on a leash & spiked collar?

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

h.t. is going to be SO disappointed ;)

(and yeah, it's goblins and (presumably?) human princesses back home in the fantasy life.  then again, fantasy has a dangerous way of offering insight ;)

Brian Petery (ugwump) says:

"Hey!  You got your reality in my voyeurism!"

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Tragedy", The Bee Gees)

On the phone
Telling Unity the things I hate!
I bemoan
How our Tip is primping for his date!

Makes me spew,
It's gay and interspecies too,
Like goblin prince and handsome elf
From my shelf ...
(Like to read ... by myself ...)

Fantasy!
Though I like to read 'bout a dirty deed,
It's fantasy!
With a guy that's green doing Charlie Sheen!
It's super hot,
But only on paper, in real life it's not!

Fantasy!
When it's real, it's sick, and it makes me squick!
Not fantasy!
I imagine Tip making Artie strip!
When they disrobe,
He's questioning suspects, how deep will he probe?

Tiff Hudson (tiff_hudson) says:

Great morning-starting laugh!

 

Wayne (wayne) says:

How the heck does Sweetheart put on a headset?  I've never noticed her shoulders having the articulation for such, and I can't imagine Tip having enough free time if he has to change clothes and get ready for a date.

Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

Okay, I've got to ask: who came up with the idea of Sweetheart using a little headset?

@Wayne: I'm guessing that, wherever she hangs it up, she just slips into it

Justin Kane (avatarjk137) says:

@Wayne: If dogs lower their heads, they can generally get their paws above their faces.

N B (daveclone7) says:

Who's taking bets Artie shows up to dinner in gerbil-form?

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

            @Ed: That's a classic!  Actually, I suspect that Sweetheart's jealous.  If Tip can be into a transgenic gerbil, why wasn't he into her when he was a husky, hot dog?  (All puns intended.)
            @everyone: I love the song that William Tracy posted yesterday for Sweetheart, by the British duo Spray.  If you go to their website, you'll find that one of them, Ricardo Autobahn, has an album called Interrobang.  Clearly, these people have been channeling Shaenon and Jeff for a while now.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Wayne: It's a SmartPhone.  It's smart enoguh to put itself on Sweetheart's head anytime she asks.  Of courses, only as long as the machine union is not on strike.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:
  1. "Like Usual?" Is there a method that Tip uses that doesn't involve sex?
  2. Gay Goblin Sex? Is...that even possible?
  3. @kaygilbert: So does this mean somewhere is Scadinavia, there's an indie band finishing work on their umlat album?
gwen patton (ardrhi) says:

Transgenic Gerbil...I have all their albums.  They rock.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

@Andrew: We can önly höpe sö (which, coincidentally, is the name of my Ikea toothbrush holder).

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

@andrew:

1. well, there are the times that tip brings out alice.... and i don't think that's his kink.

2. in the eyes of slashfic writers, all things are possible. :)

Tom Powell (top1950) says:

Yay!  Unity's back!

Grant McCormick (grantcmccormick) says:

Would Canadian superdogs be colourblind?

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

"Hell of?"  Not "hella?"  FAKE UNITY SPOTTED. :)

M. Alan Thomas II (crazydreamer) says:

"Hell of" modified verbs, "hella" modified adverbs and nouns? I dunno.

Eddddd theawsome (eddddd) says:

@grantmccormick

he could mean Artie is colour blind.

Is he? I'll have to go back and check.

I seem to remember somewhere that Shaenon mentioned something about that.

Michael Brewer (wusemajor) says:

Is it still immoral if he was planning on doing it anyway?

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Moonshadow", Cat Stevens)

Look, now, I'm picking out my eyeshadow ...
Eyeshadow, eyeshadow!
I'll stick with Artie like he's my shadow!
Eyeshadow, eyeshadow!

    'Cause if this outfit doesn't match,
    Then a crook ... I won't catch!
    'Cause if this outfit doesn't match,
    (deedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedee...)
    I'll just have to change my clothes!

    And if to catch him I connive,
    With Chanel ... Number 5,
    And if to catch him I connive,
    (deedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedee...)
    Then I'll catch him by the nose!

'Cause right now, I'm picking out my eyeshadow ...
Eyeshadow, eyeshadow!
Five diff'rent shades I've got to try, shadow!
Eyeshadow, eyeshadow!

    But if I find he placed that bomb,
    I'll stay cool ... I'll stay calm,
    But if I find he placed that bomb,
    (deedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedee...)
    I might get a wee bit rough!

    But if I don't arrest my date,
    Catching crooks ... that can wait ...
    'Cause if I don't arrest my date,
    (deedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedeedee...)
    I'll still need the cuffs ...

I've got to question Artie!
I've got to solve this crime!
Although we might just party ...
We'll have a gay old time!

Lalalala,
Right now, I'm picking out my eyeshadow ...
Eyeshadow, eyeshadow!
I just discovered that I'm bi, shadow!
Eyeshadow, eyeshadow!

Try shadow, try shadow ...
Eyeshadow, eyeshadow!

Glenn Gorsuch (glenn) says:

Does it disturb anyone how insightful our l'il Unity is being?

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

@Glenn: Remember, she's providing insight on how best to use someone for their own ends and likely cause mayhem in the meantime. It comes natural to her, so she would be insightful.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I just wonder how many women know about which eyeshadows go well a little black dress?

Rob (rrreed) says: Unity and Sweetheart have apparently both forgotten Tip's Crowning Moment of Awesome with Alice back in Alaska.

Admittedly, Tip makes it just so darned easy to forget…
This guy I know (thisguy) says:

@Glenn: Hasn't UNITY always had that tendency? Right in the middle of rambling on about pickaxes, she'll bust out with a gem that perfectly sums up the current situation, and--squirrel! Sometimes I wonder if her mind was stitched together the same way her body was. I'm sure at least one genius was among the brains Dr. Lee picked for the project.

Of course, given the recent events detailed in Nick's livejournal, we can probably expect more of this.

@Grant and Eddddd: If Sweetheart and Artie are both colorblind, that would make her a good person to consult wouldn't it?

Carl Fishman (carlfishman) says:

Most dogs aren't colorblind.  (Nor are most Canadian dogs  colourblind.)  They just have (compared to humans) fairly weak color sense.  (More rods; fewer cones.)  Ie; they see the world in pastels.  I don't know about gerbils, though.  (I'd assume that Artie had color vision when in human form.)

Thomas Jones (spudd86) says:

Dogs aren't colourblind, they have dichromatic vision, ie for them light has two primary colours, neither of which is the same as any of our three. So end result: they don't see colour as well as we do, and what they do see is totally different from what we see.

(Fun consequence, colour TV doesn't work well for dogs, or cats for that matter, cats are trichromates like us, but the primaries are different so although they might have a similer ability to diferentiat the colours they see will be entirely different from what we see and colour tv would look really messed up for them)

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

Double standards, Sweetheart.  Tsk tsk.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "Complicated," Avril Lavigne, Lauren Christy, Scott Spock & Graham Edwards (Avril Lavigne, Let's Go, 2002)

Don't think I'm a hypocrite
'Cause you don't know the half of it
And if you were in Cleveland with me
You would see

Artie, who made Tip go gay:
Subfamily Gerbillinae
So you see that it's most improper
A guy with fur!
Don't be obtuse
If Tip should seduce
My pot-smoking friend . . .
Well . . . heaven forfend!
With H.T.—you just watch—
There'll be no sniffing crotch
For me

Why is my transgenic date okay? It's complicated
I know it looks to you like Tip and I are the same
We're twitterpated
But my tiger is
A quadriped all of the time
And a male, so, you see, it is clearly different
Unity, please side with me
It's really awfully complicated
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "What's Your Name", Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Well, I ... met this cat in a bar this afternoon,
Well, we ... had a chat, and he said, "I'll see you soon!"
Then Tip said "Hi" to a transgenic guy, and somehow
We made a double date, and it's ... complicated now!

    Not the same!
    Unity, not the same!
    Comparison's lame!
    With H.T., it just ain't the same!

Wherever we go, someone tries blowing up!
H.T. and Leo, they were just showing up!
Now don't get rude!  Tonight's just food and chat ...
What to wear? Stripes make my derriere look fat!

    Not the same!
    How to dress? Not the same!
    This evening became
    Such a mess, hope it won't be lame!

vicka corey (drbrain) says:

is it just me, or is tip actually hotter with his hair down?

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

Actually, it not a well-known fact, but many dates in the Ozarks do involve crotch sniffing.

Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

Whoah, whoah, whoah! The tiger is white?

N B (daveclone7) says:

@Frank: Sweetheart is white; H.T. may not be.

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

@Frank: Maybe Tip was talking about what Sweetheart and H.T's babies would look like.

Sean Holland (sea-of-stars) says:

Much fun, just read the complete back collection over the last week and a half.  Great work.

Jon Stout (brasswatchman) says: Okay, I'm calling it right now that H.T. is the one who planted the bomb somehow. This strip simply cannot narratively handle Sweetheart being happy.
Brian Petery (ugwump) says:

Sweetheart strikes me as one of those people who make themselves unhappy.

Adam (10-0-0-1) says: You know Tip normally looks like a man dressing like a woman but something about the way he is dressed and the angle it is drawn at makes him look like an actual woman. It is kind of unnerving in a way.
Blaise Marcoux (blaise) says:

But didn't HT arrive late to the meeting thing?  Strike me as a little weird for a terrorist to arrive at their own attack site.

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

Screamin' Yellow Zonkers that's a lot of spam!

But wouldn't it be funny if H.T. stood for Harold Teen rather than Hungry Tiger?

Joyce Melton (halfelven) says:

By the title, the theme of this strip should be "Becoming Real" and Tip seems to be inching closer to that point.

Oh and the gag tonight almost throttled me, I laughed so hard the dog almost called the paramedics.

woozy (woozy) says:

Ah, but if Sweetheart says "It's hard to tell when Unity is euphemizing" then the natural thing would be for Tip to give an example when Unity *was* euphemizing.  So the question is, when Unity throttled that bishop, what euphemism did she use?

Dave Van Domelen (dvandom) says: There's an important and horrifying point here: if Sweetheart can't tell when Unity is using a sexual euphemism, that means Unity DOES on occasion use them. And for it to be a euphemism, she has to know what she means.
Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

tune: "I shot the sheriff," Bob Marley

Workin' hard in this New Orleans swamp
With Nick to back me up
Some creature tried to take a chomp on me
But you shouldn't mess with Unity
No you don't nom on Unity
(Wham wham wham)

I punched the gator
But I did not throttle the bishop
I punched the gator
But I did it in self-defense

Frank (pokefan_frank) says:

@DVanDom: Of course she uses sexual euphemism! What do you think she says when they're reading those books?

Brian Petery (ugwump) says:

So Sweetheart is a bad influence on Unity? ooooh!

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

(TUNE: "Love In An Elevator", Aerosmith)

Working with a dog for a beehive (buzz!)
Working for the government (buzz buzz!)
Hoping that our friend is still alive,
I wonder where she went?
She's checking a suspicious bog blaze,
Down by New Orleans ...
She's got me in a daze, from her turn of phrase,
I don't know what it means!

Punchin' an alligator!
Hittin' a critter right in the chops!
Punchin' an alligator!
Right in the kisser until he drops!

Steve J (stevej) says:

That gator looks amazingly like the Crocs in Pearls Before Swine.

Vlad Taltos (flyingfish) says:

@SteveJ: no no, eet zeeba, not zombee. zombee eets back!

joe dreyfuss (jdreyfuss) says:

I want to know where and why she was choking a bishop. I guess I shouldn't say "why," since for Unity that's irrelevant, but under what circumstances. That sounds like a damn good story.

Rex Vivat (sirgarberto) says:

I'm re-reading Narbonic's commentary, and I found this: http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/narbonic_plus/series.php?view=archive&chapter=28856#strip2 in the commentary: "Much, much later in the strip, Helen also mentions that she sold Mell's DNA to a government bioweapons project." Now everything makes more sense.

Sam Ashley (evilmidnightlurker) says:

@Rex: Yep, Unity's brain is a clone of Mell's.  This has been known for a while. :)

Diane Castle (deecee) says:

Hmm.  Now I have to wonder if she's ever talked about choking a chicken or spanking a monkey.

Kay Gilbert (kaygilbert) says:

@Diane: or draining a lizard, or hiding a salami . . .

Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says:

@Kay: "...or giving a monkey a shower ..."

Lee-Anne Phillips (lioness) says:

But "throttling the bishop" isn't a euphemism at all, but a scholarly reference to George of Cappadocia, heretical (Arian) Archbishop of Alexandria, who was throttled and dismembered -- with his lifeless bodyparts thrown into the sea -- by an angry mob of Pagans and Catholics acting in concert, although he was later resurrected (alas, not literally) as St. George the Dragon-slayer. This is an obvious metaphor for Untity herself, so self-referential.

Ysabet Just Ysabet (theysabet) says:

lioness:  Or, this being Unity, she could just have actually throttled a bishop. I mean, really throttled one.  It could've happened.

Andrew Kunz (ampersand888) says:

I had no idea Pitfall took place in the swamps of New Orleans.

Rincewind (outworldcats) says: I give up, what the heck does "I totes cannot make this clearer" MEAN??
Lee-Anne Phillips (lioness) says:

Totes = totally.

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