Okay, yeah, this one’s silly and dated. Basically, Linux had this guerilla marketing campaign where they sprayed these stencils all over San Francisco sidewalks. The city made them pay to clean it up. Ha ha!
I drew this immediately after seeing the stencils on my way to work and uploaded it as soon as I could. You can kind of tell that it’s hurriedly drawn even by my standards. This is pretty much the only daily Narbonic strip that wasn’t plotted out in advance.
58. “Jocko Homo,” by Devo
They tell us that
We lost our tails
From little snails
I say it’s all
Just wind in sails
Are we not men?
We are devo!
Why does The Island of Doctor Moreau inspire the best rock songs? I don’t know, but it does. And Devo is one of maybe two good things to come out of Akron, where I grew up, so that’s something.
(No, I can’t think of the second thing.)
Oh, man. My cruelest strip. I still feel bad about mocking the dot-com collapse, although the response I got from unemployeed computer techies was strangely positive. This was my first exposure to the idea that people like it when cute cartoon characters make fun of them.
Even Helen is horrified by this display.
Lotta computer geekery jokes in this week of strips. What’s up with that?
59. “No Spill Blood,” by Oingo Boingo
Animals came from miles around
So tired of walking so close toe the ground
They needed a chance, that’s what they said
Life is better walking on two legs
But they were in for a big surprise
‘Cause they didn’t know the law!
What is the law?
No spill blood!
I told you! Island of Doctor Moreau = awesome rock music. And how nerdy does a band have to be to produce not one, but two seminal mad-science songs? Pretty dang nerdy, I say.
Okay, back to the main storyline. I can’t stop staring at my lettering here. First of all, I had to draw balloons around some of the dialogue for clarity, and apparently I resented it and tried to sabotage the effort by making them as crude as possible. Second, I love the way Artie’s dialogue in the first panel just slides down the side of Mell’s head. I don’t believe I was using rulers to do the lettering yet. Sigh.
Dave’s offhand comment that Helen’s smile (and her mother’s!) is “disarmingly cute” is one of the first tiny snowflakes in the avalanche that will someday engulf the strip. The fact that he says it without compunction suggests that he has no idea he’s got a serious problem.
60. “Geeks in Love,” by Lemon Demon
Nobody’s cool as we, nor quite as esoterically far out
We’re so far out it’s creepy
I don’t think they’ll ever get the groovy standards that we set for love
but they’re not smart like we be
They have no roses
Subconsciously they envy us a lot
They look down their noses and see a couple of dorks with more love than they have got
Another track off the Narbonicon mixes. Cute song. These folks also did the “Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny” song that was drifting around the Internet for a while there.
I used to make Artie (and the other gerbils) look pretty gangly in the close-ups. I kind of like his contemplative pose in the second panel, although for some reason he has, like, giant fingers.
I also like Artie’s considerable lack of respect for Dave and Mell. He’ll get less openly arrogant as time goes on, but I guess it’s reasonable that, at this point, Dave and Mell are just those untrustworthy minions of his evil, insane creator. They’re also the only people he knows. Sometimes it’s hard being Artie.
I shaded in Mell’s chair with a gray fill in the first panel, and with ink in the third. What’s up with that?
61. “Superdeformed,” by Matthew Sweet
As soon as I was living
They dropped me in an open grave
And then as soon as I was dying
They said I was too young to save
I guess I’m superdeformed
My blood is still warm
But I’m superdeformed
Depending on what kind of nerd you are, this is a song about either a horrifying undead mutant monster or a tiny little adorable mutant monster with sparkly oversized eyes.
Yeah, that’s a pretty damn big dandruff flake, but you can’t tell me Artie doesn’t look all kinds of adorable toting it around.
Dave already assumes that any biotech experiment in the lab will eventually be turned on him, even if someone other than Helen is in charge. This is, of course, an entirely reasonable concern, and soon Artie will be feeding him bubbly things from vials with impunity.
The best thing about this strip is that I didn’t have to draw people from the waist down.
62. “Evil Night Together,” by Jill Tracy
We’ll drink a toast in the torture chamber
And you’ll go down on a bed of nails
We’ll rendevous in cold blood
I’ll tie you up to the third rail
Let’s wile away the hours
Let’s spend an evil night together
I just dig this slinky evil song. I got both this and “Einstein’s Brain” off the same odd album, the Artists for Literacy project Songs Inspired by Literature, which I got at a library book sale. I only have Chapter One, but I see that Chapter Two includes a song based on the creepy Orson Scott Card novel Songmaster, so that’s something.
Even though the lettering is as cramped as ever and I don’t know how Dr. Narbon got her entire genome printed out on, like, two sheets of paper, I like this strip. That bizarre, raunchy one-sided conversation still makes me crack a reluctant smile. The person she’s describing is obviously Dr. Pretorius from the movie Bride of Frankenstein, which makes Dr. Narbon’s efforts to get in his pants all the more ridiculous, since he’s totally gay.
Bride of Frankenstein is, even more than the original Frankenstein, the Rosetta Stone of mad-scientist stories, and will be alluded to frequently over the course of Narbonic.
63. “Gonna Put My Face on a Nuclear Bomb,” by Mojo Nixon
Well, down in Moscow they had a powwow
Said that the time was really now-now
For the bombs to feel the air
Those Russkies must be stupid as us
Everybody’s head is full of pus
Now I gotta change my underwear
Really, I just wanted to include a Mojo Nixon song. And with that, I’m going to put the song list on hold for a while. Eventually, of course, I’d like to get up to 100 glorious mad-science/evil songs, but that’ll have to wait until I get some more songs. Suggestions are, of course, welcome.