This was one of the last strips I wrote for this storyline, but, looking at it now, it fits in pretty nicely. It’s kind of cathartic to see Artie finally lose patience with Helen’s shenanigans. Also, I believe this is the only time Mell addresses the bra-strap issue. It’s a cheap gag, but at least I only did it once.
This strip reflects my own concerns about Narbonic getting too dark, here in the final year. I always worried a lot about keeping it funny.
This is another strip that’s basically an illustration of my thought process while writing it. At first I was all, “I can’t have a cliffhanger in the middle of the week,” but then I was all, “Why not? This way everyone will read it,” and then I was all, “Whatever, let’s draw some hamsters.”
Not that it’s legible, but Artie’s little pillow bears the motto “For You I Pine, For You I Balsam,” a reference to the chapter of Stuart Little where Stuart gets a job as a substitute teacher. This entire strip is about Artie’s eventual career (at least by the time of Skin Horse) as a schoolteacher. Note the height Helen indicates for Artie’s little disciples.
“More inspiring than joining a nonpartisan think tank?” is one of my favorite Artie lines. It’s just so him.
This is Helen’s first contact with the hamsters, and I like the snarky little conversation she has with them. It’s a shame they never got to talk more. Also, as far as I’m concerned, the hamsters’ pathetic human disguise will never stop being great.
I wrote this one fairly early on, because really, this was bound to happen. We never got to see the old pre-Dave lab, and all we know about it is that Mell thought it was lots of fun. That’s probably a sign that we’re better off spared from it.