D, D’: April 24-29, 2006

Oh, man, I was so happy when I came up with the flying island. In fact, here’s a note I made at the time WITH SPOILERS:

As always, the more references I can shoehorn into something, the happier I am.

The flying island turned out looking awesome, but flying islands pretty much always do.

Artie developed a fear of heights after almost falling off a cliff from Dr. Narbon’s Brazillian lab while simultaneously possessing depth perception for the first time. Continuity! I was setting it up to use later too. Poor guy’s always falling off stuff.

I just wrote this strip to advance the plot (and do shots of the hamsters’ weird flying car swooping around), but “We also fear there would be attempts to snuggle us” is actually a pretty good line. So good work, me.

Oh, Dr. Noah. We barely knew ye.

The names in the second panel come from actors in the classic sci-fi film This Island Earth, in which aliens recruit human scientists to do all their work for them. Jeff Morrow played big-headed alien leader Exeter, and Lance Fuller played his lovable sidekick Brack. Despite being expertly mocked in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, This Island Earth is a pretty good movie, especially with that sweet Technicolor.

The names in the third panel come from the scientists and artists recruited for the secret Cthulhu-developing colony in Alan Moore’s Watchmen, a book that comes up more than once in this final story arc.

The windmills are a very slight nod to the movie version of Frankenstein. I tried to draw windmills into the backgrounds whenever possible.

Like I said the other day, the more references I can shoehorn in, the happier I am.

In the background of the first panel, you can see the tiny figures of genius cartoonists Jason Shiga and Derek Kirk Kim.

Ruth is the name of the heroine of This Island Earth. When she first runs into the hero at the aliens’ think tank, she pretends not to know him for reasons that, come to think of it, are never really explained.

The tiny figures in the background of the first panel are genius cartoonists Lark Pien and Thien Pham. I think that’s me and Andrew in the third panel.

I initially misspelled “ganache” in this strip. I’m still embarrassed about that. I make typos on a fairly regular basis, as my readers are always kind enough to point out, but for some reason “ganache” particularly bugs me.

The guy in the background of the first panel is genius cartoonist Jesse Hamm, but I don’t remember who the girl is. It might be me, but I don’t usually draw my hair like that.

31 thoughts on “D, D’: April 24-29, 2006

  1. I like that the flying island makes the same sound as the flying Chinese lunch counter from The Fifth Element.

  2. Monday:

    If you swear you’ve seen that scratchy notepaper before, don’t worry, you ain’t crazy. (And this time you can flip it around in an image program and read a sunday strip script underneath.)

    That’s a nice island the hamsters built. I like the visual continuity of the propellers underneath and the wind farms on top. I also like that all the propellers are serving solely as thrust, leaving the mechanism of lift unknown.

    I get the nagging feeling that highway median strip has gotten bigger since last we saw it.

  3. (TUNE: “Manic Monday”, The Bangles)

    Here comes a bunch of hamsters with a coat and hat and paper plate!
    You’re leaving Helen, joining them, you’re thinking “This is really great!”
    You’re asking where the think tank is, they’re telling you “It’s over there …”
    You’re looking left and right and then you’re looking up into the air!

    What an awesome flying island!
    You helped us buy land!
    This land is my land!
    Our Madblood-will-fry land!
    Let’s all give a sigh and
    Just admire the flying island!

  4. It reminds me of the reaction I had to the flying islands (and so much else) in Avatar: That is ridiculous, but it’s so beautiful I’m going to pretend it isn’t.

  5. Tuesday:

    The tilted angle in panel 2 is great at establishing just how reckless these mammals are at three-dimensional driving.

  6. I think this was Bob Newhart’s advice regarding a fear of heights in that one episode of Mad TV, too.

  7. Man, the hamsters always creeped me the hell out. They were SO mad scientists. Just the “so coldly detached that they could rationalize anything” type of mad rather than the “mua ha ha ha” mad.

  8. Wednesday:

    Artie needs to realise no one’s that impressed with his shapeshifting gerbil thing anymore. I know I’m more impressed with the hamsters’ mechanical human-suit at the moment. How is that flimsy thing not blowing away as we speak?

  9. Reasonably Intelligent Talking Hamsters? Dude! I’d snuggle them! I’d snuggle them hard!

  10. Sociopathic Intelligent Talking Hamsters, on the other hand… I mean, these guys are DANGEROUS! And ruthless! And, yes, adorable.  Aww – snugglies!

  11. Artie’s one of those guys who would build a Tardis-shaped gazebo in the back yard.  The only difference being, his works.

  12. It is weird that I’d also be pretty attracted to the idea to join a nobel comitee hosted Dr.Who marathon?

  13. Er, the third panel is actually a riff on Atlas Shrugged. Dr. Hugh Ackston was John Galt’s mentor, and Dr. Robert Stadler was one of the novel’s antagonists.

  14. I like the fact that the idea of the Nobel committee hosting Doctor Who marathons doesn’t seem to warrant further commentary.

  15. The hamsters’ comment in panel 4 seems unusually revealing.  Is that Frances mouthing off again?


  16. I think Ruth pretended to not know Dr. What’s-his-face because they’d hinted that they’d had a passionate love affair at the previous conference at which they were together.

    Incidentally, only recently did I finally watch the non-MST3k version of This Island Earth, and I can’t say that the scenes that MST3k had cut out really added anything, aside from actually explaining what was going on with the green glow landing thing (not that it was that hard to guess, but as you might expect, the Metalunans had purposefully caused the plane to fail and then rescued him in a show of power). Oh and there’s a ridiculously long scene in which we actually meet the cat Neutron. Because that’s really what that movie needed, backstory about the pet cat.

  17. Friday:

    It occurs to me that the unusually high horizon line is very good at conveying the altitude of this floating plateau – as well as its narrowness. (You think they’d include railings on the edges, wouldn’t you.)

  18. fluffy <3, I think the mst3k version also deleted a scene where the scientists confront the leader of the Metalunans and this exchange occurs:

    Alien: It is indeed typical that you Earth people refuse to believe in the superiority of any world but your own. Children looking into a magnifying glass, imagining the image you see is the image of your true size. 

    Cal: Our true size is the size of our God! 

    Pretty great.

  19. I always kinda figured she made the pretense so that the Metalunans wouldn’t be able to…um, exploit their relationship, in some undefined way? …I got nothin’.Maybe it was to keep the Professor from thinking too much about being stuck on an island with Ginger and Mary-Ann…and four hangers-on.

  20. Saturday:

    I’m assuming the half-mile layer is measured by diameter and not depth, because no way is that island more than eight-tenths of a kilometre tall.

  21. @jwgh: You’re right, that scene also wasn’t in the MST3k version. I guess it would have been too serious and un-riffable, what with actually being a pivotal moment of clarity for that film.

    The original misspelling of “ganache” in today’s strip sticks out in my mind because I’d been struggling to remember how the heck to spell that very word at that time too! (since I had very recently gotten into truffle-making – was this strip around the same time as the Good Eats about truffles?) I thought it was “ginosh” or something.

  22. The ganache is one of the finest offhand lines in the strip. It really points out what the rest of the world is dealing with when they try to approach the Sane Study of Mad Science.

  23. I misread “might snuggle us” as “might smuggle” us. Which… well, honestly one would probably follow from the other anyway :p.

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