Dr. Narbon: April 5-7, 2001

And we return to your regular, crudely-drawn Narbonic storyline, finishing off the week-and-a-half. Dr. Narbon’s dialogue is a direct nod to my old “Mystery Science Theater 3000” newsgroup, which used to talk about this kind of thing all the time. By definition, we all enjoyed horrible things. Sorry about that.

Helen’s T-shirt logo, “Candy Stryper,” came from a list of fictional band names I collected at one time. I probably did a few more of these over the course of the strip. Mell is carrying a stack of mad-science periodicals; I can just about make out the title of The New Journal of Malology.

Song list:

49. “Stamping Ground,” by Moondog

Machines were mice and men were lions
Once upon a time
But now that it’s the opposite
It’s twice upon a time

Might as well include a piece that was actually quoted in the strip. Dave quotes the intro to the otherwise instrumental “Stamping Ground” at a crucial moment, way off in the final months of Narbonic. Moondog, a blind composer and musician, was both a pioneer in the field of minimalist and avant-garde music and one of history’s greatest street characters, famous for hanging around 54th Street and Avenue in New York City in full Viking costume, playing his original compositions.

“Stamping Ground” may also be familiar to movie buffs and/or stoners, as it was used in The Big Lebowski during the scene where the Dude finally puts all the pieces together.

Want the original art for this strip?

Mell’s odd infatuation with Dr. Narbon begins. Like I said before, misplaced hero-worship seems to be a recurring trope in Narbonic.

I’m not sure if Dr. Narbon really is the original Dr. Narbon. I imagine there were clones before her, and the bonus story in Narbonic Volume 4 (with art by the wonderful Irony Chan) suggests that Dr. Narbon’s mother was also a mad scientist. Dr. Narbon talks herself up a lot.

Song list:

50. “Lecithin’s Tale Of A DNA Experiment That Went Horribly Awry,” by Of Montreal

The three-legged hyena cicadas migrated to the small northern sea port village called Durschfuch. The horrible insects congregated above the Durschfuch elementary school and would spend an indecent amount of time circling the playground. The citizens of the village were very alarmed by these new visitors, but since they were a God-fearing community and were not allowed to bring any harm to any of God’s creations, they had to pretend to ignore the large grotesque arthropods and continue on with their lives as if there weren’t any menacing predators swooping over their offspring. In time the hyena cicadas became hungry, and this was when the real terror ensued.

The whole album, Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies: A Variety of Whimsical Verse, is chockabloc with weird mad-science adventures, what with Lecithin the inventor and zombies and frozen islands and so on. Dave mentions the hyena cicadas much later in Narbonic.

Dave’s already so jaded. I like the way Mell’s eyeballs vanish when she imitates Dr. Narbon.

Dave’s computer, incidentally, looks pretty much exactly like my computer at the time, before I got the awesome Mac I use today. I don’t know where he got the deely-boppered fuzzy thing stuck to the top.

Song list:

51. “It’s Not Easy Being Evil,” by Zorak

Bobby’s with his scout troop, Muffy’s playing tennis
No one gets to play with Zorak–Zorak is a menace!
Susie’s at the shopping mall hanging with her schoolies
No one gets to hang with Zorak–he’s just too unruly!
It’s not easy being evil, but evil’s what I be…

From one of the Narbonicon albums. And Space Ghost: Coast to Coast. I love Zorak.

25 thoughts on “Dr. Narbon: April 5-7, 2001

  1. Thursday’s Comic: Dr. Narbon: men want her, and women want to be her.

    But somehow, Dr. Narbon’s evil deed of the day seems a little… underwhelming. Surely she would unseat Mell with something subtler and more apropos – like eyelash mites?

    “Heh heh heh.”: 1. If this was being performed, the “heh”s would be synchronised with Dr. Narbon’s departing footsteps.

  2. Leon: Prepare to be one-uped:  Behold two ages from Jay Hosler’s “The Sandwalk Adventures”, chronocling conversations between an aging Charles Darwin and a folicle mite living in his left eyebrow (who consider “Flycatcher”, as they call him, to be God).


    Not only does the series break down Darwin’s Theory of Evolution into useful, bite size chunks, but it also shows a short biography of the man and some interesting perspectives on faith, religion, and what makes a good story.

    A Must Have on any Mad Scientist’s comics list.

  3. Huh? There’s nothing remotely evil about the eyelash mites in “Sandwalk Adventures,” unless you count the fact that they believe in intelligent design until Darwin sets them straight. They’re very nice eyelash mites.

    I’m a big Jay Hosler fan, of course.

  4. Moondog dressed in the Viking costume after being described as looking “Christlike” several times.



  5. Leon Arnott said: “Dr. Narbon: men want her, and women want to be her.”

    That’s a bit wrong-ways-up, I’m afraid. Try “Men want to be turned into women so they can be her.”

    And just how does a guy get turned into a girl? Well, there’s three ways…

    1) Excess experimentation, a la ‘Abstract Gender’.

    2) Magic, as in ‘The Wotch’.

    3) …fancy a mint? 😀

  6. This is, by far, my favorite strip that does not contain a gerbil. Those three simple syllables have held a very special place in my heart ever since I first read it.

    Not coincidentally, this strip also taught me an important lesson about Game-Mastering tabletop/written RPGs. 

  7. Yes, though I have a secret weapon to top that.
    What is it? Oh, never mind. I’ll tell you later.

    …say, in the meantime, want a mint?

  8. I’m not sure if Dr. Narbon really is the original Dr. Narbon. I imagine there were clones before her[…]”
    While you might be able to trace an unbroken line of Dr. Helen Narbons extending as far back as the Victorian era, I imagine that one can find such incarnations even deeper in the mists of history. (Certainly, the writings of Messrs. Shakespeare and Gadzikowski suggest that members of the Narbon gene pool have at least appeared in Tudor and Arthurian England, respectively.)

    Friday’s Comic: A vintage joke, this is. But the bigger question is, does Dr. Narbon really harbour fearsome and dark secrets?

    “Heh. Heh. Heh.”: 2.

  9. I never said that I was a mad scientist!

    No mint then… say, would you like something to drink? [sweet, innocent grin]

  10. I’m not sure if Dr. Narbon really is the original Dr. Narbon. I imagine there were clones before her

    Is this even the original copy of THIS Dr. Narbon (Helen Beta’s mom)? I’m going out on a limb here, but it seems pretty logical to me that Dr. Narbon’s frequent returns from the dead might have something to do with cloning. It’s certainly up her alley… — That said, assuming logic has anything to do with the Narbon family might be a horrible, horrible mistake on my part.


  11. Saturday’s Comic: Well, this episode is just peachy.

    And what Dave didn’t notice is that, during Mell’s display of maleficient mimicry, someone swiped his all-important deely-boppered fuzzy thing, which is absent in panel 4. Now we’ll never know where he got it from.

    Strange observation: no matter which direction Mell is facing, her raven-black curtain of hair is always covering the other ear – the one facing away from the viewer. I presume this is because, had we been viewing her opposite side, her hair would obscure 90% of her profile.

  12. I figure it’s because she’s flipping her head back and forth like a spastic parrot and the hair is whipping around everywhere. Dave’s just lucky he hasn’t gotten a ballistic barrette in the eye.

  13. Obiously the D.B.F.T. on his monitor was just passing through — it seems to have moved on by the last panel.

  14. The evil laugh always makes me think of Gaming Guardians, as it was Graveyard Greg’s response to any and all questions about future plot points.

  15. Dave got the deelie-bopper fuzzy thing from an Akron-area business whose name I forget– my own monitor bore 2-3 of them throughout my childhood, and since Shaenon is from the same rough area, I have to assume that they are the same guys– Little foam 3-4 toed feet, antenae, etc.

  16. I’ve been thinking for a while, I’m like an older, slightly wiser, and (very recently) mellower Mel. This week confirms it. 🙂

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