Dave Vs. Dave: August 12-17, 2002

Man, I’ve gotta stop messing with those ugly grey fills. Not cool. Not cool at all.

Judging from the first panel, apparently Dave really did repair the teleporter with a stick. Good one, Dave!

A rare instance of Dave standing up to Helen. See, he has matured on the island! I like his fending-off-the-paparazzi pose in panel two.

Some people have noted in the comments that the teleporter appears to have no labels or distinguishing characteristics aside from the huge “no flies” sign. As you can see in this strip, that’s not entirely true. One side has the “no flies” sign, and another side reads “Caution: Teleporter.”

Another instance where I decided to do an extra-long strip just for the hell of it. You can do anything on the Internet! It’s annoying to read in the archive, though.

This is pretty heroic action for Dave, at least insofar as throwing someone into a probably malfunctioning teleporter can be construed as heroic. Also, it neatly sets up the next storyline. I can’t quite recall, but I think I started writing the next storyline before I wrote these strips and put a teleporter into this storyline just to make it happen.

Teleporters are fiendishly convenient plot devices.

Not much to say about this strip except WHY DO I KEEP USING THESE HORRIBLE GREY FILLS? The cut-and-paste in the first two panels works pretty well, though.

Dave looks a lot like Mick Foley with his flannel all ripped up. I have to assume that’s why I drew it that way.

I still really like this strip. It’s one of my favorite endings to a Narbonic storyline. Admittedly, most of the endings to the other storylines involve the characters going to the bar and drinking until they forget whatever horrible/stupid thing they just did.

It’s a little hard to tell, but the lab is covered in cobwebs and spiders and things. Because they’ve been away for so long. How long has it been in strip time, anyhow? At least a month, I guess, since Dave says that’s how long they were stranded on the island.

And so the Dave Conspiracy backed off and was almost never heard from again, except when our heroes needed a powerful organization to exploit. Hooray!

…No, really.

Want the original art for this strip?

53 thoughts on “Dave Vs. Dave: August 12-17, 2002

  1. “Hardly anything here is a gun” was the line that made me fall desperately in love with Narbonic.

  2. Monday:

    It suddenly occurs to me that, on close examination of panel 3, the artist intently rendered Mell’s breasts and then furiously scribbled them over so as to render her woven top. Clearly, this indicates awareness in the artist that she is rendering the human form.

    It also occurs to me that without that jokey No Flies sign, the teleporter would have no identifying features whatsoever.

    Artie’s life imperiled by Dave: 1. (Previous instances have only ever been threats.)

  3. “‘…and hardly anything here is a gun!’

    I’m highly amused by this line. It implies there is in fact gun-like objectsin the room, but not nearly enough to satisfy Mel. It reminds me of a linein a British TV show called “Keeping Up Appearances”. I won’t bore you withthe entire setup, but one of the characters asks for a beer and finds thatthey are out. He whinges for a while, saying “I’m completely surrounded byno beer!”
    Dave III, 13 Aug 2002

  4. Not to mention the complete lack of tea aboard the Heart of Gold… (OK, I mentioned it.)

    Some kind of battering ram? Dear me. And what are all the little clock-like dials behind Mell?

  5. @kicking_it: Methinks thoe are the bolt heads on the heavily-reinforced door that’s losing to some kind of battering ram.

    Mell would probably rather be disintegrated than stay in a place that doesn’t have anything like a gun.

    And a teleporter doesn’t need any ‘TELEPORTER’ sign, any more than the  deathray needed a ‘DEATH RAY’ sign.  Med scientists know these things.

  6. You’re a legend, Dave.



    (sorry. Last bit of the commentary triggered the call/response.)

  7. Panel three has Mell’s classic off-panel-head-insert pose, but using Helen instead of a panel border to hide her body behind. I love the way that those 4 faint lines turn the transporter from a box. to a shiny box.

  8. Tuesday:

    Someone else can be the guinea pig this time.” Yes, David, and that was Artie. Don’t you realise that you’ll have to enter that twisted booth of your own fashioning regardless of how many others enter? Really, now.

    I already fixed the teleporter! Why do I have to TEST it?” Definite proof that David works in I.T.

    But you’re my henchman!” Helen knows that she must bellow “I’m surrounded by fools!” regardless of what kind of disaster has or has not occured. She never gets a good chance to actually deploy it, though.

    Breaking the fourth dimension: 31.
    Swirly elbow-skin: 3.

  9. (TUNE: “Doggie In The Window”, written by Bob Merrill, sung by Patti Page)

    Which one of us tests the teleporter?
    Not Helen or Dave — there goes Mell!
    She’ll jump in the box, and push the button
    ‘Cause list’ning to those two is hell!


  10. Leon:  Um, ITYM “breaking the fourth wall” — they haven’t yet gotten to “breaking the fourth dimension“.

  11. So, Dave, if you’ve had enough mortal danger for one day, the guys outside  with the battering ram wil just go home until tomorrow, right?

  12. Somehow Dave’s panel 2 pose reminds me of Andrew Farago’s Badass Dave version. 

    My grandfather used to bellow “I’m surrounded by fools!” in real life. (He was a computer-engineering pioneer – think rooms full of vacuum tubes – so maybe that’s perfectly appropriate.)

  13. I love the line “But your my henchman!  I really don’t understand this.”  It’s Helen’s world, we just live in it.  A later instance of this comes up with “I thought the moon was your vacation,” once again featuring a completely deadpan delivery and innocent expression.

  14. Don’t worry Leon, time is the fourth dimension, and, being as they go all over the place, they probably have, techinically, already broken it 31 times.

  15. Wednesday:

    Goodbye island, goodbye agrarian paradise, goodbye fanciful kingdom of gerbils. Goodbye, Dave-less alternative future.

    Goodbye, physical material continuity of one’s body… again. (Which reminds me, it’s another spot of fortune that the compound had enough electricity left to transport all four of them.)

    Continuity hole: the door is visible in panels 5 and 6, but the No Flies sign is missing.

  16. (TUNE: “Escape”, by Rupert Holmes)
    (Appropriate, doncha think?)

    If you’re a mad science genius,
    If you think lightning-quick,
    If you can fix teleporters
    With a rock and a stick,
    If you have got the Dave Conspiracy
    Interrupting your trip,
    Then we’ll vrrrowsh somewhere random
    And escape from this strip!

  17. “Another instance where I decided to do an extra-long strip just for the hell of it. You can do anything on the Internet! It’s annoying to read in the archive, though.”

    And here we have the Garrity position and the Burns position all in one happy, tied-up-with-a-bow package. 😉

  18. Teleporters are fiendishly convenient plot devices.

    Yet another life lesson learned from Star Trek.

  19. So, if you know you are almost never right, and you take action knowing that the outcome will almost certainly not be right, then when the action comes out all right, are you wrong about almost never being right?  Or does the fact that you took action mean that taking action was in itself not right?

  20. I have long wondered: What is it that keeps the Conspiracy from following? Or, at least, asking for volunteers to go with radios (so they can be sure it’s still a teleporter instead of a death chamber)?

  21. Thursday:

    Now, hang on. As has been previously shown, the Dave teleporters come in ‘send’ and/or ‘receive’ varieties. The existence of ‘receive’ teleporters implies that teleportation is impossible without a receiver.

    And yet David and co. have just had their bodies reassembled in the middle of a highway median strip!

    This leads us to one of two conclusions:
    1) Shaenon doesn’t know how her fictional teleporting technology reconstitutes matter despite bothering to ensure that its matter-transportation mechanism is satellite-based.
    2) David has apparantly invented an entirely new form of teleportation (!!!) that does not require receivers.

    At this point, either option is very possible.

    Also: for it to still be nighttime here in Minnesota, it must have been quite early morning on the Island. This isn’t entirely impossible, but it means that our trio probably skipped breakfast throughout that battle. Not a good start to the day, boys and girls!

  22. I think I’m going to nominate Shaenon for honorable mention on the “Bad Astronomy” website.  Every time she draws the moon, something is wrong; either the lit side is facing away from the sun, or the crecent moon is visible around midnight, or some other little detail that grates against my inner geek.  (Yeah, I’ve got those little things buzzing ’round my head too.)

  23. @Leon: There are many instances of teleporters later on in the strip that can send without another teleporter there to receive. For example, the trip to the Von Boom awards and the trip to the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil both seem to have no receiving teleporter. In fact, I think this is the only one in the strip that is supposed to function as a receiver. Maybe it’s an earlier model?

  24. Where on earth would Helen keep keys in her sarong? (Actually, I’ve been impressed for some time by the stay-put-ability of her strapless bra, so maybe we have an answer.)

  25. @Leon

    Perhaps the Dave Conspiracy lied in their brochure?  Or perhaps their interpretaion of the plans they were given missed a vital detail in the ‘send’ version, and needed a ‘receive’ version?  Or perhaps the plot dictated a ‘receive’ version so Dave would have something to work with besides a sharp stick and a piece of flint?

     Having a teleporter let’s Dave score one on Helen and Mel (“you didn’t ask, that’s why”), so it’s all good in the end.

  26. Dr. Narbon has already demonstrated that it’s possible to use a teleporter and teleport the “send” part at the same time. Clearly, Dave has just done it backwards, teleporting the “receive” part along with Artie at the beginning. See? Nothing new, technologically. It’s just like Newton’s laws working the same backwards and forwards in time.

  27. Helen’s a mad scientist; I’m sure she can come up with some way to carry her keys while wearing that outfit.

    … actually, come to think of it, Helen’s a mad biologist, and I don’t think I want to follow that train of thought any further.

  28. Honestly what bugs me most about the grey fills is their absence in panels 3 and 4. What, after Dave and Helen appear, it abruptly becomes daytime?

  29. Friday:

    Continuing the assumption that each arc is set in the week of its first strip, “D-Con” takes place in February. Artie explicitly said “one month” at the start of this storyline, so “Dave Vs. Dave” is set in March. And presumably the “The Geek” storyline is also set in March. That means the next storyline which actually takes place in the month it ran is “Mell Expelled” (October 2002).

    Where does Mell live, anyway? …Somewhere that probably isn’t within walking distance of a highway median strip. I hope she doesn’t sleep at the lab all that often.

    Silent Penultimate Panels: 10

  30. Mell is a college student, so I assume she lives in a dorm most of the time. I always felt like I should have shown Helen’s apartment at some point, but Helen herself probably doesn’t stay there much.

  31. (TUNE: “Climb Every Mountain”, Rodgers and Hammerstein)

    Read ev’ry email,
    Browse ev’ry link;
    I’ll clean out my inbox,
    Hours without a blink!

    Soon I can’t hold the mouse,
    And my eyes focus wrong …
    Should I increase my house,
    Or refinance my schlong?

    All spam deleted!
    So freakin’ tired!
    Only one real message:
    My firewall expired!

  32. Saturday:

    It all seems a little too easy, doesn’t it? Neither our heroes nor the evil ancient world conspiracy are beaten, and they both walk away as if the destruction of the other wasn’t previously the most important task in the world. What a bunch of slackers. The least they could do is kidnap David’s relatives or something.

    Swirly sun: 3. Aaaah!

    All I have to add is that today’s episode was the first one to have arbitary words appended to the filename. This practice was introduced in Modern Tales when they realised that people could guess the URLs of comic images that are restricted to paying viewers. I know that I did so. The arbitary word for this episode was “rednaeroc”, which I’m sure you can all recognise as the first word in The Neverending Story. Our author didn’t hit onto the idea of putting mumble mumble into the filenames until three months later.

    (Now who’s the obsolete one?)

  33. (TUNE: “Unforgettable”, Nat King Cole)

    That’s Davenport …
    Our plans abort …
    Gerbils now consuming half of us,
    Trouble’s looming, Fate will laugh at us;
    Screw this, we say …
    We’ll run away!

    Rulers of the world
    Do as we please …
    Crazy jungle girl
    Broke both my knees!
    I must pay my doctor’s bill in full;
    My med plan has high deductible,
    All ’cause Dave is indestructable,

  34. @Leon:  Hmm.  If the Dave Conspiracy had tried to kidnap Bill, would he have noticed?  And if they had succeeded, what would that have seemed like to him? Would he even have seen coils of rope wrapping themselves around him, or would he just have been suddenly unable to move?

  35. He would be able to see them–it’s wouldn’t really shatter his worldview to accept that people are trying to kidnap him. However, if for some unfathomable reason the tentacle monsters from Hell had come after him, that would have been a different story.

  36. The thing I love most about the Monday strip here is not the rather… detail-oriented drawing of Mell.

    It is Shaenon not drawing any attention to it in the commentary.

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