The strips this week with Dave’s gaming group were some of the first strips I wrote for this storyline. In this strip, I tweaked some of Eric’s dialogue in the first two panels to match the events of the D-Con arc, but everything else was pretty much as I wrote it in 2001.
Freddy is wearing a Shonen Jump T-shirt. My friend Jason Thompson, on whom Freddy is loosely based, had recently become editor-in-chief of the American Shonen Jump magazine, which launched in November 2002. Jason eventually quit his Shonen Jump position to focus on his own comics (and, eventually, write Manga: The Complete Guide).
Naturally, there’s a bottle of Ellmann’s Own soda on the gaming table.
ETA: I don’t remember this, but it looks to me like Andrew inked this strip. I have no idea why we did that. Maybe I was falling behind schedule. That would also explain why I didn’t sign it.
Andrew totally inked the first three strips this week. I’d recognize his style anywhere. I don’t know why we did this, and neither of us can remember doing it.
I like Seth sitting on the table in the first panel, drinking from a two-liter. As mentioned before, I generally drew the gaming group lined up along one side of the table Knights of the Dinner Table-style, but I was never really happy with that. This panel represents an admittedly feeble effort to mix things up visually.
I played a lot of “Leisure Suit Larry” on my Uncle Harold’s PC back in the day. And yes, that actually is the ending to the second “Leisure Suit Larry” game. “Contra” was one of my favorite NES games, and “Maniac Mansion” is, of course, my all-time favorite video game, to the point that a central plot point in Narbonic is lifted from one of the few ways to die in “Maniac Mansion.” Oh, LucasArts…gaming lost its luster for me once there were no more “Maniac Mansion”s or “Monkey Island”s or “Loom”s.
The best line in this strip is, obviously, the first one.
Seth is wearing a PvP “I Spent My Reward on Ale and Whores” T-shirt. I got more mail for making a PvP reference than I’d received in response to anything else in Narbonic to date.
This is really hard to tell, but Freddy has a miniature of a Mock Man, a generic character Jason Thompson used to draw into his comics all the time. I didn’t get any mail about that.
Early on, I wrote several strips involving Dave’s relationship with his computer. This was the only one I found a place for. It’s a generic gag that can be tweaked to fit any number of storylines.
Dave’s expressions are pretty good, though. I’m clearly under the impression that it’s impossible to make a smile too broad.
In general, it’s better to show than tell, but I like having one strip where the characters discuss their subtly altered group dynamic. Dave does become a more active and less hapless member of the Narbonics Labs staff from this point, while continuing to be more or less everyone’s buttmonkey.
The little note on the wall reads, “Please recycle bottles and cans. -Artie.” Not funny, but in character.
Dave’s expression in the last panel is good, even if his ear is way too big. I had no idea ears were such a problem with me.
Obviously, I just wrote this strip so I could go on having the central characters refer to Dave as “Dave,” even though he’d been kicked out of the Conspiracy. However, it’s very in character for Helen and Mell to offer a show of solidarity against Dave’s will, possibly endangering his life in the process. [SPOILERS] I always planned to have Dave rejoin the Conspiracy, but I knew it wouldn’t be for a while.
I tried to be consistent about having characters outside the lab staff refer to Dave as “David,” which frankly just sounds wrong.
In the first panel, that’s a bunch of gerbil tails hanging out of the recycling bin.