Madness: August 21-26, 2006

I wanted to have a strip of the hamsters strategizing against Madblood, but it’s hard to strategize against a crazy person. Hence this strip.

Artie dresses super dorky sometimes.

Artie doesn’t like to think of Helen as his mom. This is one of just a couple of times that she’s explicitly described as such, and never by Artie himself.

The best part of this strip is Mell in the background of the third panel, but Helen’s dialogue is all very, very Helen and reading it gives me the satisfaction of a job well done. So basically this is another of those strips where everything is better than the punchline, but I’ve made my peace with that.

I’m proudest of the fact that the hamsters refer to a colander as a “spaghetti strainer.” Because that’s what I call it.

Someone already pointed this out in the comments for a previous strip, but the rooms in the hamsters’ command center have both human-size and hamster-size doors. It’s a good thing they do, or it’d be less convenient for Artie to get around. Thanks, plot device!

I wrote this at the last minute and the punchline is thrown together, but on the plus side, all I had to draw were hamsters and spaghetti strainers. So in the balance of things, this strip is excellent.

“Down the hall and to the left” were the directions to the restroom at the Cartoon Art Museum’s old location. Everyone who worked the front desk got used to saying that a lot. At the current location, it’s “all the way back and to the left.”

37 thoughts on “Madness: August 21-26, 2006

  1. I have difficulty envisioning the hamsters coming up with any strategy much more involved than “Fire lots of missiles!” anyway.

  2. Monday:

    This is a cruel scene transition, I must say.

    Artie has to grapple with the three tenuously connected goals of trying to sabotage the hamsters, not blowing up Dave, and not being blown up by Madblood. Certainly he’ll need as much stalling as he can get.

  3. I just realized … in the background, against the far wall, you can see both human-sized door and hamster-sized doors.  Flashing back to old “Tom & Jerry” cartoons where Jerry had the outside entrance to his home decorated exactly like the human’s front door.

  4. She’s embarrassing him, in front of his friends, at the worst possible moment.  Of COURSE she’s his mother!

  5. I have to side with Artie.  If being grown in a vat in Helen’s lab makes her one’s mom, then so it is (well, was) with Dave, and that would make their relationship very incestuous.

    I thought that Panel 3 was the S.O.S. that Helen mentioned last week.  They found someone else whose Gwich’in is terrible.

    Although the hamsters have worked with humans (until they cut up Dr. Noah), I can’t figure out why they would have human-sized doors and chairs in their central command post.  There doesn’t seem to be any reason for Artie still to be in human form here except as a plot device.

  6. Wednesday:

    If Mell’s primary purpose in this entire webcomic has been teenage comic relief, then panel 3 is her pièce de résistance. I can’t stop cracking up at her shrieking “woooorld”, hyperactive cartoonish euphoria minutes after Dave’s execution. (I do appreciate that Mell’s just relegated to the near background, though, a totally ridiculous scene condensed down to an afterthought, delivered straight-faced by our author.)

  7. Big Freakin’ ™ Gun count: 52

    I add my vote to the “best Mell ever” in panel 3.  Dang it, I just used this tune a couple of weeks ago, but I can’t help it …

    (TUNE: “Ode To Joy”, Ludwig van Beethoven)

    See Mell run, she’s having fun, she’s
    Found the weapons arsenal!
    Now she’s useless, running loose, yes!
    B.F. Guns, she’ll try ’em all!

    Running, screaming, long hair streaming,
    White-hot bolts of plasma hurled!
    Devastating, Mell we’re rating
    Happiest in all the world!

  8. Also, Helen’s “I don’t suppose that’ll hold him long”… in most worlds, that would be Mad, but here, it’s entirely pragmatic.

  9. Artie shows he’s been among Mads either too long or not enough.  If he had understood the ramifications, his second-panel blurt would be about the real crisis: “DAVE’S GONE MAD?”

    Pastangum Felinix

  10. I’ve just realised that Narbonic had the defeated mad geniuses use the “why do we even have [thing that defeated them]” construction almost exactly a year before Phineas and Ferb (where it was one of Dr Doofenschmirtz’s catchphrases). I’m not saying the writers of Phineas and Ferb got it from Narbonic, I’m just saying it’s possible…

  11. @Daibhid:  There was also the “Why do we even HAVE that lever?!” running gag from The Emperor’s New Groove.

  12. Why did the witch in “The Wizard of Oz” have a bucket of water sitting around? It’s like a human having a bucket of sulphuric acid.

  13. *applauds*

    And it’s obvious why there’s a spaghetti strainer. The flying fortress is one of Dana’s designs.

    “Dana? Why is this here again?”

    “Because KUMQUATS! Now fetch me jello, and make sure it has plenty of magic markers! I need to refribbulate the hubcaps!”

    Yeah, it’s a mad hamster creation, so you never know if a part is necessary, crazy, or both, so you don’t mess with anything.

  14. Not only do they have a colander, they apparently left it out in the open in easy reach of Artie.

    The fusion pie must be taking up all the space in the wall safe.

  15. You’re all missing the obvious.  The flying fortress isn’t a mad hamster design, it’s a mad gerbil design.  And who created Dana the mad gerbil?  Artie!  He designed her so that she’d integrate big, easily accessible spaghetti strainers (and human-size doors) into all her mad creations, so Artie could use them in the future.  Because he just that smart.  He’s smArtie!  I can’t answer for the Wicked Witch of the West, though.

  16. Has Skin Horse gone walkabout?  This us what I’m getting at the site: Coming Soon!

    The DreamHost customer who owns has not yet uploaded their website or has chosen to leave this holding page active.


    If you are the owner of this domain, you’ll find your login information contained within the emails sent to you when your account was activated. Once logged in, you’ll be able to delete this page (quickstart.html) and upload your new site.

  17. Yeah, massive HostFail, beyond even the usual level of Error 503 I’ve been getting on and off lately.

  18. *headdesks* I can’t believe I said mad hamster when Dana’s a gerbil.  Oops.

    Crossing fingers for Skinhorse.

  19. Friday:

    They were getting worried that their superweapon meant that the death-suit retrofitting program was going to go to waste.

  20. (TUNE: “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”, Vance & Pockriss)

    So now we’re stuck here, we’re under a strainer,
    While all around us, there’s folks getting killed!
    Our course of action could not be much plainer!
    I’m glad there’s one thing we thought of to build!
      ( … heart, club, spade,
      Let’s show people what we made!)

        Let’s get the …
            Fully-loaded, stop-and-we’ll-shoot,
            Mechanistic walking death suit!
            See the people, they scatter and run!
            The fully-loaded, stop-and-we’ll-shoot,
            Mechanistic walking death suit!
            Let’s go slaughter!  This oughta be fun!

  21. Any idea what’s going on with Skin Horse? I’m getting this page: Coming Soon!

    The DreamHost customer who owns has not yet uploaded their website or has chosen to leave this holding page active.

  22. Also, you used the word “Stymied”. I’ve loved that word ever since I ran across it in a Tintin comic when I was very young.

  23. Regarding Skin Horse, I’ve had problems the last couple of days.  I’ve found that refreshing it will get it to load, but they definitely have a server issue going on.

  24. That explains Zeta’s surprised expression in the third panel.  She answered his question automatically without thinking, before she even realized Artie was there!

Leave a Reply