I think this is about where Eric Burns of Websnark started reading Narbonic. It’s a pretty good point to start reading. Eric ended up developing a lot of fondness for Narbonic, and Narbonic and Websnark were practically synonymous for a while. I miss those days.
I mostly made this storyline up as I went along by knotting together loose ends from previous storylines: Zeta, the Madblood androids, the hamsters, Dave’s brother. Given that, I’m surprised by how well it turned out. I still really like this storyline, mainly because of strips like this one.
Not only is the semi based on Optimus Prime, the robot bug thing is strongly influenced by the Transformers Insecticons. It was a dark day when Matt, the somewhat troubled neighbor kid from down the street, stomped on my brother’s brand-new Insecticon, the pride of his collection, breaking it. I don’t think any of us have entirely healed.
It always bothers me that Dave’s head is too big in the third panel, because everything else about this strip is perfect and awesome. It’s so worth setting up all the other stuff so I can get to the point where the giant robot big chases the semi full of rogue androids.
I am pleased with everything about this strip, but especially Dave’s last line.
In the first panel is a copy of Jeffrey Wells’ as-yet-unfinished epic Mundementia One. The drawers in the background are labeled “Gerbils,” “Hamsters,” “Guinea Pigs,” and “Dave.” The drawer in the third panel is labeled “Dead Puppies,” a reference to the Ogdel Edsl song popularized on the Doctor Demento show.
I don’t laugh at many of my own strips, but this is one of them. It turned out just the way I imagined it. I’m still surprised I managed to get the last panel looking as good as it does. That’s kind of a hard scene to draw, a bunch of androids tossing a guy out the back of a semi while he shouts into a cell phone.
I also like the little bit of throwaway dialogue in the first panel. It’s not funny; it’s just in character. You don’t get a lot of room for casual conversation in a gag strip.
In the second panel, I should’ve written, “Aren’t the androids super-strong?” That would’ve made the line clearer. Oh well.
The Mall of America was a nod to the exciting trip we took there during Narbonicon. This line inspired a lengthy group fanfic on the message board describing the thankfully off-panel incident. I’m kind of sorry it was never finished; it got pretty involved for a while there.
I was always vaguely bothered by the third panel. Like, why did I have to rotate the perspective 180 degrees from the previous panel? And why doesn’t the hatch fly open when Dave unlatches it? This is the kind of thing that probably only bothers me, but there you are.
In my defense, it’s not that easy to draw a guy crawling around on top of a speeding giant robot beetle.
Helen’s confidence in Dave’s skills will become very important starting in the next storyline, where all the big plot arc stuff begins to coalesce.