Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time: August 25-30, 2003

This was one of the first strips I wrote for this storyline. Heck, this was one of the first strips I wrote, period.


Future!Mell’s bodyguards are sort of loosely based on Mike and Kate from Dirk Tiede’s Paradigm Shift.

This strip conveys a lot of useful information about the future. Mell has bodyguards. She doesn’t see Dave on a regular basis. Dave is
“Dr. Davenport.” Oh, and people still pick on bald guys. I’m sorry, bald guys.

This strip was written so long ago that, in the thumbnail, Dave still had his close-cropped haircut from the early years of the strip.
Originally his line in the last panel was, “I’m sorry I cut you brutally short!”

Another really early script. I have no regrets.

Originally the third panel was even wordier. I made up a lot of horrible things for Mell to pretend had happened to Future!Dave.

I hate it when characters hide some amazing and/or wacky truth about themselves for no particular reason (the “can’t let the
neighbors know” phenomenon), so in this storyline Dave tells just about everyone he meets that he’s traveling through time. Some
people believe him, some don’t, and some, like Mell, take advantage of the situation to mess with his head.

This was written during the period when my employer, Viz, was Viz LLC. They’ve since become VIZ Media.

Man, silhouettes are a great trick. Everything looks better in silhouette.

I do this kinda stuff to him all through the picture.

43 thoughts on “Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time: August 25-30, 2003

  1. Monday:

    In actual fact, this was the very first strip of any sort that Shaenon ever wrote. She began writing “North of Space” a few days later as setup material for this single exchange, but she got a bit caught up in the other characters and never quite got back to this until almost a decade later.

  2. (TUNE: “I’ve Got No Strings”, from Disney’s “Pinocchio”)

    I’ve got no hair
    Atop my head!
    My follicles are long since dead!
    Mouth agape,
    I stand and stare,
    Because I’ve got no hair!

    Where, where is all my hair?
    How I wish I had it still!
    Why, why did I not try,
    Try to use minoxidil?

    The mirror there,
    It clearly shows
    My only hair
    Is in my nose!
    I’m in shock!
    I start to swear,
    “I’ve got no ****ing hair!”

  3. I find it very curious that Dave-as-Old!Dave has his glasses opaque, but Hologram!Old!Dave, Young!Dave, and Teen!Dave don’t.

  4. My favorite part of this strip is that Bodyguard A has obviously planned Panel 3’s joke in advance.

  5. Tuesday:

    “Come back, gentle friends!” is one of those few lines that you can always be proud of. It possesses a perfect ratio of desperation, impotence and absurdly undignified affection.

  6. I have never liked my hair.  When I was young, it was frizzy, thick, and resisted every attempt to keep in some sort of tidy shape.  Then the male pattern baldness started coming in … then stopped.  So I end up with a wiry fringe, a thin stringy patch up front, and a bald spot that doesn’t have the ambition to go forth and conquer my scalp properly.

  7. @Ed: you can always strap a dead muskrat to your scalp. It works for Donald Trump.

    What surprises me is that Mell would hire someone else to do the shooting for her.  That’s like outsourcing your honeymoon.

  8. Panel 4 is one of my favorites in the whole run of Narbonic. So much so that I chose to duplicate it for one of the pictures when I dressed up as Old Dave for Halloween a couple years back. I think that picture’s in the Skin Horse Archive somewhere, on one of the Sundays.

  9. So people still pick on bald guys in the future?  I’m outraged!  I’d be tearing my hair out if I didn’t desperately need what was left!

  10. I’m grateful that my head is a nice round shape so that when my hair left, it looks OK. I was actually hoping that my hair would all fall out before any of it went gray, but the outgoing tide stopped above my collar and much of what’s left is salt and pepper now. I’ve decided to embrace it and age gracefully rather than rant against the coming ravages of time.

  11. @sleepyjohn:  I think the guards are there to stop the incoming bullets; Mell probably takes care of the outgoing ones by herself….

  12. I’ve always figured that God only made a few perfect heads, the rest he put hair on…

    Besides, I need the solar panels for brain power 😉

  13. “Few lines.” Sheesh.

    Well what I meant to say was that most of the already quite worthy material you have written thus far will surely be eclipsed by the dizzying heights your career will surely reach in years to come! The aforementioned line excepted, of course.

    (This post was filed under: Awkward Saves That Don’t Fool Anyone.)

  14. Wednesday:

    Silent penultimate panels: …well actually, carefully investigating the landscape of one’s gluteus maximus technically constitutes just enough fast-paced action to escape the official definition of a SPP. I’m sure everyone’s nodding in furious agreement.

  15. Thursday:

    I would normally suggest the opposite, but in the case of Ms Kelly foretelling a terrifying and fabricated fate for Dave, I would condone the deployment of several extra panels to maximise the agony.

  16. Thing is, given the way this timeline goes, Mell could probably freak him out more with the unvarnished truth.

  17. (TUNE: “Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover”, Paul Simon)

    I asked, “Do you remember twenty years ago,
    When my younger mind got lost in time and wandered to and fro?”
    Mell remembered, and told me “Dave, there’s something you should know;
    See you’ve got … twenty years to live a loser!”

    Served time in the can, man!
    You busted your back, Jack!
    Couldn’t walk or run, hon!
    For years you just crawled!

    You married a ho, Joe!
    She took all of your dough, no!
    Naw, that was a joke, bloke!
    Although you’re still bald …

  18. Yeah, but if Mel gave him the UNVARNISHED truth, it would likely make things worse…and make certain things harder to accomplish.

    I’d support an unedited version of Mel’s blatent lies! (heck, unedited lot of things!)

  19. (TUNE: “Everything Old Is New Again”, Peter Allen & Carole Bayer Sager)

    I’m stuck twenty years from now!
    It’s all Helen’s fault somehow!
    My body’s “now”, but my mind is “then” …
    The brain of old Dave is young again!

    Hair’s gone, with a voice like gravel!
    I’m a victim of time travel!
    Older Mell, she remembers when
    The brain of old Dave was young again!

    Helping Mell with one of her capers,
    Handling pistols and signing papers …
    Seems like Narbonics LLC
    Is now abetting a felony!

    I’m confused and so perplexed!
    Don’t know what will happen next!
    Mind’s blank, in a state of zen …
    The brain of old Dave is young again!

  20. Interesting how Mell carries around those incriminating pistols. Or maybe they’re not incriminating YET.

  21. Does that mean that the **SPOILER** VP of the United States is going around shooting people?  I mean that could never happen …

  22. N B–I’ll be going into this in more detail later, but I invented a lot of things for Mell’s political career that I thought were ridiculous, most of which the Republican Party has done by now.

  23. But is future Mell really a Republican?  Consider her appearance.  She’s ditched her glasses in favor of contacts, and has gone from casual outfits to a power suit.  That sounds more like a tight-ass Democratic Presidential candidate than a whacky Republican VP!

  24. I don’t think Mell is a Republican. That’s not even really the point- she’s just supposed to be doing things that no politician should be able to get away with in a sane world.

  25. Remember, traditionally, the Republican Party is the Stupid Party, and the Democratic Party is the Evil Party.

    As a lifelong Republican (now 54-year-old) , I’ve never seen any evidence that would cause me to doubt this.


    Now since Melody Wildflow Kelly (especially in her public persona) is as smart and as evil as one can get, I think that the answer is obvious.



  26. I thought that Democrats were traditionally the incompetent and Republlicans are the corrupt. Personally, as a Republican, I’d be glad to welcome Mell into our ranks. She’s just kind of awesome that way.

    • Which one was corrupt and which was incompetent has switches several times, and neither one has really been functional since the collapse of the Whigs and the splitting of the Democratic Republicans.

  27. Not to ignite a flame war or anything, but I am also a lifelong Republican and I found the past seven years to be evidence that Evil and Stupid had switched sides. On second thought, the past year could be used as evidence that the mantle of The Stupid Party may be up for grabs.

  28. I’m so wondering what you all think of the parties now in 2021. President Trump is just something that would be in a ridiculous mad cartoon world.

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