Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time: August 4-9, 2003

Another really early script. I still think it’s funny.

What the hell? In the last panel, is the stethoscope looping under Helen’s boobs like some kind of terrible idea for a superhero costume? Sometimes I just can’t figure out how to put elements together into a drawing. But I guess it’s okay because people like boobs.

The backgrounds in the first three panels were copied from an Alley Oop strip. I was really into Alley Oop.

I love Kurt Vonnegut, one of my many age-inappropriate childhood passions (my mother got me Hocus Pocus in paperback to take to fourth-grade sleepaway camp), and the unstuck-in-time concept in this storyline is my sad little tribute.

I deliberately put off revealing Li’l Dave until the next day’s strip. This creates DRAMATIC TENSION.

So here’s Young Dave. Yes, he’s adorable and into Voltron.

Miss Hamlin is named after V.T. Hamlin, creator of Alley Oop. Alley Oop is about time travel, so there’s a legitimate reason for me to keep referencing it in this storyline. It’s not just me being really into caveman comics.

I see the kids at Dave’s elementary school have been reading The Hoboken Chicken Emergency and Harold and the Purple Crayon. Good for them.

What do you think Dave is being made to write on the chalkboard? “I will not bum cigarettes from the teachers”?

Andrew still has a shirt he got when he was twelve. It’s from the last time the Browns did something non-embarrassing, I forget what. He still wears it sometimes. It’s like tissue paper.

The kids in the foreground of the first panel are, I think, Andrew and Vera Brosgol (who was drawing Li’l Mell around this time). The kid in the last panel is me.

It’s not legible online, but Dave is reading Blue Moose by Daniel Pinkwater. He must have fond memories of the book, because as an adult he uses “bluemoose” as his online handle, both in Narbonic and in my college strip The Ratio.

The spines of the books in the background of the first panel read “Math,” “EZ Reading,” “Esperanto,” and “Snails.” Your guess is as good as mine. The smiley apple is a toy I owned as a kid.

The girl at the desk in front of Dave’s looks like a girl who tormented me in grade school, something I don’t think I consciously intended when I drew it. The note is signed “Tiffany and Amber,” a reference to Dan Clowes’s graphic novel Ghost World.

45 thoughts on “Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time: August 4-9, 2003

  1. I think it’s more notable that you had to draw Dave from the side so we could see his vacant eyes.


  2. Shaenon> …it’s okay because people like boobs.
    Well, my wife likes me.  So … yeah.

    (TUNE: “Can’t Help Falling In Love”, Elvis Presley)

    They look nice …
    May I touch them, please?
    ‘Cause I can’t help falling in love with boobs!
    It’s my vice …
    I like mammaries!
    Yes, I can’t help falling in love with boobs!

    With her stethoscope
    Looped beneath her chest,
    Like it wants to grope
    That part … we all love best!

    De-cen-cy … going down the tubes,
    ‘Cause we can’t help falling in love with boobs!

  3. I think this is the first time in a while I have seen a Gedeon-Song that makes minimal sense pre-commentary…

    Then again, it does make sense out of context according to my buddy, so hey, either way.

  4. Monday:

    All his neurons are evidently not still firing, and now his nose has become even more rectangular. (But why’s the Batman logo emanating from his head in panel 3?)

  5. I love how Artie’s question in the final panel somehow implies that he always knew it was just a matter of time. Also, vacant-eyed Dave is hilarious to me/

  6. Tuesday:

    This is terrible. No one deserves such violent confirmation that every horrible moment of their life did not die away but still exists in an eternal past, and not even the powers of nature can stop a capricious lady from hurling you back through them.

    (But then, this discovery tends to lead, eventually, to an enlightened acceptance of every moment, without judgment or regret. Fortunately Dave won’t be temporally broken for quite that long, and his humanity won’t be stripped down that far.)

    Fourth panel: water is used as the medium of transmigration and rebirth.

  7. (TUNE: “Early Morning Rain”, Gordon Lightfoot)

    With a swirly to the brain,
    Re-enacting my worst fears …
    Feeling panic in my gut,
    Feeling water in my ears …
    Once again, six years old,
    How I got here, I don’t know!
    With a swirly to the brain,
    Where kids usually “go”!

  8. And to make it even worse, it’s the girls’ bathroom, which means cooties along with everything else.  Ewwww!

  9. Who are those two girls? I admire them for their sheer diabolicity (while some far more animalistic part inside of me is disgusted horribly.)

  10. I believe they are Pain and Panic from Disney’s Hercules. Cetainly I heard Bobcat Goldthwaite and Matt Frewer in the dialogue.

  11. Wednesday:

    What’s this? A strip comic? About six-year-olds?

    Dave seems so sad all of a sudden. Is he realising the existential terror that comes from having twenty years of hard work washed down the drain in an instant? And having no one to comfort you in this most terrible of losses?

  12. (TUNE: “Where The Boys Are”, written by Greenfield & Sedaka, performed by Connie Francis)

    In the girls room,
    He’s in trouble now!
    He’s cold and wet, because he let
    Two girlies beat him up somehow!

    In the girls room,
    Now he’s feeling fear!
    He’s getting cussed, although he just
    Doesn’t know just how he got in here!

  13. “Is he realising the existential terror that comes from having twenty years of hard work washed down the drain in an instant?”

    See now, this is why those “What would you do differently if you had your life to live over?” thought experiments mean nothing to me. I’ve earned who I am now and I have no desire to have to earn it again.

    Poor Dave. 

  14. Thursday:

    Just like Billy Pilgrim, Dave too has to quickly remember what role he needs to play in this part of his life. This role, it seems, requires one to not be too chummy with people twice your height.

  15. It’s not a copy of the opening credits. Dave is certainly not writing higher on a blackboard than he could possibly reach unaided.

  16. I’m sorry, but I know from personal experience that if an authority figure (teacher, principal, school nurse, etc.) tells you that you’re not in trouble after you’ve been in a fight (*especially* as the victim of a bully!) THEY ARE LYING!!! I got detention several times because I actually believed my teacher or the assistant principal when they reassured me that I could tell them what actually happened. (You’d think I’d have learned after the first or second time, but Respect For Authority was heavily ingrained into that particular school system.) It took me many a year to regain even the minimal amount of respect/trust for Authority that I have today.

    “Trust. Hard to get, twice as hard to get back.” – Grey. (“Inhuman” http://inhuman-comic.com/

  17. (TUNE: “The Wanderer”, Dion)

    Well, I’m a villians minion,
    I do what I am told!
    But now I must begin again,
    I’m only six years old!
    If there’s a Hell for wimpy kids,
    Then maybe this is it!
    But looking on the bright side, all my cool t-shirts fit!

    Yeah I’m unstuck in time!
    Yeah, my conscious mind
    Is going back and forth and back and forth again, again, again …

    Well, there’s Andrew with his dark hair,
    And Vera with her scarf …
    And Shaenon next to me, she says
    I make her wanna barf!
    But then there is the one who makes me feel just like a fool …
    Got whipped by Li’l Mell, although she’s still in nursery school!

    Yeah I’m unstuck in time!
    Yeah, my conscious mind
    Is going back and forth and back and forth again, again, again …

  18. …Isn’t it obvious? These kids are the children of interstellar diplomats. Naturally they’d be studying the alien snails and the language developed to communicate with them.

  19. I had the same apple, I think. Didn’t it have a bell or something like that inside that made bonging noises if you rolled the apple around?

  20. If it’s the musical one, it’s called a Happy Apple and is wonderful. We had one when we were little, too, and I’ve been looking everywhere for a spare at a thrift shop so I can take it apart.

  21. I’ve seen two of those Happy Apples in the last few weeks.  My cousin’s kids have the one she had as a child, and the neighbor across the street kept her kids’ one; her grandson plays with it now.  (And so does my daughter.)  It’s kinda awesome.

  22. Ah, so it wasn’t Tiffany and Tiffany. I suppose Mell and Dave didn’t actually go to school together.

  23. Saturday:

    Davey has another think coming if he thinks long division, cursive, home economics and any form of athletics will be any easier to assail the second time around.

    Davey’s thought bubbles are a bit hard to distinguish amidst Miss Hamlin’s otherwise quite stylish polkadot dress. If not for immutable comic strip conventions dictating that thought balloons be suspended by precisely three (3) bubbles (one of which is affixed to the balloon’s cloud border), it could perhaps be made more distinctive.

  24. You know, you’d think that Dave (having an upgraded mind) might have slightly boosted reaction time and/or combat skills…

  25. (TUNE: “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”, Glen Campbell)

    By the time we finish recess … I’ll be bleeding,
    When both Tiffany and Amber punch my head!
    It’s just their way to say, “We like you, Davey,
    And we’ll like you even better when you’re dead!”

    By the time we get to lunch hour … I’ll be crying!
    They’ll hold my neck until my face turns blue!
    They’ll say I look so cute when I am dying!
    And to make things worse, they’ll swipe my Ding Dongs too!

    By the time I’m heading home, my face is swellin’,
    As though I’ve been run over by a truck!
    And silently, my mind is cursing Helen!
    It’s her fault I’m in space and time unstuck!
    In the past I’m stuck …
    I’m s**t outta luck!

  26. Soitbegins: On the other hand, maybe even adult Dave could get beaten up by a six year old girl. That said, having two highly dangerous women place him in actual life-or-death situations on a daily basis has to have done soemthing, so there may be a point. You’d think he’d at least be better at knowing when to start running.

  27. At what age can he join the Conspiracy? So far in the past he ahs only been referred to as either Davey or David.

  28. I approve naming the meanie Tiffany. Every one I’ve known has been popular, obsessed with fashion since teen years and usually mean (no offense to a Tiffany who’s actually decent. Heaven has a lawyer, it can have a Tiffany too. Probably).

    Jon, I’d say it’s because at 6 you are taught that letters are signed with “love.” “Sincerely” is too long for most kids to learn.

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