Dave Vs. Dave: August 5-10, 2002

Yes, the teleporter has a “no flies” sign on the side. And apparently one electrical cord that plugs into the wall.

My vague concept of the teleporter’s workings involved the Dave Conspiracy having an orbital satellite that transmits teleporter signals anywhere on the globe. That’s why there’s a satellite dish on top, a feature missing from future teleporter models (even though I think they all work by tapping into the Dave Conspiracy satellite).

This whole storyline is giving me serious “Lost” withdrawal.

Helen’s so utterly thrilled by this development. Well, really, who doesn’t enjoy a teleporter? Aside from the guy who knows he’ll probably be forced to test it? Within the next five minutes? Right.

Artie’s gesture in the third panel is nice. It’s very reminiscent of Quentin Blake’s drawings of mice for Roald Dahl’s The Witches, which are the high-water-mark of sketchy rodent illustration as far as I’m concerned.

Dr. Narbon got her teleporter from the Dave Conspiracy, so even if it’s not exactly the same as this one, it follows the same basic principle. See, Dave? This should be easy!

I really wasn’t very good at drawing boobs or hair consistently.

This was the hardest and scariest strip to post. At this point, I’d worked out a lot of the larger Narbonic story arc and had set up foreshadowing here and there, but with this strip I was locked in: I had to do the plot more or less as planned to the end. Once I posted this, the ending of Narbonic was set. It was pretty heavy.

So, basically, Dave’s got skills. This ends up being important.

You can tell this is serious business by Helen’s Very Serious Thinking Pose. The skimpy jungle outfit only slightly undermines the effect.

For those keeping score: the Dave Conspiracy has had a teleporter network for a couple of years at this point. They hired Dr. Narbon to build it for them based on some plans they received. Right now, Dave is having a look at the innards of one of the Dave Conspiracy teleporters, which will later allow him to figure out how to build a teleporter for Narbonics Labs. Make of that what you will.

“Six impossible things before breakfast” is from Through the Looking-Glass:

“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Alice in Wonderland gets quoted much later in Narbonic, in reference to the same issue. I didn’t plan it that way; I’m just really into the Alice books.

Dave’s head is so severely messed up in the third panel. I didn’t know how to draw one-quarter views then, and I never really figured out how the heck Dave’s hair works.

55 thoughts on “Dave Vs. Dave: August 5-10, 2002

  1. I think this may be the first time in the comic that Dave utterly, completely, and without mitigation pwns the girls. Revenge of the buttmonkeys!

  2. Monday:

    That isn’t really a teleporter, isn’t it? I mean, why would a teleporter be on a prison island accessible only by speedboat? That’s just asking for disaster. Disaster, I say!

    What is it, then? Well, I assume it’s a telepathic broadcasting front-loading isolation chamber. Seal yourself inside and beam your sensory deprivation-induced hallucinations to everyone within a quarter-mile radius!

  3. Oh, there ain’t no flies on us,

    Oh, there ain’t no flies on us,

    There might be – BRRRZZZAAPPP!

    Uh, never mind.

  4. Tuesday:

    “Conspiracy brochures”.

    Off-panel head inserts: 10… 11… 12… 13. She’s gotta be on wires on something.

    When I was eight-to-ten years old, I discovered I didn’t really like Quentin Blake that much. I had quite unfortunately grown out of his joyous sketchy style. Hopefully soon I’ll grow back into it again.

  5. (TUNE: The “Roto-Rooter” commercial jingle)

    Your body’s shapeless,
    So’s your brain;
    And away your butt goes down the drain!

  6. I thought she meant panel four, actually. Suddenly, Dave looks like he’s balding, and…

    I don’t really think I’m qualified to explain what’s wonky with Helen in panel 4. Any takers? 

  7. (TUNE: “Both Sides Now”, by Joni Mitchell)

    Lovely luscious mammaries,
    They’re fun to hold and stroke and squeeze!
    My girlfiend said, “Do as you please …”
    I’ve looked at boobs that way …

    But now they’re hanging to the ground,
    They lay there limp, they flop around!
    Around her kneecaps they’ll be found,
    And lower every day …

      I’ve looked at boobs from all sides now!
      From high and low, and still somehow,
      It’s fakes with implants I recall;
      I don’t remember boobs … at all …

  8. Wednesday:

    Immense personal threat does wonders in awakening one’s dormant superpowers. Helen is quite the opportunist.

  9. Ed: I wouldn’t say Helen’s boobs are falling — just the top covering them.

    Tiff:  That’s called “vamping”, dude… no relation to the undead.


  10. If I were squished into a panel that small with Helen in that outfit, I don’t think I could manage a more coherent response than, “Eh?”, either. I bet Dave didn’t even hear what Helen said.


    I can’t remember the show or movie, but someone else once said something like ‘your 38D turning into a 38Long’.

  12. Thursday:

    Looking back on this particular episode, the reader wonders how they could have so idly discarded the truth staring them in the face.

    I’m wondering, though, exactly how little leeway actually remains after this episode. Currently, David’s wanted dead for something he might do in the future. Meanwhile, this strip ensures that he will go balefully mad by the end of the story.

    Some details that are still up in the air are: 1) whether or not David is expected to go homicidally mad, and 2) whether or not this upcoming event is, in fact, the reason for his current fugitive status. From our perspective, it seems logical that these events need be connected as such… but maybe they needn’t!

  13. I had this strip pegged as real turning point in the strip. Plus it has all 4 of the main cast in.I bought the original. It hangs on my living room wall now.As an aside my flatmate refers to Helen’s position in panel 3 as the Sora pose. The lead character in much of Square Enix’s stuff seems to spend half their time rubbing the back of their head. Elbows in the air.

  14. It was hard to miss that this strip was important.  But it took so long for this to start paying off!

  15. Pete:  Presumably the satellite belonged to someone else — government agency, Dave Conspiracy, Bilderburg Group, whatever — before our Dave “claimed” it for “his own” purposes.


  16. Also:  The way everything keeps warping toward and around Dave and his “breakout” reminds me of the structure of Alan Moore’s Supreme, albeit reversed in time.  (And now I’m hoping that’s not too much of a spoiler….)


  17. So… It sounds like Dave is actually a bit of a mad scientist himself… just he can maintain his sanity and reason.

  18. This is a great strip for all the reasons that everyone has mentioned already, but I’ll throw a couple more on the pile. 

    1) Artie, though superintelligent, doesn’t get it, but this makes sense.  As Helen and Dave will discuss later on, he lacks a certain amount of common sense from having never left the lab.  Intellectually he should know that all this is way beyond Dave, but when you live your entire life in an environment where the laws of science are stretched to their breaking point, and actually broken, you’re just used to seeing it as the norm.

    2) Dave himself doesn’t get it, which is explained later on. . .but what’s really impressive is the sleight-of-hand here that works on the readers (I know it worked on me), too.  Remember, Dave’s field is computer science, not computer engineering.  Not only does Helen have him go way beyond IT from the very beginning, his expertise wasn’t ever even hardware, it was software.  But through the gradual escalation of his duties (and the trope of the general tech guy in this type of ensemble cast), he, Mell, Artie, and the readers, don’t even notice that he’s called upon to do stuff that should be way out of his range, even before we find out that some of it should’ve been impossible for anyone.  Kudos!

  19. Oh, and as for the satellite, I figure part of Dave’s assembling the death ray included a minor subroutine to have construction robots build and launch a satellite and rocket.

  20. Jeremy, you remind me of an interesting point about Narbonic: that Artie, although eccentric, superintelligent, and attracted to hopeless schemes for wold conquest, never truly goes MAD in the sense that Madblood, Dave, and the Helens* are. Which makes one wonder exactly where the line between “superintelligent” and “mad scientist” is in the Narboniverse. It seriously makes one want to look at the research that the Helens** published, to see if they have any answers. Or, of course, go and abduct some mad geniuses myself and begin experimenting on them…heh-heh-heh…bwa-haha…ah-ha…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    *Note: Calling Helen & Dr. Narbon “the Helens” gives me instant chills. Spooky!

    **There it is again! 

  21. I am really ashamed to not have seen this. Heck, we are told that “Helen’s mysterious ability to distinguish between myriad identical gerbils will be mirrored much, much later, in “Mad Science Is Decadent and Depraved,” when Dave displays a similar talent with Madblood’s android duplicates. It’s a mad science thing.” in the archives.

  22. Violating causality is a necessary component to any proper teleporter. Dave just builds it in from the start. 🙂

  23. Friday:

    Causality, yes. Whose invention is Dave copying, you’re asking yourself. Well, in Timeline 0, nobody kills or needs to kill Dave, so the above life-threatening situation doesn’t occur. In that particular universe, we can’t tell who invented teleportation. The important thing is that this technology appears many years early in Timelines 1 and 2.

    Swirly sun: 2. (But… the sun doesn’t look the least bit swirly!)

  24. To my way of thinking, the skimpy jungle outfit greatly enhances Helen’s Very Serious Thinking Pose.

  25. Originally used for fiery death, now trying to find non-homicidal applications … Dave is atomic energy!  Gotta admit “Atomic Dave” sounds pretty cool; could that be the name of the Andrew Farago-style badass Dave?

  26. Mell’s talents have plenty of non-homicidal applications!  Urban renewal, deforestation, building ventilation through lots and lots of.38 caliber holes…

  27. I’m with Tiff on this one.  A skimpy jungle outfit is like butter: it enhances ANYTHING.

  28. I grew up on The Annotated Alice.  It’s where I first heard of antimatter!

    And now, an unoriginal haiku:

    hippopotamus / antihippopotamus / annihilation

  29. I just have to add here…

     “If you’ve done six impossible things this morning why not round it off with breakfast at Millyways: The Restaurant at The End of the Univserse?!”

     You know you are in good company when you a reffrencing the same sources as Douglass Adams for your jokes…

  30. Saturday:

    It suddenly occurs to me that the ladies really shouldn’t be talking about David’s continued sanity as if David wasn’t five feet away from them. Sure, he’s distracted now, but who knows what snatches of sentences he might accidentally pick up? (Really, all too many fictional characters are overly loose with such confidential conversations.)

  31. (TUNE: “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover”, Dixon & Woods)

    It’s out of order,
    This teleporter
    That we ordered out before!
    Switches are rusty,
    The flux tube is shot,
    And, just like Helen,
    The wiring is HOT!
    One thing that’s stranger;
    We’re in grave danger,
    Yet Helen is having fun!
    She gave an order,
    “Fix teleporter!”
    It can’t be … oh wait, I’m done!

  32. Chris: The argument must have been over who was going to go first, a subject that Artie would have a lot to say about.

  33. The one thing I never figured out is when the Tintasky experiment (if that’s the right word, perhaps observation is better) started.  Did Helen start recording data on day 1, or did she not start until after the death ray incident?

  34. When I read that, I immediately thought of Douglas Adams:

    This, many claim, is not merely impossible but clearly insane, which is why the advertising executives of the star system of Bastablon came up with this slogan: “If you’ve done six impossible things this morning, why not round it off with breakfast at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe?”  

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