Look! The abandoned acid factory!
The black roses turned out pretty well. It’s white ink on black, of course. I think a girl in middle school showed me how to do that swirly shorthand for drawing roses, and I never refined it much. Drawing flowers: not really my thing.
The black roses are a reference to the “Black Rose Saga” season of Revolutionary Girl Utena, an anime series I was very fond of in college. Actually there’s a lot of black roses in anime. Don’t know what’s up with that.
“Evil Italian” is a direct, if veiled, reference to Andrew Farago, the cute guy behind the counter at the Cartoon Art Museum, who by that point had become my best friend. I had a huge crush on him. He didn’t seem romantically interested in me, though, so by the time this strip ran I was dating someone else. I didn’t think I had a chance with the evil Italian. He was way out of my league. We hung out every weekend and emailed constantly, though.
“Notari’s,” the name of the restaurant, was also the name of the family from whom I rented a room in Fairfax when I first moved to San Francisco. I was no longer living there when this strip was drawn.
Here we get the first hint that Professor Madblood isn’t quite the sophisticated madman-about-town he seems to be. Well, that and the fact that he’s a skinny little bespectacled guy in a necktie and lab coat.
All right, I suppose the time has come to address a serious problem that was overtaking Narbonic by this point. I’m talking, of course, about eyebrows. No, I don’t know why I felt compelled to draw the characters with huge, antenna-like flying eyebrows. But it was not cool. I continued to draw this way until Joey Manley started to make fun of me for it. Thank goodness someone was there to stop the insanity. You can see how far gone I was, even at this early stage.
That spaghetti actually looks pretty tasty.
If I were doing this storyline later on, I probably would’ve cut this strip. It doesn’t add much, although it’s nice to see Helen enjoying biology as a spectator sport. And I like her little bag of popcorn. And Madblood trying to sneak an arm around Helen in the second panel. And the idea that watching open-heart surgery is too “highbrow” for Dave. You know, strike that–this strip is boss.
That’s my friend Dana on the operating table. Also, those are some tiny little surgeons compared to Helen and Madblood.
Damn it, I still like this strip. It’s not often that I managed to get clever with the wordplay like that. The poses in the first panel are, of course, bizarre, but it’s a rare attempt at full-length figures and some kind of vague background, so at least I’m trying. I rested up afterwards by just drawing talking heads for the next three panels.
Dave’s habit of singing maudlin songs, especially “Freebird,” while drunk will come up again more than once.