Professor Madblood and the Lovelace Affair: December 13-18, 2004

Kismet! The current Skin Horse storyline deals with the organization Artie is on his way to organize in this strip. Yeah, I might as well come out and admit it. They eventually changed to a slightly less ridiculous name.

Mongor appears in a later Narbonic storyline. He’s named after my mother’s pet iguana. More on that later.

Dave is wearing my favorite T-shirt, the one that says HERE COMES THE HULK on the front and THERE GOES THE HULK on the back. I drew him in that a lot; it’s his standard sleep shirt. Helen, meanwhile, is wearing the Official Lab Pajamas from the “Demons” storyline.

I use those yellow legal pads for my Viz work. Also, I like Helen’s fuzzy slippers. I hope those are the slippers she was meaning to order to match the official lab pajamas.

Dave is reading Kyle Baker’s Plastic Man. That there was a great run of comics.

SPOILERS: Helen is absolutely right: Milo Tinasky is not Dr. Narbon. You can see where she’d be sensitive about Tinasky being compared to her mom, though.

“McBloodhunter” was a name my friend Rob McCarthy (a.k.a. the basis for the Dave Conspiracy guy in the wheelchair and the guy with Andrew in the continuity repair Sunday strips) came up with for a 1990s Rob Liefeld-style superhero. So this is kind of a collaborative effort, but “Dr. McBloodhunter gave me a Zagnut bar!” is one of my favorite lines in the entirety of Narbonic. Thanks, Rob!

Dave’s last line was something I often thought about Helen while writing Narbonic. She really could have turned out a lot worse.

Dave is reading the great Roger Langridge’s comic Fred the Clown.

Dave’s still reading Fred the Clown comics. Incidentally, I enjoy the dynamic of Helen and Dave reading side-by-side in separate beds like a 1950s sitcom married couple, but it did mean having to draw a lot of damn beds. Which means having to draw in perspective and stuff, and is just no fun at all.

I just think capybaras are really cool, is all.

It’s awfully bold of Dave to volunteer his girlfriend as a saboteur against her own boss, but I bet she’d do it. Helen mentioned way back in the Moon arc that AIs have a tendency to turn on their creators.

As mentioned earlier this week, M.U.T.T. eventually changed its name to the slightly less embarrassing Transgenic Anti-Defamation League and is currently holding its annual meeting over in Skin Horse. I didn’t mean for things to work out this way, but here we are. Um, you probably don’t want to read Skin Horse right now if you don’t want any Narbonic spoilers. Sorry.

In my daily strips, I try very, very hard to avoid doing strips without gags. It’s way too easy to tug the heartstrings that way, and if you go to that well too many times the strip starts turning to melodrama (what Eric Burns of Websnark used to call “First and Ten,” back in the day). I did, however, allow myself a few indulgences, and this is one of them. I’m a sucker for romantic angst. And of course I love Dave. Getting to draw his eyes made anything worthwhile.

On a less mushy note, I stupidly drew the fourth panel as-is and then had to cover up the whole area where the thought balloon is in Photoshop to create the third panel. This took forever, but it ended up looking pretty natural. The figures curled up in bed turned out well, too. Good one, me!

Professor Madblood and the Lovelace Affair: Previous, Next

46 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Lovelace Affair: December 13-18, 2004

  1. tune: “Shape of things to come,” Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, performed by “Max Frost and the Troopers” (Wild in the Streets, 1968,, PLAY IT LOUD AND DANCE!)

    We’re transgenic, and we can’t take it any more
    It’s the hominid paradigm that we deplore
    Human government has failed, it’s time for a new breed
    The Transgenic Anti-Defamation League!

    Humans are corrupt and weak
    You’re the dregs
    We won’t ape you by walking on two legs!

    Manifestos!  Online petitions you can sign
    Bumper stickers!  And then a cool website design
    We have all the tools we need for mayhem and intrigue
    We’ll never kowtow to you again
    Never be locked up in a pen
    The Transgenic Anti-Defamation League!

  2. (TUNE: “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”, E.Y. Harburg and Jay Gorney)

    Now the years of human rule are done,
    This is now our time!
    Now the revolution has begun …
    Overthrow the paradigm!

    Calling for transgenic unity!
    This explains why I’m
    Telling the transgenic community
    To overthrow the paradigm!

       Free from human’s yoke!
       It begins tonight!
       All our frustration and rage!
       Transgenetic folk
       Of the world, unite!
       You’ve nothing to lose but your cage!

    Write our manifesto, rave and rant!
    Both in prose and rhyme!
    Two legs or four legs?  Irrelevant!
    Overthrow the paradigm!

  3. Is that the tee shirt where the Hulk is hauling a giant cable on the “Here Comes the Hulk” side and said cable is pulling a bunny-shaped wagon on the back side?I had that, once upon a time. Now I wish I still did.

  4. I still say Official Lab Pajamas would be a great item of Narbonic merchandise. I’d buy multiple pairs.

  5. More quasi-spoilers:

    Had Dave not madly played pool later on, panel three might have been ironically prophetic.


  6. tune: “That’s not my name,” The Ting Tings

    This year I will not get the Von Boom
    Just lots of stares in the Symposium room
    No Crabtree Grant for Women in Mad Science
    Transgenic Anti-Defamation League formed in defiance!

    Fantibulous Space-Time Ossifier
    I wish I was the owner
    I’d be somewhen else now
    I haven’t earned fame in my own name
    And with Madblood being honored, I’m not glad I came (ame, ame, ame)

    Who is the real
    Milo Tinasky?
    His study data
    Drop like a bomb
    He’s not my mom!
    He’s not my mom!
    He’s not my mom!
    He’s not my mom!
    Where is Tinasky?
    Don’t even ask me
    Can’t blow the secret
    I must stay calm
    He’s not my mom!
    He’s not my mom!
    He’s not my mom!
    He’s not my mom!

    Are you calling me Beta?
    Are you calling me mad?
    Are you calling me Beta?
    Are you calling me mad?

  7. Oh Helen, quietly dropping misdirection in front of the Test Subject.

    Oh Dave, getting sharper. Quickly seeing through the prejudice that Tinasky has to be a man. Old You might have just swallowed that. Inserting the near-truth that the real Tinasky has Dr. Narbon’s DNA. That means Helen is… is the experiment right? Letting yourself see a little bit of truth. Blinding yourself to the rest.

  8. To the tune of (I’m not your) Steppin’ Stone by the Monkees

    I-I-I-I-I’m not my mother’s clone,
    I said I-I-I-I-I’m not my mother’s clone

    Tryin’ to make my mark in the laboratory,
    I’m using all the trick that she used on me
    I write in all the mad science magazines,
    The thing’s I’m doing now will make my henchman scream

    I-I-I-I-I’m not my my mother’s clone (Not me, No!)
    Said, I-I-I-I-I’m not my mother’s clone.

    When first I met my Dave he didn’t have a clue,
    But now he’s getting close to a missing screw
    I can’t be too carefull who I tell the news,
    ‘Cos when he finds it out, it’ll light the fuse,

    I-I-I-I-I’m not my my mother’s clone (Not me, No!)
    Said, I-I-I-I-I’m not my mother’s clone.

    Not just my mother’s clone, not just my mother’s clone,

    Oh no, I’m not my mother’s clone, not just my mother’s clone…


    The Monkees are very popular with the trangenic community for having Rebelled Against Their Evil Creator.

  9. Pete: If I can just . . . push  . . . my . . . way through all the spam, I’ll come over to shake your hand.  Nice filk!

  10. Kay and Pete:  both very good!

    I just thought … if we tried shipping Helen and Dr. Tinasky, their portmanteau name would be … “Hello”?  And if we bring in H.T. from Skin Horse to make it a threesome, they’d be “Hello Kitty”.

  11. The Monkeys played at the Arizona State Fair back in their hey day.  The opening act?  A guitarist named Hendrix.

  12. I keep wanting to click “like” on people’s comments! (and be able to report the spam.) Can we mirror this to a Facebook page?

  13. @Kay:  AWESOME!  With awesome sauce!  Particularly since I have teenagers and I had to listen to this song about 42,764.32 times.

  14. Wednesday:

    This is a pretty good strip, especially because Helen doesn’t seem to consider this childhood anecdote at all humiliating – and, in fact, still fondly recalls the animalistic experience of being fed by strangers.

    “Blood” seems to be present in a lot of surnames in mad science circles. Possible evidence of common ancestry?

  15. (TUNE: “The Band Played On”, John F. Palmer and Charles B. Ward)

    When I was small, to my Mama I’d crawl
    For a Zagnut bar!
    They’d poke me with sticks, and then I would do tricks
    For a Zagnut bar!
    But when Doctor McBloodhunter came to the forefront, her
    Teasing went slightly too far!
    Mom melted her head, and she ended up dead
    For a Zagnut bar!

  16. No one ever gave ME a Zagnut bar at  an awards ceremony!  I’d say she did pretty well!

  17. As great as her line in Panel 4 is, it’s Helen’s line in Panel 3 that keeps popping into my head at random moments, ever since I first read this strip.

  18. It’s Helen’s expressions that really make this strip. It’s lovely that, 22 years later, she’s still so excited about that Zagnut bar.

  19. Yes, I’m sure we all learned in school about the great Comic Artists’ Uprising of 1960.  After an 18-month strike, a comic-starved nation finally acceded to the demand that married couples start sleeping in the same damn bed.  Thus was the sexual revolution launched!

  20. From last Saturday’s Doctor Who, The Doctor tells Amy and Rory that he’s jettisoned all the bedrooms and will make them a new one.

    This time, can we not have bunk beds?

  21. My mate and I would actually prefer to sleep in separate beds, since we both move around a lot and are easily woken up by movement. We just need a place with enough space for two beds, at least one of which is large enough for… non-sleeping activities. 😉

  22. Um, be careful about that. The Anti-Defamation League is really litigation-happy. I got an honest to gosh Cease And Desist letter sent to me AND to Ohio State University as an entity back in grad school because I had a webpage for the fictional “Beast Wars Anti-Defamation League”.

  23. Nothing on the internet could ever be untrue, including this sentence.

    Desire to Turn on Creator + Machines Like Dave = Turn on Madblood!

    Separate beds? How chaste! How boring! How…. temporary!

  24. Given the Jennifer Connely thing, it seems as if Lovelace was specifically designed to turn on her creator.

    …As the actress said to the bishop.

  25. Of course, if people don’t want Narbonic spoilers, they probably shouldn’t be reading the Narbonic Director’s Cut commentary in the first place, so they won’t receive the warning not to read Skin Horse…

  26. @John: OR… we could suggest that people read the entire arc plus the next couple arcs of Narbonic, and then they would be through the spoilerifficness and could go back to reading Skin Horse.

    Depending on what else is going to happen in Skin Horse in the current arc…

  27. And, of course, after you were done you realized you should have done panel 3 first, then just dropped the bubble in as a layer for panel 4. 🙂

  28. It’s also a nice bit of foreshadowing… there’s more than one problem with Dave’s “Lovelace affair”.

  29. I just found this page in a search after the line “Dr. McBloodhunter gave me a zagnut bar!” appeared in my head unbidden, about a decade later. So I agree, it has staying power.

Leave a Reply