I really tried to stay away from topical political references in Narbonic. You’ll notice there’s nothing about September 11 in the 2001 strips, for instance. I did have information about WTC relief efforts on the Narbonic site for some time. I’ve got a lot of friends in New York City and it was a scary time.
By winter 2002, of course, there was a whole ‘nother set of issues in play. It was a politically polarized time and Artie’s a political guy.
After this strip ran, someone emailed me to warn me that the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan was a socialist organization. I really don’t think that would bother Artie. Much later in the strip, he gives money to a bunch of hamsters on stilts. Now that’s a bad idea.
Anyway… this is one of the first strips where you can see part of the name of the bar, Manganello’s Irish Pub. The name came from a family in-joke that my cousin Tom Manganello, having married into our Irish family, was going to start a bar with that name.
Okay, so I just like writing Dave drunk. He gets kind of belligerent. This strip is just silly, but I regret nothing but those horrible grey fills.
“Doors are JERKS” was a line I wrote at the last minute after being unable to think of anything more coherent, and it’s probably one of my best punchlines ever. I enjoyed drawing all of Dave’s drunken expressions in this week of strips, especially the classic Squinting and Pointing.
Dave has more than a touch of Nice Guy Syndrome, which I like to think he gradually loses over the course of Narbonic. I like that in this strip he seems to think his problem is that women don’t appreciate his unconventional good looks. You keep working it, Dave. Things will look up.
Like Artie has room to talk. He can’t even tell whether other gerbils are male or female.
The bartenders are based on my cousins Kim and Tom, the hypothetical proprietors of Manganello’s Irish Pub. “Nerdberger” is the name of a character in a Sam Henderson comic. He’s a nerd.
I think this is the only time Artie gets drunk in the strip. He holds his liquor a lot better than Dave does. In other news, that is one adorable detox gun.
Every once in a while, Artie betrays that he’s Helen’s creation. His last line here is reminiscent of the Thursday strip in this week. And by “reminiscent,” I mean, “I recycled the gag.”