Gender Swap: December 24-29, 2001

The Hardy Boyz and Lita were so boss when they first came over to the WWF from the independent circuit. I love the more acrobatic, lighter-weight wrestlers, and of course I dig lady wrestlers who can actually wrestle. I saw all three of them live in a ladder match once, and it was totally sweet. Sadly, the Boyz and Lita have since split up and had the kind of problems generally euphemized in pro wrestling as “personal demons,” and any time I’ve seen them since it hasn’t been the same.

Sorry, what were we talking about? Oh, yeah. The gender swap. Girl Dave actually looks pretty cute in this strip. If I were drawing this later, though, I would’ve made her hair less stringy, and more like the way I drew guy Dave’s hair in the later years.

Song list:

70. “Waking the Monster,” by Darren Hayes

The professor is building something extraordinary
From the first signs I knew he would hide it from me
Clang, clang, rattle, and buzz
There’s a helicopter blade and a bit of a truck

Suggested by my friend Drave. Thanks, Drave!

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Gender-bending and pro wrestling. This was what I had running on Christmas Day.

Those are some disgustingly cute wrestlers on that poster. I cannot draw tough guys to save my life. Mick Foley is in the flannel shirt at the right, and I’m not even sure who the rest are supposed to be, although I think I can make out Kane and Lita.

Dave’s crush on Mick Foley, who at the time was playing the commissioner of the WWF on the shows, is of course entirely autobiographical. I just think Mick Foley is really, really neat. He’s happily married, but I’m sure he and Dave would get along very well.

Song list:

71. “Plastic Fantastic Lover,” by Jefferson Airplane

Super-sealed lady, chrome-color clothes
You wear ’cause you have no other
But I suppose no one knows
You’re my plastic fantastic lover

I apologize for not remembering who first recommended this to me. Anyway, thanks very much. I have to admit I enjoy all Jefferson vehicles.

This is the kind of thing I get hung up on in gender-swap stories: should the characters still be attracted to the sex they were attracted to before, or the opposite sex? Earlier, Helen showed a continued interest in Madblood, but that could be as much about their ongoing rivalry as anything else. In the end, I decided that girl Dave should be attracted to men, because it’s funnier. And it makes Dave really uncomfortable and defensive.

Dave’s book in the first panel: Advanced Java for the Smug. Also, Dave appears to have moved her Darth Maul beanie to the office, where it sits next to an angry toy Hulk.

Song list:

72. “The Scientist,” by Coldplay

Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart

Come tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
All in a rush to the start

Running in circles
Chasing our tails
Comin’ back as we are

Aimee Mann’s cover of this is a million times better, for the obvious reason that she’s not Coldplay.

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“You’ve been awfully cranky since I turned you into a woman” is a great opening line, admit it.

Short Man’s Syndrome comes from an episode of MST3K wherein Tom Servo was diagnosed with the disorder, but I think we’ve all encountered it at some point. Personally, like Dave, I’d probably be less upset about having my sex reversed than about suddenly being a foot shorter.

Song list:

73. “Screaming in Digital,” by Queensryche

I am the beat of your pulse
The computer word made flesh
We are one, you and I
We are versions of the same
When you can see what I feel
Don’t turn your back on me
Or you might find that your dreams
Are only program cards

Of course, songs about creepy AIs are a whole subgenre onto themselves, the surface of which I’ve barely scratched with this list. Like songs about going to the moon.

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Yeah, this strip is just fluff, but at least I got off the subject of pro wrestling. Also, “Funny Girl” comes up again, if only as a video cover. I swear people still occasionally watched videos at the time I drew this strip.

Dave looks so dejected in the first panel. Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman.

Song list:

74. “Going Digital,” by Jason Radford

I’m headin’ off on a digital trip and that’s what I plan to do
I’m goin’ away to a digital plane and I ain’t comin’ back real soon
The whole thing is electrical
It’s running through my veins
And everything’s connectable
Hey! Digital!

From the “Digimon: The Movie” soundtrack. YES.

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I dislike this strip because it gets back into the tired, if sometimes accurate, “geeks are scared of girls” stereotype. However, “scuttle away with a crablike gait” is pretty good, as is Helen’s advice to Dave in the second panel. It’s useful in so many situations.

Song list:

75. “Atom Bomb,” by Fluke

Baby got a satellite
Baby got second sight
Baby got a masterplan
A foolproof master plan

Baby got purple hair
Baby got a secret lair
Baby got an army there
I ain’t ever seen baby scared

Again, I apologize for not remembering who recommended this. But it’s a rad song! Thank you!

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54 thoughts on “Gender Swap: December 24-29, 2001

  1. Monday:

    For once, in panel 4, Helen looks fearsome. Still finding it hard to mentally reestablish her voice, though.

    Today’s thought: How can Dave or anyone in this comic sit that close to that TV? Doesn’t he care how low-resolution that screen is?

  2. Actually, I imagine Male! Helen as speaking in a sort of rich, deep baritone, lilting into a tenor in difference to still having a female speaking pattern. . . a sort of mild Jafar from Aladdin pitch, with just an edge of Bela Lugosi.

    .. . yes, I always put this much thought into these things. I practically have a cast list for Narbonic animated. 


  3. Now I have an image of Dave as a pro wrestler being  sort-of tormented by personal demons, which is to say, Caliban.

    Alternatively, the Hardy Boyz and Lita and the more evil half of their shoulder angels.


    Ed Gedeon (eddurd) says: (Where is Basil Jelly anyway?)

    I think he slowly faded as the Smithson left his system.  Hurry and bring it back Shannon, or you will have more deaths on your hands!

  5. Y’know, I always thought Girl-Dave was pretty cute. I think that mostly has to do with the fact that I find nerdiness (and competance) hotter than
     any physical feature, but there you are.

  6. Tuesday:

    Dave tries hard to stop his mind inexorably melting into the shape of his ‘incorrect’ body, to stop the male Dave from, shall we say, disappearing from the photograph. His sanity is one thing, but this is, inexplicably, even more personal.

    What on Earth are Dave’s hands doing in panel 2? Is he really disassembling his keyboard in the middle of conversation?

  7. “I apologize for not remembering who first recommended this to me. Anyway, thanks very much. “

    ‘Twas me, and no problem.  Fame and fortune are mine!

    Got another one for ya too, been meaning to post this forever.  From “The Operation” by Charlotte Gainsbourg:

    and if i pull this off
    i’ll refuse the nobel prize
    instead i will look into your eyes

    if i pull this off your whole body will be mine
    and i’m prepared to work throughout the night

    our love goes under the knife
    nothing is taboo
    …here on the cutting edge of science

  8. Speaking as a rightpondian, I basically Do Not Understand Wrestling. (It’s something about television wrestlers pretending to be wrestling on television but actually acting out episodes of some wierd metadrama sitcom, right?) This does largely means I don’t get most of the WWF references.

    (Except, of course,  this one.)

    (Extra bonus linkage: mainstream mad science comicage!)

  9. Dave, i understand.

    But honestly? Am i the only one who realizes that this means he is wearing some sort of lip paint or balm? You can;t leave a mark without that. . .  

  10. If you’ve never watched the music video for The Scientist, you should do so immediately. It’s on YouTube.

  11. It’s Walky took the “straight gender-swapper people remain straight for their new gender” tack as well. This was largely to set up gender-swapper Walky kissing gender-swapper Joyce. “Misfile”, on the other hand, leaves Ash liking women, the better to build tension of all kinds with Emily.

    When logic doesn’t apply anyway, the story/gag is all!

  12. Wednesday:

    Up here I’m still a guy“… Oh, Dave. (I can only assume her prior knowledge of the Quiet Outside The Body (see last arc) lets her tune out her bodily sensation at will. Maybe.)

    As I possibly mentioned last weekend, I’m really quite appreciative of the fact that even Dave’s sexuality has betrayed her. How dejected he must feel!

  13. Question for the guys:  did anyone ever do this in reverse?  I mean, take a girl that you had a crush on and write her first name with your last name to see how it looked?

    What?  Me?  Um ….

    …….. nnnooooooooooooo ……

  14. Question for the guys:  did anyone ever do this in reverse?  I mean, take a girl that you had a crush on and write her first name with your last name to see how it looked?

     Nooo… neveeer…. why would I have done that…?

  15. Ed:Yeah, this one girl. I’m not horribly hung up about last names and I come from a family with 5 boys, so there’s no worries of the family name dying out. Thing is, she hated her family, so she wanted nothing to do with that last name. I want to say she changed her middle name when marrying too, and not to a “maiden name”.Jon:Ear, bone chips, teeth… his books give a more accurate tally of the injuries, but the guy is more banged up than Jackie Chan.

  16. I like the fact that Mell’s calling the Harlen Ellison Memorial Foundation… and to my knowledge, the man’s not even dead yet.

  17. It’s a memorial *foundation*- they’re still waiting for him to die.And as a tall man, I will now do a little dance.

  18. True story … I used to work with a short guy named Richard, who for some reason hated being called “Dick” … especially if you included a reference to his height.  Go figure.

  19. Look, Harlan Ellison has obviously been dead for decades.  I mean, why else would The Last Dangerous Visions have never been finished?

  20. Short Woman Syndrome?

    (my mind stops to consider the possibilities, but ends up running away in fright)

    Uhhh… forget I ever mentioned it.

  21. Justin: “Ellman Draft”

    I love the way Helen has to bend way down to touch Dave’s head in panel 3. 

  22. Plaid.  Jerky.  Beer for breakfast.  Says she doesn’t like men.

    Dave is a lesbian!  😉

    Helen should get her to build a deck on the elevator shaft before changing her back.

  23. It’s a memorial to Harlan Ellison’s victims. 😉

    Makes sense to me. He is the Chuck Norris of sci-fi fandom.

  24. So It Begins: Short Woman Syndrome is actually Little Firecracker Syndrome. Ever notice how vicious and brutal short girls are? Like Mell, only without the gleeful abandon.

  25. I still have a stack of Videos that I watch from time to time.  Indeed, my copies of Star Wars are all cassettes!

  26. WHAT??  No “Beaches”??  (And how the heck is Dave eating popcorn without removing his cigarette??)

  27. Friday:

    Leave it to Artie the intellectual to have to explain this, the karmic point of her entire ordeal, to Dave the nerd.

  28. To David Given, the Rightpondian: Fear not. Regarding American TV wrestling, there’s nothing to get. If you take the emotional investment and intensity of “the human drama of athletic competition” in the World Cup (or The Ashes if you went to public school), put it in an artificial environment, carefully control the outcomes to create a long-running storyline with recognizable archetypes and rising and falling story arcs, tap into the human need to reach into a larger world, add the backstage politics of any difficult entertainment craft (and it is terribly difficult – have no doubt of that), combine it with the fickleness of entertainment fandom, then sell commercial time between the performances to pay for it all.

    Think of as The Truman Show meets Jerry Springer.

    Which is to say “As a left-pondian, right-coasted Southerner, I don’t get it  either.” But then I’m not from this planet. I’m just here as part of some bizarre experiment on the part of my homeworld. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

  29. Augh, I hate that movie. ‘Love means never saying sorry’- like hell!

    And why is it that a guy is allowed to be a jerk 60-70% of the time and it’s still a romantic movie?! Rant rant rant rant rant.

    bah. Give me Moulin Rouge! any day. At last it’s *fun*. 

  30. Hey, I just realized Dave’s having a What Women Want moment, largely by being the same size as Mel Gibson. (I friend of mine who is an American Revolution re-enactor was not selected as an extra for The Patriot. He, like a number of others, was too much taller than Gibson.)

  31. I find that squatting and scuttling away also works with nearly everybody.


    Usually they are too speechless to try and stop me.

  32. “Scuttle away with a crablike gait” is a “disrupt the office with terrible guffaws” kind of line.

  33. Saturday:

    Fortunately, this episode and all of next week is satisfyingly subverted later, when Dave tries in vain to boast about having a girlfriend. The world moves on!

    It occurs to me that Dave is not just comically short but worryingly short. …Could it be that the necessary consequence of male-to-female transformation is Turner syndrome?! (Now that would be a deconstructed trope.)

  34. It occurs to me that Dave is not just comically short but worryingly short.

    Making it that much harder to squat below its line of vision…. 🙂  Remember that not only has Dave gotten shorter, but Helen is now taller. And Dave still slumps, while Helen doesn’t.  Even so… that first panel makes femDave look like a hobbit!


  35. I woulda totally reacted the same as the gamers back in my gaming days.  Nowadays I’m just gamy.

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