And Helen appears at last. As I said before, the three central characters in Narbonic (that is, until Artie came along and made it four) had all appeared in previous comics of mine. Mell was in my high school strip, “North of Space,” Dave was in my college strip, “The Ratio,” and Helen was in a comic I drew for a Three-Page Comic Contest in the comic book Thieves and Kings, by Mark Oakley. It won second place. I haven’t put it online before because it’s not very good, but that’s what the Director’s Cut is for, right? The morbidly curious can read it here.
In my first stories about the Narbons (none of which, except for the three-page comic, ever actually got drawn), Helen’s mother was the main character. I designed her first and sort of reverse-engineered Helen from her. In the very earliest versions, Dr. Narbon had two clones–one a teenager and one a little girl–and a henchman who had been mutated and brain-swapped to the point that everyone had forgotten what he originally looked like. Oh, and a talking gerbil. I kept the talking gerbil.
Incidentally, all three of the winners of the Three-Page Comic Contest went on to do webcomics. The first-place story was by the Brothers Grinn, who draw Supermegatopia. The third-place story was by Diana Sprinkle, who draws a bunch of excellent webcomics.
Helen is named after Helena de Narbon, the heroine of All’s Well That Ends Well, one of Shakespeare’s worst plays. Helena is a doctor, which was about the closest thing in Shakespeare I could find to a lady scientist. A lot of Narbonic characters have Shakespearean names, probably because I mistakenly think it sounds classy.
The first and last Sunday strips are the only ones that are in continuity with the daily strips. I always intended to use the Sundays for guest art, fan mail, side stories, and stuff like that. I only did a continuity strip this Sunday because the strip had only been running for a week and I didn’t have any guest art or fan mail yet.
This strip was mostly colored with Crayola crayons. You can tell, can’t you?