Somebody–I think Alexander Danner–once used Helen’s line in the first panel as an example of dialogue that was explicitly and obviously Helen’s. No other character in Narbonic would describe the event this way.
Man, feet are great. Even if you draw them kind of badly, they’re still really funny.
Yeah, so I made an actual Boggle square and got all these words from it. I got a lot of the words from the indispensable Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure and Preposterous Words. I think I started with “catastasis” and “transistorations” and built the square around it. Artie is using letters twice, which I’m not sure you’re allowed to do under standard Boggle rules.
The spell checker on WebComicsNation recognizes “catastasis” but not “transistorations.”
Anyway, I worked so hard on the Boggle thing that I figured I could get away with drawing only three panels. When all’s said and done, though, it’s Helen and Dave in the third panel that really makes this strip for me. I did not work enough opportunities for the line, “To the rejuvenation chamber!” into Narbonic.
Based on this strip, Jeff Wells told me these two had to hook up. He was totally right.
Originally, Dave’s line in the last panel was, “…this was the greatest outfit ever,” referring to Helen’s lab-coat-over-the-dress ensemble. Then I realized it wasn’t clear whose outfit he was talking about. They’re both pretty great outfits.
A lot of this storyline is based on one of my favorite movies, Wings of Desire. In college I once spent $60 on a cab to go see that movie in a neighboring town and it was totally worth it. The oft-mentioned Jeff Wells, my collaborator on Skin Horse, is also a fan, and we bonded over it at around this time.
Helen apparently has some kind of switchblade scalpel. “Flick” is one of those words you can’t use in a comic with all-caps lettering.
All the funny stuff is in the first two panels of this strip. Sometimes it works out that way.
Helen is right. I really wanted the visual of Caliban falling out of the sky, but I needed to explain how that made sense if he was coming from Hell. Fortunately, I was really into medieval cosmologies. The idea that the physical universe is a series of concentric spheres, with both Heaven and Hell lying outside, was a common model. I think the universe in Milton’s Paradise Lost is set up this way.
Caliban’s pose in the third panel is based on Jacques-Louis David’s Death of Socrates, although it also resembles Plato in Raphael’s School of Athens. This is now the classiest strip in Narbonic.
It’s weird having scientists and supernatural beings in the same comic. The Narbonic universe is structured one way for people like Helen and another way for people like Caliban. As they say in the Discworld books, it’s probably because of the quantum.