D, D’: February 20-25, 2006

And we segue into a new storyline! The title is a takeoff on the classic and long-out-of-print-in-English manga A, A’, by Moto Hagio. This may sound obscure, but Moto Hagio ought to be known and renowned for all her amazing works.

I wrote this strip at the eleventh hour, after the other strips in this week, but it came out well. Good work advancing the plot, me!

This is another strip I kind of wrote at the last minute to tie the other strips together and move the plot along, but it turned out pretty well.

The “Do Not Enter” sign in the first panel has a sign taped to it reading, “Mell, this means you!” Opportunities for background gags aside, hallway shots like that are among my least favorite things to draw, after cars. I can never get things to look right in perspective.

This is the kind of strip that happens when I’m trying to write strips, and I suddenly realize I don’t have Dave anymore to bounce gags off of, and then I’m sad. As an added bonus, Artie is wearing both a lab coat and safety goggles. So basically this strip is excellent.

I like this strip, not in the least because I only had to draw two panels. But I also like the stuff about the core cast breaking up and going their separate ways. My family moved around a lot when I was little, and the theme of losing contact with friends and loved ones comes up a lot in my comics. I have a lot of dear friends I don’t see enough of. Facebook does not count.

I decided at some point that Artie is ambidextrous, so I can draw him with a pencil in either hand. I worry about this kind of thing.

I think I wrote this strip around Year Three of Narbonic. You have no idea how happy I was to come up with it. Now it seems obvious, but–and I’ll talk about this more later–at the time I was delighted to have a way to bring this iteration of Dave back into the story. I ended up getting a lot of strips out of it, and as far as I’m concerned that’s a successful idea.

That’s a pen behind Dave’s ear in the last panel. I know it looks like he’s been tagged and released into the wild.

Dave usually blames Helen for his death, even though it was her mom’s doing, so “nearly killing me” is a step up.

16 thoughts on “D, D’: February 20-25, 2006

  1. I’ve never read more than bits of A, A’, but I love They Were Eleven! to pieces.

    Has anyone ever considered translating TW11!’s sequel, Eastern Horizon, Western Eternity?

  2. Monday:

    Helen doesn’t marvel at the sheer malevolence and unbridled cruelty of her work quite often enough. Never really steps back and thinks “the survivors of this thing will totes be naming their death gods after me.”

    I’d also like to say that panel 3 is about 3000% funnier than it would’ve been if Artie wasn’t in rodent form.

  3. (TUNE: “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off”, by Ira & George Gershwin)

    Oh, you are despotic, and I am anarchic …
        I am neurotic, and you are cathartic!
    Let’s have a big standoff!

    Well, you are so lawful, while I am horrific!
        You’re mean and awful, while I am pacific!
    Let’s have a big standoff!

    But oh, if we have a big standoff,
    Then we must spar!
    And oh, if we ever spar,
    We’ll start the Third World War!

    For I am bimorphic, and you’re gender-swapping …
        You’re small and fuzzy, and I am eye-popping!
    I’m morphing!
        I’m swapping!
    I’m fuzzy!
    Now at each other’s claims we’ll scoff!
    Let’s have a big standoff!

  4. Yes it is too much to ask, that comes later when you move back in and find out that they turned your room in to sex dungeon.

  5. Wednesday:

    Silent Penultimate Panels: 53. It’s kind of delightfully ambiguous as to whether this counts as Fourth Wall Breaking Dialogue #70, but it’s tempting to read panel 3 as the characters glancing sadly at the whole sorry strip. (I should more frequently note our host’s use of borderless panels as emphasis.)

  6. (TUNE: “Holding Out For A Hero”, Bonnie Tyler)

    Look at Mell and Artie chat, down in Narbonic lair …
    But the joke is falling flat, ’cause Davenport ain’t there!
    Making nasty comments, about Computer Sci,
    Doesn’t work without our fat and pale computer guy!

    We need a nerd boy!
    We’re sadly lacking a nerd, to be the butt of our jokes!
    He should look like a fool,
    ‘Cause he isn’t as cool
    As the gorgeous and muscular folks!
    Where is our nerd boy?
    A nerd surviving on Slim Jims ‘n’ Cheetos ‘n’ Cokes!
    He’s the one that we choose
    For our verbal abuse,
    But I cannot recall if he smokes?
    He never smokes …

  7. Aw, you worry too much!  It’s not as if any of your fans publicly dissect every strip in order to literally keep numbered lists of anything that might in even the most vague and unimportant sense be consered a flaw.

  8. So Artie’s a switch-hitter?  Never would’ve guessed …

    (TUNE: “Squeeze Box”, The Who)

    Gotta find the fuse box,
    It’s dark in here!
    And the gang’s moving on,
    It seems the end is near!

       And it doesn’t seem right!
       I got no one to fight!
       Gotta find the fuse box,
       Gotta get some freakin’ light!

    You and Dave, the guys
    Cleaning up our mess!
    Can you hear me agonize?
    Can you feel my stress!

       And it doesn’t seem right!
       Are you sensing my plight?
       Gotta find the fuse box,
       Gotta get some freakin’ light!

    It goes on and off and on and off and on and off and on and off …

  9. Friday:

    This is a very good way of starting this story line. The moody darkness really adds a lot to the unreality of this episode.

  10. I remember when I reached this point in the series I thought “Wait, is that why she had Dave change his hairstyle lo these many years ago?”

  11. (TUNE: “I’m The Urban Spaceman”, Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band)

    I’m the brand-new lab technician, that is me …
    Brand-new employee!
    I’m the brand-new lab technician, fixing the power,
    Less than half an hour!

    Yeah, Helen nearly killed me when we had our interview,
    But in this weak economy, there’s worse that I could do!
    I’m the brand-new lab technician, working here,
    Fixing all your gear!

    I’m just a plain computer nerd,
    Your basic high-tech geek!
    Yeah, didn’t Helen pass the word?
    I started here last week!

    I’m the brand-new lab technician, Davenport, D. …
    “Dave”, my friends call me!
    I’m the brand-new lab technician, Mell’s struck dumb …
    Where did I come from?

    Last week, there was a tragic scene between my boss and me …
    But now I have returned again, without my memory!
    I’m the brand-new lab technician, Helen has said
    Soon I will be dead!

  12. “That’s a pen behind Dave’s ear in the last panel. I know it looks like he’s been tagged and released into the wild.”

    Knowing Helen, what makes you think that that’s not the case?

    • Just as an odd comment that’s years too late, but I’ve only just reread Narbonic with the commentary. Having not heard of the manga reference, I’d always assumed the name of the storyline was just using the prime symbol from mathematical notation, where x’ means typically is something similar to but different to x. So D original Dave, and D’ his clone.

      Of course, I’d guess that the name A A’ for the manga actually does come from the mathematical notation, given that it seems it is about a clone.

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