Demons: February 23-28, 2004

I’ve always liked this strip, and I’m not sure why. On reflection, it’s probably because “enfleshed” is a funny word.

Looking at this strip now, with full benefit of hindsight, I may have made that hypodermic too big.


Originally I had Helen say that Caliban appears to be in his mid-thirties, but I decided to make him (physically) younger. With my artwork, it’s hard to tell how old anyone is supposed to be.

Helen’s medical readout screen has a desktop with heart-patterned wallpaper. It would, I guess.

For no particular reason, Caliban quotes “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” one of my favorite poems, in the second panel. I like Dave’s face as he waits for Helen to leave so he can kick the crap out of Caliban. It’s so hard to get that kind of expression on a character with no eyeballs.

Hey, remember when I said I once spent $60 on cabfare to see Wings of Desire in a town outside my college? Apparently Chelsea Clinton is getting married there. In the town, I mean, not necessarily in the movie theater. That’s really random. It’s a beautiful town, though.

I have a weak spot for the angry-character-held-at-arm’s-length bit, which is why I spend TWO DAYS on it here. What the hell, Caliban trying to make Dave’s flesh curdle is funny.

This is the kind of thing I think is funny. I’m sorry. I would’ve stretched it out over several more days if I’d thought I could get away with it.

You know, Dave’s come a long way by this point in the strip. He’s really in control in this storyline. For now.

47 thoughts on “Demons: February 23-28, 2004

  1. Monday:

    The enfleshening process is just as disgusting as you might imagine it to be. (If he needs to feel better about his newly enfeebled meatiness, he could perhaps think of it as becoming his own avatar.)

    This is actually the second time in this comic that a non-human is swiftly cast into the bewildering shape of humanity. One could be forgiven for thinking that we’re treading slightly similar ground to that in a few scenes of Doppelganger Gambit (but then, I suppose the Bewonderment of Transformation is a mandatory font of comedy for pretty much any arc featuring unwieldy shapechanging, including The Geek or even Gender Swap).

  2. @Ed: That was a well thought out, and excellantly timed pun. Bravo!

    Am I the only person wondering if Hell has a gift shop? (And I don’t mean the town of Hell in Michigan)

  3. Too bad, because in that Hell every building (all three of them!) is a gift shop.

    Or, at least that’s how it was last time I was in Hell.

  4. @Ed:  Have I told you lately that you’re my hero?  Because you totally and completely are.  (Well, you’ve got a prominent place in my pantheon of heroes, anyway, which puts you in very good company.)

  5. @Shaenon: Yes!  Why aren’t more people going over to “Everyday Heroes” and writing song filk for Ed?  (Not me though, I already have a palce for all my song filk.)

  6. @Shaenon: Challenge accepted!

    (Tune: Man they call Jayne, Firefly):

    The man they call, EDDDDDDDDD!

    Oh he read all the comics,
    Then wrote what he saw
    He matched it to music,
    And then took the floor
    Our love for his work,
    Is easily said;
    That legend of filking,
    The man they call Ed!

    Now his words set the whole world a shakkin’
    And he saw there was a real need
    For a man to set his mind to filkin’
    And post it up for all of us to read
    We said “He must be some kind of robot”
    “He must be a filking machine!”
    So he had to admit
    His songs were a hit
    When we all agreed that they were pretty keen!

    Oh he read all the comics,
    Then wrote what he saw
    He matched it to music,
    And then took the floor
    Our love for his work,
    Is easily said;
    That legend of filking,
    The man they call Ed!

  7. @Daffyd:  Congratulations on having made what is probably the most perfect match between Source Material and Filk Subject that can possibly be achieved.  I salute you.

  8. (BTW, thanks to everyone for the encouragement.  It keeps me going.  Of course, depending on your opinions of my filks, that may or may not be a good thing.)

    (TUNE: “Like A Virgin”, Madonna)

    I have escaped the afterlife!
    I had a sort-of-birth!
    Didn’t know what pain was like
    ‘Til I fell to Earth!

    Now I’m fresh … in the flesh!
    Coming straight … from the Great Abyss!
    But I think I have …
    Yes, I thi-i-ink I have
    Some qualms about this!

    Like a victim,
    Caught, one of Helen’s subjects!
    Like a victim …
    Next to Hell, well,
    Helen’s next!

  9. Ah yes, I recognise that type of hyperdermic. It’s a comedy type designed to make other needles look better by comparison.

  10. Wednesday:

    I just want to say that this strip is pretty amazing in its delivery, in that it manages to make the erudite and eloquent Caliban’s panel 3 line seem almost like a non-sequitur. (And, of course, one can’t overlook the quality of Dave’s superbly underplayed reaction.)

    Mell is nothing if not quick on the draw.

  11. (TUNE: “Everything Is Beautiful”, Ray Stevens)

         Everyone is beautiful!
         When they wear flesh!
         Just ’cause I’m incarnate now,
         And I’m looking with eyes afresh!
         Everyone is beautiful!
         When they’re in skin!
         Seems that I’ve got hormones now,
         And libido deep within!

    I never knew
    Eyes could sparkle, so blue!
    Or that golden hair could flow!
    I say to Mell,
    “You’re hotter than Hell!”
    And Mell replies, “I know.”
    Hear Dave explain,
    My lust I’ll restrain
    Now that I’ve become a monkey …
    Yeah, Dave is smart
    At affairs of the heart!
    (And what’s more, he’s awfully hunky!)
         (repeat CHORUS)

  12. Lessons for surviving life as a mortal #1:

    Blurting out everything that crosses you mind is not conductive to remaining upright and breathing. Try installing a brain/mouth filter, unless you really like the taste of foot.

  13. I think I mentioned before. But Caliban discovering “the pleasures of the flesh” is one of the best things in this comic

  14. Dave will now purge Caliban of the last remaining traces of his demonic nature.

    Translation: Dave’s about to beat the hell out of him.

  15. @Ed: Right, that deserves a Second Verse of “Man they call Ed” 😛

    Now here is what shows us a Legend
    A Hero, if you will, for all time
    The man they call Ed, has placed in his head
    All the words he needs to make a rhyme

    He knows the words he needs to send a message
    Knows the words he needs to not be wrong

    And the man they call Ed, his eyes turning red
    Sat down and wrote another filking song!

    Oh he read all the comics,
    Then wrote what he saw
    He matched it to music,
    And then took the floor
    Our love for his work,
    Is easily said;
    That legend of filking,
    The man they call EDDDDDDDDD!

  16. Someone needs to write the whole “Love Song of D. Prescott Davenport”. (The concern about his hair getting thin would be particularly appropriate, given his reaction to his future self.)

  17. Let us go then, you and I

    Where the patient is etherised on the table

    Like the evening spread out against the sky

  18. Friday:

    What you can’t see is that Dave is actually lifting Caliban. His legs are spinning below that panel border.

  19. (TUNE: “Fly Like An Eagle”, Steve Miller Band)

    I fall to the ground now,
    Flesh I’ve acquired!
    Appalled when I found how
    You got me fired!

    So now I curse ye, ye mortal
    Foolish thing!
    Curse ye, ye mortal,
    Feel my hellish power sting!
    So now I curse ye, ye mortal
    Foolish thing!
    Curse ye, ye mortal,
    Why’s your flesh not cur-dl-ing?

  20. @Ed: Wow.  Steve Miller would be jealous. 

    Wait, given some of the rhymes Steve Miller’s made over the years, he could be jealous of pretty much anyone.  I guess that’s not much of a compliment.

    ‘pompatus of love’.  Yeesh.

  21. I really hope, for his sake, that “curdle” isn’t the most threatening verb at Caliban’s disposal.

  22. Eh, flesh curdling is so 12th Century. There are so many other uses for flesh.

    Today’s modern active Demons prefer the 3 F’s; flaying, filleting, and the use of the Foreman (the grill, not the two times former world heavyweight champion)

  23. So a friend of mine who I just recently convinced to read Narbonic — which of course turned him into a raging fanboy 🙂 — went to SDCC last week, and purchased the first three volumes for me.  And I just received them from him.

    And you signed the first one!  With a little Artie sketch, and the i dotted with a heart, and it’s so awesome I want to do cartwheels but this room is too small!

    Thank you, Shaenon 🙂

  24. I feel bad for Caliban every time I read this strip. Or at least, I feel bad for him until I remember that he gets to have Mell, and then there is no sympathy, only envy.

  25. I bet Dave, as a younger brother, has been waiting his entire life to be on this end of that situation.

  26. Oh, and, Sam: I’m in the midst of relocating the servers those copies of the filename stories are on. My old ISP went away Friday morning, and the activation date for my new connection isn’t until Monday (and I wouldn’t put money on FairPoint actually hitting that date). In the meantime, I’ve still got the files, but I don’t have any means of making them publically accessible. They’ll be back whenever this here blinkenlight stops blinking.

    Maybe I’ll quit slacking and get the Skin Horse one caught up while I’m waiting…

  27. Saturday:

    That poor fellow’s eyes. He never thought leaving the pits of Hell would be so distressing.

  28. (TUNE: “Bittersweet Symphony”, The Verve)

    I’m such an idiot … stuck in human form!
    I can’t burn his flesh, I can’t even make it warm!
    This just isn’t right!
    I can’t fight, I can’t smite!
    Now I’m stuck in this weak
    And pathetic physique!
    By all unholy hells, I won-
    Der, what have I gone and done?
    Why’d I do it?  Bloody screw it …!

  29. Also, in case there were one or two people on the planet not aware of this … it was exactly ten years ago today (July 31, 2000) that the first “Narbonic” strip was posted online!  In honor of this auspicious day …

    (TUNE: “Almost Like Being In Love”, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe)

    What a decade it’s been!
    Shaenon G., For The Win!
    She’s the … crazy cartoonist we love!

    It’s today, less ten years,
    When Narbonic appears
    By that … crazy cartoonist we love!

    Now, we know, Shaenon’s beau just might say
    That he’s fonder of Valentine’s Day …

    But her fans, best to worst,
    Love July thirty-first!
    Yes, it’s been an adventure-y
    Tenth of a century!
    Your cartoons, we want more thereof!
    No time for hating,
    We’re celebrating
    That crazy cartoonist we love!

  30. Reminds me of that James Blish duology, where Armageddon gets set off early, the demons come out of Hell to take over… and then they’re all “WTF?  We don’t have anything to do to them, that’s worse than what they were doing to each other!”


  31. Lessons for surviving life as a mortal #2:

    Human is a bad choice for a mortal form. It has no natural weapons, poor survival insticts and no venom sacs.

    Also be aware that you will be sacrificing almost all of the power you have into the incarnation spell matrix, and will no longer be able to regenerate limbs or heads.

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