Note that Helen has made use of the cellular destabilizer she was planning to build with the Crystal of Marina. Also that I misspelled “destabilizer.” After this, Helen will immediately forget that she owns a cellular destabilizer, and it will ultimately end up as a raffle prize at the company Valentine’s Day party.
As was mentioned last week, all the insane superintelligent gerbils are named after folks from the Nonhuman Students Organization at Vassar. Hi, Marc! Hi, Ben!
The song list continues…
7. “Science Genius Girl,” by Freezepop
I’m a science genius girl
I won the science fair
I wear a white lab coat
DNA strands in my hair
When I clone a human being
It will want to hold my hand
When I clone a human being
It will be a member of my band
Of course, Freezepop wrote an actual, intentional webcomic theme song: “Here Comes a Special Boy,” about Philippe of Achewood. But you can’t really blame them, inasmuch as Achewood is one of the greatest comics of all time.
TRUE SCIENCE FACT: When my friend Jason Thompson was first becoming obsessed with Achewood, playing “Here Comes a Special Boy” would cause him to totally flip out.
Look! The cellular destabilizer! With the Crystal of Marinia itself embedded within! IT’S ALL WITHIN CONTINUITY!
Okay, okay. Obviously, the more immediately arresting sight here is my ridiculous rendition of Sir Pounce strapped to a cartoon dynamite array with a clock on the side. At least, I hope everyone can tell that’s what’s going on. It was kind of hard to fit into the panel.
8. “Weird Science,” by Oingo Boingo
My creation–Is it real?
It’s my creation–I do not know
No hesitation–No heart of gold
Just flesh and blood–I do not know
I do not know
From my heart and from my hand
Why don’t people understand
Another obvious one. Sadly, it was wasted as the theme song of the vastly undeserving movie of the same title. That’s right, I’m going to come out and say it: Weird Science is a lousy movie. It’s not even weird science. It’s weird random magic crap that doesn’t make any sense. And even leaving aside the magic-lady-drops-from-the-sky-to-be-love-slave-of-creepy-teenage-virgins premise, which I’m already sick of because I work in the manga industry, the whole film has a weird sexual vibe, what with the sleepovers and the group showers and the Anthony Michael Hall walking around in panties and the unanswered question of where they got those bras they wear on their heads. The only sexually healthy moment in the entire film is when we get to see Bill Paxton’s naked butt.
My friend Derek Kirk will defend this film for the same reason anyone ever does: the part where the guys make the computerized boobs grow and shrink. To that I say, “Fie!” Revenge of the Nerds is ten times the nerd movie that Weird Science is. Allow me to delineate.
Weird Science: Lame nerds who aren’t even very nerdy, not even Anthony Michael Hall.
Revenge of the Nerds: Satisfyingly nerdy nerds.
Weird Science: Nerds use cruddy fake science that involves hooking Barbie dolls to Commodores to make random magic crap happen.
Revenge of the Nerds: Nerds use plausible science to achieve clear goals: spying on sorority girls, giving football players jock itch, and being served by a robot butler.
Weird Science: Timidly covered nudity.
Revenge of the Nerds: Bush.
Weird Science: No girl nerds; only female characters are hot fantasy objects.
Revenge of the Nerds: Omega Mu, the nerd sorority, predates the nerd fraternity, Tri Lam, proving the supremacy of girl nerds. Also, it includes Michelle Meyrink, the nerd dream girl of the 1980s: she starred in Revenge of the Nerds, Real Genius, and Nice Girls Don’t Explode, and dated Crispin Glover.
Weird Science: “Happy ending” has nerds cave to conformity by transforming into 1980s-era cool kids, i.e. soulless Yuppie scum. They throw a big party for their popular classmates, get cookie-cutter trophy girlfriends, acquire expensive cars and clothes, and probably grow up to run an S&L.
Revenge of the Nerds: Truly inspiring ending has nerds stand up to society and take pride in their nerdiness, ultimately inspiring their entire college campus to embrace the way of the nerd. In the sequels, this precipitates the transformation of their college from a jock stronghold to “nerd Israel.”
Weird Science: Does not feature Curtis “Booger” Armstrong.
Revenge of the Nerds: Features Booger.
Really, my only serious criticism against Revenge of the Nerds is the scene where Louis tricks the hot coed into having sex with him by disguising himself as her boyfriend. Remember, nerds: date rape is not cool, even if you think of a really clever way to do it! Other than that, Revenge of the Nerds suffers only from not having an awesome Oingo Boingo song on its soundtrack.
And, of course, Real Genius is better than either movie. But it doesn’t have Curtis Armstrong.
Why did I color the explosion? I…I don’t know. I just…don’t…know. Sometimes my thought processes are arcane and obscure even to me.
Everyone was indeed upset that I killed Sir Pounce. And, later, that I condemned him to Hell. HAHAHAHAHA! Even late in the run of Narbonic, I occasionally got email asking me to resurrect Sir Pounce. Alas, he’s like the Bucky of the Narboniverse: only Sir Pounce stays dead.
(Note to non-comic-book-nerds: Bucky is Captain America’s dead sidekick, and the subject of a long-standing fan truism that he was the one character who would never be resurrected. They brought him back a couple of years ago. And now Captain America’s dead. This month, anyway.)
9. “Wonder Wine,” by Shonen Knife
Wonder wine you gave me
Wonder wine you know what it is
Wonder wine you gave me
Did you experiment with me
Heck, I love Shonen Knife anyway, and this song always makes me think of Helen and her mother, slipping compounds into goblets of pink wine.
I can’t believe I so much as considered cutting Artie’s teeny-tiny gerbil sprites. I mean, how freaking cute are they? And, on the scale they’re presented, they’ve got to be the size of little bitty ladybugs.
This does, however, bring up a metaphysical question that people have actually asked me in the past [SPOILER ALERT OH YES SPOILERS]: when Artie is in human form, are his personality sprites human or gerbil? Answer: gerbil, because that would be cuter.
10. “Inventions,” by Stuart Davis
Put your hand inside the jar
Goddammit I’m in charge
Keep those wires in your mouth
Don’t spit ’em out
I’m inventing what will be
The thing that tells me
What invented me
A genuinely creepy song, and a good one for the later stretch of Narbonic. I got it off the last Narbonicon CD; thanks again to the Narbonicon folks.
The gray fill in the first panel is unpleasantly distracting. But I like Mell’s gun in the last panel. As I said in last Sunday’s notes, around this time I started using reference for guns, which was a huge help. Guns are actually really easy to draw. They’re basically just stacks of rectangles.
In response to James Rice, who commented yesterday that it was a shame I never drew the gerbil sprites with human Artie: I live to serve.
11. “Apeman,” by the Kinks
I think I’m so educated and I’m so civilized
‘Cause I’m a strict vegetarian
But with the overpopulation and inflation and starvation
And the crazy politicians
I dont feel safe in this world no more
I dont want to die in a nuclear war
I want to sail away to a distant shore and make like an ape man
Songs about turning into an ape (of which there are a surprising number; see also “Monkey Man” by David Byrne and “De-Evolving” by the aforementioned Jonathan Coulton) always make me think of Artie. But the speaker in this song actually sounds a lot like him. Also, I’m a big fan of the Kinks. So there.
The “KAMIKAZE!” in the third panel is weirdly darkened. It would be some time before I’d finally buckle down and start doing proper bold text. Sigh.
“Viva El Presidente!” is a reference to an episode of “The Young Ones” in which Mike takes over the house and installs Vyvyan as his commandant and personal thug. Vyvyan marches around stomping people and screaming, “Viva El Presidente!” It’s a pretty fantastic episode.
12. “An Example Show,” by Do Peterson
In this example, we have 100 affected sibling pairs: 15 that share 0 alleles identical by descent, 48 that share 1 and 37 that share 2 alleles identical by descent. What this means for recessive and multiplicative penetrances is that the maximum likelihood estimate of our sibling recurrence risk ratio derived from the data is significantly, highly significantly greater than 1. A similar result can be seen for the additive penetrance.
Not a mad-science song, but actual science set to music! Do Peterson presented his biostatistics dissertation as a pop album, My Dissertation. He followed it with another album, Muscles and Magnets, with tracks like “Hooray for NMR Spectroscopy!” He’s an inspiration.