Not a lot of Narbonic strips stand up really well on their own, without any knowledge of the characters and story, but this is one of them. I mean, c’mon, this is awesome. The mad scientist at the podium is Dr. Vivisectus from Man-Man, by Matthew Shepherd and James Duncan.
I wish I’d found ways to make the guy in the last panel even more miserably mutilated, but Madblood’s expression is exactly what I was going for, so it’s good. And what a lovely plaque!
Dave is just saying what I was thinking. I couldn’t believe I ended up drawing him in a tie so much. He dressed up for the Valentine’s Day party, for the TV appearance that led to the road trip, and now for this. Helen is wearing pretty much the same thing she wore for her class reunion. I did give her a different neckline, so maybe it’s a new dress.
Madblood’s speech is excellent. That is all I have to say on the subject.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in seeing what my non-illustrated writing looks like, I have a short story up at Strange Horizons. It is also excellent.
Evil geniuses always have to get blown up immediately after declaring themselves invincible. Madblood appears later in the evening none the worse for wear, though, so I guess he managed somehow.
Dave is blase and distracted even by Dave standards here. He doesn’t even care about Helen tackling and straddling him. This is the way I get when there’s a dessert cart.
See, Lovelace should just go for it. Because Dave is, when you get down to it, a reliable guy. He’d be more or less okay with the not-having-a-physical-body thing. Darn you, Lovelace, for being so cowardly!
That said, the very defensive “I’m not a beast-woman!” is a line of which I’m still very fond.
Dave’s self-assessment is very harsh, but that’s Dave for you. He does drink an awful lot of Mountain Dew. Speaking of which, putting trademarked names in quotation marks is an old newspaper strip rule I picked up from Bloom County. Thanks again, Bloom County, for launching the careers of myself and so many other nerds! (Recently I got to interview Berkeley Breathed for a Cartoon Art Museum show catalog, and I tried to convey how much I and countless other geeks owed to his work, but I probably failed. I should have just spontaneously recited Opus’s Casper Weinberger poem. You’re a hero to us all, Mr. Breathed.)
In some ways, Dave and Lovelace are a really good match. Also, Lovelace-centric strips tended to be really easy to draw, at least at this point. She got more complicated to draw later on. Still, she’s a fine character who doesn’t deserve any of the things that happen to her in Narbonic, poor thing. Sorry, Lovelace.
I wanted to have what passes for a tender moment between Madblood and Lovelace. He does care about her, in his limited and distractible way. I have a soft spot for the strips that make Madblood a little more sympathetic, since I pile on him so much the rest of the time.
One thing really bugs me about this strip, though: Lovelace’s monitor seems to be looking straight at the reader in the final panel. I didn’t mean for it to come out that way, and in my mind it spoils the delivery and makes the whole thing too obvious. Oh well.