All the NASA acronyms Dave uses are real except for HDD, which, of course, stands for “Hostess Ding-Dong.” This is another of my favorite strips from this storyline, because I would totally do this. I wanted very badly to be an astronaut when I was a kid, in between wanting to be a writer and a psychiatrist.
I still hadn’t figured out how to draw Dave’s hair at this point, but I was getting better. Also, Helen’s right arm in the first panel is total fail. How does that even connect to her body? Drawing is hard.
Incidentally, I have absolutely no idea what Helen is building.
This is really just me messing with Dave’s head, of course. Helen is totally innocent.
I wanted to be accurate about the fact that there are two Van Allen belts around the Earth. This is the kind of thing I worry about.
Helen looks very cute with a power drill. Again, I have no friggin’ idea what she’s building.
This is another case where Dave is standing in for me, albeit in his computery, non-poetry-composing way. I wanted to have at least one strip where the characters could pause and note that going to the moon is super freaking awesome.
When Dave went into space at the beginning of the week, I made him shave off his mustache and go back to just the chin scruff. There’s no special significance to the change; I just decided I didn’t like the mustache. The combination of shaggy hair and chin scruff is my favorite look for Dave, and I continued to draw him this way for the rest of the strip. I’m still drawing his hair too flat here, but eventually I got the hang of it.
Also, I think he looks cute with his flannel off.
This strip is, of course, based on the famous tearjerking sci-fi story “The Cold Equations,” by Tom Godwin. In the original story, an astronaut is forced to throw a teenage stowaway out of an airlock in order to save his ship and its medical cargo. A while back I read a feminist essay which posited that “The Cold Equations” represents the 1950s sci-fi attitude in a nutshell: a square-jawed scientist killing a sexy girl with math.
Anyway, the story bugged me from the time I first read it as a teenager, so sooner or later I had to do a version where the girl throws the astronaut out the airlock.
Dave’s leg is too long in the last panel because I couldn’t figure out where to draw in his foot. I actually fiddled with it for a long time when I penciled it, but it came out looking wonky anyway. Oh well.
I’m sorry, this one still cracks me up. Sometimes I’m awesome. In fact, I’m awesome throughout most of this lengthy storyline. Good work, me!
Helen finds a surprising number of ways to keep busy while Dave and Mell are off in space. Earlier this week she was building a… thing, and now she’s playing Scrabble. More on that tomorrow.
This strip came out of a bit in Jeffrey Wells’ very long fanfic about how Helen always wins at Scrabble because she knows all kinds of multi-syllabic medical terminology. Even in the days before Skin Horse, I was stealing all of Jeffrey’s good ideas.