Man, it’s been a long time since we saw ANTONIO SMITH. Writing hardboiled dialogue for him was always fun. He’s a hard character to draw well, though. I got stuck drawing him in my early, blocky style and never really got out of it. Still, I love him and devoting a whole week to him was awesome.
Also, he’s got a totally cute little bust of Shakespeare on his desk.
Right, so in Two Gentlemen of Verona, the clown Launce has a smelly, troublemaking dog.
He thrusts me himself into the company of three or four gentleman-like dogs under the Duke’s table. He had not been there — bless the mark — a pissing-while but all the chamber smelt him. ‘Out with the dog,’ says one. ‘What cur is that?’ says another. ‘Whip him out,’ says the third. ‘Hang him up,’ says the Duke. I, having been acquainted with the smell before, knew it was Crab, and goes me to the fellow that whips the dogs. ‘Friend,’ quoth I, ‘you mean to whip the dog?’ ‘Ay, marry, do I,’ quoth he. ‘You do him the more wrong,’ quoth I; ”twas I did the thing you wot of.’ He makes me no more ado, but whips me out of the chamber. How many masters would do this for his servant? Nay, I’ll be sworn, I have sat in the stocks for puddings he hath stol’n, otherwise he had been executed. I have stood in the pillory for geese he hath killed, otherwise he had suffered for’t. Thou think’st not of this now. Nay, I remember the trick you served me when I took my leave of Madam Silvia. Did not I bid thee still mark me and do as I do? When didst thou see me heave up my leg and make water against a gentlewoman’s farthingale? Didst thou ever see me do such a trick?
Now that you know that, this strip is hilarious!
On the shelf in the first panel are authors sometimes believed to be Shakespeare, by people who think Shakespeare was a pseudonym: Christopher Marlowe, Edward de Vere, and Sir Francis Bacon. The name on the last spine, the one mostly concealed by the mad scientists, is Foster; as I’ve mentioned before ANTONIO SMITH was inspired by my college professor Don Foster.
Dr. Foster swears by the Riverside edition of Shakespeare, not in the least because it includes “A Funeral Elegy by W.S.,” which Dr. Foster attributed to Shakespeare with his forensic linguistics techniques.
This may be the most Shakespeare-nerdy comic strip ever drawn, plus I drew a pretty good guy getting clocked with the Riverside, ergo this strip is awesome.
Mell’s dialogue is from Lex Luthor in the Superman movie. Andrew quotes that movie a lot. Incidentally, who likes Mell’s action outfit with the tank top and the khakis? I always enjoyed drawing it.
This is practically the only time I bother to draw belts on people. Also, that gun of Mell’s is pretty good. It’s some kind of oversized handgun, I guess. I just made these things up.
The lines on the board behind Mell in the second panel are “Shall I die? Shall I fly?”, the opening lines of a not very good poem possibly by Shakespeare.
SPOILERS: Yes, Helen sent Mell to do this. It’s the secret mission thingy she was talking about at the beginning of the storyline. It was a mission for Narbonics Labs all along. Helen gave Mell several options to assuage her guilt when Mell inevitably chose the most violent one, I guess.
A rare Narbonic action scene! Actually, this turned out pretty nicely. Doing special effects lettering is always fun. And then there’s Mell all flipping over ANTONIO SMITH in the first panel, and hanging from who the hell knows what at the end, and yeah, that’s pretty good. Mell gets some more action scenes in the next storyline, but overall I should’ve done more of these.
Mell quotes Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, and The Tempest, respectively. See, she put a lot of work into this! I like her crazy pose and expression in the first panel. It would actually be pretty scary to have Mell coming at you like this, even if you were a hardened forensic linguist.
Man, this week is fun. Any storyline where I can fit ANTONIO SMITH is a good storyline.