The End: January 9-14, 2006

Helen and Dave are coming in to work together because they’ve been staying over at each others’ places. Assuming Helen has a place, I guess. You never see it.

The lab lost its previous coffeemaker when Dave inadvertently sent it into deep space, triggering a new policy of Not Letting Dave Go Around Unsupervised.

I didn’t leave Mell in the afterlife very long. I figured that nobody reading the strip would believe she was gone for good, so keeping her away would just generate false tension. Also, it’s surprisingly hard to keep Narbonic going without Mell. Her humor-generating ability is sorely needed.

This is, of course, based on my honeymoon in Hawaii. Which I highly recommend. That place is great.

I was making a conscious effort at this point to draw Dave in clothes other than his standard flannel shirt. Check out his logo T! Relatively stylish, Dave!

I never drew Helen’s office all that often, but I managed to keep the “Hang in There, Baby!” gerbil poster from the first week of strips. Helen must not redecorate much.

I came up with Helen’s final line at the very last minute, I think while I was actually drawing the strip. It works pretty well.

This is mostly a plot-bearing strip and I don’t have much to say about it…except that, yes, I did draw the same logo T on like every character. I was not into clothes.

I feel like this is where I officially did one too many strip where the gag is just Mell really, really wanting to shoot something. But at the same time, it was so hard not to do them. I mean, look how happy she is. Also, I needed to fill out the week, because I didn’t want to break up the conversation that fills the week after next. So Mell bouncing up with a brace of peculiar-looking guns it is.

SPOILERS: Helen is awfully confident that she knows how best to preserve Dave’s sanity. As it turns out, she’s right–almost–but Artie sounds pretty damn reasonable here. Of course Helen’s behavior is also self-serving, since the last thing she wants is to confront Dave about what she’s been doing to him.

Okay, so basically this entire week was a buildup to having Helen freak out. That said, this is one of the strips that I think looked better in the thumbnail. She was really crazy in that one.

I always liked doing the “mad” text, to the point that I sometimes made it illegible. Sorry.

26 thoughts on “The End: January 9-14, 2006

  1. I know the Sunday installment only just posted at the same time as this one, but I confess that I don’t get it.  Could you offer some exigesis?

  2. It’s not missing.  Hitting the “back” button just takes you to the last page of a multi-page installment.  Hit “back” a couple more time, or just use the navigation menu below to find the story called “Just Think”.

    As for today … now the strip has officially been to Mell and back.

  3. Tuesday:

    Personally, I’ve always wondered about the fact that the word “paradise” has over the last century become inextricably linked with the word “tropical”. And, given how many cartoon characters fantasise about tropical vacations as the end result of their get-rich-quick schemes, so strongly and longingly as if beaches and suntans were the epitome of pleasure, I wonder if there isn’t some bigger cosmic truth behind this – at least in cartoon-land.

    Silent penultimate panels: 51.

  4. (TUNE: “Blue Hawaii”, Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger)

    Heaven’s kinda like Hawaii …
    There’s lots of fun to be had,
    The poi is not really bad!

    Heaven’s got good macaroni …
    It’s not too touristy,
    Seemed nice to me!

    Is our Mell
    Messing with us?  We can’t tell!
    Poor Artie’s faith
    Is shot to hell!

    Heaven’s kinda like Hawaii …
    Know why she hadn’t stayed?
    It’s not as good as get-ting laid!

  5. Wednesday:

    I choose to believe that Mell put on a mock accent roughly matching Helen’s throughout this conversation.

  6. (TUNE: “Let ‘Em In”, Paul McCartney)

    Mell is sitting at my desk,
    In my innermost lair!
    Mell is sitting at my desk,
    She’s right there in my chair!
    Telling me calmly,
    “Dave’s gotta go …
    Get him out!”

    Dave’s a danger, she will say!
    Weird-ass stuff going on!
    Getting stranger ev’ry day!
    He must go, or be gone!
    “I’m gonna kill him,
    If’n you don’t …
    Get him out!”

       Gentle voice, she …
       Gives commands!
       Simple choice, she …
       Now demands!
       Doesn’t panic,
       Doesn’t shout …
       “I’m gonna kill Dave;
       Get him ou-out!”

    All these clever little quips,
    She’s had time now to think!
    All my little paperclips,
    She’s had time now to link!
    All out of time now,
    “Go on, shove off!
    Get him out!”

  7. Given Tip’s wardrobe (not to mention Tigerlily’s), I’d say you’ve changed for the better.

  8. Thursday:

    “Cutting back on on-site deaths”? Helen, you don’t need to be in Boss Mode to justify Mell not killing your boyfriend. You may be the girl’s ethical role model but it’s a bit late to conceal your forbidden work romance.

    Silent panel threes’s: 52.

  9. Artie’s more of a True Neutral.  His mirror-universe double would be exactly like him.  They’d spend hours debating politics, acknowledging each other’s valid points.

  10. Official Big Freakin’ ™ Gun count: 49 and 50 — a twofer!

    (TUNE: “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio, by Harline and Washington)

    I’ve got two guns
    With which to shoot,
    And boy, each one
    Is such a beaut!
    Is so much fun
    With two Big Freakin’ Guns!

       Who knew
       What each would do?
       Which one should I trigger first?
       Hells yes!
       I’ll make a mess
       When I make his liver burst!

    The only way
    To save poor Dave
    Is put him back
    Into his grave!
    Ammo’s here,
    And I’ve got tons
    For these two B.F. Guns!

  11. Saturday:

    A “1000 Free Fonts” CD just called from the 90’s. It says it’s suing Helen for plagiarism.

    It’s kind of sad that this is what will prevent Helen from accepting Dave’s inevitable transformation – not so much concern for him but revulsion at herself.

  12. I like how Artie in the third panel has the one little hair knocked out of place by Helen’s tirade.

    Actually, I love Helen’s tirade.  It sums up the whole conflict that’s been building in her … her scientific mind anticipating the climax of a years-long experiment, vs. her emotional side trying to save someone she loves from a life of madness.

    Actually, I love everything about this strip.  Well done, Shaenon.

  13. Mell’s and Artie’s conclusion in the Saturday strip seems to be in direct contradiction to what we saw happing. Helen (Beta) shouting at them, then refusing to accept further input on the matter? That might be Mad behaviour (though not behaviour characterising Mad), it might also be Mom behaviour (for a certain kind of mom), but we have seen no indication that this is likely Helen Alpha behaviour; Dr. Narbon would likely rather react by poisoning them or otherwise punishing them for speaking up to her.

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