Professor Madblood and the Everlasting Ices of the North: July 3-8, 2006

Artie has a thing for Latino men. I fully support his preference, although I have to admit it’s at least partly influenced by the Judy Blume novel Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself, in which 10-year-old Sally learns from a friend about the special sexual magnetism of “Latin lovers” and later identifies the key attributes of same (dark hair and eyes, smoldering good looks, etc.) in a boy named Peter Hornstein. Now that I think about it, my entire love life can be explained by the influence of that book, including my marriage to a Sicilian and my recurring erotic dreams about the “Sabotage”-era Beastie Boys.

I have to go now.

I never liked the last panel of this one very much, but sometimes you’ve just gotta end a strip. Also, at this point I was getting a tiny bit tired of drawing hamsters.

Anyway, yeah, the hamsters are total Libertarians.

Artie remembers plot points from previous storylines! Good work, Artie!

A lot of the poses and expressions are over the top in strips from this period, but in retrospect it’s all cool. Beats talking heads.

This is a hoary old punchline and I’m shocked that I only used it once. I did only use it once, didn’t I?

Artie’s sad little expression came out surprisingly well.

I like the last line because, you know, the strip’s in black and white.

So…SPOILERS…the hamsters’ plan is to steal Madblood’s forcefield technology, which they need to protect themselves from their own doomsday device. Presumably they learned about the forcefield from those Madblood androids they kidnapped and dismantled. Poor androids.

I’ve said this before, but you can tell which strips I wasn’t happy with because I worked extra hard on the art. I was upset that this particular strip didn’t really have a punchline, but this juncture was a little too serious for a gag. So I drew an awesome flying island instead.

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37 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Everlasting Ices of the North: July 3-8, 2006

  1. I’ve never understood the appeal of Benicio Del Toro.  To me, he looks like he stood too close to a candle, and his face started melting around the eyes.  Andrew, on the other hand, is pretty freakin’ adorable.

  2. I used to be a Libertarian, back in the Eighties.  Then I stopped being a teenager and started noticing how Libertarians actually acted as opposed to what L. Neil Smith wrote about Libertarian utopias…

  3. Tuesday:

    I don’t know what you mean about not liking panel 4 – “but with privatized highways” is a great punchline.

  4. (TUNE: “Life Is A Highway”, Tom Cochrane)

    High-tech island, flying high,
    Li’l Utopia in the sky!
    Built by hamsters with panache!
    Filled, by hamsters, with ganache!
    Keep the best of human seed,
    Save them just so they can breed!
    All the rest we do not need,
    Nuke ’em ’til they’re fricasseed!
       You’re just keeping me
       Because I’m six-foot-three!
       And know how doorknobs work …

          Privatized highways!
          Hamsters are so Lib-er-tar-i-an!
          Privatized highways!
          It’s trite to call this “Or-wel-li-an”!

  5. Sam, what a coincidence. I used to be a liberal in the 1980’s – even voted for Jerry Brown for President. Then I started noticing how liberals actually acted, as opposed to the tolerant, generous image they like to project, and now I’m a libertarian.

  6. I used to be a humanitarian, back in the 80’s.  Then I started noticing how humans actually acted, as opposed to the civil, generous, humane image they like to project in their writings.  Now I’m a hamsterian.

    But Madagascar?  Seriously, hamsters?  Much of its wildlife is endangered already.  Better to stuff the humans in Japan or Cuba.

  7. I used to Be, back at the turn of the Millenium.  Then I saw how existentialists treated each other, and stopped existing.  I am currently an imaginary poster on the internet, nothing more than your fevered dreams.

    Anti-solipsism: I think, therefore I am delusional, and don’t exist.

  8. (TUNE: “Tomorrow” from Annie, Strouse & Charnin)

    Humanity’s here
    There’ll be devastation, but tomorrow,
    They’re alive!
    There’s famine and fear
    Though the Ninety-Nine have sunk so far, oh,
    Some folks thrive!

        When it all goes to hell,
        Then Mell
        Will rise up!
        And she’s gonna destroy —
        Oh, boy,
        That’s bad!

    Humanity’s here
    And their lives of misery and sorrow
    They will curse!

        Tomorrow!  Tomorrow!
        I’ve seen our tomorrow!
        It’s bad and it’s getting worse!
        It’s hellish!  It’s hellish!
        It’s gonna make Mell wish
        To wipe out the u-ni-verse!

  9. Wednesday:

    Sadly, what this proves to the hamsters is that the main end-goal of their plan, the extinction of humanity, is at the very least somewhat delayed. (Also, not even Artie is capable of taking this proof seriously, since he knows the future can be altered.)

  10. Sam, Objectivists can be overbearing and obnoxious, but they don’t deserve to be portrayed as mass murderers any more than libertarians do. Not when Shaenon could’ve chosen Nazis, who murdered 11 million, or communists, who murdered at least 100 million, or Republicans and Democrats who have started wars that murdered hundreds of thousands.

    I mean, really, if you’re looking for someone capable of murdering billions of people, what could possibly bring Objectivists and libertarians to the forefront of your mind? I love Shaenon’s work, but sometimes she displays a tendency to demonize those she disagrees with so much that Rick Santorum looks comparitively enlightened.


  11. @Leon: It’s not that he knows, per se. The next comic will show that he is not really sure about it.

  12. @Ed Josephson:  Nowhere has anyone on this site portrayed libertarians (or any other group) in the manner you state.  Shaenon has never claimed that all libertarians are evil, just that these *particular* hamsters happen to be libertarian.  Adopting libertarianism (or any other view) has never made anyone nicer – nor more competent with logic.

    Shaenon seems to poke more fun at Artie’s ultraliberal politics than at any other, and making the hamsters libertarian is funnier than the other choices.

  13. Tetra, how is making the hamsters libertarian funny? There was one throw-away line about privatized roads – and it wasn’t THAT funny – and there’s nothing else libertarian about them. So where’s the humor?

    As for how Shaenon is portraying libertarians: the most distinctive feature of the hamsters is that they’re murderers. And then she says they’re libertarians, as if that’s compatible with mass murder. Maybe I’m being overly-sensitive, but try drawing a comic where a group of people are all murderers, then throw in the comment “Anyway, yeah, the people are all Jews” and see what happens.


  14. @Ed J:  It’s funnier than the other choices you mention because they’ve all been beaten to death elsewhere.

    And yes, it darn well IS compatible, but what we’re reading about here is wiping out another species (remember – they’re HAMSTERS – do you think commercial fishing is mass murder?).  Libertarians would happily repeal the Endangered Species Act.

  15. OK, Tetra, you just said that libertarianism is compatible with mass murder. This is what I mean by “demonizing” people who disagree with you. Thank you very much.

    And your justification is the Endangered Species Act??! Putting aside for the moment that repealing the ESA is not the same as advocating extinction or intentionally pursuing it (neither of which libertarians do, but which the hamsters are doing), you are suggesting that killing a sentient being is morally equivalent to killing a non-sentient being. I don’t know, maybe you’re a vegan. I’m not, and I disagree with your opinion.

    And if disagreeing with you makes you lump me in with murderers, then you’ve proven my point.


  16. Dude, HUMANITY is compatible.  But my point is that that is irrelevant to this story arc.  The term does not apply across species.

    Over and out.  This is not getting anywhere.

  17. I didn’t intend to equate either Libertarians, Objectivists, or anyone else (other than superintelligent hamsters) with mass murder.  In retrospect, I shouldn’t have mouthed off like that in the first place, and I apologize.

  18. Sam, you were not the one who made the association. You expressed your disagreement with libertarianism – which is fine (albeit tragically misguided 🙂 ) – and poked a little fun at Objectivists, something I’ve been known to do myself.

  19. We do seem to be taking our cute little webcomic about talking hamsters and mad scientist a wee bit seriously today, don’t we?

  20. So, uh… this is where I came in.

    I’d had friends, people whose opinions I trusted, recommend Narbonic to me before, but even the most casual survey showed that the archives were vitally necessary, and hidden behind a paywall, and I even had I been willing to pay for archives sight unseen, I couldn’t justify the expense.

    So when I heard that the Narbonic archives had been freed, I jumped on it, and spent the next few days archive-binging it. And that led, inevitably, to the rocket launch. (Finished the archive binge on Saturday, just in time to spend all of Sunday waiting impatiently for Speedy’s excursion to space to be replaced with something plot-related.) The IRC channel I hang out in, which was founded around another webcomic now long deceased, had several of us hooked in this week, and pretty much became #narbonic for the next six months.

    And now we’ve come all the way back around again. Is it really possible that it’s been six years?

    Anyway, thank you, Shaenon, for making one (or two, or several…) of the best comics on the Interwebs, and letting us all read it (them!) for free.

  21. is selling a “Hamster of Doom” t-shirt today (12/6). More similar to Godzilla than to Shaenon’s hamsters, but hey, any hamster is better than none.

    (I have no financial interest in


  22. tune: “Tea for Two,” Vincent Youmans & Irving Caesar, No, No, Nanette, 1925

    Picture Dave with cigarette
    I can’t—he hasn’t not-smoked yet
    I’ve seen what comes, and man, it bums me out

    I won’t be in it
    I don’t live to win it
    You hamsters may whiff, but
    I’ll still be a stiff. But
    The future I saw is an option
    And not a law. For

    Whom am I rootin’?
    Whose horn am I tootin’?
    My hamster grandchildren
    Are dead-set on killin’ . . .
    But hundred percent
    Dead when Mell becomes president!

    I’m the one who caused this mess
    Plan A and B both suck . . . unless
    I find a way
    To finally save the day

  23. @Tetra: You raise an interesting point. Gerbils in this strip don’t see color, yet the hamster’s remark seem to imply that Dana created them with color vision. Then again, adding cones to their eyes is probably easier than making them intelligent, right?

  24. @Rex: Yes, a mere trifle.  Additional cones could even be an unintended side effect of the breeding program Dana conducted.

  25. Of course it’s always possible that the hamsters don’t see color, but a significant number of the humans, just before being canted (it’s the opposite of decanted, sue me) commented on the color, enough so they realize it’s somehow unusual.

  26. What’s that spike on the prow for?  Just in case they need to ram something, Nemo-style?

  27. (TUNE: Theme from Robin Hood TV show, Carl Sigman)
    (also Monty Python’s “Dennis Moore” sketch)

    Hamsters north!  Hamsters north!
    Flying through the air!
    Hamsters north!  Hamsters north!
    With dramatic flair!

    Don’t say, “Tally ho”!
    Don’t shout, “Sally forth”!
    Hamsters north!  Hamsters north!
    Hamsters north!

  28. Thanks for the clarification, Ed.  I’ve known the Dennis Moore song for over 30 years (I’ve also considered singing it for Monty Python Flux), but I’m not familiar with the Robin Hood TV show.

  29. The spike is there just in case the island is commandeered by an evil intern in a miniskirt who feels the need to crash it into a mad science lair. It happens more often than you might think!

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