Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: June 23-28, 2003

Closing in on the end of this long, long storyline at last. I like this one, especially what with the chubby feet in the last panel. I don’t care what you say, those are some amusing feet.

All things considered, Dave is pretty cool about being surrounded by doppelgangers of himself. Dave’s surprisingly cool about a lot of things, but I’d be really freaked out by this situation.

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Sometimes Artie just talks like me.

Evidentally Helen was right about Artie’s usual phenotype reasserting itself. It’s convenient how often Helen is right. Well, convenient when she’s right about the good things.

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I really like that Artie’s brain bosses him around and calls him “Shorty.” I’m sorry this is the only strip I ever did exploring this concept. I always liked it on “The Simpsons” where Homer’s brain would get exasperated with him, or the great bit where Lisa’s brain plays soothing music so she can ignore the idiotic things Homer is saying.

I guess I could feel bad about lifting concepts from “The Simpsons,” but, as I’ve said before, all modern comedy is lifted from “The Simpsons.”

In other news, it was nice to get back to drawing gerbils after having to draw Artie as Dave for all those weeks.

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Another basic plot-advancing strip. The second panel is one of those images that came out perfectly in the thumbnail and then I couldn’t get it right in the final drawing. Sometimes it’s hard to draw gerbil butts.

Man, Artie’s way easier to draw when he’s a gerbil. I like that the escape pod appears to have a welcome mat.

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The first panel is based on a panel from Issue 1 of Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth, by Jack Kirby. There was no reason for this. I was just really into Kamandi.

Over the course of Narbonic, many people pointed out other animals that my gerbils resemble more than they do actual gerbils. “Tree kangaroo” was a popular suggestion. I think my esteemed Skin Horse collaborator Jeffrey Wells brought it up once or twice. So this strip’s for you, smartasses.

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38 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: June 23-28, 2003

  1. Doppelgangers of Shaenon?! A whole moonbase filled with Shaenons!?! Sounds like the BEST STAR TREK EPISODE EVER!!

  2. Monday:

    What with Artie being at head-height to Dave, I’d find it more likely for him to mistake himself for being on Dave’s shoulder already.

    • While the thought of a Shaenon clone for each of her fans does sound amusing, wouldn’t her husband get a mite jealous? -_^

  3. (TUNE: “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”, Yes)

    Holy crud!
    We gotta run like heck!
    Or we won’t get any older!

    Watch it bud!
    You almost broke my neck!
    You can’t ride upon my shoulder!

    We gotta leave this base!
    Prayin’, “Feet, don’t fail us now please!”

    Where, where’s the pod
    To launch us into space?
    And what smells like cheese??

    Artie/Dave has chubby feet!
    Artie/Dave has chubby feet!
    (We’re laughin’ at ’em!)
    Now it’s time to beat retreat!
    Artie/Dave has chubby feet!

  4. I think it is funny how Artie assumes that it happening would be ironic.  I suppose if the army were recalled from the middle east to deal with something Artie created and didn’t want the army to deal with, then it might be ironic.  But, in all practicallity, things you wish for more than situationally can never be ironically brought forth.

  5. Artie’s phenotype is apparently very assertive if he transforms back so quickly his clothes get hangtime.

    There could have been more slow transformations in Narbonic than just the Helen-to-Dave one.  Imagine the comedy gold mine that is a man with a gerbil head walking around, especially combined with characters who have high-level weirdness censors!

  6. John – you’ve stumbled across some subtle foreshadowing for Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time.

  7. (TUNE: “Breaking Up Is Hard To Do”, Neil Sedaka)

    Run, Artie, Dave, run run!
    Countdown has begun, Artie, Dave, run run!
    You’re not having fun, Artie, Dave, run run!
    Blowing up’s an awful doom!

    Let’s run in fear … hysterically!
    We’ve got five minutes left (or maybe three)!
    A brand-new crater will be our tomb;
    Blowing up’s an awful doom!

    Turn left up here!  I’m out of shape!
    Stuck in the body of a hairless ape!
    When all at once, my form goes FOOM!
    Blowing up is still our doom!

  8. Tuesday:

    Alas, that he be so quickly expelled from the halls of apehood and returned to his lowly status as a rodent. What memories he will have, of hues no rodent should ever spy, of forearm strength no rodent should ever possess, of lips no rodent should ever lock.

    Had Artie transfigurated in mid-stride, the sudden and completely silly loss of mass conjoined with his human momentum would have seen him launched right into the wall. Is that right?

    For what it was worth, Artie didn’t really accomplish too much using Dave’s powers. He thoroughly harshed Mell’s buzz, radicalised some robots… and that’s pretty much the long of it. He didn’t even get to ram down a door, trip up a robot platoon or hold someone upside-down by the ankles.

  9. @Justin:  It would be possible to see a slow inter-species transformation … if someone would get around to posting a certain bit of fanart??

  10. For what it was worth, Artie didn’t really accomplish too much using Dave’s powers. He thoroughly harshed Mell’s buzz, radicalised some robots… and that’s pretty much the long of it.

    To be fair, this is more than Dave usually accomplishes with Dave’s powers.

  11. Wednesday:

    I’ve been fascinated with The Simpsons’s regarding the brain as an organ just as separate from and subservient to our true ‘selves’ as our stomaches. Where, then, is a place left for ‘us’? (It seems, in this episode and the Simpsons episodes, that our self is most closely tied to our mouths – Artie and the Simpsons talk to their brain out loud. ‘We’ are, apparantly, the person without, defined by our actions rather than our thoughts. This is almost certainly a phenomenon of living in a society where others can only judge us through our actions. Nonetheless, it indicates that our brain has only a tenuous control over our bodies, and our rationality is but a tiny voice behind our eyeballs whom we regularly drown out with our sonorous, droning tongues.)

  12. (TUNE: “Riders On The Storm”, The Doors)

    Talking to my brain,
    As it lectures me again!
    My consciousness lives free
    As a sep’rate entity!
    Hear it argue and complain;
    That thing is such a pain!
    I’ll ignore my brain …

    Man, that stupid lump of grey
    Keeps on bitching night and day!
    My mood will be improved,
    If I have that thing removed!
    Then I’ll have no discontent!
    I’ll run for President!
    My face on the cent!

  13. I used to think the brain was the most important organ, but then I realized who was telling me that.  -Emo Phillips

  14. Friday:

    Artie isn’t as good at these cold equations as Mell is.

    Artie should consider asking the computer where Dave is. Or Dave should just ask the computer where Artie is!

  15. (TUNE: “Baby Love”, The Supremes)

    Dave is lost!  Damn, Dave is lost!
    You run too slow, dude, we gotta go!
    We’re counting down to blowing up!
    So why are you not showing up?
    Yeah, being good is sometimes hard …
    Gotta save that tub of lard!

    Davenport!  Dave Davenport!
    You’re overdue, gotta search for you!
    I guess you got your signals crossed,
    You went the wrong way, now your lost!
    We very soon could both be dead;
    If we die, I’ll smack your head!

  16. Dave demonstates his superiority over AI by breaking the fourth wall, but he may be teaching Lovelace the trick in the process.  Save some tricks for us squishies, Dave!

  17. I can honestly say that the gerbils in Narbonic are the most true-to-life superintelligent gerbils I’ve ever seen in a webcomic.

  18. What? Oh, um, 39. Saturday:

    Computer already mentioned “emailing myself to safety“, presumably using the same broadcasting equipment used for Madblood’s lunar announcements. Surely that’s sufficient to explain Computer’s escape method?

  19. (TUNE: “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)”, Simon and Garfunkel)

    Dave, stop!  You went to far!
    Go back and right … say, that’s bizarre;
    Your friend just changed his shape,
    He’s small and brown and kangaroo-y!

    You say gerbil?  Understood;
    Our artist tries hard but she’s not very good!
    Still, the writing is sharp, so it’s best not to harp!
    Run now, or else … you’ll go kablooey!

  20. Actually, I think your gerbils look more like jerboas than tree kangaroos. It’s interesting to note that jerboas ARE nocturnal rodents with no color vision, as opposed to gerbils.

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