Here we learn that the death ray is an orbital space laser operated by either the console in the lab or a remote device. This is occasionally consistent with the way the death ray has been shown to function earlier in the strip. Not usually, but, you know, occasionally.
All things considered, though, I drew an okay orbital laser. Also, I apologize for the weird series of filters I used on the KER-CRASH! I never did really figure out Photoshop stuff.
Mell mentions here that she’s of Irish descent, like her cartoonist. Her last name is Kelly, so it’s reasonable, I guess. “Feck” is a word I enjoyed very much while I was a student in Dublin and continue to enjoy through my “Father Ted” DVDs. It doesn’t appear on the official “Ratings Appropriate Swears” list I use when selecting expletives for Viz manga, so I don’t know exactly how it ranks in offensiveness, but, given that I once saw it used in a headline for the Irish Times, it’s not really very dirty at all.
(Huh. Can’t say “shit” in a T+ title. Go figure.)
Yes, when Dave is dead, he still smokes a little ectoplasmic cigarette. I kinda like his miserable expression in the third panel.
It’s a little surprising of Dave to list starting a family among his major thwarted life goals, but it’s part of his personality that comes up from time to time, most crucially at the end of the strip. Now let us all take a moment to consider what we would regret, were we to be cut down by a death ray in the prime of our lives. Personally, I’ve still got half a pumpkin-gingersnap pie from Thanksgiving left in the fridge.
This implies that Dave thinks Buffy the Vampire Slayer is an actual person whom he can meet in the afterlife. Which seems dumb, but Dave himself is a cartoon character, so he may very well be right. Maybe he can meet the Buffy from the comic books.
“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” is one of those geek things that managed to seep into my consciousness despite never having actually seen an episode (except the musical one). I can tell you the plot of the entire series, but I haven’t watched it. Narbonic made me miss a lot of television.
And with this strip, Dave passes into the Beyond, apparently never to be seen again. Right.
ETA: As folks in the comments have noted, this is the last strip in Volume 1 of the Narbonic print collections (available for sale now!), not counting the bonus story. Kind of weird to end the collection mid-week, but it works.
Hey, that dress Helen’s wearing under the black lab coat is pretty sexy! I’m pretty sure this is the only time I’ll ever draw it, too. She has another black dress for later storylines requiring evening wear. Also, and this is in no way meant as a value judgment, she appears to be wearing Wilma Flintstone’s necklace.
“Spackle” is one of those self-consciously funny words that should only be used sparingly.
Helen wisely elects to sport a T-shirt worn by Val Kilmer in “Real Genius.” Her prospective employee dresses to impress in a Thundercats logo shirt. My friend Jesse Hamm has that shirt. It’s kind of his signature look.
The tech guy is kind of based on Dean Blackburn, the IT manager at Viz, but doesn’t actually look much like him. I wasn’t any good at drawing real people.
In light of later developments in the Narboniverse, this interviewee’s blase response to Helen may be the result of reality blindness. That’s a bit retconny, though, as I hadn’t developed that concept yet.