Way back when Dana introduced her idea for the doomsday device, in her first week of strips, it was just an off-the-cuff idea on my part. Not until afterwards did I realize it fit nicely into the climactic story arc. The whole concept of a genius-powered doomsday device went through a lot of permutations. At one point this storyline was set in the Arizona desert for some reason, and Dave’s mind set off the device thanks to a brainpower-enhancing formula Helen had developed. This was before I decided Dave should be a latent mad genius. There were a lot of rough drafts on this thing.
It’s kind of sad that Artie has finally left his evil laboratory, only to shack up with some folks who are even worse. He has the worst luck sometimes.
That’s Andrew and me in the first panel. It’s nice that we made the cull, anyway.
Okay, this one still cracks me up. Anything involving Artie’s excitement at joining a nonpartisan think tank is hilarious to me, and probably no one else. The truth is, I would be just like Artie here.
Also good: this is an entire week where I didn’t have to draw anything but hamsters and gerbils.
I wrote this one early on, probably right after I had the idea of the flying hamster island. I remember it being in my Big Folder of Notebook-Paper Thumbnails for ages. I never thought it was all that funny, but the dialogue is very, very in-character for Artie, especially the annoyed little aside about not being born. I love writing that guy.
I needed to reiterate that ANTONIO SMITH was among the humans on the island, hence the throwaway lines in the first panel. And yes, Artie is getting a look at a naked ANTONIO SMITH, and it isn’t even fun.
My main objection to the hamsters’ plan is that I’d hate to ruin Madagascar like that. I’m pretty sure I picked Madagascar at least partly to entertain my future collaborator Jeff Wells and his lemur fixation.
I wanted to make it clear that the hamsters are not themselves mad scientists. They’re just making ingenious use of mad scientific findings. For whatever reason, it was important to me to establish who was a mad genius and who wasn’t. (Mell: not a mad genius. She’s just…Mell.)
Also, I just liked Artie’s horrified line in the last panel.