Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil: June 6-11, 2005

…Yeah, okay, so obviously I was waiting for a long time for tenterhooks before I could finally do this strip. Years before this, I used to do Helen in Dave’s flannel as a convention sketch. This actually didn’t turn out as well as some of my sketches, which really frustrated me at the time, but looking at it now it’s not too bad.

“I am a golden god!” is a line from Almost Famous, the first movie Andrew and I saw together. That was before we started dating. The movie we saw on our first official date was Annie Hall.

Helen in the third panel came out exactly the way I wanted her to look in this week of strips. Pretend she looks this good in every panel.

Artie’s University of Illinois T-shirt is another contender for Most Ridiculously Obscure Reference in Narbonic. It’s the school where pedophilic mad scientist Dr. Shioji’s even more terrifying mad-scientist mother teaches in the Excel Saga manga. Or, as rewriter Carl Horn put it in the back-cover text for volume 13, “the most feared individual in all of EXCEL SAGA, the University of Illinois’ own Dr. Miwa Rengaya, the Courtney Love of science…and Shiouji’s mother.”

No, I don’t know exactly what “the Courtney Love of science” means, but you’d like to meet that person, right?

This reference gets extra obscurity points because the volume of Excel Saga introducing this extremely marginal piece of information had not yet been published in English. I was the editor at the time, and that was what I was working on while drawing these strips.

I love this strip and I don’t care who knows it. Those rare occasions when Dave is happy are so cute. Not to be all spoiler, but his good mood continues to annoy Artie for some time to come.

I used to be terrible at drawing phone cords. Fortunately for me, phones don’t have cords anymore. Once again, technology is my salvation.

Catching up on gossip. All together now: awww…

This is a fun week of strips. It was always very entertaining to draw these two as a couple, with the body language and all. Ah, those halcyon days.

Sometimes Helen is not a very intimidating evil genius at all.

Frankly, I’m surprised I only used this punchline once. A lot of Narbonic storylines involve characters needing to work together to be even borderline functioning.

Artie in either form is adorable when he’s exasperated and ranting.

Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil: Previous, Next

36 thoughts on “Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil: June 6-11, 2005

  1. Monday:
    Ruffled hair: the most delightful sight gag.

    The only previous times where Helen has been drawn without glasses were when she was in bed. Her nude face in panel 4 is nothing short of damning.

  2. (TUNE: “Blue Velvet”, Bobby Vinton)

    She wore Dave’s flannel,
    When she came out to get the phone!
    Really, no need, they’re all alone
    In the lab …

    She wore Dave’s flannel …
    Clothing was scattered for their fling!
    This was about the only thing
    She could grab …

    Artie’s sounding confused now!
    Where could his maker be?
    Helen’s looking bemused now …
    If we don’t tell, neither will she … in …

    Dave’s flannel!
    Covering up her naughty bits!
    Strip’s getting racy, now, but it’s
    Still PG!
    And forever I will treasure panel three!

  3. I think the drawing of Helen in Dave’s flannel is awesome, which is why the original hangs over my studio worktable. 🙂 Along with the one where the hotel towels are *much* too small.

  4. There is, of course, no reason in-universe for Helen to be wearing Dave’s flannel simply to answer the phone, save that it is (as we know) THE SOURCE OF ALL HIS POWER.

    Or, you know perhaps the lab was a bit cold… but I be Helen controls the thermostat.  Wheels within wheels.

  5. Tuesday:

    Artie is gradually coming to grips with exactly how little thought has been put to this mission of his. Which is to say, even less than what is normal for Helen.

  6. (TUNE: “Yankee Doodle Dandy”, George M. Cohan)

    I’m a Golden God of Love, now!
    Golden God of Love am I!
    We both got naked and we Did The Deed!
    I’m on an endorphin high!

    Often dreamed of Helen naked;
    Now, this vision I have seen!
    I never smoked, so I don’t need a cigarette for after …
    I think it’s time for Round Fifteen!

  7. I have the original of this strip, which makes me insanely happy whenever I see it.  (Forgive the formatting—I had to send this from my phone.)

    tune: “Hernando’s Hideaway,” Richard Adler & Jerry Ross (The Pajama Game, 1954)

    I comforted the lovely miss

    And then, an unexpected kiss

    Led me to this belated bliss



    How long I’ve waited for this day

    The daydream in my head would play

    Reality makes dreams seem grey



    We jumped and humped and pumped and bumped and frolicked for an hour

    (Who would have imagined sex would be my superpower?)

    We traded kisses, touches, love bites, genders—even clothes

    (Also our precious bodily fluids, lots of those)

    And as we float upon a cloud of post-coital joy

    Look what I have!

    The anti-grav!

    Our new sex toy!


    Come here, my mate, and we will sate

    Our lusts, until they all abate,

    Deflating my tumescent state


  8. I thihk LOTR: Return of the King was technicially the date movie for my wife and I.  She lived 500 miles away in the boonies (where I live now) and there are no decent movie theaters, she wanted to see it on a good screen when she came down for the weekend.  It was a great first date: her dog threw up on my carpet, we went to the ren fest, and had a lot of fun.  We got married 18 months later, now I live in the sticks, and she bounces a laser off the moon.  And the previous two nights she has managed to lase a satellite, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, that’s in a polar orbit around the moon.

    Life is good.

  9. Wednesday:

    Dave is once again intoxicated while on the phone – but this time with the joy of entering a fruitful relationship with a person he has admired for almost half a decade. His idiotic and completely callous replies are nothing short of adorable.

  10. (TUNE: “Two Tickets To Paradise”, Eddie Money)

    Artie is on the phone, and shouting now in fright!
    Dave’s saying, “Good for you, you’ve had a busy night!”
    Something is skewed … Dave in good mood?
    Saw Helen nude … did something lewd!

    Isn’t it great how life is so miraculous?
    Keeps throwing opportunities like this at us!
    Old Dave is dead … banished and fled …
    That’s what I said … old Dave is dead!

    Because …
    I killed him with awesomeness!
    Yes, I … I did it, I must confess!
    Tell ya … this night was a great success!
    Because … I killed him with awesomeness!

  11. I feel that there should be a shirt.  A shirt that says Dave’s quote from panel 3.  And shows a bunch of Narbonic scenes in which Artie is in peril, with Dave and Helen in the center dressed as they are now.  Then I would be too broke to buy that shirt, and I would be the saddest man in the world.

  12. If we needed evidence of Artie’s orientation: He considers having Mell’s tongue down his throat a contraindication of having a wonderful night.

    Of course, he also considers facing iguana-men and falling into Pits of Death contraindications of having a wonderful night, so maybe he’s just boring.

  13. I’m beginning to wonder if maybe this is Dave’s actual mad-science specialty. 🙂

  14. Thursday:

    The entire main cast is out of control. It’s like they all got wind of their cancellation in 18 months and are now trying to make up for five years of thoroughly bungled love lives.

  15. If Mell is seeing Caliban, they’d be Hell-seein’ days.

    (Silly pun dedicated to the memory of Bil Keane.)

  16. Friday:

    Until just now, it has been very hard, if not impossible, for Artie to form a sufficient expression of disgust at his best friend/artificial mother’s shameful behaviour. This, it seems, is one of the few boons his human form provides in this situation.

  17. (TUNE: “Michael, Row The Boat Ashore”, Tony Saletan)

    Artie lost the darn remote!
    Calling Helen!
    Up the creek without a boat,
    “Help!” he’s yel-lin’!

    Didn’t want to be a man,
    Wished he wasn’t!
    Thought that Helen had a back-up plan,
    But she doesn’t!

    Helen doesn’t sound so fine,
    Oddly acting …
    Snorts and giggles while she’s on the line,
    Dave’s distra-acting!

    Artie’s gonna lose his mind,
    He’s emoting!
    Helen has to help him find
    That remo-ote thing!

    Knowing Mom, she stashed it there
    (Dave!  Oh, my-y!)
    In a kitchen drawer somewhere …
    (Gotta go, now … bye!)

  18. I have the original of this strip, too: “Bwee-hee-hee” may be the most genius line in all of Narbonic.  It’s echt Helen—evil mad science at its girliest.

    tune: “Monster mash,” Bobby “Boris” Pickett (1962) (Again, excuse the formatting: still travelling, still posting by phone.)

    We were working in the lab alone one night

    When we realized that the time was right

    We were sharing har gow and duck mu shu

    When, suddenly, I turned to you


    We shared a kiss

    I’d always dreamed of this

    And then we goinked

    (N.B. It isn’t “boinked”)

    We made the beast

    With two backs, what a feast

    And then some more

    On ceiling, bench and floor

    (Bwee-hee, bwee-hee, bwee-bwee-hee, bwee-hee)


    So many ways to have fun

    The field tests have just begun

    Lets swap sexes and try: why

    Limit ourselves to one?


    Lost my glasses in the nutrient-bath tanks

    And for anti-gravity I give thanks

    Now we’re hanging a sign outside the door

    Saying “DO NOT DISTURB,” then we’ll goink some more


    The padded walls

    Of Holding Cell 2B

    Are like the Halls

    Of Valhalla to me

    Throughout this lab

    We’re gonna leave our mark

    Our naughty bits

    Are glowing on the dark

    (Bwee-hee, bwee-bwee-hee, bwee-hee, bwee-bwee-hee . . .)

  19. Oh, poo.  That should be “glowing in the dark,” of course.  I hate posting from my phone!  And now this correction probably won’t post for another 24 hours.

  20. He’s wrong, though: It takes the FOUR of them to form a nearly-functioning person.  Which is probably why the punchline only got used once.  No one wants to admit that about themself.

  21. I really like my garlic press.  It has very heavy, nicely contoured handles, so you can really bear down on it.  And you can reverse it to clear the holes.  Very nice purchase.  Don’t get me started on how nice my knives are!  I especially love the *shwing* when I pull them out of the wood block.

    Is it wrong to have a strong affection to kitchen tools? 

  22. Artie’s last line here is another that I’ve used a number of times, sometimes altering the number of people involved to suit the circumstances, sometimes changing it to first person plural.

Leave a Reply