Again, linking Mell and Caliban romantically was Jeff Wells’ idea. It ended up working incredibly well. Before this, it was hard to imagine Mell in any kind of adult relationship, but once I set it up it seemed completely natural. I don’t know why she and Caliban work together, but they totally do.
As mentioned before ad nauseum, I’m not happy with this storyline, but these last few weeks of wrap-up strips are pretty good. Some good character moments in here.
Look, it’s Sir Pounce! The most popular character in Narbonic! I think this is his last appearance in the daily strips, although [MINISCULE SPOILER THAT BARELY EVEN COUNTS AS A SPOILER] he does make a cameo in the final strip.
I’m actually being kind to Seth here; if I hadn’t included this strip, the implication would’ve been that he died when he got devoured by the demon back in the restroom. Still, he’s obviously very upset here, as he’s emitting three drops of undefined liquid at a time.
ACTUAL SPOILERS: I can’t remember if, at this point, I was already planning to bring Seth back, but it was kind of inevitable. As Chekov wrote, you can’t send an angry little nerdy guy to Hell in the first act and not have him return in the third. With a totally sweet battleaxe.
I should have just gone ahead and had Caliban crash at Dave’s apartment, but I was tired and ready to end this storyline. It still kind of bothers me that I passed on the opportunity, though. Let’s all pretend that Caliban took Dave up on the offer and lived on Dave’s futon until he landed a job at Starbucks.
Caliban rooming with just about anybody has great spinoff potential. I would personally like to see a strip about Caliban sharing an apartment with Seth while they compete for Mell’s affections. Somebody draw this and send me a portion of the royalties.
Andrew points out that, given the year this strip ran, Dave is probably giving Caliban an issue of Catwoman from the period when it was drawn by Jim Balent, a very special time in Catwoman’s life. Balent, of course, went on to pen the greatest single line in the history of comic books.
I always liked this strip. Despite his participation in the atrocities of Hell, occasional backstabbing, and very snippy attitude toward people who cut in line at his eventual barista job (OMG spoilers), Caliban is probably the sweetest character in Narbonic. He’s much happier as a human than he was as either an angel or a demon; he wasn’t really cut out for life on a cosmic scale. Caliban was always inspired a little bit by the Goldfish in Eleanor Farjeon’s The Little Bookroom: “It was a shame ever to let such a tiny fellow loose in the vast ocean. He needed a world more suited to his size.”
I’m sorry, that reference was probably both too obscure and insufficiently nerdy. Pretend I said something about Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose again.
So Dave’s got conflicting feelings. He tries to be a stand-up guy, he really does.
The melting snow outside the lab is a nice touch, contrasted with the heavy snowfall at the beginning of the storyline. It’s time condensed for thematic purposes, like how in Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” they go through an entire year of seasons in, like, a week.
This is actually pretty adept for Dave, spinning what he believes is about to be a crushing letdown into something harmless and only slightly self-deprecating. Helen, meanwhile, is having second thoughts about her “yes” from the night before because she knows it’d be really wrong for her to get romantically involved with Dave. Both are scuttling their chances at happiness without knowing that [SPOILERS, WHATEVER] said chances are much better than they believe, but that’s what happens to people who can’t have a damn conversation with each other.
Helen’s got socks on because she never ordered slippers to match the official lab pajamas. Poor Helen.