Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: March 17-22, 2003

Personally, I think I showed a lot of restraint by only drawing this subterfuge out for a week. And only breaking the fourth wall in every other strip. Thank you.

Two fourth-wall-breaking punchlines in a row? Why, yes, thank you! I do like the way Dave gets himself out of the inevitable time-travel identity test, though. He’s a pretty smooth talker when he wants to be, and when he’s talking to another easily distracted nerd.

This week was incredibly easy to draw because it’s nothing but Madbloods, but also incredibly boring to draw because it’s nothing but Madbloods.

Andrew thinks he’s the one who came up with the idea of Dave trying to convince Madblood that he’s Madblood from the future. He’s probably right. He came up with a lot of the plot of this storyline that doesn’t involve explosions and running around.

I like the postures of Madblood and Dave in the first panel. They’re so obviously not the same person. Also, Dave brought cigarettes.

Man, Dave almost makes it off the moon here. I guess you can’t underestimate Madblood’s ability to overestimate his own chances of successfully conquering the world.

Later, Madblood clarifies that Helen isn’t going to be his primary love slave or anything. Just a love slave.

It’s possible that “babydoll” was and is a certain someone’s personal pet name for the cartoonist. I shouldn’t comment.

This strip follows the Narbonic standard wherein the technobabble is more scientifically accurate than the science. It also follows the standard wherein the dialogue keeps crowding out the artwork. It gets particularly bad in this storyline.

Anyway, Dave managed to keep this thin charade up for a week. That’s pretty good, really.

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46 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: March 17-22, 2003

  1. This storyline hit all the right classic, madscience notes for me. I think this and the time travel story are my absolute favorites for this very reason.

  2. Monday:

    Madblood looks so overjoyed. What self-affirming confirmation!

    You don’t break the fourth wall all that often. You’ve only done it 36 times in about as many months. …Actually, now that I’ve put it like that, it does seem like a lot. Message of reassurance withdrawn!

    Dave’s Scheme Score: 2.

  3. Fourth walls were meant to be broken.  And time travel stories allow you to break the fifth wall and make snarky comments about strips that haven’t appeared yet!

    Quick thinking, Dave.   And where is Mell, anyway?  Seems to me she should have announced, “Less singing, more shooting” around last Thursday.

  4. Fandarel@Yesterday:  Aw, shucks.  Thanks a bunch.  Although, credit where credit is due.  I don’t honestly write “most” of the Skin Horse scripts.  🙂  It’s hard to assign percentages in any case after it’s been back and forth.

    Anyhow, enough about that Other strip.  Let’s talk about Narbonic!  I’ve always been fond of the fact that (spoiler) Madblood is sort of playing Dave for the chump here, rather than the other way around.  We mock him, but ol’ Lupin is capable of the odd fit of extreme caginess.

  5. What’s wrong with nothing but Madbloods?

     I’ll admit that if the whole comic was that, it would get old fast, but the occasional All Madblood All The Time can be really funny.

  6. (TUNE: “I Heard It Through The Grapevine”, Marvin Gaye)

    Oh, I guess you’re wondering how I know
    About the questions you’re gonna throw;
    But these are the questions I asked back then,
    And I assure you, I got ten for ten!
    You see, I was you back in the past,
    And I knew what you had asked …

    You should know,
    I knew them from the first time!
    ‘Cause you’re Madblood and I’m Madblood-prime!
    Yes, I knew them from the first time!
    And it’s just like I can read your mind,
    (You big dummy, yeah…)

  7. Tuesday:

    Fourth-wall dialogue: 37. I sometimes Google search for these little labels when I need to make sure I kept track correctly. (Or I could just make a note for my future self consisting simply of “Yes”, which I would most probably trust unreservedly.)

  8. Amusingly, I just realized Dr. Madblood resembles Dr. Aeon of “City of Villains” (see ), who is also a mad scientist who makes robot drones of himself, and has to deal with himself from the future.

    …and actually, Madblood came first by about five years. Hm. Lawsuit time?

  9. *snicker* Moral: Agree on a test in ADVANCE, and if ‘future-you’ doesn’t actually DO it, shoot the guy.

  10. Well, of COURSE Dave brought cigarettes!

     Really, it’s hard to see why Madblood didn’t see through this sooner.  It was a valiant effort by Dave, but really. 

  11. Let’s face it, all mad scientists are geeks, and if the tale you spin them is geeky enough, they’ll buy into it for quite some time. Dave has spent enough time with Helen to know this, and is geeky enough to use it.

  12. (TUNE: “A Policeman’s Lot Is Not A Happy One”, Gilbert and Sullivan)

    When a two-year-old is leading the rebellion,
    And he dares disturb your sleep on Sunday morn,
    Then you know this aggrivating little hellion
    Must be put to death before he’s even born!

    When I laugh with ill intent infanticidal,
    It’s not half as mad as matricidal mirth!
    It’s those little perks included in the title,
    A God-Emperor’s the greatest job on Earth!
    This rebellious bairn is beat before his birth!  (Before birth!)
    Your God-Emperor is ruler of the Earth!

  13. I didn’t notice the first time, but they are absolutely different; I mean, you can See Dave’s eyes! I love Dave-Madblood

  14. Thursday:


    Dave, at this point, has no plan to retrieve Mell nor any mental clock-cycles available to formulate one. Had this gone differently, we could have had the remaining half of this story with just Mell and Madblood. Would Lupin try to hold her ransom? Or try and tempt her over to his side? Or is the most important task would be to torture information of Helen out of her? …Either way, it would of course end in tragedy for him and completely unfair and undeserved victory for her, about two months earlier than this storyline ends.

  15. Had this gone differently, we could have had the remaining half of this story with just Mell and MadbloodA straightforward story: Mell + lots of targets = BOOM!

  16. Had this gone differently, we could have had the remaining half of this story with just Mell and Madblood

    A straightforward story: Mell + lots of targets = BOOM!

  17. Friday:

    This strip is the highlight of the week, if not the whole month. This is, I can safely declare, due not only to the sheer impossibility of that person saying those words to that other person, but also due to the absence of a reaction shot, relegating the unimaginable devastation to the imagination.

  18. The thing that always bugged me here is this:

    Why would a love slave in the future have a trans-temporal telephone?

    It seems a bit much for Madblood to swallow.

  19. @Jon W. That’s why they call it mad science. If Lupin (or Helen, for that matter) could build a trans-temporal phone…well, isn’t that “why” enough? Finding a logical purpose for it is for those sane scientists.

  20. Also, the mind boggles at what Lupin might have said if Dave had put him on the phone.

  21. (TUNE: “Born To Be Wild”, Steppenwolf)

    Helen Narbon’s calling!
    Helen of the future!
    She’s our bondage love slave!
    Leather really suits her!
    Now, babydoll, be a good girl
    And get off the phone!
    You know I’ll be rockin’ your world
    Tonight when I’m home!

    Just hung up on Helen!
    Now I’m sure she’ll hate me!
    When she gets through yellin’
    She’ll eviscerate me!
    I’m sure she’ll do something nasty
    That’s painful and sick!
    I’m hoping that Madblood kills me!
    At least he’ll be quick!

    Like a true software nerd,
    I said something absurd!
    And you know for sure,
    I can’t talk to girls!

    I’m gonna di-i-ie!

  22. Madblood has complete confidence in his ability to construct any technology featured on “Doctor Who.”

  23. I don’t think episodes of Doctor Who featuring trans-temporal cell phones had aired yet when this strip originally ran. Which clearly means that Madblood’s got good reason to believe that he could construct such a thing, because, after all, he’s been watching the new series of Doctor Who on his trans-temporal television…

    I’m kind of disappointed that there’s never any fallout from the phone conversation here.

  24. Saturday:If you have a time machine and a cell-phone, just cross the two and voila! transtemporal phone. Keep in touch while you travel.

    Any rewiring of the network is not hard for the Supreme Master of Earth.

  25. Finding a logical purpose for it is for those sane scientists.Have I told you guys about the engineer who wanted to develop a windshield video system so you could check your e-mail while driving. Friend of mine asked him about safety, and he paused and said, “Hmmm, I’ll have to think about that.”

    • I went to an Ignobel Prize ceremony once back in college; one of the awards was in fact shared between the guy who invented a way to project television onto a windshield… and the legislators who made it legal in that state.

  26. Yep – the Doctor’s “”jiggery pokery” on Rose’s mobile phone wasn’t broadcast until April 2005 – over two years later.

  27. Minor spoiler:  Mell comments later on the mad-science workings of Madblood’s pistol.  It’s definitely Freakin’, just not Big enough.  (Of course, now many many readers are making rude jokes about the size of Madblood’s “weapon”, ifyouknowwhatimean…) 

    (TUNE: “It’s A Small World”,  Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman)

    Though his gun’s quite freaky, it’s not too big,
    But it makes you bleed like a slaughtered pig!
    It will blow you away
    Like the cricket of “J”!
    What a small gun Madblood’s got!

    See the small gun Madblood’s got!
    Doppelganger will be shot!
    Then he’ll leave the corpse to rot!
    What a small gun Madblood’s got!

  28. Saturday:

    This entire week is so efficiently compartmentalised that it could perchance be snipped out wholesale with no ramifications. I assume that it was graciously left in because our author had already written and drawn the next 3 years of strips, and found herself six episodes short of a finish on 31/12/06.
    Silent Penultimate Panels: 17.

  29. One of those last stanza  lines (not sure which, though it’s more logical on the second)  should be, “It’s a small, small, gun”

  30. …or ‘See the small, small, gun’, even. (Or whatever choice makes the first and last lines match.)  Either way, it’s a quibble; Ed slaves away on these excellent parodies day after day and hardly ever makes a false step.


  31. @Carl: Thank you 🙂

    @Robin:  You’re right, it should be the last line of the second stanza (actually the chorus).

    You know what’s worse?  When I read Terry Pratchett’s “Hogfather”, and they had the scene in the Maul where the clockwork Children Of All Nations dolls singing “Wouldn’t It Be Nice If Everyone Was Nice” … naturally, my brain composed a tune and lyrics for that, so anytime I’m reminded of the song, I have two earworms running through my head.

  32. Having been humming the Madblood song after the last few comics, I couldn’t help but notice that “Interloper! Body-snatcher! Unconvincing doppel-ganger!” fits the meter perfectly :p

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