It’s entirely possible that the bartender is the same woman previously seen working behind the counter at Circuit Continuum at the end of the first Madblood storyline, and later encountered by Dave’s head at the bus station lost-and-found. She doesn’t look exactly the same, so maybe I meant for her to be a different character. I don’t remember now.
The bar appears to be stocked with Ellmann brand liquors.
At the time I wrote this, I didn’t intend to follow up by actually showing Dana at Burning Man. It just kind of happened that way. Go figure.
Readers may note that the gerbils in Narbonic, whatever their individual personalities, tend toward left-wing/anarchist/hippie sensibilities. I don’t know why this is my concept of gerbils. It just is. Of course, I’m a big old pinko myself. In real life, gerbils tend to be apolitical but kind of jumpy.
43. “Submarine Dream,” by The Apples in Stereo
She likes the ocean caves
The world beneath the waves
Where everything is strange
What a change
The world is lost in time
Just like the ocean shine
And everybody seems inbetween
This song has a dreamy quality that reminds me of Lovelace for some reason. Plus, submarines. There’s another song called “Submarine Dream” by Seven Channels which is 45% less mad-sciencey.
Damn, those little gerbil sprites are cute.
Taking later developments into account, that last panel is more ambiguous than it seems. Probably more than Artie realizes; he’s not really comfortable thinking about sex yet. For the record, at this point in the strip I thought of Artie as bisexual. He kind of kept sliding up the Kinsey scale as his character developed in my mind.
And, yes, I devoted large chunks of time to working out the sexual orientation of comic-relief funny animal characters in my webcomic. DON’T JUDGE ME.
44. “Yours Truly, 2095,” by the Electric Light Orchestra
Although her memory banks overflow
No one would ever know
For all she says: Is that what you want?
Maybe one day I’ll feel her cold embrace
And kiss her interface
‘Til then, I’ll leave her alone
How nerdy a band is ELO? So nerdy that this synthesizer-heavy ballad about an affair with a virtual woman IS AN ACTUAL SONG. I wanted to include some lines from this song into Lovelace’s dialogue, but I couldn’t find a place for them.
Another early shot of the lab conference table. Artie is officially part of the staff now. As usual, no damn backgrounds. I did a pretty nice job drawing the whole gang together in that last panel, though.
45. “Moon,” by Big Audio Dynamite
A shooting star and a glimpse of the Sun
The belt of Orion has come undone
Though the food from the tube was a drag
As he planted down the flag
Watchin’ you from the moon
Six thousand miles gonna be home soon
As mentioned before, songs about going to the moon are too numerous to list them all here. But this is a good one, plus I totally dig Big Audio Dynamite.
Obviously, I copied the same image for the second and third panels. But it was for LEGITIMATE ARTISTIC REASONS. And laziness. Okay, mostly laziness.
In the first panel, Dr. Narbon’s wineglass really ought to be behind Mell’s face. Dammit.
Drawing all four figures in proportion to one another is HARD. I do okay in the first panel, but it all falls apart in the last one.
46. “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” from the Disneyland Carousel of Progress
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow’s just a dream away
Man has a dream and that’s the start
He follows his dream with mind and heart
And when it becomes a reality
It’s a dream come true for you and me
I dunno…Disneyland always seems very mad-sciencey to me. There’s just something about that wildly optimistic notion that whatever Nature can do, we can make a better version, a funner version, out of a few handfuls of fiberglass and tubing and ball joints. When Andrew and I went there last year, we spent several minutes trying to figure out whether a duck sitting outside the “it’s a small world” ride was real or Animatronic. Why would you go to the trouble of making a fake robot duck when real ducks are cheap and plentiful? Because being fake and a robot makes it inherently better, duh.
In retrospect, I think it was probably a real duck.
Anyway, this song probably reflects the way Helen thinks better than any other song on this list. Nothing in the lyrics says that they’re nice dreams.
Aaaand another rare three-panel strip. Helen’s middle name will soon turn out to be significant, although I think people read too much into it over years, speculating that there ought to be a Helen Delta and Helen Gamma and so on, in order. It really is Dr. Narbon’s idea of a nice name for a girl.
The couch has acquired polka dots, which it didn’t have before.
47. “Coin-Operated Boy,” by the Dresden Dolls
Made of plastic and elastic
He is rugged and long-lasting
Who could ever ever ask for more
Love without complications galore
Many shapes and weights to choose from
I will never leave my bedroom
I will never cry at night again
Wrap my arms around him and pretend
Ah, another good creepy song. Amazing that no one in Narbonic ever actually got around to building a sexbot, at least as far as we know. It’s probably wise not to speculate any further.
My parents did some sponge-painting when they redecorated their front hall. The paint they chose was a dark pinkish-rose, almost red, giving the room kind of an abattoir effect. Of course, that’s what Dr. Narbon would go for.
I was obviously fond of Dr. Narbon’s dialogue on this one, because I insisted on cramming as much as possible into the script. I think my original thumbnail was even wordier.
48. “Clonie,” by Nellie McKay
Me and you, hustlin’ through
Holdin’ on through thick and thin
Just day by day our DNA
We’ll survive side by side
Mother Nature don’t you call her phony
She’s my clonie
Thanks to Mee-Lise for the suggestion. I miss you, Mee! Guess I might as well include a clone song while we’re on this storyline.