Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: March 24-29, 2003

Not one of the funnier strips, but sometimes I needed to advance the plot, dammit. Obviously a twin of Madblood’s would be the non-evil twin.

Even though this strip is too wordy, I still like it, partly for the gag of Dave spilling the beans at no provocation (because it’s more evil that way, natch), and partly for how ridiculous the plan sounds when Dave tries to explain it. Also, Madblood’s grin in the first panel is huge!

Around this time I started to experiment with inking the outlines of figures with a thick pen and filling in all the details with a thinner pen, a trick I picked up from copying Little Nemo artwork for the New Year’s strips. You can see it here in the first panel. I got away from doing it after a while, but lately I’ve started doing it again, in modified forms. I try to mix up the line weights in Skin Horse, and for the current Li’l Mell storyline I ink the outlines with a brush and the interiors with pens. These are all sad and desperate ways of getting around the fact that I’m terrible at inking with brushes or nibs, which would give my art the desired variation in line weight.

This may be the only mention in the strip of the color of Helen’s eyes. Much later, Maritza Campos did a guest strip and emailed me to ask the characters’ eye colors so she could get them right. I was impressed by her attention to detail. For the record, Helen’s are blue, Dave’s are hazel, Mell’s are green, and Artie’s are very, very dark brown. I don’t know about Madblood’s.

Madblood’s thing for Jennifer Connelly is awesome. Look at his smile! I have no idea how he thinks he would get Jennifer Connelly to marry him after he conquered the earth, but evil overlords never think about that.

This is one of those strips I could have done at any time. I even could have done it with another mad scientist, but it works better with Madblood than it would with Helen. Madblood gets prickly under questioning.

I did draw some pretty great flasks. I have to admit I’m very fond of all the cosmetic trappings of mad science.

And one story comes to a close.

Man, the art is all kinds of messed up in this strip. Dave is all out of proportion in the last panel, and I didn’t do Madblood’s foreshortened laughing face right at all. But it leads into one of my favorite sequences in Narbonic, so what the hell.

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49 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: March 24-29, 2003

  1. Hark to the plight of the software nerd!
    Hear his cries for mercy go unheard!
    Every story arc gets more absurd
    For the hapless Davenport, Dave!

    (With apologies to Jeffrey Channing Wells)

  2. Monday:

    Consider this motion picture interpretation of today’s episode: Madblood shoots the gun against Dave’s head (for only the first time) and, in ISO standard slow-motion CG, Dave’s body unexpectedly turns inside-out, the bullet passing harmlessly through and past his unstable plasticine-like transition form, and impacting the right wall just as Dave reassembles into his natural form unharmed. Madblood drops his pistol in horror. (…I can’t decide if it’s terrible or not.)

    What is that line in panel 2? The high-tech equivalent of ‘eye daggers’?

  3. Tuesday:

    What you should perhaps have considered is putting this mountain of dialogue in the background behind Dave – in acknowledgment of its ridiculous verbosity – with his final spluttering gasp (“…and now you’ll kill me…”) in a separate bubble.

  4. (TUNE: “Think”, Aretha Franklin)

    I’m gonna fink!
    Gonna spill my boss’s evil plan!
    I’m gonna fink!
    Gonna save my own butt while I can!

    Lemme think, lemme think, let my mind go back a ways …
    Seems like several months ago, though it’s been just a couple days …
    I’m no evil genius, just a henchman, you can see!
    So I’ll spill my guts ’cause I don’t want to literally!

    I’m gonna fink!
    Gonna spill my boss’s evil plan!
    I’m gonna fink! (Fink fink!)
    Gonna save my own butt while I can!

    Oh, treason!  Treason!  Treason!  Treason …!

    • You had BETTER have Blue Lou playing sax in the background, and Jake and Elwood dancing along, or so help me, I’ll have to come up with a really obscure movie reference!

  5. Heh – Madblood’s eyes are obviously cold steely grey.

    And Dave exagerrates a bit – there is no ‘would have’ about it, he falls for it every time!

    The Auld Grump

  6. Wednesday:

    My wonderfulness have have cropped up in conversation” is a dearly awkward reluctant admission.

  7. (TUNE: “You Can’t Hide Your Lyin’ Eyes”, The Eagles)

    Somewhere in a secret sewer tunnel,
    There dwells a blonde and lovely evil girl …
    She reads the news, and says “Now just for fun, I’ll
    Demolish Madblood’s plan to rule the world!”

    So she’ll brush her hair, put on a bit of lipstick,
    And then call Madblood’s base up on the Moon …
    And with winks and smiles and innuendos cryptic,
    She hope to have him at her mercy soon!

    You can’t fight those big blue eyes,
    Even though you know she lies!
    And your im-mi-nent demise
    Is the prize that lies behind those big blue eyes!

  8. Dave’s pose in the first panel seems a little Groucho-esque. Maybe I’m just seeing things.

  9. @Dave:  I write software for embedded applications (I tell electronic things how to talk to each other).  Yeah, just as exciting as it sounds.  I coulda studied something creative, but noooooo, my family said, go into engineeeeeeering, they said, it’s a goooood careeeeeeeeer, they said …

    • Yep. Anything involving computers and engineering will drive you mad. (I should know, I used to be saner than an emu on acid before I started studying electronic engineering in college…)

  10. Thursday:

    As the first Emperor of Space, he would simply declare them husband and wife by fiat, possibly just after announcing the order to blow up Mount Rushmore.

  11. (TUNE: “867-5309 / Jenny”, Tommy Tutone)

    Helen Beta, you I will capture!
    Reaching greater physical rapture!
    Though you may think my future bride you will be,
    That honor goes to Jennifer Connelly!

    Helen, I will enslave you!
    You might as well resign!
    Davenport will not save you!
    Helen Beta’s my con-cu-bi-ee-iine …
    (Helen Beta’s my con-cu-bi-ee-iine …)

  12. Has your son seen The Adventures of Baron Munchausen? King of the Moon is a pretty interesting job.

  13. Well, Madblood could win Jennifer Connelly’s heart with a half-pony half-monkey monster. Or hand her the keys to a shiny new Australia. Or simply rely on the fact that there’s nowhere she can hide when a crazy cyborg wants to make you his robot bride.

    I hadn’t realized I had so many songs about mad scientists trying to get girls. 

  14. Hmm, how does Madblood know Dave’s last name? Presumably Dave offered a fuller introduction between strips.

  15. Friday:

    Let’s not forget the Jacob’s ladder and the occasional plasma ball. Or the Pong monitors (2 so far in this comic).

  16. (TUNE: “Old Time Rock And Roll”, Bob Seger)

    Just get a bench full of flasks and tubes!
    I gotta have ’em to impress the rubes!
    They ebb and flow while I complete my tasks!
    I need my old colored liquid flasks!

    I got my generator Van de Graaff!
    It’s a necessity, don’t make me laugh!
    The Jacob’s ladder; do you have to ask?
    I need it, just like colored liquid flasks!

  17. I don’t get Dave’s comment in the last panel.  Helen is a biologist.  Why WOULDN’T she have a bunch of strange vials with bubbling liquids?  It

  18. I don’t get Dave’s comment in the last panel.  Helen is a biologist.  Why WOULDN’T she have a bunch of strange vials with bubbling liquids?  It seems to

  19. Brake fluid! Yes! Brilliant!

    Sadly, sane biologists have very few strange vials of bubbling liquids lying around, and not even that many flasks and beakers. It is very disappointing.

    I was, however, pleased to find that the Fermilab particle accelerator facility has tons of clunky old computer equipment and electronic cabinets. That stuff’s expensive; you don’t throw it out as long as it’s still working.

  20. @billionsix: You’re not the only one. There’s a reason I ended up using one of his rants as a Voice Mail message.

  21. Well, panel two is very nice.

     Of course, by this point, you’ve drawn Madblood so many days he can’t help but be well-done. 

  22. I still giggle at ‘Solid. Very Karloff.’

    So the next week is one of your favorites?  Mine as well.

  23. Further support for my theory.

    I wonder, would recording one’s laugh and playing it back in order to judge it oneself be insufficiently mad, or is he just looking for as many opinions as he can get?

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