D-Con: March 25-30, 2002

Oh, Artie. You are so very corruptible. It’s not even a challenge. And I do love the Dave Patrol. Helen came out really well in that first panel. At this point, I probably could have just kept drawing the strip indefinitely with Helen in male form. Helen doesn’t seem to care much one way or the other.

They didn’t really make laptops that small in 2002, did they?

This Dave is based on the main character in Hell on Wheels, my friend Rob’s somewhat autobiographical comic, which I drew for a while. Specifically, I drew it very quickly, with a Sharpie, at my desk at Viz while Rob hung around describing his ideas for people Wolverine could fight.

It’s surprisingly easy to draw wheelchairs if you’re not hung up on, you know, drawing them very well.

The hotel art in the background is of Dave Island, which will play a major part in upcoming developments. It’s foreshadowing!

That wheelchair needs some little wheels in the front to keep it from tipping over. John Byrne always used to draw messed-up wheelchairs like this, but that’s no excuse.

I’m not sure if the painting on the wall in the first panel is anything significant, but the 23 on the door is an Illuminatus! reference. I use the numbers 3, 6, 23, and 42 a lot; there’s no deep meaning behind it.

Yes, she already has a glass of wine (from a box) and is demanding beer. Have I mentioned this character is based closely on my mother?

That is an absolutely enormous Dave in the first panel. They like ’em big and strapping in the Dave Patrol.

Careful readers may recall that Dr. Narbon’s involvement with the Dave Conspiracy was hinted at previously, specifically in this week of strips. See, it wasn’t just filler. So there. Ha!

At the time I wrote this, I drew a lot of strips while watching “Simpsons” reruns, and that tomacco episode was on all the damn time.

I still like this strip, especially Helen’s histrionic reactions. Helen’s the only one of the main cast who would play along with the narration like this. Dave wouldn’t even pretend to care.

I don’t remember who this Dave is based on. Sorry…

I always liked Helen’s tiny aside in the first panel. If this were a manga, it’d be written around the inside of the main balloon, or floating out in the panel.

I’m also pretty pleased with the overall tenor of the conversation. It’s great when I can assemble a whole group of characters who are all equally, but differently, out of touch with reality and bounce them off each other. Dave is safely off in the dungeon where he can’t infect any of these conversations with common sense.

51 thoughts on “D-Con: March 25-30, 2002

  1. I think there was a Vaio in that size back in 2002. I remember seeing them in 2001 while shopping for the MacBook I ended up getting.

  2. I think blackmail is actually a very pretty word. Am I alone in this?

    Blackmail blackmail blackmail…

  3. My fovorite bit is actually how Helen looks in the fourth panel. Just the right amount of guilt and “Oh, 5#!7”

  4. The Vaio Picturebook C1VN was smaller than that, in 2000. I had one. It was a great little machine. Mine got stolen right out of my office. I replaced it with an iBook, leading me towards the slippery slope of Mac zealotry I live on a daily basis today.

  5. My husband used a laptop with a very small screen in 2001, although it was a chunky piece of kit otherwise. Its vintage (and brand) is unknown as it was an extended loan. I think the screen was black and white, or possibly black and green, and it functioned as an effective lap-heating device. If we never have any children, this may be why.

    How can Artie be UNDER the toilet? Isn’t it plumbed in? Maybe it’s one of those designer cantilevered efforts, but I don’t see the Dave Convention being held in a hotel with that level of designer-ness.

  6. Monday:

    All I have to add is that panel 3 leads one to ponder the bizarre altruistic demands that Artie would present to the Daves. There’s some unrealised comedy right there.

  7. “Blackmail” is a rather ironic choice of words, (SPOLER ALERT) considering what Artie turns into later. 

    “Blackmail” is not as pretty a word as “spackle”.  Spackle spackle spackle spackle spackle spackle wheeeeeeee …

  8. Maybe British toilets are designed slightly differently. Or Artie is a very, very small gerbil.

  9. I like to say smock. Smock, smock, smock, smock….

    (Although “spackle” is nice, too. )

  10. I find a hard C and three syllables to lead to great words.

    Cranberry. Anarchy. Cranarchy.

  11. True, though I keep reading it as Cranachan. Cultural bias. (One of my sister’s favourite words to say is “Auchtermuchty” – it’s a place.)

    Ohhh, Helen, you fell for a textbook trick question. (I see this is another case of “burly character, weedy body language”, by the way!)

  12. Tuesday:

    Hell on Wheels! I like to think that the cubicle-sketch genre of webcomic artistry only ever flattered your particular style. (But then, I’m overly sentimental toward both.)

    Incidentally, the HOW main character is not “Rob McCarthy” but, instead, “Dave“. What does this mean, I wonder? (And, now that I’m on the subject, why “Manuel Adolopho Diego“?)

  13. (I see this is another case of “burly character, weedy body language”, by the way!)

    She’s a Dave, not a Hawk.  <rimshot>


  14. I like how you used all those gray fills to save time…but clearly hand colored the silhouet in panel one, maybe with a sharpie, when a black-fill would have saved time and given an even black color…

    actually stuff like this gives me hope that one day when my life gets a bit more sorted out I can give web-comicing another go…

    • What? Of COURSE there’s deep meaning behind 42! Don’t you know that it’s the Answer to Life, The Universe, and Everything?

  15. I always assumed that he was riding a ‘unicycle’ style wheelchair, which would not need little wheels in the front….

  16. Of course, hitting on a gender-switched version of her own clone daughter shows that, like any good evil mad scientist, Dr Narbon doesn’t know the meaning of the words, “You really don’t want to go there.”

  17. Thursday:

    For a genius, Helen Beta misses the ball entirely in panel 4. Hopefully by tomorrow he’ll work out his misassumption.

  18. What a story line! We’ve had the return of the shadow conspiracy onlyhinted at before, the return of female Dave, the return of male Helen, thereturn of Antonio Smith, the return of myself, and now the return ofHelen’s mom. I’m living in a fanboy paradise! It’s like a 10thanniversary special, where the five doctors need to work together! So doesthis mean we’re about to see Lupin Madblood turn Dave into a robot todefend the dentist from the ur-gerbils?
    Gary Dave Barker, 29 March 2002.

  19. What we need is a beverage that’s half wine and half beer … sounds like a wiener to me!

    Or it could be brine, ’cause you’d sure get pickled …

  20. There were only three Doctors for the tenth anniversary. It was at the twentieth that there were five.

  21. Where does Helen get off calling Helen Beta little?

    I can absolutely see there being a height requirement for the Dave Patrol. After all (pace Eddurd) Daves are not naturally threatening, so they need some way to make the Dave Patrol appear formidable.

  22. I bet if Shaenon were in charge, all thirteen Doctors would have shown up for the tenth anniversary, and with each regeneration, everybody would rewatch that episode to find out what the character now revealed to also be the Doctor did. And there would be much head-scratching over how she managed to look at a 2-year-old and determine what he’d look like in 33 years, let alone know that he’d end up playing the tenth Doctor.

  23. Friday:

    My experience with the tomacco episode is perhaps the inverse of yours – I have had it intricately described to me by other people twice, and later watched it but once. Personally, its high point was Homer attempting to invoke the atomic superpowers trope, and it kinda declined before and after that point.

    And that’s all I have to say about today’s episode of Narbonic: Director’s Cut.

    Non-canon weekday strips: 4.

  24. Fourth-wall-penetrations usually appear in the last panel of a strip, so the penetration count is the same whether you count panels or strips. But in this case we have four penetrating panels. Do we increment the penetration count by one or four this time?

  25. “…Helen Narbon, possibly the most evil woman alive!”

    I was going to dispute this point by mentioning my ex-wife, but then I thought, “No, wait, she said ‘alive’.  Undead don’t count.”

  26. The fourth wall was only penetrated once here; the connection stays open for the whole strip.

    I love the way Helen is ducking to look out under the text banners.

  27. The tomacco episode is the one which made me realize that the Simpsons was no longer worth watching.

  28. Saturday:

    Why! What a horrid revelation! And if both Helens would just close their yaps, we might all find out the reason for the Daves’ desperate assassination – a reason which even our cartoonist probably wasn’t privy to at the time.

    EtymOnline informs me that the word “Catastrophe” is derived from the Greek katastrephein, “to turn upside-down.” Catastrophes: 1. (Not to be confused, of course, with something literally turning Helen upside-down. I have a separate counter for that.)

    The total worth of Dave Davenport’s life: $5.00. Poor poor Dave. That alone could be enough to send him off his conk right here.

  29. Catastrophe, n, 1. The second half of a cat bracketed by single quote marks. (The first half is commonly known as an aposcathead.) 2. A usually humorous award consisting of a posterior of a housecat mounted on a marble base.

  30. I noticed the resemblance to Bill, as well. But he can’t look like a “Bill” because then he’d fail the “Spot The Dave” test, so maybe his dad was a “Bill”. Or his mom.

  31. You’re far from the first person I’ve heard who loves having a bunch of differently dysfunctional characters interacting. It really is quite fun, isn’t it?

    I think I’ve actually been in a couple of these conversations, but I’m not sure, due to being rather out of touch with reality in many ways myself.

  32. Tiff, did you know that Piers Anthony used definition #2 of “catastrophe” in one of the Xanth novels?  Except in that case, it was mounted on a wooden plaque and hung on the wall.

    Panel #3, “She wouldn’t do it for FREE?”  Best. Line. Ever.

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