Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: March 31 – April 5, 2003

Ah, this setup never fails to amuse me. The whole gag, of course, depends on Dave and Madblood being obviously different people even when they’re physically identical, and I took great pride in differentiating them with dialogue and mannerisms. It helps that Madblood insists on continuing to wear a lab coat. Artie falls for it partly because it’s funnier that way, and partly because Artie generally isn’t very good at telling humans apart.

Madblood calls Dave “David” because he’s David to everyone outside the staff of Narbonics Labs; readers with ridiculously good memories will recall that he’s currently on the outs with the Dave Conspiracy.

Not much to say about this one, although I do like Madblood’s worried little expression in the second panel. Also, it’s convenient that Helen and Madblood both have giant communicator screens in their labs, but they’d have to, wouldn’t they?

If allowed, Helen would probably keep doing this indefinitely. I wonder how long I could have drawn it out before readers started complaining.

Madblood’s hair looks pretty good in the second panel. I was still drawing ears too big.

Have I mentioned that I love this week? Sometimes I’m awesome. Madblood’s complete inability to pass himself off as Dave in any way whatsoever continues to be wonderful. Madblood’s such a useful character to have around: the blowhard who’s smart, but not as smart as he thinks he is.

Helen’s expression in the last panel is just plain evil. Madblood really shouldn’t have stood her up on that date.

This happened in “Blackadder” once.

At one point I considered establishing that it was taboo, or at least extremely tacky, for mad scientists to get romantically involved with their henchmen, and that was one reason Helen didn’t make a move on Dave. Madblood’s line in the first panel was included so I could go in that direction if I wanted to later on, but in the end I didn’t.

Madblood looks wracked with misery in the two middle panels. One should never pass up an opportunity to draw flying sweat drops.

It is possible that certain people have sometimes called me “Monkey-Pie.” I cannot comment on the record.

Okay, now this is just cruel. And Madblood’s efforts to talk himself up while nominally pretending to be Dave are very sad.

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50 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Doppelganger Gambit: March 31 – April 5, 2003

  1. He’s also identifiable as not-Dave because he’s not smoking.

    Not that Dave ever smoked, of course.

  2. Monday:

    One of the best parts of today’s thrilling episode is Madblood’s hideous panel 3 appropriation of generic Igor-esque mannerisms – the arched shoulders and lop-sided toothy grin. If only Dave was around and had enough dignity to be insulted by this.

    Madblood scheme score: 4.

  3. Helen’s expression in panel 4 is just perfect… and then Artie makes it even better with his cluelessness.

  4. Helen’s “Just how dumb do you think I am?” expression is panel 4 is fricking hilarious, and the action shot in panel 1 is really nicely done too; she looks like she was looking off to the left only a second ago, has just turned to look at the signal indicator and her hair hasn’t caught up yet.

  5. I hadn’t noticed, but Madblood seems to have problems remembering Dave’s name. You know I never payed attention to the fact that people call Dave David since he got kicked out of the fraternity. It’s cool that you are good with continuity.

    And it’s so easy to tell Madblood and Dave apart. In TV is not as easy, ’cause actors aren’t generally this good

  6. Dave has not yet never smoked, so it’s perfectly reasonable to identify him that way.

    This installment is pitch perfect, Shaenon-of-the-past, you fired on all cylinders with this one!

  7. Just as a follower to the discussion sparked by last Friday which I missed, I would never dream of questioning a Van de Graaf generator, because they are awesome, but colored liquid flasks are the mark of a dilettante. A true mad scientist can identify his sulfuric acid by sight without the use of anything so vulgar as dyes. (Sulfuric acid is the wrong shade of clear to be water.)

  8. Why is everyone being Dave even funnier than everyone being Madblood?  Maybe because everyone’s so awkward at it (especially Dave himself.)

  9. I like the postures of different characters, the differences are almost always immediately noticeable.

    Not all cartoonists put that much effort into characters.

    Thank you for the comic!

  10. I think that this is the last storyline that involves Dave turning into someone or something else. It also contains the greatest amount of other people turning into Dave. There’s one final form of Dave Transfomation still to come, starting from the next storyline.

    PS, while Van der Graaf generators are all very well, what I really want is a Wimshurst machine.

  11. Any mad scientist needs a giant communicator screen in their lab!  A 19- or 21-inch screen is completely inadequate to the task of showing every member of the UN General Assembly cowering in terror when you call them to hold the world ransom!

  12. PLus, before you turn on the giant viewscreen to deliver your ultimatum to the world powers, you can check your image to make sure you don’t have a piece of spinach in your teeth.  I hate it when that happens!

  13. Question: I know you do independent commisions, but does Andrew? I have a short story I think would be better as a comic, and when I started blocking it out in my head I noticed it looked a lot like Andrew’s Bruce Willis versions of Dave.  If he’s interested he can email me at

    Everyone else can have fun signing me up to all the horrible spam they can find for having the temerity to ask this.

  14. I have this suspicion that Narbonics Labs’ giant communicator screen is something that Dave built to play old-school Nintendo games on. And then, of course, it needed Internet access. And the ability to receive communications from other celestial bodies (SETI@Home is a nice idea, but the dataset is so limited…). And obviously if you find extra-terrestrial intelligence, you need to be able to talk back to it… 

  15. (TUNE: “Mrs. Robinson”, Simon and Garfunkel)

    I say, well done, pseudo-Davenport!
    You’ve got Madblood’s fortress on the Moon!
    What a goon!
    Bet it was fun, pseudo-Davenport!
    Did he run off crying for his Ma?
    Ha ha ha!  Ha ha ha!

    He’s got that stupid necktie that his mother bought for him!
    His hair’s more greasy than a bag of fries!
    And he smells like carpet with an un-housebroken dog!
    That you whipped that wuss should come as no surprise!

    You closed the deal, pseudo-Davenport!
    You beat that buffoon at his own game!
    He’s so lame!
    But where’s the real Mr. Davenport?
    I don’t care, I’m having too much fun!
    I’m not done!
    Just begun!

  16. (TUNE: “Arthur’s Theme (Best That You Can Do)”, Christopher Cross)

    Do you recall the night, Dave,
    When we got wild and did the nasty?
    Bodies so intertwined,
    We couldn’t escape!
    You’re more than just alright, Dave!
    Rocking my world so hard and fast, whee!
    I hope that you don’t mind;
    I got it on tape!

    When we made plans to capture Madblood’s lab’ratory,
    We did the wild thing, you and I!
    Let me remind you of the details of this story …
    And when I fill you in,
    I say it with a grin
    ‘Cause it’s a lie!

  17. It’s bugged me for too many years:Insouciant doesn’t mean impertinent, it means carefree. (Insoucient, on the other hand, can mean whatever Shaenon wants it to mean.)

  18. Thursday:

    Some opportunies simply cannot be refused, even insofar as they might lead to incredibly awkward consequences for the actual Dave.

  19. The strip that launched a thousand fanboys.

    Mad grrrls *sigh*…  you gotta love ’em (and if you don’t then just turn you into gerbils.)

  20. The best part is a few strips from now, when we see the real Dave’s utterly floored reaction to Helen’s sex stories about him. XD

  21. My favorite part of this week is the end, the look on Dave’s face after Madblood has done talking to Helen. God that’s priceless

  22. 😀 Yeah, this is a great moment. /* Madblood’s such a useful character to have around: the blowhard who’s smart, but not as smart as he thinks he is. */Writerly question, then – so is he a blowhard because he’s insecure at some level, or is that just the way he is?/* Madblood really shouldn’t have stood her up on that date. */Oh, c’mon. Like Helen totally wouldn’t have done this anyway, just for kicks.

  23. Friday:

    Curse that woman and her fraudulent look of endearing shock, with her hand on her chest!

    If only Madblood could stop rending his brow in time to realise the opportunity he’s seemingly been presented with – that of crushing Helen’s dear heart as Dave, then luring her teary visage into his arms as Madblood. It’d solve most of the sea of problems he’s been so cruelly beset with of late.

  24. Is anyone counting the number of appearances of the Helen Smirk(tm), seen here in panel 4?

  25. I have to say, one of the reasons I thought Madblood’s guess in panel 4 was so hilarious is because it’s the sort of thing no one would use as an endearment. Now that I stand corrected, I find it hilarious for a whole different reason.

  26. (TUNE: “Cabaret”, Fred Ebb & John Kander)

    What is the pet name that, Helen my love,
    I often call you by?
    You are my Monkey-Pie, my pet!
    You are my Monkey-Pie!

    You are my Sweetcakes, my own Snuggle-Dove,
    My Apple-Butterfly!
    Yes, you’re my Monkey-Pie, you bet!
    You are my Monkey-Pie!

    I love to hug
    My Snuggle-Bug!
    My Pinky-Puss, my Peachy-Poodle,

    All of my joy, you’re the reason thereof!
    Better than ham on rye!
    You are my Monkey-Pie, my pet!
    You are the one that makes me sweat!
    Yes you are … my Monkey-Pie!

  27. Twitting mad scientists has to be the world’s most dangerous sport. But Helen is good at it because she’s a member of the club. 🙂

  28. I so totally <3 this week.  She’s just SO EVIL.  And SO good at it!  And so clearly enjoying hamming it up.  I swear, you drew her eyes twice as big as usual in the last one.

  29. (TUNE: “I Could Have Danced All Night”, Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe)

    Ah yes, we goinked all night!
    We did the wild thing right!
    Yes, you were more than fine!
    I tried a pelvic twist
    From some psychologist
    I’d chatted with online!
    We both were sore
    From forty-four orgasms …
    We took a break; I had a Sprite,
    You had a Mountain Dew …
    Then we began round two!
    Oh yes, we goinked, goinked, goinked …
    Aaaaaaaaaaall niiiiiiiiiiiiight!

  30. Hey Jonathan, it’s possible that “insoucient” is a deliberate malapropism on Shaenon’s part, meant to be Madblood going for an impressive sounding epithet and failing, thus sounding like the git that he is 🙂

    BTW, Helen *sigh* so cute, so evil …

  31. Saturday:

    That she would bring back her class reunion rebuffing, and of casting the reunion as the scene of this fictitious tryst, is evidence of A) a certain degree of petty grudge-holding on her part, and B) a certain degree of wish-fullfilment with respect to how the reunion actually went for her and Dave. How revealing! (But then again, the reunion was just last Friday…)

  32. I continue to be bothered by the extra o in Saturday’s last panel.  Other than that, awesome strip.

  33. My favorite week of Narbonic. There is nothing more amusing than playing with lunch. Or, in this case, dinner. Shouldn’t have stood her up, hon.

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