Yeah, another rare moment where I decide to play with the layout for no discernible reason. Artie and Dave turned out so nicely in the first panel that it’s all the more upsetting that a) Artie’s left foot is turned uncomfortably, and b) I don’t know what the hell the ladder attaches to at the bottom. That ladder bugs me so much I can’t focus on anything else in the strip.
I’m glad I closed the plot hole about the whereabouts of Dave’s miraculously long-distance cell phone, though. I thought this would be a good point in the story for Helen to have a conversation with Mell.
Mell’s dialogue in the first two panels is based on stuff George S. Patton said. The last two panels are pure Mell.
Helen’s last line here is pretty thoroughly autobiographical. I do like that line, but my favorite part of this strip is Mell’s casually insulting assessment of Dave in the first panel. Also, in the third panel, one robot is polishing her shoes while another offers her a platter of grenades, which is pretty good.
Note that Mell says she knows two mad geniuses besides Helen. This turns out to be important.
This conversation is based on another speech from Patton. I’m not really such a huge George S. Patton fan. I just thought it would be funny if Mell talked like this. Possibly I was wrong.
…Nah, I was right. Push on, men, push on,” is just lovely. The sunglasses and cigar help a lot.
In Greek legend and the blockbuster trilogy by Sophocles, Antigone is the daughter (and half-sister*) of Oedipus. In Oedipus at Colonus, the hit sequel to Oedipus Rex, she leads him around everywhere, Oedipus having put out his own eyes at the end of the previous play because he was so squicked out about marrying his mom. This is a slightly odd reference for Artie to make immediately after mentioning Helen, but Artie has some mother issues.
People were asking why Artie wasn’t more upset about being practically blind without Dave’s glasses, and this, along with the strip where he’s upset about lacking whiskers, is the answer. Artie is much less bothered by his poor (by human standards) eyesight than he is by his totally inadequate (by rodent standards) hearing and scent. (How does he smell? Terrible!) Rodents also navigate by touch and vibration, being built low to the ground, and an upright human body isn’t very useful for that either.
*He loved his mother like no other/His daughter was his sister and his son was his brother. Thanks, Tom Lehrer!
Argh, too wordy. This strip was inspired by a conversation with James Rice about those geometric puzzles where you move toothpicks around. I’m really bad at those things. (Cue countdown to someone in the comments saying that it’s because I’m a woman and women are naturally bad at that stuff. I’m actually good at some other spatial reasoning puzzles; I just can’t do the toothpick thing. Or draw bicycles.)
Although Artie’s point is well taken (and “brain potluck” is a useful phrase for many occasions), Helen has a perfectly good reason to have tried to light her pants on fire. Obviously, she was testing her Kevlar pants.