Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil: May 16-21, 2005

Artie is sometimes overly fond of himself, which is one of the areas where I can identify with him.

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At the time I was drawing this, it really bugged me that the second panel was so wordy, but I couldn’t cut anything without losing plot stuff.

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Artie’s anecdote was loosely based on the adventures of some of my friends at a comic convention. I like this strip a lot, partly because Artie came out really well in the last panel–at the time, I still had a lot of trouble drawing full-body shots of him–and partly because I just like Mongor. I don’t even mind that Mongor looks different in every damn panel in this storyline.

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Mongor came out perfectly in the last panel! I’m so happy!

I had some trouble with the design for Mongor. He had to be bipedal, because back in this week of strips Artie mentioned that he wanted “We shall walk on two legs” in the bylaws of their transgenic-rights group. But he ended up being sort of gorilla-shaped and knuckling around. I guess it worked out okay.

I think this is the only time in Narbonic in which swinging in on a rope doesn’t connote romance in the offing. Unless… nah.

I’ve mentioned this before, but for some reason this sequence is what made this storyline click for me. I had so much trouble plotting it before I came up with Mongor the Iguana-Man.

I love strips where I don’t have to draw that much. Good work, me.

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39 thoughts on “Battle for the Lost Diamond Mines of Brazil: May 16-21, 2005

  1. Monday:

    Characters expressing intention to destroy the universe for the sake of one character: 2. I can’t remember what the first one was.

    But Mell shouldn’t feel so bad about killing off all things – she’s merely finishing the debut opus of one Dr. Davenport. There wouldn’t be anyone left in the first place if it weren’t for the very, very indirect actions of Artie.

  2. Well, I would find it touching if a co-worker, who is known to be a total narcicist, and even downright psychopathic, basically said that I was better than all of humanity. But she goes further and basically says she’s willing to destroy the universe to save Artie’s life.

    Face it: for Mell that’s downright sweet.

  3. This. I’m not sure what it is about this strip, but it’s really touching. I’m a grown man, and yet this strip never fails to bring a tear to my eye.

  4. I’m agreeing with Matthew and Rex on this. Less about Artie being a narcissist, more about Artie being touched that Mell cares.

  5. Mell’s brilliant enough to figure out the Daves can’t do it – and yet, she still hasn’t figured out that it’s Artie sitting right there. 

  6. Mell, walking away in the third panel, delivering the parting line … just perfect.  I love love love me some deadly Melody.

  7. I *like* the plot-heavy panels.  But I have to go back and fix infodumps when I write stories, so maybe it’s just me.

    @Bruce: Just give Mell a few seconds.

  8. Wednesday:

    My only complaint is that we have been deprived of what must surely have been a devastating haymaker passed between the two most muscular characters in the entire webcomic.

    “Transgenic goats” (no doubt a spider-goat reference) looks a bit too much like “transgenic gods”. Did some leftover Caliban dialogue subconsciously sneak back in??

  9. (TUNE: “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, The Scorpions)

    I’m here with Mell now, we’re in Brazil,
    And Dr. Narbon she wants to kill!
    She found a tape here, upon this shelf,
    The message came from her future self!
    What is she thinking?  What’s on her mind?
    I ask the creature who’s there behind …
    He’s big and scaly, with claw and spine!
    We’ve chatted daily!  We met online!

    There he is!  Mongor the Iguana-Man!
    There he is!  Mongor the Iguana-Man!

    It’s me, it’s Artie!  Your pal, your chum!
    We met at last year’s Symposium!
    We went out drinking, comparing notes,
    We started razzing the spider-goats!
    We started fighting!  We trashed the bar!
    They tried to drown me in P.B.R.!
    You weren’t too happy, you weren’t too thrilled,
    ‘Cause you got stuck with the freakin’ bill!

    There he is!  Mongor the Iguana-Man!
    There he is!  Mongor the Iguana-Man!

  10. @David: Why does everyone assume Mongor’s ‘spots’ are coloration, and not something crawling across his skin?  He’s an iguana-man.  He could have all kinds of weird symbiotic lifeforms on him.

  11. Maybe spot relocation and minor shape-shifting are among Mongor’s natural talents?

    I like the way Artie came out in the last panel, too, but I also like the way his nose is pressed up against Mongor’s in the first panel, like he turned around suddenly and Mongor was right there.

  12. Thursday:

    It’s a little hard to believe that Artie would regard competing generations of Lantern as a topic worthy of this much grudge-holding… but now I can’t stop wondering who Artie’s preferred Lantern could possibly be.

  13. OK, now decide:  Barry Allen or Wally West?  (If you said Jay Garrick, you earn bonus nerd points and a punch in the head.)

  14. It makes total sense that Artie would be on the side he is of this argument–Hal was the conservative to Green Arrow’s liberal on their famous and very lengthy road trip across America.Of course, for me and a lot of people my age, the archetypal Green Lantern is John Stewart, thanks to the Justice League cartoon. Man, that cartoon was awesome.

  15. Hal Jordan.  Barry Allen.  And yes, Dick Grayson will always be my one true Robin.  I’m that old.

    As for Artie, I see him as a ‘John Stewart’ kind of guy.

  16. @Wayne: I had that thought briefly, too, but at least in the graphic novel Rorschach tells how he made the mask by cutting up a discarded dress made from a fabric that consisted of viscous fluid between layers of latex (see Watchmen, Chapter VI, page 10; I haven’t seen the movie). It’s still an interesting feature. I wonder if the motion of the spots is random, or if Mongor can control it at will, or if it varies in response to his emotions or some other physiological stimulus, or what.

  17. Friday:

    Fourth-wall dialogue: 64. I dunno, a small part of me think that only Dave and Helen, our mutual protagonists, should be able to do this, to momentarily act as apologetic hosts to the comic’s nonsense.

  18. (TUNE: “You Are My Sunshine”, Oliver Hood)

    You’re so my wallet!
    My future wallet!
    I’m gonna stuff you
    With all my cash!
    I’ll stand astride you
    As I de-hide you!
    Future wallet, now Melody smash!

    I really wanna
    Fight this iguana!
    He threatened Artie;
    I knew he would!
    But not for long, for
    That beast-man Mongor
    Will be turned into fine leather goods!
       (repeat CHORUS)

    A monster hell-beast
    Against a Mell-beast!
    A part of me thinks
    It’s only fair!
    He should be smitten
    For what he’s written
    On his blog, about Medicare!
       (repeat CHORUS)

  19. @Ed: Even for you, that’s an exceptionally great filk. Usually I just read ’em, smile, and forget ’em, but every so often there’s one that I’m still singing days, weeks, months later. “You’re So My Wallet” joins “Armload of Cobras” and “Go to Your Corner” in that small, special category. Well done, sir, well done.

  20. (OK, upon looking it up, I found that “Armload of Cobras” was Nate Cull’s filk, and “Go to Your Corner” was Ed’s. Good work, guys–I still sing both of those.)

  21. Hey, we found out just Monday that Mell will have been going to destroy the universe for Artie. How is that not romantic?

  22. Whaddyah mean, nah? After a meeting like that, complete with racist epithets, what other ending could there be? (OK, yes, I know what’s coming in the strip; but just think what a troika they would make in the sequel…)

  23. Methinks Dr. Narbon needs to put more work into her deathtraps.  Neither Artie nor Mel seem to have been impaled; or if they are, neither seems to be bothered by it ^_^

  24. Saturday:

    I have a confession to make: I get a little thrill out of seeing cartoon people fall through trapdoors, and am a little bit disappointed at how the author’s finger was just a second too late in clicking the shutter when photographing panel 3.

    Meanwhile in panel 2, Artie proceeds to blow his cover even faster than what it would normally take. But then, there are some offenses to social decorum he just cannot let slide.

    I’m slightly agog at the idea that wrestling reptiles twice her size is something that Mell has done more than once (and I wouldn’t put it past her to not be sarcastic about it), if only because it suggests so many offscreen exploits and japes that we haven’t been privy to.

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