Demons: May 17-22, 2004

I created this excitingly-shaped strip by cutting up a normal strip and rearranging the panels. It seemed clever at the time. I probably should’ve done stuff like this more often, actually.

At this point, Dave is kind of getting into the whole mad-science thing. The next storyline discusses this a little more; the strips in this week are sort of a warm-up.

Caliban’s expression in the last panel didn’t come out the way I wanted it, but I like that this strip continues the tradition wherein the “technobabble” in Narbonic is generally based on real science. I had recently read a great comic about facsimile transmission illustrated by Roger Langridge. Anyway, this is the strip that won me the respect of my friend Mohamed the laser scientist, and of that I will always be proud.

I dunno, somehow this storyline ended up being mostly about Boggle. Don’t ask me.

I of course made another actual Boggle square to create Artie’s word list. This is the kind of thing I find entertaining about drawing a comic strip.

“My brilliant plan has a fatal flaw!” is still one of my favorite Helen lines.

Artie would totally kick their asses at Trivial Pursuit, too. I like the guy with the mouth on top of his head.

Helen and Dave instantly sense that Mell has a crush on Caliban. I don’t know if it’s because they both know what unrequited love looks like, or because they’ve developed heightened senses for all things Mell-related out of sheer instinct for self-preservation.

Caliban, of course, knows nothing of this thing called love. I totally dig characters who Know Nothing of This Thing Called Love. Also good is if they need to be taught This Earth Thing You Call Kissing.

41 thoughts on “Demons: May 17-22, 2004

  1. Sadly, dead demons are hard to knock out of the way with explosions, and their hell-spawned corpses block fire lanes. Behind a demon is probably the safest place to be if Mell is on a rampage. 

  2. Monday:

    In fact, part of Mell’s internship involves cleaning and maintaining the duct interiors. As any evil genius knows, heating and ventilation systems are most effective when they double as shiny metal auxiliary corridors.

  3. The spammer raises a good point Mell doesn’t have a handbag, earrings or a watch. Does she have weapons stashed all over the lab, just in case she or one of Helen’s experiments goes crazy?

  4. Spam!


    As for Mell’s hidden weapons caches… well… yeah, wouldn’t you?

    Except for hammers. Hammers just happen.


    The Auld Grump

  5. See, Avery, I actually agree with the spammer’s later point.  its actually almost prophetic, listing the various items from Tiffany’s that are appropriate gifts to a woman who has just saved your life from demonic hordes.  Good call, spammer!

    You’ve just gotta love Mel’s destructive instincts.  She’s got a very Painted Doll approach to demons: “Ooooh!  I haven’t killed one of THESE before!”  which the just falls into random acts of wanton destruction.  Mel blows any psychological evaluation out of the water (probably with a few pounds of C-4).

  6. @theauldgrump: Hammers don’t just *happen*.  You have to store them in hammerspace first.  Then you yank them out of hammerspace for the big anime-style wham.

  7. @Diane Castle: No, that’s Mallets Aforethought. 😛 (Yes, I have been saving that pun, why do you ask?)


    The Auld Grump

  8. Tuesday:

    The scary part about Dave’s tinkering is that that spanner did not exist until a few minutes ago.

  9. The scariest part about Dave’s tinkering is that, after he made that spanner? It had always existed.

  10. A grenade belt that will blow you into little pieces, but the pieces won’t get red and burned for at least three hours!  Genius!

  11. Wednesday:

    This problem can easily be solved. Dave merely has to quickly retool the teleporter so that it can teleport itself to Mell’s location.

    Fourth-wall asides: 58.

  12. I wouldn’t worry about the transporter.  Mell always said it would be keen to have two right arms.

  13. I’m reading Simon R. Green’s “Ghost of a Chance” right now.  It involves a woman, named Melody, who I swear is an unholy fusion of Mel and Dave.  She’s the only one in the group with a gun, its a fuck big machine pistol, and she enjoys blowing stuff up.  However, she’s also the team’s science nerd and is responsible for maintaining all their gear.

    Mel has become memetic!

  14. Hey, isn’t Dave a unitarian? Does he and Artie, like, bond over that?


    Also, it seems demons in Narbonic are not generally super-intelligent. But they don’t mind, they get horns and stuff.

  15. Thursday:

    Tsutsugamushi? Clearly living with a biologist has given Artie unthinkable Boggle power levels.

    If Dave was the one at the door, the word he’d try to use to freeze the Hellspawn in their tracks would probably be ‘Elbereth’. #MostGroanworthyComputerGameReferenceEver

  16. So… when is Artie gonna get his guest spot in Skin Horse…


    c’mon, you know you wanna do it


    crossovers are awsome…


    all the cool kids (Marvel, DC) are doin’ it…

    • Yeah, but it’s not really a protective name of power there. I mean, it has some basis in the legendarium, but nobody ever says “Elbereth” (or scribbles the name in solid stone in approximately six seconds :v) seriously expecting it to create a magic barrier or something. If you invoke Elbereth and seriously expect it to make demons flee, you’re definitely making a NetHack reference, not a Tolkein reference.

    • Sure, but it’s not really a protective word of power there. I mean, it has some basis in the legendarium, but nobody ever says “Elbereth”* seriously expecting it to make a magic barrier or something. If you invoke Elbereth and actually expect demons to flee from just that, you’re making a NetHack reference for sure.

      *Never mind scribbling out the name in solid stone in approximately six seconds. Turn based systems are weird.

  17. A Elbereth! Gilthoniel!

    Also, I’d want to take a real close look at that square before I declare Artie’s list legit. Especially “tsutsugamushi”, which I doubt is in my dictionary and which is unlikely to be made without double-hitting any dice.

  18. Any word under 16 letters is technically feasible… makes me want to write a program to build boggle squares that contain words.

  19. Martin, Dave is a lapsed Unitarian. Given what you have to do in that religion to lapse, it’s safe to say he and Artie don’t have a lot to discuss.

  20. I’ve mentioned this before in the comments, and I should probably bring it up again, but there were a lot more Unitarian jokes in this storyline before I trimmed it down for length. Unitarian jokes are like the extra Treebeard footage in Lord of the Rings–fun, but something had to go.

  21. I just noticed something about the guy with the mouth on his forehead…I unconsciously flip the image so his mouth is below his eyes (i.e. treat him as an upside-down person), which makes all his frowny expressions into pretty goofy smiles.

  22. (TUNE: “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”, Queen)

    Returned … to Hell,
    Is Cal-iban’s greatest fear!
    He’s saved … by Mell,
    Why did … she volunteer?
    He knows nothing!
    Nothing Of This Thing Called Love!

    She grabbed … his arm
    And dragged him thru the vents bodily!
    With mi-nor harm,
    That girl manhandled him naughtily!
    He knows nothing!
    Nothing Of This Thing Called Love!

    That Melody Wildflower,
    She knows how to have some fun!
    She’s got some firepower!
    She’s got a cool flamethrower
    And a Really Big Freakin’ Gun!

    So, buddy, be cool … don’t fret,
    They won’t … catch Caliban!
    He don’t know … it yet,
    But she’s decided he’ll be her man!
    He knows nothing!
    Nothing Of This Thing Called Love!

  23. Once again I hear that woman’s voice from The Benny Hill Show after she’s just patted a man’s crotch: “What’s this thing called, love?”

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