I’m really bad at drawing skulls for some reason. Fortunately, this is supposed to be a skull that’s been gnawed on, so it’s okay that it’s totally misshapen and weird.
Is Dave sickened by human remains, or Dave remains specifically? The world may never know.
I came up with the idea of the ur-gerbils migrating to a desert island before I worked out how they or the other characters would get there. Come to think of it, I kind of never did work out that part. The last two ur-gerbils created by Helen were last seen buying ferry tickets in San Francisco. Now they’re on a tropical island off the coast of Brazil. It is entirely possible that they had to cross the Panama Canal to get there, which I only mention because “Ur-Gerbils of the Panama Canal” would be a great title for a 1950s boys’ adventure story.
I don’t have much to say about this strip, but the ur-gerbils really are supremely nonthreatening, aren’t they? I’m incapable of making things not look cute.
The ur-gerbils sometimes squeak background for variety, and as a nod to Julie Hamilton’s Disturbing Palindrome Song of the Mutant Gerbils. They also all have palindromic names.
I have a thing for unintelligible characters whose language can be understood, inexplicably, by one other character (or two characters in this case, as we will learn shortly). Much later, Artie is also mysteriously capable of communicating with Mongor the Iguana-Man. Gemma in Smithson can understand the nonverbal Selena, or acts like she can.
Again, the gerbils have palindromic names. This is the kind of thing I think is funny.
Most of these strips were written very early in the development of Narbonic. I knew from the beginning that I definitely wanted a desert-island storyline. They were probably the first strips I wrote with extensive dialogue for Artie; all things considered, his personality is pretty well established here.
I like drawing gerbils.