Professor Madblood and the Everlasting Ices of the North: May 29 – June 3, 2006


…What can I say? I needed to get in some information about the forcefield. This will all be on the final test.

I like the strips where Lovelace is just floating around like this. I had to bring her down to earth for a lot of panels so she could talk face-to-face with the other characters.

Dave really doesn’t need to apologize; he did the best he could, under the circumstances. He’s a good guy to a fault sometimes. And other times not.

Lovelace’s little digital fuzz effect is just a Photoshop job. I thought of it at the last minute as I was scanning these strips, because I worried that she looked too solid to be a hologram.

Her waist is crazy tiny in these panels, but she’s based on Bettie Page, and Bettie Page had a teeny waist. Round hips, narrow waist, chest that’s more ribcage than boobs; that’s the Bettie Page silhouette. My bigger concern, when I was drawing her, was that her bangs hide her eyebrows, making it hard for her to emote. Yinz know I like to draw crazy eyebrows.

Lovelace’s software can’t leave the Arctic base. At least not at the moment. THIS WILL BE ON THE TEST.

Seriously, it was tricky setting all these little plot details up in a non-intrusive way. This whole final arc has a lot more plotting than most Narbonic storylines, which, for all the clever foreshadowing and whatnot, generally boil down to everyone running around until stuff gets blowed up real good. Admittedly SPOILERS, this storyline isn’t all that different, but there’s more attention to detail.

Also check out my fairly lazy exterior shot in the first panel. Sometimes the dialogue balloons are too big, and also drawing is hard. I like the little greenhouse area, though.

The backgrounds in Madblood’s base are based on Ozymandias’s Arctic base in Watchmen. Hence stuff like the greenhouse and, in tomorrow’s strip, the giant bank of TV screens. Even by the standards of Narbonic, this storyline is heavy on the oblique pop-cultural references.

Dave’s line in the second panel is the biggest understatement in the history of all understatement. He has no idea.

I wrote this strip pretty early on. As soon as I had the idea of Dave and Madblood working together, I had to make them have conversations like this. Madblood is secretly very insecure, which is cute in the brief moments between bombastic self-aggrandizement.

Okay, so sometimes I just don’t feel like drawing steps properly.

I wrote this strip super early. It was in my big folder of thumbnails for years. Dave describing a woman as tasting “kind of like a Slim Jim” may be the most perfectly Dave line in all of Narbonic.

The idea of Helen smelling like strawberries is a very small, very oblique tribute to Stephen Ratliff’s classic “Star Trek” fanfics featuring courageous yet psychopathic tween heroine Marissa Amber Flores Picard. Marissa is really into strawberries.

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35 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Everlasting Ices of the North: May 29 – June 3, 2006

  1. Dave’s panicked expression in the last panel really sells this one.  Also, one day I’m going to build a viewscreen that looks just like that.

  2. Too bad I just used “And I Love Her” … I could have filked “And I Hover …”   (also, I’m late for work right now).

    • {whimper} Why for you make me imagine Jennifer Conelly in a tiger-striped bikini and leggings, nyao? The sexy of that mental image was almost too much for my perverted little kitty heart, you evil, evil two-legger!

  3. Ed, I’m not late for work
    tune: “And I Love Her,” The Beatles

    Dave, won’t you talk to me?
    Why be so shy?
    There’s no more mystery
    I’m an AI
    And I hover

    Our online chats were blind
    No face-to-face
    Now you are here, and I’m
    Still your Lovelace
    And I hover

    Oh, please accept
    Me as I am
    A hologram
    Based on Connelly

    At the Symposium
    Meet you I could not
    But look what I’ve become!
    I’m totally hot
    And I hover

  4. Okay, I’m going to try to fill in for Ed here, and I don’t care what song he’s just used.  (This’ll teach him to take the day off….)

    I show my hologram
    That’s all I do
    And if you saw my gam
    You’d ogle too.
    I hover.

    He looks at everything
    And eagerly.
    The look my henchman makes
    He makes at me
    As I hover.

    A look like his
    Would never fly
    As long as I
    Hover near him.

    If I’m high in the air
    This skirt does rise.
    I want this guy to stare
    Into my eyes
    As I hover.

    So I can talk to Dave
    Just face to face
    My hologram’s light wave
    Stays low in space
    As I hover.

  5. (TUNE: “Unforgettable”, Nat King Cole)

    So insensitve … that’s what I was!
    No defense I’ll give … simply because,
    With a girl that’s skilled at killin’ you,
    Empathy she will instill in you!
    You will learn fast,
    Else you won’t last!

    You’re a hologram, pure CGI …
    Dumb is what I am, ’cause I’m a guy!
    Now together we’ve been sent to live …
    All this pain, I never meant to give …
    Just ’cause I am so insensitive, too!

  6. Your Scully eyeroll is great, but your Lovelace eyeroll is up there, too, and I can’t say I blame her.

  7. Wednesday:

    The greenhouse feels very Watchmen-esque. It’s funny – for all Madblood’s aspirations, his bases aren’t particularly replete with the trappings of wealth and kingliness. Maybe that’s more to do with the limits of our author’s hands rather than his budget or sense of taste.

    Even Lovelace’s “only the one projector” line turns out to be somewhat portentious.

  8. So if Lovelace had a twin, she’d be named Grace Hopper and look like Sigourney Weaver from “Galaxy Quest”?

  9. I had an opportunity to attend a talk by Admiral Hopper, unfortunately I got sick and could not attend.  I am one of those incredibly strange people who still advocate that COBOL is a great language, even though I’ve only written one production program post-school.

  10. Has your parakeet ever pulled a moth out of a relay and introduced a whole new term to the lexicon?

  11. Having a hot woman lust after one’s body changes a man forever. 

    By “all around”, Dave means, “of both sexes”.

  12. (TUNE: “Grease”, written by Barry Gibb, sung by Frankie Valli)

    Now Dave is saying to the hologram,
    “Back then, I couldn’t see
    How great a lover I am!”
    Now he’s relaxed around a woman, because
    He knows exactly how
    To best describe what he does …
    “Beast” is the word!

    With women, Dave was such a total bust …
    Then he and Helen kissed,
    And they fell quickly in lust!
    They did the nasty fifty different ways!
    Now Dave is searchng for
    The one most accurate phrase …
    “Beast” is the word!

        “Beast” is the word that the nerd has inferred,
        He’s a stud, he’s a madman!
        Beast of the type, that’s the best, without hype,
        So much sex he has had, man!

        Beast as a man or a woman,
        Bottom or top,
        Pausing, resuming,
        Crazy, they wouldn’t stop!

    Now after having intercourse and such,
    Our Dave has confidence!
    (Perhaps a little too much!)
    Now he can say, without hyperbole,
    “There is no other nerd
    Who’s quite as manly as me!”
    “Beast” is the word!
        (“Beast” is the word, is the word, is the word …)

  13. This is a rather comic (and more specific) manifestation of my favorite thing about Dave’s arc in Narbonic — his maturation from put-upon nerd to self-confident, assertive nerd, a change that began long before in goinked Helen.  Dave’s development into a more well-rounded (he is no longer the sum of his fandoms), better spoken and in general more -adult- person mirrors what I suspect a lot of geeks/nerds/whathaveyous go through after (or sometimes during) college.  It’s refreshing to see it mirrored faithfully (if much more entertainingly) here, rather than just seeing more lazy jokes and tropes recycled from 80’s movies.

  14. The phrase, “ickiest pit of Hades” is so totally Helen.  I would have said, “$#%&@ piece of ^%#@^*  *#*#*-gargling *@##$”, but that’s just me.

  15. Okay, Madblood is just adorable here.

    But it’s probably a good thing that Dave didn’t get a reference from Helen for this job.

    Helen:”Competent programmer, can handle evil coffee, budding mad scientist, and great in the sack.”

    Madblood: “……”

  16. Saturday:

    I didn’t expect Dave’s fourth-wall-break (#73) to crack me up as much as it did. The best thing is, this is basically him privately lording it over his past self’s mindset of Helen. It’s a personal victory.

  17. Sorry madblood, your “romance” was an excellent attempt, but your diction will never be as fabulous as Mustachio’s.

  18. (TUNE: “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim”, Jim Croce)

    Classrooms have professors …
    Trees have birds and squirrels …
    North Pole hideout has Lupin Madblood
    Who’s a failure at getting girls!

    You hear him saying to his brand-new henchman,
    “You know nothing of romance1”
    And when they talk of Helen,
    Betcha Dave is never tellin’
    How they went and did the “Dance
    With No Pants”!

          So just smell her strawberry hair!
          Run your hands over her limbs!
          Then her cry seraphic is like rush-hour traffic,
          And she tastes just like Slim Jims!

  19. All these years, I’ve been trying to figure out how those stairs worked, what kind of object they could possibly represent in a three-dimensional universe, and now I find out that it’s just the artist being lazy.

    It had never occurred to me that the strawberries might be a reference to Marissa or anything. I just kind of figured it was obvious that Helen would use strawberry shampoo. The pink and all, y’know.

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