Aw, poor Madblood. And he was so cool in his first appearance, at least by the usual standards of little beardy scientist guys. Why did I have to indulge in the easy stereotype of the nerdy guy who lives in his mom’s basement? Because it’s funny, that’s why. And because I’m really shallow and lazy.
Even though Madblood’s arm in the second panel is all kinds of wrong, my art’s getting slightly better. I’m drawing backgrounds, for one thing. And the one-quarter view of Madblood’s head in the third panel is okay, although I should’ve moved his ear and hairline forward and repositioned his body.
Drunken Robot Dave is totally boss.
I wrote this strip in part to answer my own concerns over how Narbonics Labs finds the budget to stay operational, when it doesn’t seem to accomplish anything beyond torturing Dave and producing amusing but useless scientific curiosities like Artie. So here’s an answer. Much, much later in the strip, Helen also mentions that she sold Mell’s DNA to a government bioweapons project.
Still, for a continuity-wank strip, this one’s pretty good. I still enjoy the second panel, and I like the way Helen and Mell immediately abandon their long-awaited confrontation with Madblood when they find something more interesting to talk about. Poor, poor Madblood. He doesn’t even merit a panel wide enough to accommodate his dialogue, the schmuck.
I used the word “mutagen” last week, too. Don’t know what’s up with that. Although most people of my generation know the word from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” it’s just a catchall term for any mutation-causing agent, so it probably comes up a lot at the lab.
This strip is actually pretty decent-looking, especially the first panel. I also like the exchange in the second panel, although Madblood’s fist is HUGE.
The idea that mad scientists have “women troubles” comes largely from the Frankenstein movies, especially Bride of Frankenstein, which is basically about how life rocks harder if you just give up on heterosexuality and make monster babies with your gay BFF. Later in the strip, it’s suggested that all of Madblood’s mother’s friends think he’s gay. He’s not; he just has a lot of problems with girls.
I’m not totally happy with Madblood’s expressions here–they could be funnier–but at least I managed to keep his eyebrows under control.
The robots in Armored Trooper Votoms really do have wheels in their feet, like retractable roller skates. This brilliant innovation allows the animators to move them back and forth across the screen without having to animate their legs. “Vvvvvvvp” is a pretty fair approximation of the sound of the wheels descending or retracting.
I don’t know why Madblood wrote an instruction manual for his own giant killer robot of doom. He’s got a lot of time to himself down there in the basement.
Man, the robot’s even changing size from panel to panel. This is unacceptable.
The specs Mell lists are actual features available for the 1976 AMC Gremlin. My favorite touch is the AM radio. I also like the way Mell is leaning on the panel border in the last panel, like she can’t even be bothered to pretend she’s not just a character in a comic strip.
“N-D” is, amazingly enough, not a tribute to Andrew, but to a totally different person named Andy I knew in high school. We were on the Academic Challenge team together, and he was really into AMC vehicles and homemade explosives. If he’d gone to high school five years later, he probably would’ve gotten locked up somewhere and spent the rest of his life on an FBI watch list.
I had this idea that, since my drawings of cars always turned out ugly anyway, I should draw only ugly cars. You can judge for yourself how well that worked out. I have to say, though, that at least the real Gremlin wasn’t colored with a Photoshop fill.
This week of strips has some pretty good sound effects, which is something.