Professor Madblood and the Wetware Interface: November 19-24, 2001

Arrgh, that handwriting looks like butt. I replaced it with a font in the print version.

I’m still pretty impressed, though, that I was able to pull off an acceptable shot of the underside of a car. I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s such an ordeal for me to draw a car from a normal angle that I still can’t believe I didn’t screw the last panel up beyond all recognition.

In a way, I guess this whole mini-storyline exists to build up to this one drunk-driving gag. I appreciate the effort I expended to get to such a dumb little joke.

I hope Madblood registers all his vehicles as “International Criminal Lupin Madblood.”

The two best things about this strip are the random stripy pattern behind Madblood in the first panel and the portrait of little Madblood on the wall in the last two panels. Other than that, it’s just a homey domestic scene. I was obviously influenced by the last Comedy Central season of “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” where Dr. Forrester’s mother lives in Deep Thirteen with him.

That’s the same kind of swirly border I drew around Dana in one of the Burning Man strips. I should’ve played around with panel borders more. I’ve never been very imaginative about that kind of thing.

It might seem cruel of Helen to use a large cartoon mallet for anaesthesia, but Dave is an undead decapitated head with no apparent working circulatory system, and it’s a mystery how his brain is still functioning. Personally, I don’t know how else I’d do it.

In case you can’t tell, I copied the second panel into the third and just moved Helen’s eyeballs. It got me the static effect I wanted, so I guess it’s okay.

Dave looks so adorably anxious in his little head pan.

A rare extended shot of Dave without his glasses (or flannel, for that matter). As you can see, I hadn’t settled on how to draw his eyes. Here they’re dots with a shine in the middle, which is how I drew human-type Artie’s eyes for a while. I eventually decided that I didn’t much like the look for Artie, and it’s definitely not right for Dave. He looks okay otherwise, though. Dave had such a formulaic character design at this point–same outfit in every strip, limited facial expressions due to the mouth and eyes being covered–that it was a relief to draw him with a slightly different look from time to time.

This is the second strip this year to explicitly mention Dave’s age. I must have been worried about being consistent with the characters’ ages. Later on, I seldom use specific numbers; I think the last time is when Helen mentions being 30 near the beginning of “Lovelace Affair.” It’s just not that important.

Simple, effective, reasonably funny. And only three panels! Sometimes you just need strips like this to keep the momentum going. Also, Dave’s expression in the first panel came out really well.

At this point Dave’s alive again, so the purpose of this storyline has been fulfilled, but I still manage to stretch the resolution out another week. Good work, me!

I have no idea how that door in the third panel works, but at least I’m kinda sorta drawing backgrounds.

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20 thoughts on “Professor Madblood and the Wetware Interface: November 19-24, 2001

  1. And now, the true reason Mad Science is allowed to flourish. The rest of the world doesn’t have the proper forms to deal with them.

  2. You know, given later events its almost worth spending time to wonder why so amny of these people can even see the Narbonic crew’s hijinks.

  3. Monday:

    A car standing on hind wheels?! What is he, a Brave Little Toaster? Please tell me he doesn’t see out of the headlights.

    All in all, this webcomic is quite charming when the characters are ruining an innocent muggle’s day. See also the “Angels” storyline.

  4. Yes, more Foxy Cop!  Is she related to Officer Hipbone, by any chance?  Or *IS* she Officer Hipbone?  Or Officer Hipbone’s cousin-in-law?  (You know, like “Officer Jenny”, only for webcomics.)  Maybe she’s Officer Sacroiliac, and mad scientists give her a pain in the … y’all see where I’m going with this right?


  5. apple apple:  Cops aren’t exactly “normal” people — they
    can see these things, but as seen here, they also know when to pretend they didn’t.


  6. No, no, he was attempting to walk on those tires. I imagine a sort of jumpy balencing act.

    And i quite enjoy the idea of registering a vehicle under ‘International Criminal’ i wonder if I could get my name changed. . .  

  7. Tuesday:

    I once ineffectually compared pink-heart-evil (or “e❤il” for short) to chocolate and milk, but it’s really more like Nutella and bread.

    …I mean, the important thing is that Helen and Lupin’s evil genius is merely a thick brown coating through which their ‘original’ personalities shine through. Helen is really just a chirpy schoolgirl grown up, which is why she specialises in cuddly rodents, and Madblood explores such schoolboy dreams as Transformers and moon bases because, as per today’s episode, he’s really just an overempowered electronics geek.

    One gets the impression that these mad gods do evil only because they must, and without that hazelnut-flavoured cogntive taint, they’d be much nicer individuals than they are now.

  8. Nuh-uh, Leon.  No way would Madblood ever be nice.  Without his mad genius, he’d be the annoying guy at the office who butts into your conversation with your *real* friends, just so he can tell you what happened on “The Big Bang Theory” last night, which, he will tell you man, is the *funniest*show*ever* because these guys are supposed to be such geniuses and yet they get the science all wrong, like last night they were talking about string theory and blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and by now you want to strangle the pathetic little git so you walk away and he continues the conversation with your back until you duck into the restroom.  And lock the door.

    Helen, without her madness, would be … well, let’s just say I’m glad my wife doesn’t know about her.

  9. I dunno, I think Madblood would be more like that really sarcastic, kinda obsessive guy you’d let join your DnD game so that you could sic him on the other tables, but still have to hear him rant about ‘Mythbusters’ every now and then.

    I think that he can be a pretty okay guy, is what I’m saying. We see some of this later when he hires Dave, I think. Other than his Mad Science persona, he;s just another introverted geek.

    I mean, frankly? I KNOW this guy. I see him at DnD night at the game shop. Hell, If I wasn’t a pushover sweet guy (yeah, yeah) I would *be* him. The only difference is that MY mom is really supportive, really.

    But Ed, Helen? Oh, yeah. She’s just so. . . so sweet. 

  10. Hee hee. Mell is kind of a jerk in the best way.

    (Hi Shaenon! Thanks for my book and sketch and gerbil! :D)

  11. I seem to recall other comments last time I looked at this page. Wherever they’ve gone, I agree that a great strength of this comic is the consistent (high) level of energy whether we’re ransacking a moon base or just checking our e-mail. Everything is equally interesting because the characters have many facets and quibbles with one another (even quibbles with themselves). It’s not about cheap thrills, and the laughs aren’t even that cheap. Its about unravelling the characters day by day.

  12. Saturday:

    Oh, what a queer person this Dave has become! Now only a mere babe of seven days old, and carried not by his own mother’s womb but by the naughty Helen’s contraptions! Golly, gee, how magical this must all be!

    Today a character was literally reborn, good as new. This is, of course, a terrible, horrible violation, not just of the bleak future but of heaven, hell, sane medical science, natural selection, the Dave replacement characters that never were, the insurance industry, and the bittersweet beauty of a brief and fleeting existence. Tut, tut, Helen.

    P.S: Think this over – Dave’s brain, even in its new casing, remains a zombie brain. Therefore, from now on he will carry with him a preternatural resistance to braindeath. It’s an unexpected perk of such a horrendous experience.

    P.P.S: Today’s punchline points out that now was an opportunity to cure Dave of the cigarette’s vice, but it was not to be. Because, of course, it was always destined to be removed later in a much more astounding fashion. This, of course, doesn’t prevent new readers from interpreting today as one of the standard comedy series rebuffs to character design continuity…

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