Genius: November 27 – December 3, 2006

And the final storyline begins. Where “Madness” was all about Dave letting loose with his mad-science powers, “Genius” is about him learning to channel them toward something meaningful. And what’s the point of genius if you can’t do that?

Dave has clearly been at this hospice for a while, because the flowers next to his bed are in pretty bad shape.

The thing Mell quotes in the third panel comes from a language generator programmed with a vocabulary of the last words of Dutch Schultz. It was something I’d come across long before and always wanted to use.

I never did figure out how to draw Dave with a full beard.

I wrote this strip several years before it ran, and I had to keep changing the movie that Dave is no longer interested in seeing. I have that problem with Skin Horse now.

Artie basically lives where I live. He’s still in Berkeley as of “Skin Horse.”

I’m glad I worked in one last chance to draw a “For Better or for Worse” tongue-sticking-out laugh.

Mell is probably the best person for Dave to talk to right now. She doesn’t judge.

Helen left the comatose Dave a single rose, a nod to the single rose he gave her on their zoo date in this week of strips. She’s the sentimental type.

Hey, it’s my birthday! Happy birthday, me!

This was the first strip I wrote featuring the ponytailed blonde girl; her earlier appearances in “Mad Science Is Decadent and Depraved” and “The End” were written after this. I’m really happy with the way all of Dave’s expressions came out. He looked good in the thumbnail, and he looks good here.

The Tab is a “Back to the Future” reference, of course.

48 thoughts on “Genius: November 27 – December 3, 2006

  1. Monday:

    Dave spends a lot of time in this comic being shouted out of unconsciousness by Mell. This final time is especially picturesque.

  2. Coincidentally, I had the exact same reaction as Dave when I woke up this morning.  Without the hot girl in my face, though, which is a minus.

  3. Also how I woke up this morning. Except the girl was five years old and landing knees-first on my chest.

  4. Considering all the things that Helen has done to Dave already, I’m surprised that she needed outside help reviving him.  Was there a neurosurgeon named Dr. Lee involved, perhaps?

    I also would guess that coverage for a mad scientist’s henchman, if available at all, would be outrageously expensive.

  5. Tuesday:

    I like this commentary’s implication that Dave’s computerised mind had to re-learn natural language processing all over again as a result of returning to the brain.

    I choose to believe that Dave’s semi-conscious homicide attempts all involved pathetically trying to electrocute or levitate her by waving his hands.

  6. @Leon: Until you said that, I never realized Mell was implying that he had tried to kill Helen during his coma. I thought she was just referring to his initial rampage.

  7. Leon:  Given Dave’s history (and being right out of his ascension to madness), I wouldn’t be surprised if he could effectually try to kill her by waving his hands.

  8. It’s like “Questionable Content”, where the characters keep referring to a particular band’s latest album that just came out … except that something that “just came out” a month ago in comic time, is now six years ago in real time.

  9. Looking back at Bayformers, it was just as well.  It’d probably have sent him on another rampage.

  10. Part woman.  Part (killing) machine.  Board-certified in ALL specializations.  LAWYERMELL.

  11. Thursday:

    I have nothing to say about this except that it suddenly seems completely ridiculous that Mell’s still wearing that goofy shoulderless shirt while simultaneously being a lawyer. Yes, despite her having already worn it for literally half the decade.

  12. Let’s see, if Mell started as an intern in May or June after her freshman year, six-and-a-half years later would indeed make it around November of the year she graduated law school. Congrats to Mell for passing it on the first try.

  13. Of course Mell got a passing grade on the bar exam.  Despite the fact that “strafe them with machine gun fire” is probably not the correct answer to very many questions on the test, the graders did not want the Law School – or themselves – looking like the Computer Science Dept.

  14. Leon– Lawyers are allowed to dress in a way that is both stylish and comfortable if they so please.

  15. Friday:

    It’s a self-refreshing rose. It’s also 99% human DNA. No reason, just showing off.

    Dave never did find the “I’m evil” catchphrase to be a valid explanation for anything that ever happened to him. Except now, when it’s the only explanation.

    OK, I admit it, I’m glad this joke got a follow-up sight-gag punchline, once again during a contemplative moment. I can at times indulge in Mell’s brand of brainless vice too.

  16. Big Freakin’ ™ Gun count: 53

    Mell not only sticks to her guns, she sticks to everyone else’s as well.  Or she’s stuck on guns …

    (TUNE: “Fun, Fun, Fun”, The Beach Boys)

    Well, from the Arctic lair
    They all escaped, though it was rather rough now!
    And Dave, he gave a scare,
    But Helen told him that enough was enough now!
    And while they all were there,
    Mell, she nicked a bunch of Madblood’s stuff now!
    And she’s got guns, guns, guns,
    That nobody’s ever taking away!

  17. She’s a lawyer now, Ed. You have to put it in a more politic way. Everyone else’s guns stick to her. It would be stealing if she took them, but it’s not her fault if they just happen to follow her home.

  18. “That clone” – uh, that’s YOU now, Dave, unless this is a totally new body.  If so, it would be the 3rd Dave clone.

  19. Just be careful around the rose on Thursdays, that’s its day off and it has been known to eat people then.

  20. Hmm. Dave’s glasses go opaque again for a panel as he laments his actions, and then back to clear when he embraces his evil lunaticness.

  21. Happy birthday.  To quote Mr. Green, “Buy yourself a cupcake.”

    A friend just sent me a notice aobut your manga talk at the Berkeley Public Librrary on the 30th.  Sounds fun.

    And yay, Rosalind!  Briefly though she appears, she may be my favorite character because of the hope she embodies.

  22. Happy birthday, Shaenon, from one Northeast Ohio expat to another.


    How can she get a Tab? She hasn’t ordered anything. She should get a Pepsi Free instead.

  23. HBD, Shaenon!  I’m a Phoenix ex-pat, but my wife is an Ohioan: born in Dayton and grew up in Oberlin, where we were married.

  24. Happy Birthday, artist Shaenon!
    Yeah, you’re older.  Stop complainin’!
    As my dad says, “While you live,
    It beats the alternative!”

  25. Happy birthday to you!
    Cheer the day you were new.
    May you have a fun party
    And nice gifts from Andrew.

  26. Happy birthday, Shaenon!

    ?Y que cumplas muchos m?s!

    I like that in the second panel, Dave hesitatingly admits that they were in love…

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