I didn’t think this strip was funny enough when I wrote it, but it turned out pretty well. Plus, it’s true. Wouldn’t life be easier if you could just go be a gerbil sometimes? Unless gerbils live complicated lives, I don’t know.
Also, I drew some pretty good mad-sciencey stuff in the background. Around this time I started to make a very belated effort to draw more interesting backgrounds in the lab. What’s the point of setting your comic in a mad scientist’s underground laboratory complex if you’re not going to bother to draw it?
Yeah, Artie was rich for like five seconds. Good one, Artie.
Admit it: there’s something charming about angsting in a drawer.
I don’t know why I felt the need for a strip about Artie’s finances. Sometimes my actions are mysterious even to me. Note the corridor of swimming eyeballs, one of the few recurring settings in Narbonics Labs. I drew it a lot in the last year of the strip.
The concept of Artie having erotic dreams about Cesar Chavez is pretty good, but I deserve all the Nobel Prizes for putting thought into what an erotic dream about Cesar Chavez would actually entail.
In the Special Bonus Narbonic Prose Story I wrote for contributors to last year’s Narbonic: The Perfect Collection Kickstarter drive, I described the situation like this:
Artie resumed gerbil form for old times’ sake, recalling with a twinge of shame how long it had been since he’d last spent any amount of time in what was supposedly his true shape. Much as he hated to admit it, his human body was seductive; it had a heady, muscular pull beyond its obvious practicality in a primate-dominated world. And, of course, it got laid more or less constantly. Artie could remember a time when he had been dead set against the idea of sex with humans, for a variety of solid ethical and psychological reasons. This attitude had nearly, but not quite, survived his first semester at college.
Yes, I’m quoting myself at length. Sometimes it just has to be done.
Artie’s “Imagine!” is lifted from a Bloom County strip in which Opus makes the same comment about an anchorwoman wearing flavored lipstick, much to Steve Dallas’s consternation. I can’t find it now, but individual lines from Bloom County strips I read in high school have remained lodged in my hindbrain for decades.
Helen’s first line here was hurriedly written at the time, but now it makes me smile. I like it when Helen goes into classic mad-scientist-rant mode.
Also, again, Artie is adorable in his lab coat.