Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time: October 13-18, 2003

Majel and Teen Dave are picking up the conversation from the end of this week of strips, which ran almost two months earlier. I do love that.

“Tralfamidorium” is a reference to Breakfast of Champions and several other Kurt Vonnegut books featuring the Tralfamidorians, aliens who live unstuck in time and experience all events simultaneously.

I drew Kid Dave in a Spider-Man T-shirt, which turned out to be a bad idea because I suck at drawing Spider-Man. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to draw Spider-Man, but it is. In some strips I had Andrew draw the lines on his mask for me.

I’m sorry, Majel, but this is important business.

The teenage sequences are the heart of this storyline, as far as I’m concerned. This is where Dave directly confronts his old hangups and neuroses. Here he’s just venting; he has to do more than that to get out of the past.

One of the posters in the first panel is for the King Dapper Combo, a junkabilly band I followed avidly in high school. I was not a cool teenager. Another poster is for Sunstorm, a band that Andrew’s friend Blake was in at around the time I drew this strip.

I like Majel for being so down-to-earth, under the goth thing. Girl’s got a good head on her shoulders.

Dave put off telling Majel about the time travel for a while, but he couldn’t hold back forever. He tells frikkin’ everyone about the time travel. His expression in the third panel came out well; it’s exactly the face you should make after telling someone important about the time travel.

This is the crux of the story for me: Dave learning to see Majel as a person rather than whatever she represents in his mind. I find him adorably dorky in these strips, incidentally.

The idea of drifting apart from old friends must bother me a lot, because it comes up a lot in my comics, most ambitiously in this Li’l Mell storyline. My family moved a lot when I was a kid, and then I went to college a long way from home, and after that I moved to the other end of the country for work. I’ve got neglected friends all over the place. Instead of keeping in touch with them, I feel guilty and write sad little comics.

You can tell this is serious business because Majel takes off her sunglasses.

33 thoughts on “Dave Davenport Has Come Unstuck in Time: October 13-18, 2003

  1. Monday:

    That’s some awfully big notepaper she’s got there.

    Dave’s attempt to use time travel to his romantic advantage doesn’t seem to be going smoothly. Though, at least he hasn’t dared to remark that he “was miles away”.

  2. Tuesday:

    “Billy cried very little, though he often saw things worth crying about…” –Slaughterhouse-Five.

    Compared to the hairless and toothless travails sandwiching this temporal island, this situation is positively tranquil and serene. Dave’s body is at the peak of physical perfection, he has the attention of a beautiful lady, and for once nobody is trying to murder, frame or swirlie him.

  3. This remains one of the most satisfyingly triumphant moments in this entire comic for me, somehow.

  4. (TUNE: “Smoke On The Water”, Deep Purple)

    I time-jumped back to high school,
    I jumped back to the past!
    The girl I think is way cool,
    She got me to skip class!

    But now my head is swimmin’
    From talking to Majel!
    She’s why I can’t keep women!
    She’s why my life is hell!

         What are you smoking?
         Look what you have done!
         What are you smoking?
         Come on, gimme one!

  5. Don’t y’all look at me like that.  We all went there, I only said what we were all thinking.

  6. In the Narboniverse, Dave’s luckier for having not learned physics.  He’d just have to unlearn it later.

  7. A thought just occurred to me.  If Dave grew up in the Midwest, wouldn’t he more likely have taken the ACT rather than the SAT?


  8. Midwesterners take both the SAT and the ACT. At least I did, and I’m from the Chicago area.

  9. I know both are avalible, but in my area, the ACT is more popular.  I was under the impression that that was also true in the Midwest.  Also, it’s a small bug of mine that the ACT never gets mentioned in media.  In most cases it’s justified by the fact most things are set on one of the coasts, where the SAT is taken more, but this case doesn’t really have that.  Of couse I took my ACTs ten years after this comic takes place, which many offer an explination.

  10. I know it wasn’t consistent yet, here, but I really do like the fact that his glasses are clear in this particular strip.

  11. Thursday:

    Dave doesn’t need to keep anything a secret from her anymore. And it’s not like he has the time anymore to think of anything but the truth.

  12. Why is it always a “retreat” into madness?  What’s wrong with boldly advancing into madness?  Flanking your problem with madness (i.e. “thinking outside the box”)?  What about frotally attacking into madness?  Or even suicidally attacking with maaaaarrrghhhhIregretnothing ….

  13. Madness is ALWAYS the answer.  People just keep changing the question on you, that’s all.

  14. Friday:

    This is, now that you mention it, one of the more self-sufficient panel 3s in this webcomic.

    Now that he’s admitting to his entire extremely impromptu scheme, he at last has the opportunity to give words to the secret motivation which for 10 years has dwelled silently in his heart. The words aren’t easy coming, though.

  15. (TUNE: “Suspicion”, Elvis Presley)

    Travelled back to high school, I met the girl on which I’m crushing!
    Hottest girl my my school, I think about her to this day!
    Told her how I’m feeling, I sound so lame I can’t help blushing!
    Ten years in the future, I dream about her T & A!

    Obsession … drives me insane!
    Obsession … causing me pain!
    Obsession … warping my brain!

    Way back in my school days, we spent an afternoon together …
    Back in my un-cool days, I longed to feel her gentle touch!
    After graduation, we went our ways and lost each other …
    Ten years in the future, I want her back (but not that much)!

    Obsession … I lacked the guts!
    Obsession … driving me nuts!
    Obsession … I’m such a putz!

  16. Saturday:

    This date has taken an indisputably strange turn. Nevertheless, they’re both finally listening to each other.

    I can’t say I’ve really lost all that many friends in my short life’s numerous transitions, so I don’t know why reading this makes my forehead tense up so much. I’d better end this comment here.

  17. I think how this whole thing turns out as a result of this conversation is the reason I got back in touch with a lot of my ex-girlfriends.

  18. (TUNE: “When I’m Sixty-Four”, The Beatles)

    I’ll go to college, then get a job
    ‘Bout ten years from now …
    Don’t know where you are because we didn’t date,
    Lose touch when we both graduate!

    All of a sudden, I realize
    Teenage guys are dicks!
    This really threw me!  Wish you still knew me
    When I’m twenty-six!

  19. Yeah, I’ve lost touch with a lot of people over the years, including some who were really “formative experiences”.  In a couple of cases, it was on purpose, but for most, it was just me being lousy at keeping in touch.

  20. Moved twelve timezones away for work.  Somehow I keep in touch.  Internet and cellphones help a lot.  Sharing the reading of webcomics helps too.

  21. Ruben:  The internet didn’t become really widespread until about the time I graduated college, and had already been through (roughly) this scene.

  22. People drift apart over time as their life experiences diverge. There’s not much you can do when the other person stops responding to your efforts to contact them.

  23. I’m really glad to have grown up in the age of Skype, so that by the time that I moved I could keep in contact with all of my friends.

  24. … I can’t help but wonder if he did, in fact (SPOILER) retreat into madness. … After he wakes up the next day as his original 16-year-old self, anyway.

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