Look! Spot color! Done in Crayola!

At this point, the look of Narbonic was still very much in flux. I experimented with color a little, but I ended up keeping the strip in black and white, mainly because coloring is hard and I’m lazy. Seriously, I’ve always hated coloring. In second grade I would save my coloring assignments for last because I hated them so much. They’d never get done, and I’d leave them on my desk, and Tara Alsobrook would feel sorry for me and do them for me. That’s how we became friends, in fact. So my hatred of coloring has only bettered my life.

I didn’t do a totally awful job on the debris here. You can see the giant circular blade, and Helen’s desk, and what appears to be a big pile of mulch or something, I don’t know…Okay, it’s not that great. But at least I colored in the fire, so people can tell that’s what it’s supposed to be.

The rubble in that last panel looks pretty good. I must have actually used a ruler. What a radical notion. Helen walking away in the second panel is okay, too. At some point I stopped drawing her in those little shorts. I don’t know why; she just seemed to graduate to pants. It’s probably colder down in the underground lair.

I’m still experimenting with color here, kind of. I shaded in the sky with a gray crayon. I continued to do this occasionally for a while, until I was able to admit to myself that it looks pretty crummy. There would be some additional unpleasantness a few years down the road when I played around with computer shading.

I don’t have anything else to say about today’s strip. To be honest, it’s hard to think about anything right now, because I’ve got the song “Poison Ivy” by the Coasters stuck in my head. You know that one? You’re gonna need an ocean/Of calamine lotion/You’ll be scratching like a hound/The minute you start to mess around! I guess it’s about a girl who’s bad news, but it’s really hard not to think of it as a song about some kind of unmentionable disease. Anyway, that’s what’s occupying my brain right now. My brain doesn’t have room for any other thoughts because I destroyed it reading comic books.

I honestly thought this would be the last we’d ever see of Dr. Noah. I was wrong. I was wrong about a lot of things.

“Gentrification” is always a popular buzzword here in San Francisco. Rents being what they are, you can live in either a ghetto where people sit on your doorstep and shoot heroin in broad daylight but which nonetheless has a lot of really good restaurants, or in a soul-killing whitewashed Yuppie hell which has hardly any decent restaurants but does have a Whole Foods Market and a place where you can get organic cranberry walnut bread for about eight dollars. I live in the former, but I don’t have much of a choice. (Actually, I live in the lower Mission. I like my neighborhood very much, but I’m not kidding about the junkies.)

By the way, the thing Dr. Noah is holding is a phone. I know it looks bizarre, with the cord and everything. I was raised in primitive times. I still own a phone like this. My mother keeps telling me that if I got a cell phone we could talk anytime, whenever she felt like calling me up, even if I was at work or out to eat or on a weekend getaway. Somehow, I haven’t gotten around to buying one yet.

“The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold,” is from Hamlet, Act I, Scene 4. The dialogue in the second panel is aligned funny because I originally included a longer quotation, and then decided to shorten it up. Get to the point, Timon of Athens! (Okay, I changed my mind again. Timon of Athens is actually Shakespeare’s worst play.) “Life’s but a poor player” is, of course, from Macbeth. “I think he stole my lighter” is a very dumb line, but I needed a final punchline.

Dave finally suffers a panic attack, possibly because he knows he and Helen are about to transform into disproportionate dwarfs in the last panel. Man, drawing is hard. Note that, even though ANTONIO SMITH stole his lighter, Dave is still able to smoke. He has powers.

25 thoughts on “ANTONIO SMITH, FORENSIC LINGUIST: October 2-7, 2000

  1. Monday’s Comic: You could’ve easily gotten away with not colouring the flames, and simply left it to the fans to ask “Hey, why are there auroras in the wreckage?”

  2. The dialogue in the third panel of Tuesday’s comic is such an incredibly mad-genius thing to say. It’s pretty much Helen’s character in one sentence. (And hey, a year and a half later it was part of Dave’s character as well.)

  3. Wednesday’s Comic: I see there’s still one aurora left in the second panel. I’d have thought that the electromagnetic residue from the machine would’ve dissipated by now.

  4. “You know, if my characters were real, the world would be a much darker and more troubling place.” –Shaenon, 3 Oct. ’00.

  5. Concerning the pants – Helen probably decided Dave was dangerous enough without the distraction of her bared shapely legs.

  6. Agreed, Leon… At the very least Helen should spring for a new pair of glasses. New ones that actually look half-way decent aren’t cheap, after all.

  7. If only Artie were there, he could help Dave invent bifocals.

    (A WCN no-prize to whoever first identifies that allusion.) 

  8. You’re thinking of “Ben and Me,” by Robert Lawson, right? I am QUEEN of educational juvenile fiction!

  9. “Life’s but a poor player” is from Macbeth, actually.  Unless Shakespeare was repeating himself, which is wholly possible.

  10. I’d guess that Shaenon was thinking the (obvious) “All the world’s a stage” quote, except that that’s from As You Like it.

    Love the villain heo worship — it explains so -much-!

  11. I just assumed Dave was able to light his cigarette from some of the smoldering rubble in the background.

  12. Well, since Helen was able to spontainiously generate cigarettes when she was turning into Dave, I just assumed Dave could just as easily light them using the same mojo. On the other hand, would he still have been able to do that after the Time Travel thing?

  13. Does Dave have the power to make cigarettes light spontaneously, or is he just a sufficiently dedicated smoker that he carries a spare lighter? Later on, when Helen gets her genes spliced with Dave’s, a lit cigarette appears in her mouth out of nowhere, which may be a related phenomenon.

  14. I bought the original of ‘The wind bites shrewdly…’ and I still have it up on my wall! Looking at it make think ‘and what’s Shaenon Garrity doing now?’ which led me here. I personally like the longer quote: “The learned pate / Ducks to the golden fool: all is oblique; There’s nothing level in our cursed natures / But direct villany.” How right you were, Timon of Athens! etc.

  15. One amongst Dave’s powers: for cigarettes specifically, gravity points towards his mouth and not to the ground. It’s the only explanation for how he can just keep emitting them and be smoking them a moment later without taking his hands out of his pockets!

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