New storyline! This was one of the first storylines I conceived for Narbonic. It’s basically an extension of The Phone Call, the proto-Narbonic story I drew for the Thieves and Kings Three-Page Comic Contest when I was in college and a really bad artist.
The original inspiration for the whole concept was a science-fiction story I read in high school, the title and author of which I’ve forgotten. It was about a guy who got picked on in high school and grows up to be a totally awesome scientist who works out a method of predicting earthquakes and is also super hot and popular with the coeds and stuff. He figures out that his high-school class reunion is going to be held on the site of a major earthquake and decides not to tell them so they’ll all die. Even as a picked-upon teenager myself, this struck me as kind of an overreaction to getting called “Master Baiter” in ninth grade. My annoyance over the story and its nerdy-yet-assholish hero somehow produced this Narbonic storyline. And probably large chunks of the time-travel storyline later on, to be honest.
None of this has much to do with this particular strip, which just provides a bridge from the previous week. It was probably one of the last strips I wrote for “Class Reunion,” actually. I like low-key strips like this one, where the characters are just absorbed in a ridiculous conversation or argument. Also, Artie is adorable drinking his coffee.
The other important thing about this strip is that it establishes that Dave keeps having to replace his cars as Helen and Mell destroy, lose, and/or outright steal them. I like to keep stuff like that straight.
The best part of this strip is that Dr. Narbon’s postcard has a fly on it. She has a sense of humor, that woman.
Dr. Trelone is a scientist in the Olaf Stapledon novel Sirius. He’s the creator of Sirius, a dog with human intelligence who goes on to angst a lot about being the only one of his kind. As mentioned in the past, I’m fond of Stapledon in general and Sirius in particular, and the book influenced the way I wrote Artie.
I think I included the line about the lab having a nuclear reactor because someone wanted to know where the lab gets all its electricity. And because it’s the sort of thing Helen would think was nice to have around the place.
This was one of the first strips I wrote for this storyline. I wrote this before I wrote a lot of the 2001 strips revealing that Helen was a clone.
Look how happy Dave is to have his penis back!
I missed my ten-year high school reunion, although I did send a note asking the organizers to tell me who got fat and bald. Which they did NOT.
The cheery little “Danger! Gerbils” sign in the last panel is a nod to Jeffrey Wells’s fanfic, in which he mentioned Helen having signs like that up all over the place. It’s very Helen. The little map includes Storage Room C, apparently the only storage room in the lab. Storage Rooms A and B never get mentioned. I’m sure I was influenced here by Flood Control Dam #3 in the Zork games.
This strip is a callback to the strip I drew in high school, “North of Space,” in which Mell and her friends hung out at a convenience store. I’m glad that I managed to attach a decent joke to it.
I’m sorry, I totally failed to draw any part of Mell correctly in the third panel. At least she looks cute blowing bubblegum in panel one. I have no idea what the big globe behind her is supposed to be (or the thing Dave’s working on, for that matter), but it appears in the lab from time to time.
All of these people, of course, have names similar to people who rejected or insulted me at some point in my life. Not their exact names, just similar. I don’t like this strip very much, but at least I got to draw the shoulder sprites again. The shoulder devil’s really workin’ it in this one.