Ooo, white text on black. Fancy. I did the dialogue with a white gel pen. I tell you, those things are excellent sometimes. I also shaded things in with a gray crayon, which mostly got washed out in the scan.
Helen’s shirt says, “War is not healthy for children and other living things.” I kind of wish I had more hippie t-shirts.
Here and in all subsequent strips, my idea of what the inside of a sewer looks like comes from the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon.
You know what’d really help here? SOME FRIGGIN’ BACKGROUNDS.
In many ways, Mell is the most cartoony of the characters in the strip. For the others, there’s at least some attempt to explain why they are the way they are: sure, Helen’s an evil mad scientist, but she lives in a reality where evil mad scientists exist and can be qualitatively defined. There’s no explanation for Mell. She just showed up at the lab one day, she appears to hang around mainly for her own immediate gratification, and she’s superhumanly good at blowing things up. She admires Helen, but also happily betrays her and steals from her. She’s a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a very short skirt.
I can’t tell what’s on Helen’s shirt, but check out her rad mining helmet.
Helen’s shirt advertises the awesome BBC series Father Ted. I got into “Father Ted” while I was at Trinity College Dublin in my junior year. I think the first episode I saw was the one where the priests enter the Eurosong Contest. Man, what a great show.
Dave’s head is unpleasantly distorted in the third panel. It’s hard to draw heads at that angle under the best of circumstances, and it’s particularly hard with Dave, since it calls attention to the way his chin and beard don’t conform to any known human standard. Mell’s hands in the last panel are pretty screwy, too.
The personality sprites are just fun to draw. Even when my artwork was totally crummy (i.e., in these strips), I was always pretty good at drawing cute super-deformed things. It’s a lame talent, but not everybody can do it! John Byrne, for example, is way better than me at drawing Superman eating chunks of Kryptonite, but check out his drawings of children sometimes. They look like 40-year-old dwarfs. Evil dwarfs.
Dave’s inner teenage is wearing a Slayer t-shirt. Excellent.
Helen’s good side is, of course, only slightly less evil than her evil side. People have pointed out that, while Dave’s good side dresses in robes and halo, his evil side dresses pretty much like himself, and asked whether this signifies that Dave is secretly more aligned toward evil. What it actually signifies, of course, is that I didn’t want to draw Dave’s evil side in skimpy black dom gear like I did for Helen’s evil side. It’s probably for the best.
Helen’s evil side has a little heart on her tail. Awww.
An historic moment: Dave officially becomes part of the team. Ah, but how did Helen hook him in the alternate timeline where he doesn’t smoke? I sense a gap that can only be filled with fanfiction. Probably pornographic fanfiction.
Helen’s out of the one-day-only t-shirts and into her standard uniform: evil tee, lab coat, jeans.
In the last panel, Dave has a Battle Beast on his desk. It’s the rabbit, one of my personal favorites. This is not by any means the last time Battle Beasts will play a part in the Narbonic saga.
I always meant to do a cast pic of the characters dressed for evil softball, just for fun, but it never turned out very well. And no, I don’t know how they form a softball team with three members. I assume that creating enough life forms to fill a roster is a standard part of evil softball.