Apparently, now that Zeta has hooked up with the main cast she’s decided she’s evil, too. Run with that, Zeta.
Tom Spurgeon used the panel about the naked Nobel laureates to illustrate a post about me on the Comics Reporter. I was enormously proud. That one panel does kind of sum up the whole of Narbonic.
Really, most Nobel laureates are probably too old to be useful as breeding stock. But I don’t care because it’s funny.
That’s my friend Jason Shiga in the background of the first panel. I have a lot of trouble drawing Shigas.
Antonio Smith is quoting The Merchant of Venice, the most often mentioned of the many Shakespearean plays mentioned in Narbonic, although a lot of people probably know it better from Gene Wilder’s quotation of the line in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Artie’s response is Antonio’s first line in the same play. Antonio never explains why he’s sad, and it’s been speculated by some critics (including Don Foster, the model for Antonio Smith) that he’s gay and is bummed out because his dumbass buddy Bassanio is planning to get married and break up their bromance. So this exchange works on many exciting levels and Mell thoughtlessly ruins the whole effect with shouting.
Seriously, though, Bassanio is an idiot. Screw that guy.
I also approve of slim, bronzed Latin men. Artie and I are in agreement here. We are also in agreement about linguistics being awesome.
The dark-haired girl in the second panel is Gemma from my comic Smithson as she appeared in high school. She looks different in Smithson, which is set a few years after Narbonic. Narbonic and Smithson aren’t exactly set in the same universe, but I’d planned for Artie to eventually have a role in it as a character who would never quite appear on-panel. If you’ve ever read Smithson, he’s the grad student with a medical condition who gets Chuck’s room.
(The main Smithson website isn’t up anymore, but the archives are still here.)