Yes, Madblood is back to living in his mother’s basement, along with the boxes of Christmas ornaments and baby clothes. And, yes, he not only rants to himself but just plain talks to himself, despite having Lovelace there to talk to. This is not one of the high points in his admittedly rocky career.
I wish I hadn’t drawn Lovelace’s monitor looking directly at the reader in the last panel. I didn’t mean to, but it came out looking that way, and I’m not pleased with it. Oh well.
This may be the only time anyone has ever described Dave as having “bedroom eyes,” inasmuch as his eyes are usually invisible. It is not, however, the first time his value as an employee has been judged by the condition of his organs, nor is it likely to be the last.
SPOILERS: Lovelace notes that Madblood’s lair will have a swimming pool–the same one, it turns out, that Future!Dave mentioned to Regular Flavor Dave in the time-travel story. Whenever I posted a strip like this, I’d go crazy worrying that someone would not only pick up on the tidbit of foreshadowing, but extrapolate it into figuring out the entire plot and then tell everyone on the Internet. I do the same thing now with Skin Horse. Writing in installments can be nerve-wracking.
Out of all the characters in this strip, Lovelace arguably gets the rawest deal. I’m sorry, Lovelace.
And Madblood’s fascination with Jennifer Connelly comes up again. It won’t be the last time.
That is not creative at all, Lovelace. That is just quoting Christina Rossetti.
Lovelace’s monitor looks a lot like my old gooseneck iMac, P.B., who retired last year. “P.B.” stood for either Pangur Ban or Plastic Baby, depending on my mood. My current computer is named Silver Streak. I also had a laptop named Silver Bell, but U.S. Airways stole it out of my suitcase last month. Learn from my horrible fate, friends: no matter how much crap you have to carry, no matter how long and exhausting your weekend has been, don’t check anything remotely valuable. Also, don’t fly U.S. Airways.
BIG OLD SPOILERS: The forcefield, and its adjustable permeability, will be important later on. Madblood and Lovelace must have come up with an elegant solution, because Dave admires it when he’s working at Madblood’s base.
I drew some pretty good lab coats on hangers there. Good work, me.
Madblood is such an entertaining character to write dialogue for. “Laughing their mocking laughs” is exactly the note I always tried to hit with him. His head looks weird in the second panel, though. Sometimes he just doesn’t look right in profile.
The Crabtree Grant is named after a minor character in Sluggy Freelance, which makes this another rare webcomic reference. The Crabtree Grant originally figured in a subplot I cut from the gender-swap storyline; since I didn’t get the chance to include it then, I decided I might as well use it here.
The Von Boom Award is named after shifty scientist Oscar Von Boom from the comic strip Alley Oop. I thought “Boom” would be a good name for the mad-science community’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
“Win her some bricks” comes from an old Comics Journal essay by Milo George about Frank Cho winning an Ignatz Award for Liberty Meadows. It made sense in the original context because the Ignatz Award is a brick, but I took to using the phrase to refer to awards in general, and eventually it ended up here. Milo George is the other namesake of the mysterious Milo Tinasky in this storyline.
Man, lotta weird references in this strip.