H Is H: October 3-8, 2005

Man, these wrap-up strips can get wordy. Plot is hard!

I’m still going through my old sketchbooks. Enjoy these drawings of Zeta and Foot: FRIENDS.

I wrote this strip early in the storyline, and it’s still excellent. With the paper plate and all. I should’ve bolded Artie’s entire line in the second panel, though. Sometimes I get lazy with the lettering.

“Murida” is from Muridae, the family to which gerbils belong, and, yes, this is Surname #3. Artie has an ongoing identity crisis.

Zeta never bothers to contact Artie, which is a shame, since he could clear up the mystery of her parentage and lead her directly to Helen. Instead, she and Dr. Smith get caught up in this whole other thing.

Oh, man, I screwed the art up so badly when I drew this strip. It took forever to clean up on Photoshop. Looking at it now, though, it turned out pretty well.

This unnamed anchorlady has been appearing in the strip from the beginning. Interestingly, she seems to be free of the reality filters that affect so many people in the Narboniverse. Maybe her reporter’s instinct keeps her sharp.

People complained about Dr. Smith’s last line because, to be perfectly grammatical, it ought to be, “I’m going to buy Foot some Berlitz tapes.” Sadly, even ANTONIO SMITH, FORENSIC LINGUIST is susceptible to the restrictions of my cramped word balloons.

SPOILERS: Dr. Smith does join the think tank, which is where we next see him and Zeta. And Foot, for that matter.

I’m sorry for offing Dr. Noah so casually and off-panel. He deserved better, poor guy. Forgive me, Dr. Noah!

29 thoughts on “H Is H: October 3-8, 2005

  1. Monday:

    I’ve been meaning to mention this for weeks, but I really love Zeta’s sleeveless buttoned vest look. It bespeaks a perfect mixture of literary sophistication and rough-and-tumble physicality. Great job on that.

  2. You know, [minor spoiler] more than one Narbonic cast member goes to Hell and back … if Artie went there, he’d probably start building a road back to the mortal world (not realizing that said road carries traffic both ways).

  3. “FOOT!”  I’m not sure whether Zeta and Foot or Dave and Helen are the sweetest couple in Narbonic.  These sketches are awwwww-inspiring.

  4. Tuesday:

    I’ll assume “For the love of Mike” is a quick way to reveal Zeta’s MST3K host preference, which is the 90s US nerd equivalent to Japanese blood types.

    Artie cannot resist lifting people by the shoulders. His years of being in an extremely portable body have not prepared him for human-human social mores.

  5. Wednesday:

    If only Artie’s suite of pseudonyms really was part of a cunning plan to seduce the rugged FORENSIC LINGUIST himself.

    Off-panel head inserts: 28.

  6. (TUNE: “Come Sail Away”, Styx)

    E-mail me some day …
    Take my address now, ‘fore you go away …
    I’ll write, if you like,
    When I hear from Ruby, or mucky Mike!

    She thinks I’m the strangest …
    She’s leaving with
    Cannot fool him …
    He’s faaaaaaaaaaaaaairly sure!

    He’s sure, aha, “A. Murida”
    Is just my nom de plume!
    He finds my style is quite beguiling …
    We could rent a room!
    Send some … email my way,
    Email today,
    E-mail to say, “Merci!”
    Send some … email my way,
    Email today,
    E-mail to say, “Meet me!”

  7. This strip makes me think of El Goonish Shive, mostly because the squirrel-girl in that comic adopts the surname Sciuridae. (The family to which squirrels belong.)

  8. I always hear the newslady’s voice the same as Linda (the newscaster from Futurama).  Now where’s Morbo?

  9. She does refer to the incident as an “accident”, and I notice that Foot isn’t in-frame just now….

    Having your interviewee grab the mike and take over the exposition is actually “normal sort of wierd” for newsies.

  10. This is the same nameless blonde that interviewed Dave Davenport, Traitor To Humanity back at the beginning of Mad Science Is Decadant And Depraved. She was able to talk to Artie about mad scientist androids from the moon when he was a gerbil; she’s clearly got a pretty robust handle on what passes for reality around here. I’m guessing her uncertainty about what happened is largely because many of the witnesses are filtering what they saw.

  11. Friday:

    ANTONIO SMITH really wanted that line in panel 3 to be taken as sarcasm, but he’s rapidly giving up hope that his Doctor Who-esque female companion will catch on to his indignation with that oversized tinny-voiced FiveFingers.

  12. Dr. Smith’s last line is in fact grammatical — the usage is well established in English!  The only grammarians who would complain about not explicitly marking the future tense, are members of the Latin-envy crowd.

  13. The only thing that bothers me– not enough to complain, mind you, but since we’re on the subject– is that Narbonic’s linguists are so concerned with correct grammar.  Linguists and grammarians are natural enemies.  They are foxes and rabbits.  Antonio Smith should be interested in studying Foot, not correcting him.


    I thought he was being deliberately colloquial, in ironic response to Foot’s limited command of the language.

  15. Dr. Smith has a communications device concealed in his pocket with but a single purpose. When he holds the button down, it orders a new set of Berlitz tapes to be shipped to his office.

    In that last panel, he is actively buying tapes!

  16. The line needs no correction. The good doctor has merely placed an online order and is waiting for delivery; hence he is (in the process of) buying said tapes.  With all the wordiness this week, he would have had time, and he’d be a heel if he didn’t take steps toward giving his newest cohort a solid footing in the language.

  17. Q: What sort of electrical discarge would you use to revive a zombie dentist?

    A: Noah’s arc! <rimshot>

  18. One has to wonder how they could have fully dissected a human body and still concluded that a paper plate would be a suitable face-mask…

  19. He’s awkward around humans, but he really does love them. By Skin Horse, he’s gotten to REALLY loving them.

  20. “I’m sorry for offing Dr. Noah so casually and off-panel.”

    Yeah, but it serves to show that the hamsters are not only probably bad news, as had been hinted at, but are definitely very bad news. It’s a nice bit of not-completely-expected black humor that also serves some important story points.

    I love it how the last hamster points out that, in light of their casual human dissection, they are going to need to be very careful how they present their plan to Artie. “Gee guys, I don’t have a problem with our being totally heartlessly evil. But think carefully about how the naive, innocent, supergenius is going to react to the more evil details of our master plan when you show it to him, okay?”

  21. “This unnamed anchorlady has been appearing in the strip from the beginning. Interestingly, she seems to be free of the reality filters that affect so many people in the Narboniverse. Maybe her reporter’s instinct keeps her sharp.”

    All I can say to that is to quote Tommy Lee Jones:
    “Best investigative reporting on the planet! Go on, read the Times if you want to, they get luck once in a while…”

    ‘Nuff said, nyao.

  22. The line from the TV journalist has got to be one of the best ever put in a comic. I’m sure it has a degree of truth in it as well…

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