I like Dr. Noah’s weird little drill in the first panel. And Mell’s hate-filled expression in the last panel. And “Ka-Blooie!!”, with two exclamation points. And “poik!” Gosh, I wish I’d put more amusing sound effects into Narbonic. You can never, ever go wrong with amusing sound effects. Unless you’re not trying to be amusing, I guess.

I have to assume Dr. Noah has walked up to the second floor, where the lab is. This would be a lot clearer if I would ever DRAW SOME BACKGROUNDS.

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The completed doomsday device is a thing of crudely-drawn beauty, isn’t it? I was really trying here, dammit. I cleverly made the first panel fairly narrow so it wouldn’t take as long to fill with machinery.

The little cloud over Dave’s head was inspired by Joe Bfstplk, the unfortunate man with a perpetual cloud over his head in Al Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner. Yes, the character’s name was Joe Bfstplk.

It looks like I drew that background four times rather than copying and pasting it. Good for me. Dumb, but good.

Not much else to say about this strip, except a) it’s good that I’m trying for at least a little bit of visual humor, and b) Helen’s binoculars and Mell’s eyes in the second panel are still pretty funny.

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You know what would help here? Perspective. And backgrounds. Just saying.

Dave has that cloud raining on him for the entire week. I just wish I’d found a way to bring it back at some later point in the strip, or, preferably, many later points. Lord, I loved doing terrible things to Dave.

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Oh, yeah. You know what I like? SHOW TUNES.

Mell is, of course, singing “I’m the Greatest Star,” from Funny Girl. The Barbra Streisand movie holds a sacred place in my mother’s life, and I saw it many times growing up. Also, my friend Mackenzi sang this song for the middle-school talent show in seventh grade. (In eighth grade she sang the Minute Waltz from Funny Lady. She was too good for this world, or at least too good for Green Local Schools, home of the Bulldogs.)

Yes, Dave wears boxers, and yes, they have little chili peppers printed on them.

This is another strip that’s just too goofy for me to criticize much. I mean, Mell’s got the boxers on her head, and ANTONIO SMITH covers his face like the Bela Lugosi stand-in in Plan Nine from Outer Space when confronted with Dave’s chili-pepper-emblazoned boxers…come on, you gotta crack a smile.

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22 thoughts on “ANTONIO SMITH, FORENSIC LINGUIST: September 18-23, 2000

  1. Actually, I always assumed he was standing on the street, shouting up at their window… But I’ll take your word for it 🙂

  2. Wednesday’s comic: Sorry, but “Crackle!” is not a valid onomatopoeia for an electrical discharge, no matter how diminuitive. On the other hand, you get effort points for attempting to draw “Danger” in stencil font four times. Though I do wonder what a box marked simply “Danger” would have inside…

  3. The best part about the strip in general is the fact that you can track Dave’s moving back and forth behind the machine. He could be doing anything back there… working on a specific part and reaching around for tools, repairing four entirely unrelated parts, dodging back and forth to escape the cloud, reenacting Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 using rubber bands, pencils and other office supplies, making faces at Helen and Mell from relative safety, anything. The simple fact is, it doesn’t matter. We know he’s there, and that he’s getting wet.

    This is one example (in my head, at least) as to why Narbonic is as popular as it is, it’s because you gave the audience enough credit to figure out what was going on.

  4. Friday’s Comic: “If you’re in a situation like that there’s only one thing you can do and that’s walk intothe shrink wherever you are, just walk in, say “Shrink, You can get / anything you want, / at Alice’s restaurant”. And walk out.”

  5. And if two people walk into the shrink and sing it, in harmony, they’ll think they’re gay and they won’t take either of them.

  6. And if <i>three</i> people do it, three–can you imagine three people walking in, singing a bar of Alice’s Restaurant, and walking out?

  7. They’d think it was a movement.  And that’s just what it is.  The Alice’s restaurant anti-mass-a-cree movement.

  8. I’ve ready this comic all the way up to December, 2006…. I don’t think the “Mel” of 2006 would have done this…. (Poor Artie probably would have been pushed into it, Hahaha!)

  9. Saturday’s Comic: “So, young intern, we meet again” doesn’t really make much sense when neither of them have left the room since their last encounter, which was, what, only several minutes ago?

  10. Sometimes, you just gotta follow the narrative rules.  Confronting your former pupil in a final duel is almost as important as the single flaming wheel that rolls away from the destruction of any vehicle.

  11. Regarding Leon Arnott question about what crates with ‘Danger’ written on them hold. The answer awaits!


     …and no, I don’t know why they’re there.

  12. I don’t think you’ll ever read this, because I’m posting it way in the “past”, but… I’ll post anyway.

    First, you’ll have to excuse me for my kinda bad English, because it’s not my main language. I’ve learnt it mostly from videogames (Pok?mon Yellow! =D), Internet and Music. Oh yeah, school supposedly teach me a bit of it…

    Well, I agree with Megan Miller: Mell has changed a lot through the first year of the comic. I even thought she was kinda naive and she didn’t had actually “evil” intentions. And then there was that sprite themed strip where her only sprite was saying “Kill kill kill kill”. Only then knew I she was a homicidal maniac. It actually took me by surprise. The 2000 Mell talked nicely to Dave, then the 2001-2005 Mell hated, dispised Dave, and then in 2006 she shown us her kinda “Good” side, or at least, some mercy…

    Then, something else… You made a pun in Spanish, my “default” language: “Diversi?n” is “Fun” in Spanish. So when Mell said about the diversion “Nah, it’ll be fun” you unawarely made some kind of pun in Spanish.

    OK, as you may see, I have a problem with Verborrhage… I promise this is the last line of my post. Sorry!

  13. Many, many moons ago, I saw Al Capp interviewed on tv, and when he was asked how Joe’s last name was pronounced? He blew a raspberry at the camera and grinned. Obscure trivia for the win!

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