The Astonishing Excursions of Helen Narbon &Co., Chapter Fourteen.

Yes, Dr. Pim appears to be interrupting Helen’s journal. No, he cannot actually hear or read it or whatever. It’s simply a clever transition device. Thank you.

Dr. Pim is one of my favorite characters. It’s a shame he only appears in the Victorian story, but Venusians don’t exist in the regular Narbonic continuity.

In panel one, the guard says, “Dr. Pim!” In the next panel, Dr. Pim says, “Leave them to me.” The guards say, “Yes sir!”

I had the idea that the names of the Venusians should all be hapax legomena, but I think Dr. Pim is the only Venusian who ended up being mentioned by name. “Pim” is a hapax legomenon from the Bible; it’s a farm implement mentioned in I Samuel. No one knew what it was until some ancient coins were unearthed with the image of a tool labeled “pim.”

The character initially came out of my realization that I needed someone to interact with Helen and Mell on Venus. My first idea was a swordfish advisor to the Hapax Legomenon, but then I hit on the idea of an octopus mad scientist. I was probably influenced by my intense love for Doctor Octopus in the Spider-Man comics.

“Magnifying transmitter” is another name for the Tesla coil, the single most essential piece of lab equipment for mad scientists. I thought that almost every mad scientist should just instinctively build Tesla coils at some point early in his or her career.

The scalar wave weapon is another actual device Nikola Tesla worked on. He was basically the most awesome guy ever.

Everything Helen and Pim say here about the Tesla coil is, to my knowledge, accurate. The device Pim and Helen are discussing is presumably similar to the large, three-coil “Magnifying Transmitter” built by Nikola Tesla. In the Magnifying Transmitter, the first two coils functioned as drivers to excite a third coil, the resonator. Tesla did indeed have trouble with the enormous discharges from the Magnifying Transmitter creating fireballs until he figured out how to move the resonator around to change the frequency of the electromagnetic waves.

Again, Tesla was awesome.

7 thoughts on “The Astonishing Excursions of Helen Narbon &Co., Chapter Fourteen.

  1. Even in sepia-tinted space, the poison of genius infects all kinds of minds.

    (I still find it a bit strange that the occupation/profession term “mad scientist” is used, even in the case of Pim, over the looser and more universally applicable term “evil genius”.)

  2. Perhaps you’ve missed modern Helen’s favorite T-shirt? Our heroes villains are quite aware that they’re on the side of Evil. Proud of it, too, except for Artie and maybe Dave. But Dave comes around.

    Helen’s line in the first panel puts me in mind of the dead parrot sketch. 

  3. One can only imagine what Tesla could have done with the lowly Vibrator… *imagines what Tesla could have done and goes to take Cold Shower*

  4. As I recall, Edwin, he made a device capable of shaking a building down that he attached to a beam on a construction site.  He really made the earth move for them.

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