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

“Return of the Queen of Mars” is a nice pulpy chapter title. Sometimes these were really hard to come up with.

With apologies to all the Italian speakers out there (I had to rely on Andrew and his junior year visiting his extended family in Sicily), the dialogue on this page goes something like this:

Sisters! She has returned!


It’s impossible!

It’s true! Come, come!


I looked up a lot of Victorian card games for this. The cards in Dave’s hand (claw, whatever) are from a period deck. I liked the Bashful and Unbashful Lovers.

The Italian on this page:

The queen arrives! Arrives on Mars!

Prepare her tent!

Tell the gigolo to anoint himself with oils!

“Tell the gigolo to anoint himself with oils” is one of my favorite lines in all of Narbonic, and most people probably couldn’t read it. I’m perverse that way.

The flowers and stuff in the first panel didn’t come out right, which irritated me at the time because I thought the rest of this chapter looked pretty darn good. I spent more time than usual on details like the playing cards.

I fussed with the fourth panel for a long time. One of the problems with doing this hatched-and-crosshatched-all-to-hell faux-Victorian finish was that elements of the drawing tended to blend into each other, making it harder for individual figures to stand out. In this case I wanted to make it clear that Dave was noticing Helen and Pim-in-Dave’s-body (and who can blame him?). I ended up putting a white border around them, which worked out pretty well. I also didn’t put the hatching on Pim!Dave.

The kiss in the next-to-last panel turned out nicely, too.

Poor Dave. He really suffers through most of the Victorian story.

3 thoughts on “The Astonishing Excursions of Helen Narbon &Co., Chapter Nineteen.

  1. …You know, reading through the archives I always noticed Helen and Davesbody, but until you mentioned it I never consciously noticed the white outline. Well done.

  2. Belated unrequested nitpicky language comment:
    “Arriva a Marzo” = “She comes in March” – I couldn’t understand why they were excited about that.
    “Arrives on Mars” would be “Arriva su Marte”.
    … “annoinci” isn’t really an Italian – or even Italian-related – word.

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