I’m not crazy about the commentary I drew for this one. The colors are too garish, for one thing. For some reason I put Helen in the tweed suit I usually drew on Dave, at least until Dave bought a new suit at the beginning of “Mad Science Is Decadent and Depraved.” Helen looks pretty good in it, for what it’s worth. But really, these commentary strips could be better.
But it’s all okay, because this is the first of many Sundays featuring art by Dirk Tiede! Dirk and I both had comics in the original Modern Tales launch lineup; in fact, Dirk’s comic, Paradigm Shift, is still going strong at MT. We hit it off at the San Diego Comic-Con and ended up becoming good friends. Of course, everybody likes Dirk. He’s a friendly guy. Much later, I drew him and his laser-scientist girlfriend (now wife) into Narbonic as inhuman grant recipients.
This rendition of Helen was the first drawing Dirk did for me. He got more ambitious with each subsequent Narbonic character he drew. As I have my characters comment on the next page, she has a “Tenchi Muyo” kind of look, which is probably appropriate. (For what it’s worth, I edited the Tenchi manga for Viz for a while.)
I do love Mell’s innocent little face. Dirk’s drawings of the Narbonic characters always fascinate me because, although he has a manga-esque style, he puts in a lot of detail and gives his figures mostly realistic proportions. So kind of gives me an idea of what my characters would look like if they were human.
Well, except for Mell’s hair. That probably wouldn’t work in a universe with our physical laws.
Okay, I might as well be up front about this: I find Dirk’s version of Dave extremely attractive. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying I would do him.
I should probably shut up now.
I think this is the only time Helen betrays any great concern about changing gender, except possibly at the very beginning of “Gender Swap.” Oh and the Paradigm Shift link is here.