The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage concerns the odd footnote* to history that was the unrealised invention of the computer in the 1830s by the eccentric polymath Charles Babbage, and his accomplice the peculiar proto-programmer and daughter of Lord Byron, Ada, Countess of Lovelace.
It is sometimes called a steampunk comic, but as Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace are documented to have been two of the worst-dressed people of the 19th century they’re a bit of a disgrace to the aesthetic. I call it steam-irony. Steam-iron! Get it?? AHAHAahaah .. ahem.
What is this madness?
It’s a punchline. As in “Wouldn’t it be hee-larious if there was a comic about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage fighting crime? Thanks, I’ll be here all week!” The imaginary comic was the punchline to Lovelace: The Origin, drawn because my good buddy Suw Charman got me drunk started a Noble Enterprise called Ada Lovelace Day.
So, this is either the agonizing birth pangs, or monstrous death-throes, of a comic. I’m definitely making it up as I go along.
When does the comic update?
2dGoggles moves forward in large spasmodic jerks at unexpected intervals, somewhat like a tectonic plate. Deep below the surface of this website roil the molten Fires of Creation, which bow to no human law (except the Immutable Law of the Day Job). This is why RSS feeds were created.
Statistically there is a comic of some kind on average every 17.3 days. On the (possibly) bright side, updates are often over 10 pages long.
From what end do I pick up this unwieldy contraption?
It is best to start reading the comic with Lovelace, The Origin. Beyond that there are three completed stories, all of which can be read independently: Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Economy; Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Client; and Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Organist. The first two are shortish (roughly 30 pages, in 3 parts). The Organist is about 120 pages long. I hope you like footnotes.
A great deal of the activity here consists of digressions, asides, and disconnected flights of fancy. Popular representatives of the non-storyline posts would be Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Salamander People, The Person From Porlock, The Story, or the Giant Hand Posts One and Two.
Of course you could also start with the story currently in progress; that would be Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Vampire Poets and it starts here. UPDATE: Tragically and to cries of indignation, I’ve had to put Vampire Poets on hold as I work on the book. It will resume in a few months.
Do you realize the navigation on this website is terrible?
I am perpetually being told the navigation around here is shoddy. This is no doubt owing to ERRORS in my NAVIGATIONAL LOG TABLES. If only someone would invent a mechanism whereby these errors could be eliminated, and one could chart one’s course with perfect confidence!
Seriously, I know I know. Bear in mind that this site is meant as a way for me to experiment with drawing comics, not so much as an actual comic; and that The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage still does not actually exist, despite now being nearly 300 pages long. That said suggestions for improving the site are warmly appreciated. Suggestions of web designers even more so.
Why are you doing this?
No particular reason. I like history, science, comics, primary documents, and pointless non-remunerative projects. I once typed out the the entire journals of Gilbert White for no particular reason, for instance.
What’s up with Babbage’s hair?
Like most of this comic, it’s a conflation of misleading half-truths:
Did the real Ada Lovelace smoke a pipe?
What are you drawing with?
I use a 12x Cintiq and Corel Painter. Not enough? Sumi-e brush, black, 5px detail and 10px coarse. Private note to Painter: you know, Painter, Babbage’s hand-cranked clockwork computer could adjust leading on type. Just sayin’.
Are you going to do a book?
UPDATE: Yes! Yes I am! Prestigious publisher Pantheon has taken the punt and now I labour night and day upon it. NIGHT AND DAY. It should be out in 2013 or 14. Or 15 or 16. Personally I’m terrified about the whole thing.
Who are you?
I’m an animator, story artist, and tiresome bore working mostly in visual effects in London. I do have an official site in that capacity, which updates even more sporadically than this one but has many useful thoughts on cow walks. This is me giving myself mercury poisoning with a period hat, a lot of the comedy around here is probably down to that.
* Fact: Ada Lovelace is celebrated for writing footnotes extending to 3 times the length of the work footnoted; a practice continued in this comic. Reference:
I can’t say I’ve entered fully into all the very difficult and abstract questions connected with the subjects herein, I just make jokes about them.