QUESTIONS ASKED WITH SOME FREQUENCY

What is this madness?

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is a sporadic webcomic (and now graphic novel!) concerning 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.

No, but really, what is it?

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.

Eruptions of comics vary in periodicity between once a week or so, and once every few months or so during dormant periods.  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 PeopleThe Person From Porlock, The Story, or the Giant Hand Posts One and Two.

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 500 pages long and an actual book. That said suggestions for improving the site are warmly appreciated.

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?

No.

What are you drawing with?

The comic is drawn entirely digitally with Photoshop on a Cintiq.

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.

 If you have any questions not addressed here, please use the contact form below.

* 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.

15 Comments

  1. Lynne Collis on February 25, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I love Ada, Babbage and Brunel. As an engineer, with godsons anda goddaughter who’re also leaning that way, I’ve just gone mad on the Brunel t-shirts.
    I’d love to see them in a book, too.

    I send an e-mail jusr now to the Guardian promoting Ada Lovelace Day and suggested they got in touch with you, too, as I thought it would be great if they celebrated Ada Lovelace day by publishing one of your camics, if you were willing to sell a licence or whatever to them. Hope you don’t mind me suggesting it!

    These are brilliant anyway – please keep ’em coming!

  2. Professor_Briar2 on February 15, 2010 at 3:59 am

    Amazing, stunning! And yes Ada really is the kind of woman who would enjoy smoking a pipe! I am also vaguely aware of a picture depicting a young woman graphic artist shown with her churchwarden pipe…… More crime fighting and pipe smoking please.

  3. Derek Beggs on February 9, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Marvellous site and your drawings are exquisite, love it.

    Awaiting the next issue with great anticipation.

    Best
    Derek Beggs

  4. TA Walker on January 27, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Having visited the Oxford steampunk expo, and returned with a copy of B and L’s Great Exhibition Of Themselves, consider me a new and enthusiastic fan…

    Here’s hoping that the same kind of folk who gave Jamie Hewlett and Peter Blegvad publishing contracts, will do the same for you soon, because I’d buy the first Babbage/Lovelace book in a flash. (Maybe you should try one of these online “pledge” sites, and publish one yourself?)

    In the meantime: great stuff, and keep them coming!

  5. Pike on December 10, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Stumbled across this site today and I just want to point out how amusingly creepy it is that a few weeks ago I said “Ya know, somebody needs to draw a picture of Babbage and Lovelace together with rayguns.”

    So I drew it. (I also made them cats, but that’s beside the point.)

    But it appears that I have been beaten to it by somebody that can draw much better than me, so it works out.

    Seriously though. Creepy.

    <3

  6. Epithumia on December 1, 2009 at 11:39 pm

    I’m loving your take on Babbage, Lovelace, Brunel and their enormous computing engines. I showed one of your strips to a friend, and it was one laugh-out-loud moment after another.

    A while back I had some steampunk characters I’d created and didn’t know what to do with them, and then I thought of 2dgoggles.

    The result was this imaginary book cover from an Ada Lovelace story, which won a placing in a 3D graphics contest.

    http://www-cache.daz3d.com/sections/galleries/artwork/310/47847.jpg

    I want to thank you for the inspiration and continuing entertainment.

    Epi

  7. Alex on October 27, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    I read about, I came, I saw, I looked and I read. I laughed, and then I laughed some more, I sniggered, tittered and hit link after link. But at the end of the adventure, I couldn’t find one link taking me to a page that said I could buy the ‘graphic’ novel, comic book, or even an original signed strip.

    I know, however, I’m about to ask a question you’ve probably been asked by every living person on the planet, but I’m going to ask it anyway: ‘will you be publishing a graphic novel and or comic book featuring Babbage and Ada in the near future?’

    Look, I have money…real honest to goodness paper money, and its burning a hole in my pocket!

  8. -jl- on October 7, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    You are awesome. Your Lovelace and Babagge storys are the most genuine and most amusing pieces of illustration i saw in years. Thank you. I mean it.

  9. Gatonegro on October 5, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Perhaps this is a bit too hurried but… Do you plan on ever producing a published-as-in-printed version of this webcomic? I’d gladly buy a copy!

  10. Andrea on September 13, 2009 at 2:14 am

    Enjoying Lovelace and Babbage extremely, and of course, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who gets my vote for Sexiest Victorian Ever. Have you seen Drew Gardner’s “Descendents” series, which features Brunel’s great, great, great grandson? A little strange, really.

    http://www.drewgardner.co.uk/

  11. Will on August 7, 2009 at 6:47 am

    Have to say, I love your work. It does remind me of a lot of the early Disney work (not 2D Goggles, the stuff posted on your regular site), especially this one animator who’s name I forget. I was a devotee of his stuff between the ages of 5 and 10. Possibly even 12. Point is, first rate comics/sketches/comedic ideas/etc. etc. :)

  12. Charismatic Megafauna on July 22, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    I am enjoying your comic experiment greatly. Have you seen Kate Beaton’s work? She is a marvelously talented and interesting comic artist in Canada. There is much intersection in your work:

    http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=5 (The text in the green field refers to the most recent comic, not the archived pieces).

    http://beatonna.livejournal.com/78525.html (Scroll down to see the comics. I don’t know why LiveJournal puts so much white space on the page).

    Best wishes and may the experiment continue!

    • sydney on July 23, 2009 at 1:22 pm

      Of course! She keeps stealing my gags before I’ve thought of them!

      Oddly enough, I am also Canadian. Maybe Canadians do history comics because something has to be done to make Canadian history entertaining.. the Louis Riel one is really good to:
      http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/riel/comics.html

  13. Marion Delgado on July 16, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    You rule the Earth!

    Uh, now that the dinosaurs are gone, of course.

  14. […] If you are new you probably want to start with Lovelace: The Origin. You can then (if you haven’t immediately fled), continue to read the episodes/half-baked ideas/pointless ramblings chronologically by clicking on the link to the next post in the upper right of the post pages. Questions are addressed at the FAQ. […]

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