Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Economy

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Economy

Because I’m putting off working on something else YOU DEMANDED IT! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage continue! (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, start here) Although Vampire Poets and Cyborg Napoleons have their charms, I’m forgoing them in favour of being Educational. So I bring you… RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES OF 1837!!– Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy Two Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy [Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy [Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy Lovelace and Babbage vs The Economy


Historical Notes: True: The Panic of 1837! Ada’s dialogue on the subject is stolen from a 1888 biography of Van Buren, quoted extensively in the Wikipedia entry. The resemblance to the present ructions is uncanny!

True:  That is an actual horse race handicapping algorithm (with some modifications).

Not true: Wellington was only Prime Minister until 1830; it is however true that he is much funnier than Robert Peel, so in this alternate history he gets to stay in office.

Truthy: Lovelace’s gambling addiction gets mentioned occasionally in the slim background I have on her; it’s in dispute but I like it as a trait in a Mathematical Genius. Babbage may or may not have built a drink-serving Mechanical Woman– vague references but nothing solid.EDITED TO ADD:  This was when I was just skimming Babbage’s autobiography, rather than avidly devouring it. She’s in there! Although she doesn’t serve drinks… I intend to Improve that.  Also in that section: one of Babbage’s puns, with helpful chart.

This blog is, as the title says, dangerous experiments in comics.. it’s a learn-as-you-go excercise for me so any feedback on presentation (images– too big? too small? scrolliness good, or would you rather click-thru a series?), drawing (pacing okay? compositions confusing?), or content is appreciated.  Something I learned already:  it should go, character designs, THEN comic, not comic then character designs… Also– this blog is under construction kind of on the fly, so things might move around..


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  1. Diddymuck on June 17, 2015 at 11:12 am

    You’ve stolen my heart and intellectual attention! Already building a personal Perfect Cast for the eventual movie version! (Too bad Bette Davis has croaked…her younger years variant would be ideal as youknowwho).

    • Dan on July 16, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Cumberbatch pulled off Turing quite well. I could see him as Babbage.

      For Ada, do you think Danica McKellar is too old?

  2. Nigel on April 23, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Mechanical automata were all the rage in this era. The mechanical Museum of James Cox first displayed the Silver Swan (now residing at the Bowes Museum in the UK) in 1774, and was described then as a crowd puller. Babbage would have been aware of this and other very sophisticated automata being displayed in London and Paris.

  3. Ashley on December 10, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    I love that every time Wellington shows up he’s with the horse.

  4. JonH on January 16, 2012 at 12:30 am

    Love it. DON’T change font or picture size – the grumblers are reading this on their high power work machine while most of us, I’m sure, wait until we get home and use our old notebook. Also waiting for the T-shirt, and pyjamas?

  5. Anners of Sweden on October 24, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I always suspected there was much work, trial and error behind a comic, successful or not. Your blog dissects and illuminates this wonderfully.

    I consider your current work just a scetch, albeit a very complete scetch, and I wish the completed comic to be in print soon.

    Anders Molander

  6. Gary on July 29, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    So how would a cyborg Napoleon not be educational?

  7. jon singer on May 16, 2010 at 5:23 pm


    This is, indeed, brilliant. Kudos!

    Typo for you: in the panel with Wellington, hat in hand, between the two of them, I see “differene”. [Hope you don’t mind the proofing; I can’t help seeing things like that, and it seems pointless to waste the information.]

    Best —

  8. Mandy on January 21, 2010 at 4:19 am

    So… Babbage was the Regency Lars and the Real Girl.

  9. John Bound on December 28, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    As a middle-aged economist and businessman, what am I doing writing a comment on this site? Well, my son introduced me to graphic novels and strips ( and also ‘Steampunk’ )and I think Lovelace and Babbage is brilliant – mature, witty and historically literate. Used as a vehicle for modern satire, these characters could be huge – entertaining but also acting as an entry point for all those wonderful larger-than-life personalities that led the industrial revolution. I’m not an artist so can’t comment on the style, but it is simple and easy to follow. However, for me, it is always the writing that is the key, and it is excellent. Create more, lots more.

    • sydney on December 29, 2009 at 12:30 am

      Thank you very, very much!! I’m always chuffed to get a great comment. Its all for kicks and most uneconomical but I enjoy drawing them as much I hope as people enjoy reading them. More comics are on the way!

  10. Dan Stanley on November 2, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I saw the link to your site in a post to Word of the Day and I was pleasantly surprized. I love it! The funniest line was the one about shooting some bankers to keep confidence up. The scrolling rather than clicking is perfect. Thanks. Keep it up. -Dan

  11. Incognita Nom de Plume on November 2, 2009 at 6:18 am

    Madam, this is exceptional. Beautiful art style — love the expressiveness and spontaneity of your line work, and, as others have already commented, your ability to pack a huge conceptu7al punch into a single gesture…

    And it’s clever and funny.

    Ada Lovelace (and, to a lesser extent, Babbage), have long been fascinations for me — but I never thought that I’d see them together in one of my favorite artforms. I’ll be forcing all my students to read this.

    Thanks so much — and please keep them coming.

  12. derek on October 26, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    If Wellington instead of Peel had invented the police, would they be called Noseys instead of Bobbies?

  13. Kenny on October 5, 2009 at 10:37 pm

    ComicPress: (Just a suggestion.)

  14. Therru on October 4, 2009 at 11:06 pm

    Loving this so far!

    Cybernetic Napoleon…

  15. Jay on July 29, 2009 at 2:32 am

    This comic has got to be the greatest comic idea I have ever seen. I love your art style and sense of humour.

  16. ted on July 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    thanks for the history lesson. honestly i would agree with most people here that i love your drawings style. very similar to mine where its effective yet scratchy and obscure yet representational. i love the comic so far and i hope you keep it up. nothing really bothering me yet but ill tell you if there is. thank you.

  17. Perverse Sheaf on July 18, 2009 at 9:00 pm

    I like it all, very good. One thing, I don’t know if it’s been mentioned, is the little things like Babbage leaning against the horse. I thought that was a nice touch. (No pun intended!)

  18. R K Duk on July 15, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Definitely scrolling rather than clicking. And maybe bring in Grace Hopper — time travel, reincarnation, perhaps?

  19. […] more in the style of someone like Dylan Meconis more than Beaton; but in any case, who can resist a story that name checks Martin Van Buren, the panic of 1837, and the Duke of Wellington and his hor…? Not I; and neither you. You may want to start with the origin story. […]

  20. Ian on July 13, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I just found out about this project and I am absolutely in love with it.


  21. […] they saved the economy of Great […]

  22. Dave on July 11, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Bwahahaha! I grew up in Mobile! And learned Ada! Awesome comic dudes! :D

  23. Richard Hansen on July 11, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    *weeps* I, too feel that I require mental stimulation. Huzzah that good friends have linked me to this surfeit thereof! Do keep up the good work!

  24. marcio brk on July 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    >> That is my only issue with Blambot’s webletterer font, which is otherwise beautiful– some of the symbols are very unclear. Not great for a comic about math! I’m thinking of making a handwriting font for myself at some point..

    So? Just use some other font for this glyph. Don’t believe those self-righteous font designers that think their ouvre can’t be touched.

  25. marcio brk on July 9, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Genius. Complete genius. McLoud should be proud, big scrolling rulez awesome. And, man, you put the nerd morale back way high! I couldn’t praise you enough.

  26. […] present the only complete comic is Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Economy. A more representative half-baked episode is Lovelace and Babbage Vs The Salamander […]

  27. Edward Ives on May 16, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    I like this comic, especialy what you did to Mr. Van Buren’s face. I happen to know the great-grandson of Mr. Van Buren and plan on E-mailing him a link to this comic….
    as soon as I get his e-mail address; In any case its a great comic and hope to see many more.

  28. - Sterling work on May 11, 2009 at 8:13 am

    […] are some enjoyable web comics about Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace here, here and here – even includes a coupla Gaussian copula gags (and for aficionados of the game of Horse!: […]

  29. GB on May 6, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Since Wellington’s horse — at least his most famous horse — was named Copenhagen, can we look forward to a Copenhagen Interpretation joke? Or would that be too bohring?

  30. richard on May 6, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    “as an initial tactic, I’ve had some bankers shot this morning to keep up confidence”
    Genius. Pour encourager les autres. Please, more.

  31. Robb on May 6, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Love that Lovelace is fluent in today’s popular geek internet culture (twitter, emoticons – what about some wikipedia references/jokes?).

  32. Terran on May 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    This is brilliant. I throw my tuppence in that you continue this. Computer scientists everywhere will give you accolades. (And maybe even buy your art. ;-)

  33. Kate knott on May 6, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Brilliant stuff. The panel with the newspaper is my favourite- especially the bit about the walk at trader jumping from the top floor. Laughed myself silly!

  34. sessile29 on May 6, 2009 at 5:30 am

    God, you HAVE to continue. This stuff is BEYOND awesome! :D

    (OMG!Van Buren is priceless, btw. XD)

  35. Laurenn on May 6, 2009 at 12:33 am

    This is absolutely delightful – can’t wait for the next one!

  36. Ashbet on May 5, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    These comics are just delightful — please do keep it up!

    I love your line-strength variation — the scribbliness at the edges in some places, combined with crispness in others. And you really have a gift for expressions.

    Wonderful stuff, thank you for sharing!

  37. Matt on May 4, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Scrolling! Awesome strip. This is SO going in my blog. When I launch it. Finally.

  38. EFH on May 4, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Loving it! Art is fabulous, and witty as hell. Keep up the good work!

  39. Anne Arthur on May 2, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Scroll-through works for me. I also loved the details – Babbage leaning on the horse, and the US President blaming an unpopular, warmongering predecessor – can’t think who that reminds me of . . .

    Bring on the next instalment!

  40. Monica on May 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm

    Marvelous! I can’t wait to see more.

  41. Suw on April 27, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Love it!! When can I get a Lovelace & Babbage T-shirt? ;)

    • Mack on April 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      I discovered this comic through finding a shirt at a clothing swap.

  42. sydney on April 27, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    >Current size is ok for me, though some panels might be a tad big (the huge ones

    This is the frustration of composing for the screen– I have a really hi-rez screen so big images can look pretty tiny.. it’s really helpful to get feedback on this!

    >my favorite panel, “Or parliament shall withdraw your funding”

    Bizarrely, I almost dropped that one because I felt I couldn’t draw it right!

    >Speaking of which, did Babbage really have a swamp in Georgia?

    >The only problem was the percent sign in Babbage’s swamp spiel. It looked like a mutant zero.

    That is my only issue with Blambot’s webletterer font, which is otherwise beautiful– some of the symbols are very unclear. Not great for a comic about math! I’m thinking of making a handwriting font for myself at some point..

    Heh, I made that up.. probably not!

  43. Saurooon on April 27, 2009 at 6:20 am

    Greatings, to GoogleReader!

  44. Stephanie Booth on April 26, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I like scrolling way more than clicking through. Current size is ok for me, though some panels might be a tad big (the huge ones). Loved shooting the bankers. And Ada’s facial expressions are just wonderful.

    Looking forward to your next comic-fueled procrastination!

  45. Terence Eden on April 25, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    I hereby pledge that the next time I am in urgent need of a computer, I shall holler TO THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE!

  46. mary on April 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Sorry – I meant Mobile, Alabama, of course.

  47. mary on April 25, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Great! I think my favorite character is the horse, and my favorite panel, “Or parliament shall withdraw your funding”. But isn’t shooting bankers a bit extreme? The poor bankers! They can’t help it if all the rest of the world speculates.

    Speaking of which, did Babbage really have a swamp in Georgia?

    Looking forward to more adventures, including (I hope) struggles with street musicians-

  48. Ceridwen on April 25, 2009 at 3:17 am

    I like the scrolling rather than click-through. I’m the type who hits “Back” (<–) every time I leave a page and start fresh from my homepage, except when following a link.

    Current size is good for me. I like the incidentals – the mysterious crane behind the building, the footman’s expression when Wellington enters with his horse, Van Buren’s expression (I just got a dollar coin with him on it – surprised me, now this – am I destined to find ol’ Martin everywhere now?) on the newspaper, Babbage leaning on the horse’s flank reading the paper and his remarks about his swamp property (that was a nice character moment for him – swamp property? :D ) and their expressions when future funding was threatened. Wellington was politically goofy – executing bankers? Hee! I also like Wellington’s look with the boyish hair once he doffs the hat. The only problem was the percent sign in Babbage’s swamp spiel. It looked like a mutant zero.

  49. Sistermagpie on April 24, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Bwahahaha! God I love these two–in large part because I love your drawing. I love the way you put emotions into the body language, that’s my favorite type of comics drawing.

    Also, that mechanical woman made me laugh out loud. A big, barking laugh that drew stares.