Ada Lovelace Day 2012 Coming Soon!

Howdy folks! Just returned from a sojurn in the woods of the Great White North, where I laboured like the noble Canadian beaver on The Book. You’re doubtless sick of my hinting that there will be comics soon, so, I will remain as silent as the tundra under a blanket of fresh snow on a windless February… oh, patient ones! Believe how keenly I feel the lack of posts! Like an elk unsuccessful at the autumn rut without a single cow! Up where I was staying we have a truly horrendous collection of early-to-mid 20th century Canadian adventure stories for young people, can you tell?

I do have a couple of announcements however!

Ada Lovelace Day 2012, the institution to which we owe our genesis, falls upon OCTOBER 16 this year (it is a moveable feast)! I’ll be giving a little talk at the star-studded Ada Lovelace Day Live! where I’ll be sharing some of my favorite primary docs; it’ll be live-streamed and I’ll give a link closer to the day. So sharpen your keyboards and blog or tweet or merely reflect fondly on your favorite women in tech and sci! I’m also working up a poster of the above image for the Ada Lovelace Day fundraiser.

Speaking of, uh, speaking, I’ll be dropping into the Thinking Comics evening at Gosh on November 14th, where they’ll be discussing Lovelace and Babbage and Logicomix. Should be fun and I see they repair afterwards on occasion to the very appropriate John Snow pub.

That’s about it for the moment.. keep the RSS feed and go about your lives, citizens! One bright day a low rumble and the dam will burst! Or, um, be constructed. Mixed dam-building metaphors. Anyways! And don’t forget, when in Canada, keep your bear-spray inside your coat lest it freeze and be rendered useless against the wolves! Not making that up!

Interlude: Queen Victoria’s VERY SECRET DIARY!

Just a quick squib of a comic in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diaries, online!

ALL TRUE! There could not possibly be a more typical Victorian document search result, I am in a position to tell you, than a Lovelace-shaped blank, and a nugget of Babbage comedy gold.

On the User Experience comic front, we are advancing slowly forward under heavy fire and strained coffee supply lines. Hang in there!

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage- BOOK!

This week (well, last week) marks the three-year anniversary of The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

I hardly know whether it feels as though I’ve been drawing these forever, or if it’s impossible that I’ve been drawing them so long. What started as a punchline to a one-shot comic– hey, wouldn’t it be hilarious if there was a comic about Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage fighting crime? –has evolved into… well, a really really long punchline. With footnotes!

Now it my great pleasure to announce that this humble comic has been elevated to the PANTHEON one might say, actually, one would definitely say, because Pantheon Books has heard your pleas (a lot more effectively than I have it seems) and we are going to do Lovelace and Babbage: The Papery Thing with Ink On!

Pantheon is the legendary publisher of Very Important Graphic Novels Maus, Persepolis, and Habibi, so, you know, NO PRESSURE. As you may imagine I’ve spent the last couple of months alternating between lurking in Gosh Comics muttering, “Do you have any idea who I am?” and hiding under the bed. Not to mention, quivering with the need to tell someone!

Fair warning: if you start queuing now outside your local bookstore bring a lot of jerky and evaporated soup as it’s going to take me a year of hard drawing to get this thing done! Now I know what you’re asking yourself: ‘What does this mean for ME, the long-suffering 2dgoggles Comics Consumer, the very incarnation of Patience on a Monument? Have I not gone without Lovelace and Babbage LONG ENOUGH??”

FEAR NOT Citizens! Mine has not been the blank, barren silence of the indolent layabout, but rather the expectant, the pregnant silence of Feverish Labour behind the scenes!

USER EXPERIENCE, my bells-and-whistles experimental extravaganza has endured some delay, as I was in the throes of negotiating with Pantheon. As it turns out they are awesome and totally cool with me putting it up here for your enjoyment. As a great deal of it is drawn already expect a sudden sharp shocking increase in the usual pace of things around here. So stand by for that!

Poor Vampire Poets, of which I am so very very fond, continues to be under a Mysterious Curse and will have to endure another several months in the coffin, I’m afraid.


I would like to thank all you wonderful readers for being so supportive of this odd comic-shaped pocket universe. I was not setting out to do a graphic novel; as far as I can recall, I don’t think I was setting out to do anything but enjoy myself, advance my craft, and avoid working on the stuff I was supposed to be working on. It has cost me much labour and not a little stress but your kind comments, enthusiasm, and patience have kept me doodling away. Lovelace and Babbage have not only been excellent company themselves, they have been my means of introduction to so many wonderful, fascinating people. So thank you all! and many many more comics soon!


Just hold on a little longer!

Spinny Beachball, Turny Hourglass, Immobile Progress Bar, Whatever

Folks, folks. I know. I’m really really sorry. There is stuff going on, and things, whereof which presently I can’t speak, therefore I must remain silent. We here at 2dgoggles Emalgamated Comics Industries are in what you might term a state of flux.

Hoping to have more comics happening soon! In the meantime, being a woman-type thing I’m evidently meant to be on Pinterest, where I have put pictures of 2d-gogglish clothes and engines.

Also, in some Lovelace news:

– not sure how she’d feel about having a Giant Boring Machine named after her..
– if you live anywhere near Cambridge Massachusets, you can go to a musical where Ada Lovelace meets a world-weary Civil War veteran, in something that sounds like a dream I might have had after too many late nights on John Carter and User Exprience

Happy Valentines Day from 2dGoggles..

Now I feel bad I didn’t have time to do a Babbage one.. but this was decidedly impromptu! Click for bigger..



As a bonus– adorable Valentines New Yorker cover, 1961– when the stereotypical programmer was a woman.

Many Happy Returns of the Day, Mr. Dickens!

Many happy returns of the day, Mr. Dickens! I am sure we are all spending this bicentenary eating gruel, fitfully walking the streets at midnight, drinking punch, speaking in thousand-word paragraphs interrupted by semi-colons; constructing elaborate book-length metaphors winding like dark trash-strewn rivers through a metropolis of words; enduring unspeakable losses and delighting in the simple pleasures of life, encountering more silly pretty females than one quite likes, and generally marvelling that one pen could produce such a torrent of ink.

Mr Dickens has a small part in User Experience so I have some doodles for him– he’s good fun, I’ll have to bring him back!

I’m basing his body attitude on another Charlie, with whom he had so much in common–

One hardly knows where to start with Dickens primary docs, so I will give you his very own birthday reflections.

As a celebrated genius and man-about-town Dickens knew both our protagonists very well. I’ll start with Lovelace though I warn you it’s depressing as hell:

On a cheerier note, Babbage turns up with some frequency in Household Words; but though these two egomaniacs were good friends I’m short of anything really juicy. Google Books will dangle this in front of me for the sole purpose of making me imagine it full of golden nuggets of character and historical revelation, whereas lets face it it’s almost certainly all two-line dinner invitations.

I went to see the Dickens show at the Museum of London a few weeks ago, where they were showing a film that had readings of his “Night Walks” over scenes of modern London.  At one point the reader intoned:

This is a reference to the Bridgewater Treatise, and I refrained from screaming “BABBAGE” aloud, merely squealing it under my breath.


My own pen as possibly you may have noticed has not been notably prolific, at least on this website. User Experience, which you are no doubt sick of hearing about, is taking up most of my time, along with cleaning up Economic Model, a few commissions, worrying and dithering, building my virtual difference engine, and a couple of projects I can’t talk about. More than anything I’m discovering that it is one thing to animate all day and then draw comics all night; and quite another to draw comics all day and then draw MORE comics at night. The end result was that poor Vampire Poets, which I’d intended as my Relaxing Fun Outlet project, was starting to feel a lot like Work. Not that I’m not a great believer in Work! but I think this peculiar deadness was starting to sneak into the comic… I don’t worry about stuff being too weird or rough for the website but I had drawn almost all of the next episode and then realised that it was, in fact, dead, where it ought obviously to be UNdead. So I’ve torn it all up and I’m re-attacking it.. the only thing I can promise is to stop making promises! Fear not Citizens, even if it HAS seemed quiet around here it is only the prelude to a veritable torrent of stuff in a little while!

I’ll leave you with Dickens’ London Locations Map, by the matchless Victorian London

A Little More User Experience..

Aiming for Thursday for the next Vampire Poets but some more User Experience stuff just so you guys know I’m working like a fiend on this comic, a FIEND!

George costuming:

I had this crisis where I suddenly thought the Special Guest Star in User Experience ought to be Dickens, in honour of his birthday and also because obviously he was so much more marketable. Then I realised I was trying to decide which Victorian-novelist-lost-in-a-mechanical-computer scenario would make my MILLIONS and that’s when I gave myself a sharp smack. I’m much too fond of George now to replace her, and anyways Dickens will have a fine walk-on part.  Much more on User Experience in the coming weeks!

For the UX notes and also for more accurate gags and also because I don’t have enough projects in my life, I’ve started to put together an animating model of the Difference Engine-  right now it looks like this:

Ooooh Babbage you are so clever!

It’s not so mysterious when you actually move it around, but it’s a bit tricky to explain clearly so I’ll put together an explanatory vid when I have a sec!  If you need an explanation RIGHT NOW and are good at visualising, these invaluable and beautiful clear diagrams were my source, millions of thanks both to Mr Satyam and Dan in the comments who led me to them.

Stay tuned, loyal and kindly audience! I hope it’s a comfort that slow as the comics are coming at least you may rest assured that I am SUFFERING mightly:


A Little Background

Next Vampire Poets is coming up soonish, in the meantime I thought I might as well put up some of what I’m working on with User Experience, my other giant project (well, one of my other giant projects!).

I sketched up a quick little size compare of George and Ada and then I couldn’t stop.. click for bigger!

User Experience takes place almost entirely inside the Difference Engine, which is full of spiral staircases and gears with tons of teeth and complicated machinery all of which add up to that uninspiring word.. PERSPECTIVE.  I’d really like to bring up the standard of background drawing on the comic though and really didn’t want to do my usual squiggle-and-black shortcut. I’m pretty lazy when it comes down to it but also I just happen to work all day long on a thing created expressly for the purpose of producing three-dimensional simulacra of rigid complex objects.

So I fired up my very rusty modelling skills and started manufacturing.

At first I assumed I’d just arrange a set, print it out, and then trace it out in Painter, but that’s a heck of a lot of detail so I wondered if I could get away with what’s called a toon render- the upper cog is a toon render and the lower one is traced– click for bigger if you’re interested.

More as they’d be used in the comic:

At first glance the trace looks better– but a lot of that is because the models are cookie-cutters and simple shapes now. They would need to be wonkified and cartooned up. Also rusty as I am at modelling what I know about rendering and lighting can be summed up as, “send it down the pipeline to the rendering department, where I guess they push buttons and stuff”. If the models were done nicer and lit and rendered right, I think it could look pretty awesome, and I could get a lot more atmosphere and detail in. So at the moment I’m thinking of sticking with the renders and see if I can rope someone in to help me with the shaders.. I’ll keep you posted!

Of course the very extremely dangerous thought that snuck into my brain while building these bits is how actually not THAT hard it would be to model and sim a Difference Engine for reals…

Vampire Poets Part the Third

Happy 220th Birthday Charles Babbage!  I hope you enjoy your present, another amusing instalment of your Thrilling Adventures in…



Poetic Licences, the official stamp on the first panel, are required for poetry in the Pocket Universe; in our own so much more sensible universe, it is of course comic books.

William Wordsworth seems the suitable person to be issuing the licences; not only was he Poet Laureate between  1843 and 1850 (during which he wrote no poetry at all), but he is also the traditional example of the post-Romantic authoritarian sell-out.

Babbage declared that he would have been a poet if he had been blind in this charming batch of anecdotes, also featuring Lovelace. The reporter fails to secure the vital information of why exactly Babbage would have had to be blind. I guess there’s some connection with Homer and Milton, blind super-genius poets, but super-genius Babbage’s logic escapes me on completing this syllogism.

The ‘Byron Devil’ is used to describe Lovelace possibly by Babbage in my favorite document that I never tire of linking to. It’s a bit ambiguous who uses the exact words oh please oh please oh please let it be Babbage!!

Indoor target practice was a habit of both Sherlock Holmes and Lord Byron, so it’s only natural to transfer it to Lovelace. Particularly as she possibly did own a pair of duelling pistols-

“Dear Babbage. I unfortunately forgot a very principal thing I had to say to you last eve, & that can be less well explained in writing. It is to ask you if you would be so very kind as to see a gentleman (one of the Leighs) on Tuesday next at 11 o’clock,- who wants to sell me, a Rifle & a pair of Pistols which he declares to have been my father’s.

History does not record whether she bought these! If you want to see them in action, there’s a fellow firing a similar one here; and they don’t go off backwards and blow his nose off even once!

— Did Charlotte Bronte and Ada Lovelace meet?  Can’t find anything definite but they brush past each other in notable celebrities of London here.

–P=NP is the most famous unsolved problem in Computer Science. There is an excellent elucidation of it in Wikipedia and also at MIT, with some amusing comments. 

That Thing Babbage did for the Post Office- Babbage claims for himself the concept of the Penny Post, where the mail is sent for the same price regardless of distance (making up the expense of travel in efficiency in processing), in his autobiography. It was Post-Master General (and at one point school-master to Babbage’s sons) Rowland Hill who actually implemented it, writing a pamphlet advocating for it in 1837.

If you’re keen on the subject, you may view the immediate effects of the penny post recorded by Mr Rowland Hill himself, in the papers of the Statistical Society.

Maybe I should work in more post-office stuff, but I feel I might be re-treading ground so excellently covered in Going Postal.  But I simply must find a place somewhere for the instructive verse at the bottom of this post by the postal museum!

Post-women can’t have been unheard of, as a search for the term turns up a lot of hits; I offer this seasonal treat, For the Post-Woman at Christmas.


Whew! Happy Charles Babbage Birthday everyone, hope you are all enjoying the best of the Season!


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