Shaenon: Chris and Marcie. I’m so happy to be doing more with the Department of Irradiation. Like I ever pass up an opportunity to draw more lab coats and goggles.

The original concept for the D of I came from an email from Jeffrey way back in December 2007, while we were working out the plot of “Borrowers”:

Also in my mind, the “lab down the hall” responsible for the silverfish is the U.S. Department of Irradiation, consisting, in its entirety, of two very wide-eyed and earnest scientists whose job it is to expose things to radiation. Just… things. Whatever comes down the pipe, really. When the government hasn’t specifically tasked them to expose something to radiation, they just kind of do it themselves to pass the time, because they’re bored and awfully lonely.

I was the one who made them into geeks who play tabetop RPGs with Nick after hours, because that’s one of the important services I provide on this strip: nerding things up.

Channing: I’m so happy with the way these two are developing. And, yes, I share Shaenon’s fondness for lab coats and goggles, which — my hamhanded story-specific efforts notwithstanding — are worn by none of our present core cast. That’s why we need guest characters!

I was so excited at Geek.Kon a while back when they had a “Settlers of Catan” game set up in the gaming room. I was all, like, “That’s the game that gets a brief offhand mention in my webcomic! So I sat down to read certain little chunks of the rules so I could haphazardly throw offhanded references in so people will think I’m super cool even though I don’t actually understand it at all write from a position of experience in case the opportunity presented itself.

It was pretty pathetic, come think.