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Author Topic: Does Marten have goals?  (Read 27276 times)

stoutfiles

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Does Marten have goals?
« on: 09 May 2011, 20:48 »

As a new user, I'm sure it's rude to introduce a controversial topic, but it's been bothering me lately.

Martin is the strip's everyman and therefore has to be the stable character, but I hate the fact that he just kinda loafs through the day with no real goals.  This is how I see Martin's life:

-Works at a library.  Probably makes minimum wage or close to it.  Makes no effort to find a new job or to better his position in life for the future.

When not working, Martin...

-goes to the bar with the group, with Steve, or even alone.
-goes to a coffee shop.  When unable to go to the shop, looks for a replacement for the coffee shop.
-loafs around the apartment

It's not like alcohol and coffee are cheap, so he's probably spending all his money on rent (city rent is not cheap) and alcohol/coffee, saving no money for his future, or for anything really.

I know how most topics are about "Who's going to date who in the circle of friends?" but I'd like to see some of the characters stop coasting through life, notably Martin and Faye.  Maybe it's just me though.
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Carl-E

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #1 on: 09 May 2011, 21:41 »

Marten's fundamental character has been considered before in a few threads, and in several of the older weekly comic discussion threads (WCDT). 

But you raise a good point that hasn't been tossed about for a while, and I think part of it is that he is  the everyman character - as a stand-in for us, he can't really be much more than an observer, giving us the window into his world. 

But it is  annoying sometimes! 
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #2 on: 09 May 2011, 22:09 »

In the past he's shown enthusiasm for his guitars and band; but he's also said that he has no other goals. Jeph did mention recently somewhere that he might bring Deathmole up again at some point.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #3 on: 09 May 2011, 22:29 »

Well, he kindasorta actively went to the library to fall into that job, after he was laid off from the job he was thinking about quitting anyway ... Oh, never mind.
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dragontart

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #4 on: 09 May 2011, 22:40 »

It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #5 on: 09 May 2011, 23:09 »

Dammit, Dragontart makes sense!
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #6 on: 09 May 2011, 23:27 »

Welcome, new person!

If Marten has a future, it's in music. He did get goal-oriented once in his life, going out to line up a drummer.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #7 on: 09 May 2011, 23:47 »

Marten will eventually meet Trent Lane - Both bands will merge becoming Death Spyral and go on to fame and fortune.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #8 on: 10 May 2011, 06:15 »

It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?

The problem is that a life without a perceived purpose of some sort is a pretty sad one to live (whether it is a career, or relationships with loved ones, etc.).

I mean, yeah, someone mentioned the music aspect, but how passionate is Marten about that, really?

This would actually go a long way toward explaining why Marten is such a sad sack of shit all the time (when he's not suffering immediate "LOL, the universe is shitting on you!" scenarios, there have been comics when nothing terrible is happening to him at the moment and he's still an insufferable downer).

stoutfiles

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #9 on: 10 May 2011, 07:16 »

It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?

That only works for so long.  He can only barely afford his own lifestyle, there's no way he could afford to ever start a family.  It's a wonder he could even afford to date Dora, so I assume she paid her way for most things.  Might help explain why Dora actively strived to end their relationship; other than being a nice guy, Marten doesn't have much going on.

Eventually his friends will move on, start their own families. Marten will still be that guy who works at the library and drinks at night.  Sounds fun...
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rje

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #10 on: 10 May 2011, 07:16 »

I love this topic because I personally feel this is a defining question of Marten's journey - what the hell does he want to do with his life? I know it's a personal thing because I am very Goal Oriented and I can't fathom how Marten can really be happy just...hanging out all the time.

Seriously, that's like, all he ever does. He hangs out. He hangs out at home, at the coffee shop, at the bakery, at his job, hell ... I don't know if the band he was trying to start even did anything but hang out and talk about the kind of music they should try to play. Did they have any gigs? Did they write any songs? Did they even get together more than a handful of times? I don't know if it's my age or my personality but sometimes I want someone to just grab Marten and shake him back and forth yelling 'For fuck's sake man, stop letting life just happen to you! DO SOMETHING! Fuck, WANT SOMETHING!! WANT SOMETHING AND THEN DO SOMETHING TO GET THE THING YOU WANT!!'  

Shit, he's in such a good position to take ahold of some kind of goal, if his life comfortable enough as it seems. Especially since the breakup, I just think it would be such an interesting journey for him to take, focusing on what he wants for once and going to get it. Or even discovering what it IS he wants. It doesn't seem he even thinks about that very much, y'know? What he really wants out of his life. He just kinda...hangs out in his own life, if you know what I mean lol.

Sorry for the wall of text, can you tell I've really thought a lot about this subject? XD

edit: I should add Marten's not the only character I want to grab and shake. There's a few more xD ...As a struggling artist, I want to shake Faye so hard omfg you have no idea you fucking got a commission for HOW MANY THOUSAND DOLLARS and you're content working as a fucking barista what is wrong with you arghhhh    
lol I sound like Penelope.
« Last Edit: 10 May 2011, 07:27 by rje »
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dragontart

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #11 on: 10 May 2011, 09:58 »

I do know that many people can only appreciate things that caused them work and other fuss (also, girls who are easy to get are not worth it), and that for even more people the only way to feel happy/worthy is to reach a higher what is known as status in what is known as society. But I do not exactly know why it's hard to believe that that is not universally valid. And even if it was, why one has to be annoyed about people who don't feel a need to reach for such goals.
I wish I had no wishes.

I do agree that Marten doesn't seem to be exactly happy with his situation, never really thought about that. But can someone back up that loafing around/his job/not having much going on/no goals are the reasons? Didn't he once say something about wanting a better job than the library-thing?

Since it's a comic, I think one can surely argue whether Marten as a character is boring to follow when he does basically nothing (I think not, for me the interesting part is the characters kind of freaky relationships), but the argument here doesn't seem to be about that.

Also, libraries are pretty cool.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #12 on: 10 May 2011, 10:19 »

I don't know if it's my age or my personality but sometimes I want someone to just grab Marten and shake him back and forth yelling 'For fuck's sake man, stop letting life just happen to you! DO SOMETHING! Fuck, WANT SOMETHING!! WANT SOMETHING AND THEN DO SOMETHING TO GET THE THING YOU WANT!!'

I'm very different to you, I think. Not particularly driven, not particularly motivated. But even I have ambitions! and now that it's been raised, yes, Marten is just letting life happen to him. I don't really see how Jeph could change that at this point without radically changing Marten's character.

So, this is just how he is. I don't see him unveiling a secret desire to be a harbourmaster anytime soon.
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Odin

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #13 on: 10 May 2011, 10:29 »

I do know that many people can only appreciate things that caused them work and other fuss (also, girls who are easy to get are not worth it), and that for even more people the only way to feel happy/worthy is to reach a higher what is known as status in what is known as society. But I do not exactly know why it's hard to believe that that is not universally valid.

Probably because you are being deliberately obtuse?

Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live. He is going day by day simply existing. He doesn't enjoy his life. That kind of life isn't worth living and if you don't understand why that bothers other readers of the comic you need to start asking some serious questions.

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #14 on: 10 May 2011, 10:44 »

It's probably absolutely just me, but working at a library (with people you like, even) going to bars, coffee shops, loafing around the rest of the day and still being able to pay for everything you need (apartment, food, whatever) sounds pretty good to me.

Would be bad if he actually had other goals and still could only accomplish said things.

What would be the right things for Marten to want?
Yeah, I agree with this pretty much.  While there's nothing wrong with having goals, I think it's a good thing if someone can appreciate what they have.  Often times people look forward too much at what they could have and often take the things they do have for granted.  You can see examples of that just in this thread where people think Marten situation is worse than he probably thinks it is.
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dragontart

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #15 on: 10 May 2011, 10:56 »

Quote
Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live

What "actually live" means is defined by the the opinion of the majority of the society you currently live in. I do not find most of the things suggested here (wanting/pursuing something in general, family, doing band-stuff for a living, etc.) automatically mean/equal "actually living", but as said I do know that the majority does think so. That does not automatically make it desirable for some others, and maybe also not for Marten, [following is to be disproven] since he never actually said why he might be unhappy.
« Last Edit: 10 May 2011, 11:14 by dragontart »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #16 on: 10 May 2011, 11:18 »

I don't know if the band he was trying to start even did anything but hang out and talk about the kind of music they should try to play. Did they have any gigs? Did they write any songs? Did they even get together more than a handful of times?
Gigs no, compositions yes. There were a bunch of instrumental pieces about unicorns.

Marten has comfort, but that's not the same as happiness. He's bored with the library job. He's missing out on what's been defined as the essence of happiness, the exercise of vital powers in pursuit of excellence.
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pwhodges

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #17 on: 10 May 2011, 11:35 »

Actually, we have no idea whether or not Deathmøle is keeping Marten actively interested, or if he still writes his blog Yelling about Music (even though Jeph dropped it in real life).  The fact that Jeph is considering doing some strips on Deathmøle implies that the band is still going on in some form in the background.  Remember that we only get to see a very selectively edited part of Marten's (or any other character's) life; and a cartoon life, at that, with very different rules from real life in some areas (anthro-PCs; Vespabot; private space stations), so that any serious discussion is flawed from the outset by lack of information.
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #18 on: 10 May 2011, 12:14 »

I know I wouldn't mind a life like Martin's right now.  I'm working my ass of in academia so that in the future I can work my ass off even more in academia.  I feel like it'd be nice to just coast for a year or two,  which I what I feel like Martin is doing (considering the QC timeline is about that long).  Sometimes its nice not to have any major goals.  And whether or not Martin is happy about it, well that ambiguity is what gives that aspect of his character depth, isn't it?
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Odin

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #19 on: 10 May 2011, 12:42 »

Quote
Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live

What "actually live" means is defined by the the opinion of the majority of the society you currently live in.

Not really, what with these things having been discussed in pretty excruciating detail with similar conclusions being reached by every society since the old Persian empire.

Quote
I do not find most of the things suggested here (wanting/pursuing something in general, family, doing band-stuff for a living, etc.) automatically mean/equal "actually living", but as said I do know that the majority does think so. That does not automatically make it desirable for some others, and maybe also not for Marten, [following is to be disproven] since he never actually said why he might be unhappy.

Marten bitches almost incessantly about being unhappy when he isn't making hipster quips or being the butt of humor for Jeph.

pwhodges

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #20 on: 10 May 2011, 12:45 »

He's complained about Dora's behaviour (now resolved), and sighed about lack of ambition ("is this it?"), but I wouldn't call that bitching about being unhappy - it's more of a sort of neutral limbo state, I'd say.
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"Being human, having your health; that's what's important."  (from: Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi )
"As long as we're all living, and as long as we're all having fun, that should do it, right?"  (from: The Eccentric Family )

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #21 on: 10 May 2011, 12:48 »

Here's another way of looking at it. What does Marten have to look forward to?

Even a modest goal, such as getting a gig for the band, would give him scope for hope and pleasurable anticipation.

Right now, he might as well have had Faye poke him five times.
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tomart

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #22 on: 10 May 2011, 14:07 »

I love this topic...  I know it's a personal thing because I am very Goal Oriented and I can't fathom how Marten can really be happy just...hanging out all the time.
Seriously, that's like, all he ever does. He hangs out. ... I don't know if it's my age or my personality but sometimes I want someone to just grab Marten and shake him back and forth yelling 'For fuck's sake man, stop letting life just happen to you! DO SOMETHING! Fuck, WANT SOMETHING!! WANT SOMETHING AND THEN DO SOMETHING TO GET THE THING YOU WANT!!'  

Sounds like someone laid that whole horrible trip on you at an impressionable age. I'm sorry.

Shit, he's in such a good position to take ahold of some kind of goal, if his life comfortable enough as it seems.
 He just kinda...hangs out in his own life, if you know what I mean lol.
 I should add Marten's not the only character I want to grab and shake. There's a few more xD ...  
lol I sound like Penelope.

Yes, other than that attitude, I like Penny.  :lol:

This is a lightning-rod topic for me. I've struggled with it for 50 years, worked, started a family, failed & picked myself up again several times, started another family* and now find myself drifting much like our hero. I've developed harsh feelings about The American Dream, which I'll spare everyone, but maybe someday you'll realize why the Buddha is so important. The more attached you are to desires, things, others' opinions of you, the more you suffer.  The more I bought into that ambition thing, the more I was exploited and [I use the word intentionally] enslaved. Made all the worse by being self-imposed.

I would love to riff off of most of the intelligent, thoughtful posts above. Thanks, Dragontart! "I wish I had no wishes" is a great line!
There's more to life than the rat-race, or there SHOULD be.

Is it cold in here: "He's missing out on what's been defined as the essence of happiness, the exercise of vital powers in pursuit of excellence."
That sounds like Ayn Rand's definition.


* It's overrated; with kids, you have no more time, energy, or money.  :-o   ymmv, of course.
« Last Edit: 10 May 2011, 17:08 by tomart »
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stoutfiles

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #23 on: 10 May 2011, 14:21 »

Quote
Nobody is talking about societal status here, we're talking about Marten having zero desire to actually live

What "actually live" means is defined by the the opinion of the majority of the society you currently live in. I do not find most of the things suggested here (wanting/pursuing something in general, family, doing band-stuff for a living, etc.) automatically mean/equal "actually living", but as said I do know that the majority does think so. That does not automatically make it desirable for some others, and maybe also not for Marten, [following is to be disproven] since he never actually said why he might be unhappy.

Anyone could have Marten's career path if they wanted; it's not hard to achieve.  I highly doubt anyone here would, doing the same thing day after day, not preparing academically/financially for any sort of future.  The man has zero goals right now.  If that made him happy I'd understand, but it clearly doesn't.  There doesn't seem to be any end to this as well, he'll just keep going on this path until something happens to him and then go do something else.

I understand that different people have different goals.  The key is that they have goals!  Maybe someone taking a year off would want Marten's lifestyle, but that's their goal.  Marten's goal is not to continue this lifestyle...he doesn't want to be single, he doesn't want to work at the library, etc.  He doesn't do anything about it though.
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tomart

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #24 on: 10 May 2011, 14:32 »

just a reminder, Marten is not a real person.  Maybe it suits Jeph's style to have M hanging out and riffing with friends a lot.  What did we mostly see Seinfeld doing?  The Friends characters?  Maybe when Jeph pictures Marten pursuing something, it ...doesn't go well.  In fact, for our favorite universal punching bag, maybe he's LEARNED that life kicks him in the groin, so why even try when that'll happen anyway?*  Maybe the semi-random path to Deathmole "success" is paved with lulz, hilarious failures, absurd drama, and requires managers, record companies, and fans, any and all of whom can screw the best-laid plans.  Maybe like Nostradamus, Marten got a glimpse of that future, and was like, FUCK no!

*  There: my metaphysics in a nutshell.


<removed by moderator>   Maybe by now machines could be doing most of the work, and people could be, *OH GASP,THE HORROR*  enjoying life??

Odin:  "these things having been discussed in pretty excruciating detail with similar conclusions being reached by every society since the old Persian empire." 

Oh, did I miss the memo?  Please, tell me, 50 years too late, "What Should I Be Doing With My Life?"  I'd like to know, really.
« Last Edit: 11 May 2011, 04:36 by pwhodges »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #25 on: 10 May 2011, 15:33 »

The only time in the strip this question was raised by our protagonist was here.  And Tai pretty much quelched that, at least for a while. 

Aside from that, there have been a few sighs, but those may well have been for other reasons. 

Part of all this may well be that Marten is (was?), at least partially, a stand in for Jeph.  A man who started doing something online that he liked as a hobby, and wound up falling into a career.  Sure, he has goals - improving his art, especially - but as far as a career, he's admitted that he's as surprised as anyone at what he does for a living. 

People say that life just happens to Marten, and in some ways, Jeph's life "just happened" to him.  He's writing what he knows. 

And it's been working, too.  Look at us all...
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #26 on: 10 May 2011, 16:01 »

"Even if you and Dora didn't work out, you're still surrounded by people who care about you.  Hannelore, Tai, Faye, Steve... even Pintsize. In his own weird way. You've built a nice little life for yourself here, and that's not something to be taken for granted."    :Veronica, his mother, 1836


Perceptive, Carl.  

Maybe Jeph has an ambitious arc in store for Marten; maybe this is like ChicagoTed's year or two off after college, to "find himself", whatever.

Jeph IS good at surprising us; that's one of the things that keep us coming back.  
« Last Edit: 10 May 2011, 17:32 by tomart »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #27 on: 10 May 2011, 22:09 »

That sounds like Ayn Rand's definition.
Aristotle. Actually, now that I look it up it should be "along lines of excellence".
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #28 on: 10 May 2011, 22:22 »

Marten has music goals:  Marten band goals.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #29 on: 10 May 2011, 23:53 »

Well spotted.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #30 on: 11 May 2011, 03:31 »

<removed by moderator> Maybe by now machines could be doing most of the work, and people could be, *OH GASP,THE HORROR*  enjoying life??

Odin:  "these things having been discussed in pretty excruciating detail with similar conclusions being reached by every society since the old Persian empire."  

Oh, did I miss the memo?  Please, tell me, 50 years too late, "What Should I Be Doing With My Life?"  I'd like to know, really.

<removed by moderator>

Marten is not Charlie Sheen's character in Office Space. He is not happy, he mopes around about how much his life sucks pretty much every time he's given the opportunity to do so (or any time he gets drunk and doesn't do something so patently stupid he gets the shit kicked out of him) and he takes zero initiative with regard to improving his level of happiness in life. The way that Marten has been written up until this point, if the world around him doesn't make him happy, oh well there is nothing he can do about it (which is complete bullshit).
« Last Edit: 11 May 2011, 14:57 by pwhodges »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #31 on: 11 May 2011, 04:34 »

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« Last Edit: 11 May 2011, 04:51 by pwhodges »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #32 on: 11 May 2011, 05:06 »

Short Version:
I agree that Marten seems to have little motivation in his life, and no real goals for his future.  But I don't think that's made him stagnant.  I think he's shown tremendous growth.


Long Version:
I'd say that Marten's life seems like that of a person who once settled on good enough.  He moved across the country for a girl who broke up with him, had no friends or contacts or even a place of his own, and when push came to shove he did the best he could.  He got a job with a boss that he got along with okay, even if he didn't care for the job itself too much.  He made friends with Steve.  He got an apartment.  That's not a great life, sure, but for a guy with zero contacts, zero prospects, and hardly any self-confidence, it was a start.
So, however long ago it was, when he was in a bad state, he settled for his Office Bitch job.  He only had one friend that we know of, that being Steve, unless you also count Pintsize.  His apartment was small but servicable for just himself.  A shitty existence, but his only alternative at this point was running home to his parents, and he clearly didn't want to do that.

The important part here is that we don't know how long Marten remained in this state for.  He met his previous girlfriend Vicki in his last semester of college, and then a couple of months later he made the cross-country shift to be with her.  It could have been weeks or months after that when they finally broke up, and months or years between then and when QC started.  We have no timeline to work with here.  But the comic starts with Marten hating his job, only having one friend, and generally seeing his life as a never-ending crapstorm.
But then!
Look at what's happened to him over the course of the comic.  His circle of friends has expanded to a pretty large group.  He's started playing music again.  He's got a job he seems to like a lot better than being an Office Bitch.  He's more confident and assertive.  He got a new girlfriend, and while he did have a dark patch when they broke up, he's bounced back pretty damn well from it.

Now, yes, he hasn't given us much of what he wants in life, but the simple fact is that a lot of people honestly don't know what they want out of life.  Marten has vague dreams of being a musician, but that's about it.  But, while I agree that's not positive for him, I still think he's done pretty damn well over the course of QC.
Think of what we know about him from before the comic started - a confused, sad kid from a broken home with a worthless degree, zero self-confidence, a job he hated, no prospects, nothing.  Take that knowledge and really look at the character we met in Strip #1.  And then, compare that person to the Marten we know now, nearly 2000 strips later.

Marten Reed is no Superman.  He hasn't changed the world, nor is he going to.  But the important thing is that he has changed, and still is changing.  His character is still growing up in a lot of ways.  And, given the way the last 200 or so strips have gone for him, I don't think it's too far-fetched to say that our favourite Manatee on Codeine is eventually going to find himself a backbone and do something with his life.
« Last Edit: 11 May 2011, 05:08 by Tergon »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #33 on: 11 May 2011, 05:31 »

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The important part here is that we don't know how long Marten remained in this state for.  He met his previous girlfriend Vicki in his last semester of college, and then a couple of months later he made the cross-country shift to be with her.  It could have been weeks or months after that when they finally broke up, and months or years between then and when QC started.

Bit of context, but they broke up before he moved and he basically harassed her until she told him to fuck off (conveniently retold in the comic to paint her as the bad guy, but then, Marten is the one telling the story so of course he didn't actually do anything wrong in that situation).

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We have no timeline to work with here.  But the comic starts with Marten hating his job, only having one friend, and generally seeing his life as a never-ending crapstorm.
But then!
Look at what's happened to him over the course of the comic.  His circle of friends has expanded to a pretty large group.

Marten has 3 friends (Faye, Hannelore and Steve), everyone else is someone that Marten occasionally interacts with and who is another character in the comic, but he isn't friends with them.

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He's started playing music again.

Anyone have the last comic where Marten has actually acknowledged being in Deathmole or playing any sort of music himself? Hell, aside from a brief run of jokes about Hannelore being obsessed with drumming in the band, nobody in the comic has talked about it at all in a long while (since at least before shit really started to get miserable between Dora and Marten pre-breakup, which was also a toxic relationship to start with so that shouldn't be surprising).

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He's got a job he seems to like a lot better than being an Office Bitch.  He's more confident and assertive.  He got a new girlfriend, and while he did have a dark patch when they broke up, he's bounced back pretty damn well from it.

Now, yes, he hasn't given us much of what he wants in life, but the simple fact is that a lot of people honestly don't know what they want out of life.  Marten has vague dreams of being a musician, but that's about it.  But, while I agree that's not positive for him, I still think he's done pretty damn well over the course of QC.
Think of what we know about him from before the comic started - a confused, sad kid from a broken home with a worthless degree, zero self-confidence, a job he hated, no prospects, nothing.  Take that knowledge and really look at the character we met in Strip #1.  And then, compare that person to the Marten we know now, nearly 2000 strips later.

Marten Reed is no Superman.  He hasn't changed the world, nor is he going to.  But the important thing is that he has changed, and still is changing.  His character is still growing up in a lot of ways.  And, given the way the last 200 or so strips have gone for him, I don't think it's too far-fetched to say that our favourite Manatee on Codeine is eventually going to find himself a backbone and do something with his life.

The only way this prediction has a chance of coming true is if Jeph gets tired of making Marten the whipping post for the comic (read: never going to happen).

Every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth. Marten himself, however, has been a one-note character for the entire run of the comic (moved from one scenario or situation to the next).
« Last Edit: 11 May 2011, 14:50 by pwhodges »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #34 on: 11 May 2011, 06:09 »


Sounds like someone laid that whole horrible trip on you at an impressionable age. I'm sorry.

Weeeell...besides my parents - neither of whom attended college or finished high school - encouraging me to go as far as I could in my schooling, so I could have an easier life than they did (and what parent doesn't want that?) nobody really told me I -had- to do anything besides myself. I actually failed my first semester at college and they both told me it was okay to stop and wait until I was ready if I wanted to, or even do something else, if I wanted to. But I did want to get a degree and a career in what I love to do. I wanted to achieve my goals because that feels good. It made me feel good about myself to succeed. I hate failing, too..but that's -me-, of course. I just think Marten achieving something outside of himself would be good for him emotionally. And I also think it'd make an interesting story arc! I kind of look at QC as more than a relationship comedy, and arcs that show the cast growing and evolving and maturing are really interesting to me.

I think we can all agree that achievement and success are empowering things? It doesn't have to be big. Look at Hannelore - she's had her own business, she's taken active steps to try to control her OCD and gain experiences in things she otherwise couldn't do (her pretend-date with Sven), she's done things to grow and mature herself as an adult (standing up to her mother) -- she's actually grown the most over the course of the comic, she's pretty inspiring when you think about it.

So's Faye, and Dora, and all the others in their own ways.

But I'm not saying I don't like Marten D: I like him a lot! I can totally empathize with him too and I so understand the mindset of 'eh, good enough' - I'm just saying that I think if he looked around and said 'Hm...maybe this isn't good enough' it'd be pretty neat to see what he does about it. I'm not demanding Jeph do this, and if he never does it's not like I'd stop reading the comic.

And heck, some of it's jealousy, sure - cos man I wish I had a stress-free pretty awesome laid-back job like that, that paid the bills enough and a wide circle of friends and a nice town to live in where you could walk everywhere and nobody hung fake testicles from the back of their pick-up trucks!
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #35 on: 11 May 2011, 07:35 »

Bit of context, but they broke up before he moved and he basically harassed her until she told him to fuck off (conveniently retold in the comic to paint her as the bad guy, but then, Marten is the one telling the story so of course he didn't actually do anything wrong in that situation).
Not quite.  Marten fully acknowledges that he was being clingy and awkward, and that he was basically an unemployed loser when he arrived with her.  But they most definitely did not break up until at least a while after he moved:  that's made very clear in Marten's story.  Which, while I do acknowledge might paint Marten more positively than another perspective might, seems fairly straightforward on his part.  It's not a "convenient retelling" of the story, it's the only canonical version of the story that exists.  I'm choosing to take it as written rather than use made-up speculation as to anything else that might have happened.

Marten has 3 friends (Faye, Hannelore and Steve), everyone else is someone that Marten occasionally interacts with and who is another character in the comic, but he isn't friends with them.
He seems to have a strong friendship with Angus considering the short time they've known each other.  They definitely get along very well, even outside of the "Friend of a friend" link that first got them together.  Likewise for Marigold, who Marten helped coax out of her shell in a big way.  He got along well with Raven before she departed, even better than with Penelope and Wil, who he's hung out with before.  He gets along great with Tai, even spending time with her outside of work casually.  He even seems to be on pretty good terms with Sven, who's a bit of a dark horse amongst the characters.  And I don't think it even needs to be said that he had an extremely strong relationship with Dora until the breakup.  Wherever they may be now, she was beyond question a good friend, and then a well-loved girlfriend beyond that.
I agree that Faye, Steve and Hannelore are his closest friends, sure.  But... all of the others are people whose company he enjoys, who get along with him well, and who he voluntarily hangs out with.  Unless there's some new definition of "friend" I've not heard of, I'm sticking with that one.

Anyone have the last comic where Marten has actually acknowledged being in Deathmole or playing any sort of music himself? Hell, aside from a brief run of jokes about Hannelore being obsessed with drumming in the band, nobody in the comic has talked about it at all in a long while (since at least before shit really started to get miserable between Dora and Marten pre-breakup, which was also a toxic relationship to start with so that shouldn't be surprising).
True.  But I used this as an example of him doing something he loves.  Remember how he sold his guitar to raise the money to move with Vicki?  And then how it was a big deal that he bought one again, and then started playing music?  I'm not saying that Deathmole are becoming a huge local hit or anything.  I'm just saying that the guy is once again pursuing a passion of his, and there's no universe in which that's not a positive move for him.
Also, I won't take the "toxic relationship" bait.  It's derailed too many threads before.  Suffice to say I disagree.

The only way this prediction has a chance of coming true is if Jeph gets tired of making Marten the whipping post for the comic (read: never going to happen).

Every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth. Marten himself, however, has been a one-note character for the entire run of the comic (moved from one scenario or situation to the next).
Forming a group of close friends when he previously had none, getting a better job than Office Bitch when that job went under, moving into a better apartment for himself and his closest friend, getting into a serious relationship, showing backbone to keep it going when it went sour, moving on and recovering in a healthy way when it ended... he's helped Faye overcome her issues until she was able to get into a relationship with Angus, he's helped Hannelore come out of her shell and become a real person, he's a big part of the reason that Marigold got a social life.  He's gone from a shy, depressed music nerd with one friend and a pet robot to become a major part of the lives of several people, and over the course of nearly two thousand strips he's become more confident, assertive, and better adjusted the entire way.  You say that every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth?  I say that he's the reason that all of them experienced it in the first place.
And if you can't see any of that, if you dislike Marten so much, if you dislike the storyline so much, if you think the writing is so terrible... then why, in the name of all things holy, do you even read QC in the first place?
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #36 on: 11 May 2011, 08:02 »

Not quite.  Marten fully acknowledges that he was being clingy and awkward, and that he was basically an unemployed loser when he arrived with her.  But they most definitely did not break up until at least a while after he moved:  that's made very clear in Marten's story.  Which, while I do acknowledge might paint Marten more positively than another perspective might, seems fairly straightforward on his part.  It's not a "convenient retelling" of the story, it's the only canonical version of the story that exists.  I'm choosing to take it as written rather than use made-up speculation as to anything else that might have happened.

Marten tells the story as if they started dating again and then she mysteriously dumped him after getting frustrated after a week and a half of him calling every day. Now, granted, that kind of thing can happen, but be honest and recall what scenario happens far more often when a guy moves across country in pursuit of a girl that broke up with him before he moved.

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He seems to have a strong friendship with Angus considering the short time they've known each other.  They definitely get along very well, even outside of the "Friend of a friend" link that first got them together.  Likewise for Marigold, who Marten helped coax out of her shell in a big way.  He got along well with Raven before she departed, even better than with Penelope and Wil, who he's hung out with before.  He gets along great with Tai, even spending time with her outside of work casually.  He even seems to be on pretty good terms with Sven, who's a bit of a dark horse amongst the characters.  And I don't think it even needs to be said that he had an extremely strong relationship with Dora until the breakup.  Wherever they may be now, she was beyond question a good friend, and then a well-loved girlfriend beyond that.
I agree that Faye, Steve and Hannelore are his closest friends, sure.  But... all of the others are people whose company he enjoys, who get along with him well, and who he voluntarily hangs out with.  Unless there's some new definition of "friend" I've not heard of, I'm sticking with that one.

All of those relationships are based off of comics where Marten happens to run into them anyway while they are doing something else (usually an "Oh, hey, Marten! What's up?" occurs). He isn't actually going and hanging out with these other people unless he is already hanging out with one of the Big 3 first.

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True.  But I used this as an example of him doing something he loves.  Remember how he sold his guitar to raise the money to move with Vicki?  And then how it was a big deal that he bought one again, and then started playing music?  I'm not saying that Deathmole are becoming a huge local hit or anything.  I'm just saying that the guy is once again pursuing a passion of his, and there's no universe in which that's not a positive move for him.

That's kind of dancing around the point and ignoring it. There is no current evidence that he is still pursuing that passion at all (and plenty of evidence that he has dropped it altogether, not even a throwaway "Yeah, this angst is really helping me out during practice" lines or anything).

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Also, I won't take the "toxic relationship" bait.  It's derailed too many threads before.  Suffice to say I disagree.

It isn't bait, what with being pretty obvious given the circumstances of why they broke up.

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Forming a group of close friends when he previously had none,

Passively accompished, as Faye and others basically forced themselves into his life.

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getting a better job than Office Bitch when that job went under

He got fired, spent some time unemployed then took on the library job after it was offered to him.

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moving into a better apartment for himself and his closest friend

Did he do this on his own, or did Faye drive it?

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getting into a serious relationship

100% driven by Dora.

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showing backbone to keep it going when it went sour

It takes zero backbone to stay in a relationship where the other person just steamrolls you all the time whenever you have an opinion on something.

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moving on and recovering in a healthy way when it ended.

This has not happened yet.

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he's helped Faye overcome her issues until she was able to get into a relationship with Angus

Something he is still intensely bitter about.

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he's helped Hannelore come out of her shell and become a real person

Faye and Dora have done far more to help that than Marten has.

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he's a big part of the reason that Marigold got a social life

Haha, what? Even Hannelore is more useful to Marigold on this front than Marten is. I can't even recall an instance of Marten ever talking to her unless she said something to him first (and always in the company of Dora or Faye).

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He's gone from a shy, depressed music nerd with one friend and a pet robot to become a major part of the lives of several people, and over the course of nearly two thousand strips he's become more confident, assertive, and better adjusted the entire way.  You say that every single other character in the comic but Marten has experienced character growth?  I say that he's the reason that all of them experienced it in the first place.

Covered this above.

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And if you can't see any of that, if you dislike Marten so much, if you dislike the storyline so much, if you think the writing is so terrible... then why, in the name of all things holy, do you even read QC in the first place?

Schadenfreude.

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #37 on: 11 May 2011, 09:07 »

Marten tells the story as if they started dating again and then she mysteriously dumped him after getting frustrated after a week and a half of him calling every day. Now, granted, that kind of thing can happen, but be honest and recall what scenario happens far more often when a guy moves across country in pursuit of a girl that broke up with him before he moved.
But she didn't break up with him before he moved.  They were a couple, admittedly having some difficulty with the upcoming separation, but Marten makes it very clear that they had not broken up.  He clearly states that her becoming harder to contact happened over time, and says that just before the breakup he left her about six messages in a week because he hadn't seen her, not calling her obsessively every day.  Again, I do grant that sometimes the clingy guy is worse than this; I also acknoweldge that some guys in that situation would twist the truth to make themselves look good.  But that's not what's happened here.  The main character of the comic, whose word we have no reason whatsoever to doubt, has laid out the story in a manner that certainly doesn't flatter himself.  The parts of the story that you're arguing are things that he very specifically states, which implies that you think Marten is outright lying when he tells the story.  With zero basis for that assumption, and absolutely nothing even suggesting that another version of the story might be the truth, I just don't see grounds for debate here.  The story as it stands is caonical for the QC Universe.


All of those relationships are based off of comics where Marten happens to run into them anyway while they are doing something else (usually an "Oh, hey, Marten! What's up?" occurs). He isn't actually going and hanging out with these other people unless he is already hanging out with one of the Big 3 first.
So... he has his three best friends, as we've established, and he likes hanging out with them.  Gotcha.  But how does that make the others not his friends?  He does spend time with them, he does like them, he does get along well with them.  There is no basis here at all for saying they're not his friends!  Hell, I've got people I consider good friends, but we almost always hang out in the company of others.  The friendship is no less because we don't spend hours alone having Deep & Meaningfuls.


That's kind of dancing around the point and ignoring it. There is no current evidence that he is still pursuing that passion at all (and plenty of evidence that he has dropped it altogether, not even a throwaway "Yeah, this angst is really helping me out during practice" lines or anything).
On the contrary, it's trying to re-direct the point to what I originally made, rather than having it changed on me.  ;)  I'm saying that Marten at the start of the comic was a depressed guy who was not pursuing a passion for music, and that part of the character growth he's shown is that he started playing again.  Yeah, we haven't seen Deathmole playing in a while, but so what?  That's irrelevant to the point I was making - that Marten pursuing something he loves was a positive move for him.  The fact that we haven't seen him actually playing the guitar in a while isn't evidence that he's stopped at all, it's just lack of recent evidence that he's playing much.  Whether or not he's doing so with Deathmole has nothing to do with why I brought his music up in the first place.


Several quick responses to lines cut from my wall o' text
Rather than do an exhaustive line-by-line quotestorm, I'll keep it simple.
Marten opened his home to Faye before he had any real shot at a romantic relationship with her, and kept living with her because they've become incredibly close friends.  Faye openly tells Marten that the only reason she's strong enough to be dating Angus is because Marten helped her come to terms with her issues.  Marten, for his part, is not only fully supportive of Faye's relationship, but he gets along very well with Angus and even has a sense of humour about them starting a physical relationship.  There's definitely nothing at all to say he's the slightest bit bitter about it.
When Dora made her move on him, it took Marten entirely by surprise - but he didn't turn her down.  And when Dora was having doubts about the relationship and whether Marten was just settling or not, he went to great lengths to try and make her understand that he wanted to be with her, and wanted to be an active part in the relationship.  He wasn't just settling or letting her bully him into the relationship.  Many, many comics were devoted to Marten trying to prove that point.  When they did break up, he showed deep depression, but he's recovered to the point where he approached Padma in a bar, was willing to face Dora again, can make jokes about the relationship, and has pretty much gotten over his depression.
Hannelore fixated on Marten more than anyone, and he's still the one she seeks out more than most of the others.  Their brother-sister relationship is one of my favourite parts of QC, and he's been there for her a lot to help coax her out of her shell.  Faye has definitely been a big part of it as well, but I still maintain that Marten's been the main part of that.  Certainly he spends more time with Hannelore than Dora does.
As for Marigold... well, there's the obvious fact that Marten was the one who introduced her into the comic (with a bit of AnthroPC Shenanigans thrown in there as well).  He's present at Marigold's first night out drinking when he teaches her about beer, he's present at the Anime convention when the girls dress him as a character to cheer Marigold up, even the night when she finds out about Faye and Angus is at his apartment.  Marten's clearly a big part of her social life, and without him there to introduce her to the gang, it's doubtful she'd have one at all.

He is a huge part of all of their lives, and his actions have changed them all.  Sometimes, yes, it's been passive on his part, but how does that change how important he is to them?  He's been a part of all their adventures, he's played a role the entire time, and he's changed their lives.


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And if you can't see any of that, if you dislike Marten so much, if you dislike the storyline so much, if you think the writing is so terrible... then why, in the name of all things holy, do you even read QC in the first place?

Schadenfreude.
So, you read QC and debate it on the forums because you take pleasure in the misfortunes of others.  You don't deny your contempt for the characters, or the storyline, or the writer, and you take every opportunity to decry all three of these things.  You are here, apparently, for no other reason than to mock them.
Just... wow.
« Last Edit: 11 May 2011, 09:09 by Tergon »
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #38 on: 11 May 2011, 09:46 »

Never mud-wrestle with a pig. You both get all muddy and the pig likes it.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #39 on: 11 May 2011, 10:20 »

The most recent comic I know of that mentioned the band was 1395, definitely a while back. Does anyone have a more recent one?
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #40 on: 11 May 2011, 10:42 »

I'm not doubting Marten has friends...he does.  I don't see how that changes the fact that he loafs through life, timidly hitting on girls he finds attractive.  Other than being a "Nice Guy", he's not much of a catch, is he?  No current hobbies, no aspirations...where would dating Marten take you?  To the bar and/or apartment?  A coffee shop perhaps?  I could start a whole topic about how girls don't like the "Nice Guy" mainly because they're just like Marten, kind of boring and living vicariously through their more interesting friends.

I'm on a phone so whoever referenced Seinfield and Friends...ALL of those characters had goals.  Not one of them just walked around doing the same thing everyday.  Some of them were losers, but for zany comical reasons.

Anyone who referenced Pintsize as a friend...come on now.  He is a computer.  Unless you think a guy with a bunch of A.I. friends and no others would be a healthy lifestyle.

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #41 on: 11 May 2011, 11:37 »

But she didn't break up with him before he moved.  They were a couple, admittedly having some difficulty with the upcoming separation, but Marten makes it very clear that they had not broken up.  He clearly states that her becoming harder to contact happened over time, and says that just before the breakup he left her about six messages in a week because he hadn't seen her, not calling her obsessively every day.  Again, I do grant that sometimes the clingy guy is worse than this; I also acknoweldge that some guys in that situation would twist the truth to make themselves look good.  But that's not what's happened here.  The main character of the comic, whose word we have no reason whatsoever to doubt, has laid out the story in a manner that certainly doesn't flatter himself.  The parts of the story that you're arguing are things that he very specifically states, which implies that you think Marten is outright lying when he tells the story.  With zero basis for that assumption, and absolutely nothing even suggesting that another version of the story might be the truth, I just don't see grounds for debate here.  The story as it stands is caonical for the QC Universe.



Hint: This would be where he was dumped, the next strip was the one where she left, then the next one was where he explained that he got the bright idea to up and follow her while drunk.

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So... he has his three best friends, as we've established, and he likes hanging out with them.  Gotcha.  But how does that make the others not his friends?  He does spend time with them, he does like them, he does get along well with them.  There is no basis here at all for saying they're not his friends!  Hell, I've got people I consider good friends, but we almost always hang out in the company of others.  The friendship is no less because we don't spend hours alone having Deep & Meaningfuls.

Because regular random encounters with acquaintances does not a friendship make. I shoot the shit with coworkers every day and we spend all of our working hours around each other and we get along just as well as any non-romantic characters in this comic, but none of us would call the other a friend. A bunch of generally friendly people living in the same community does not make them all friends with each other, to put it another way.


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On the contrary, it's trying to re-direct the point to what I originally made, rather than having it changed on me.  ;)  I'm saying that Marten at the start of the comic was a depressed guy who was not pursuing a passion for music, and that part of the character growth he's shown is that he started playing again.  Yeah, we haven't seen Deathmole playing in a while, but so what?  That's irrelevant to the point I was making - that Marten pursuing something he loves was a positive move for him.  The fact that we haven't seen him actually playing the guitar in a while isn't evidence that he's stopped at all, it's just lack of recent evidence that he's playing much.  Whether or not he's doing so with Deathmole has nothing to do with why I brought his music up in the first place.

I was talking more about it having been so long since it was even tangentially referenced in the comic that he hasn't been doing it, and since it wasn't a big enough deal for anyone to notice and comment on in-comic, he couldn't have been all that passionate about it, either.


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Rather than do an exhaustive line-by-line quotestorm, I'll keep it simple.
Marten opened his home to Faye before he had any real shot at a romantic relationship with her, and kept living with her because they've become incredibly close friends.  Faye openly tells Marten that the only reason she's strong enough to be dating Angus is because Marten helped her come to terms with her issues.  Marten, for his part, is not only fully supportive of Faye's relationship, but he gets along very well with Angus and even has a sense of humour about them starting a physical relationship.  There's definitely nothing at all to say he's the slightest bit bitter about it.

http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=1818

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When Dora made her move on him, it took Marten entirely by surprise - but he didn't turn her down.

This doesn't exactly go very far to any counter-point to the relationship being 100% Dora's initiative.

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And when Dora was having doubts about the relationship and whether Marten was just settling or not, he went to great lengths to try and make her understand that he wanted to be with her, and wanted to be an active part in the relationship.  He wasn't just settling or letting her bully him into the relationship.  Many, many comics were devoted to Marten trying to prove that point.

Depends on your perspective, because all of those situations other than the "are you settling for me?" thing were Marten backing down repeatedly before Dora's wrath (though that does go back to my point about the relationship being toxic--Dora didn't actually respect Marten, but since neither of them have that much self-respect to begin with it really isn't surprising).

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When they did break up, he showed deep depression, but he's recovered to the point where he approached Padma in a bar, was willing to face Dora again, can make jokes about the relationship, and has pretty much gotten over his depression.

Steve dragged him over to Padma and if anyone else makes jokes about his breakup with Dora they get the Death Glare. He isn't over it.

This is getting boring, though, so I'm skipping to the end.

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So, you read QC and debate it on the forums because you take pleasure in the misfortunes of others.

Name one good thing that has happened to anyone in the QC Universe that wasn't shortly smashed to pieces later. The comic is totally about satisfying that schadenfreude itch.

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You don't deny your contempt for the characters, or the storyline, or the writer, and you take every opportunity to decry all three of these things.  You are here, apparently, for no other reason than to mock them.
Just... wow.

The only actual contempt I have on these forums is for the people that try to act like the story is ever meant to actually be something positive or uplifting. The most optimistic character in the series has crippling OCD issues and is completely and utterly incapable of enjoying a healthy romantic relationship, I really don't think I should have to say anything beyond that to prove that point.

jeph

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #42 on: 11 May 2011, 11:44 »

Wow Odin, going through your recent post history, you're kind of a jerk. You should cool off, maybe not post here anymore.
« Last Edit: 11 May 2011, 11:46 by jeph »
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Deathmole Jacques' head takes up the bottom half of the panel, with his words taking up the top half. He is not concerned about the life of his friend.

jeph

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #43 on: 11 May 2011, 11:48 »

To address the actual topic, Marten isn't really sure what his goals ARE. I'm pretty sure I've actually had him say something along these lines in the comic, actually.

 He'd like to have some, but life can be insidious in how you go day by day and suddenly it's been a year and you're still working at your crappy job and WTF happened to all that time.

I've always been a goal-oriented person, but I know lots of people in their 20s who are in Marten's situation.
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Deathmole Jacques' head takes up the bottom half of the panel, with his words taking up the top half. He is not concerned about the life of his friend.

jeph

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #44 on: 11 May 2011, 11:56 »

ps I banned Odin because goddamn that dude was kind of a dick I guess!
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Deathmole Jacques' head takes up the bottom half of the panel, with his words taking up the top half. He is not concerned about the life of his friend.

dragontart

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #45 on: 11 May 2011, 12:04 »

I learned something today. I'm not a girl. Shocking.

Also, hello Mr. J▓ and thanks for giving that insight into Marten's mind and situation.
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Emperor Norton

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #46 on: 11 May 2011, 14:27 »

ps I banned Odin because goddamn that dude was kind of a dick I guess!

*slow clap*

Also, yeah, I totally understand the whole "not sure what his goals are" thing. I've known lots of people like that.
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pwhodges

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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #47 on: 11 May 2011, 14:55 »

For the record, I have removed a number of posts that were only discussion of moderation decisions; they added nothing to the topic, in my view.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #48 on: 11 May 2011, 17:33 »

Never mud-wrestle with a pig. You both get all muddy and the pig likes it.

Best Cale Yarborough quote ever.
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Re: Does Marten have goals?
« Reply #49 on: 11 May 2011, 22:09 »

Well, I guess that closes that part of the discussion, doesn't it?  Sorry for poking the bear, y'all.  It's a bad habit of mine.

Also thanks Jeph for the insight into Marten's character.  Always good to get it from the source!
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