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Poll

What's next on our agenda?

Angus and Faye: The Quickening
- 46 (33.3%)
Dora Tells Her Parents (To Predictable Results)
- 10 (7.2%)
The Library Implosion: Emily Finds Out!
- 19 (13.8%)
Moms Meet!
- 8 (5.8%)
Momo and May - The Odd Couple Revisited!
- 12 (8.7%)
Hanners FREAKS OUT!
- 7 (5.1%)
Pintsize!
- 7 (5.1%)
Love and Pancakes!
- 7 (5.1%)
Waffles and Spathe Ham!
- 1 (0.7%)
...Wait, who IS that blue guy lying on the ground?
- 11 (8%)
CLINTONSPOLSION!
- 10 (7.2%)

Total Members Voted: 132


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Author Topic: WCDT: 2811-2815 (13-17 October 2014) Weekly Comic Discussion Thread  (Read 65883 times)

Staff_Inflection

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I wish I had more to say with my first post, but I am completely impressed with Jeph's ability to create completely un-likeable characters. It given the strip an entirely new charm for me. I realized its why I've eagerly tuned in for a new cartoon since I discovered the cartoon over 4 years ago: how can Jeph make me hate them today

I didnt think it was possible to top the ending (beginning/) of the Marten/Claire saga, which reeked of terrible fanfiction but Faye managing to set the bar for being a terrible person even higher (lower) impressed me


How is Fay a terrible person?

She's a bully and a hypocrite. Did she not chastise Marten for not even trying to make it work with Padma in a similar circumstance?

Except that it wasn't a similar circumstance; Padma was leaving to take care of her grandmother, for one thing; for another, far from chastising him, Faye freaked out at the possibility that Marten would pull up stakes and go with Padma. Calling her hypocritical for that is a stretch. And the bullying behavior has been dialed back significantly since strip 500, which took the strip (and, needless to say, its characters, especially Faye) in a totally different direction. I get that you don't like her, but you're kinda grasping at straws here.

Faye got on Marten for just letting her go. Now it seems she's doing the exact same thing. Compare the last couple of strips in both arcs. Faye does essentially the same thing Marten does
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Actually, Faye did behave in a manner rather opposed to her current actions.

The reason someone is leaving doesn't really count here. Caring for grandma does not trump the chance to make your dream job happen, or vice versa. Both are valid reasons to move (as opposed to say, dodging child support payments). Faye freaked out then because she has abandonment issues. That's the same reason she is freaking out now.

And Faye is a bully. She hasn't, materially changed her acceptance of violence as a solution to social interaction problems. The author has simply moved on from that as a goto gag.

This analysis has nothing to do with liking or disliking Faye. As it happens, I don't dislike anyone in the cast. I just accept Faye's flaws. Everyone's hypocritical (Warning: this comic has too many words). People aren't going to stop judging each other for hypocrisy, but that's fairly hypocritical of the judgers. Certainly we should try to be consistent, especially in cased where it's extremely tempting to apply an advantageous standard to ourselves, and hold others to something less useful to them.

Just because we're all hypocritical, it doesn't follow that we're all hypocrites. To be a hypocrite implies state of being. Judging someone for their state of being implies that person made a choice--if not directly, then out of some other vice--to enter that state. Faye hasn't chosen to do the opposite of what she said, directly. It's doubtful she's even consciously aware this runs counter to her Padma-related judgement. I would hardly call her abandonment issues a vice. Inflicted damage, perhaps, but not a vice. Faye has earned a flip of this. I just hope, if Dora is going to be messenger, she delivers it with a hug instead of intimidation.

Krald

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I just feel that Angus, in his excitement, dropped the ball by rushing to her place of work, instead of waiting until she got home and they had privacy to drop that bombshell on her, she might of coped slightly (very slightly) better

To Add.  Not sure if its been said, but he STARTS work in a week, which means he would in all likelyhood leave town in like 2-3 days to get settled in on the couch wherever hes staying.  Makes Faye's freaking out a little more understandable when the timeframe looks much shorter (1 week sounds longer then 7 days ect )
« Last Edit: 18 Oct 2014, 21:07 by Krald »
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ASB84

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I wish I had more to say with my first post, but I am completely impressed with Jeph's ability to create completely un-likeable characters. It given the strip an entirely new charm for me. I realized its why I've eagerly tuned in for a new cartoon since I discovered the cartoon over 4 years ago: how can Jeph make me hate them today

I didnt think it was possible to top the ending (beginning/) of the Marten/Claire saga, which reeked of terrible fanfiction but Faye managing to set the bar for being a terrible person even higher (lower) impressed me


How is Fay a terrible person?

She's a bully and a hypocrite. Did she not chastise Marten for not even trying to make it work with Padma in a similar circumstance?

Except that it wasn't a similar circumstance; Padma was leaving to take care of her grandmother, for one thing; for another, far from chastising him, Faye freaked out at the possibility that Marten would pull up stakes and go with Padma. Calling her hypocritical for that is a stretch. And the bullying behavior has been dialed back significantly since strip 500, which took the strip (and, needless to say, its characters, especially Faye) in a totally different direction. I get that you don't like her, but you're kinda grasping at straws here.

I'm guessing that Staff_Inflection was referring to this:
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2098
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2099
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2100
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2101
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2102

Now, Faye isn't off-base there, but she doesn't seem to be following her own advice about being too passive and not making an effort, which is somewhat applicable to her current situation with Angus. While I don't dislike Faye as Staff_Inflection appears to, I'm inclined to agree that there's a bit of a double-standard with her. She'll bluntly call out other characters on their BS - and granted, she'll have a point in doing so - but she's to be handled with kid gloves herself. Granted, she has some very serious issues, but I don't think being coddled is necessarily helpful to her growth as a person. It kind of allows her to continue justifying some of the more abrasive aspects of her personality, rather than dealing with her problems and breaking some bad habits.

In fairness to her though, it's a lot easier to spot mistakes when other people are making them.

To whoever said Faye and Angus were the worse couple I think you mean Tai and Dora. So many things wrong, then again I might be blinded by my complete dislike of Tai.

I don't completely dislike Tai, but I'm kind of with you there. I'm not a huge fan of that pairing, for the same reason I'm a bit iffy about Marten and Claire. I guess it's probably because I'm not one for shipping, but in both cases, I feel like the foreshadowing of both relationships could just as easily been nothing. I've seen other posters who aren't necessarily thrilled with those relationships describe them as pandering to shippers, and I sort of agree with that. However, I realise that I'm in the minority there, and if Jeph is pleasing the majority of the audience, then it's difficult to say that he's not doing things right.

As far as Dora and Tai are concerned, I'm also a little biased because of my personal feelings about hooking up with friend's exes. I mean, if everyone's cool with the situation, so be it I guess, but to me it's just not the done thing. It kind of bothered me that Tai clearly had some feelings for Dora when she was with Marten; I get that that happens, we can't control these things, but I also think it's something that you basically have to get over if it does. That she was considering making a move on Dora very quickly after the break-up and sort of did isn't really cool in my book, but again, that's driven by my personal feelings about this situations, rather than some universal standard (if such a thing could exist). It also bugged me a bit that she said she'd happily sacrifice her friendship with Marten to be with Dora (in contrast to her earlier feelings of guilt about considering making a move in the wake of the break-up), and along with Dora, seemed to be more concerned about Jim's discomfort than any awkwardness it might have caused Marten...though I suppose that speaks more to how chill/passive Marten is (depending on how favourably you view his character).

Even putting all that aside...I think AprilArcus makes a great point that the relationship has just been somewhat boring, and hasn't really made either character more interesting or entertaining. Maybe it is still the "honeymoon" period, but the lack of conflict and quick resolution of any hints of drama does walk the line of being - as Staff_Inflection alluded to - a bit "fanfiction-y". Hopefully, Marten and Claire's relationship doesn't tread a similar path, because Marten's status as the de-facto protagonist is going to make that relationship very prominent in the strip. If it doesn't make for interesting storylines or funny moments, it's going to drag the strip down.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to sell Jeph's writing abilities short here, but it is a common problem whenever you pair up a couple of characters. You hopefully give a majority of the audience a happy moment when they get together - I think it's safe to say that's happened here, given the general reaction - but unless that's fairly quickly followed by "and they all lived happily ever after", the relationship has to allow the characters and the story arcs to be interesting and entertaining. Unfortunately, characters getting together can end up restricting otherwise interesting story arcs, or change what made the characters entertaining/amusing in the first place. Unless you're ending the story right there, there has to be something of substance after the Big Moment.

I also hope that Claire can bring it as a secondary/semi-main character, because she's going to be featured even more prominently now. Some characters aren't cut out for bigger roles, and only time will tell whether that applies to Claire or not. For example, I'm a sucker for puns, so I like that about her, but will that become too over-used and grating now that she'll be probably be as prominent as Dora once was? Will we be introduced to other aspects of her character, and will they be interesting? To use a sporting analogy, it's like the fourth or fifth best player on a good team signing a big new deal to be the star of another club. Are they really that good, or were their abilities overestimated because the players around them were making them look good? Just something I've wondered about since they've gotten together.
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ReindeerFlotilla

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I wish I had more to say with my first post, but I am completely impressed with Jeph's ability to create completely un-likeable characters. It given the strip an entirely new charm for me. I realized its why I've eagerly tuned in for a new cartoon since I discovered the cartoon over 4 years ago: how can Jeph make me hate them today

I didnt think it was possible to top the ending (beginning/) of the Marten/Claire saga, which reeked of terrible fanfiction but Faye managing to set the bar for being a terrible person even higher (lower) impressed me


How is Fay a terrible person?

She's a bully and a hypocrite. Did she not chastise Marten for not even trying to make it work with Padma in a similar circumstance?

Except that it wasn't a similar circumstance; Padma was leaving to take care of her grandmother, for one thing; for another, far from chastising him, Faye freaked out at the possibility that Marten would pull up stakes and go with Padma. Calling her hypocritical for that is a stretch. And the bullying behavior has been dialed back significantly since strip 500, which took the strip (and, needless to say, its characters, especially Faye) in a totally different direction. I get that you don't like her, but you're kinda grasping at straws here.

I'm guessing that Staff_Inflection was referring to this:
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2098
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2099
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2100
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2101
http://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2102

Now, Faye isn't off-base there, but she doesn't seem to be following her own advice about being too passive and not making an effort, which is somewhat applicable to her current situation with Angus. While I don't dislike Faye as Staff_Inflection appears to, I'm inclined to agree that there's a bit of a double-standard with her. She'll bluntly call out other characters on their BS - and granted, she'll have a point in doing so - but she's to be handled with kid gloves herself. Granted, she has some very serious issues, but I don't think being coddled is necessarily helpful to her growth as a person. It kind of allows her to continue justifying some of the more abrasive aspects of her personality, rather than dealing with her problems and breaking some bad habits.

In fairness to her though, it's a lot easier to spot mistakes when other people are making them.

To whoever said Faye and Angus were the worse couple I think you mean Tai and Dora. So many things wrong, then again I might be blinded by my complete dislike of Tai.

I don't completely dislike Tai, but I'm kind of with you there. I'm not a huge fan of that pairing, for the same reason I'm a bit iffy about Marten and Claire...

So we have one vote Faye is bad, bad, bad for being a source of conflict and one vote Tai/Dora are bad for not being sources of conflict.

These characters can't win for losing.

ASB84

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That's not what I meant at all. I feel you're putting words in my mouth, there.

I don't think Faye is a bad person, or completely unlikeable, and I never said as such. I do think that she has some unappealing character traits, which obviously evokes a negative response from some readers. Some of her actions leave me thinking "Man, that's a bit hypocritical" or "Well, you're one to talk!"; because my interest in the comic has me invested in the characters and the story arcs, it leads to some frustration with her at times, but I get the impression that's the intended reaction, at least some of the time. It humanises her and the other characters, after all. I never said Faye was bad, I don't dislike her, but I can see where those people are coming from.

I also never said that Dora and Tai were bad, just that their relationship doesn't really make for an interesting story. I'm a bit iffy about it for the other reasons that you didn't quote, but again, that's just my personal philosophies driving my reaction to fictional characters. If we were to compare and contrast them to Faye and her relationships though, I do think that Faye provides more interesting moments and story arcs, even if you don't necessarily agree with her position or everything that she does.
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Aziraphale

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So we have one vote Faye is bad, bad, bad for being a source of conflict and one vote Tai/Dora are bad for not being sources of conflict.

These characters can't win for losing.

I don't expect to see Tai and Dora as "sources" of conflict, per se; I do think, though, that a relationship with no conflict (and we really haven't seen any between them, whereas pretty much every relationship in the comic, romantic or not, has had some kind of conflict baked in pretty much from the start) isn't particularly realistic.
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Just pointing out how easy it is to create a seemingly hypocritical position. Though, I stand by what I said, how I said it.

It's kind of saying that the characters have to be wrong, but only in the right ways.

It's not like I don't understand. I find some of the character changes very odd. I make certain judgments about what seems in keeping with the characters and what doesn't.

It just seems a bit much to declare failure during a work in progress. Dora and Tai aren't an issue at the moment because the story Jeph was telling is over. He could inject a new story for them now, but only at the expense of slowing down the current threads. Plot Kudzu.

I dunno.

Anyway, I don't put the entirety of the anti Faye vote on you.  Its a combination thing, as much about how it's impossible to please everyone as how your post seems to go both ways.

ReindeerFlotilla

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So we have one vote Faye is bad, bad, bad for being a source of conflict and one vote Tai/Dora are bad for not being sources of conflict.

These characters can't win for losing.

I don't expect to see Tai and Dora as "sources" of conflict, per se; I do think, though, that a relationship with no conflict (and we really haven't seen any between them, whereas pretty much every relationship in the comic, romantic or not, has had some kind of conflict baked in pretty much from the start) isn't particularly realistic.

Reread the Tai woos Dora arc. They have conflicts. So far those conflicts have only been resolved to the extent that the early Martora conflicts were. Any one could come roaring back.

Dora failing to be upfront about the Sven-ectomy could be a trigger. Dora wasn't holding in a fart.

That said, I hope not. We're going down the road of "what happens when you fail to communicate" now. No need to tell that story again. I would prefer that whatever trouble Dorai are in for will be a story we haven't seen yet.

ASB84

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Anyway, I don't put the entirety of the anti Faye vote on you.  Its a combination thing, as much about how it's impossible to please everyone as how your post seems to go both ways.

I guess it kind of does, when I re-read it. I'd chalk that up to it becoming a bit long and rambly by the time I'd finished it, and covering a couple of different issues within one post, in close proximity to one another. I could've been clearer about that.
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BenRG

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Re.: "pandering to shippers". If Jeph were doing that, Marten would be helping Hanners get over her phobias about physical contact right now. As it is, I can accept that we are following a general story arc that's in Jeph's head. Claire and Marten has a feel to me of something that Jeph always intended to happen.

Dora and Tai seems mostly because the "my boss is dating my ex" joke appealed to him. It's just that he obviously felt that they worked well together and wanted Tai stay in Marten's circle without excess drama. She and Dora are also pretty good for eachother.

Angus and Faye seems to have been a deliberate character development arc - Faye loses some of her fear of intimacy because of a guy who feels challenged and attracted to her prickly nature rather than scared off. We'll have to see if it will still have longevity despite last week's events.

The point is that all canon ships so far are all clearly part of character development arcs and not just to pair off characters for the sake of it.
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Staff_Inflection

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Its pretty obvious that some degree of pandering was done with the S.S. ClairTen. Or am I expected to believe that the choice of the term "OMG I SHIP IT" was totally coincidental? It reeks of bad fanfiction because its such a sharp departure of character for Marten. I could buy it was a little set-up. Maybe a panel devoted to Marten playing out the "big speech in his head" and deciding to go ehh screw it, perhaps on the advice of Pintsize....who has actually given decent advice in the past.

So yeah, its pretty terrible. But that's why I like it. It has something of an endearing charm in its badness
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It reeks of bad fanfiction because its such a sharp departure of character for Marten. I could buy it was a little set-up. Maybe a panel devoted to Marten playing out the "big speech in his head" and deciding to go ehh screw it, perhaps on the advice of Pintsize....who has actually given decent advice in the past.

So yeah, its pretty terrible. But that's why I like it. It has something of an endearing charm in its badness

I don't know about that.  It was foreshadowed at the wedding, and Marten worried about it at the time, but something else happened here. 

He's helped Claire through a panic attack, getting earrings, and dealing with her brother.  He's gotten to know her.  He watched Emily try floofing her hair.  When she shook it out on the couch beside him, he gave it a try - some scritching.  Nothing too touchy-feely, but Claire responded, really responded.  He was making a friend feel good, better than he had expected, maybe, but then - probably to his surprise - he felt really good about it himself.  She is cute, whether she's being responsible or not.  She wasn't shy about snuggling with him, didn't seem uncomfortable - it felt good, not awkward the way it did at the wedding. 

Look at him the morning after.  For a moment, he needs to process it, his eyes are not yet open.  But after that, and I don't think it's just the art shift, his eyes are wide open, more open than they've been since Dora broke up with him.  I got used to seeing the bags under them for quite a while, they faded a bit with Padma, but now he's looking like he's alive, because he's feeling more alive, and it's because, as he said, it just feels right

You can't argue with that.  You can think about a thing forever, but you're not going to know how it feels until it happens.  This happened - with a marginal alcohol assist, true - but it wasn't until it happened that he could tell whether it felt right or not.  I think it surprised him as much as it surprised some of us.  But surprised or not, he's going into this listening to his heart, not his over-analyzing self doubts. 

It's not bad fanfic - it's good slice-of-life fiction. 
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ReindeerFlotilla

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Its pretty obvious that some degree of pandering was done with the S.S. ClairTen. Or am I expected to believe that the choice of the term "OMG I SHIP IT" was totally coincidental? It reeks of bad fanfiction because its such a sharp departure of character for Marten. I could buy it was a little set-up. Maybe a panel devoted to Marten playing out the "big speech in his head" and deciding to go ehh screw it, perhaps on the advice of Pintsize....who has actually given decent advice in the past.

So yeah, its pretty terrible. But that's why I like it. It has something of an endearing charm in its badness

Look at the little number at the top of the comic. In pixel size it's not very big. In absolute value it's fairly large. Now knock off 200, to account for Guest strips, and dramatic endings. What's left (2615) is a reasonable approximation of the number of punchlines Jeph has written. "OMG! I SHIP IT!" is what one might refer to as low hanging fruit. It has two principle impacts. One, it serves to hat tip the Audience who want a reaction from the gang. Two, it spaces thing such that The Current Fangus Drama reaches a critical point on Friday's strip.

You may say that this can't be right, since we had a Pintsize strip this week. But without the shipping container joke, Yesterday's strip would be Thursday's. Without I SHIP IT and Pintsize, Friday would have occurred Wednesday.

What blows my mind about how you manage to turn something that is basically artist humor into a nefarious plot, is that you seem to feel it was a personal attack. Are you expected to believe? Honestly, no. I really doubt Jeph had what you might believe in mind when he wrote that, or when he decided to get Marten and Claire together.

Given Jeph's anxiety issues (which I don't really know much about, other than they exist) and the douchbaggery of the modern internet (We don't agree with your stance about our hobby. We could have a calm debate. We could have an emotionally charged, namecalling fest. But instead, we'll send death threats to you and any organization that supports you), I'm pretty sure Jeph was a seriously worried about a lot of things. I just don't think your opinion was among them.

Opinions like your's might have been a concern when he introduced Claire as trans (I'm not accusing you of anything). He was going to broach a sensitive topic, and a lot of people might have been upset. They might have felt Jeph was ruining their favorite comic, taken it personally, and destroyed his readership--his livelihood. One might say the same threat existed in making Marten/Claire a thing, but I think the positive response to Claire probably eased his mind.

So, no. No one expects you to believe anything.

But to claim Marten's actions are a departure is a reach and a half. They depart from what you want of Marten, but they are totally consistent with his previous behavior.

Marten sits around until a crisis drops in his lap. When that happens, he either tries to be the voice of reason, or steps back to think about things. THEN tries to be the voice of reason. He's known to be impulsive when drunk. He doggedly pursues anyone he feels an intimate connection to, even though his usual pursuit MO is to be superhumanly passive.

Drunken Marten, impulsively got intimate with Claire. Upon awaking and remembering that, he makes plans to step back and think about it. To some extent he did just that, but possibly not to his usual level. Then he got in contact with Claire and was very reasonable.

Now, keep in mind, Marten has been upset with himself over his passiveness and passive aggression for a fairly long time. After getting the riot act from Faye over Padma, he started practicing guitar. This was meant to signal an effort at change. He, passively, allowed Tai to drag him to a party, but once there he acted on his own initiative to seek out a relationship. He scored, but not in the way he wanted. But the key point: if being passive were still Marten's defining characteristic, the one night stand would never have happened. At the denouement of the ONS arc, Marten tells himself that he has to find meaning in his life. Shortly after, his mother tells him that if he's not sure what risks to take, to try on a bunch of different risks for size.

Shortly after this event, he responds to a snake bite with more decisiveness than the situation called for.

As a result of that he found himself concerned that someone he wasn't interested in was interested in him. This represents 2 minor changes for marten. First, a cute girl might be interested in him, and he don't even consider the option. Despite being kinda lonely and bummed out. Second, he handles it decisively.

Don't believe me?

By the second strip he's seen worrying over it, he's already well convinced it was nothing. In the 3rd, he resolves to deal with it if it's a problem. The 4th is him jumping at the chance to talk to his best friend about it--then being trumped when his best friend turns out to be having a much shittier day than he is. The Final strip is him basically admitting to himself that it wasn't a big deal.

Indecisive Old Marten would have agonized for days over it. Current Marten talked to a couple of friends and resolved the issue in his mind over the course of one afternoon.

So, sure. Marten's behavior is out of character if you ignore everything that's happened since 2100. So just throw out everything Jeph has done with character over the last 2 years and 9 months. Give or take a couple of days.

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Someone upthread mentioned something about disliking how Angus is, as well as the relationship between him and Faye. And they didn't like that.

I'd argue that it's not a big deal. For one I'd say that no, Angus has fine characterization.

But more importantly to the overall structure of the comic, I'd say the role that Angus and his part of the story has played so far does not necessitate more time spent with the characters.
I don't dislike Angus. I just want for him to be developed more. If you're not addressing me, I apologize for my presumption. I can't understand what makes you feel like Angus has fine characterization though. He had some, once upon a while. It all dried up lately though, and I feel bad about that. We simply disagree on your last point, and as such I don't think it appropriate to try to argue with you.
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Its pretty obvious that some degree of pandering was done with the S.S. ClairTen. Or am I expected to believe that the choice of the term "OMG I SHIP IT" was totally coincidental? It reeks of bad fanfiction

Keep in mind we're talking about an avid fanfiction writer who was writing slashfic about Marten and the interns the day they met and whose primary reason for setting up Veronica and Jim was "it'd be just like a romantic comedy". Do you really think "I SHIP IT" is at all out of character for her?
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ASB84

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Pandering is admittedly in the eye of the beholder. If you like the development, it's a welcome turn of events, the right move that the story has been building to. If you're not really a fan of what's happened, it's pandering.

It's kind of like when an author/artist makes a political statement with their work. If it agrees with your politics, and you don't find it too obnoxious or damaging to the message, you'll probably praise it as brilliant thought. If it runs contrary to your politics, you'll probably grumble about the author/artist shoehorning their political beliefs into their work, and criticise their use of it as a platform for social commentary.

Like I said before, I'm not a huge fan of either pairing for reasons that have already been discussed, so part of me kind of agrees with the "pandering" stuff. Pandering is a bit of a harsh word though, and because I am in the minority here, it's tough for me to argue that either was a bad direction for the comic. Hell, even if I'm not over the moon about those pairings, I don't actually think they're bad for the direction of the comic.

I do think Marten and Claire getting together presents certain challenges for the comic moving forward, the same way Marten and Dora getting together did all those years ago. Any time you pair up a couple of characters, ending the UST, there's a risk of jumping the shark. I hope that my concerns are much ado about nothing though, and that the development will not stand in the way of interesting story arcs and funny moments. I also hope that Claire succeeds as a more prominent character, because I'm a sucker for puns, and I've enjoyed her in the role she's had so far. Clearly I'm invested in the comic, and I'm interested in what happens next. I certainly intend to keep reading, and I expect I'll continue to enjoy QC, even if I don't necessarily agree with every twist and turn in the story, or certain characters bug me at times. Again, that just goes to show that I'm hooked.
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Faye got on Marten for just letting her go. Now it seems she's doing the exact same thing. Compare the last couple of strips in both arcs. Faye does essentially the same thing Marten does

I believe you're completely misremembering Marten's actions. He didn't just let her go, he actively and permanently sabotaged his last chance with her, for a bad reason, in an unnecessarily immature fashion. I can sympathise with him and understand/accept what he did, but I think he was being dumb. This is a different situation, although I'll admit they're both making things difficult for themselves (however! it's not over yet). Regardless, it's not an example of Faye being a "terrible person". It's just her being "a person". If not, then I can't think of a single character in this comic who's perfect enough to not be terrible :o
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BenRG

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Its pretty obvious that some degree of pandering was done with the S.S. ClairTen. Or am I expected to believe that the choice of the term "OMG I SHIP IT" was totally coincidental? It reeks of bad fanfiction

Keep in mind we're talking about an avid fanfiction writer who was writing slashfic about Marten and the interns the day they met and whose primary reason for setting up Veronica and Jim was "it'd be just like a romantic comedy". Do you really think "I SHIP IT" is at all out of character for her?

Totally ditto this post - she's a complete, hopeless romantic too!
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I haven't been around the forums long enough to have the institutional memory to research this, but I'm betting that at every major plot shift, there have been people who thought the change was a bad idea, who thought it was a good idea, and those who thought it was pandering, and each of them had a laundry list of reasons why their opinion was correct, and how their perspective might even represent the end/a new beginning for QC.

As much fun as it is to discuss and read other people's interpretations of the story so far, I have to remind myself from time to time that the story is inside the storyteller's head, and no one part of it will necessitate them doing something else.  He's like a DM in a really, really long dungeon crawl:  You only have where we've been and where we are, 'cause where we're going need not be dependent on what you think is logical.  "Rocks fall, everybody dies" is always a possibility.

Edit: a word.
« Last Edit: 19 Oct 2014, 05:08 by MooskiNet »
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ASB84

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I haven't been around the forums long enough to have the institutional memory to research this, but I'm betting that at every major plot shift, there have been people who thought the change was a bad idea, who thought it was a good idea, and those who thought it was pandering, and each of them had a laundry list of reasons why their opinion was correct, and how their perspective might even represent the end/a new beginning for QC.

Completely agree.
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You know, this puts an interesting perspective on Faye and Angus's breakup: http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2082
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ASB84

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Good looking out, definitely foreshadowing to the current situation.

Still, I think the relationship was a positive experience for Faye, an important step in her growth and recovery. It's looking like it wasn't meant to be, but it was worth the risk.
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My apologies. The fire escape awaits me!
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Pan-da pan-da pan-da pan-da pan-da pan...PAN-DA!

God damn it! :x

Marten's counter-point is good and I hope that Faye remembers this in the difficult conversations that are going to come either this week or next week.

Come to think of it, maybe it will be Marten who remembers it and reminds her of it.

I can honestly see Faye kicking down Angus and Marigold's door (much to Momo's shock and May cheering "Now she's doing what we're all thinkin'!") and announce to him: "I'm not letting you get away that easy, buster!"
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I can honestly see Faye kicking down Angus and Marigold's door (much to Momo's shock and May cheering "Now she's doing what we're all thinkin'!") and announce to him: "I'm not letting you get away that easy, buster!"
Either that or she has decided that she agrees with her original idea. Which was that she doesn't quite love him enough, she just loves having someone. I agree with Faye that this is not enough. Maybe the idea that this thing should end is one that has been eating away at her, and now that it could happen she won't do anything to stop it ending. Of course I expect that her abandonment issues are also making her feel awful right now, but even so she may on some level welcome this.
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To whoever said Faye and Angus were the worse couple I think you mean Tai and Dora. So many things wrong, then again I might be blinded by my complete dislike of Tai.

I don't dislike Tai and I love Dora, but I have to agree with the boringness. I think Dora likes that Tai is so head over heels for her, but I don't get the sense she's in love. Which sort of sucks for Tai. :/ I think that Tai will eventually move out of town and the relationship will just peter out that way.

I don't think Faye and Angus were a bad couple. It started off a little weird, but I think Angus genuinely loves her and vice versa. The timing was just brutal. Just as Padma wished she'd met Marten a year earlier. Possibly if Marten hadn't dated Dora, they would have met a year earlier and who knows? I could see Marten giving serious consideration to moving back to California. Timing is everything sometimes.

My problem with Tai and Dora is how creepy Tai acted with that relationship and how she gets what she wants.
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Pan-da pan-da pan-da pan-da pan-da pan...PAN-DA!

God damn it! :x

Marten's counter-point is good and I hope that Faye remembers this in the difficult conversations that are going to come either this week or next week.

Come to think of it, maybe it will be Marten who remembers it and reminds her of it.

I can honestly see Faye kicking down Angus and Marigold's door (much to Momo's shock and May cheering "Now she's doing what we're all thinkin'!") and announce to him: "I'm not letting you get away that easy, buster!"

In what context are you thinking she might do that? As in making an effort to make the LDR thing work?
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AprilArcus

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What a pleasure to come back to this thread and see two pages of really good analysis. Great job, everyone! Special props to ReindeerFlotilla's bravura analysis of Marten's 800 strip character arc, and ASB84's awesome critique that I am about to sink my teeth into:

I'm not a huge fan of [Dora/Tai], for the same reason I'm a bit iffy about Marten and Claire. I guess it's probably because I'm not one for shipping, but in both cases, I feel like the foreshadowing of both relationships could just as easily been nothing. I've seen other posters who aren't necessarily thrilled with those relationships describe them as pandering to shippers, and I sort of agree with that.

I don't understand the critique about "pandering to shippers". QC is only really interested in three things: indie music, artificial intelligence, and relationship drama. Only one of those things can drive a narrative forward. Subtract the relationship drama, and there isn't much of a comic left.

I'm especially astonished to see this accusation leveled at Marten/Claire, since Claire's whole character seems to have been designed to lure Marten out of the corner of passivity that he's been stuck in since strip #1. She's someone whose in-your-face temperament would catch Marten's attention, but whose sexual reticence would force him into decisive action. Her character traits (motivated, anxious) fill the negative space of his (unambitious, reassuring) like puzzle pieces. Maybe we could productively accuse Jeph of MPDG-ism vis a vis Claire, but she is too obviously purpose-built for a relationship with Marten for me to imagine that she was introduced on a lark and then paired with him due to fan pressure.

It's interesting to me that only Dora/Tai and Claire/Marten fall into the bullseye of "pandering to shippers". It makes me wonder if you (or the people whose opinions you are citing) might have a particular type of shipper (or ship) in mind. The fact is that it's still really rare to see LGBT relationships portrayed in a way that feels both casual and authentic (especially BT relationships, which often constitute the invisible back half of the acronym). So yeah, there's a lot of excitement for these couples in certain circles, because the people in them are unused to having their experiences reflected back at them positively through pop-culture.

That said, while Dora and Tai are an affirming couple, I stand by my statement that they're also a boring one, and that's a big problem.

Given that Marten's [porn] collection was a bone of contention (pun only partly intended), and the guilt (even if it was played for laughs), plus leaving Tai in the dark about the Svenectomy, it ain't all sunshine and roses.

I think Dora likes that Tai is so head over heels for her, but I don't get the sense she's in love. Which sort of sucks for Tai. :/ I think that Tai will eventually move out of town and the relationship will just peter out that way.

[Tai and Dora] have conflicts. So far those conflicts have only been resolved to the extent that the early Martora conflicts were. Any one could come roaring back.

Dora failing to be upfront about the Sven-ectomy could be a trigger. Dora wasn't holding in a fart.

I don't see a lot of plot potential in any of these directions. The obvious source of conflict would be Tai's freewheeling sexuality vs. Dora's paranoia and black-and-white thinking, but that doesn't work at all because (1) it rehashes Dora's problems with Marten and (2) Tai's devotion to Dora has sanded down the rough edges that make the character interesting. The Svenectomy is a bad source of relationship drama because Tai has no relationship with Sven, and can't realistically be expected to do anything but take Dora's side uncritically.

I also hope that Claire can bring it as a secondary/semi-main character, because she's going to be featured even more prominently now. Some characters aren't cut out for bigger roles, and only time will tell whether that applies to Claire or not. For example, I'm a sucker for puns, so I like that about her, but will that become too over-used and grating now that she'll be probably be as prominent as Dora once was? Will we be introduced to other aspects of her character, and will they be interesting? To use a sporting analogy, it's like the fourth or fifth best player on a good team signing a big new deal to be the star of another club. Are they really that good, or were their abilities overestimated because the players around them were making them look good? Just something I've wondered about since they've gotten together.

I'm a Claire fan and I totally agree with this comment. I mean, what is Claire made of? "driven", "obstreperous", "sexually frustrated", "punny". I feel like she needs one more thing to feel like main character material: her relationship to her art. We get to see Faye welding, Dora roasting and balancing books, Marten guitaring, Marigold and Dale gaming... I want to see Claire doing library science with the passion she talks about having. Holding forth in a classroom full of undergrads with unfeigned authority, wireframing a new digital humanities website with Emily, curating her personal library at home.

The other thing I desperately want to see more of (but don't think I'll get) is Claire's politics. Does she identify with the broader trans community at all, or has she put up a wall between her history and her present self in the interest of stealth? How does she feel about Smif's trans policies, whatever they may be? How does her experience of everyday transphobia and transmisogyny make her feel, and what does she want to do with those feelings?

Finally:

[Faye is] a bully and a hypocrite. Did she not chastise Marten for not even trying to make it work with Padma in a similar circumstance?

THIS

Faye is a bully. She hasn't, materially changed her acceptance of violence as a solution to social interaction problems. The author has simply moved on from that as a goto gag.

THIS

Faye spent a long part of the strip being kind of awful. Not *always* awful, and she had motivations that more-or-less made sense, but awful nonetheless.

[...]

I'd say the role that Angus and his part of the story has played so far does not necessitate more time spent with the characters.

[...]

I think it may be apt to compare the Faye-Angus thing somewhat to Odysseus-Circe in Homer's The Odyssey. A portion of the story is devoted to the challenges faced by Odysseus and his crew on her island (what with being piggified and captured), then most of the troubles are conquered and our cast get to spend a much-needed and glossed-over year of recuperation before moving on to the next struggles.

and THIS.
« Last Edit: 19 Oct 2014, 09:27 by AprilArcus »
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BenRG

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In what context are you thinking she might do that? As in making an effort to make the LDR thing work?

I don't think that she would go into it with any end goal in mind other than the fact that she didn't want to lose Angus and she wanted him to realise that's why she was so upset earlier. There's no guarantee it would fix anything but what is necessary was for him to know that she loved him and that, sometimes, love (not just for him but for her friends) made knowing what to do next a near-insoluble paradox.
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I really don't see a problem with Tai and Dora having a nice, stable boring relationship. I haven't seen people complain because Wil and Penny's relationship is boring. Nobody bats an eye at Steve and Cosette having very little drama. People get into largely stable and ordinary relationships all the time. It just doesn't make for compelling stories in a comic that is mostly about relationship drama. The only difference between Dora and Tai and the other stable couples is that they are the same sex, and both have a more prominent role in the comic since they are linked strongly with Marten and Faye.
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BenRG

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You can manufacture drama in a stable relationship without even impacting on the stability of the relationship just be imposing change. It could be anything from Penny becoming pregnant to one of Wil's books being published and Penny suddenly being 'the partner of celebrated modern poet...' meaning that yet more of the hipster crowd is squeezing into CoD (much to Faye's outrage).
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AprilArcus

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I haven't seen people complain because Wil and Penny's relationship is boring.

If it were still a central plot thread I would be shouting it down 'til my vocal folds were a shredded ruin. What a completely boring pair of people to waste panel time on. The covert dullness of their offscreen relationship is a blessed relief from the excruciatingly overt dullness of their courtship.

Quote
Nobody bats an eye at Steve and Cosette having very little drama.

Steve's whole purpose is to be the boring, stable counterpoint to the main cast's shenanigans, so this is actually completely fine.

Quote
The only difference between Dora and Tai and the other stable couples is that they are the same sex, and both have a more prominent role in the comic since they are linked strongly with Marten and Faye.

And the second part is the key. As central characters we expect more of them. We want to be entertained by their foibles and imperfections. We want to see them continue to grow. The Dora/Tai pairing has arrested both characters' growth. They have no forward momentum or interesting character dynamic, and that's sad, because when characters stop being put in dramatic situations, the audience ceases to be able to enjoy the nuance of their characterization which that drama evinces.

Half Empty Coffee Cup

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Dora and Tai are actually somewhat likely to run into their own shenanigans on their own. It just doesn't seem too likely to impact their relationship. Dora's got the Svenectomy coming up, and in the long term, Tai's not going to be at the library in perpetuity. Not all imperfections or growth opportunities need to link back to a character's relationships.
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AprilArcus

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Tai moving on from the library (to be replaced by Claire?) would be more interesting than her remaining completely static, but where will she go next? Does her dreamed-of career in erotic literature offer its own dramatic possibilities, or would it just be a way of writing her out?

What role do you imagine Tai playing in the svenectomy?

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Tai moving on from the library (to be replaced by Claire?) would be more interesting than her remaining completely static, but where will she go next?

She and Jimbo can start their own publishing company!
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AprilArcus

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I ship it.

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I mean, what is Claire made of? "driven", "obstreperous", "sexually frustrated", "punny". I feel like she needs one more thing to feel like main character material: her relationship to her art. We get to see Faye welding, Dora roasting and balancing books, Marten guitaring, Marigold and Dale gaming... I want to see Claire doing library science with the passion she talks about having. Holding forth in a classroom full of undergrads with unfeigned authority, wireframing a new digital humanities website with Emily, curating her personal library at home.

True. It's early yet, and Claire's only starting to come into the spotlight as one of the main cast, but this would be a great way to round her out as a character (besides the fact that it'd go a long way toward reinforcing Rule One of good storytelling -- namely, "Show me, don't tell me").

The other thing I desperately want to see more of (but don't think I'll get) is Claire's politics. Does she identify with the broader trans community at all, or has she put up a wall between her history and her present self in the interest of stealth? How does she feel about Smif's trans policies, whatever they may be? How does her experience of everyday transphobia and transmisogyny make her feel, and what does she want to do with those feelings?


Someone -- I suspect it may have been you -- took issue rather strongly when I suggested this recently (though I'll also admit that I didn't phrase it quite as well as you did when I first brought it up). I'm not saying that to be snarky; rather, I think that when you start exploring someone's politics, it's a legitimate question to ask how they came by those politics. Nobody grows up or evolves in a vacuum; their worldview and politics are shaped by their lives and experiences. If you're going to tell someone's story and do it (and them) justice, that's oftentimes going to involve going further beyond the surface, and that, in turn, may admittedly take the story to places that others might find uncomfortable even when they're handled with grace and sensitivity. As I said before and will repeat, I'm not interested in this as a cheap plot point or as sensationalism. But: if we're going to ask for people outside the usual cis/het "norm" to be represented, I don't think we're doing those represented any favors by reducing them to cardboard cutouts.
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What role do you imagine Tai playing in the svenectomy?
Little-to-none. That's why I used it as an example of a way of growing a character (Dora's, specifically), without necessitating that it be part of relationship troubles.
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Or am I expected to believe that the choice of the term "OMG I SHIP IT" was totally coincidental?

Everyone from here to 4chan to tumblr and beyond has talked about a Marten-Claire pairing since the wedding at least.

Jeph isn't living in a bubble away from the Internet.

AprilArcus

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The other thing I desperately want to see more of (but don't think I'll get) is Claire's politics. Does she identify with the broader trans community at all, or has she put up a wall between her history and her present self in the interest of stealth? How does she feel about Smif's trans policies, whatever they may be? How does her experience of everyday transphobia and transmisogyny make her feel, and what does she want to do with those feelings?

Someone -- I suspect it may have been you -- took issue rather strongly when I suggested this recently (though I'll also admit that I didn't phrase it quite as well as you did when I first brought it up).

To recap, it seemed like you were saying Claire's characterization would benefit from a flashback to her childhood and transition ( la #504, #1828 and #2134), which I felt would be voyeuristic if it weren't serving a real story purpose. You posted a thoughtful reply about what such a story purpose might be, which I regret not acknowledging in the moment.

You're right this is the sort of thing that could go some way toward justifying a look back to a time when she had less passing privilege. But that said, "trans" isn't a thing Claire did, it's a thing that she is, and that she experiences "EVERY DAY". Jeph can talk about her trans experience in the present tense too, and I think that it would ring louder if he did.

But, as I said, I don't think we're at all likely to go down this route. Jeph doesn't enjoy showing us bad things happening to people, and QC has never had an overtly political streak.

What role do you imagine Tai playing in the svenectomy?
Little-to-none. That's why I used it as an example of a way of growing a character (Dora's, specifically), without necessitating that it be part of relationship troubles.

That's a fine point. And really, my problem with Tai/Dora is mostly a problem with Tai, not Dora. Dora still has the coffee shop to worry about, and she still has her relationships with Faye and Sven to draw on. Tai, though... Tai-wants-Dora was her central arc from #773 to #2584. Now that that's resolved, what's left of her?
« Last Edit: 19 Oct 2014, 13:10 by AprilArcus »
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de_la_Nae

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I can't understand what makes you feel like Angus has fine characterization though. He had some, once upon a while. It all dried up lately though,

My argument mostly revolves around what else I said in that post about his role in the plot. I say he had enough for his purpose at the time, which was interestingly more than Padma ever had.

But yeah, if you disagree with the basic argument over what he should have been, that would certainly mean we're working with different assumptions here. What did you want him to be, if you don't mind me asking?

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The other thing I desperately want to see more of (but don't think I'll get) is Claire's politics. Does she identify with the broader trans community at all, or has she put up a wall between her history and her present self in the interest of stealth? How does she feel about Smif's trans policies, whatever they may be? How does her experience of everyday transphobia and transmisogyny make her feel, and what does she want to do with those feelings?

Someone -- I suspect it may have been you -- took issue rather strongly when I suggested this recently (though I'll also admit that I didn't phrase it quite as well as you did when I first brought it up).

To recap, it seemed like you were saying Claire's characterization would benefit from a flashback to her childhood and transition ( la #504, #1828 and #2134), which I felt would be voyeuristic if it weren't serving a real story purpose. You posted a thoughtful reply about what such a story purpose might be, which I regret not acknowledging in the moment.

You're right this is the sort of thing that could go some way toward justifying a look back to a time when she had less passing privilege. But that said, "trans" isn't a thing Claire did, it's a thing that she is, and that she experiences "EVERY DAY". Jeph can talk about her trans experience in the present tense too, and I think that it would ring louder if he did.

But, as I said, I don't think we're at all likely to go down this route. Jeph doesn't enjoy showing us bad things happening to people, and QC has never had an overtly political streak.

I agree that someone being trans is just that -- a state of being, not an action or one-time event. Sorry if I wasn't clear on that.

Jeph's dipped his toe into political waters before (mostly via the AI characters). I admit to being a bit disappointed that those ideas weren't explored further, though A: it's obviously not my story to write, and B: I suppose it could take the comic a bit off-course even (or especially) as it goes in an interesting new direction. But, C: I think that because, as you mention, this is a daily lived reality for Claire, there comes a point where that reality is likely to intersect more visibly with the comic than it's done up to now. I don't want to see it go down the road of physical harm or severe emotional trauma (God knows that's already all too common already IRL), but there are a million other ways to explore that lived reality that would be realistic without necessarily getting to some really dark places, or being played for cheap laughs/drama (which he's thankfully avoided, even on the very rare occasions that he's gone into darker territory).

All of which is a longish way of saying, while I don't expect Jeph to go all Brecht on us, I don't think a more "political," or even just realistic, slant of sorts would be unwarranted.
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I'd love to see a younger Claire, be it as a child or a few years. It was super cute seeing dinosaur Halloween Marten.
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BenRG

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I've got a feeling that Mrs A's photo album will make an appearance in due time, possibly in a one-on-one exchange with Veronica's "baby Marten" home movies.
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I've got a feeling that Mrs A's photo album will make an appearance in due time, possibly in a one-on-one exchange with Veronica's "baby Marten" home movies.

God, they totally are both that inappropriate. If Claire's mother is anything like mine, she was misgendering her daughter three years after everyone else got the memo, and brushing it off with a "but it's a transition for me, too!" or a "but Cl- I mean, Claire, you'll always be my firstborn son!"

Blech. Now I need to wash my brain out with soap.
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