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Poll

Yarr, what be waitin' out there on the open seas for the Good Ship Claireten?

Wedding bells!...for Veronica and Jim
- 17 (19.3%)
Wedding bells for...STEVE AND COSETTE?!
- 5 (5.7%)
Padma returns, with a bun in the oven
- 11 (12.5%)
"Uh, Marten? Just got a call from Delilah.  She says you should get yourself tested..."
- 7 (8%)
Shakeup at the library
- 11 (12.5%)
Deathmøle hits the road
- 6 (6.8%)
They lived happily ever aftAHAHAHAHA I CAN'T EVEN FINISH
- 6 (6.8%)
No, seriously!  Happily ever after!  Why would you even joke about that, you MONSTER?
- 25 (28.4%)

Total Members Voted: 88


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Author Topic: God Himself Could Not Sink This Ship: Thoughts on Marten, Claire, and the Future  (Read 20233 times)

Pilchard123

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As far as the discussion of QC winding down:

I have no plans to end QC anytime soon.
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I have always felt that the very last QC arc will be Marten getting married -- but to whom?

I root for Claire, but it's gonna be Pintsize.

If it's Faye I will be angry.
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Nepiophage

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Momo, of course.
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Naaaah, that'll be Hanners marrying Momo.
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Momo is programmed in multiple techniques.
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Tova


You're all wrong. The last comic will be yelling bird.
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Yelling Bird marrying Harriet and/or Shame Orb?  :-P
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Yelling Bird marrying Harriet and/or Shame Orb?  :-P

Harriet in a quadrupolar relationship with YB, Randy and Shame.

HARRIET: "I don't need to explain or apologise to anyone for the choices I make about my own life!"
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HARRIET: "I don't need to explain or apologise to anyone for the choices I make about my own life!"

SHAME ORB: "YES YOU DO!"
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Nepiophage

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Actually it's more likley that Momo will steal Dale from Marigold, or try to.  (See millions of shitty chick novels)
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Actually it's more likley that Momo will steal Dale from Marigold, or try to.  (See millions of shitty chick novels)
I think it might be more likely to be May after she finally is able to buy her own chassis upgrade and get a small craft pilots license.  :roll:
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Teria

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Hi everybody, I'm new here and you'll all hate me in an instant.

Please no more Claire. Or at least, less Claire. I've never seen a more boring and uninteresting character in this strip. Being transgender doesn't make her interesting. Apart from that, she wants to be a librarian, has absolutely no sense of irony or personality and reminds me of a little dog which is happy when Marten pets it for a bit. Every other char in this story has more personality than her, and I think the only reason why Marten dates her is because she's at the far other end of the normality spectrum than his family, Dora, Faye, Pintsize, Tai and, uh, mostly everybody else. In all those crazy colours of the QC cast, Claire ist solid grey.

I hope this relationship does NOT last.

You may all hate me now. :)
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Is it cold in here?

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Having a normal woman around creates even more chances for comedy. Remember that the anchor for a comedy act is the straight man.

The puns are kind of funny in a cringe-inducing way.
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Gladstone

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I wouldn't call her boring or uninteresting, I just think she's more driven and ambitious than most of the cast, and less inclined to falter like the others.  As IICIH says, she's the anchor/"straight man."   Sven and Dora may be the most successful characters in the strip (if we ignore all the parents), but Sven is a slacker who mostly got his way through charm and luck, and Dora, despite being a somewhat-successful small-business owner is nonetheless constantly worried about going under.  As for the rest, Marten has big dreams of being a great musician, but doesn't put the practice time in; Faye has plenty of artistic talent but little ambition; Tai has her own dreams but spends most of her time goofing off, even at work; Marigold is self-employed but doesn't seem to have any further plans; Dale's economic situation is worse than the rest, so he's just trying to get by; Hannelore has massive wealth to fall back on whenever she needs it, and is more focused on her mental health than anything else; and we could go on.

None of these are really bad traits for these characters, especially since most of them are in their early- to mid-twenties and still figuring themselves out, but if you compare them to Claire, who has overcome most of the challenges involved in transitioning (although she still has anxiety problems, which may or may not be related) and is now focused on her career--and is actually taking steps to get the career she wants--then yeah, Claire seems boring.  She knows what she wants and she's doing what she needs to do to get what she wants?  Yawn. 

As for personality, okay, maybe she isn't the most well-adjusted character.  She was probably a bit of a loner as a teenager and spent her early college years focused on her studies and on transitioning, so maybe she hasn't had many friends.  At least, we know she hasn't had a boyfriend before--and didn't even think she could find romance, given her trans status--so maybe we should forgive her for turning into an excited puppy at the first sign of affection?  I'm a bitter old man at heart, but I imagine that's what being twitterpated is like.

And anyone who says she isn't funny is a dirty liar.
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TRVA123

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I don't dislike Claire, but the original affection that I had for her is waning. I'm not entirely sure why, although I think it is her relationship with Marten. Their relationship annoys me.

I guess, for me, that kind of annoyance builds. Now, whenever I see Marten and Claire in a comic.. I just get aggravated.
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Aziraphale

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Having a normal woman around creates even more chances for comedy. Remember that the anchor for a comedy act is the straight man.

The puns are kind of funny in a cringe-inducing way.

Yeah, but she doesn't quite fit the bill. Can't put my finger on it, but there's something about her that doesn't fit the straight man mold in the way that, say, Margaret Dumont did. Then again, I'm partial to a certain type of straight man (not in on the joke, typically a bit put-upon...).
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Gladstone

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I don't dislike Claire, but the original affection that I had for her is waning. I'm not entirely sure why, although I think it is her relationship with Marten. Their relationship annoys me.

I guess, for me, that kind of annoyance builds. Now, whenever I see Marten and Claire in a comic.. I just get aggravated.

I'm kinda in the same boat.  I like her and Marten, both together and separate, but I'm feeling a bit of them-together fatigue.  As in, Jeph decided to spend a lot of time establishing them as a couple to convert the doubters and satisfy the rest of us, but I think he overdid it?  We breezed through one squee-worthy strip after another, from the head-scritches on the couch to Marten's declaration of like the next morning, then their very long first date, then their first night together and the morning after, all in less than 150 strips, so now it's like meh, what's next?  As things stand now, they're going to have to adopt a thousand puppies or something if they want to tug my heartstrings.
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Maybe they could adopt 101 Dalmatians. 
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Half Empty Coffee Cup

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I don't dislike Claire, but the original affection that I had for her is waning. I'm not entirely sure why, although I think it is her relationship with Marten. Their relationship annoys me.

I guess, for me, that kind of annoyance builds. Now, whenever I see Marten and Claire in a comic.. I just get aggravated.

I'm kinda in the same boat.  I like her and Marten, both together and separate, but I'm feeling a bit of them-together fatigue.  As in, Jeph decided to spend a lot of time establishing them as a couple to convert the doubters and satisfy the rest of us, but I think he overdid it?  We breezed through one squee-worthy strip after another, from the head-scritches on the couch to Marten's declaration of like the next morning, then their very long first date, then their first night together and the morning after, all in less than 150 strips, so now it's like meh, what's next?  As things stand now, they're going to have to adopt a thousand puppies or something if they want to tug my heartstrings.
Heartstring-tugging isn't only for the simply sweet. Add but a dash of bitter taste, and I promise to you, it shall be tugged anew.

Send the ship to the jagged reefs and see it sail into storm. If it comes out the other side in one piece, it will make for a more rounded story.
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Teria

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No attack? Wow. Thanks everybody. :)

I agree, maybe it's only the lack of challenge with her that makes her look boring to me. I like the fun, crazy, over-the-top chars because they offer endless conflict and joke potential in a story. Claire, not so much.
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Gladstone

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Heartstring-tugging isn't only for the simply sweet. Add but a dash of bitter taste, and I promise to you, it shall be tugged anew.

Send the ship to the jagged reefs and see it sail into storm. If it comes out the other side in one piece, it will make for a more rounded story.

Yeah, good point.  I was thinking "what cute things are left to happen?" when I should've been wondering "what can happen next?"  Obviously, everything has gone well for them so far--Claire didn't punch Marten in the junk while yelling about Hitler, Marten didn't say or do anything stupid either--but that was all just setup.  But last week we started getting signs that something is going to happen.  The interns came with expiration dates when they were first introduced; unlike most of the other characters, Gabby and Emily and Claire had only a limited time in their roles before things would have to change.  Gabby didn't make it (alas), but Claire and Emily did, and now their time as interns is coming to an end, meaning...what?

I don't see either of them getting written out of the strip, of course.  Jeph likes both of them too much, and he wouldn't have spent that much time setting up Claire and Marten just to pull the rug out from under us.  But there's still the question about what they'll do next.  I'm not sure if Emily will stay in the library, since she was only interning because she "likes books" and didn't seem as concerned about Tai's unprofessional evaluation as Claire was.  The library is pretty well-staffed with Marten and Tai and Momo already (if Momo still works there--I suspect her absense is just oversight on Jeph's part), so adding both Emily and Claire would probably be unnecessary (although I could be wrong), and Emily would still have a link to the characters as Clinton's girlfriend.  As for Claire, if she doesn't get hired there, I'll be very surprised.  I won't speculate on whether she'll be an additional employee or replace Tai or Marten, since I want to talk about other things, but either is possible.

And Claire getting hired as a librarian and remaining in the cast does hint at a potential endgame.  When he was dating Dora, Marten never seemed pressured to improve his lot in life.  Despite dating someone slightly older than him, who had taken a different course in life after college and had gone on to start her own business, he seemed content to continue coasting along in his job and only halfheartedly working on his music.  That's as far as we know, of course, but there was never any indication that Marten and Dora were concerned about their future together.  If they were, Marten would probably have been inspired to actually make some goals and work towards achieving them. 

But things feel different with Claire in the picture.  Unlike Dora, who had already achieved her goals, Claire is still working on them.  She's much closer to Marten in that respect--but unlike Marten, she has a much more solid plan in mind.  And I don't think she's going to be satisfied having a partner who doesn't have a plan of his own.  That's not to say she'll be the stereotypical harpy-who-wants-to-change-her-man, but I can't imagine she'll stay silent when it comes to Marten's career goals.  Claire just might be the motivation Marten needs and didn't get with Dora.  He's already feeling unsatisfied with just treading water, so it shouldn't be hard for her to start nudging him in a direction he wants to go--specifically, back to band practice, and eventually to his first show. 

(Although the Patreon comic, if made canon, makes it clear that Amir is the one who sets things in motion--but Marten's probably going to need a bit of a confidence boost from time to time to stay motivated, hence Claire.)

Like I said, endgame.  Or several moves before it.  Third quarter, in sportsball terms.  Questionable Content is still a slice-of-life story with no over-arching goal in mind, but it would be rather disheartening if Jeph ended the comic with Marten in the same rut he was stuck in in the beginning.  I much prefer BenRG's idea of Marten coming home from a job he loves, happy with the way his life is going, a reversed image of the first strip.  Whether that happens after just one more year of comics or after another ten, and whether or not Claire is in the picture at that point, it still feels like QC is starting to turn in that direction, and I really feel that Marten's relationship with Claire is going to be a factor in that.
« Last Edit: 28 Apr 2015, 16:38 by Gladstone »
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Gladstone

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...of course, when I say endgame/third quarter, I just meant for Marten's arc in the comic.  As Lubricus pointed out, there are a lot of unresolved stories out there, so even if we're closer to the end than the beginning there are still years of strips before that happens.  Five comics a week comes to roughly 250 a year, so if QC goes on for another 5-10 years there is still plenty of room for development.

Also, we'll hit strip #3000 in July.  Are we in for something new, like Momo's new chassis in #2000, or something old, like the naked ladies in #1000?
« Last Edit: 28 Apr 2015, 17:10 by Gladstone »
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Aziraphale

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Random prediction: The strip will end at 5000.
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Gladstone

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Jeph did say in #509 that he wasn't sure if "The Talk" marked "the halfway point or 3/4ths point or hell the 1/10ths point of the overall story."  His first two guesses were wrong, but #5000 would be right on the mark.  I can see it happening, and I'd be happy with 7-8 more years of QC.
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Is it cold in here?

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No attack? Wow. Thanks everybody. :)

We take the civility rule seriously here.
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In your face, darkness!  We are the light and we outnumber you!

hedgie

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Random prediction: The strip will end at 5000.

The Law of Fives is never wrong.
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de_la_Nae

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I am a firm proponent of the SS Claireten.

That said, it may sink one day. Such is life.

I'm glad we can focus on some other things now.

(for now dun dun duuuun)


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I'm really not feeling it with them. Claire seems to just be "The one who makes terrible puns", and their dates/interactions consist entirely of overly-obvious attempts at being cutesy. The "Head-Scritching" and the "You're girlfriend's a dork" ">__< I KNOW!" being the most-apparent examples. It just feels too over-the-top and "OH MY GOD THIS IS SO CUTE YOU GUYS SHOULD ALL LOVE THIS!" to me. It's cloying.

Marten & Dora had an interesting dynamic- she was bossy, controlling and relentlessly-paranoid while he was weak, frequently-spineless and had no ability to deal with anger or stress. Obviously Marten/Faye was such an interesting dynamic that it basically ran the strip for 500+ strips, and continued/s to be important. Even Marten & Padma was interesting because of his issues in dealing with it. I'm not feeling anything with them. Maybe if they start acting so cute that it annoys everyone (reminds me of that great Seinfeld episode where he & his girlfriend irritate everyone by calling the other "Shmoopie!"). But otherwise, there's too little there.
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de_la_Nae

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Christ


It's like there's a sizable portion of the readership that demands blood in the water, and the earlier the better.

BenRG

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It's like there's a sizable portion of the readership that demands blood in the water, and the earlier the better.

I think that it's more of a case that they think that a happy couple makes for a boring story. Only through conflict, pain and angst can this ship be interesting to them.

It's the classic Mulder/Scully Effect - The 'will they/ won't they' is compulsive viewing but the very same fans find a settled relationship for the characters boring. They need constant dynamic change (for better or worse) to keep invested.
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de_la_Nae

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That sounds insane to me. They have to get a valley sometimes, or the next peak won't have any effect.

Where are they getting their lows, then?

Thrudd

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CNN, Fox or the weather network.  :-P
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Christ


It's like there's a sizable portion of the readership that demands blood in the water, and the earlier the better.
How do I break this to you, de la Nae? We're... We're all sharks. I'm so sorry we didn't tell you sooner.
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Thrudd

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Not all are sharks. Some are pilot fish just tagging along waiting for tasty morsels.

There are also barracuda, Clownfish, wrasses, moray eels, gobies and the innumerable cuttlefish [aka lurkers].
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And some of us are sea turtles, dude.

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Oh, and here I thought you were an old coot.  :clairedoge:

As an aside, I just realized that there was something common about most of the fish species I listed.   :wink:
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I think it is more like the Erkel effect. A new character comes, everyone is excited because this new character is quirky and awesome. So they give the character a bigger and bigger part. Soon the character is dating another character. Then the story is ONLY ABOUT THAT, screw any other plot lines. or, even better, we will work the new character couple INTO these other plotlines! even if there is no reason for them to be there! After all, everyone loves this character, how could anyone ever get sick of them. No such thing as too much of a good thing AMIRITE?!!?!?!

I don't dislike Marten and Claire, nor do I wish bad things would happen to their relationship. But at this point, only show them if they directly affect the plot of the comic, and if you mention their relationship, do it in a way that furthers their plotline.

To me, it feels like their plot has stagnated. and I have no interest in 500 more strips of the same goddam thing. Steve and an adventure with his kiebler elves would be more interesting.
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ASB84

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There's a lot of ground between "drama-filled relationship implosion" and "sickeningly sweet and cutesy". For those of us who aren't loving every moment of Marten and Claire, we're not (all) asking for drama, just more of a balance between cute moments, funny moments, character development, and so on. To represent our point of view with a false dichotomy like that is just silly. There doesn't have to be constant angst, but when every moment comes down to "Look how cute they are! Squee squee squee!', for some of us that alternates between boring and irritating. Or irritatingly boring.

I think it is more like the Erkel effect. A new character comes, everyone is excited because this new character is quirky and awesome. So they give the character a bigger and bigger part. Soon the character is dating another character. Then the story is ONLY ABOUT THAT, screw any other plot lines. or, even better, we will work the new character couple INTO these other plotlines! even if there is no reason for them to be there! After all, everyone loves this character, how could anyone ever get sick of them. No such thing as too much of a good thing AMIRITE?!!?!?!

I don't dislike Marten and Claire, nor do I wish bad things would happen to their relationship. But at this point, only show them if they directly affect the plot of the comic, and if you mention their relationship, do it in a way that furthers their plotline.

To me, it feels like their plot has stagnated. and I have no interest in 500 more strips of the same goddam thing. Steve and an adventure with his kiebler elves would be more interesting.

I'm really not feeling it with them. Claire seems to just be "The one who makes terrible puns", and their dates/interactions consist entirely of overly-obvious attempts at being cutesy. The "Head-Scritching" and the "You're girlfriend's a dork" ">__< I KNOW!" being the most-apparent examples. It just feels too over-the-top and "OH MY GOD THIS IS SO CUTE YOU GUYS SHOULD ALL LOVE THIS!" to me. It's cloying.

Marten & Dora had an interesting dynamic- she was bossy, controlling and relentlessly-paranoid while he was weak, frequently-spineless and had no ability to deal with anger or stress. Obviously Marten/Faye was such an interesting dynamic that it basically ran the strip for 500+ strips, and continued/s to be important. Even Marten & Padma was interesting because of his issues in dealing with it. I'm not feeling anything with them. Maybe if they start acting so cute that it annoys everyone (reminds me of that great Seinfeld episode where he & his girlfriend irritate everyone by calling the other "Shmoopie!"). But otherwise, there's too little there.

I think you've both nailed it in those posts. At times, I think there's been a bit too much shilling of them as a couple. In addition to the examples you mentioned, Jab, there's also the reaction of seemingly everyone else in the strip when they got together. The punchline of someone finding out and having an over the top joyful and excited reaction to seeing they were a couple was a bit on the nose. At times, it felt just a few steps away from one of the other characters turning to address us and shattering the fourth wall by saying "Wow, isn't this great? Aren't they just the cutest couple ever? This is amazing!"

Compare that to Marten and Dora. Ultimately, that relationship wasn't going to last, and you could certainly argue that Marten and Claire are a better match. But I think the relationship between Marten and Dora was portrayed a lot better, taking into account the reactions of the other characters, the balance between punchlines, cute moments, and more dramatic fare, and their involvement in other characters' arcs. I also think there was a better build to the relationship happening in the first place.

Look, I get that it must be tiresome for people who are loving "Claireten" (which would appear to be the majority) to hear anything negative from people who aren't enjoying it so much. We all bristle when we hear someone criticise a band we like, a TV show we enjoy, our all-time favourite movie, the sport/team/player we follow...I get it. But I think we're (still) being unfairly portrayed as joyless misanthropes who want nothing but angst, when most of us who feel that way about the relationship are just a little tired of cutesy stuff, especially when it seems to be the whole point of the story, and when there's nothing to cut through the treacle. For a community that happily (and rightfully) goes to great lengths to be inclusive and progressive, I have to admit that it's a bit disheartening for us to be shouted down in such a sneering manner. Again, I'm sure it gets a bit tiresome to hear the negativity, but I think a lot of those posts are actually trying to clear up misconceptions and explain a point of view. It's not about ramming the point down your throat, it's more about "Hold up, you're not quite getting where we're coming from here; that's not what we're saying, this is what we're saying."
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Well put! But there will be plenty of complications later, no doubt, rather than endless continuation of the squeefest.
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TRVA123

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That might be true, but something that may or may not happen down the road isn't really keeping me engaged in the comic now.

I like this comic, I've been reading it for years. I really don't want to wake up one day and realize that the comic has become boring for me.
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Aziraphale

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I don't think QC has jumped the shark yet, but it's easy to see how it could go that way.
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mustang6172

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I suppose Veronica's sudden relocation could be seen as an act of shark jumping.

Not much of a shark though.  Maybe it was more like a manta ray.
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TRVA123

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I would love to see Veronica literally jump the shark. The ocean is within driving distance, right?
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Gladstone

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Marten literally went into outer space three years ago.  After that, any discussion about jumping the shark seems kinda ridiculous.

That said, I was firmly Team Claireten when they first got together, and for most of the next 150 strips, but I agree that it's starting to get a bit dull.  And I think Jeph was just starting to wrap up the honeymoon phase these last two weeks, with Claire nearing the end of her internship and Marten's mom not even batting an eye at their relationship.  Like I said above, Claire getting an actual job at the library might bring a bit of complication into the mix.  But that plot apparently got a bit derailed by Jeph's anxiety attack last week, and it looks like he wanted to focus on something else for this week, so if we're treated to few more panels of Marten and Claire being cute with each other in the background, whatever, I can take it.
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de_la_Nae

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^

Maybe I'm just too busy dealing with all the ridiculous bullshit in real life, chock full of its violence and sadness, that I'm a little sensitive to not wanting to jump right back into it in all my stories. Maybe that's on me.

Just seems a little odd sometimes, like I've said, considering how long it took Marten and Dora to have any serious problems, and I don't remember people getting all eugh about that, though maybe I haven't filed it away properly.

That said, ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ again; it's not like the icebergs aren't up ahead.

ASB84

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That might be true, but something that may or may not happen down the road isn't really keeping me engaged in the comic now.

I like this comic, I've been reading it for years. I really don't want to wake up one day and realize that the comic has become boring for me.

I have to admit, I was feeling a bit that way during the date arc; that the comic had lost the spark that got me interested in the first place, and that perhaps it was time to stop reading, or at least stop reading every day, so that the arcs would unfold at a quicker pace and I could skim over anything that I didn't find gripping by way of a catch-up binge. I'm glad I stuck it out though, as there have been good arcs and funny moments since.

QC is high enough quality and I feel invested in it enough to be patient and stick with it through times where I'm not enthralled with the current direction, and the last thing I'm ever going to do is leave in a huff; I hate when folks do that online, in the name of getting some attention just because they don't like something anymore. But there were a few moments late last year where I found myself thinking "Man, I'm really not enjoying this. Is it time to stop reading?", which was unfortunate and a little sad. I'm a "to the bitter end" kind of person when it comes to my favourite TV shows and whatnot, so it's rare that I give up on something before its run is over. But again, I'm glad that I didn't, and although cute overload makes me cringe a little, I still want to stick around.

^

Maybe I'm just too busy dealing with all the ridiculous bullshit in real life, chock full of its violence and sadness, that I'm a little sensitive to not wanting to jump right back into it in all my stories. Maybe that's on me.

Just seems a little odd sometimes, like I've said, considering how long it took Marten and Dora to have any serious problems, and I don't remember people getting all eugh about that, though maybe I haven't filed it away properly.

That said, ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ again; it's not like the icebergs aren't up ahead.

Completely understandable, and I'm all for fiction giving us some feel good moments, especially during times when the real world is being a bit unkind. But like I said, it's not like we're all necessarily asking for angst and sadness, just less over-the-top cutesy-poo squee fodder. That was the difference between Marten/Dora and Marten/Claire; the former wasn't over-the-top in terms of cuteness, nor tried to push the relationship as The Most Wonderful Thing Ever, which the latter kind of has been. Again, there's a lot of ground between angst and adorable perfection. We're not saying make them sad, some of us would just like the saccharine moments toned down a tad.
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BenRG

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FWIW, one of the things that annoys me about the debate on this is that I think that we are past the 'focus on cute relationship' phase in how Jeph is showing Marten and Claire. The last two times Claire and Marten were the feature characters, the stories were about Claire's studies and career and, prior to that, her relationship with Faye. Even before that, the most recent "we're fine" moment was a genuine character-building moment with Claire expressing her fears about how Marten feels about being intimate with a transwoman - it was her statement of her feelings that mattered, not necessarily Marten's response, which was a boilerplate (although interestingly nuanced in its own way).

As has been stated ad nauseum, we are only about 10-14 days into their formal relationship; expecting more than cloud nine from either of them at this point is probably unrealistic.
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