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Author Topic: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories  (Read 5563 times)

BenRG

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Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« on: 18 Aug 2016, 02:48 »

A lot of people have said (not without justification) that one of the reasons that we don't see a lot of Marten, Dora, Pintsize or Hannelore is that their story arcs have dried up. A lot of their 'issues' have been resolved or at least shown to be under control and Jeph possibly is finding it a challenge to write for them anymore; there simply isn't a lot left to say about them. Thus, we've seen all four increasingly becoming occasionally-seen background characters.

What I'd like this thread to do is to encourage forumites to talk about what stories they feel remain to be told for the veteran characters. I'll start with a few ideas of my own.

Marten the Journalist
Whatever happened to Questionable Content - Marten's blog about all things modern music (indie and otherwise)? We haven't heard about it for thousands of strips now!

I'd like for it to come out that Marten is still updating it and it has a certain on-line following. I'd like this addressed by Claire encountering a few of her fellow MLS students (or Emily and Clinton hearing some MSc CompSci students) talking about it. One thing comes to another and Marten comes to the attention of the current editor of Smif's on-line student newspaper. Now, normally, it would be forbidden for the site to use external contributors. However, as Marten works at the library, he is technically staff and therefore republishing his blog is permissible.

This arc would allow for multiple strips of Marten writing his column on Pintsize with his little buddy's inevitable off-colour commentary and suggestions for pornographic sidebars and illustrations.

Does Marten get noticed by a larger media agency? Or do other news agencies in Massachusetts also ask for republishing rights? Maybe Marten can find a career in music after all, just not in the performing end.

Deathmøle
Why not get back to it? Maybe even freshen up the line-up by having unanticipated musical skills emerging (maybe Emily as a keyboardist). Deathmøle actually manage to get a gig at a club somewhere in Northampton (with Elliott guest-starring as door security). The reception is warm enough that they are able to shift their entire load of CDs of their first album! Meanwhile, Claire enjoys playing the leather-clad 'rock chick' for the night and is flattered by hearing some of the audience identifying her as 'the lead guitarist girl' and that he is a 'lucky dude'.

Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving - the holiday weekend where people remember the things for which they are thankful. I think that this could be used as the basis for a couple of arcs.

The Reed-Whitaker Thanksgiving
Normally, Marten and Faye don't make much of a thing of Thanksgiving, neither really having the patience or culinary skill to have more than a slight upgrade to their usual dining. This year, there have been some vague plans for him to celebrate the day with Jim and Veronica. However, very much at the last minute, Jim, Veronica and Sam are going to be going to the Bean family celebration out-of-state.

Similarly, Claire would normally celebrate the day with Clinton and her mother. However, Clinton is going to be going to an all-student 'do' and their mother is visiting one of her sisters. Also, when Faye mentions the holiday to Bubbles, Bubbles notes that Thanksgiving was a big thing for her unit and that she hasn't seriously celebrated the day since she was discharged.

So, over the course of a few strips, Marten and Faye decide to have Claire and Bubbles over at the apartment for the Thanksgiving weekend (which, AFAIK is four days). This would feature:
  • Faye insisting that Bubbles recharge in her bedroom; blushes ensue, especially when Faye offers Bubbles the teddy bear that Hanners bought her when she was in hospital;
  • Faye teasing Claire about her being 'the lady of the house' for this long weekend (she's a far better organiser than Marten or Faye);
  • Pintsize nearly getting stomped by Bubbles (and Faye) after making one too many 'foursome' comments;
  • A Black Friday shopping experience; something that is new for Bubbles and, perhaps not so surprisingly, Claire.
More than anything, this would be an exploration of the relationships and 'off duty' lives of the two original characters in an extended domestic/social interaction. Claire maybe deciding that she can see herself living at the apartment and Bubbles realising that she can and does enjoy being part of a social circle that is so close, it might as well be a family.

The Bianchi Thanksgiving
The Bianchi Thanksgiving is always a toe-curlingly embarrassing experience for Dora and Sven. However, this year, Dora is making an effort to be nice to Sven and he is making an effort to be more grown up and less obviously his parents perfect pet child. When Mrs B demands that both her children bring dates ("You are both too old to be unattached!") Dora reluctantly invites Tai along. Sven, much against Dora's better judgement, invites Hannelore. Hanners is quite firm that she is more than capable of enduring a social gathering, including sitting on other people's furniture and eating off of their plates. She's even been to bars where there is a lot of smoking (including of semi-legal blends) and she's handled that! She's not the phobic mess she was a few years back!

It's a disaster, of course. The Bianchi parents just can't stop embarrassing their kids and making their dates uncomfortable with open come-ons and inappropriate questions about their personal lives and sexual preferences. Surprisingly, Sven is even more annoyed than Dora, possibly because he's worried that his mother will freak out Hannelore. Actually Mrs B is nowhere near as disturbing and unsettling a familial figure as Beatrice Chatham and Hannelore is more than able to hold her own (even though her rate of hand-washing goes up).

Finally, the Bianchi kids blow their top at their parents. There is an ugly argument and they storm out after the Bianchi parents make it clear that they are not happy with children who they can't manipulate with either extreme preferential generosity or neglect. The final strip that I can see in this is Dora, Sven, Tai and Hannelore at Sven's house, eating take-out at his dinner table and remarking that they are thankful for their real families and friends.

The Stevecette Wedding
It's been long in coming and I think it would be interesting to see how Marten handles the Best Man duties (as well as Dora as Matron of Honour and the rest of the CoD girls as bridesmaids). A basically Marten & Steve story arc would take us right back to the very earliest days of the strip and allow for all manner of call-backs.
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Thrudd

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #1 on: 18 Aug 2016, 06:05 »

Marten the Journalist
Whatever happened to Questionable Content - Marten's blog about all things modern music (indie and otherwise)? We haven't heard about it for thousands of strips now!

I'd like for it to come out that Marten is still updating it and it has a certain on-line following. I'd like this addressed by Claire encountering a few of her fellow MLS students (or Emily and Clinton hearing some MSc CompSci students) talking about it. One thing comes to another and Marten comes to the attention of the current editor of Smif's on-line student newspaper. Now, normally, it would be forbidden for the site to use external contributors. However, as Marten works at the library, he is technically staff and therefore republishing his blog is permissible.

This arc would allow for multiple strips of Marten writing his column on Pintsize with his little buddy's inevitable off-colour commentary and suggestions for pornographic sidebars and illustrations.

Does Marten get noticed by a larger media agency? Or do other news agencies in Massachusetts also ask for republishing rights? Maybe Marten can find a career in music after all, just not in the performing end.

This would have been a viable arc a decade ago, maybe. In this day and age of dwindling subscriptions to print media and the media downsizing news staff while retaining sales and managerial positions is itself just not getting who their customer base is, I don't see any agencies getting off their porcelain thrones.

Now, looking at how "new" media is developing, I could see him slowly develop a following on his Blog once he starts posting videos and something causes his blog to reach the tipping point where he gets a not insignificant monthly payment through ad revenue sharing. I can envision as sorts of angst and antics surrounding the realization that he is becoming successful at something.

From there the Blog could lead to getting the Band "out there" to a wider audience and making decent change, not on utunes but from sales of ephemera like T-shirts and Branded Silicone Butts. [you know the little perv will get involved in some way]

As mentioned some time in the past, the blog could also lead to being noticed by the college staffing committee for a part time teaching position for the local small c celebrity.
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BenRG

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #2 on: 18 Aug 2016, 07:46 »

@Thrudd,

This might work especially well if you have Marten not being much in the way of Internet-savvy, at least where it comes to 'prettifying' his blog posts. At Pintsize's recommendation, he hires a high-schooler to do it (as everyone knows they have this in their genes these days). He chooses Sam to be the web-mistress of QC; as Claire remarks, this is going to look odd on her first résumé.
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TheEvilDog

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #3 on: 18 Aug 2016, 15:40 »

To be honest, I don't think that Jeph has run out of stories for the main cast (if we take the main cast to be Marten, Pintsize, Faye, Steve, Dora and Hanners, who were the first major characters to be introduced into the story). I do think he's realised that most of them are in a place where they can be considered happy or at a place where major storylines would probably do more to rock the boat and let's face it, do we want "teh dramas" for every character storyline?

Lets take a look at the last few storylines, starting at around 3100, just before Faye gets the job at the AI fight club:
- Faye gets a job repairing chassis, which is interspersed with Hanners and Tai trying (and succeeding) to get Dora to reconcile with Sven.
- Marten and Claire and Hanners ordering orbital strike pizzas.
- Faye's disastrous attempt to get Bubbles to socialise at a party, interspersed with Momo getting a little bit of that bubble of naivety popped but having a heart-to-heart talk to Bubbles.
- Tai convincing Dora to take a step back from working herself to death and granting more responsibility to the rest of the CoD staff....and accidentally hiring Emily.
- The story that can be bested, nor can any other story compare to it, the Saga of Bembo!
- Faye's development at the Fight Club and Bubbles discovery of Unicorn Grove as well as helping Two-Face Dent...I mean May.
- Meanwhile we see glimpses of Corpse Witch and its not a pretty sight.
- The next dozen or so strips are just funny little shorts.
- The next major storyline is Claire overstepping her boundries and messing with Clinton and Emily's affairs, which brings us to Brun in 3210.

So, about 110 strips and we have several storylines featuring most of the main cast (with a brief appearance from Steve). Sometimes a writer and an artist just wants to take a break from the main characters and mess around with some secondary characters and to be fair, that list of strips was pretty Faye intensive. It seems like Jeph isn't going back to characters be there are no stories for them, but the truth is, because we're only getting 5 comics a week, we're only seeing things at a reasonably slow pace. I mean that 110 strips covered 22 weeks of comics, nearly six months of comics! But its a huge amount of character development, drama, comedy and the like.
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Storel

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #4 on: 18 Aug 2016, 23:24 »

BenRG... dude... every time you do something like this, I'm just stunned by the sheer amount of creative ideas you have and the deftness with which you describe them. For everybody's sake, start writing your own webcomic or short stories or novels or something -- you are far too talented to be restricting yourself to, essentially, QC fanfiction.
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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #5 on: 19 Aug 2016, 00:26 »

I think Marten, Dora, Faye et al will remain the Core Cast of the Comic, but I also suspect that he is slowly introducing some new characters to inject some 'New Blood' into the mix and move the story forward and bring in some new storylines.  Bringing in new characters will allow Jeph to keep the Comic going rather than having just a small cast of characters - a situation that could lead to the death of the Comic.
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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #6 on: 24 Aug 2016, 22:41 »

The Stevecette Wedding
It's been long in coming and I think it would be interesting to see how Marten handles the Best Man duties (as well as Dora as Matron of Honour and the rest of the CoD girls as bridesmaids). A basically Marten & Steve story arc would take us right back to the very earliest days of the strip and allow for all manner of call-backs.

OHMYGODYESSSS!!!!!!!!!!!
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Penquin47

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #7 on: 25 Aug 2016, 14:41 »

No.  Dora is not anything of honor.

Dora is the FLOWER GIRL.
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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #8 on: 25 Aug 2016, 15:30 »

Why would Dora be Matron of Honour?
A) she wants to be a flower girl
B) Cosette already knows Martenmom
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Storel

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #9 on: 25 Aug 2016, 23:58 »

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Nepiophage

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #10 on: 26 Aug 2016, 00:28 »

B) Cosette already knows Martenmom
How?
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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #11 on: 26 Aug 2016, 16:52 »

No.  Dora is not anything of honor.

Dora is the FLOWER GIRL.

Indeed, she regards it as quite an Honor.
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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #12 on: 27 Aug 2016, 15:14 »

Lets just hope she doesn't go Klingon on people 
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BenRG

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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #13 on: 16 Feb 2017, 06:00 »

Random thought that just popped into my head:

Hannelore told Arthur at the Self-Help Group that she was named for her grandmother who was 'an eccentric baroness'. Now, Hannelore is bad at lies; the pseudonym that she made up is proof of that. I'm suddenly wondering if Beatrice's mother really was an eccentric baroness; that this baroness's surname was Wulfenbach and that Hannelore can trace her lineage back to a brilliant engineer named Agatha (whose own mother was a supervillain and her father a heroic inventor) who married into that family.

The Mongfish blood might explain Beatrice's nature and Hannelore's own brushes with villainous bursts of murderous rage (and other aspects of her Dark Side). There's no sign at this point of her inheriting the Spark talent but, given her father's mad scientific genius nature, maybe all it needs is for her to have the right stimuli. The miracles she does with tea for AIs suggests that she does have some unquantifiable near-paranormal talents in chemistry at least.

SPOOKYBOT: "It is not a coincidence that we have met, Hannelore Elicott-Chatham. You... are the last Heterodyne."

((All the SPOOKYBOT duplicates kneel and bow their heads, facing HANNERS))

HANNERS: "Am... Am I allowed to have a panic attack now?"

SPOOKYBOT: "We would think that it is expected; almost a necessary next step."
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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #14 on: 16 Feb 2017, 06:04 »

...The Professors Foglio just called.

One word: "No."
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Re: Veteran Characters - Untold Stories
« Reply #15 on: 16 Feb 2017, 21:05 »

Wouldn't that make the Grey-I's the next generation of Jaegers? 


Now I can't unhear them giving directions to Emily in that awful Russo/Polish/Yiddish accent...
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