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Eric: After all that, an interpretive essay on PvP. Clearly, I like to live dangerously.

PvP

(From PvP. Click on the thumbnail for full sized Fin.)

With today's strip -- which yes, has already come out in the ugly, cow-milking hour I find myself awake in (I blame Daylight Savings Time. My body always senses when it's about to begin or end, and my sleep schedule gets screwed a few days in advanced and stays screwed for a few weeks.) -- Scott Kurtz has brought to an end the storyline he began on October 10. A storyline that I like to call "My God, Gwen -- what if I'm pregnant?!"

Pregnancy is old hat in comics in general, as well as in webcomics. It's one of those tropes you pull out. And you know all the responses to those tropes if you really think about it. The guy who starts packing his bags and living in denial. The woman who starts buying out all the stores that stock baby supplies. The instant adoration. The epiphanies on all sides. The guy humor that surrounds the guy who just wants to go bowling and play cards with his buddies, but now there's a baby on the way. Stork jokes. Pickle jokes. Wombs going twing--

Sorry. I should be a better man than that.

Anyhow, there's all of those things. You've seen them. So have I.

But it's pretty rare that I've seen anything quite like what Scott Kurtz did over the past sixteen days. And it's extremely rare that anyone did it as well.

What Kurtz did... well, was treat it with a sense of reality. Only without sacrificing humor. And he made it Brent's story, which was brave. It's easy to make it the potential mother's story -- after all, Jade is a main character just like Brent is. And I think the characterization of Jade was absolutely nailed. In fact, it's characterization that's made this storyline so special.

Regardless, since Jade was the one who might be pregnant, it would be easy to make this a Jade storyline. And I think it would have been good if it had been. But by making Brent the centerpiece, and to also treat the events with a certain sense of reality, Kurtz was able to tell a different kind of story -- and show how his characters are among the best.

Brent's sense of shock (going tharn, to use a Watership Downism), giving way to the discussion he and Jade had, seemed spot on. He didn't freak out, or froth, or anything else. He was stunned, and then he started talking about it with Jade. There was some arguing, and some discussing, and some comforting. And Jade herself was panicked -- that first phone call rang absolutely true to me. This was a professional woman who'd discovered her world might be upside down, and she had no idea how to react. The same as Brent, of course. You got a sense that Jade was having every option that flies through one's brain in a situation like that -- motherhood, marriage, abortion (no, I have no idea what Jade or Kurtz's stance on abortion is. But it'd be hard to believe it wouldn't pass through her head even if she ultimately wanted the child.), whether she would lose Brent, whether she would lose her job (of course she wouldn't, but again, it's the kind of thing that hits a person in these situations), and so on and so forth.

And Brent... well, dealt with it, ultimately, the way Brent always does. Brent goes for the 'reasoned, intellectual' answer, always. He prefers not to be emotional if he can help it. So, after the initial shock, he tells her that if she's pregnant, she's pregnant. It's an attempt to make things normal until they know they're not. To make things reasonable. To not be "that couple." To not be a cliché. And then they watch a movie (why they're not in his home theater, I don't know -- I guess they're over at her place).

And then they fall asleep. And Brent dreams. Or doesn't dream -- the point is raised later that this might be a fugue, or a vision, or something. And in a strip where photocopiers get abused by the gigantic asses of blue trolls, who are we to say what this was or wasn't. Regardless, Brent is forced to consider what life would be like as a father, when he meets the daughter he had 'forgotten he had.'

Stop right here. Read this strip, especially if you're a cartoonist of any kind. In four panels, he took a comic strip cliché -- the prospective husband/new father meets his new children/has a dream of his new children (Bloom County alone did it twice) -- and turned it into an absolute master class on introducing a sympathetic character. Brent and Jade's daughter (who is never named) has a solid, believable personality that you care about by panel four. She's not a plot device. She's a person. What's more, she's a person I could credibly believe was raised by Jade and Brent. By the end of this strip, I could believe in her. (And part of me wondered if Kurtz might simply have had her be a character from that point forward, all Buffy's-little-sister style.)

By the end of the next day's strip, even as she admitted she wasn't real... I wanted her to be. And whether he would admit it or not, so did Brent.

The point came clear over the next several days. We were not just watching Brent deal subconsciously/through divine intervention with a life changing event he had tried to rationalize away. We were watching Brent grow. We were watching him evolve. And open his mind to new possibilities. Jade, he was realizing, wasn't just a woman he loved and liked having sex with. Jade was a part of his life. And one day, that would also potentially include children.

And part of him reacted selfishly, and part of him wanted it. It was, in a word, bittersweet.

No, I don't think that at the end of this story Jade and Brent want to start a family immediately. Given their characterization, if they had been expecting, I think we would have seen some emotionally charged conversations over what to do, and what options to explore. Whether or not to get married. Whether or not to get an abortion. Whether or not they were ready. They as much as said that the timing was wrong.

But, as is also realistic in these situations, when they discovered it was a false alarm... they had a sense of sadness, too. There was a potential there, and it was gone. As I said, it was bittersweet.

Today's strip, to me, is the perfect resolution. There's a couple of ways to look at it. On the one hand, this could be Brent hoping to get as much of Jade as he can before the day comes that he has to share her with a family -- he copped to that selfish impulse, after all. (It's an impulse I can understand, having a person whose time I like to monopolize in my life, now.) On the other hand, this could be Brent accepting that the day will come that he wants that daughter, and wants to embrace the life that could lead to her, for both Brent and Jade.

On the gripping hand, it could be that Brent has just realized that whether or not he and Jade ever have children, he wants that next step. This has made him grow, and realize what he has, and what more they can have, even if it can be scary.

I've heard from a lot of people about this storyline. And every person I've heard from loved it. They got different things out of it, and they got different hopes from it, but they all liked it. (Now, of course, someone will comment that they hated it, because Zathras can't have nice things, but as of this writing it's unanimous.) And I really liked it too. And now that it's over, I'm sure of three things:

1. Scott Kurtz pwnz0rs at characterization.
2. I'm looking forward to the proposal hijinks.
3. I want that daughter to be real.

Yeah. After all this, I want that daughter to be real. That's storytelling, kids. That's skill.

Scott Kurtz gets a biscuit. A tasty, tasty biscuit.

I hear they're good for making you feel better.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at October 26, 2005 6:38 AM

Comments

Comment from: John Duncan posted at October 26, 2005 8:06 AM

I read PvP before Websnark this morning and was quite impressed with Kurtz's end to the arc. I thought to myself, "Self, I wonder if Eric Burns has snarked this yet?" Sure enough, you had. Nice work. You and Kurtz both :)

Comment from: Horus posted at October 26, 2005 8:58 AM

At the risk of sounding stupid? Did I miss the announcement? Is Eric in love?

Comment from: Phil Kahn posted at October 26, 2005 9:33 AM

Oh, I think Eric is smitten with a certain day of the week.

Comment from: Doc posted at October 26, 2005 9:47 AM

*insert obligatory 'humpday' gag here* (whether this is the case or not)

As someone who reads pvp regularly but doesn't often get really *into* it this arc I really enjoyed. I want to say the strip that ended with 'you're not real are you' was my favourite just for pacing and really making you want more but the daughter was so cute and perfect with her wry wit in her first strip and the swing one where she swung away and came back as jade gave a perfect sense of not-quite-real dream sequence.

That said I really really really hope that Kurtz basically pulls a Millholland here and doesn't mention this again for a while, character development is good but I think packing it all in at once would cheapen it. We can tell Brent was going to propose to Jade and we know why, now that that reason is gone and he is 'off the hook' so to speak he'd need some time to decide what to do. To have him rush through with it even though his motivation is gone (or maybe it would be better to say that the urgency related to his motivation is gone) would seem a little forced.

That said it's nice to see that Kurtz can still do this stuff, PVP has been slipping into 'daily workplace humour' for me lately.

Comment from: Doc posted at October 26, 2005 9:52 AM

After all that I just was going back over it and realised I missed the cookies strip, it kind of worked better for me going from sitting on the bed to in a swing, more surreal dream sequence like.

Also: Skull plushie. Hardcore.

Comment from: Kail Panille posted at October 26, 2005 9:56 AM

Oh! That's a ring! D'oh.

No, I'm not going to tell you what I thought it was.

Also, the thumbnail at the top of the snark links to the strip before the strip that's actually thumbnailed. Just sayin'.

And the preview function on comments doesn't show line breaks.

*ducks*

*runs*

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 26, 2005 10:07 AM

This storyline started October 10? Really? I didn't notice that, or if I did I don't recall now. That was the day Arthur and Guenevere got married in most AKOTAS timezones. Because it's my anniversary.

Lois & Clark got married the second week of October too.

I'm just sayin'.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 10:08 AM

I like how the Skull plushie worked as symbolism for three days of heated comments on Websnark.

I'm having some fun playing with married names. Jade Sienna makes me giggle a bit. And I know I'm going to get in trouble for this, but it's supposed to be Monday that burns, not Wednesday! White-Burns isn't hugely better.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 10:11 AM

Reversing the double-barreled name doesn't work either. Wednesday would probably burn orange, like most humans not, say, covered in sulphur.

Yes, I took an entire extra comment just for that.

Comment from: Sukotto posted at October 26, 2005 10:21 AM

I'd like to know at what point Brent bought the ring. Before, or after he learned that Jade "might be pregnant".

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 26, 2005 10:25 AM

He clearly went to get the ring when he left the sleeping Jade. Whether he went out and bought it (at a late night jeweler's) or if he had it at his house and went to go get it, I couldn't say.

And by clearly, I mean "well, this works."

Comment from: Ceejamon posted at October 26, 2005 10:25 AM

I've been checking daily to see when Eric would snark PvP. I knew it had to happen soon.

I'm excited about this new twist in PvP. I figured it was inevitable. I mean, they've been dating for a pretty long time. It doesn't seem like they're going to break up again any time soon. Brent has grown up A LOT in recent times. Sure, they're gonna get married. It makes sense.

Plus, it opens the door for a new type of humor: married humor. It's a topic Scott toyed with for a while when he did that comic on Modern Tales about him and his wife (I forget the name... Wedding Bands or something)

It should be interesting. There's plenty of room for funny between now and the actual wedding. There's all the stress and drama that comes with planning a wedding. Brent being who he is is going to freak when he sees how much money gets wasted on stupid crap for the ceremony and reception. Also... there's inlaws.

I think it's a great move on Scott's part. It has lots of potential for hilarity. Miranda is gonna lay an egg when Brent proposes.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 26, 2005 10:28 AM

He used to do married humor with Cole and his wife, though we haven't seen so much recently. (Wedlock was the strip you're thinking of.)

And all we know right now is Brent's planning to propose. We don't yet know that Jade will say yes. ;)

(The question is, will they have an in-game World of Warcraft wedding too... and will it make Brent's head explode.)

Comment from: Kirath posted at October 26, 2005 10:50 AM

I absolutely loved this storyline! I'm a daily PvP reader, but for a while there it was just read, quiet chuckle, move on to the next strip on my list. This storyline really made me sit up and pay attention.

I want that daughter to be real, too, dammit.

On a completely unrelated note, Tharn is one of the best words ever.

Comment from: Dave Van Domelen posted at October 26, 2005 11:01 AM

Note: Jade is leaving, so they've been at Brent's place the whole time. Guess the home theater is no more, or they simply didn't feel like using it. :)

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 11:21 AM

To continue on one point Eric touched upon...

The thing that killed me about Brent's daughter was that I knew, right from the get-go, that she wasn't real (as Eric said, this type of story has been done plenty of times). And yet, I really quickly grew to like her alot. And I knew that she had to not be real and leave shortly after appearing because otherwise, the story would have been weak. In fact, it was partly because she wasn't real (and owned up to it immediately) that I grew to like her so fast.

In short, Kurtz made a character I knew wasn't going to be around long, and made me like her that much anyhow.

Curse you, Max Powers! Er, I mean Scott Kurtz!

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 11:24 AM

As for missing any announcements from Eric... c'mon, the man already told us he has to deal with Sith cleavage (but not Kate Sith's cleavage) in his relationship. How much more info do you need?

Comment from: larksilver posted at October 26, 2005 11:24 AM

Home theaters are grand... but are they appropriate for dream sequences with snuggles on tummies and sleeping maybe-mommas?

Nice Snark, there, Mr. Burns. I've enjoyed this storyline quite a bit, knowing that, even if she turned out to not be preggo, it may portend change in the wind.

Scott Kurtz does very well at "married humor." If this portends a return to some of that, I look forward to it! Ah, heck, even if not, I enjoy PvP either way.

Comment from: dreamshade posted at October 26, 2005 11:37 AM

The thing that gets me about this: webcomics are still a "new" artform. PvP has been around for a few years, and it's considered an older comic.

Look at For Better or For Worse. There's a comic that has run for decades, and its characters have aged in real time.

If you asked Kurtz five years ago if he thought that the comic was going to be at this point, he probably would have said no. For the comic to run long enough that the little girl could reach the age that she was in Brent's vision, the comic would have to run at least another six or seven years for her to age in real time. How many webcomickers are thinking about where the comic is going to be seven years from now?

Comment from: Vannav posted at October 26, 2005 12:00 PM

I'm surprised that everyone thinks that Brent is definitely planning to propose... The way Brent sighed and then took the ring out of his pocket to stare at it made me imagine him thinking "I was ready to do this an hour ago, but now that I know Jade isn't pregnant, do I still want to get married?"

Maybe that's too much, but I still believe that if Brent was positive about wanting to marry Jade, he would have proposed right then. I think we still have some Brent-soul-searching to get through before a proposal.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 26, 2005 12:06 PM

How many webcomickers are thinking about where the comic is going to be seven years from now?

*raises his hand.*

Well, Gossamer Commons.

I know where the statue of John Stark will be seven years from now, if that helps?

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at October 26, 2005 12:21 PM

Home theaters are grand... but are they appropriate for dream sequences with snuggles on tummies and sleeping maybe-mommas?

Well, yeah. Consider who all the early adopters of home theatre technology are: porn aficionados. They were the ones buying the first VCRs, the first bigscreen televisions... of course it's appropriate. They're probably conceiving those kids in there.

("And then Mommy kissed Daddy, and the angel told the stork, and the stork flew down from heaven, and put the diamond into the cabbage patch, and the diamond turned into a baby!"

"Our parents are having a baby, too!"
"They had sex.")

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at October 26, 2005 12:29 PM

If you asked me where my webcomic was going to be seven years ago, I would have told you that after OS/2 took over the world the revolutionaries would have made me their king. Their KING, I tell you.

After I'd recovered all that data off my burned SCSI drive. 98 was a tough year.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 26, 2005 12:30 PM

How many webcomickers are thinking about where the comic is going to be seven years from now?

Well, this is Arthur, King of Time and Space year two, and today I'm drawing tomorrow's cartoon with a flashforward to year twenty-five.

So, seven years from now? Not me.

Comment from: Christopher B. Wright posted at October 26, 2005 12:30 PM

Seven years from now I think I might give all my characters ears.

Comment from: Tricia Lupien posted at October 26, 2005 12:35 PM

You know, every time I see a story arc starring "That Darn Stewie Cat!", I swear up and down I'm never going to read PVP again. But this last arc has really restored my faith in Kurtz as a writer. I really hope this isn't a one shot, and this is brought up again soon.

Comment from: Illian posted at October 26, 2005 1:21 PM

(The question is, will they have an in-game World of Warcraft wedding too... and will it make Brent's head explode.)

There is an amusing story that after the 1.8 patch, a guild on one of the RP servers was holding a wedding ceremony in the Twilight Grove in Duskwood.

Well, one of the notable things that was added in that patch were raidable Green Dragons that wandered near certain portals.

Apparently they got to "And you may now kiss the bride" when one of them (Lethon) spawned directly on top of the wedding and proceeded to wipe them all out.

=D

Comment from: Kishi posted at October 26, 2005 1:22 PM

One of my favorite lines from the whole arc is from the 'intro' comic linked above: "Mommy says I have your eyes." Which is such an absurd thing to consider about the man who's constantly wearing sunglasses, it just made me laugh.

Comment from: Tangent posted at October 26, 2005 2:10 PM

I'm not sure. As I said in my own Tangent on this last week (when Brent and Jade's daughter appeared), Scott won't change things that much. Jade wouldn't be pregnant (and she wasn't). Nor will Brent ask Jade to marry him.

Indeed, the storyline will likely change after this. We've seen that Brent was thinking of asking Jade to marry him. We've had our shock, our stinger. Next thing you know we'll be seeing Scott's dad griping about something in World of Warcraft or something else completely off-topic, and things will continue on as they were.

Which is kind of sad. But then again, Scott did say on more than one occasion that Brent and Jade would never be getting married, because part of the fun of the characters was the occasional breakup and then getting back together again (or something like that - can't remember where I read it). And we've seen now that Brent is not only mature enough to take responsibility for his actions (he was willing to marry Jade because he'd gotten her pregnant and he loves her - though I do wonder if he'd had the ring for a bit, or if he went out that night and picked one up), but that he can visualize himself spending the rest of his life with this woman, all in one gesture.

But hey, I gleefully reserve the right to be wrong about this, and for Brent to ask Jade to marry him in the next couple of days. I've been wrong before. I'll no doubt be wrong again. I'm just not going to hedge my bets on this one.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Webcomic Reviews
http://www.tangents.us

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 26, 2005 2:14 PM

Unless the fin at the lower right is off a red herring, Brent isn't going to be proposing to Jade any time soon. But I wouldn't be surprised if it happens eventually.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 2:43 PM

In regards to keeping Brent and Jade unmarried for potential relationship/break-up gags... he has plenty of avenues for them with Marcy and Francis. There's also potential for them with Skull and Sonya. He could suddenly introduce a romantic interest for Max Powers. And I've always had my questions about Robbie and Jase...

Comment from: Squiddhartha posted at October 26, 2005 2:44 PM

As a regular PvP reader, and as the father of two awesome boys, the October 25 strip actually made me a bit misty-eyed.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at October 26, 2005 3:01 PM

I absolutely adored this arc. Kurtz has very smoothly been making the transition from a pure gag strip to a more character-centric-story-strip with gags. His characters have been developing, and he's been doing a great job of it. Brett, especially, has gotten a lot of attention, between this arc, the coffee arc, and Kurtz has done an awesome job of evolving him from, basically, a walking gag. Kurtz may or may not be a hack, but he's a very talented hack.

Comment from: J Ryan Beattie posted at October 26, 2005 3:10 PM

Yeah, this arc was done very well. I do hope that he has Brent propose eventually. I like Brent and Jade, and I'd like to see their relationship continue to grow. Trying to keep them locked in the same sort of relationship would make things stagnant, ultimately.

Also, people, I think it's perfectly understandable that Eric hasn't told us much about his romantic interest. After all, taking a girl home to meet the fanbase is a big step, not to be undertaken lightly...

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 3:20 PM

Especially when the fanbase turns out to be unaccepting of this new interloper and calls Eric by the name we knew him as before he was cool and it's a big lead-up to Wednesday seeing them kissing and running off and I'm sorry, I'll come in again.

Comment from: Darth Paradox posted at October 26, 2005 3:21 PM

Well, I don't know where John Stark is going to be in seven years, but today he appears to be cameoing at The Whiteboard.

Dressed as Jennie Breeden.

Ow, my brain.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 26, 2005 3:26 PM

Well, I don't know where John Stark is going to be in seven years, but today he appears to be cameoing at The Whiteboard.

Dressed as Jennie Breeden.

Dude!

That's a fantastic John Stark, too.

Comment from: arscott posted at October 26, 2005 3:59 PM

"That said I really really really hope that Kurtz basically pulls a Millholland here and doesn't mention this again for a while, character development is good but I think packing it all in at once would cheapen it."
-----Doc

Is pulling a Millholland an established term for dropping a major plot bombshell and then ignoring it for three months, or did you just make that up.

'cause if the latter's the case, I motion to have the term mean cerebus syndroming a single character.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at October 26, 2005 4:05 PM

I think he made it up, but I might steal it.

But then, I think the Milholland style is a good one. I love major events that then have a chance to germinate. Think of it as a characterization limit break.

Dear Christ, I'm a dork.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at October 26, 2005 4:08 PM

Is pulling a Millholland an established term for dropping a major plot bombshell and then ignoring it for three months, or did you just make that up.

'cause if the latter's the case, I motion to have the term mean cerebus syndroming a single character.

But then Eric's lexicon would have an article that just said "see this other article".

Comment from: siwangmu posted at October 26, 2005 4:13 PM

How sad is it that I think the single best thing about this ending is that now the strip where he disappears off the couch makes sense? When I read that one I was all, "Wtf? What just happened? Am I supposed to get it?!" and now it makes me all happy as it's us watching him make a decision, we just don't know that until later.

Also, Merus? I totally don't know if that whole interloper-kissing scenario is an actual riff on something I should recognize or not, but if so, please enlighten

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 4:47 PM

No, Eric, a dork is someone who's sitting there thinking "Characterization desperation attacks - what we called them in 1994!" You know, someone like me.

I find it really funny that people bring Milholland up today as he reintroduced Nancy, after hinting about her constantly calling Davan for months. Which I've been patiently awaiting.

And siwangmu, if it makes you feel any better, I was really thankful for today's PvP for the same reason - his sudden disappearance from the couch really bothered me.

Comment from: Wednesday White posted at October 26, 2005 4:55 PM

Siwangmu: Merus is referencing the segment in [REDACTED] where [ELIDED] proposes to [OMITTED], and [CENSORED] manages to catch sight of them and storm, crying, out of the house.

I must admit, [TEXT REMOVED ON ADVICE OF THE SURGEON-GENERAL].

Comment from: kirabug posted at October 26, 2005 5:59 PM

The whole thing made me sad, which shows exactly how effective it was. Then again, I've reached that age where all my friends have or soon will have kids, and I have a terrier.

But I can definitely relate to Brent being sad. And the cookies.

...and running off and I'm sorry, I'll come in again.

Merus? Hilarious :) Needed that laugh.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 6:00 PM

Another way to put it is that it was the topic of a previous snark, and Eric isn't supposed to be allowed to say it again until November 17th.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at October 26, 2005 6:13 PM

How sad is it that Wednesday's clarification did actually lead to me figuring out exactly what it was and being able to name at least two of the actual characters involved when my entire exposure to it is through comments and that one article on this site?

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at October 26, 2005 6:36 PM

That little story arc was almost enough to get me reading PvP again. Almost.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 6:52 PM

I seem to have not been shot yet. I must say I'm surprised, but delighted nevertheless.

I was riffing on that particular Sue* storyline, although really it's general enough, except for the demiurgent joke, to fit most love triangles. Then again, there's not many 'meet the parents' style jokes you can do when you don't really know who one of the couple is, so Sue got the serve.

What I'm really curious about is what opinion of Wednesday's was erased by the Surgeon General up there. Guess it's something about the subject material than the joke, although if I was going to speculate, I'd guess [SPECULATION REMOVED ON ADVICE OF THE SURGEON-GENERAL] but that still leaves the question of the emeralds. So we may never know.

* names have been changed

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 7:04 PM

The question of the emeralds? Between that and the discussion of limit breaks, I'm afraid I might have video game talk just shedding off of me. Like I'm going to have to be kept off the good webcomics carpet or something.

Comment from: Merus posted at October 26, 2005 7:12 PM

Hey, yeah, you're right! I didn't mean video game emeralds, but now I think of it there's those Chaos Emeralds in the Sonic games, and the emeralds in Boulderdash, and there were emeralds as part of Diablo 2's gem thing!

The mystery deepens. Perhaps [TIRED RUNNING JOKE INSERTED BY THE SURGEON-GENERAL], but I'm sure someone can clean up my reasoning and make it coherant.

Comment from: bartles69 posted at October 26, 2005 8:14 PM

Although if you're looking for new video game emeralds dipped in electronic crack, try WildTangent's FATE (found at www.fatethegame.com), built to appeal to the casual gamer as well as the more devoted vidiots like myself. Not to imply that it's addictive, but as of Tuesday I'd spent/wasted over twenty hours playing my first game. And I haven't even reached the [SHAMELESS PLUG CENSORED BY SURGEON GENERAL]!!!

Comment from: Alexis Christoforides posted at October 26, 2005 8:20 PM

Hey, yeah, you're right! I didn't mean video game emeralds, but now I think of it there's those Chaos Emeralds in the Sonic games, and the emeralds in Boulderdash, and there were emeralds as part of Diablo 2's gem thing!

No conversation on video game gemstones, however tangential and/or irrelevant, is complete without reference to the Kyragem and the 256-colour shiny gemstones of Gods by the Bitmap Brothers.

Regarding Wednesday's censored opinion, I would think that [HI MOM!!!1 - SURGEON-GENERAL], but the sales tax is way too high. The sales tax is always too high re: love triangles.

Comment from: quiller posted at October 26, 2005 8:53 PM

Let me just say in regards to Milholland... OMG Scary Jesus Lady is back! Run for the hills!

Comment from: John Lynch posted at October 26, 2005 9:40 PM

Who is Nancy? I don't remember her.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 10:03 PM

I'm only going to say one thing about video games for now... anyone remember Dave's comment in the 9/28/05 Narbonic? That's my *entire life*. I'm always half-expecting Eric to suddenly email me and tell me to shut up about all the games.

As for S*P, Nancy originally appeared in the 10/10/2004 comic, "The Class of Ninety-Bore, pt. 5" She's introduced by name in the next one. She disappeared for a while after that, but she wasn't totally gone. Aubrey mentions that Nancy kept asking about Davan when PeeJee thinks about hooking Davan up with someone. Also, if you look in the background whenever Milholland shows Davan's old desk at Medi-Tech, you'll see a bunch of Post-it notes (or probably some cheap generic knock-off, given that it is Medi-Tech) that all say "Nancy called" (sometimes with a date attached).

Wow, I finally became "creepy guy who pays way too much attention to a webcomic."

Comment from: John Lynch posted at October 26, 2005 10:55 PM

Ooooh. So that's Nancy! I remember now. I've been waiting for Milholland to bring her back (I thought she was a bit too promising in her one appearance. Then again Milholland likes to keep Davan miserable so I wouldn't have been surprised had she never re-appeared).

I totally missed the Post-its though.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 26, 2005 11:28 PM

Well, doing a bit more searching on Nancy...

2/21/05 - Aubrey mentions that Nancy asked a couple times about Davan.
8/29/05 - Panel 2, you can see three messages clearly, and a bit of a fourth.
9/11/05 - Panel 3, three more messages, in a different orientation (suggesting that they're different ones).
9/15/05 - Panel 2, three messages on a different wall of Davan's desk.
9/18/05 - Panel 2, two more new locations for messages.
9/25/05 - Aubrey reveals that Nancy knew about Davan's new job before Aubrey. Davan denies telling Nancy, suggesting that Nancy found out by calling again and being told he left.

And finally, on 10/27/05, upon realizing that I also live in the Boston metro area, Randy Milholland gets a restraining order against me, afraid that I'm becoming a "little too into" Something Positive.

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at October 27, 2005 12:12 AM

Its a bit late, but there is a term for Cerebusing a single character. Its called evolution.

Comment from: siwangmu posted at October 27, 2005 12:19 AM

(1) 32, you are scary.
(2) DUDE, Thank you! I really really wished I could remember the specific mentions I saw, er, mentioned, and I now remember having actually noticed those post-its once and having been all "Wait, who's Nancy?" and then forgetting all about it.
(3) How the FUCK did you find those? Unless there's some really easy search engine I could've typed Nancy into when I was looking.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at October 27, 2005 12:40 AM

(1) I'd like to point out that I just wrote over 1400 words about participating in a Pokemon tournament. I'm the most scary man on the internet that's still fully clothed. And I'm probably scarier than at least a few that aren't.

(2) Not a problem. A few of my IRL friends that read S*P had forgotten all of those too.

(3) Actually, I just buzzed through all the S*P strips after Nancy's first appearance looking for any where Davan was at his desk at work (and there were a few that didn't have any messages). With a decent connection, it's amazing how fast you can buzz through comics - particularly when you're looking for something that happened in one particular background (allowing me to skip any comic that didn't feature Davan's workplace, or Davan at all).

Also, I am a journalist - one of the key tricks you learn is how to streamline fact-searching. It also helps when you're looking for something like this, that doesn't require independent corroboration.

Comment from: Meagen Image posted at October 27, 2005 10:19 AM

I've heard from a lot of people about this storyline. And every person I've heard from loved it. They got different things out of it, and they got different hopes from it, but they all liked it. (Now, of course, someone will comment that they hated it, because Zathras can't have nice things, but as of this writing it's unanimous.)

Not quite the post you were expecting, because I liked it too, but here it is.

My boyfriend (who is, in some ways, quite similar to Brent) reacted to this story by grumbling "I remember when PvP used to be funny".

Comment from: Godspiel posted at October 27, 2005 8:50 PM

"Think of it as a characterization limit break."

I like the sound of that better, and it can be abbreviated with the acronym "CLB".


"Its a bit late, but there is a term for Cerebusing a single character. Its called evolution."

Would dumping a ton of background all at once that had not been previously established or alluded to be creationism or intelligent design?

Comment from: EsotericWombat posted at October 31, 2005 6:59 AM

I'd say Creationism. Intelligent Design would be a character that woke up as a more well-adjusted person due to the author's whim. Obviously, nothing happened that made them change, because otherwise it would have been featured in a strip, and we're going to just eliminate the possibility of finding more about how the character came to have changed through a flashback later on.

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