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Eric: Oh, and Merry Christmas, while we're at it.

Todd and Penguin

(From Todd and Penguin. Click on the thumbnail for full sized... oh crap...)

It's really our own fault, you know.

Todd and Penguin has always been a comic strip about an innocent, loving, cookie-obsessed childlike penguin, and the guy who owns/raises him -- a guy who absolutely has the worst life ever.

Suddenly, things started going well for Todd. He finally got a job he liked. He finally had the woman he loved. They were starting a family. They enjoyed hearing the child move, and feeling the kick. To quote Lily Tomlin's The Search For Intelligent Life in the Universe, the bonding thing happened.

A few days ago, Todd was exhausted. He came home. His wife wanted him to go shopping. He begged off. Frustrated, she went without him. "You get coal!" she shouted back, over his shoulder.

Merry Christmas, Todd. You get coal.

I once described Todd and Penguin as the perfect blend of bitter and sweet. Lately, the sweet's been predominant. We were overdue for a bitter pill. And from here, Todd's blackness can rise back up. And of course, we don't know that Holly will survive. In any other comic strip, it would be certain. In this one, maybe she will, and maybe she won't.

And if she doesn't? Todd gets to remember that he refused to go with her, and maybe could have prevented the accident.

And if she does? Holly gets to remember that Todd refused to go with her, and maybe could have prevented the accident.

Todd and Penguin's humor is soft, but not always gentle.

You get coal, Todd. You get coal.

Posted by Eric Burns-White at December 17, 2005 6:52 PM

Comments

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at December 17, 2005 7:02 PM

There has been discussion that this Todd and Penguin is bringing the Cerebus, but when I read this I only said to myself, "Boy, Todd never catches a break." This isn't Cerebusing, this is just an extreme example of what Todd and Penguin's always been.

Comment from: chalcara posted at December 17, 2005 7:18 PM

I really don't want to be in his shoes now.

Those "what if..."s are the most painful things ever.

Comment from: Lyndon W posted at December 17, 2005 7:23 PM

On another hand, she could come out horribly disfigured.

Comment from: Abby L. posted at December 17, 2005 7:29 PM

I've never read that strip, but I'm killing myself waiting for the next few strips after I found it a few days ago.

Comment from: Abby L. posted at December 17, 2005 7:33 PM

In addition, I sure hope I can celebrate five years of drawing my comic by starting the most depressing storyline in the history of the world.

Comment from: Howard Tayler posted at December 17, 2005 7:38 PM

Man, I feel bad. David, if Todd won't share his coal with you, I'll share my biscuit.

Comment from: unholygoddess posted at December 17, 2005 7:54 PM

First it was Faye revealing that she watched her father kill himself. Now Todd and Holly lost their baby. I dont know if I can handle all of this drama at once.

Comment from: jjacques posted at December 17, 2005 8:09 PM

Jesus, and I thought MY comic got dark for a while there!

I'll have to one-up him by hitting Marten with a truck or something.

Which is how I've been threatening to end QC from day one anyway.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at December 17, 2005 8:31 PM

I'll have to one-up him by hitting Marten with a truck or something.

Which is how I've been threatening to end QC from day one anyway.

Top stabbed mortally with a sword by his own incestuously-conceived bastard, whom he's just impaled with a spear, on the battlefied where all of both their armies already lie dead.

Meanwhile, back on topic: I hope, and expect, there won't be an oppressive amount of what-if over this. What-if is all bitter and no sweet.

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 17, 2005 8:51 PM

Top stabbed mortally with a sword by his own incestuously-conceived bastard, whom he's just impaled with a spear, on the battlefied where all of both their armies already lie dead.

You've got a preworked plotline that's been tuned and retuned by tens (probably hundreds or even thousands, but most of them turned out insignificant) of people searching for greatest dramatic effect. Bit of a standing-on-giants thing..in other words, no fair one-upping other people's tragedies with Arthur!

But Jeph, just whacking Martin with a truck? That's a bit too much like comedy. Needs some tragic salting.

Comment from: Howard Tayler posted at December 17, 2005 8:53 PM

A truck full of babies? Which then crashes and bursts into flame?

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 17, 2005 8:55 PM

Dead babies, the gourmet sea salt of tragic cooks everywhere.

Comment from: Wrye posted at December 17, 2005 8:58 PM

A truck full of babies? Which then crashes and bursts into flame?

YES! Davan and Faye can be walking down the street in the foreground, Faye convinced Martin doesn't love her and she'll never know, now that he's been hit by the truck of babies. Milholland's the driver, of course. It writes itself!

Comment from: Canuck-Errant posted at December 17, 2005 8:58 PM

A truck full of unborn babies.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at December 17, 2005 9:09 PM

What, people wouldn't suggest a repeat of Gunpei Yokoi's death, complete with suspicions of yakuza involvement?

Comment from: kirabug posted at December 17, 2005 9:15 PM

It's interesting. When Faye's dad killed herself I was emotionally struck. When I read Todd and Penguin yestserday, I just shook my head and kept going. I can't decide if I'm just not emotionally invested in T and P, or if it's just too close to the holidays.

Comment from: miyaa posted at December 17, 2005 9:16 PM

Geeze, you guys are morbid today...

This isn't the first comic that has used the 'mother gets into accident and baby doesn't survive' drama card. I believe there was a syndicated comic --- Curtis, perhaps? --- that had it happen in one of its storylines. Although I think that may have been a shooting and not a car accident.

You know, if you really wanted to have Questionable Content turn really dramatic, you should have Faye's mom come up for a visit. Heck, maybe she'll mistakingly believe Marten is her husband. Or actually have Dora's cat actually murder someone with her claws. That would work.

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at December 17, 2005 9:35 PM

Guys, guys. A truck for tragedy is fine. But if you're looking for an *ending*, I'm pretty sure it has to be a bus.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 17, 2005 9:40 PM

A bus full of pregnant women and pulp fiction authors mourning their mothers.

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 17, 2005 9:41 PM

You know, if you really wanted to have Questionable Content turn really dramatic, you should have Faye's mom come up for a visit. Heck, maybe she'll mistakingly believe Marten is her husband. Or actually have Dora's cat actually murder someone with her claws. That would work.

For me, this would be running full tilt into excessive melodrama rather than effective drama. And the bit about the cat is just silly.

mm. Martin could finally take a chance on getting with some other girl, and Faye could find out she really can't handle that, become Psycho-Possessive, and really injure the interloper..that'd be dramatic. Or Pintsize could do it, and then it'd be dramatic and horrifyingly cute.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at December 17, 2005 9:42 PM

in other words, no fair one-upping other people's tragedies with Arthur!

I'll come in again.

Comment from: InkBlot posted at December 17, 2005 10:14 PM

Nah, nah, nah. You have to draw it out a least a couple of more strips. Faye realizes she could lose Martin, the Best Thing In Her Life (tm), and pulls a 180. They date, things work out, then we flash forward a few years. A wedding strip. A "first kid" strip. Then, both characters are older, happier, and one morning Faye goes outside to see Marten standing there.

He's looking over this playest he bought for their kids. The instructions don't make much sense.

Faye is crying, she raises a gun behind Martin and says, "I can live knowing this could happen!" and pulls the trigger.

Guarenteed Snark, guarenteed drama...I figure you could do it over 4-5 strips.

Comment from: PatMan posted at December 17, 2005 10:19 PM

Dude. The other day I was watching bits and pieces of various movies I have on DVD, and one of them was the ending to Sailor Moon R: The Movie. During the flashback, when Usagi mentions that her mommy is going to bring home a little brother from the hospital, my eyes got teary and I thought, "Sailor Moon didn't have a little brother! Dammit! Why does everyone have to miscarry in fiction?"


Then I remembered that Sailor Moon DOES have a little brother. See how jaded I am? I blame the Fantastic Four. They started it.

Comment from: Wrye posted at December 17, 2005 10:21 PM

Damn you, Richards!

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 17, 2005 10:28 PM

Faye is crying, she raises a gun behind Martin and says, "I can live knowing this could happen!" and pulls the trigger.

While Faye and Marten's child watches. The cycle must not be allowed to end.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 17, 2005 11:20 PM

While Faye and Marten's child watches. The cycle must not be allowed to end.

We just plotted the next sequence of Tarantino movies.

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at December 17, 2005 11:25 PM

"We just plotted the next sequence of Tarantino movies."

And thanks to the vaporization of lawyers which happened in the previous thread, we don't have to worry about getting sued here for talking about it.

Comment from: Canuck-Errant posted at December 17, 2005 11:32 PM

o/` It's the ciiiircle... o/`

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at December 17, 2005 11:39 PM

And then Pintsize starts killing people, but they think it's Faye. OH, yeah.

Comment from: RMG posted at December 17, 2005 11:39 PM

I think an even more depressing end to QC would be Faye and Marten getting married, having kids, life is good, only then Marten goes out one morning and shoots himself, showing Faye once and for all that she really *will* make anyone she gets close to kill themselves.

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 17, 2005 11:44 PM

then Marten goes out one morning and shoots himself, showing Faye once and for all that she really *will* make anyone she gets close to kill themselves.

Betcha that'd be a double suicide. I don't think Faye would survive that hit. And then the kids would go to Aunt Dora.

Comment from: Canuck-Errant posted at December 17, 2005 11:59 PM

Or, in a sneaky twist, DORA shoots herself, causing Faye to go into a depressive spiral into which she drags Marten, who can only try to bring her out of it while their kids look on, not understanding, gradually coming to blame themselves for it all because "we don't talk about that"... then the fire, the terrible fire...

Um.

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 18, 2005 12:10 AM

You listening, Jacques? You might manage to pull off earning hate mail by giving your characters a happy ending.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 18, 2005 12:12 AM

Betcha that'd be a double suicide. I don't think Faye would survive that hit. And then the kids would go to Aunt Dora.

Who was their REAL MOTHER ANYWAY!

Comment from: jjacques posted at December 18, 2005 12:14 AM

In the end, it turns out that Dora*, Faye, Martin, Ellen, Amir, Sven, and this weird girl I'm drawing for Monday's are all furries!

This revelation will be followed with 36 strips full of nonstop yiffing.

Then they're all hit by a truckbus**.

*: I've actually had "Dora as a furry" suggested to me in all seriousness by a number of readers. [shudder]

**: The hellish offspring of a truck and a bus.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at December 18, 2005 12:17 AM

Marten and Faye Hook up. Things seem perfect, until one morning, Marten walks downstairs and sees Faye standing in the yard. Suddenly she shoots herself. Marten has a nervous breakdown, and crashes into a tree, and dies.

Meanwhile, Pintsize is left on his own, and becomes an antropc prostitute to survive.

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 18, 2005 12:24 AM

hmm. No, I think Pintsize moves in with Pepito, and then Jacques and Randy collaborate on an "Odd Couple" spinoff/crossover.

Comment from: Brian Smith posted at December 18, 2005 12:47 AM

Or a Daily Dinosaur Comics crossover. Marten and Faye hook up, and then we cut to years afterwards, when they're old and stooped, holding hands out on the porch, and THEN the Earth stops in its orbit and they fly off together into the sky.

Comment from: whymy posted at December 18, 2005 1:14 AM

No no no... Faye steps outside to see Pintsize commit suicide while watching the sunrise.

And then everyone gets hit by a bustruck.

Comment from: Escushion posted at December 18, 2005 1:50 AM

Amateurs.

They're all in a truck that gets hit by a bus full of pregnant women and dogs (work with me here.) On collision, the bus goes flying off the road and into a ditch, where a fire immediately springs on all sides. The tires explode and any survivors of the fire are blinded by rubber shrapnel to the eyes. They stumlbe out into oncoming traffic, and the one who isn't killed instantly points at the car that struck them before dying. The driver gets down in the road and screams, only to be hit and killed by another car.

Back at the truck, it's crumbled in a heap between a telephone poll and a tree. The two parents seem dead and the child picks up the gun that fell from the dashboard, then kills himself. Then one parent wakes up, sees the child having committed suicide, sees the other dead, and kills himself. Then the other parent wakes up, sees that the other two shot themselves, writes "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" on a post-it note, runs out into the road with a gun, and shoots herself just as a cargo truck with a bus as its cargo splatters her on the pavement. The driver looks back, flips her remains the bird, and drives out of there. Ten years later (a flashforward), he feels guilt for the event, and drives his truck, pulling a bus, off a cliff, and just before hitting the bottom he shoots himself.

And some doves fly past. But one of the doves is really morbid about all this and slits its wings. The other doves bring it to counciling, but all this accomplishes is the dove realizing that slitting its wings is passe and it finds the truck-driver's gun and shoots itself.

And some more doves fly past.

That's how you do it, folks.

Comment from: Wrye posted at December 18, 2005 1:54 AM

But where does Kestrel fit in?

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at December 18, 2005 2:05 AM

Kestrel sees the whole thing by accident and is imensely traumatized. She goes to talk to Daven, and then realizing that she can't go on like this kills Daven and herself.

Comment from: Maritza Campos posted at December 18, 2005 2:24 AM

Rocks fall. Everybody dies.

Comment from: RoboYuji posted at December 18, 2005 2:40 AM

The most depressing ending would be if they simply all died of sadness.

Comment from: Leesha posted at December 18, 2005 3:29 AM

The most depressing ending would be if they simply all died of sadness.

That should not have made me laugh as much as it did.

Comment from: whymy posted at December 18, 2005 3:58 AM

It turns out that Sara was never eaten by an allosaurus, but instead was turned into one. Sarasaurous proceeds to go Jurassic Park on their asses.

Comment from: Montykins posted at December 18, 2005 12:19 PM

this weird girl I'm drawing for Monday's

OMG spoilers!

Comment from: Robert Hutchinson posted at December 18, 2005 12:42 PM

Escushion: With an ending that long, you've got to work in at least two or three strips in the middle where everyone is talking about indie bands.

Comment from: Doug posted at December 18, 2005 1:02 PM

And some more doves fly past.

That's how you do it, folks.

Comment from: Wrye

But where does Kestrel fit in?

Eats the doves, of course. And then chokes to death (cue more doves).

Comment from: Zeekar posted at December 18, 2005 1:13 PM

So, uhm, I'm guessing this isn't the best place to jump in as a new reader?

Seriously, I'd never heard of Todd and Penguin before I discovered Websnark, which I did Thursday via the Sluggy forum, and which promptly derailed my workday as I read through the archives.

Said reading convinced me that Wednesday and Eric have very similar tastes to me, so I decided to check out the comics they liked.

One such comic is T&P, and this was the very first strip that I saw. It didn't exactly make me want to dive into the archives and read the set-up for this horrible tragedy.

So I think T&P is going to stay off my tabset, at least for now. Maybe someday I'll feel up to reading through and past this point, but not today.

Comment from: Zaq posted at December 18, 2005 3:00 PM

"They're all in a truck that gets hit by a bus full of pregnant women and dogs (work with me here.) On collision, the bus goes flying off the road and into a ditch, where a fire immediately springs on all sides. The tires explode and any survivors of the fire are blinded by rubber shrapnel to the eyes. They stumlbe out into oncoming traffic, and the one who isn't killed instantly points at the car that struck them before dying. The driver gets down in the road and screams, only to be hit and killed by another car.

Back at the truck, it's crumbled in a heap between a telephone poll and a tree. The two parents seem dead and the child picks up the gun that fell from the dashboard, then kills himself. Then one parent wakes up, sees the child having committed suicide, sees the other dead, and kills himself. Then the other parent wakes up, sees that the other two shot themselves, writes "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" on a post-it note, runs out into the road with a gun, and shoots herself just as a cargo truck with a bus as its cargo splatters her on the pavement. The driver looks back, flips her remains the bird, and drives out of there. Ten years later (a flashforward), he feels guilt for the event, and drives his truck, pulling a bus, off a cliff, and just before hitting the bottom he shoots himself.

And some doves fly past. But one of the doves is really morbid about all this and slits its wings. The other doves bring it to counciling, but all this accomplishes is the dove realizing that slitting its wings is passe and it finds the truck-driver's gun and shoots itself.

And some more doves fly past."

..and then the father says, "The Aristocrats!"

Comment from: kirabug posted at December 18, 2005 4:06 PM

..and then the father says, "The Aristocrats!"

HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Exactly!

Comment from: jason posted at December 18, 2005 5:21 PM

Wow,

Now I feel like I've completly missed the boat by doing a happy storyline before Christmas.

WHAT WAS I THINKING!

Comment from: Escushion posted at December 18, 2005 5:55 PM

"Wow,

Now I feel like I've completly missed the boat by doing a happy storyline before Christmas."

You totally did.

Comment from: KenM posted at December 18, 2005 6:14 PM

Marten stays out all night drinking, and Faye's reality finally begins to crack. Ever since her abusive father left her family, she has had a psychotic break in the works. Apart from the suicide arc, the hallucinations have been relatively harmless: a talking robot pc, a superhero that delivers pizza . . . But when she fears Marten has left her for good, she finally breaks.

She wanders through the driving rain to Raven's house across town. "I'm having a horrible allergic reaction," she coughs out, eyes red and swollen, "and I can't bring myself to put this epipen in my heart. Can you do it?"
Raven, moved half to tears by the fact that Faye is trusting her, of all people to do it, asks how to work it.
"Close your eyes, push the button on the needle, and put it into my heart. It's about three inches to the right of the scar. And don't cover that side with your hand."

As he watches the police lead Raven away, Dora's cat smiles at the switchblade on the ground.

"Do you realize that you have the most beautiful face?"
" . . . Marten?"
He and Dora walk off into the sunset, each having left their separate wreaths at the grave. Five years on, they have both moved out of town, Marten a writer and Dora CEO of a large coffee chain, but for a moment it's almost as it was.

A note floats by: "I lava you."

Depressing, S*P crossover, indie rock . . . did I miss anything?

Comment from: Brendan posted at December 18, 2005 6:15 PM

No, no, this is how it should end. Marten winds up with Dora. Raven winds up with Steve. Faye becomes a close friend to Raven, and slowly gets over her old issues. When she does, she starts to get jealous of Dora until she and Marten "let her in," so to speak.

Raven finds out Steve has been sleeping with Vance. Her repressed issues come to the forefront and she kills herself. Faye is the first one to see her, and she bottles it in until, in bed with Marten and Dora, she gets up and jumps out the window. Looking at her corpse, they discover that she was pregnant with Marten's child. Marten and Dora look into things and find out about Steve and Vance. Marten kills Steve and kills Dora when she tries to stop him. Overcome with guilt, Marten kills himself, and Vance kills herself soon after.

When Amanda hears about this, she kills her mother, and then comes to Northampton and kills Ellen, Natasha, Amir, and Sara in her twisted conception of revenge. Jimbo, showing his true Massachusetts redneck blood, shoots her in the back of the head.

Jimbo then wanders around the room. "What do you call a thing like this?"
Pintsize jumps up and yells, "the aristocrats!"

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 18, 2005 6:17 PM

A happy story for Christmas? That's such the don't!

I am unreasonably amused by the concept of suicidal pigeons. Especially since one attempting death by cutting its wings greatly mirrors stupid human suicides (it'd be kinda like trying to kill yourself by breaking your arm.)

Comment from: Brian Smith posted at December 18, 2005 6:56 PM

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that having the "I lava you" note float by in Questionable Content would make it a three-way crossover with it, Something Positive and Midnight Macabre.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at December 18, 2005 7:16 PM

Marten ends up with Dora, but is still depressed because he really loves Faye. Meanwhile, Faye in a combination of jealous rage, and anger that she let Marten go, kills Dora, and then turns the gun on herself.

Marten arrives at Dora's house, and goes inside, only to find Dora and Faye. After the ambulance takes the bodies to the morgue, Marten starts drinking.

Years pass, and Marten is an unemployed, alcoholic who sleeps on Steve's (who is now married to Ellen) couch. Ellen is sick of Marten infringing on her and Steves otherwise happy life, and so she puts rat poison in his supper, killing him. The autopsy shows that marten was poisoned, and after a lenghty trial, Ellen is found guilty of murder. She hangs herself while in prison.

Steve is left alone with only Pintsize for company, until one day he runs in to Raven who he hadn't seen in years, living in a cardboard box in an alley. He takes her in, and several years pass, and they fall in love. They eventually get engaged, but on the day of their wedding, Raven is shot by a drug dealer who she owes money too. Pintsize is also shot. Having lost everyone he's ever known and loved, Steve ends his life.

Then a meteor hits the Earth, ending all human life.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at December 18, 2005 8:19 PM

Oh, and did anybody else think that the last pannel of Friday's Wigu was a lot like the last pannel of the Suicide QC?

Comment from: Shaenon posted at December 18, 2005 9:41 PM


Everybody would love a brutal rape scene in Narbonic about now, right?

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 18, 2005 9:50 PM

I don't think so, Shaenon. But you may manage to redirect the thread into 'most depressing possible ending for Narbonic', which would probably be even more amusing what with the mad science and stuff.

Comment from: Steven Orr posted at December 18, 2005 10:19 PM

YOU ARE ALL SERIOUS CRACK ADDICTS.



Man... If I didn't have Websnark, I'd be less happy with my life.

Comment from: Eric Burns posted at December 18, 2005 10:32 PM

Shaenon -- only if it involves Mongor.

Comment from: Paul Gadzikowski posted at December 18, 2005 11:14 PM

At Brent and Jade's wedding Max shoots himself in the head. Robbie and Jase accuse Cole of driving Max to it. Cole is convinced, and becomes despondent, as is Miranda who comes to realize she loved Max, and they kill themselves in a suicide pact. Jade succeeds to the ownership of PvP magazine and becomes such a martinet that she drives Francis to plot against her with Robbie and Jase, only to have Brent find out and poison them first. Brent is convicted on three counts of first degree murder. On the night Brent is executed Skull gets drunk and eats Jade by mistake. Scratch Fury is destroyed by Mongor and Kirby takes over the world.

Comment from: Archon Divinus posted at December 18, 2005 11:25 PM

But what happened to Marcey?

Comment from: Canuck-Errant posted at December 18, 2005 11:43 PM

And Kringus?

Comment from: nedlum posted at December 19, 2005 11:05 AM

Duh.

Marcy had a fling with Kringus and got pregnant. Francis found out and dumped Marcy. She and Kringus eventually got hitched and now live in a two-bed-two-bath ranch style house on in the North Dakota Badlands, raising a half human, half pine freak.

Dakota... shiver.

Comment from: Brendan posted at December 19, 2005 11:27 AM

And Gwen?

Comment from: 32_footsteps posted at December 19, 2005 11:39 AM

Actually, I think the most depressing ending to Narbonic would see everyone give up evil and devote the rest of their lives to raising a standard family somewhere in the suburbs.

Well, I'd be depressed reading it.

Comment from: Egarwaen posted at December 19, 2005 6:58 PM

As a belated note, Anywhere But Here appears to have done an unofficial (for now) cross-over.

Now I know why I love that strip so much. The writing is like some bizarre mix of GB Trudeau and Terry Pratchett.

Comment from: Tyck posted at December 20, 2005 8:51 PM

Oh..dear. Thanks for the link, Egarwaen. That there strip is some grade-A humanity.

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