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52 Pickup

This is Wednesday's and Friday's post together. I was running into a time crunch, so here's both. Next Patreon is about 40% done. :D

155 thoughts on “52 Pickup

    1. It’s not so much “creepy” as it is “I still kinda think this is the 1950s when that sort of thing was okay. What do you MEAN it’s not okay? What do you mean it’s 2015??”

  1. And we have some new additions to the D52 page. Wilf and Merrick were already there, but now we have Mr Night (tired guy), Nena and Durkin. How awesome is that!

    1. I can’t help but impose another Klayton reference onto this webcomic (my first being Celldwellers “Seven Sisters” song which was later proven to be groundless because the sisters are representative of the Seven Deadly Sins, not the Pleiades star cluster but I digress), Nena the Doomsayer reminds of this song from the mid 90’s Argyle Park album “Misguided” (Klayton contributed heavily to this album.) Probably unfounded as well but I love inflicting my bizarre and eclectic musical tastes on people.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLRe9NEbIBg

      1. Also I heartily approve of Durkin’s VanDyke. Dude knows how to style his facial hair.

        (It’s not a goatee damnit…)

  2. So it looks like they’re trying to take down the Pentagon…. WITH LUUUVVVVVVVVVV

    Also got a good laugh at Tired Guy’s oxygen tube strung up through the whole room, hahaha

    1. That’s based on a childhood memory of mine visiting some obscure relative who was on oxygen. His whole house had O2 tubes running across all the walls.

      1. Heh – when I was younger, I worked for a guy who provided oxygen machines for home use. One of his clients was the same way, and a smoker to boot. I wasn’t sure what would kill him first – the COPD, or the inevitable house fire from the O2 and the cigarettes he refused to stop smoking.

      2. Dad did that for mom so she could still do things around the house without being tied to the chair. At least tired guy is still active.

        Damn it Rusche. I need a tissue.

        Out of all the damn webcomics I read, yours is the least suited for the internet and more suited as a piece de resistance of American Literature. Evocative, grounded, relateable.

        It’s one of the reasons you won the webcomic challenge. Yet the phillestines vote for their fluff and sex on TWC. You’ve got them beat.

        1. And probably unprintable.
          I mean, literally unprintable. Each strip seems to be its own unique size. While it well may be too good for the internet, it’s the only format which can contain it without resorting to serious acreages of whitespace.
          And filler doodles.

        2. Yeah, I’ve always thought any attempt at turning this comic into something that would fit on pages of a physical book would be a tremendous undertaking.

        3. It can be done. Dresden Codak put out a book a couple of years back, though the artist did say it was a lot of work reformatting everything to fit.

        4. When I said it would be a “tremendous undertaking”, I meant it would be a hell of a lot of work. I don’t think it would be impossible. I do think that with Rusche’s level of concern about his art, he’d possibly decide to do what Questionable Content did and re-do art for early comics for the book, he’d probably not want to farm it to someone else to do the work, and it would almost certainly take a massive amount of time and involve re-drawing panels in places to allow page splits for long comics (revealing portions of the comic that were covered in the originals, some maybe were finished under and some not).

          I’m not trying to discourage the idea (I’d absolutely jump on a kickstarter for it), I’m just trying to counterbalance, “Hey, why not do something that’s a lot more work” statements.

        5. It would also need things like Batman, Batgirl, Toy Chika, etc. substituted for things that “resemble but are intellectually distinct”.

  3. And I love the O2 lines that tired guy has hanging around. Keeps him breathing without having to carry the bottle. And we have Minesweeper on the computer behind Nena. Can’t tell what the yellow sticky says on the Pentagon poster. Details, lots and lots of details…I love it.

        1. Speaking of deep game. How’d Tired Guy get his hands on Dheu’s summoning diagram? I can’t imagine there was that much left of the mall after the Black Friday battle royale.

        2. Tarra has to have used it in other places, and it was drawn after the majority of the blast, so it could’ve been recovered from there. Alternately he could’ve paid off the frightened clerk that Tarra told to draw it to tell everything he knew (or probably Nena could’ve just asked him playing up to him a little). Alternately, Dheu is on the D52 also (first one if I recall correctly), so Dheu might be in cahoots.

          The diagram may be a Buckingham tie. The Pentagon circle seems like a General Nicks tie. Rusche said or at least implied there was some history with Tired Guy and others in previous comic comments.

          He also said the D52 was going to be a list of antagonists.

          Really I want to know how Tired Guy’s group got to Kimberly.

        3. Indeed I do not. But I do know that if Durkin is a fan of polygons, he must’ve had a lot of bad marks in kindergarten, since he couldn’t stop at the vertex points and continued past them and has extra lines there the same way that poor cashier did (he doesn’t have a perpendicular line at the shortest edge, though).

          I bet that makes him frustrated to have such a crippling problem with something he so dearly loves. He commonly tries to drink Juniper under the table to console himself, doesn’t he?

        4. Agent Momma always said that life was like a series of polygons hidden in newsprint, you never know what them commies are trying to send.

  4. I imagine Ellie would be the perfect public spokesman for their website. Her nickname is cookie because she’s gunna make them DOUGH. OH SNAP

    Also How are Tired Guy (Mr. NIGHT?) and Nena related in SO MANY DIFFERENT WAYS?! ITS LIKE CREEPY MAGIC! (I’m joking ;} )

      1. Mr. Night and Nena are probably related more through ‘Strange Magic’ than creepy magic, Banena. There are SO many ELO references here!

  5. Next to the Pentagon poster, it looks like a drawing of the Chalk thing Ellie’s sister used to summon the guy who confuses me to this day

    1. He’s the Shotgun Shuffle version of the Grimm Reaper, but slightly different. He is/isn’t.

      I’m sure you’re less confused now that I cleared that up.

      1. Could be. I believe Rusche said that Ellie’s next job after the thing with Danny would be with Tarra’s David, but I don’t recall if the chapter addition due to Patreon comic volume changed that or not (I think not). We also don’t know yet if Ellie will take this job, so David may not be a part of it.

        Tired Guy as #2 of the D52, along with Dheu being the “founding member” and what appears to be his summon diagram on the wall makes me wonder if perhaps a somewhat changed Tarra will be #1. Though if Tarra-on-her-way-to-being-X is #1, we’re a good long ways before her portrait could appear in the D52. Tarra’s David is also a possibility, though I suspect that unless he’s introduced as part of this group, he’ll be like Tired Guy and not show up on the D52 as part of his first introduction, but as a later revelation.

        1. Those go past ASCII into the realm that not all fonts bother to fill in, so you’ll definitely see the “unknown character” glyph on some systems/browsers.

    1. I’m not seeing much evidence that he has a real business. More like a wannabe that’s trying to attract clients who actually pay.

      I’m not thinking that this is really a step up from Ellie’s last “job.”

      1. We know that the D52 are antagonists of some form for the comic, and eSymmetry appears to be tied to all of the current members of D52 other than the one that was eaten by McFatFat.

        eSymmetry may not be a wannabe business. It may simply be a plain old phony business as a cover.

        Nena’s complaint behind the closed door sounds like she recognizes Ellie, and not just from Danny’s site but that Ellie has some significance for whatever “the plan” might actually be. I’m reading her comment as considering it a bad idea to let Ellie close enough to get information.

    1. And then consulting the cast page, with three new additions to the D52 chart, suddenly sent things crashing through the floor. I keep looking for Tyler Durden to show up.

        1. Firefox ESR 38.2 . Also NoScript and various other security plugins, but I also believe it’s likely that the NoScript is what makes the D52 link into a large white rectangle under Wandering Girl for me.

      1. Whoops! Replied to the wrong comment. Could I get this comment and the one of mine I am currently replying to deleted?

      1. It might be there for all of his videos. However, they may be giving Ellie a screen test anyway. You can’t just put any Tom, Dick or Harry on screen.

      2. Maybe. Remember we have some reason to consider that something sinister may be going on, and Nena’s complaint behind the closed door seems like she’s significant to their plan somehow.

        He may be intending to get Ellie used to being recorded in front of a green screen to get voice and video recordings that he’ll alter at a later date for some reason. If he makes his past commercials odd/wacky enough, then he could probably convince Ellie that pretending a wide variety of outside things are happening would be reasonable. Do one or two “real” ones that he airs and tells her enough that she can see them on TV, and make those filming 20 minutes of material to cut down to 30 seconds or so, and she’ll consider that normal too.

        Remember that there’s active speculation that Tired Guy is on a revenge motive rather than a profit motive. Or at least playing a larger game than we really have a decent way to be sure of just yet.

        1. I’d noticed but thought the similarity to Hamburgler or otherwise old-timey crook look was just coincidence.

          Considering Tired Guy’s penchant for old-timey talk, I shouldn’t have overlooked that breadcrumb.

  6. Reading this comic and noticing the D52 additions, Rusche really wasn’t kidding about getting some questions answered this chapter.

      1. I really like the shirt I bought from A Softer World’s store which states, “Having all the answers just means you’ve been asking boring questions.”

        I think Rusche isn’t intending on giving us boring answers.

  7. Okay, I’m intrigued. By the sounds of it, the old man has been around way longer or something is up with his sister/daughter/grand daughter/great great great neice :p

    1. … or Nena doesn’t want to admit she isn’t in her 20s any more, so she claims old guy is WAY older than her.

      1. Well, Tired Guy had trouble keeping younger female relatives straight in his initial introduction too. I took it as a sign of blatant lying, but maybe it’s something about Nena.

        1. I think she really -is- his sister. We already know magic and seemingly time altering drugs exist in this universe. It may be possible that she is angry at him for slipping up with her actual Identity as his sister, and the “great great great grand uncle” thing is a jab at him, as she wants her true age to remain hidden at this point in time.

        2. With the potential number of relatives, why bother trying to keep them straight when you could just pay them to do things and you can just refer to them in various ways. Lime, “Hey, you” or “My sister.”

  8. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and gander a guess that Tired Guy (aka Mr. Night) is going to want to run a new commercial with intent of selling it not only to drum up new ‘clients’, but also to claim the coveted 12 am commercial block.

    Hell, who knows, maybe even go with a full on 15 minute infomercial airing at 11pm…right after the rasslin’ shows. This is Florida after all. :P

    1. The best informercials are on super-late here. There’s a reason his is on at 3 AM and I’m guessing (from experience) it’s because his commercial is a special kind of terrible.
      .
      Do a search for videos of the “Family Auto Mart” commercials sometime; I can attest they are 1) not fake and 2) someone paid to put them on television in the hopes of garnering business. “Head On” is also one of Florida’s.

  9. What the heck kind of demographic is watching TVLand at 3AM? Did they just go with “Find me the cheapest commercial spot on TV”?

    1. More than likely, loners who work the midnight shift because they’ve got no social life. That our half the people from Danny boy’s and Caleb’s web sites.

  10. Wouldn’t have pegged that guy for a Wilf. Then again, I wouldn’t have pegged “Wilf” for a name… more like a crude acronym used by jerks talking about married women.

      1. It’s also an ELO reference.

        5 Man Band Trope – Fleetwood Mac last names: Ellie, Quinn, Danny, Caleb, and Vu
        Carnival of Killers Trope – ELO – D52

    1. You went with a “wife” variant for your acronym guessing? I was thinking “wino” or maybe “wildebeest” .

  11. And all this time, I was thinking it was referring to an area at the Pentagon but the labeling would be all wrong.
    That circled section of the Pentagon map is what sent me down this rabbit hole looking for clues because it looks like a “D” ring in the Pentagon.

    (The rings are concentric – A is the inner ring; E is the outer ring everybody sees; 5 is the top floor on the outside of the building; and 2 would be a corridor number. But the actual rooms are designated by floor, ring, corridor then the actual “office” number like “5D212”). So obviously I don’t know what I’m talking about…..

    Dammit! Why circle a section of the Pentagon? And why can’t we read that sticky note!!!

      1. Now I’m wondering what that ‘n’ on the wall is spelling. With the word bubble I thought it was part of the r & y from eSymmetry.

    1. It’s also part of the location of the Pentagon that was compromised by the 9/11 attacks. Just to the side of the collision area, but part of the area that had extensive fire and water damage.

  12. They are all Russian deep sleeper agents just activated. They need to get into the pentagon where Quinn’s dad works.
    They seem to need Dheu and are using Ellie to get him. Which means Tarragon is involved in some fashion.
    This is all gut level guess work on my part, but no matter what I bet fun and high jinx are about to occur.

  13. I’m sure…sure Rusche couldn’t have planned this in harmony(ha!) with the Ashley Madison hack (in that case, the website in question wouldn’t be a parody of eHarmony) but I have to wonder if this related to the revelation that most of the female accounts on Ashley Madison were fake, and the real membership was something like 95% male, and there have been accusations that some of the dating websites have hired women to go on dates with active customers to keep them on the hook….

    Unless of course Rusche is a member of the Impact Team.

    1. Personally, I find both possibilities improbable, as it seems that Rusche has had this scripted or blicked out in some form. The A.Madison website hack is a coincidence and more likely that some hacker(s) got catfished and exacted revenge. I can’t see the social justice mafia’s getting up in arms over an adultery website.

    2. Ashley Madison is the type of business that is going to be closely tied to people’s anger and pain with a decent frequency. Not to mention that there are plenty of people who consider “sanctity of marriage” to be about honoring your wedding vows (and may or may not give a crap about gender of participants), so their business model was explicitly what a lot of people would consider immoral and even despicable. So speculating which of the thousands to millions of people that would’ve had sufficient motivation to hack them seems fairly futile to me.

      As for Rusche and the storyline, the D52 definitely came before that hack, and he probably had quite a lot about them sketched out in his mind at that point. Remember that the vote that led to Danny being introduced before Quinn’s brother was back before Black Friday, too.

      That’s not to say that things can’t change. He did have us vote for Sister X’s identity (in a vague fashion) as he started seeing possibilities of an alternate identity for her background that he liked. It is certainly possible that the D52 would have a different business and the Ashley Madison hack changed the track a bit.

      However, while Ellie has shown herself to not be above using others’ degree of attraction to her advantage, she’s also shown herself to be nicer and more caring than average on several occasions too. She did try to quit Danny’s “cons” from feeling guilty once before she actually did quit (maybe more that wasn’t shown). I’m not sure that she’d be ok with a job leading lonely men on. It seems like even if she was willing to try it to start with, it’d bother her too much eventually and she’d quit before too long.

      1. The BBC reported this morning that an analysis of 5.5 million female profiles on Ashley Madison indicated basically none of them were real.

        The accounts made no contacts, sent no messages.

      1. Kirk doesn’t get her in the sense of bagging the babe. She plays a mentally ill green girl at an asylum where a previously once lauded fleet starship captain was sent. Captain Garth, or Lord Garth ruler of the universe.

        Garth blew her up in a poisonous atmosphere.

        Queen to queen’s level three.

    1. The oxygen tube is run along the walls, and seemingly comes from the ceiling because it’s out of the way of other people and up above things so that no one trips over it. It more than likely runs from a plugged in oxygen generator for Tired Guy. More than likely, he also has one in his personal apartment, as this one seems to be for the primary office of the business.

    2. Combination of freedom of motion and economy.

      When people are on oxygen, they generally end up buying a certain number of tanks to use when they have to go out and about, but they also have a (usually insurance-paid and rented) oxygen generator so they just plug it in and don’t have to keep buying tanks.

      It coming from the ceiling would be it being run in a way that allows him to move more freely and doesn’t require him to either carry a tank or wheel around the machine (and watch the power cord). A few people above mention some familiarity with setups like that (though I’ve never seen them myself, it’s certainly something a little engineering can solve).

      1. For some reason trying to imagine either of those I’m just getting a mental image of a generator or tank on a large sliding track on the roof, like the ones they put X-ray machines on.

        1. The x-ray setup is made that way because of the ability to port the emissions from the source to the site of injury which allows for a more close up style of imaging. Also allowing for more control of the emissions between the source, emitter, patient’s tissue exposure at the wound site and the film.

          Also, the concentrator (I used generator erroneously) is about the size of a window air conditioner, small refridgerator, slightly smaller then 1/2 of a washer-dryer combo that sits on top of the other one.

          http://www.lincare.com/Oxygen.html#

        2. Don’t need the terminology. was just saying i was imagining the oxygen thing for tired guy being set up on one and following him around the room.

        3. i should clarify. my brain REALLY loves to over-complicate simple things, which combined with my tendency to be extremely blunt means i rarely get my point across properly.
          So, when I say I’m imagining it on a sliding track thing, it’s because my mind refuses to visualize it in a simpler or more logical form.

        4. That’s why most design students are forced to use a ball point pen on a napkin as a standard. Because if you can’t get your idea out like that at a business meeting, then how are things going to look on an expensive CAD program while attempting to track down the ghost in the machine.

          Let me say this first, in the means of assistance and solidarity. Do not ice the cake before it’s out of the box. Get things ready to make the best icing you can, but then just put them aside in ingredient form in their respectively purchased containers until after you followed the directions for making the cake.

          Then make the best icing you can while the cakes are just taken out of the oven and starting to cool on the racks in their pans. Keep making the best damn icing after the cakes have been on the racks cooling for a bit of time. Put the icing aside, slice off the top of the cakes in order to make a flat surface. Put the cut pieces to the side for a number of reasons. QA, crumbs, snacks, etc.

          Make sure that the icing is ready to go. Take a cup of coffee and drink it while putting the cake together in your head. Get the lazy suzan, your cardboard and a dollop of royal icing to anchor the first layer tier of cake onto the cardboard in the center of each.

          Remember, You can always add more icing, but it’s rougher to take it off if you have too much. Add dollops of icing to the center of each layer, spreading out a nice thickness to the edge of the cake without doing the sides. Flatten the icing with the spatula. Add your next layer of cake tier to the center of this batch and repeat the above only after making sure that your cake top is flat and cut level before adding to the assembly. When done with that stage of icing, proceed to the next layer if needed and repeat as above. If not, Add more icing to the top for a flourish pattern to be made from the center towards the sides of the cake and spread the icing along the edges of the cake while spinning it on the lazy susan. If you don’t have a lazy susan, just turn the cake as needed to ensure that all sides are decently covered.

          At that point, you may embellish further adornments on the cake if they work.

        5. 6’2″
          also, you need to chill with the details. al i said was my brain is an over-complicating dickweasel.
          or are you just the sort of person that tells someone how to build a watch if they ask what time it is?

        6. Neither, because my brain tries to figure out something like that, and my mother had severe emphysema.

          Besides, I point to my watchless wrist. I don’t wear a watch.

  14. Last time I counted the averages was on 8/16/2015. We were #57 in the TWC list with 619 votes in 16 days for an average of 38 solid votes per day.

    Today 8/24/2015, SHOTGUN SHUFFLE is down two slots to the number 59 slot. We’ve got an accumulative vote count of 891 people for an average of 37.125 or thirty seven and 1/8th people voting per day. Ok. 37 solid votes a day.

    What’s going on people? We were #50 on the 10th, 57 on the 16th, 59 on the 24th.

    Here is the vote link: http://topwebcomics.com/vote/14850/default.aspx

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