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A 1,001 Deaths

A some of you suggested, David is attempting to get out in front of the Pumpkin thing, since obviously that would come up in the future. Panel three ended up being so elaborate I made a gif for it.  It was probably over a hundred separate layers to make, different tiers of line layers and color layers to help alter lighting and blur the foreground while allowing bleed. (smokin' yet?)

75 thoughts on “A 1,001 Deaths

  1. well that’s a callback for freakin’ sure…. what was that, like the first 10 pages or something?

      1. Honestly I just use this comic as an example of why you shouldn’t judge by the art in the beginning, but rather what the artist is capable of now, You have improved *so dang much* with that over the years.

      2. True, BUT!!! You are one of the few artists that I know who ACTUALLY IMPROVED! WITHIN A YEAR! AND CONTINUES TO IMPROVE! WHILE TRYING NEW THINGS! Seriously, you are one of the few artists that tries and does improve without locking yourself in an Echo Chamber full of sycophantic fanboys.

        1. Well, to be fair, there’s also a bunch of webcomic artists I know who try to evolve their comic style and get the ol’ “HOW DARE YE CHANGE MY FAVORITE COMIC AND IT’S STYLE,” outrage of hundreds of fans so they are afraid to do it again later.

          In my opinion, it’s the fans that typically ruin how much normal people love a thing. They can be the most caustic, arrogant bunch of nerfherders on the Net.

        2. I think the majority of Rusche’s fans started in on the story after one or two large art shift improvements. It’d be interesting if that timing truly contributed to final state.

        3. You’re late!

          It’s all there –
          maps, pass codes… phone I.D.’s to get you past the front gates,
          but that’s not what’s most important.

      3. Chris, I’ve been reading webcomics since the “Argon Zark” days, and I judge a comic on story first, art second, although sometimes art can be a distraction if it prevents the story from working. Kind of hard to explain that, but I’ve enjoyed your story since I first saw it, near the beginning, and the art has never distracted from it. Keep at it!

      4. The early art obviously wasn’t as good as current, but it was good enough to carry the theme of the story. You also improve and push yourself in your art in ways that doesn’t seem common. For example I recall when Danny surprised Quinn first thing in the morning, you had decided to try drawing her foot slightly curled along the floor. It didn’t come out perfect, but you tried it to push yourself to be able to do better with it. Most others would’ve just cropped up and/or zoomed out so it wouldn’t have been a problem. It’s a sign of a continued drive towards improvement which shows up more often as “wow, he managed that” than “not quite…”.

        So learn to be proud of the journey and not just the destination.

        Personally, when I try to draw, the hardest thing for me is expressions and the characters having life rather than being caught in the uncanny valley. I don’t recall that being an issue for you even in your earliest comics.

      5. NO.

        Never forget where you came from. It prevents you from seeing how far you’ve come.

        For reals, you went from “ho-hum” to “HOT DAMN”, and you should be very proud of that!


      As I was saying, on behalf of the welcoming committee, I greet you with a hardened handshake and a laurel with a copiague of plenty. STEVE HURRY UP.

      And as a representative elected by my peers of the first committee on first in firsts, sub committee of firsts by new names overseen by the sub sub committee of new names with discount icons approached by the comics code of Deadpool, I hereby congratulate you with a commemoratableistic commemorative Jeff Foxworth special edition commemorative plate.

      THAT LAST OUTLAW, THE ONE GUY, HURRY UP MAN. . . . i think loose cannon saw me

      Congratulations on first, especially a first that not only references this comic, but also an ongoing curiosity of what happened that day when sparks flew.

    2. ANOTHER one? Crap on a cracker. That’s almost what we’re down to right now!

      …I didn’t want to have to do this, but it’s time. It’s time for the EMERGENCY WELCOME BASKET!

      *breaks glass panel marked “In Case of Welcome Emergency”*

      Okay! The Emergency Welcome Basket!

      A Fun-Size Snickers bar….and a coupon for one free Sunday brunch at Wolfgang Pat’s Stickers ‘n’ $#it.

      Wow, we’re getting desperate. I didn’t even know Wolfgang Pat’s offered a Sunday brunch.

      Well, anyway, here’s your greeting basket. Welcome to the Shotgun Shuffle comments section, where even our flame wars are polite.

      1. Like Rusche’s art, these welcoming committee posts keep getting better and better. Please continue.

        I might donate a few items for the next basket. Would you guys like to offer a copy of Taylor Swift’s CD “Stop stalking me, people”? Totally worth it for the hit “Stupid looking baby” alone.

        Or maybe a coupon for a free weekend stay in a ditch just like Juniper’s? Great place. I swear, after the first 6 hours the next 1st-post’er will not even think about the smell in their clothes anymore.

        And the best prize of all in my opinion: an amazing SIX jars of Urine-fer-sale guy’s latest product line. That’s right, I’m donating the whole kit. If that doesn’t say “you’re welcome” I don’t know what else will.

        1. It’s just a little fun thing to do. Glad to hear people enjoy it, though. It’s an entertaining diversion between strips. And you’ve caught it; just thought of it yesterday to start pulling stuff from the strip itself. Lot of names in here; no reason they can’t be part of the meta fun. Just like the sister-commenters. Haven’t seen them around lately.

        2. Dude, I couldn’t find crap on a cracker at Bed, Bath & Beyond. So I went to Camp LeJunne and got Sh*t on a Shingle for the baskets. But it was odd man, they were literally smiling like banshees when they loaded up the Uhaul.

      2. Our flame wars are polite because we all realize, just like Invader Zim, that making the fire worse or making the fire better is just a matter of perspective.

        1. you gonna make biscuits?

          You Gonna Make Biscuits?



  2. It’s kind of unnerving how much older Pumpkin looks in the flashback than she did in the original.

      1. If you ever really feel like redoing old strips–if it ever becomes an itch that you truly must scratch–then may I make a suggestion:

        Go back and do every October 6th strip in order. You’ve done the first, and wow, what a difference! If there’s no strip on that day, pick your choice of the one before or after the date. The point of this is not some exercise in masochism. It would give you a year-by-year benchmark of how you’ve improved, what you are doing differently, and what style phases you went through. Make it a learning experience as well as a compulsive act.

        Or, you could have everyone on your Patreon vote on their most desired reworks. I know that I would happily do another trawl for that myself. Let everyone make a number of page suggestions equal to the number of dollars they are pledging that month, and then do the TOP (x) SUGGESTIONS as time and whim allows. You could make a small one-time windfall that way.

        1. I like the idea of non-consecutive redos, such as all of calendar date X so that it’s more of a contrast than a compulsion to fix all that’s even a little off.

        2. There is that, yes. But is it possible that this could be a very bad idea? What happens if we break the good thing inadvertently?

        3. I don’t think either Thor or I were suggesting we were voting for redoing the archive. We were both voting for if ignoring it isn’t an option that making it a small/steady contrast and keeping it from becoming a continually repeating task.

        4. I vacillate between a morbid fascination with the three seashells, and an absolute loathing of the concept. I want to know how they work, but I DON’T want to at the same time.

        5. @mR. Blue – If you want. Just clarifying.

          @Steve – THAT’S THE RIGHT ANSWER!

        1. OK, wait a minute, she works for Tired Guy, but she also works for Mr. Blue Sky? Last time I looked, those two don’t get along very well. Of course, she did stick up for our blind hero during the fracas.

        2. He didn’t say it was GG, he said looks like her for good reason.

          That good reason could be they’re near relatives or one is an output of a Tarra cloning experiment of the other or whatnot.

        3. Or this sequence takes place before Mr. Blue Sky and Mr. Night ended up parting ways. So that would be GG working with Mr. Blue Sky as a teaching assistant.

        4. Possibly, but I got the impression that David broke from D52 around the same time Gen Nicks killed Mr. Radio. Tired Guy told Nina that he’d found kept the remainder of D52 safe for ten years. Ellie got thrown out (and thus this scene took place) less than two years ago.

          Not concrete, but I’m guessing it’s more relative than temporal.

    1. I was kind of thinking that she was one of the super sexy female assasins. But I don’t think that she’s GG. She’s not looking straight ahead, her hair is different. So maybe this is the good twin.

  3. I have never smoked In my life, why would I even think about doing so now? I mean, cigarettes smell like teen spirit, or camel dung, or something insufferably cool. Wait, what?

  4. I’m sure that David probably wasn’t too impressed with Pumpkin when she blamed her sister for the plagiarized work and almost definitely bitched about Ellie being lazy. After all, Pumpkin was the one who was supposed to be doing that assignment in the first place and I bet he told her so.

  5. Rather handily solved the issue of Pumpkin getting others to do her homework though, And heated the classroom through sheer fury.

  6. Vote on TWC. Link here or below the Patreon previews:

    Current stats at the time of this posting:

    SHOTGUN SHUFFLE is 46th with 1,571 votes:
    — 78.55…. v/d; 3.2729 v/hr; 0.0545 v/m.
    Stand Still. Stay Silent>/b> is 5th with 10,096 votes:
    — 504.8… v/d; 21.0333 v/hr; 0.3506 v/m.
    Grrl Power is 3rd with 11,227 votes:
    — 561.35 v/d; 23.3896 v/hr; 0.3898 v/m.
    Reality Quest is 1st with 12,712 votes.
    — 635.6 v/d; 26.4833 v/hr; 0.4414 v/min.

    50th slot — 1,449 AV*: 72.45;. 3.0188; 0.0503.
    40th slot — 1,715 AV: . 85.75;. 3.5729; 0.0595.
    20th slot — 6,918 AV: 345.9; 14.4125; 0.2402.
    Top ten —– 8,195 AV: 409.75; 17.0729; 0.2845.
    Top five —– 10,096 AV: 504.8; 21.0333; 0.3506.
    * Accumulated votes

    1. Vote on TWC. Link here or below the Patreon previews:

      Current stats at the time of this posting:

      SHOTGUN SHUFFLE is 45th with 1,666 votes:
      — 79.3333 v/d; 3.3056 v/hr; 0.0550 v/m.
      Stand Still. Stay Silent is 5th with 10,509 votes:
      — 500.4285 v/d; 20.8511 v/hr; 0.3475 v/m.
      Grrl Power is 3rd with 11,756 votes:
      — 559.8095 v/d; 23.3254 v/hr; 0.3887 v/m.
      Reality Quest is 1st with 13,311 votes.
      — 633.8571 v/d; 26.4107 v/hr; 0.4401 v/min.

      50th slot — 1,537 AV*: 73.1904;. 3.0496; 0.0508.
      40th slot — 1,787 AV: . 85.0952; 3.5456; 0.0590.
      20th slot — 7,165 AV: 341.1904; 14.2162; 0.2369.
      Top ten —– 8,490 AV: 404.2857; 16.8452; 0.2807.
      Top five —– 10,509 AV: 500.4285; 20.8511; 0.3475.
      * Accumulated votes

      1. Vote on TWC. Link here or below the Patreon previews:

        Current stats at the time of this posting:

        SHOTGUN SHUFFLE is 45th with 1742 votes:
        —79.1818 v/d; 3.2992 v/hr; 0.0549 v/m.
        Stand Still. Stay Silent is 5th with 11061 votes:
        —502.7727 v/d; 20.9488 v/hr; 0.34914 v/m.
        Grrl Power is 3rd with 12334 votes:
        —560.6363 v/d; 23.3598 v/hr; 0.3893 v/m.
        Reality Quest is 1st with 13955 votes:
        —634.3181 v/d; 26.4299 v/hr; 0.4404 v/m.

        50th slot — 1,607 AV*: 73.0454;. 3.0435; 0.0507.
        40th slot — 1,863 AV: 84.6818;. 3.5284; 0.0588.
        20th slot — 7,520 AV: 341.81818;. 14.2424; 0.2373.
        Top ten —— 8,944 AV: 406.5454;. 16.9393; 0.2823.
        Top five —— 11,061 AV: 502.7727;. 20.9488; 0.3491.
        * Accumulated votes

  7. Lay off the redos. They carried the story. That’s enough.
    Take pride in the progress you’ve made in your art, rather than shame in the quality of your old art. Everyone starts somewhere, and some don’t get all that much better. You started good and you’ve progressed to great.

    Besides, in another year, your art will have improved that much more, and even redoing the redos will be an itch you’ll want to scratch.

    If you must, redo that first comic every year. Make it an anniversary thing. JUST that first strip. You already did it once, and I can see you’ve advanced quite a ways even from when you did the redo.
    But leave the other strips alone, they are mile markers on your road into greatness. Wonderful reminders of the progress you’ve made.

  8. One of my favorite things to do with webcomics besides read them is to occasionally go back and flip through the first several pages. It’s inspiring to see where an artist started compared to where they are today. There’s always so much improvement and it makes me feel like “Hey. If I practice hard enough, my art will eventually improve like that too.” Your art has improved so much over the years Rusche and I love seeing how much hard work and dedication you put towards each new page.

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