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Hooch Smuggling

Obviously Anise is the trivia sister. She has a near endless list of characteristics and miscellaneous afflictions. She has her own category on Jeopardy! Just a reminder, we do have chat now. The link is in the menubar, or just click HERE. There's no set time and no need to register. It's always open for anyone to pop in and lurk. I frequent it as much as I can, but for anyone who wants a particular time, I'll be on around 4pm Eastern Time today. Awkward time for some of you, I know. I'll make an effort to be back on Saturday around 8pm Eastern.

151 thoughts on “Hooch Smuggling

    1. Six rounds of sisters pre-Pumpkin, who may well have even occasionally engaged in slutwear herself. That’s a slutwear archive going clear back to, oh, maybe the mid-nineties assuming this is present-day.

        1. Considering that Cinn was competing with her fraternal twin at a healthy biological disadvantage, I’d imagine hers probably went pretty far, too.

    1. That’s a flashback panel. Anise already has the boob job. Therefore, she never went to art school and opted for being a tattoo artist.

      1. Had Anise gone to art school, what would her preferred medium be? Oil paints, clay, or something else?

        1. Bearded Beefcake. It would be a new wave of prominent artwork only matched by the one piece of artwork made when Tarra was visiting and tripped over an easel sending it into a bunch of paint. Described as an unmatched painting of the essence of the planet itself.

        2. Tarra schedules exactly 7 stumbles ever year and 3 trips where she actually appears to fall all the way to the ground in addition to that each decade. The exact schedules are randomized to make them seem genuine. This is done so that when she needs to pretend to stumble or trip in order to accomplish something, it won’t draw undue attention.

  1. Pumpkin seems to be angling to be someday reclassified to “The Rich One”. She has a real eye for financial opportunities.

    1. I believe Rusche said Cinn was the sister aligned with Greed and Pumpkin is aligned with Vanity.

  2. Damned lack of an edit button… I just remembered something I meant to ask [Rusche] a little while ago. Did you try to decide which Jungian mindtypes Ellie, Quinn, and the sisters are?

    I’ve fallen into trying to do it, but there’s not a lot to go on. Ellie’s probably an ESFP and Quinn strikes me as an ENFJ. I would be amazed if Anise wasn’t an ISFP/INFP or if Ginger wasn’t an ESTJ.

    (Unrelated note: The updated cast page has a “Danny” to the right of Quinn in the name list, but no picture or bio. Placeholder?)

    1. Yes. Placeholder.

      To answer your other questions, I had to Google what Jungian Mindtypes were. I am reading about them now though.. :P

      1. Heh, well the subject is interesting. Mindtypes are… they’re sort of like a list of preferences for how a person communicates, gathers information, and forms decisions. Some people (mostly NFs) misinterpret them as categorizing people so you can put them in a box and decide you know everything about them.

        They’re actually a pretty good guide to trying to understand where a communication breakdown is happening. (Especially if you’re an NT talking to an SJ.)

        I tossed a link to a good but lengthy mindtype and enneagram test in my Website URL field.

        1. For a type that has so few in it, it’s odd how many you find on the Internet. Join us in hiding from the world! We’re at Shotgun Shuffle, the official webcomic of INTJs. :D

        2. It seems logical though. The Internet is a place where you can control your interactions with other people to a much greater extent than in “real life” even to the point of deciding to just not interact with anyone at all if you don’t feel like it. As a massive introvert (consistently score 100% introvert on every test) that is invaluable to me.

          As for the rest of the traits, I’d say for such a small niche group it’s likely the majority of the people in it would be interested in similar things and would therefore flock to similar places. Then again it could also be confirmation bias for all I know.

        3. The Internet also has a way of magnifying the echo chamber effect. One example is the way that Google (and probably all the rest) attempt to profile your interests, education, and personality to some degree in choosing what search results to return to you. So rarer examples are more likely to congregate on the Internet and notice more of each other than would happen in meatspace anyway (and I forgot until typing this comment how much I miss the term “meatspace” for the real world).

        4. Hmm… I got ESTP. Not so sure about that. Though it was a close toss up with ESTJ (51.52%P to 48.48%J) which would sound about right for me.

  3. Awww, Pumpkin’s so ky00000te! Anise, shoulda done art school, you didn’t need ‘enhancement’. But whatever makes her happy.

    1. Probably figured there was better utility in augments than in art school. Which, these days, may not have been so far off….

  4. Banned Slutware sounds like the sisters went through a phase of trying to be sexy(slutty in Mom’s eyes) crimefighters.

  5. re the changed art style… I dunno, it seems like the sister’s faces become….evil….too easy. Pumpkin’s today, and Ellie’s last Wednesday, for instance.

    1. If you think Pumpkin looks bad now (bad as in evil, not bad as in low quality) you should have seen her last night. Rusche linked us an image of the work in progress via the chat, before adding color, so her eyes where just blank white circles.

    2. I think you’ve got a very low bar for something looking evil. I actually read her as attempting to look a bit more of an animal, perhaps even a little feral. Kind of like trying to have her expression communicate that she’s dressing up as a wild animal, not a teddy bear. I can perhaps see dominant and aggressive tendencies, but none that are actually evil from her in this panel.

    1. Juni still wears it. Also, ever seen the booth girls at a Con? Only one I’ve ever been to was the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas…thought I’d walked into the AVN on accident.

      1. So she didn’t grab any of your clothes in high school to “show them their true potential?” I figured she didn’t make that one up on the spot with Quinn.

  6. I’ve started to notice a trend with Anise.

    As Ellie stated several comics ago, Anise has a thing for guys with beards, but not just any beard would do- it has to be a full beard. When a customer asked him out, she insulted him for not having a “proper beard.”
    We’ve also noticed that she has both a fake eye (which looks bizarre, but very cool), and several facial tatoos.
    And now we know that she’s had cosmetic surgery.

    All of this adds up to mean that Anise seems to place a very high value on appearances, and I remember a conversation that went on in the comments a while back about each sister representing a cardinal sin. If that’s the case, then I think it’s safe to say that Anise represents Vanity. But then again, vanity isn’t one of the cardinal sins, and the one she probably represents is gluttony, judging from her appetite.

    But I digress- Anise seems to place a high value on looks. Is she really so shallow, or does she suffer from self-esteem issues? I’d hedge my bet and say that it’s self-esteem, but if she’s willing to cross off any guy that doesn’t have a big beard, and is willing to flash a total stranger with a fake beard, I’m starting to think that shallowness is a legitimate answer.

      1. I understand a choice for a goth lifestyle/outlook on life but I, too, believe that for me being goth is about the fashion. I just enjoy the look.

        So I agree with Anise on that. But I disagree on her other decision. I choose art school.

      2. Such a pity. And here Anise was, quickly working her way up my list of favorite sisters.

        On that note, who’s your favorite sister to write, and who’s your favorite in general?

        1. Um.. if we’re excluding Ellie, probably Tarra is the most fun to write. Anise is probably my favorite in general, which just came about as the story progressed.

    1. I think the surgery was self-esteem. I knew one Anise and she was convinced despite being a great artist the only thing she had to offer was her body. She also only liked overweight men. I figured she was just obsessed with a certain look for herself and for the guy she’d date.

      I actually jumped back to the Anise comic to see if she was into any amount of beard or something specific; I never realized Ellie’s comment “Mr. Right shouldn’t have to have ‘Mall Santa’ on his resume” was foreshadowing.

      1. Well of course the surgery was self esteem, but the general trend of valuing looks over substance is indicitive of shallowness. I guess what I failed to accurately articulate was the fact that (I believe) she’s shallow, and this condition of valuing appearances too much led to her own self esteem issues.

        1. I wonder how much is valuing appearance versus her odd outlook on life. Rusche said in a previous comment that she had come to equate beards with manly goodness, so it’s more an odd connection in her brain that something arbitrary actually means something significant as opposed to your run of the mill shallowness. I’m wondering if there’s a similar breast size story somewhere in her past.

      1. Since this is a flashback, it can be surmised you are exiting high school and planning your future. So being “pre-tattoo artist Anise” you have not scribbled all over your paws, so there’s no reason to hide anything.

        1. Maybe not her life story but let me sum up a day in the life of Anise…

          I like to look dark and mysterious whoooOOOooo… oh is that food? Omnomnom, wait, is that a guy with a full hobo beard? Swoon… hold on, I have to go to the bathroom! That’s better… moar tats because they help me look dark and mysterious whooOOooo…

          Did I miss anything sis? :P Oh yea, I can’t find my eyeball, has anyone seen my eyeball?

        2. You forgot, One dark and stormy night, which is just about almost any other day in Florida, mom and dad were practicing to irritate one of my soon to be younger sisters. Me included. But on that fateful night. The weird one came into existence.

    1. Is it possible that being interested in an art curriculum you are less a fan of Velvet Underground and more displaying an appreciation for Warhol? Or is it both in equal measure?

  7. Wait, so Anise wasn’t blessed with the Buckingham figure!? Also, Pumpkin is looking so cute! Loving the Tails hoodies.

    1. Most of the girls are blond (or blond-ish) but Ginger has brown hair and Cinnamon’s is straight-up black. Clearly there is a substantial amount of genetic drift among the siblings.

      1. Rusche did say in a post comment a little while ago (The Honorary One, 22 April 2014) that sisters 4-6 were versions of 1-3 with additional flaws. The original sister bios (Odds Are, 11 Sept 2013) call out Ginger and Anise as having died hair. Those along with Anise getting a boob job suggest less genetic drift now than I had previously thought.

        Ginger might’ve originally had dishwater blonde and Anise might’ve originally had black hair. Also that would put the large breasts as just a Tarra/Ellie thing (with Pumpkin still possible but probably not since Ellie started developing in 5th grade). So Herb was probably some shade of blond.

  8. Cute outfit there Pumpkin. So I am guessing the other sisters slut wear was either destroyed or they took it back.

    1. After Tarra? How about before Ellie? You’ve got to figure that Anise is maybe three to five years older than Ellie, give or take. Admittedly, what I know about women could fill a very small hat, but it’s got to be galling to know that your little sister has more ample…tracts of land…than you.

      1. Yeah, I was thinking that myself, but I wasn’t sure how much older she was. When Anise was graduating highschool, then that puts Ellie probably still in middle school, so 5th, 6th, 7th, or 8th grade.
        And Juniper was held back, but she was still between Anise and the twins.

        Might be close, but there’s also Ginger and Tarra to think about- it could easily have been a “keeping up with your big sister (in both senses)” kind of thing.

        1. Bios on Odds Are (which I had open to check something else) puts Anise at 24 and Ellie as 18, so Ellie would’ve been in 6th grade when Anise was in 12th and Ellie previously admitted to Quinn that her boobs started growing in 5th grade. My observations have been that breast growth can be gradual or spurts and stops. So I’d say it’s remotely possible that Ellie’s bust might’ve made Anise jealous at that point, but less likely than Tarra.

  9. Wait, wait, wait…


    “Too much to carry.”

    “Only Tarra.”

    So…Tarra was the slutty one before there wad a Slutty One?

        1. I figured it was just a progression. Every one of the Buckingham sisters giving slutwear a bit of a go-round before it got seized by Rosemary, who then archived it and mostly forgot about it.

        2. I think most teenagers go through a “you are NOT wearing that outside the house young lady/man; go upstairs and change” phase.

          The boys aren’t wearing assless chaps or the like, but there are still plenty of outfits or just general grooming problems that parent’s don’t want to see on/in their male offspring.

        3. Makes me wonder if the archive is being held in reserve for when Poppy dies in the line of duty, possibly because of Cinnamon’s pets.

        4. Now I’m wondering about how quickly Tarra stripped off her clothes in the fight with Sister X. Maybe she prefers the freedom of movement what comes with less clothing? Oooor she just likes to show off her body a bit.

  10. Aw, man, for real? After all that tension we don’t get to see what Quinn was doing behind Ellie?

    1. Are we to assume that she was actually about to stab Ellie, but only didn’t because she heard she got a job?

    2. I think Rusche said that it wasn’t meant to be taken literally, and that the image instead represents the advent of a looming disaster hanging over her.

  11. Huh. Anise had a boob job. That just seems so odd for her character. I would peg Juniper and Cinnamon going for breast enhancements.

    Eh, knowing Anise her reasons for wanting bigger boobs are as strange as she is. Or, you know, she just figured beardy men are boob men.

    1. I was wondering about that a bit too. The thing that came to mind for me was Rusche’s comment that during her upbringing Anise had come to the conclusions that “beards equal manly goodness” (comic is Stuck in the Middle with You, 24 Jan 2014, search in page for “Lincoln”). So I’m wondering if large breasts equals something in her mind in the same way. If so, I’m guessing there’s another role model other than just Tarra (who is ~3 years older by their bios and was probably doing the impossible before boobs sprouted).

    1. Waste not, want not. It might come in handy some day, so why not save it just in case? Granted there are very few things that require slutwear, but here Ellie is getting ready to use it in her new job.

      1. There is always the wedding gift of giving them back to them for their wedding nights. So Ginger might have her’s back in that case. Unknown.

    2. I would’ve expected Rosemary to give them to Herb to send to Vice or undercover for use in their clothing pool (possibly requiring him to send them to a larger jurisdiction, as I’m not sure how large Lakewood PD might be).

    3. Maybe she figured after Pumpkin finished her high school phase there’d finally be enough material to make a dress.

  12. Waitaminute. Those trees look awfully leafy. Didn’t we establish that it was February in that last strip? Was there a significant time skip since then? Or is my Michigander sensibilities boggled by how much earlier Floridians get their spring foilage? Because dammit all, it’s May and we are only juuust starting to have leaves pop out here and there.

    1. They’re in Florida, though. Florida, where 70 F is considered cold enough for a heavy jacket.

    2. Florida could look that way in February, but what we established was “at least February” and not definitely February. We had that Ellie was working up until 10 Jan and that she’s behind on the rent. So it’s at least February, but could be later. And while I’m only one state south of you, I’ve seen trees that leafed out in April (in a normal year, not this one, obviously), and the mild winter we had a year or two ago I did see trees like that in early March.

    3. Florida only has two seasons: Summer and Not Summer. The latter takes place over three weeks’ worth of non-consecutive days. The former is the other 11 months of the year.

  13. But. . . but. . . February?! That’s bitter winter territory! *Michigander sensibilities going haywire*

    Jesus. I just checked the averages down there for that month, and sure enough the lucky bastards were in the 60s and 70s! Geez, we were counting our blessing every time is climbed above freezing in February up here. I can’t imagine what our poor Canadian friends were going through up there in the Land of Hockey and Maple Syrup.

      1. That there is why we reserve the right to mocking southerners when they get a bit of snow. If we have to suffer snow in April, then we should not have to pretend we don’t think it’s hilarious how they go insane every time they get a light dusting.

        1. If you think that’s funny, you should see Southern Californians when it drizzles. Kind of like eskimos with snow, we have 50 words for not quite raining.

  14. I admire Pumpkin’s shrewd resourcefulness. It’s also quite cute to see the interaction between her and Ellie. That’s a fun dynamic.

  15. How do we Achievement Unlock the character on the cast page with the fancy shoes and the chain with a hook? I’m kinda curious.

      1. Which means the only things we can do is vote the right way when given the chance. Danny was in the vote chosen, where the still shadowy kid next to Quinn was in the vote that lost. Barrel is apparently a collateral unlock for this story, who knows which ones are with the kid’s story.

  16. Rusche,

    First off, liking the last couple comics. Glad we still get to see the sisters, and there’s a good amount of humor sprinkled throughout, despite the desperation.

    Second, I just wanted to comment on Pumpkin in the new style. While I like how all the sisters look, she doesn’t look the youngest to me anymore. In your old style, she definitively looked younger than the other sisters. In the new, sometimes Ellie looks younger than her. I dunno if there’s anything to be done about it, but I wanted to pass along the feedback.

    1. Well, I have a little sister who is 6 years younger than me, but she looks older than I do. So We’ll go out to dinner and tell the waitress that we’re sisters hanging out, and she’ll guess that my little sister is older, and that I’m in high school (yes!). We both look much younger than we are, but they always guess that I’m younger than her.

    2. That looks to me like attitude. Pumpkin seems to cultivate a “worldly wise” attitude deliberately, and that comes across not only in her word choice but also her expression. Ellie goes more to the unselfconscious and tends to play innocent (which has helped her many times in the past get help or a second chance–a crucial skill for The Lazy One) enough that I think it’s become part of her normal mannerisms (and she is probably a bit innocent for her age, too).

      1. Perhaps. If it’s intentional, then it’s working. If it’s unintended/unwanted, I just wanted to let him know.

    3. If you look at Pumkin’s head you’ll notice it’s smaller than everyone else’s. It isn’t as obvious in scenes like this that she’s still pint-sized because you don’t have anything to compare her against for scale.

  17. The Tails hoodie is adorable.

    Reading the third panel, I was at first thinking that was a horrible choice to make. Then I thought about those I know who’ve graduated art school, what they say about it, and then I think about all the great artists who never go, and, yeah.

    That’s a tough call.

  18. Rusche, question about Anise.

    To what degree is her personality firmly fixed to operate in a certain manner in your mind, and to what degree is she a random number generator with a few guiding principles?

    Maybe another way to state that question is, at the end of the comic, how many of Anise’s peculiarities will be explained versus still mysteries?

  19. I’m not sure what the general reaction was to the “new” style, but I thoroughly enjoy it. One thing that unnerves a little bit, though, is the lack of “setting”. There are only closeups of people’s faces, with no establishing shots. A little disorienting, sometimes.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    1. I appreciate that. And I agree. Establishing shots are the most time consuming thing in the world to do, so I use them sparingly. Not that I don’t want them. But I won’t disagree I could use them more.

  20. Ya know, I’m kind of wondering, since we have seen the Super Note Card Guy (Can’t remember his name) brb. Okay, I just remembered. Index Man.

    But anyway, we’ve noticed that there have been distinct changes since that iteration of Chris’ characters. My thoughts ponder on how much of the strip has been possibly rough sketched out. Since Chris knows where the story is going. And everything looks like it has been thoroughly thought out. Like how a movie first goes through a sketch card layout to indicate lighting, wipes, camera zooms, pans, and such.

    1. It’s sounded to me like certain things are known/decided before it started, while others are more spur of the moment (for example Tarra never using the letter ‘X’ that someone postulated jokingly after a typo and Rusche seemed to consider making permanent, but then decided against). No real way to tell from the outside which are which.

    1. She’s wearing her coat in that comic, where here she’s in something much skimpier. If you compare her here to any of the shopping arc where she has her jacket off (Batwoman, 17 Jan 2014 – Family Dynamic, 03 Feb 2014) there’s a noticeable difference.

  21. I absolutely adore Pumpkin’s look and costume in the first panel. Digging the new art style, all around.

    She does look less babyish than she has in the past, and I think it makes her face more expressive and gives her more character.

  22. great scott its been awhile since I posted something, well, best make the most of this then.
    to start, I absolutely love how this story arc is starting to take shape, but instead of our friend in glasses finding her at a job, im going to guess a random encounter, possibly at the con even

    1. I’m wondering if Barrel’s friend is Danny (cast page guy in a hat) or someone else (including the fat guy in the voting picture). Obviously Danny’s going to be important, though, since he’s on the cast page. I’m still speculating Ellie’s first boyfriend because I want to speculate with very little background info.

    1. Nonstop fabulousness. They would have found him on the floor, twitching, gurgling…the remnants of a tube top and matching skirt wrapped around his head. The last thing he gasped out before his mind shattered under the weight of it all was: “I…feel…pretty…oh so…pretty…”

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