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Mob Mentality

***************************** I’ll post today’s strip on Monday. Or rather, I’ll add it to Monday’s. So you’ll get a double, I’m just postponing it. It’s drawn, and in the computer, I’m just too physically and mentally exhausted to finish the lines, color it, shade it, color the lines, then word it. As most of you know, I don’t run a buffer. Why? Because I post as much work as I can output immediately. This does put on strain on me, yes.. but I enjoy giving you as much content as possible. Anyway, long story short, it was inventory day at my ‘real’ job on Halloween, on top of Halloween, on top of my son being sick the last month, on top of “lets clean the entire house because family is coming over next week.” So I’m razor thin at this point. By my son being sick, which I did a comic about some time back, he has asthma pretty severely during the changing seasons. The doctor never diagnosed him with this, but it’s essentially what it is. During the evenings this time of year he gets heavily congested while he sleeps, and he’s on breathing medications all night. So I’ll be proactive and get him on his nebulizer before bed, but that’ll last him until about 1:30 am, and we’re on it again until his coughing/wheezing settles down. Then he’ll be back up around three. Sometimes a third time around 5. So it’s like having a newborn with feeding times. This is yearly. He get better around mid/late November (this all happens yet again when spring comes.) So there’s that. Now that seems like a lack of sleep, but honestly, I deny myself sleep all the time doing the comic. Some have asked when I typically post it. That depends on when it’s done. If I post it at 3:15am day-of, it’s because I just got done with it. 5am? Just got done with it, etc. It’s not that I’m bad at deadlines, I just have a full plate. My schedule is usually as follows: Saturday, draw three days worth of strips Sunday, finalize Monday’s comic. Probably still up until 3am finishing it. Monday, go to bed at 3:30 or 4 am to be up at 6am for work. Drive an hour, be back home to pick up my kids at daycare 10 and a half hours later. Think about doing comic after I get them to bed about 8pm. Pass out instead from only 2 hours of sleep. Tuesday, start finishing Wednesday’s comic about 8pm after kids are in bed. Usually get done about 3:30-4 am. Get two hours of sleep. Work again, etc. That is a GOOD week. There are plenty of times I get zero sleep. I’ll post the comic around 5:30. If you ever see THAT, you know I’m rolling into work a complete zombie. Around 11am, I can barely stand up. That’s when I take a 20 minute nap in my car during lunch instead of eating (my first meal of the day is typically dinner.) So I go to work on a full night’s sleep only two days a week if you consider I pass out from LACK of it on posting days. By Friday night, I’ll pass out around 8:30pm and sleep about 16 hours straight from exhaustion. As you can see, anything small added to my schedule just kills it all. Like Halloween, or house projects, or what have you. Especially multiples of these time bandits. But this is not me complaining! I absolutely LOVE doing this comic. And I certainly despise letting down my awesome audience. I just ask you to bear with me on days/times like this. They happen. I’m human, and at this point, I still have to work a regular job. I truly do believe there will come a day this comic supports me doing it full time. That’s the amount of faith I have in it. In me. And in you liking it. That’s why I’ve lost weeks of sleep over it. So thanks everyone. I’ll see you Monday!   -Chris ********************************* On evaluating the strips, and what dates they fall on, I did a work around. Originally, we’d be flowing into the panel shown in the story vote I did. Unfortunately it’s getting too close to the crunch time of the holiday season for that just yet. I’m uncertain of the interest to the reader (I assume it’s on par with my own) on how much they’d like to see all the sisters in close proximity. This is something that I mulled over for the last few years when it finally hit me driving home about a month ago. Why would they all be together? Other than a family reunion? And I’m not talking birthdays, like we’re reading now (there’s humorous interaction to be had, but not so much a driving force.) Duh.. Holidays. But more importantly, holiday shopping. Something all my retail friends can relate to: Black Friday. So initially I was shooting to do the introduction of the new character now, but it would have to be concise. I’d enter a break period about mid November and run with the Black Friday strips, then continue on with the first storyline. Like a sub-story within the larger plot. But honestly, it would be rushed. And you probably know by now I hate that. So we’re going to have a heavy dose of sisterhood for the time being. I wanted some gaps between Ellie’s dealings with them, but hey ho. Timing is what it is. The dude seen in option B of the vote is also my one of the strip’s biggest catalyst characters. Introducing him quickly introduces 4 of the other people on the cast panel. So he’s a huge jumping off point for what the remainder of this giant first saga will be. For those of you liking my DBZ analogies, we’re headed to Namek, but we’re still in the spaceship for the time being. Gravity training. It’s funny enough to me they’ll sporadically miss each other’s birthdays but not the mosh pit of pre-Christmas shoppery. It’s a tradition. Expect me to expound on Juniper and Ginger with this.

143 thoughts on “Mob Mentality

      1. I also like the look of approval Ellie is giving Pumpkin for her outburst in the last panel.

        I am surprised no one came back to the “dumb slut” comment with “Juniper isn’t here.”

        1. Yeah, Ellie’s loving it. And we all know where Tarragon is. She’s fighting Elevator Ninja, or recovering from it, since that should have been yesterday in strip chronology.

        2. But that’s just it, Tarra is SO perfect even if she misses a family event she has the perfect excuse.

          I was saving babies from a fire.

          I was fighting a wheelchair ninja, then after making him a quadriplegic I had to keep him stable using only a hair tie and his ninja mask while I carried him to the hospital to perform life saving surgery on him in the nick of time.

          That sort of thing.

        3. It does look like she’s proud of Pumpkin. But it also kinda looks like “Ah, some things never change,” and she’s perfectly happy with that.

          I’m curious- which sisters are Ellie closest to? I’m guessing Cinnamon and Tarra, seeing as she called them first.

      2. That’s actually almost entirely against my original interpretation of her. I thought she was mature, for the most part, but didn’t fit in with the other sisters, and indulged herself in her own weirdness. Because she was comfortable with who she is, she’s seen by others as being very bizarre instead of slightly weird.

        Seeing you call her a giant child threw me for a loop! :D But then again, we’ve only seen Anise in two panels before this strip, so that’s not a lot to go on.

      3. As a giant child she’s playing a game of eating with her hands tied behind her back? I can get onboard with that.

      1. And I was kind of thinking just who in her childhood could have had the beard for her to be so enamored by one, their grandfather perhaps?

  1. It looks like Mother Buckingham has her hands full. Love the byplay between the sisters. I actually snorted while reading this. True story.

  2. Nuuuuuuu! Everything I wanted to say has been said!

    Except for flufflenut whiskey. I really wanted to say that.

  3. “God knows where your other two sisters are.”
    So I guess Terra is still doing battle with the wheelchair ninja? He must be pretty damn tough considering his opponent and how long it must have been since then. Or she’s saving the world or something, who knows, but I thought she said she was almost there when the ninja attacked.

      1. Yeah, it’d be kind of hard to put an elevator and lobby in a residential house, I mean, it could be done, but I don’t think that anyone besides Donald Trump would do that. I could be mistaken and possibly Hugh Hefner, Hasselhoff, and Howard Hughes.

        1. Sigh. David Hasselhoff. Knight Rider, America’s got Talent. Baywatch. And I think lame reason for a “I can’t fight this feeling” music video.

        2. Sigh yourself.

          I know who he is; I just can’t imagine why you would include him with “Rich & Famous” fodder like Hefner, Trump and Hughes.

          We were talking about having an elevator in one’s home, not being a B (at best) actor…

        3. Tarra obviously installed the elevator in the Buckingham’s house so McFatFat could get up to Ellie’s room. She added the lobby later because the elevator just didn’t look right without it.

          The elevator took her 12 minutes 23.7 seconds and was accomplished using only a packet of Arby’s Horsey Sauce (TM) and a small rolling stepstool like you’ll see in a library. Not sure about the lobby, but apparently she had trouble sleeping and went through seven iterations and the only thing anyone noticed missing was a concrete garden gnome.

          This IS Tarra you’re talking about, after all.

    1. Ugh, that pumpkin pie at Dennys is overrated, to a point. I’m halfway wondering if someone was wearing tooooooo much perfume at some point in it’s baking and delivery.

        1. Another vote for pride/amusement. Partly for Pumpkin’s comment itself and partly for the fact that Pumpkin was leaning toward her, as if she were trying to pin the comment on Ellie.

        2. I’d rather suggest sisterly love, and that Pumpkin isn’t going to suffer the same roads that she’s walked down.

          At least to the Amateur barber shop on hair court avenue.

        3. I think she keeps her hair so short as it is no one bothers chopping it further for her. Unless they straight up give her mohawk with clippers no one is going to notice.

        4. I’m sick of using the word pride in almost any connotation, except when it’s used to go before the fall. I mean, it’s almost lost its definition.

        5. It’s fair to be irritated by it, but pride has always been a fairly broad word, from my recollection. I’ll admit it seemed weird to me at first to have one concept that was both virtue and vice with different expressions, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve seen a lot that’s perfectly fine, and even necessary, in small doses that is between bad and hideously awful when taken to excess.

  4. PUMPKIN! Hahaha, you may have just become my favorite student hahaha. Also, that smirk on Ellie’s face in that last panel, oh I love it.

  5. *falls out of chair clutching sides*

    BWHAHAHAHAHA

    I love these girls! lol seriouly, I wish I had grown up near a family like them. Wouldnt want to live near them NOW however, only if I had known them growing up, otherwise it’d just be really akward.

    Keep up the good work dude, you just made my morning :)

  6. This comment really belongs several weeks ago, but it just occurred to me. It turns out that Ellie was speculating on Pumpkins orientation with (unbeknownst to Ellie, but still) Pumpkin’s English teacher. Maybe that’s why he refused to speculate along with her.

    1. That’s actually a very good observation, and one I’m a little annoyed with myself for forgetting about…

      Also, this comic gave me a good laugh, especially Pumpkin… her quip is *~so~* something I’ve done when I was that age.

    2. Maybe the teacher didn’t speculate because he has the inside track and doesn’t want to tip his hand? Like, who does Pumpkin habitually hang around with? Is it too soon to ship Ashliii and Pumpkin? It’s too soon isn’t it?

      I’m not sure which is worse though, Ashkin or Pumpliii. That may be enough for me to abandon ship before it even goes anywhere.

        1. Ellie was the one to let slip that Pumpkin was her sister at the breakfast meeting with Mr. Steven. Is it Mr. Stevens yet or is it still Mr. Steven, I ask because I’m still trying to bait people with the first name Darrin.

        1. It didn’t really click for me until “Mr. Stevens english class” when BG said to Ashliii, “You have Miss Buckingham in tow, I assume.” Which made me realize that except the scenes they’ve shown of Ashliii at work she has only ever appeared with Pumpkin. Though Pumpkin has appeared plenty of time without Ashliii. The plot thickens.

        2. Ashliii and Pumpkin were at the movie with the nerd trio escorting Quinn to that remake of Forrest Gump/Star Wars 2.5

        3. Yep. And Ashliii mentions the fact that Pumpkin talked to her specifically about Ellie way back in Rage Text.

      1. I doubt that Mr. Stevens has certain knowledge about Pumpkin & Ashliii being lovers from classroom observation. Unless Pumpkin’s a freshman then Ellie would’ve been in HS with her and she’s definitely observant enough to notice something like that if a teacher could. Now, he certainly could’ve found something out from a creepy stalker-type observation, which has been hinted as a possibility for him with Ellie by a comment from Rusche and him knocking on Tired Guy’s front door.

        I’m inclined to think he doesn’t want to discuss Pumpkin too much from a propriety stance, concern he’ll accidentally give himself away, or concern over backlash when Ellie finds out who he is.

        I don’t see anything conclusive yet for if Pumpkin is attracted to females or not, and if so if she’s romantically entangled with Ashliii or if they’re just close friends.

  7. At this point in the evening, the only person Mother Buckingham HASN’T yelled at is Ellie. Perhaps a good time to note the job loss whilst mother’s ire is spread out amongst the daughters?

  8. Great page!
    just like u would expect sisters to be, ignoring their mother while they are talking dirty hehe.
    And i also love the look Ellie gives Pumpkin,something i would have done as well with my little brother if we were still that age hehe.

    1. Basically, my question would be, which sex/gender would be able to get away with talking about issues about adulthood as referenced above as if it were almost dinner table discussions, but not on the Quinn’s mom level of having to know everything.

  9. In case Rusche is polling, interest in seeing all the sisters together is at an all time high for me. Bring the Buckingham’s on!

  10. What are they going to do after cake? In my experience, cake typically comes at the end of the birthday party. But then again, it seems as though Anise was insistent on getting some cake early on. Hrm… she probably just doesn’t wanna miss Duck Dynasty. Boom-chika-wow-wow!

    1. Now I get the joke. I agree, that Anise would have the unknown desire to watch every second of that show. I’m not so sure about re-runs or such. But just like some sports shows on the weekends.

  11. I’ve commented a couple times, but I’ve never actually said this:

    You are incredibly good at this. It’s clear how much you’ve grown as an artist since the first comic, and the shear amount of work you put into each of these strips is amazing.

    I do hope that this comic rewards very well monetarily in the future. You have far too much talent for this not to be the defining project of your life.

  12. lol reminds me of the dinner scene in Donnie Darko

    you can go suck a fuck!

    oh, please tell me Elizabeth, how exactly does one suck a fuck?!

    1. With a vacuum sucking device, possibly similar to the one in Red/Green? But that one is for Sewage Sucking Services, and undoubtedly only needed in rural Florida, where people may have septic tanks and no sewer systems linked up to municipal utilities and the sewage treatment plants and stuff.

  13. Chris,

    You are a dedicated father, and I know that Jackson will appreciate what you’re doing for him later in life. I suppose that all I can do is offer to you what I could have offered to my parents in my youth, because they aren’t here anymore.

    And, on the other hand, you’ve got professionals in the animation business commenting on your strip. That’s got to be another feather in your cap along with your parental dedication.

  14. Keep up the good work, but dang Rusche get yourself some sleep. It always amazes me how some people can push themselves and get by on so little sleep. (I kind of envy them) If I tried it I’d be homicidal after two days and suicidal after three.

    1. Speaking as someone who has pushed themselves to the edge and over it a few times I can say that there is a bit of an art form to performing long term on little to no sleep. Age is definitely a factor, I spent my college career averaging right around three hours of sleep a night, but a few years ago while I was in charge of a couple large projects at work I was only working a hundred(ish) hours a week and ended up in the hospital for exhaustion… twice… (yea, I was stubborn enough to ignore all the warning signs the second go around.) I’ve since learned to back off when I actually do start hitting the wall but that being said, the impacts of chronic fatigue on your daily life suck. Sleep debt is a real thing and eventually your body will force you to pay it back.

      Chris, take of yourself and your family first and formost, I love the comic but family and personal health have to be a priority.

      1. Of course all that being said, I also absolutely believe you’ll get to the comic being your bread and butter. Your dedication and quality will get you there.

        1. Agreed, on both points. Take care of yourself first Rusche. We love the comic yes, and maybe get a little saddened when there is no update, but we would be devestated if something serious/permant were to happen to you because of your drive to please us. Stay Healthy, my friend.

          And this comic is of a quality that believe it will support you in the future. And if this ever gets published in physical form, I will go buy a copy!

        2. I suppose that this could be one of the veritable tenets of suffering for ones art, where artists are supposed to pay their due. I would say, pay it over time, if you need to Chris, we (I’m assuming) adore it as we get it.

        3. I can also understand and respect someone who drives themselves to keep going because if they know if they slow down they’ll lose momentum. I’m not sure if that’s a thing Chris deals with or not but I’m very much like that.

  15. The sisters are so cute! I love their interaction… and Cinnamon reminds me of my friend who speaks her mind about sex the same way. -_-

  16. All I’m gonna say to you the comic maker is you need to goto Si Robertson’s school of napping. You will learn the ability to NAP HARd n work light while appearing to work hard ;).

      1. lol thats cause batman works hard where as Si tries to avoid working,an do what he’s best at besides duck hunting an telling stories which is nap.

  17. Not gonna lie… it’s gonna take a lot more than minor schedule slips to bother me. I’m a reader of Double K (author traditionally drops off the earth for months at a time) and Erfworld (pretty legendary for schedule slippage, especially during book 2, both because the author is a horrible perfectionist and because the artist had some serious family trouble).

    Sleep moar.

        1. Double K is a Gurren-Lagann fancomic. It’s fantastic and the author is a swell guy, but him and regular schedules don’t mix super well.

          Erfworld is a fairly cool comic that takes place in a setting that emulates the rules of a turn-based strategy game. The writing and art are pretty good but it tends to crawl a bit even when they are making regular updates.

          I recommend both. Erfworld is a cool premise and Double K carries all the energy, fervor, and madcap characters of Gurren-Lagann into an honest-to-freaking-God buddy cop comic.

  18. Geez, Rusche- don’t kill yourself over this! Listen, having 3 comics a week is great, but if you need to, just post 2 a week. It really sounds like you’re working yourself a bit TOO hard. Being a single parent can’t be easy, but doing that and trying to keep a stringent schedule on top of work isn’t easy in the slightest. I can safely say that I really don’t mind if you need to post only 1 or 2 strips a week. If the author keels over and dies because he’s trying to meet the expectations of the fans, I’d feel a little guilty about it. So I’ll tell ya now- I really don’t mind if you wanna reduce your workload for a while. Got no problems with it.

    Hell, I’m a fan of VGCats, and that goes without updates for months on end! I’m also a fan of Ever After, and that hasn’t seen an update in years. So, if you want to help yourself a bit, and try to sleep some, I doubt too many fans (if any) would hold it against you.

  19. All in favor of allowing Chris the permission he needs to give himself for a week’s vacation from posting the comic strip, and the guilt he would feel from not posting for a week?

    All in favor, please comment under the first yes/aye and all against, please comment under the first no/nay.

        1. Hell, we can make it even easier by pledging to get fan arts/strips up for him. I’m down with another fan art, I actually have an idea for a REALLY bad pun based fan art. Of course I’ll do the fan art anyway but it’s always nice to have a reason to motivate

        2. Been thinking about making some fan art myself. Maybe this weekend.

          Rusche – you should totally have some guest strips for a week or two at some point so you can relax, catch up on sleep, maybe even take the family somewhere.

        3. Even if you don’t want to post guest strips, take a break if you need it. I’d like to see you get this story to the grand completion you hint at with several massive story arcs, and you taking the breaks you need to remain healthy and not burned out will help with that.

          Here’s looking forward to when you reach your Pratchett Point.

        4. To quote the Simpsons: “No, Homer, very few cartoons are performed live. It’s a tremendous strain on the animator’s wrist.”

          You’re doing tremendous work here. I’m not only in favor of you taking a week vacation, but also of you shifting to a two-a-week schedule until you can build up a buffer. I read once-a-week comics that aren’t this good and find them totally satisfying.

          Also, Sleep = Good.

    1. Oh, and on a side note:

      I would agree that today’s strip was absolutely glorious. Also, is the lesbian thing gonna be brought up here?

        1. Your gender is somewhat ongoing? Part of me wants to ask “How does that work?” but I’m a little afraid of the answer.

  20. Geez… I don’t know how you do that. I have trouble with just 6 hours. I agree with above posters, don’t work yourself too hard, get some extra(normal) sleep if you want. I’d much rather the comic slowly updates or doesn’t for a long time than you keel over from exhaustion. =p

  21. I’ve never actually commented on this comic before, but I’ve been reading for a while now. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy it. You’ve put a surprising amount of thought into it. If and when the time comes for a potential Shotgun Shuffle book, expect my Kickstarter dollars. >:D

  22. I’m not sure what other causes with your sone there might be, but I had some similar reactions from dust allergies. There are apparently two types of dust mites, one the thrives in high humidity and one that thrives in low humidity. As I understand it, most of the US has both types with alternating activity. I tend to get allergic flareups on the humidity (and thus dust mite) changeups, but dust doesn’t noticeably bother me once it stabilizes. I’ve been told that if I move to the southwest there’s only the low humidity dust mites there, so it might go away. Mine got better as I got older and aren’t worth that kind of hassle at this time in my life, though.

  23. Looking at the second panel again, I can’t help but be struck with “Mostly Creepy”, Cinnamon’s soulless eyes, then talking about her sex life. Those eyes looking back during sex would be pretty creepy.

    Also, I can certainly see omniscience being required for keeping track of both Juniper and Tarra, if for different reasons (who’d have thought a three year old could invent a functional teleportation device).

    1. When you post a comic, you have one or more other later comics already finished and ready to post, but you’re saving them for their scheduled posting time. You then will work a few comics ahead of what’s posted and dip into the buffer when life throws a curveball and you’re behind.

      Some webcomic artists do buffers, others don’t. I’ve only noticed one webcomic that posts the buffer for what’s currently complete (Dumbing of Age, states today that he’s got up to 27 Jan 2014 ready, I think he started doing that around when he had a Kickstarter up where a stretch goal involved him posting all seven days a week for a year and it was hit).

  24. Chris, I won’t tell you how to live your life; if your schedule works for you, is sustainable, gets done what you need done, and makes you reasonably happy, then go for it.

    I worked overseas in a war zone for four years, working 12-16 hour days seven days a week, and your schedule makes me tired just thinking about it. But, that said, different people can survive or even thrive on different amounts of sleep, and if you can work this, more power to you!

    I will echo those above who said that if you decide you need a break, or if you don’t get updates posted by particular days, your readers will still support you. (Oh, you’ll get a few “entitled to free stuff” people whining, but I think the bulk will simply wait.) You’re creating a pretty kick-a story, and we’ll keep coming back, so no worries! A lot of us like the story enough to be in for the long haul, so I would think of this as a marathon, not a sprint. I do think if you continue to stay true to your vision, that self-sustainability will come – it’s definitely that good.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. I really appreciate that. Thank you. It’s true, this comic took about 4 hours to draw in full, and around 20 more to complete digitally. So from the bit I did on Saturday, then my Sunday being fully consumed by it, yeah… I pretty much wanted to die. But like Bill Watterson once said, “It’s amazing how hard you work when you work for yourself.”

      It can be challenging producing exactly the same comic I see in my head for you guys. But I think it’s worth it. For you, and for myself. :)

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