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Number 500

Really bad timing on my part to get so sick with such a big comic to do. Super duper sorries. But there it is. Still a bit run down, but listening to that song about 50 times trying to plan this strip... yeah, still didn't help. Regardless, I may not have an animated show, but I still treat the comic the same. In case you want another read with the audio (of course you do): UPDATE: Next comic will be up Monday. 1/11

191 thoughts on “Number 500

    1. And having the audio available for listening adds some nice depth to it. Also very easy to see why it couldn’t be broken up. Musta taken a lot of effort, so good on you for that, mate!

        1. Went for the short term search. No mention of renumeration was specifically mentioned as far as pay goes. The only thing that was specific was the $60 for six month communication fee that would be backed by at least one date, or the user gets a full refund. With these dates, Ellie has saved the company at least $900 so far.

    1. Given the collection of loons and goobers (Dave Barry did great here. even if sometimes I prefer “Down Periscope”‘s assessment of a motley crew) she’s had to put up with so far, it shouldn’t be going well. It’s sad; you think it’s all guys like James, just socially inept fellas trying way too hard, but then you remember it’s guys who propose on the first date, buy lingerie as presents, get arrested on drug charges and…*shudder*…sing karaoke. Not sure just what’s wrong with Captain Muffintop tho.

      1. HEY.

        At least the poor guy looks like he suffers more from a glandular condition than an anxiety condition. However, Capt. Muffintop is lightminutes ahead of the others by having slacks, shirt and a smile.

        1. Sadly, just a basic attractiveness issue. He’s not only a three-to-four on the Iglesias scale, he’s also short. Shorter than Ellie. That doesn’t bode well.

        2. Well, if Ellie did choose Capt. Muffintop, then she could rest her chin on his head. He has the ability to do what James can’t while dancing, and that’s the thing that was showcased in the movie “Sixteen Candles” when Long Duk Dong was dancing at Jake’s house with Marlene. Now all he would need would be a red argyle sweater, tan trousers and what was it. . . .

  1. That stalker type with red roses is totally my favorite of the bunch! And i see that my favorite blind teacher is making an apperance,hope we got to see more from him.
    And…Am i first to comment..? :)

    1. This seems like a page full of tips and hints of “what not to do on that first date.” But do these tips also include balloons, forgetting movie tickets, and horribly painful experiences?

        1. Well, if we had to relate it to other funeral experiences in movies… From worst to tolerable. . .
          uhm, well from tolerable to ….

          Okay, I’ve got nothing outside of “Return of the Jedi.”

        2. You don’t know that for certain.

          I’ve never seen a funeral home director challenge someone who walks in to a viewing or funeral. Someone who thought it was a good idea could just scan the obituaries and make up a likely story for the family as to how they knew the deceased and take dates to viewings all the time.

  2. Hadn’t heard this song (or seen the video) but I LOVE how you adapted it to SS.

    Hope you’re feeling better, Chris…

    1. Me neither. But I’m not clicking on the video, or I’ll get Spice Girls in my suggested list from YT for six months.

      1. You need to notice Ellie is wearing the same outfits as the Spice Girls from the video, and in the order in which they appear. I didn’t put WAY TOO much thought into this, I promise…

        1. Nah, the Spicies were cool! And rather refreshing when nearly everything else just seemed to be boy groups.

        2. To be fair, the only Spice Girls song I can recognize as a Spice Girls song is “Spice Up Your Life.” I did a decent amount of ballroom & latin dancing around the turn of the millennium, and that song just so happens to be a rare song that keeps strict tempo for dancing (samba for that one), so while I might’ve been able to shrug it off otherwise, I got a bit of an overdose. To be honest, a lot of the rhythm & latin songs kinda’ grated on me, so it wasn’t an outlier or anything.

          The song for this comic I wouldn’t have had any guess as to who sang it if I heard it on the radio.

  3. So Ellie indulged in a little of the montage did she?

    So much going on here but some of my favorite highlights are the both gender “new girlfriend selfies,” the return of the yiff monster, and the dude hitting on the redheaded version of Ellie while still on presumably his first date with Ellie.

      1. I don’t think the specifics of how montage works have ever really been delved into (and I just went through the strips where it first appeared as well as the comments) though I don’t think most of these particular events shown are boring. Memorable and probably unpleasant, but not boring.

        It may not be a montage trip but the fact it’s set to music and pretty much only shows snippets of what happened over a period time I would probably put my money on it.

    1. There’s certainly the hint of the possibility, but I’m inclined to think that her patience wouldn’t be wearing out quite as fast if she did.

  4. And Chris, wow. Congratulations on 500. But I’m going to guess that she’s not using the montage, and that it can be explained by the last panel. I do think that this strip was one hell of a set up from back in the O’Jacks days, as evidenced by our guest star appearance.

    1. You were wondering if the hat means Danny got out of jail too? Though we are talking probably less than a week, so he might be out on bail.

      1. And I forgot about the Danny thing. . there is more than one person with that hat on, and I’m not sure that the hair seems to be right. Like Danny had more hair in the front on the right to cover the burned eyebrow than this guy has on the back of their head, and if it was Danny, don’t you think that the ear would be showing?

        1. Yep, but he did take time to make a construction paper eyebrow when he had a few minutes before, so with a little more time he might’ve gone a bit more extensive.

    1. Not surprising.

      These are not real dates with potential boyfriends, these are mercy dates with the bottom of the dating barrel to boost their morale (and keep their business)…

        1. Thanks, I forgot that one.

          Also, I recognize that one as before I started commenting here much (possibly before I started reading, not as certain there). It really feels like I’ve been commenting here for longer than three years.

    1. Is that only because we didn’t see what you did right before it? I mean, something put that look on her face.

  5. I am SO glad Blind Guy is Blind. . . It would have broke my heart for him to see that. I hope his ears didn’t pick her up. However, given the tilt of his head and the look on his face, I feel he knows. :(

      1. He did ask after her at Kohls, so it wouldn’t be that surprising for him to be keeping tabs on her still.

        1. I hope this doesn’t end her relational chances with him. Also, Where is her shadow? He was supposed to be there in case of emergencies.

        2. He seems way too persistent to be discouraged so easily. Besides, his first conversation with her was about her acting in desperation out of need for a job and he was trying to encourage her not to do so.

    1. Hmmm, well if hoodie flower guy is the shadow I believe to be user Zane, Ellie did at least appear to get away unharmed (for now anyway) rather than become another bloody handprint on his wall.

      Past that, if dog suit guy is the same as T.R. Milkbone from CollegeRoommateHotties, then he either lied about being in Oregon there or made quite the trip for this date.

      None of the others look quite like a match to me for users from The Chain Part II through IV.

  6. Loved the adaption from the leopard print Spice Girl dress to Ellie’s furry suit! Coincidentally that’s also my favorite Ellie face on this page!

    And seriously Chris, I can’t believe the effort you put into this stuff. SUCH good work. Aren’t there awards for webcomics that go so many extra miles?!

    1. We just have to make sure that Chris wins (through decent, honest one vote per machine per day methods) the March Madness Webcomics Tournament this year as well.

    2. Not being sarcastic, but are there webcomic awards? I know that the Hugos started awarding one, but seeing how this isn’t sci-fi it wouldn’t be eligible for that. Are there others?

    1. Personally, I think considering a woman wearing a handful of spots and nothing else at all to be hot doesn’t seem like a sign of being a furry to me.

      Unless you find yourself continually thinking about adding more fur the same way Christopher Walken talks about more cowbell in the SNL sketch. I think that’d be a sign you’re a furry.

    2. Well, you didn’t add, “… but she’d be even hotter with the head-concealing leopard mask and with her pads visible” so no, you’re not a furry. *Urk.*

  7. I think even awkward loners are looking at this comic and saying, “I was never that bad!”

    And just for maximum recursiveness, the guy doing karaoke in the last panel is singing this same song in front of a poster of the Spice Girls singing this song.

    Goin’ all the way for art here.

    1. I could easily be as awkward, oblivious, and irritating as the first guy (not as cheerful, though). I’m not as fat as the second yet, though who knows what the future and my laziness holds in that regard. I probably would realize not to pull the hoodie approach as a joke on a first meeting, but I could see myself thinking that’s funny and having it pop to mind about doing it if I were wearing something like that anyway.

      I do feel like I’m on solid ground managing to avoid the rest of their mistakes, though.

      1. I’m kind of seeing the hoodie guy as not wanting to be around people or out in public, but it seemed that the hoodie was a type of shell protecting them from the outside world in means more than just temperature.

        1. Who knows. I was taking the stance of as a sometimes awkward and generally solitary person, looking at all of the mistakes above and putting them through the lens of, “How could I end up making that mistake?”

          For me, thinking startling her would be funny is the most feasible (and at some times in my life possibly even likely) cause for the hoodie thing.

          Well, that and the fact that any time I wear a loose hood I have a roughly 25% chance of feeling like I’m Emperor Palpatine from the orginal Star Wars trilogy (or a similar cowled villain) and kinda’ trying to let the hood fall down over my face somewhat. However, I’ve never owned a hoodie with a loose enough hood for that, so it’s generally reserved for winter coats, so I didn’t count that motivation.

  8. Congrats on 500, dude. I actually missed seeing Mr. Stevens the first time I looked. How many strips has it been since he last showed up? Was it all the way back in the Black Friday arc?

    1. Also, #500 was worth the wait. I loved the panels with Mr. Hoodie Creeper., even though they must have been a bitch to color.

      1. Thank you. Yes they were. But nothing is worse than panels with lots of background nobody characters like the Kiss Cam and First Date Shirt panels

        1. [secretly decides to believe grandma from funeral will be a main character as a zombie since that panel wasn’t specifically mentioned as having nobody characters…]

        2. Instead of “Braaains!” she will follow her grandson around, going “Great-Grandchildreeeeen!”

  9. Wow! With her wearing the same outfit it looks like she’s going on three dates a day. That sounds exhausting!

    Also, what’s the water cooler one about? Is he ignoring her?

    +1000 for fighting pacifists btw.

    1. Yep, three dates/day is the schedule. See Nena’s comments in comic Mondays Off (current post date – December 16, 2015).

  10. Is Meadow a girl? Which I thought she was only going with guys, or just girly looking? I wonder if she would have enjoyed that last date a little more if she hadn’t done all those other dates too :p

    1. I was wondering that as well, however, in taking the perspective from Meadow’s armpit down, the outline on the shirt doth proffer a feminine perspective instead of the slim to slightly muscular male.

      1. Why it made me wonder, but the whole start of it was about her just saying guys. It’s even mentioned many times before this strip, dudes/guys, and I think mentioned how it wasn’t the women having problems finding a date on the site, but the men, who out numbered the women, by a lot.

        So, was just leaving me wondering what was up with Meadow :p

        1. A story point I set up, but may or may not get to. Meadow is Damien’s sister, who Katrina dated and Damien subconsciously blames her for turning his sister gay. Something along those lines. We’ll see…

        2. The real question is: Does Meadow recognize Ellie from the cam site? Also, I somehow don’t see her as needing to use a dating site, unless she has burned up the local dating pool. And, by burn, I mean they want to burn her with fire. She was covered in mascara run streaks when last we saw her, so she may have some emotional stability issues.

        3. I don’t remember seeing Meadow before. Are you perhaps thinking of Lucid from Klamath Falls, OR (shown in comic The Chain Part II, currently dated March 21, 2015)?

        4. Still leaves me wondering why they has her date with a girl, when didn’t they say it was the guys having issues getting the date and did keep saying guy and dude to Ellie.

        5. Doesn’t mean there cannot be an odd girl or two among those with issues. Especially if she’s searching a probably nearly exclussively hetero dating site for a lesbian or female bisexual date.

        6. Great, I was already on a week or 2 into an archive dive (with comments reading) to refresh as well as to better remember the sisters. Now I have to do an archive dive within my archive dive to remember who Damien and Katrina are.

          I’m going to be here for months.

  11. I find myself remembering that Ellie would be working with Tarra’s David on her next job after Danny’s hijinks, but then also the addition of another chapter. I’d be sensing either an “I Quit” or a date with either Blind Guy or Tarra’s David (who may or may not be different people) coming up very soon after this page, but remembering that, I’m wondering if she’ll hang on a little longer or not.

    I also have to wonder if Nena is actively trying to break Ellie’s spirit setting all of these up this way. Which makes me wonder if that’s actively what Tired Guy wants or if that’s a facet of Nena trying to drive Ellie away before she notices whatever made her slam the door in Ellie’s face to complain about on her interview.

    1. David may also be Fangs-For-The-Mammaries, who is suppose to be working the security detail for this, isn’t he? Not that Ellie seems to be defenseless.

      1. Indeed, or another member of D52 we haven’t met yet. Or Nena might’ve gotten a sex change (possibly backlash from something esoteric gone wrong, rather than intentional) since Tarra was in school.

        I can’t find the reference from ~20 minutes of searching, but I have a memory of Rusche talking about connections between the Shotgun Shuffle characters in the VS match-ups he did for the ComicMix tournament. For the first one he did against Penny Arcade (posted with comic The Chain Part XV, currently dated April 6, 2015), he had Mr. Stevens, Dheu, & Ashliii. I thought I remembered Rusche saying that there was a triple connection there. That Mr. Stevens was connected to Dheu as well, and it wasn’t just both of them connected to Ashliii. I thought I’d also heard someone hint that he’d mentioned on chat or Facebook or Google+ that Mr. Stevens was Tarra’s David. So those are what I’m talking about with the possibility of them being the same.

        Personally, I want Blind Guy’s full name to be Stephen Esteban Stevens, so I don’t want him to be David for that reason. I’m almost completely convinced that even if he isn’t Tarra’s David, I’ll still be disappointed about his full name, though.

        1. Yes, there is speculation supported by unsubstantiated Author re-inforced supportive statements of ambiguity. Mr. Stevens (Blind Guy) is some how attached to Dheu and Ashliii. It was from the Penny Arcade vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE in the round two of the Mix Match March Webcomics Tournament.

          Round One: Kevin and Kell vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE the-chain-part-xi – 5/30/15
          SHOTGUN SHUFFLE hits 58 on TWC – the-chain-part-xiii – 4/1/2015
          SHOTGUN SHUFFLE appreciation for the fans via Ginny. – the-chain-part-xiv – 4/3/2015
          Round Two: Penny Arcade vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE the-chain-part-xv – 4/6/2015
          Round Three: Dresden Codak vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE the-chain-part-xviii – 4/13/2015
          –Round three artwork: the-chain-part-xix – 4/16/2015
          –Round three fan art: the-chain-part-xx – 4/23/2015
          Round Four: Looking for Group vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE and Round Five: The Property of Hate vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE number-400 – 4/28/2015
          Round Six: Girl Genius vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE shameless-propaganda – 5/5/2015
          Round Seven: Stand Still. Stay Silent vs. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE (otherwise known as Onomonopiacon or ss-vs-ssss or Stand Still. Stay Sober – something like that. 5/7/2015.

  12. Oh no, poor Ellie, helping all these people and cheering them on, its taken a toll on her because really she’s in the same boat :( She’s looking for love too, just like everyone else who hasn’t found it.

    This is where the shipper in me is hoping the next page is her coming home to find Quinn making a pot roast with that croc-pot she bought during the Christmas arc awhile back, and that they fall asleep leaning against each other watching some random movie ^^

  13. LOL the unibomber guy was the nicest among them….and was that the blind guy in the background in that panel

  14. As always, a fantastic comic. The montage really shows the mounting rage/disgust for Ellie :) Even when there isn’t a lot of dialog, you manage to move the plot really well.

    Also, sweet mashup of the Fighting Irish logo.

      1. I think a Home of the Fighting Pacifists logo shirt or a modified (i.e. minus kiss cam) scoreboard would make an excellent addition to your T-shirt store.

        I often try buying webcomic shirts for family for Christmas, but I don’t think any of them ever read webcomics, so they need to be standalone/amusing jokes on their own (I did get a cousin an Indifferent Meal shirt last year). My favorite from this year (and ideal for going into a presidential election year) is the Vote Dog shirt I found on Topatoco (Sam & Fuzzy store, though I don’t read that comic at the moment).

        That kind of shirt is also better advertising, as you can get people looking for the shirt they saw someone wear and finding the comic.

  15. OK… the furry date… hilarious. And AnthroCon would be a pretty good first date if both folks were into the Furry thing.

  16. That was quite a week. Of all the dates, only the sketchy hoody and (if you’re into it) karaoke guys could be alright. With that last guy, at least she doesn’t seem mad (like so many others) but just completely run down. The throwback to creepy furry who tried getting with pumpkin (along with the lyric selection there) was a nice touch.

    Also, my sister burned some CDs for me a while back; just random energetic/danceable stuff, and as she was a child of the 90’s, this song was on it. I listened to that CD recently. I recognized the song at the 3rd panel. It began running through my head at the 4th. Well done.

    Also also: Huzzah to 500 pages! Given that some of these updates are gigantic, I think you passed the average webcomic 500 quite a while ago, but either way, congrats, and here’s to another 500 (a few times, even)

  17. Having a good time yet, Ellie?

    Ellie, are you having a good time yet?

    I don’t think Ellie is having a good time for some reason…

      1. Ellie are you okay?
        Ellie are you okay?
        Ellie are you okay?
        Are you okay, Ellie?

        Ellie are you okay?
        Ellie are you okay?
        Ellie are you okay?
        Are you okay, Ellie?

        You’ve been hit by, you’ve been struck by a smooth criminal

        It’s not actually a quote, unless it is and it’s buried in my subconscious somewhere…

        1. Cryptomnesia is apparently the word for that (I learned that reading an author post at Grrl Power and I’m trying to get myself to remember the word).

        2. Personally, since it’s from Corncobman, I kind of doubt the application of Crptomnesia’s definition applies here. Unless you’re sarcastically applying it because of what he says about it being/not being a quote.

          It’s kind of the opposite of Deja vu, isn’t it?

        3. My understanding is that the definition is when the content of a memory surfaces without being recognized as a memory and being confused as an original creation. So that’s where I considered the statement “It’s not actually a quote, unless it is and it’s buried in my subconscious somewhere…” to be describing that possibility. No sarcasm intended.

          Really I’m just trying to find enough excuses to use the word that I remember it. I’ve already had to go back and look it up three or four times now.

        4. Not a song quote though. I’m thinking either movie/tv series or read somewhere in a comic. Though I’m pretty sure it would be the former.

    1. Yes I am prone to making a few snide jokes at the expense of furries. But then again, I try to make fun of lots of groups. Just go “yeah yeah, Rusche, whatever” and don’t think I harbor ill will towards them. ;)

      1. Part of being a furry is accepting that we are outside the norm. And far as I can tell, this guy isn’t showing any behaviour that can’t be found at any convention. There’s always at least one creeper, regardless of the theme.

        1. I hear they’re often recommended a wide variety of activities to pass the time.

          Scuba diving with nitrous oxide tanks, lace parachute skydiving, chainsaw juggling, grizzly boxing, judging arsenic cooking contests, oxygen chamber flint carving, self-surgical time trials, lava skating, electrical substation rappelling, and probably a lot more that don’t quickly come to mind.

  18. Hoodie Stalker buys his roses from the Magical Flower Shop on the corner of Third, Gardenia and Nyarlathotep. Just ask for Shub-Niggurath, the Dark Goat of the Woods with a Thousand Young, and he’ll set you up with a bouquet of Sparkling Roses, assuming he can stop eating them. Just $10.95 and a vial of your blood for a bouquet of three. If we ever gave you four, reality would collapse in on itself.

  19. My deepest congratulations on your 500th comic. A truly great achievement. In a gluttonous sea of flash-in-the-pan comics made with half-hearted effort, yours shines out with honest talent. Your comics and artistic ability have been a huge influence on me. I hope the creative process over the years has likewise been as fulfilling. It certainly shows in your work. Looking forward to many more comics in the future. (–as well as some printed books of your work. Any chances?)

  20. Sooooo…does that mean when Ellie finally (guessing) ends up with either Mr. Stevens or Quinn, someones gonna spike their drinks with montage and we’ll progress with “Say You’ll be There”?

  21. Holy maccaroni cheesecake on a self-serving silver slicing platter! What an awesome page!

    Especially like… Mr. Stevens in the background… Meadow, especially in comparison to the first selfie there… the panel right below, though one would think he’d be banned from entering the State of Florida by now (^_^)… Revenge of the Fighting Pacifists (and yep, that mascot plus the name would make for an awesome t-shirt design!)… flower guy (apart from first impression, he seems quite alright, actually)… the whole Spice Girl theme… the list goes on and on forever!

    1. At least his curt but sympathetic letter will go smoothly. “Stop dressing like the Unabomber on dates and you should do all right.”

  22. Wow, congrats on the longevity and also the achievement of creating this page (and also hoping you feel at least somewhat better now?). More squeees, but I’d be repeating my august colleagues below. “Spot the reference” fun! Also, I second (or fifth as it were) the T-shirt of the Fighting Pacifists logo.

  23. Spice Girls, its been forever since I heard this song. I used to have a couple of their CD’s but they got stolen when someone broke into my car.

  24. I remember this song too well. I didn’t need the youtube link.

    Also, congrats on hitting 500. I’m looking forward to the next 500.

  25. I don’t get the panel where she’s getting water?? Is that one of her dates ditching her for another big-boobie girl?

        1. I’m thinking that an “Ellier” Ellie at this point would be more naively easy than just being plain easy. And possibly not harboring intense self hatred.

        2. If you think Ellie is naively easy you weren’t paying attention when she was at the hotel with Danny…

    1. Is this another way of saying that Ellie would not date a particular Tim Allen movie character, one that would result in a battle royal between her and another sister, because his personality is based on weight?

    1. God. This is awful.

      I don’t know what else to say about it. The world without David Bowie is a colder world.

      Still, in the end he was one of the most dedicated of creative geniuses. He have us a whole knew album while battle cancer.

      That’s bad arse.

      1. The one thing to take solace from here is the sheer amount of work he’s done. Enough that we can constantly rediscover new sites of him.

        Although I will admit that my all time favourite song of him is “Heroes”. And I don’t think that will ever change anymore.

    1. I’m going to guess she channeled Tarra well enough to side arm a rock at it and break the lens on her first try and while still covering her face with her other hand.

  26. While probably a stretch, I could see online handle “Zeke” from Rosman NC coming down to “clean up” Terra’s messes. The fact that he’s from “out of town” just makes it better.

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