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Ratches

I had mentioned here and there the story is divided into 3 major arcs (or sagas or something.) Three major parts, right. We're in the first. The final arc will run parallel at some point with our current story. This comic is actually the beginning of said parallel. Just FYI since I said I'd mention it to any hardcore-ish readers. It's more so the "horrible night" Tommy is alluding to that's the start. But we won't hear much of this for a long time. The only thing we'll see for the time being is the repercussions of this night in the next few strips. I hate sounding mysterious about everything all the time. I know that gets old. But I can't give it away..

189 thoughts on “Ratches

      1. 8 gauge with a good spread. They’ve grown wings and possibly a hive mind.

        All else fails, a flamethrower is always a good solution.

        1. Flamethrowers are only allowed if the fire marshal has approved the number of exits in case a flaming cockarat hits a customer after being taken out from the air.

        2. Hey, go big or go home (that’s what she said? lol). Master Chief used an 8 gauge and he survived The Flood. Don’t think the cockarats will stand *much* of a chance.

        3. Punt Gun. Now there’s a potent antique for ya. Saw one of those babies down to 18 inches and throw a good pound of lead at those ugly winged bastards.

        4. Or, a much better solution, breed a scorpion-fox combo with enough dog thrown in to make it a loyal trainable animal. Scorpion can be substituted with any of the cockroaches other natural predators (centipede being the most effective), fox can be substituted for any other predators of the rat, though housecats are unadvisable. Laser technology can probably be borrowed from the government, as the cockrats/ratches should rank high enough on the national security level to be disposed of in this manner.

          In other news, imagine a shotgun shuffle videogame where you are a staff member at the restaurant, and must battle the cockrats/ratches to prevent the end of the world as we know it.

        5. 8ga isn’t antique. They’re still manufactured by a number of companies.

          And Flamethrowers are worse than useless here. All you’ll do is light them on fire, and then you have burning cockarats running around your store, setting everything on fire. They might lose some fur, but even humans don’t die instantly from a flamethrower. Waste of money. Like using a chainsaw against zombies. All you get is biohazard all over yourself, and then you’re a zombie too. Useless.

        1. All at once, but they rotate around a central axis, like a revolver, but they’re all shotguns… hell of a kick, ya know. And if that thing was an automatic… hoooooooo yeaaaaaah!!

      2. I was always a fan of the 16. It’s sadly under-appreciated though. My go to shotgun of choice for this situation would be a 20 gauge Saiga. I lot of people default to the 12 but for semi-automatic assault applications the 20 is far more controllable and is still plenty enough gun.

    1. Or use the posion that asia uses that is banned in all other countries for it’s tendency to create undesirable effects on non vermin.

    1. See folks, I had problems with the angle in panel two, and Heather helped me out with a reference for it. Now it’s “too sexy” and she wants a “take back.”

      1. for a claim like that (Heather’s “reference”), I’m afraid I must invoke the “Pics or it didn’t happen” rule…

      2. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or not, but in panel 2 they don’t look real. So maybe Quinn doesn’t have anything to feel jealous about.

        1. Only because gravity is attempting to pull them over her head, and thus placing them in an odd position, like a tidal wave when it hits the beach.

        2. I agree. Real breasts would be flatter. Of course, if we’re really judging this by realistic physical standards, that must be the deepest couch ever, if it can fit Ellie from toes to shoulder on the seat cushion (even with her legs folded)

        3. And also, characters would not have mouth openings on the side of their faces like they are half-flounder. Arg, that’s a trope that today’s artists have stolen from cheap anime that I really wish they would give back.

        4. So… while there are mutant rat cockroaches flying around your greatest break in immersion comes from the art style of placing mouths on characters in a certain way?

          That’s… you have fun with that.

        5. Nah, it’s okay. I don’t completely disagree with that assesment. I’m not a colossal fan of that technic either. I used it symbolize a ‘high-smirk’ in a profile angle. But I can refrain from using it in the future. It’s not my preferred method to have mouths like that. But it did help from having to draw more fingers holding a phone behind his face. =P

        6. That’s very cool. Increasing the verisimilitude in the mundane features like set dressing or anatomy allows the viewer to more easily suspend disbelief when it comes to truly extraordinary things like roach-rats and floating communicators. Behavioral scientists have studied this and have found evidence that there is only so much disbelief someone reading a story can suspend, so it is good to ration it.

          (On a related note, they discovered that willpower is also a finite resource, which is why it is better to force yourself to exercise in the morning, while you still have an abundance of willpower in the tank. True facts.)

    2. …I think Ellie is aware we are watching her… Cause now she’s just showing off, and if there’s no-one there…

      o.O

      1. It’s better then becoming detached from the Earth and chocking in the vacuum of space and floating for ever and ever until a gravity well sucks our dead frozen bodies either into a singularity, solar body, gas giant or a solid planetary body.

  1. Can mergerd please be our code word for more of that? If so, more mergerd, please.

    I think my cortex is shutting down…

  2. In the words of Lieutenant Commander Worf reguarding the cockratches:

    They’ve adapted.

    That aside…no comment on pannel two, other than you can expect quite a few hits and possibly some fan art lol

    Honestly I do like your approach with Ellie. She’s spunky, fun and very attractive, she knows this and she has fun with it.

    People seem to have this impression that attractive girls have to act like prudes or its nothing but fanservice. Nothing wrong with a little fanservice, and nothing wrong with someone thats hot having a little fun.

    Keep up the good work!

    1. This is what happens when I play Ellie fairly conservative since the start. I throw her in a tank top at a provacative angle and everyone’s in a tizzy. =P

      1. I wouldnt say a tizzy, honestly I’m happy to see you play her as a fun loving free spirit. You yourself just admitted to following the same mindset that I mentioned. ‘Thou must show no provocative material when a girl has bust’ gets annoying.

        I knew plenty of girls in school who were hot, knew it, and flaunted it. There is a very fine big difference between a girl that acts coquettish and one who acts like…well, a slut.

        There is nothing wrong with a person not being ashamed of their body. Its true that Ellie was born with the genetic jackpot (blond, blue eyed and busty) but its not like that kind of figure doesnt take work to keep.

        1. I disagree and I’ll sum it up for you.

          The character Ellie chooses her pose. Rusche chooses the camera angle.

          Now, I realize the Rusche gave her her personality and decides her actions, so in truth, he’s choosing both. But, for the purposes of judging her as a character, I’m going to pretend that Rusche is bound to give her actions consistent with her character and credit her with anything she could reasonably be aware of. I see nothing wrong with how she is acting in her own home (or even if she were at the park, a public space), as she’s just lolling around in a comfortable position. Nothing unseemly about it. Even her offer of sexy pictures is consistent with her character from the beginning, and seems like something she would do to cheer a friend up. No problem with any of the above.

          Rusche chose to show the panel at the most revealing angle to look down her blouse as she’s just being comfortable. Can’t even claim it’s the perspective of the picture she’s about to take, because both clouds are accounted for in frame. This feels like a stranger taking a picture of her without her knowledge.

          That is what makes it fanservicey, and frankly, I’m disappointed.

          You’re better than that.

        2. It’s not the position I’m objecting to. It’s the camera angle. This camera angle on a guy would not be nearly as tantalizing (or at least, I’m not willing to google “downblouse guys” to find out, so I’ll continue assuming I’m right in ignorant bliss). So, it’s not apples to apples.

          Let’s make it apples to apples. Let’s say Rusche drew blind guy (who is buff for the purposes of this example) lounging around in his boxers and accidentally dripping chocolate on himself and shown at a provocative angle. BG is doing nothing noteworthy or wrong, but unless there was a plot point based on showing that scene, I’d have a problem with the pointless fanservice. You lose. You owe me a Diet Pepsi.

          Conversely, I would NOT have a problem with the shot in the second panel if it had a basis in plot or character development. Let’s say there was some visual reference showing that panel 2 was the camera view of how Ellie was framing a shot to send to Tommy or post on social media. Then, I wouldn’t have a problem with it at all, because it would be giving us insight into Ellie’s character (granted not anything we wouldn’t expect her to do, but it shows that the more things change, the more they stay the same).

        3. The intention in panel two is not, nor was ever, fanservice. You can certainly look at it and call it that. But as far as the author of this strip, I’m 100% telling you it’s intent is not. And that’s not disingenuous.

          What’s prudish to some isn’t prudish to others. What’s gratuitous to some is.. likewise.
          The storyflow is she’s at home, relieving her boredom with her new phone. Leisurely calling people. Instead of showing her on her bed in yet another panel, she’s on the couch. The goal, as it always is when the comic permits, is to show the characters in something besides the typical 3/4’s angle sitting/standing upright. The goal is to draw the characters in interesting angles that are more inviting/interesting to the eye. Note: Eye. Not crotch.

          The goal is also to draw them in poses/angles I’m not accustomed to/haven’t drawn before. I have to challenge my own skill level, which I’m never satisfied with. I did attempt to have her feet hanging over the back of the couch, but there’s a wall behind it. It was also confusing to the scrolling eye since it’s at the extreme top of the panel. I also attempted to draw her at a slight angle, which wouldn’t give such a dramatic viewing of her cleavage, but Quinn’s currently sitting next to her and I didn’t want that half of the couch shown. If I angled it that other direction, I’m now forced to draw less of the couch (merely part of the arm) and boring background elements like the carpet meeting the wall. Would it look like she’s on the couch? Would it be confusing? It’s better to go clear cut and not regret it later. I can’t get to the coloring phase and still not be sure if it plays to the reader like I want it to.

          This panel was drawn a specific way; to pan out and show Quinn in the next comic. To allow myself those “alternate angles” you speak of, for the next strip. To have enough of the couch in it to know she’s now on the couch and no longer the bed. And upside down no less. I never thought for one second anyone would raise an eyebrow over it as being ‘overtly‘ sexual or devious on my part because of the angle. They’re breasts. Ellie has breasts. We all bought into the comic up unto this point that Ellie has larger than average breasts. When said breasts are shown in at an alluring angle, I’m hearing some cry foul. I’m growing leery about doing the future comics where she goes to the beach or apartment pool. Maybe I should just scrap those and go for “Ellie joins a nunnery.” (I’m kidding, mind you. Not angry.)

          Now I hate using the term “playful” with this, but that’s essentially what it is. She’s in a carefree, trying-to-entertain-herself pose. It’s a striking difference to calling her sisters. Which now makes THAT pose on the bed look like it was ‘work’ to make those calls. I wanted this pose. I needed this angle to set up the next strip. The only unfortunate coincidence was I drew her in a tank top at the beginning (which was just a dress-down to symbolize she’s casual at home after work and buying the phone.) This was a mistake on my part, not for this strip, but because she was going to talk to Tarra, who wears the same thing. But meh. I’m not perfect. I forget things. None of my strips are perfect either.

          So to sum up my response to your comments… I’m not “better than this.” This was what I intended this to be. I don’t find it striking. They’re just boobs. Low gravity comic-boobs at that. I already had Alex draw her fully naked, which we see 85% of. Another guy drew them larger than they actually are. I had Ellie smother Quinn with her breasts, right after falling on her with them and giving her a swollen eye. Ellie’s breasts are an element of the comic. That’s been established. I guess your complaint (to me) boils down to: no one in the comic is either interacting with, or specifically referring to, her breasts? Again, kidding. I certainly need the criticism of my work. It’s the only thing that makes me better. I just want you to know there’s no malicious intent.
          Do I think the pose is sexy? Sure.
          Enough that I glare at it? No.

          What I am “better than” is the vast majority of images I COULD draw that I don’t. There are other comics out there willing to. And they’re easy to find. What I am better than is what you’re not seeing. Nor will.

        4. Kind of like how all of Jeremy’s friends from “ZITS” dog pile on one another to do a group activity and feel nothing wrong with it, and his parents can not understand how one person can stand to be so close to another person in such proximity without their brain assploding.

          I’ve called it slice of life. And to be quite honest, I’m sure that there are some people who have done something similar. If not, go and do it, we’ll wait here.

        5. So I’ve commented before on the things you can probably expect when writing a story-based comic. Here’s some more:

          You can be sure, with any art form, that there will be people telling you how you are expressing yourself wrong. There’s… nothing really that you’re going to be able to do about that. Most of them are the same people I was talking about before – they haven’t learned yet to just sit back and enjoy the ride, so they find things to complain about. And there will always be things that don’t appeal to everyone 100%, so they’ll always have things to complain about.

          They don’t realize that you’re drawing what you want to draw, you aren’t doing this for the sole purpose of entertaining us. Granted, you do want to do that; obviously you wouldn’t publish them otherwise. But you’re also telling your story, and part of that story is about describing your characters, even discovering them yourself in a way. Some readers may not always understand why you’ve chosen to tell your story the way you’ve chosen – those people will often tell you how you’re doing it wrong, which I think is kind of dumb really – but it’s your choice and there’s no way for you to do it wrong unless you do it the way other people tell you to and not your own way.

          Drawing Ellie scantily-dressed, with massive cleavage, even if drawn unrealistic (how is cartooning ever really realistic, by the way?), is a way of describing her character. Here we see her in a way we haven’t before – lounging around, being bored. She wants to go out, she wants to have fun. She wants to flirt. She wants to be sexy. She wants to be free. Had you, as it was suggested, moved the camera 10 degrees to make the “issue” disappear, some of that would have been lost in translation. Ellie would have had to verbally tell us how she’s feeling, which wouldn’t have been a very effective way of conveying the character’s emotions given the medium available.

          It could be that some of the readers just don’t like the way they’re seeing Ellie, that they don’t like the way the character is developing. But I think a more likely explanation is that these people are used to the stuff produced by larger studios and networks – businesses really – where decisions about how to tell the story or reveal the characters are typically (though not always) based on how to maximize profits. And after spending all day complaining that their favorite character didn’t make a big enough appearance in the latest movie-based-on-a-comic-book-or-video-game-or-whatever, or how such-and-such TV show is not as good as it used to be because there used to not be boobs and now there are boobs and clearly the show’s stakeholders think that sex sells for some reason, it’s hard to turn that off when commenting on a free web comic made independently by an artist with complete control over content, which is a different thing entirely.

          Anyway, keep up the good work and don’t fret over whether you’re doing it right or not is what I’m trying to say. Not because I want to see Ellie at the beach or apartment pool (though I admit I do), but because it’s what you want to do with your story. And if for some reason you really want Ellie to join a nunnery… *sigh* …if that’s what you want… then I’ll still be here, reading.

        6. boog, thanks. You’re quite the observer of human nature it seems. I’m not in anyway offended or offput by Slam’s comments. It’s hard to tell tone obviously, but it’s not one of defensiveness. I appreciate reader concerns, and reading Slam’s comments, actually. I will always have an ear for worried fans.

          But I also take no issue explaining why I draw things the way I do, or write the story the way it’s written. Slam’s posted several comments on this post alone, so I found need to clarify. I did have a critiquer named Rake who would read and expressed his own issues with my work several times. During those strips I was tied for time, and didn’t address most of what he said, though I wanted to. He since has quit commenting. So either he gave up on on me replying, or the comic entirely. I don’t want anyone to feel like what they’re saying is falling on deaf ears. Fan or otherwise. =)

        7. I know I’m late on this game, but a summary, if you will. Draw it the way you want to draw it. It’s your comic and nobody’s business to tell you how to do it (thought they WILL, because INTERNET). If they like it, they will read it. If they don’t, they will leave. If they like complaining about things, they will because, again, INTERNET. Do it because you enjoy it, and take some bonus enjoyment in the fact that we enjoy reading it. :) And it’s even nicer that you reply to comments, even though you are not required to. Thanks for that, and thanks for a truly enjoyable comic.

        8. Y’know, given the guy’s name is Slamshuffle, it’s possible he’s either a hater or a troll. In which case, Chris, it’s sort of a compliment in its own twisted way because most internet things acquire such individuals only after they’ve gained popularity. We all know that it’s all in good fun (my link was meant to be facetious) so don’t stop doing what you’re doing and don’t change a thing :)

        9. @Sigurther – That sort of thinking is how we ended up with Jar Jar Binks.

          @Matt – My name is a reference to my favorite song from FF6. Didn’t even think how it would read in this context. Also, check out some of my previous comments. Trolls rarely compliment or retract previous positions.

          @Rusche – Definitely a fan (which is why I bother to comment). Again, thank you for taking the time to respond at length.

        10. So, to sum it up, I suppose that it could be said that:

          1) In marketing classes, at least at the collegiate level: Sex sells.

          2) For movies, there is always a formula to maximize the profits and improve the return on investment (ROI), re #1

          3) for webcomics, some people will resort to tropes, re #2, #1

          4) some people will always expect #1 on #3 and #2.

          and

          5) because some people are honestly attempting something out of the blue, #1 may occasionally be inferred, but not applied like tanning lotion.

        11. This is intended to respond to boog. Maybe it will, but I have no idea how the commenting stacks up.

          1) I never said he was doing it wrong. I gave him my reaction (disappointment that I thought he was going the fanservice route). You’re right, it’s ultimately his comic. But I think he has shown that he cares about his readers, so I’m going to keep calling it like I see it. He can react or not as he sees fit.

          2) Totally disagree on the 10 degrees. 10 degrees would not change her expression, her dialogue, or the presence of massive cleavage (just how much beneath the shirt was shown). She would still come off just as flirty. To use Rusche’s words, there’s no one in the comic interacting with the cleavage at that angle, so it is not defining her.

          3) Actually enjoying how Ellie is developing.

        12. Commenting stacks up… peculiarly… but response received.

          1) Perhaps not explicitly, though telling the artist that he’s “better than this” implies some degree of wrongness. Maybe it’s not what you meant, but that’s what I meant.

          2) I totally disagree that it wouldn’t change our perception of the character. Yes she would come off flirty either way, but I think you’d agree that the above presentation is much more in-your-face, no? I think the fact that seeing Ellie this way has provoked a reaction that a 10 degree shift, as suggested, would not, is evidence of that. Ellie is provocative in her new role. She’s shameless. Daring. It’ll probably come back to bite her in some way, but this is her right now. I took that as Chris’ reason for choosing to present the character this way. It wasn’t a cleavage shot just to appeal to the young male fans (whether it does so or not) – it was the way he saw the character. Or at least, it’s the way I see the character.

          3) As do I, and I wasn’t really trying to argue that you don’t per se. Just that, as I see it, part of the character that is Ellie right now is this in-your-face, free-to-be-me sort of flirtiness (that is somewhat corroborated in the next page, as she is laying on the couch shamelessly annoying Quinn, something she’d have been less likely to do prior to the cat fight). As I see it, everything from her pose to the camera angle informs that view of the character. So complaining about the presentation could be seen as complaining about the character. In a way. So sorry if I misunderstood.

          Chris does care about his readers, and I appreciate that. I would never suggest that he ignore their crying foul (just that he not fret over his work, which he doesn’t). Likewise, I would never suggest that you keep your opinions to yourself. I’m just telling my own opinions on the comic, in the context of other published comments (yours, in this particular instance), and I do hope we can all learn from each other as a result.

        13. Hope this goes in the right place… and that you bother to come back to read it.

          1) Fair enough.

          2) But is she shameless? She’s not exposing that downblouse shot to anyone in the comic. As far as her character knows, that’s a wall or a plant or anything but a person that would react (barring yet another panning out to Blind Guy… which would be hilarious on so many levels). If women were judged provocative for exposing themselves to inanimate objects, they’d never be able to change clothes. Like Rusche said, her pose and dialogue suggest that she’s full of pent up energy and ready to go have fun, even provocatively. But because this angle is only seen by a wall and the reader, we can’t take it as any reflection on Ellie’s character.

          Instead, I see the reaction to it (granted that includes mine, but I’m not the only one), that this shot pushed a boundary. Some people were comfortable with it. Some people were less comfortable. So, it was titillating to the reader, not to anyone in the comic, hence my first reaction.

          3) Fair enough.

        14. I came back to read it. Not a bother though.

          2) I’m interpreting that she is somewhat shameless right now. She recently “won” an argument with Quinn (she was taken back in as her roommate, that is), then she got a promotion, then bought an ice maker that doubles as a phone (that she might not be able to afford in the long term), and now she’s calling everyone to tell them about it. Ellie’s proud of herself right now. And so she wants to push some boundaries. That includes trying to give her relationship with Blind Guy a push, and shooting him down when he hesitates. And buying a phone she can’t afford. And laying on the couch annoying Quinn. I think that this pose, camera angle and all, fits with all of that. It may not obviously mesh with all the things that are happening in the immediate and adjacent scenes (although she was talking specifically about scanty pics in that exact panel), but I think it fits the context of this character at this point in the story. Camera angle and all.

          And I know that the view is seen only by the wall and the reader, but exposing herself to an unseen audience isn’t what I mean by provocative. Let me try to explain another way. Visual art, comics specifically, convey information visually (which is obvious, I know). Character dialogue, body language, scenery/backgrounds, blah blah blah, tell the reader what’s happening, and give a sense of the environment and mood. But there is a lot also conveyed, sometimes unintentionally even, by the artist through things like coloring, lighting, line thickness, etc. All of these things are choices to be made, including camera angle, and good artists don’t neglect those choices (in my opinion). By placing the camera at a character’s feet, you can make them seem valiant. By featuring them low in the panel, you can make them seem small (not physically small, but inferior or even overwhelmed). So it isn’t Ellie telling us (or the wall) that she’s shameless or provocative by exposing herself; it’s Rusche visually showing us an aspect of her character that normally she might keep from others (visually).

          In short, Rusche made a choice with both this pose and camera angle, and I don’t think he would have if he didn’t think it represented the character well. It’s certainly possible that he picked this camera angle as a way to appeal to a horny young male audience that just wants to see boobs boobs boobs, but I don’t think he did. And that’s why I don’t consider it fanservice.

        15. For what it’s worth, what got me interested in comic theory was reading Aaron Diaz’s blog, “Indistinguishable from Magic”. I started reading it back in 2010, and it sort of changed the way I look at comics.

          http://dresdencodak.tumblr.com/

          If you’re an aspiring web comic artist (or just curious), I highly recommend it.

        16. Welp, this is the first time an artistic debate has caused me to stare down a girl’s shirt and ponder “But where is she emotionally?

          I think we’re getting a bit broad in our definition of shameless. Is she playful? Yes. Bouncing off the walls excited? Yes. Flirty? Yes. Shameless? Not sure I’m there. I see what you’re saying about the camera angle also framing the person even if it’s only for the reader. I’m just not sure I’m getting a different vibe from Monday’s comic than I did from Friday’s. Of course, since the provocative one came first, maybe it imparted its vibe to Monday’s? I don’t know. I think we might need to agree to disagree (although I can now agree with you that it’s not fanservice).

        17. You agree with me that it’s not fanservice? *arm pump*
          S’all I was really going for.

          Yes, I had only intended to look at panel 2 long enough to think, “Wait is she sending him a picture right now?”, but due to this discussion I have had to go back and review it many times, so I thank you for that.

          But I think your comment is fair. I won’t demand (despite the urge to do so) that you interpret the comic in the way I have, as we each interpret things in our own way, sometimes even not as the artist intended (I admit I’m probably reading more into it than Rusche intended).

          And I don’t know that shameless is necessarily the best word to describe what I’m getting from Ellie, but it’s pretty close, in that she is currently not ashamed of herself or her decisions. I suppose right now her actions might not be anything to be ashamed about (except her recent purchase), but I have a little worry about what’s coming up. Proud might be a more accurate word, but less precise; there are lots of proud women who do not flaunt themselves (in fact people do and don’t do lots of things because they are proud) so I figured that would be way too generic. I’ll stick with shameless for now.

          Good discussion though, thanks for it.

        18. For what it’s worth, I found the angle slightly eye-candy-ish, but not out of character. The angle fit with her dialog and reminded me of Ellie ordering Pumpkin to go bring her lingerie in the third comic (just checked which) in a way that seemed to indicate her growing, yet being the same person.

          Yeah, I noticed it as a guy, but it didn’t seem excessive, desperate, out-of-character or anything along those lines.

          Also, from your comment here, I have a suspicion that the angle here will seem a little different to someone going through the archives at this point than to those of us following in real-time. I’ll admit, yours is one of the webcomics that make me think a coma wouldn’t necessarily be all bad, then I could have the enjoyment of going through with all the “future” bits there immediately as it was when I originally went though your archives.

        19. Posting even though I’m probably doing this too late to be noticed.

          Rusche, I find your third paragraph of explanation a lot more compelling than the later ones. Your fifth paragraph makes me wonder if you understood what I was saying, but I’m going to round up and assume you put it in for the sake of completeness. As for not thinking this angle would be overtly sexual… you do realize there is a large body of porn out there surrounding just this type of shot? While you may not have intended it to be fanservice, to think that this type of shot would appeal just to the eye and not the crotch seems a bit naive. However, I do appreciate the comprehensiveness of your responses and additional insight into your thought process (sisters vs. friends, etc.). I will take you at your word on the intent behind it.

          Regarding your comment on the beach/pool, I feel the need to reiterate that I have no problem with the pose. I wouldn’t even have a problem with the angle if this was the view from a camera or her looking at herself in the mirror. It’s that the choice of angle seems divorced from her character (or any other character) that puts it over the line. Nothing in the comic (prior to your explanation) ties to this angle more than another. For your other examples:

          – Alex’s drawing: Totally integrated into the plot. Gives us a window into not just Alex, but also Quinn and Ellie. This was Alex’s choice, not yours (except in a meta sense).
          – Other guy’s drawing: Window into other guy’s mind and the atmosphere that Ellie was surrounded by. (Other guy’s choice, not yours)
          – Smothering scene: Added comedy to the fight. Camera angle was fairly conservative.

          I wasn’t reading the comic yet when you drew those, but even if I had been, I wouldn’t have commented on those scenes. Those fit for me while this one jarred me. I have no problem with Ellie’s breasts being a part of the comic, because they are a (two) part(s) of her (and if I did, I probably wouldn’t have stuck around as long). I do know of the high-on-fan-service comics you refer to, and there’s a reason I read yours and not theirs.

          So, in summary, I’m going to appeal to a higher authority to prove my case: “All artists are perverts” – Rusche :)

        20. 1st….
          uhm technically speaking…. any pose of any person can be seen as sexual.

          There is porn of girls and guys of walking. Just walking. Not walking in a erotic fashion. Just walking. There is an entire mess of porn devoted entirely to girls/guys wearing in a variety of clothing of fantasy wear. There is porn of people wearing boots and walking through dirt. There is porn of people holding objects erotically and not erotically. There is even porn of people scratching their bums. You can seriously find a large body of porn of anything.

          2nd… and I guess when she did that handstand earlier that was entirely out of character of her too?

        21. 1) I’m reeeeaaaaallllly leery about getting into a debate on this because I’m not sure how deeply I want to plumb the depths of humanity. However, there’s one question I would ask: Are these people in or transitioning to a state of undress/sexual contact?

          If yes, then I would argue the state of undress/sexual contact is what makes it porn, not the fantasy wear (to choose one example). Otherwise, it would just be cosplay (similar arguments could be made for the other examples). For downblouse stuff, it is just those shots. It’s not necessarily building to anything else.

          If no, then how do you know it’s porn?

          In either case, I would argue there’s a greater volume of what I described than what you described. The word ‘downblouse’ is fairly well recognized. Is there a word for what you described and would a good chunk of the internet going public recognize it?

        22. oh and…
          2) Um, no. That was very much in character. She was not setting ‘foot’ in Quinn’s room. Totally something somebody with a bunch of siblings would do. I had no problem with that.

        23. to 1: I know it’s porn cause it turned up on cable as part of new york’s #1 fetish network…. She would pose as if on a catwalk, walk off screen and change her clothes and then come back and do the same. I first thought I landed on the shopping network to only find out at the end I was watching a porn channel. She didn’t do anything sexy but it was on a fetish network so… I don’t know maybe it’s porn.

        24. Yeeeeeaaaahhhhh… I should have trusted my instincts and not engaged on this one. I need to go restore my faith in humanity.

          But, since I’m already this far, I would say that your first reaction proves my point. From the reaction of the readers, everyone knew there were looking at something provocative right away, even if they defended it. You did not when you were looking at the catwalk show. So, even if both are porn, the average person would recognize my example without any context, but not yours.

      2. If you think that we’re in a tizzy, wait until this hits 4chan or some other such site. I hope that you have your copyrights up to date dude. Wait a second. Who was that guy who hyped himself as having been an employee at DC, helped Bill Watterson and stole (allegedly) various other pieces from other artists and adapted those works to his own style.

        I suppose that he would be the next to the last low water mark of fandom, wouldn’t it?

        1. I like cheesecake quite a bit but am always wary of webcomics that reside in the fan service ghetto. Chris avoids it thus far. Plus I have a borderline tank top fetish =)

        2. No offense to Tank Girl but she’s is a bit pettanko. I am well aware (and have been for years) of my type. She’d probably be fun to hang out with though.

        3. Okay, first I bottomed out on Metal Gear Solid and not knowing the MGS abbreviation was a part of modern referencing to Solid Snake.

          What’s pettanko?

  3. U sure know how to balance things eh Rusche?
    first a sexy pic and then one with insectiod mutants.
    Also, no shotgun use on work! ;)
    Best take a baseball bat or a big flat tray.

    1. What if we were able to use the plastic cup dispenser as a barrel, and load it up with the CO2 to pressurize a batch of frozen french fries? Would that be enough of a solution to take out the ratches?

  4. Not included: a 4th panel which just has Quinn, standing in the center of the room, eye twitching as she stares directly into Ellie’s enormous cleavage with murderous rage.

      1. Not likely. If Quinn is at the video store, my guess is DJ McBackwardsHat is right now saying, “So did you need something? Cuz I should probably get back to work.” She’s probably too embarrassed to show her face around him just yet, after their last conversation.

        Also, while I misunderstand things frequently, the comment above was just me being silly. I know that the real secret 4th panel features Blind Guy at home feeding his dog when he looks up and says out loud, “I suddenly feel as if I’ve passed up an incredible opportunity recently…”

        1. It would be funnier if Chris hadn’t of mentioned that Quinn is sitting next to her on the couch. . . . but then, she could be chasing him around the video store in spirit, much more spirit than she bent the wookie.

          Now that I said that, would “Jumping the shark” for Alex (Dirty Hippie) be equivalent to “bent my wookie” since he didn’t get to the “other side”?

  5. *sigh*…..urban dictionary.com…search Torrid….”hot/humid.” Oh…well that was far better than what I was expecting.

    1. They are referring to a “torrid love affair” – a phrase used in romantic fiction and gossip columns. It would indeed be a “hot” or “steamy” love affair.

      1. And my lack of presence when it comes to Gossip Columns and romantic fiction would explain my lack of knowledge here. haha

  6. At first I thought it was odd for Ellie to randomly offer sexy pics, then I remembered how she wanted to rustle up more friends/likes on facebook in the beginning of the comic. I don’t know how far she’d take it, but I’m fairly certain that fear of her mother would keep her most necessary bits covered in any photos. I imagine Juniper probably got into trouble for that sort of thing before, and Ellie is smart enough to no repeat the mistake.

    Her flirting with Tommy is hilarious. He’s just so very sassy. And surprisingly unaffected by the mutants in the joint. I guess he has just seen it all by now, so some flying cockroach/rat hybrids are just not enough to ruffle his feathers.

    1. Tommy would light up one of his menthol 2000s and use it as a javelin to squwer the rataroaches through at least half of the hearts that they may have.

      After the fourth cigarette, he’d hold it up, with the last two rataroaches speared inches from the filter and more from the flame and he’d pick up the drive thru mike.

      “What with all that excitement, I lost track. Was that eight or nine rataroaches. Well, you’ve got to ask yourself, what this being the strongest menthol cigarette in the world, and would blow your lungs clean off, ‘am I lucky?’ Well, are you, FATASS?!?!?”

  7. Ratches might just be one of the most disturbing hybrid creatures that I desperately never want to see occur in the real world.

    …the only way to make it worse, would be to throw some spider DNA into the mix. >_<

    1. No, if that were to happen, then Kaz would be devoured by them in the freezer, the joint shut down, with the NSA, EPA, Agriculture Department, CDC, USAMRIID all in level five protection gear (a step above NASA) in order to confiscate them. Only three of them make it out alive before ordering a tactical nuclear strike on the site.

      After that day, no one lived closer than 30 miles of Lakeland. Once in a while, a black van sneaks through past my house. Last time, I counted three people in the front seat going in. On the way out, they had the front half of the vehicle left and only the driver. I saw two pair of boots in the back, with ripped pants around the ankles of those boots.

        1. The title will be the “Hybridization of Mammalian and Non-Mammalian Species”. My stated goal will be to create a rat, cockroach, spider hybrid. It will have the body, head, and tail of a rat. the exoskeleton, and wings of a cockroach. And the legs, eyes, jaws, and spinnerets of a spider. I have not decided what species of spider to use. I may very well have to use multiple spider species to get all the traits I want. I am also thinking that instead of a rat’s tail to use a scorpion tail.

        2. He kills the one in front of him, but he has fallen into the packs trap. Dale only owns ONE flame thrower. He will need three to kill the pack. For reference watch the movie Arachnophobia.

        1. Being able to sit on the sofa, with your back on the cushions instead of the back of the sofa, and yur feet in the air and your head hanging down where the back of your calfs would be touching the sofa, and gravity pulling your head down more because your torso weighs more than your legs, therefore allowing for an inverted plane to form at a negative angle of attack from the parallel to the floor.

        2. I walk around naked in my own house with the shades closed because it’s my house and I don’t need to worry about offending anyone but myself.

        3. Nothing that Ellie’s doing (or SomePunk described doing) is wrong. You’re all right that she’s not doing anything I wouldn’t expect anyone else, male or female to do.

          As I expressed above, it’s the camera angle that’s causing the uncomfortability that Anonymous is describing. Kinda feels like a sneaky peak of a girl who is just trying to do her thing. Shift the camera angle ten degrees and the issue disappears.

          Also, TOG might be my favorite commenter right now. Has consistently made me laugh. Plus one internets to him.

        4. Thanks. I always figure if I manage to make someone laugh, the day isn’t a loss. Glad to hear I succeed now and then.

  8. Does anyone remember when KK and Quinn were talking, and Quinn called KK’s work-place “a dump”? KK most assuredly told her it’s “NOT a dump.
    Funny, how she said that, despite having mutant abominations immune to the cold and poison.

    I feel like I should make a comment about panel two but I… er… I don’t know what to say.

    1. Personally, I could quote “Weird Science,” but I’m not going to. However, I will reference Coca Cola. There’s nothing like the real thing. As much as I like (love) this webcomic, this is just art. Well depicted art reference a girl who feels comfortable at home and is lounging around as younguns are apt to do.

      I call this a slice of life that only the NSA can experience now.

      1. Haha, I think you’re taking me A BIT too seriously. I’m just typing that for the laughs, and I’m sure the pic was drawn for the laughs too.

        1. Please, how could I take you a bit TOO seriously? I haven’t even taken a serious byte since that fortran programming class. My money is still on slice of life.

  9. I will say this about panel two…

    How come the cushion doesn’t sag any more under Ellie’s weight? And is she going to be going to her B’day party?

    1. The same reason her breasts don’t pancake down a bit more. The world of Shotgun Shuffle has about 2/3 the gravity of our world and absolutely everything is firmer.

      1. Actually, from my lack of experience and demented hillbilly greeting cards featuring old ladies and cartoonish depictions, the pancakes would be forming from a mixture of age, time, correct verticle stance and a lack of proper feminine support, which was more than likely stolen by the math teacher.

        And well, since the skin seems to firm up more the closer one gets to the top of the shoulders, wouldn’t pile up be a more apt description than pancake?

        1. At that angle, “pile up” would be more “fall out” and I think Rusche is keeping this comic PG-13.

          Not that I think falling out would be more than a “oops, better push ’em back in” to Ellie in this situation, but I think Rusche would keep the camera angle elsewhere for that particular scene.

  10. Haven’t commented in awhile, but felt compelled to as my favorite character just appeared and I couldn’t be happier! Tommy is easily my favorite minor character. Also that last panel reminded me quite a bit about the Simpsons scene “The goggles! They do nothing!” Keep up the good work!

  11. Also, am I the only one concerned about Tarra? I mean the last we saw here she was being attacked by a highly trained wheelchair ninja, and now all we can think about are those bewbs :3. But anyway…I’m kinda concerned about Terra. Also, I wanted to find some way to say bewbs in an actual conversation without outright just stating “Bewbs”. Oh look, three times….

  12. Tarra will be fine! with her possesed hair whip she will probably go all castlevania on him and drop him below the elevator die hard style!

    As for the vermin, unless they come with some plasma-based flametrowers i think we have an Zerg situation on hand!

    1. Of course Tarra will be fine this time, but how will she fare against Hospital Bed Ninja in another six months?

        1. She’ll finally introduce him to her family and seal his head in a Futurama jar, being the first person thus honored and allowing him bragging rights over Nixon for all eternity.

  13. Heres what i predict
    1. the Ratches will get out of hand(shown happening)
    2. the restaurant will be closed down.
    3. Ellie will have to get a higher paying job as she cant wait for the restaurant to reopen with the phone bills
    4. she gets a job as a waitress in a diner realizing she can get a lot of tips thanks to her ‘big eyes’
    5. the new character is a guy who becomes extremely attracted and wants Ellie to be his girlfriend.
    you can see a guy in the back of the picture for story option B wearing a wool cap trying to get ellie’s attention. the un-revealed character seen on the cast page between Ellie and Blind Guy is also vaguely outlined wearing a cap

    1. I counter-move with:

      Ellie is able to control the ratches with her voice and the soothing effects of the clouds ice making abilities. The ratches are then able to collectively unload the supply trucks and rotate the stock. Their unknown ability to radiate the secret sauce into a weight loss product suddenly increases the locations repeat customers into five times a day individuals. USAMRIID investigates and unfortunately Dustin Hoffman is too busy chasing a monkey in California to help out.

  14. Loving the reappearance if the ratches. And Ellie REALLY needs an outlet if she’s truing to “affair” the gay guy. Unless he’s one of those Bloodhound Gang gay types “I wish I were queer so I could gey chicks” and she’s on to his secret.

    1. I actually considered this a sign of maturing without becoming a different person. She likes flirting a bit but doesn’t want to mean anything by it. Now instead of lingerie pics to the world, she’s trading banter with her friend at work that she feels comfortable with and isn’t worried about his taking it to mean more than joking around.

    1. my comment was eaten up by an unintentional bracket from a heart emoticon and an angry emoticon. Meant to post:

      DAT BOOBSHOT. :heart:

      Also, Mice/Rat-bugs? Gross gross gross. Mice/Rats are cute, but this is just disgusting :angryface:

  15. Does anyone remember that the ratches were already released in to the general environment the night the first ones hatched.

        1. I’m gonna guess they hide under Ellie’s boobs, since they’ve been so frequently discussed in the comments and are obviously not at the restaurant tonight and people are finally noticing the ratches at the restaurant.

        2. YOU

          ARE

          SO

          LUCKY that I wasn’t drinking anything right now. I swear, I’d have to take a shower from all of the diet soda I’d have been drinking. That, and electrocuted because my laptop would have shorted out and fried my lap.

          I can’t wait until I can get that wall tv screen and hook up the computer to it, and just sit with a keyboard on my lap instead of a high powered electrical device that could kill a person if they were using it in a bathtub. (NOTE: THE JOKES REPRESENTED HERE ARE NOT THE USE OF LEGAL TENDER. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME, OR ON JACKASS THE TV SHOW, BECAUSE I WILL FIND A LAWYER TO FRY UP A CHICKEN DINNER)

          I suppose I didn’t get a nose bleed either.

        3. It is nice. Make sure you have a good chair or couch, or you will end up with major cramps in you back and legs.

        1. Only if you have to work on the transmission, rear axle, brakes, wheel assembly and bearings or the steering assembly as well, eh?

  16. Has anyone noticed in this particular comments section that most of the gravatars are matching up perfectly with what the comments are expressing?

    1. I don’t think that they are matching up perfectly. Matching up well in a lot of cases, yes. Perfectly? No. Nobody’s perfect.

    2. I’ve been told I have the “get off my lawn” attitude before this comic ever started, let alone the most recent avatar roulette gave me an angry Tired Guy, if that helps.

      1. Though to be fair, anyone who lives on my street would tell you that I really don’t care about my actual lawn.

  17. Rusche, I just want to say that I still enjoy your funny drawings and that I find no fault in the framing, storytelling, format, drawing style, or the various techniques you use to produce them.

  18. You know for some reason I think this is going to be the most-looked-at installment of this. Must have to do with the chair.

  19. OMG! IT SO CUTE! i want a plushi of that thing!
    and can someone tell me how to change my avatar. i look like a stalker guy TT-TT

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