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Terms and Conditions-Part 15

Soooooooooooo this comic was supposed to be almost fully animated. Four panels, and I had over 100 frames sketched out for it. Daunting task, but you know.. worth it. Then I wrenched my back three weeks ago. I'm not really sure how, but it's a problem I've had in the past. Way back when I worked in food service, I was stacking boxes in a freezer, and as I turned with a fifty pound box, I slipped on some ice that accumulated on the floor. Trying to keep balance, I horribly twisted my back. It's rarely something that ever flairs up anymore, but did it ever at the beginning of November. Because of the pain, I was apparently contorting myself in my sleep and waking up with incredibly stiff necks and shoulders. So early and mid-November I was mostly doubled over in pain in the upper half of my body. I understand a few readers are frustrated with me for not updating. I understand. I wasn't taking it easy or anything. I was actually trying to push the animated version of this for as long as I could, but I just couldn't sit at the computer for more than 15 minutes before I'd have to get up and walk around or make some human pretzel shape on the floor. The pulsating was so bad I could feel it in my throat. Eventually I had to throw in the towel and restructure this comic to be standard still panels. I also resorted to sleeping on the floor after 2 weeks of this. Three days later it leveled off. I started going for stupid long walks after that, and it surprisingly helped. I can still feel it lingering there. Waiting for me to do something dumb again. Putting up Christmas light or something. It's still lurking, but mainly dormant. I really wanted to update. Maybe give a brief explanation of what was going on, but the pain coupled with setting myself up for failure by being so behind on such a large challenge, got me pretty damn depressed. I'm one of those creative types. So, you know.. with that comes the standard moodiness and stubborn nature. Here's a preview: I got many of the lines more refined, but it would take my too much time to re-timeline the panels just for an incomplete preview. :P Here's Quinn opening the door. One frame of this was used, but this animation is much more rough, especially in terms of her facial expressions. Animation is tough. I'm not shooting to animate every strip. It's basically something to use for subtle effects. I just wanted to see if I could do it with this one. Turns out.. MAYBE. But if I attempt this again, it's going to be planned for way more in advance. I'm too prone to extenuating circumstances. The only real plus side to the last month was I got caught up on GoT season 6 while I was in my sleepless zombie states. many-pizzad-god Some have asked or emailed if any of it was concerning my son (I haven't gotten to all my messages since I really haven't been home all that often, so apologies for not responding.) Yeah, some did. He had to go to the emergency room at one point because he asthma got really severe. The constant Smokey Mountain wildfires may have lead to some of this, but he lost 26 percent of his lung capacity since last year. He was switched off his old meds since he showed so much improvement before, but they've now put him back on them since we've had the opposite effect. He's been feeling much better the last four days, and instead of the 6 month-visit deal, the specialist is going to see him bi-monthly for assessment. They said with more micro-management he can get right back to where he was, and continue improving. So no worries. He just needs more time at this point. I really hate coming on here and making excuses for being so late or not saying anything, but I'm sure most of you needed some explanation. There was a good while I really wasn't sure to continue on or start back over with this one. I didn't want that constant 'please wait longer' update routine. Guys, I felt like shit. And I felt like it for a long time. The comic is pretty work-intensive and when I can't physically manage doing it, the dread just compounds. The physical anguish leads to the emotional kind if I start getting really behind and can't seem to dig my way out. Comic means a lot to me, and so do you guys. So I dug my way out. Then my son. Sorry if I left you down. I'm certainly not shooting to be a reluctant artist and riding on your good will alone. Sometimes I do occasionally read other comics and I wonder if that artist 'really cares.' Most do I'm sure. No question. But I'm saying I know that feeling. I don't want to inadvertently illicit it from my own audience. I was in really rough shape. Lastly, Patreon's hopefully daily for a short period. Got 4 in the pipeline. Just need to shade and do backgrounds for. Uploading them as they're completed. Quick preview below. Thanks all -Chris

130 thoughts on “Terms and Conditions-Part 15

  1. So glad you’re back and that you’re ok! The animation would’ve been cool but I’m just glad to get my SS fix again.

    Also, does this post satisfy the First Committee?

      1. You’ve not let anyone down.

        You are entitled to have a life; just gal it worked out and it’s good to have you (and Ellie!) back…

    1. This. Very glad you’re back, take care of yourself–that’s job one. Job two is taking care of your family. Job three, at most, is continuing work here.

      As for the dread, the following is free advice on the internet, and thus worth every penny:

      Get someone close to you, whom you trust–friend, family member–who is aware of what’s going on in your life. Give that person access to the blog. Ask them to, if they are aware that you’ve had some major life-crisis, post a boilerplate message along the lines of, “Chris hit a rough spot. Please be patient while things work out; he’ll share the details he feels comfortable with sharing when he comes back.” It certainly doesn’t call for any more explanation than that, and can quell any concerns of the “Is this the last comic after all?” variety.

      On the comic: I do understand Quinn’s reaction here. Really, no matter how charming the lad is, Ellie’s first action should’ve been to take it to a techhead and ask them to see if there’s any sort of malware/spyware on it, so she could reassure Quinn on that front.

        1. The key is to make it someone who isn’t likely to also be caught up in the difficulties. Same household means that everyone gets to be stressed about the sick kid at the same time, for instance. A longtime friend, on the other hand, can do the sort of boilerplate post I described as easily as they might be asked to run a quick errand for a family dealing with a crisis.

      1. Yes, but I’m afraid I have some bad news. Due to the loss of forestry it was decided bringing you paper forms to fill out. Instead we’ve gone old school by preparing you some clay tablets and you a sharp stick. It doesn’t get much older than cuneiform.
        On the bright side your application for first will survive for thousands of years! A lot of those other suckers claiming “First” from 2010 had to refile because of application decay.

        1. No. The Declined stamp is made from your blood. The approved ones are in black which are applied to the applicant via a heated stamp to the inside of your thigh to show you are worthy of it.

        2. You’re allowing clay tablets!? I was thinking granite and the application would be judged by sufficient style in calligraphy for the engraving and is disqualified if not completed before the next post is up.

  2. Loved the update. Quinn is rightly pissed and it’s sweet to see her being protective.

    No worries on the updates! Health, kids and life need to come first. Else, there’s no comic. As one who has a degenerative bulging disc from being born with scoliosis, maybe try a little yoga? Long walks help too. ;)

    Looking forward to the Patreon updates!

      1. Although I would have expected them to have a more magical delivery system. The drone looks much more like it’d come from The Batman , or those techy guys that hang out with that green arrow-guy in Star City. ^_^

  3. Hey now! You are more than a comic pinata that we beat entertainment out of. You are our friend and you gotta do what you can to keep on cranking out the awesomeness. Don’t worry. We’ll still be here. *polishes pinata bat*

  4. Hey Rusche, just wanted to let you know NOT to feel bad. Life happens. You weren’t ignoring us, you had no choice. I don’t blame you at all :3

  5. Whoa, what the hell? I was checking the comic for new comments. Now there’s a new comic. I disapprove of this change. DX

    … but seriously, I think we’re all just glad to hear you weren’t on fire. Have you considered getting a twitter/RSS feed for the comic and plugging it in the side of the site? You could drop status posts to the site from your floor with your phone, whether you’re down there for your back’s sake or due to smoke.

    1. Three cheers for Rusche not being on fire!

      I now kinda’ want to try to get a group of relative strangers to give three cheers for some arbitrary person or place not being on fire. In a few months, though, so it’s not topical for the news or anything.

        1. That would be topical for the news at the moment, so is disqualified from three cheers (technically her amusement park or whatever you call it as opposed to her personally, but still).

      1. Isn’t there a real life chore weasel or something that could be crowd sourced to not only give three cheers but to also put up his Christmas lights at the same time?

  6. Dang Man! Sorry to hear about all the crummy things happening to you. I know there is very few things that are frustrating when you try to do some drawing and your back hurts. Plus it really sucks when other things like the well-being of a loved one is constantly on your mind. You find it hard to express your thoughts and feelings in your artwork. (at least I have a hard time doing it.)
    But I hope things do get better!
    I have always loved coming to your website and seeing your artwork, it is frustrating to me because you are a much better Artist than I. :P
    Also doubly frustrated because I can’t predict what is going to happen next in the story.
    Keep up the good work. stay in good spirits. and go at your on pace.
    :)

    1. Dude, don’t be hard on yourself to the point of not doing it. I know that Chris would suggest that you use it as an education moment to take an evaluation of your own work and see where you need to develop to get to your own next step.

      Each person can only do as well as they are fileted to.

        1. It’s a good thing that you clarified. I was about to give the cops a lead to help finally capture the infamous “Deboner Loner.”

        2. The only power that could generate that name change is a bolt of lightning. Unfortunately you never know where and when one is going to strike.

  7. Blog related comment: Ouch, sorry to hear about all the issues with your back. Take your time to heal up, we’ll still be around when you feel better.
    And the animations you’ve done recently are really, really good. Wish I could do that.

    Comic related comment: I really like Quinn’s “Are you F’n kidding me” look. She doesn’t trust Caleb, and for a damn good reason.

    1. Actually, I would have said Caleb did the best he could under the circumstances. However, if Quinn’s gotten half the recognition that Ellie has, she has good reason not to trust anyone associated with that project (and not to trust Ellie to be savvy enough to catch it when it starts).

      The only back advice I haven’t seen on here yet is a lumbar support and core strengthening exercises. I’ve heard people say both have helped, the former when it’s flaring up, and the latter to prevent flare ups. Take care of yourself Rusche. We understand that everyone gets sick (or takes care of someone who gets sick). It does stink when you put a lot of work into something, and you just can’t finish it the way you wanted to because of other things. I hope things get better soon.

  8. “Guys, I felt like shit. And I felt like it for a long time. The comic is pretty work-intensive and when I can’t physically manage doing it, the dread just compounds. The physical anguish leads to the emotional kind if I start getting really behind and can’t seem to dig my way out. Comic means a lot to me, and so do you guys. So I dug my way out. Then my son.”
    Sorry if I left you down. I’m certainly not shooting to be a reluctant artist and riding on your good will alone.”

    Chris, I hope that you didn’t mind my attempt at trying to assuage the others as well as your self. I went through that enough during my university years. Hell, I skipped almost an entire semester because I was late for one class and I couldn’t get my head past the emotional trauma that was imagined because of it. That, and I hurt my back early on, and it went out on my early in November as well. Have you been to a chiropractor? Not only that, but some good muscle relaxers from a physician helps out a great deal as well. And ice packs. I went through a refill on one of those. Also, maybe hitting the flea markets for a good cane or two.

    1. Yes to a lot of that. If you can take it, and some can’t, ibuprofen does wonders, And, a good walking stick is worth it. I had a muscle start giving me fits in my leg a little while back. I had a stick in my car, and decided to use it while at work. It helped tremendously, and the muscle is almost healed up.

      1. I think meds tend to be very person specific. For me ibuprofen works well on my back, but it won’t do jack for a neck cramp, while naproxen sodium works for neck cramps (but you shouldn’t take both at the same time).

        I threw my back out being kinda’ dumb around 18 or so. It’s not bad, but I’ve had it go out in the same spot in my lower back periodically since then. The one time in my life that it felt absolutely epic was the year or two that I was in a pilates class offered around work that was in a small room (10 people was a crowd) so the instructor had plenty of time to check on and correct everyone. Since then, when my lower back gets bad I do some ab work of different sorts (upper, lower, & both sides, then reverse) every other day for a week or two and that seems to help (until I get too lazy again). For lots of back issues I do find trying to do yoga cat/cow transitions a time or three per day helps (on all fours, curl back from tail bone to top of neck one way, then reverse to the other, repeat several times). But it seems what helps one person is a bit different for another, and I do still have problems with stretching upper back very well.

  9. I know you’ve said in the past that some of effort you put in to the comic is for your own practice and self-development, and I understand that it can be exciting to try out new things. (I also understand back injuries- I wrecked myself lifting weights as a freshman in college it took until my senior year to eventually get it to mostly go away,) But I’ve been kind of worried lately that SS is going to turn into one of those webcomics that updates once a quarter or something like that. I’ve seen plenty of comics who used to update really often and now hardly update ever, all in the name of “getting it right” or something like that.

    I’ll be honest- I don’t read SS for the art or the animation, I do it for the story. I’m sure some people would disagree with me on this, but I’d rather see faster progression even if it means the artwork takes a dip or stops improving. A good storyteller could tell a story that would make you cry and cheer and wait with baited breath for the next update with only a red pixel and a blue pixel, and I think you’re capable of that- I’d rather find out what happens to Ellie and Quinn and Tara and Pumpkin and Danny and Lavender and everyone else more than I want to see you paint the next Mona Lisa.

    Anyway, that’s my drunken thought of the evening- hope you feel great again soon.

    1. I disagree. But I like it here for the art, story, comments, characters, interesting people. Dammit, now I’m stuck on some TV show or movie that’s trying to explain something and gets stuck on interesting characters, over and over again.

      That and when the girls attack the fourth wall in the comments section.

      1. It’s worth noting that Subnormality is one of the best comic out there, and it updates only about every 3-6 months. But, it’s an extremely detailed, wonderfully complex, wall sized thing of beauty when it does.

        It sucks to wait, but if the results are worth it, then it’s worth the wait.

        1. I’ve read some of it myself, but I think the key distinction here is that each issue (I like that term) or Subnormality is essentially a complete update within itself. It is also extremely text-heavy, and many of the comics are basically mini-stories unto themselves. Waiting for the updates is tough but you rare need to wait months for an update to see where something is going.

      2. That’s fine- I certainly knew some people would. I just wanted to express my opinions on the subject.

        As a kid I’d stay up to late, reading books under the covers of my bed with a flashlight because I couldn’t put it down. I’ve only gotten slightly better about that sort of thing with age.

        1. I get compulsive enough about knowing where a story is going that sleep deprivation can be a problem and my solution when it starts getting too bad is spoiling the endings for books for myself and then going back and reading the middle bits.

  10. Hmm, now that they’re on the first floor, there’s a small chance the laptop may have survived, particularly if it has a solid state drive (fewer moving parts).

    1. It’s not closed all the way and looks like it’s being thrown in such a way it’ll land with the hinge at one side. If plastic rather than aluminum, if it survives that, it’ll have some definite battle damage.

  11. Ah, once again, you have shown your uncanny ability to update just after I have gone to bed, or have gone out of town.

    In all seriousness, though, You do for you and yours. What you need to do, you do. I do second the point of giving us an occasional status update, to make sure you are alive, and such.

  12. Thanks for updates, and while I know it’s not rational and something you can just say, “Oh, I’ll do things in another way now,” I do hope you get to stress less about communicating with us about delays. I really think your big danger of doing that is well wishes and unsolicited anecdotal advice (like in other comments above, and this comment, and probably more comments that will appear below this one). Sure, sometimes we’ll have some people just passing through in the comments, but I think most of us regulars do consider you a friend and are generally forgiving and also concerned about how you’re doing and want to hear things.

    I can see how working on a comic would be potentially really hard on your back. I recall you talking about Cintiqs, so getting that set well to spend hours at it seems like it wouldn’t be the easiest thing in the world. I’ve seen some people have wall-attached arms for theirs that seemed like it might be helpful to move around and change angles and whatnot.

    Additionally, most office chairs you’ll find in a chain office store aren’t actually meant/rated for a person to sit on them for longer than 4 hours at a time (a good portion aren’t rated for 2), let alone 8 or more. As a computer guy I have definitely ran afoul that one before (office chair of several years seemed great…until I started working from home regularly during one project and I was down within three weeks).

    If it helps from a concern stance with you’re son’s health, I had some similar problems that are nearly gone now. When I was young, I had very bad bronchitis & asthma (I think I missed between a quarter and a half of 1st grade, all told). I think it was before the inhalers like are common today were around, and I remember we had a nebulizer for my meds (it’s probably still in my parents’ cabinet). Growing up I got a variety of colds & upper respiratory infections quite a lot, but as I got older they didn’t really take me down so much as just were irritating. Last serious asthma problem I had was in middle school. When I got to college I found that a lot had been allergies from my parents house and things went away to some degree. I also found my tolerance for working through being sick was MUCH higher than most of my classmates. After moving around to a few cities I’ve found that I’m better in some than others, but in general, back in the general area I grew up in living in my own house, I seem to get sick much less often than normal and allergies are negligible any more. I also seem to have much stronger and higher capacity lungs than medical people seem to expect (and that’s with them not knowing I had childhood issues). Everyone’s a little different and no telling how things turn out, but it’s quite possible that your son will grow to have the strongest lungs and highest disease resistance in your family, so take heart.

    1. Any recommendations for office chairs? Someone in my house goes through them regularly. The last one I bought was $400, and I’m not sure it’s any better than the ones at OfficeMax.

      1. I truly believe if there is a hell for people who create computer chairs, it’s being held in the chairs you’ve designed by spikes that probably make the experience marginally less uncomfortable.

        Most office chairs fall into three ranges: cheap and terrible, expensive and terrible, and very expensive but luxurious. The first category can be found at Walmart or on the curb waiting for pickup. The second is any brand in most office stores. The only manufacturer I can think of in category 3 is Aeron. The third category starts at around $800 and you’ll either have to order it online or go to a high-end art store that carries furniture. Yes, an art store. Despite the usual financial difference between an artist and a computer programmer / executive, it’s easier to find a ridiculously expensive chair in a store marketed to artists.

        Anyhow, this may help, but I’d recommend you have your someone sit in any chair before you buy it (unless it’s in category 3): https://www.omnicoreagency.com/best-ergonomic-office-chairs/

        1. The manufacturer for the Aeron is Hermon-Miller. I gave in and ordered one myself about a year ago. They have 15% discounts twice per year and it’s worth ordering one in that time frame. They’re quite expensive (I believe mine, with the discount was a tad north of $900), but they do also have a 12 year warranty and a friend at work who ordered one has used it already and said that other than getting the chair somewhere to ship for repairs it went well (he’s got a 2 door car).

          My current job has Aerons for everyone, and I never sat down in one and thought it was amazingly comfortable or anything. It’s more that my work days go between 6 & 12 hours and I used that chair for my desk for that for four or five years and I had no problems. Then I found myself working from home a lot and my back cried foul within three weeks. That was what convinced me I needed to pay attention. One of the chain stores did have ratings (2, 4, or 8 hours for using the chari) and I bought a $300 or so chair rated for 8 hours and it was ok (I could still notice it if I was addicted to a game and spent pretty well all weekend in it, though).

          I suspect there are others past Aeron in a similar class, but I don’t know what they might be. I think there are some American chiropractic organizations that rate office chairs, so you might find some lists related to them that might be helpful (it was one such organization that had rated the chairs I previously found in 2, 4, or 8 hour ratings).

  13. While the animation was a cool effect, I actually found that I disliked it in the comic as a whole. More than the hair twirl in the last comic I struggled with the text animation because it set the speed of my reading the comic and while I normally read and re-read the comics you post, with the wall of text popping up slowly I just didn’t want to. I would totally get behind a SS animated series but having tiny animations all over the comic wouldn’t really do it for me. I was actually stoked to see that this one wasn’t animated, of course until I read your corresponding post. I can’t speak for anyone else but I would rather the comic remain stationary and relatively timely than to have little animations thrown in. I hope that you are doing better, back pain is the worst. Take care of yourself and thank you for the hard work you put in.

    1. The animations are neat as a gimmick, but the deal-breaker for me is that I dislike the graininess that’s introduced by the limitations of the GIF format. The dithering and color-banding detract from the novelty. In otherwords, I too would support no animations in favor of a less stressful and more expedient update cycle.

      If animation is seriously the way you want to go though, then perhaps a kickstarter to fund a pilot episode of a voiced SS would be a better alternative.

    2. I’ve gotta’ agree that I like the animations for small surprising things (like GG blinking on the cast page), but having it with the text, especially when it cycles on its own, is a minus for me. Not that I’d stop reading or being a Patreon or anything, just saying animation seems better for small touches rather than the large point.

      I can also agree with Larathiel that the gif format’s color downsample is a bit of a distraction as well (I didn’t notice it on the first page, but it really jumped out at me with Ellie’s face on the second page).

      1. Are you talking about the Kirby Dot Freckles on Ellie’s face? If that’s an example of the downsampling, then I have to say that it’s a first time for me seeing something like that. That, and you are definately on top of things graphically for whom i understand to be an IT guy. Do you work for an advertising company?

        I can see some of what every one is saying here. I mean, I can understand Chris wanting to get to the next level with the animation and all that. However at this point, it should be pointed out that there is going to be a large amount of time and energy put into testing as well as development. It would be a huge, huge gamble. While I don’t want to dissuade, he’s still a hell of a lot better at it than I am. I was watching the animation of Quinn opening the door, and it seems to be quite good to my eye, and it’s just a rough sketch. I can only imagine what Chris can do with pen and paper. And I’ve never really sat down for something like that. I may have made one of those flip books.

        On the other hand, I think that I can see that everyone wants to say that they enjoy the SHUFFLEVERSE as it is now, but that the medium at this point is not conducive towards maintaining that great of a product as it is. It would need more of a video output. And the time and energy for something like that would need not only an animation crew, but online editing staff, audio staff, audio engineers, etc.

        It’s as I suggested earlier, get the cake done first before you frost it up Bossdude. I had to learn that. I just want to share.

        1. No ad work for me, and I’m really not a visual person so I don’t notice things like that easily. The dots on Ellie’s face on the last comic, if I’m not mistaken, come from the gif format having a lower maximum number of colors than what Rusche was working within Photoshop, so when it was saved as a gif, some of the transition colors came off in a grainy fashion like that.

          For me the animation is a 2 second, “Well that’s kinda’ neat” sort of reaction. Then it’s some degree of irritation at the pacing of text appearing, and if the text is cycling and I’m trying to see something specific based on something that someone said in a comment, it’s more irritation later. Then it’s irritation as it pushes the wait vs content out quite a lot. All of this is why I vote for animation for small touches or adding a little bit of movement for a fairly static, exposition-heavy page and for the animation not hide content later or loop (so last page would’ve required extending the text window).

          But, that’s just my own personal preferences. Rusche should do what is artistically satisfying. I’m personally hoping that’ll be only small use of animation, and trying to add a voice to indicate that his audience isn’t expecting animation all the time now.

        2. While I do work in IT now, I’ve also worked as a webmaster and a 3D designer in the past, and favored multimedia and writing courses as electives in college before that. So while there’s been no “ad work”, in recent years I’ve still logged countless hours in Photoshop working on fantasy cartography, photo manipulations, silk-screen designs, and other endeavors in just my pastimes.

          So yeah, I may be a bit more inclined to offer visual critiques than your average IT bear. ;)

  14. I think I have witnessed many artists and musicians just raised the bar so high that they simply can’t keep up releasing content simply due to the amount of work required. It’s a smart move to try to pace yourself and possibly level up so that you can figure out how to cheat things a little if you want to do animation.

    That being said, the drawings lately have been amazing. I’ve been just blown away at the detail lately.

  15. Hey no worries about taking your time to get this strip up, we understand :) You had a bad set of circumstances that you couldn’t have predicted, and no sane person would hold ANY of that against you!

    Just in the future, could you let us know you are alive and breathing? When it gets nearly a month without word, we start to worry about you, not just Shotgun Shuffle, but YOU :) Take care of yourself and heal up, just keep in mind from now on there are people out here that worry about you!

    As for the strip itself, I’m kinda going to side with Quinn here, Caleb might have been on their side overall, but I still wouldn’t trust him enough to accept a laptop or webcam from him at this point, especially after what they just went through lol

        1. I was more saying that the suspicion of Caleb by Quinn is quite rational and reasonable and not in any way a negative. Destruction of property fits with the paranoia, but is no longer rational nor reasonable (which isn’t odd to see with paranoia).

          It’s still quite understandable and within character, I’m just saying that objectively she’s overreacting and being irrational.

  16. Honestly, this is what I was afraid of when the first animated comic hit.

    Just, don’t. Okay? Don’t. Take a quarter, go put it in a big jar, and write “DON’T” on the side of that jar. Every time you want to animate a comic, go put a quarter in the DON’T jar.

    Literally everyone in the room knows that animation is a long and difficult process that is usually done by entire roomfuls of Koreans with guns to their heads. The thought of one person running animation for any length of time is like one person trying to drag an Amtrak commuter line from New York to Newark.

    All these people you see in this comment section, they come here for a great strip with a terrific story and wonderful characters. No one needs gimmicks like animation to come back. You’ve got everyone here, man. Everyone’s been coming back for this entire month just waiting for the next update. We’ve been playing little games in the comments section ever since. Mr. Blue’s damn radio contest kept me irked for a week. Parenthetically, I think I figured it out last night. “Meesa Chakka Dit” actually means “McRib Is Back,” doesn’t it?

    At any rate, seriously, look at this room right now. Everyone’s here. Everyone’s BEEN here since November 6 waiting for a new update. No one’s left. There’s nothing more anyone wants than what’s already being done, and most of us are fine with less. The demand is met. Enjoy it.

    1. I agree. I was (likewise) concerned by this, because Rusche clearly wants to perfect his craft. The problem is perfectionism slips you false promises. It tricks you into doing more and more work until things take so long that you accomplish nothing. (I know this comic was not the victim of perfectionism.) It reminds me of an artist’s quote that is [nonetheless] rather popular with various kinds of engineers:

      “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”
      — Antoine de Saint-Exupery

      I think it’s great Rusche wants to put out a better product. I believe it would be wiser to alternate between “quality improvements” and “delivery speed improvements”. When he can no longer find a way to create a higher quality comic at the same speed as the previous level, he keeps the main comic at the previous level. Further quality advancements can be shifted off into commissions and extras as a way to funnel the desire to do better into something that won’t wreck the schedule.

      1. The weird part is, I think it actually IS back. I just heard an ad for it like two days ago.

        So, merry Christmas and Meesa Chakka Dit to us all, I guess!

  17. LOL…maybe that WASN’T the best choice of names to explain where she got it lol….I mean can u blame Quinn for doing what she did when she here’d his name

        1. I’ll see what I can do. I already used up all my favors getting myself the role of GG’s eyelids. (I have to be extra silent.)

      1. I think Dheu or Durkin would be my best bets for voice talent (I’ve been told singing wise that my voice is a basso profundo, though I suspect I’m probably closer to half way between there and a normal bass).

  18. Have a lot of back issues. Next time, if take over the counter ibuprofin and double the normal dose (but not more!). It reduces the swelling from the muscle pull in the back. I don’t know what your finances are like, but go see a chiropractor, they’ll help remove the pain and get you mobile. Finally, places like Walgreens and CVS have back braces which will help support your lower back while you are healing (since it sounds like a lower back thing). Look and feels like a girdle but it helps. A small ice pack to the affected area while wearing it helps too.

    1. I find back braces past maybe the first day do more harm than good for me. They seem to stretch out the recovery period a lot, though they also make it more tolerable while it’s recovering.

      Regarding ice & heat, I’ve heard that one day after the injury it’s safe to start using heat, but I’ve found I need to wait two. For ice, I’ve heard that you really need to be stationary for a minimum of 20 minutes with the ice pack for it to help, so I usually just kinda’ ignore that stage myself.

      As for chiropractors, good ones can be a lot of help and bad ones can be a lot of harm. Get referrals from people you know and trust before you try any specific one. If you find yourself seeming like you need regular chiropractor visits, consider looking for yoga & pilates classes instead and comparing the price of each option.

        1. Yep, some do and some don’t. The time I did pilates and the first time I did yoga was indeed with such a deal.

      1. I generally found that ice when the pain first hits helps a lot. I have a medical ice pack thats fairly thin. I use the backbrace to hold the pack in place and keep it against the muscle in my back. Heat will ease the muscle but help inflame the area supposedly. The first time I pulled my back, I took a dip in the spa and felt 10x better in the spa. The next day I was 5x worse than when I had the first pang of pain. I’ve heard mixing the two is good, but nothing beats a good chiro.

  19. Chris, Quinn’s face in panel 5 is awesome. Not just the expression, but the perspective.

    Animation would only add a tiny increment to the comic’s Cool Factor (though fun for you is a good reason!). Anyhoo, carry on.

  20. Hmm. I’m probably opening a can of worms, but I can’t help thinking of an alternate motivation for Quinn.

    In the vein of a ElliexQuinn pairing her thoughts would go something like this:

    Panel 4: Aw, hell no.
    Panel 5: No damn Canadian is going to steal my girl.
    Panel 6: Well that’s that matter resolved.

    1. …reminds me of that bit on The Simpsons about the Screamapillar.

      “Without constant reassurance, it will die. It’s sexually attracted to fire…”

  21. Okay people. It’s the third of the month, month of December. We have to get Chris a Christmas gift we can all afford. We have to vote each and every day. This is my third time today, on a different device.

    The link for Top Web Comics voting is just above the Patreon previews, on the right hand side of the page. If that button doesn’t work, here is a link for that.

    http://topwebcomics.com/vote/14850/default.aspx

    We are currently 53rd in the voting.

    1. While I habitually do this daily (on multiple devices), I submit that both the banner and description need updating to draw in more traffic!

  22. It wouldn’t hurt to post an extra piece of art on the voting page. Works for a ton of other webcomics ahead in the standings.

    (I’m just saying….)

  23. Glad you are okay. The only thing I worry about when I see a long break, is whether the artist is coming back. But that’s usually when there is a couple months with no communication, and I always default to “I hope they’re okay.” rather than “Where’s my effing comic!?”.

    So again, glad you are okay. Take care of yourself, and your family before worrying about readers. You should always come first.

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