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The Hard Sell Part II

This comic went through an ungodly amount of drafts, plus I had kids traveling out of state last week, and half my kitchen having to be replaced. I had a leaky faucet, broken sink, and an unworking garbage disposal and dishwasher. But yeah, we all have challenges. On a separate note, I decided against an idea for a calendar I mentioned last month. I wasn't happy with the options I found offered online, which were mostly templates designed primarily for "Grandma's family pictures." I wanted more control over the size and how it looked, and designing my own days for the months. Nothing overly elaborate, but something that conformed to the picture content of each month. If I wanted to delve that deeply into the project, I'd have to do a custom run of X amount, and etc etc. So I'm recycling the idea into just prints, and I'll sell them at convention. You'll see some when they're done. Lastly, I'd like to hear some ideas for Pumpkin cosplays I haven't done for the comic. This is just an "in general" and does not need to work into a storyline. So don't worry about context before suggesting.  Male, female, any form of media, just not insanely obscure. If someone posts an idea you like, please like the comment of second their motion. That would help a ton. Thanks everyone! :D UPDATE: Next comic will be up today (Wednesday.) Coloring now. prev

175 thoughts on “The Hard Sell Part II

        1. Or so you think! We know it’s the future, what with the iPhone ^12 being out, so we’re at least 6 product cycles in the future (possibly more, with all the “S” models between numbered models). 6s this year (2015) so 7/s through 11/s should take between 6 to 10 additional years, at 1 series per year, so it’s at least 2021 there, possibly 2025. Will you still be under 30 then, hot shot?

        2. I doubt the 2025 Ellie would use the same age restriction as 2015 Ellie, since she will be 10 years older too.

        3. We age faster than she does. The gap gets larger.

          The age gap that is. The gap between fiction and reality is another thing entirely.

  1. It’s always been a convenient quirk of nature that the heart is located directly behind the boobs.

    Ah, but they’ve got a point, don’t they? It’s a mistake that has no doubt been made before and will almost certainly be made again. Whether it’s feeding an animal past the point of biological reason or just helping shattered young singles find their romantic footing again, there’s Ellie; huge boobs, and an even bigger heart.

  2. Glen Brogan (https://www.facebook.com/artbyglenbrogan) did a really good calendar a year or two back. It was, essentially, anthropomorphized gaming consoles. It appeared – to me – to be quite custom, and not a granny-calendar template. Very high quality paper, too, IMO. I’ll take a look at it when I get home and see if there’s any text on it identifying who did the printing for it.

    As for Pumpkin, I’d dig Velocity from Cyber Force. She’s always been one of my favorite characters.

  3. I would absolutely love to see Pumpkin do Ruby from the RWBY web series.
    Maybe not super mainstream, but not all that obscure anymore.

  4. Hmmm hard to tell just how honest anyone here is being…I could see a point to this method but at the same time it could be setting people up with unrealistic hopes and dreams that would just get crushed.

    Its an ongoing war almost depending on how you look at it. Women who are of Ellie’s level dont have to ‘settle for anything less’ but at the same time that can make a lot of people pass up and not even try their luck. There are some out there with good hearts and who would give a decent person a chance after all. But more often than not I’ve found that those with good looks know they have good looks and are more likely to be superficial. Thats not an absolute, but it does seem to be a tendency.

    I suppose it would really depend more on whoever the person tries their luck with after the date with Ellie, which is unfortantly a complete unknown and random factor.

    As for cosplay for Pumpkin, I could see her easily pull off Skuld from Ah My Goddess, or Videl from DBZ lol Trick though is she is a big time DC fangirl with very…specific tastes that are really kind of rare in the comic world. I’ll have to give it some thought.

    1. I find the degree of superficiality to depend on intellect/wisdom. The brighter/wiser ones are still quite choosy, just not so superficial in the criteria for being choosy.

      When I see a guy dating a woman whom would be far out of his league by standard dating calculus and they’ve been dating for a couple of years, I consider the lady in question as good as married. When I’ve gotten to know said lady personally, I also generally find someone extremely sensible, intelligent, and down-to-earth.

      Most of the significantly shallow and superficial attractive women I’ve met have also been … less likely to be tempting meals for zombies, to put it obliquely. Though that correlation also shows up when ignoring appearance and gender…

  5. What about Pumpkin cosplaying the Scooby Doo/Mystery Inc. universe? She mostly does supers, or anime, so it would be different, esp if you include her friends in an ensemble or something…

        1. That’s the problem, who is going to want to pull off a dog cosplay, especially when they’ve got to be on all fours for at least an hour? Being Scooby is the thimble.

        2. Plus anyone cosplaying as a dog will likely get hit on by T. R. Milkbone. I cold see Juniper accepting though. Then T.R. could ask a talking parrot toy: “Is it normal to feel burning when I pee?”.

  6. So, the business model is, Ellie goes on a date with losers that have given up on themselves to give them hope. After one date or so, the hot girl they think they’ve gotten a foot in the door with tells them they’re really nice, but no.

    How does an official rejection lift these people up to a level of higher confidence and therefore dating success?

    1. The theory, I believe, proceeds thusly.

      1. Chronic reject lands hot girl.

      2. Chronic reject loses hot girl.

      3. Chronic reject develops belief that maybe it wasn’t him after all; he did just land a hot girl, after all

      4. Chronic reject is prepared to try again, bolstered by the admittedly false belief that, one time, he managed to land a hot girl.

      1. I guess, but the only chronic rejects that think that way are the chronic rejects that already have no problem hitting on every female they see. To everyone else, it’s just more confirmation that they are meant to be forever alone.

        Your model is flawed, Tired Guy.

        1. I guess, but the point of his dating site isn’t guys who lack the courage to ask anyone out. They have it tough, admittedly, but his site isn’t really for them (Ultimately, what folks in that situation need can’t be something they have to look for, since their problem is that they won’t look). His site is for dudes who are trying very hard (on multiple sites) to get a girl.

          He sets them up for a date with the Lazy One. 2 goals achieved. 1, selfish: They don’t get refunds. (this is the real goal) 2, altruistic: They keep trying (since they were able to land a date with an attractive lady, and thus have their confidence bolstered), and hopefully achieve happiness. (This is a fable to help Ellie trick herself into going along with this.)

          Ellie wins two times as well: 1) Paid by Tired Guy. 2) Red Lobster over and over. I guess its a step up in terms of legitimacy from assault and extortion, but she probably won’t make 2 cars in a weekend.

        2. There is a difference. Case in point, Howard Joel Wollonwitz. He quit being obnoxious and tried to be himself if even for a small bit. That got him out of his obnoxious shell.

        3. It depends on the guy and what it is that haunts them and makes them feel like they’re going no where. Ellie’s intervention, if extricated properly, could bolster the “Haven’t had a date since _____”-type. You’re certainly right that the, “No one likes me or finds me interesting”-type be more likely than not to consider Ellie either a non-event or a negative.

          Honestly if she can probably call all the guys on staring at her boobs a bit too much for her taste and that’d give them a “Ok, I could do that better next time!” sort of thought which might manage to avoid negatives in confidence.

        4. I apply too much of my own experiences here. Years ago, I had a long dry spell in the world of dating, then ended up in a short relationship with a woman that was quite above my station. Apparently she realized this after a few months and ended it, triggering a year of… eh, depression is too harsh a word, but you get the idea. After some time, I started dating a lot of what I’ll call rebound women. Anyone just to not think I was completely beyond hope. I think it was dealing with them that made me buck up and improve myself. I don’t know… I guess each link in that chain was necessary to make me who I am today. Maybe Tired Guy’s plan will work. They date Ellie, they spiral down further, then the survivors rebuild, better than before. Tired Guy, your plan is deviously clever.

        5. Regarding your statement “I guess each link in that chain was necessary to make me who I am today.”:

          That sort of thinking is what has had me wondering for decades how many past mistakes I was ultimately better off making due to some of the things I’ve learned. For some of the large-change choices (such as different college), I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t quite recognize myself (no clue if better or worse, though).

          I also find it nigh impossible not to fill in some of my own tendencies when attempting to extrapolate for the general population. I always have one of those long sigh moments when someone points out that I filled in a particularly obscure tendency and I knew full well it’s really obscure if I think about it. Your fill-in isn’t long-sigh obscure. I think I’d call it more of a toss up.

      2. Alternate 4: Chronic Reject sees through the BS, tells his friends, and site quickly gets a horrible reputation as a ripoff.

        1. Remember what one of his “cousins” said about her upon seeing her?
          I think they know who her father is and she was worried what will happen if the truth behind their site is revealed.
          I don’t think this story arc is going to have an happy or even a benevolent ending for the old man’s site.

  7. I really want Katarina to make a one-shot, one-panel comeback just to be one of the people that Ellie has to go on a date with.

    Pumpkin cosplays? Something from League of Legends – you already mentioned it once in-comic, as something that Barrell plays. If Pumpkin knows how to do armor pieces, she would make an awesome Leona or Diana. There’s a really interesting fan-theory backstory about the characters of Leona or Diana being romantically involved, and the tragedy of them being on opposites sides of a conflict. Since it’s a fan theory, it isn’t officially supported as canon, but there are a lot of hints that they MIGHT be lesbians. I think her love for story and fanfiction, and her questioning of her identity, would make good for her being draw to either one.

    Plus, they’re some of the only females in the game that aren’t tits-out first.

  8. Nothing says “sincerity” like mirrored sunglasses!

    …I mean literally. I wouldn’t be surprised if “sincerity” was actually written on there.

  9. Top 10 Cosplay ideas (Subject to change as I get more caffeine…)
    1) Anybody from Supernatural (I got a con myself coming up…)
    2) Poison Ivy, or Arkham Knight style Quinn
    3) Ghostbuster
    4) Mad Max
    5) Moxxi (Borderlands)
    6) Fem Shep (Mass Effect)
    7) Assassin (Assassin’s Creed)
    8) Thor – Currently a woman (trying to be spoiler-free)
    9) Racer X (Speed Racer) — Really just any “classic” anime/TV show. Pumpkin strikes me as a lover of all things geek, including the retro stuff.
    10) Chris Rusche (Why not get a little Meta? Granted, we have no idea what you look like, but that’s part of the humor of the meta-author jokes)

  10. Kino from Kino’s Journey/Kino no Tabi (might be a bit obscure)
    Olivia Armstrong, Winry Rockbell, or Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemst: Brotherhood
    Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim
    Any of the girls from Life is Strange
    Sheik from Legend of Zelda
    ok i’m done

  11. Personally, I’d like to see Pumpkin as CJ or Margaret from Regular Show, or one of the Gems from Steven Universe.

  12. Pumpkin cosplay ideas:
    – Patricia Wagon from Mighty Switch Force!
    – The original Megaman
    – Gloppy the Molasses Monster from Candy Land
    – One of those little tree spirit dudes from Princess Mononoke
    – Lumpy Space Princess

        1. “Uh…” *thump thump thump* “Hello?”

          *meekly* “Ellie..? Is that you?”

          “Pumpkin!? Why are you inside a giant milkshake?”

          “Ellie just… please help me get out of here…”

  13. I almost thought he called her Gookie instead of Cookie. Which would have been appropriate given her expression.

    One thing I don’t quite get in this comic is Ellie’s body language in the panel right before her Gookie face. It just seems odd as a response to Wilf’s buttering up.

    1. She’s being brainwashed by Wilf’s sincerity stars. You can still see some eminating from his glasses as well as around Ellie’s head.

  14. For Cosplay I would go with Misfit, small time teen member in training of the Birds of Prey, character that always felt she was a little out of place, but still went forward in everything with a lot of spunk, so I think it would be someone Pumpkin gravitates toward. Plus its Batman Family, has a really homegrown look to her costume (almost as if she was a cosplay girl in the DC universe) , and she is somewhat obscure– that’s like the trifecta for a Pumpkin favorite..

  15. Pumpkin Cosplay Ideas:
    Shulk from Xenoblade Chronicles
    Squigly from Skullgirls
    Demyx from Kingdom Hearts II
    Larxene from Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
    Kuja from Final Fantasy IX
    Sayaka from Madoka Magica

  16. Pumpkin cosplay…let’s get her some really out-of-character stuff. Have her try Jet Black from Cowboy Bebop.

    Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th series. Tiny little Pumpkin a giant undead juggernaut. Now that’s fun!

    She could be Ranx, the Sentient City for the sheer difficult factor.

    Oh! The Great Will of the Macrocosm from Excel Saga! Nothing like dressing up as a spatial phenomenon!

  17. Pumpkin Cosplay Ideas:
    Hannelore Ellicott-Chatham or Raven Pritchard of Questionable Content
    Wiley San or Alexsi Ti’Fiona of DMFA
    Princess of The Devil’s Panties
    Amazi-Girl of Dumbing of Age

  18. So I’m normally a lurker buuuuttttt, you said the magic words

    Marian Hawke from Dragon Age II

    and if it was going to be a group cosplay with her friends they could be other party members like Varric Tethras or Fenris or Anders or Merrill

    and I’m not just suggesting that because I just got done cosplaying Warrior class Hawke at PAX :X

    1. What I need will be from the neck or collar bone up. I looked up Marian, and other than the red marking on her nose, and maybe some of the fur or collar from from outfit would be seen, but not enough to convey the character, sadly.

  19. Easy one. Pumpkin as Deadpool. Relevant enough that everyone gets it and some real Fun potential if she acts in character.

    1. No. Just… no.

      Along with Harley Quinn, Deadpool was THE most over-cosplayed character at DragonCon this year. I can’t see someone as creative and iconoclastic as Pumpkin wanting to be like everyone else. (Seriously, we were thinking about doing an over-cosplayed drinking game, but anyone saddled with Harley or Deadpool would have needed an ambulance within 15 minutes.)

      1. Well, I did see one interesting Deadpool cosplay at the Aninite in Vienna.

        It was Deadpool…

        …cosplaying as Miku Hatsune.

      2. To be fair, DragonCon isn’t the only convention with lots of cosplay. I went to SDCC and while there was more than one Deadpool, there were too many Elsas and Mario Bros characters.

        I do agree with you about Harley Quinn – no matter what convention I go to, there are at least 5 or more Harleys.

  20. Given that you want multiple Pumpkin cosplay ideas and you state they need to be recognizable from the neck up, I’m guessing this is part of a montage of different cosplays. The majority of my ideas fall into the “token ridiculous cosplay” panel of said montage. Yes, I did cut the original ideas by about a third before posting.

    * Invader Zim (Invader Zim)
    * Cousin It (Adam’s Family)
    * Either Kaylee Frye or Hoban ‘Wash’ Washburne (Firefly)
    * Bumblebee (Transformers)

    * Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)
    * Otto (automatic pilot from Airplane!)
    * Shock or Oogie Boogie (Nightmare Before Christmas)
    * Willy Wonka (Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory – which is the Gene Wilder one)
    * Gizmo or Stripe (Gremlins)
    * Arthur (Monty Python & the Holy Grail)

    Video games
    * Razputin “Raz” Aquato (Psychonauts)
    * Larry Lovage (Leisure Suit Larry series)
    * Kratos (God of War series)
    * Wilhelm (Xenosaga series)

    * Pennywise the Clown (IT)
    * The Comedian (Watchmen)
    * “Weird Al” Yankovic (himself, any era)
    * Tarragon Buckingham (…should be obvious)

    1. …and of course I forgot the first one I came up with (which I think is too good to leave out): Wyldstyle from The LEGO Movie.

        1. You’re over on Patreon too, she did Robin there. Robin’s definitely seems like the top tier of mainstream to me. I think Pumpkin cosplays as whatever character catches her fancy for some reason, not a concern of how many other people do or how many people will recognize her or not. She doesn’t strike me as a “cosplay character snob” , so much as a “cosplay character enthusiast”, due to the fact that she felt it necessary to change her costume several times during the con (so she could wear them all, hence the enthusiasm).

          I didn’t notice the person I think you’re talking about (the one next to Ellie in the 7th row of combined comic Cosplayoff!!! post date currently 09 June 2014). I was really thinking “a Lego person” as in all out attempting the cylindrical head and blocky body parts look. That girl just did outfit and hair, so didn’t register her as attempting to be a Lego person so much as just some girl dressed up as a character that didn’t jump out at me so I didn’t worry about.

          I just picked Wildestyle as a more distinct and less generic one. Really any good Lego character would do (and she could go pretty much any universe she wanted with who, such as being Lego Robin and wearing an ID picture of herself as Robin from the Patreon comic outfit or something like that).

        2. I’m pretty sure she specifically was The Dark Knight Returns‘ Robin, which was 1986.
          That said, I love your Raz and Willy Wonka suggestions. You beat me to suggesting the Comedian; i would have said something yesterday but I was pressed for time.

  21. Oh gosh. Someone mentioned Psychonauts. XD

    As for cosplay ideas: Am I the only one who would really like to see her tackle one of the female warcasters of the Iron Kingdoms/Warmachines-verse? And that would probably be recognisable neck up.

    As would be the aforementioned Kino, if you ask me. Just needs her trademark hat and goggles.

    But one thing no one mentioned so far: Pai/Parvati from 3×3 Eyes.

  22. I kind of doubt that Pumpkin would do Betty Boop, but why not Krazy Kat? Blondie, Mary Worth, Maude (or just Bea Arthur), Trillian, Miss Wigguns (in complete character (but I doubt it unless Pumpkin is doing it ironically. )), Florabelle, Maj. Margaret Hoolihan, Gloria Stivic, Officer Bonnie Clark, Enid Borden, Arcee, Lucille Ball, and possibly any of the above zombified.

    Even Arcee.

        1. TOO LATE! STOLE IT BEFORE I ADMITTED TO DOING IT! I took [redacted]‘s advice from the end of Watchmen.

        2. I thought that was a nice subverted trope there, where you’re thinking, “Come on! He wouldn’t be dumb enough to monologue this whole thing so they can stop them, would he?” Though if I recall correctly in the movie, they made it obvious it was already done and the book went for the subverted trope.

        3. I was referring to [redacted]‘s comment at the end of the comic/graphic novel. To paraphrase… mR. Blue, I’m not a Republic serial villain. Do you seriously think I’d explain my master-stroke if there remained the slightest chance of you affecting its outcome? I did it thirty-five minutes ago.

  23. Hm. How obscure or before her time are you wanting these Pumpkin cosplay ideas? In any case, I’ve noticed she doesn’t seem to like to be the headliner, so I am mostly suggesting good supporting characters.
    * Tom Servo (w/ Ellie – Crow, Quinn – Gypsy)
    * Doc Brown from Back to the Future
    * Mia Wallace from Pulp Fiction (original recipe or extra-OD… maybe a zombie version?)
    * Sniper Wolf from Metal Gear Solid
    * Toad from SMB2 or other appearances
    * Daisy from Super Smash Brothers, complete with third eye
    Improbable / Obscure
    * Servalan from Blake’s 7 (or maybe Avon?)
    * Pretty much any character from Labyrinth with charisma.
    * A gazebo

    1. Cosplaying a building seems hard to pull off. Especially a building that’s doesn’t have solid walls. That’d be fantastically impressive if done well.

        1. Your new name is mR. YES, because that is a great idea. I just wonder if either of you caught the gazebo reference.

        2. I liked the idea of a gazebo, I just feel like you’d need an invisibility cloak or something to pull it off really well.

          They do have some researchy ones right now, though I don’t think they work from arbitrary directions as what I remember seeing was basically camera & projection. I don’t think we’re fancy enough to do a full-on light bend around a person yet.

        3. It’s a reference to an old text-based game (Zork II, I believe). A lot of players were young and did not know what a gazebo was, so they thought it was an exotic monster name and tried to kill it.

        4. Going back through here I see your explanation and freely admit I saw gazebo in your initial post and loved it, but I didn’t get your reference to text-based game using it as something to trick players into attacking.

          Very nice.

  24. Pumpkin should cosplay as Ash from Army of Darkness. Granted, the chainsaw would be the big giveaway, but from he neck or collarbone up, you could have her with all the little cuts over her face and maybe a prosthetic chin…

    1. What about having her be the female lead from Army of Darkness, post-possession? Not especially recognizable unless she’s holding a spear and says, “You found me beautiful once…”

  25. Pumpkin cosplay – Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas. Mainstream and easily identifiable from the neck up. Plus, Halloween is coming!

  26. I am digging the eyebrow sparkles.

    Heartbroken cause I had to cancel my Patreon account due to financial hardship.

    If any comic deserves some love, this is it. Rusche obviously puts a ton of work into it, and I hope he has a ton of support in the coming year.

  27. I don’t think that I’ve seen it yet,

    But what about Ash, from Army of Darkness? That or even the Anti Ash. Ash in the morning, Anti Ash in the evening. Or have a magic trick on stage (quick change) from Metal Hand Ash to Anti Ash (arisen from the grave)

      1. What about The Presence from any of the Evil Dead movies? There could be an empty space where she should have been, and someone asking, “How did you do THAT?!”

  28. Pumpkin cosplays, huh? Here’s a few attitudinal ideas that Ctrl+F isn’t seeing…

    Nova (Ghost from StarCraft)
    Jubilee (X-men)
    Rule 63 Aquaman
    (I’d say Harley Quinn, but given that she was THE most cosplayed character at DragonCon this year, I’m guessing she’d pick something more original)
    Lagertha (badass shield-maiden from Vikings)

    1. Hmm, just saw that it needs to be identifiable from the collar-bone up…

      Jubilee still works, but most of the others (save Harley) would be out. Perhaps a Twi’lek Harley Quinn mashup would be unique enough to pass muster…
      Legolass (rule 63 Legolas)
      7 of 9 (ST: Voyager)
      Wonder Woman
      Sera (was never an agreeable girl) from Dragon Age: Inquisition
      Elsa from Frozen (not as common a cosplay as you might think), better still: Jedi/Sith Elsa
      Steampunk Princess Leia (no mistaking those hair buns)

      1. Another [amusing] gender-ambiguous cosplay would Armin from Attack on Titan… Or any of the male characters from SSSS. ;)

    2. Well, you could combine your idea you said wasn’t original enough with one of mine to make it more original.

      Lego Harley Quinn, done with proper blocky style.

      I could see that being a fun and amusing contrast to all the rest of the Harleys.

      1. Hadn’t seen your post since I only used Ctrl+F to ensure I wasn’t repeating anything, but yeah, IME clever mashups are usually very well received by most con-goers. That’s why I was thinking Twi’lek Harley might be passable.

        In other news, your Lego idea reminds me of something another cosplayer I’m friends with recently discovered: pixel panties.

        1. I just looked up pixel panties and that’s just beautiful. I think I’m going to have to mention that to a friend for his wife for Christmas.

  29. Color me crazy, but I have the strangest feeling this might segway into Ellie becoming something of a professional wing-girl.

  30. Cosplay ideas for Pumpkin:

    Furiosa (Mad Max Fury Road)
    Batgirl or Catwoman (iconic enough to be recognized from the neck up and fit into her already established Batfamily fandom)
    As already mentioned Princess Leia is highly recognizable.
    Leela (already mentioned and I second this one)
    Jill Valentine (Her old school beret is a trademark look and everyone loves Resident Evil)
    Rogue of the X-Men fame (her hair is enough to make her instantly recognized regardless of how it’s styled)
    Speaking of X-Men I have to second Jubilee.

  31. Say, I went back over this whole mini arc, starting with Ellie knocking on the door. Is the gradual drop in neckline and growing exposure of cleavage intentional, or just a natural effect of drawing this over several days? cuz, otherwise, Ellie has been fiddling with her shirt buttons….

    1. If you look in the zoomed out panel with the eSymmetry banner on the wall when she walks in and Tired Guy says Nena gets the boring jobs, her neck line looks just about as low as here. It does look a bit higher up on some of the others, but I’m interpreting part of that as an intended effect of twisting her waist and/or just angle of view.

      I do think her left hand in the first panel of this comic appears to have been used to stretch the opening a bit wider today, though. We do already know from comic There is no Plan B (currently dated 13 Nov 2013), that she’s not against using her boobs for negotiation purposes.

  32. At the risk of violating the not-obscure criterion, might I suggest someone from Farscape? Chiana springs to mind, although D’Argo and Pilot are iconic of the show, and a portrait only view might make it work. For maximum humor effect, there’s always Dominar “Buckwheat” Rigel. Scorpius would be…just…no.

    1. She’d make an awesome Chiana, but I wouldn’t rule out Farscape entirely. Pumpkin could be an obscure Farscape character. I would love to see her as Furlow or (less interesting and recognizable, but a better physical match) Gilina Renaez the Peacekeeper Tech.

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