The Obsession

A little Dead by Daylight reference for those not familiar. That full magazine cover is on Shotgun Shuffle's Facebook page, if you want to see a higher res. And in case it's been a while (which it's been a while) this is the serial killer from The Chain series of comics that was killing all of Caleb's site users. UPDATE: All right guys, I SINCERELY apologize, but these comics will have to wait through the weekend. I'm sososososo annoyed they're not done yet. I have been working on them for 4 days solid and I'm just exhausted. The next comic is 17 panels by itself, and both Patreons are 11 panels (and I really can't split them.) So yeah, bare with me, they are super grueling, but I'm also super proud of them. I'm shooting for Monday. Talk to you soon.

89 thoughts on “The Obsession

      1. TBH there’s a pretty solid chance he always knew that’s how he’d die, or at the very least will die claiming as much.

  1. I thought I recognized that guy from my last archive crawl.

    That’s Zeke, from Rosman, NC, isn’t it? Art significantly upgraded, but still Zeke!

      1. It’s a room full of assassin women, tarragon, not to mention our heroine, who has been seen at the national level beating the ever-loving crap out of people… frankly she’s one of the few women he has ANY hope of taking in this meeting… he just doesn’t realize that he’s STILL massively outclassed….

        1. The question may not just be how much he’ll be outclassed, but also how much he’ll suffer in the process.

          Also if he has any real strong desires about open casket memorial services for himself. That might be a difference too.

        2. On the flipside, we’re only assuming he’s trying to kill Cinnamon. Maybe serial killers are rare because they have to travel extreme distances to find suitable mates.

          If they do give Ellie a new kid, my money is on the name being Exclamation Mark with “Clay” as the nickname.

        3. The more I think about it, I wonder if suitable mates for serial killers are just sufficiently hard to kill and don’t hold the attempts against them.

          While I don’t think Cinn is a serial killer, it wouldn’t surprise me if she needed that same quality in a mate.

          Also the only thing that makes me feel better about the concept of Cinn reproducing is that she’s fictional.

        4. Cinn also really hates people. There’s another possible thing in common; we never did find out if there were survivors to that omnipestilence attack Cinn did on the mall. She’s potentially a mass-murderer.

        5. Option 1: Mass murderer, meet serial killer. Bloodbath and romance ensues.
          Option 2: They’ve met. They are the one-night hookup and pestilence type. Bloody romance ensues.
          Option 3: Mass murderer completely uninterested in serial killer. Bloodbath ensues.

          Not really sure the possible outcomes vary that much. Just the level of romance and total body count.

        1. Only for Cinnamon Buckingham is the phrase “Hey baby, wanna come see my pet abomination?” a valid pick-up line.

        2. Ok, what’s worse. Pennywise in original form or the final, yet unknown form of our beloved holiday shopping wreckers, the Ratchlantulas?

        3. The ratchtantulapedes are mortal. Pennywise really isn’t. Unless the ratchtantulapedes figure out how to work a slingshot, or coat their appendages in silver, Pennywise should be safe.

        4. Heh, one of my ex-bedbreaking partners had a chow/pit mix nicknamed “Abby”. Her actual name was Abomination.

    1. Those cuff links are his knives, just shrunk down for easy concealment, just add blood to bring them back to their full size.

    1. How would Caleb know?
      Assume a massively successful serial killer; he’s gotten 50 people. A middling small paysite can churn that many new paid IPs in a single hour’s visits alone. Losing a few long-term visitors over a few months isn’t going to blip his radar- we know he has been losing thousands of unique visitors a month for YEARS, by his own admission.

      1. Coinciding geographic ip addresses before one ip either drops off or remains connected continuously. However, one of the variable IP addresses will have a similar MAC associated for Zeke. That is, if he’s using his own machine to login. If he uses the victims account, then perhaps connecting the dots of accounts left on 24/7.

        1. This seems like something Uncle Sam might notice, but the average IT guy like Caleb isn’t really searching for.

          Caleb knows his overall membership’s been dropping hard ever since the big boys started stomping on his turf; he doesn’t really have a good reason or a need to burn cash and time analyzing and data mining his records for unique IP relationships when he knows that what he needs desperately is new visitors and fresh, new, unique content to keep his existing sites afloat. On top of all of that grief he is dealing with day to day, he keeps having to get on planes and blow up the doors of his ex-employees who are ripping him off and risking his company’s assets from a legal standpoint- that’s gotta cut into your research time.

        2. I still think that it’s possible for the average web company to monitor all types of information based on who connects to it. IP, MAC, etc.

        3. I think you’re forgetting how hard it is to detect rare events.

          Look at the math. Say you have an unrealistically good detection algorithm with 99.999% chance of detecting a valid bade event and a 0.001% chance of a false positive. I think we’ve got something like 350 million people in the US, so if one in a million is a serial killer, that’s 350 serial killers (and 349,999,650 non-serial killers). 99.999% of the 349,999,650 non-serial killers mean that 349,996,150 innocent people will be properly flagged as innocent, and 0.001% false positive mean that ~3,500 (or 10x the number of actual serial killers) will be falsely accused.

          Now take into consideration how unrealistic five nines of accuracy is and that less than 5% error is a rough rule of thumb used for a lazy metric of being statistically significant.

          Same problem exists with algorithmically detecting terrorism. It’s thousands-to-millions to one odds that someone buying diesel fuel & fertilizer is doing construction that’ll rip up grass and needs to get grass growing again (or landscaping using something that runs on diesel or whatever other innocent coincidence you want) versus making a bomb.

          It’s remotely possible Caleb could notice this, but it’d either be a lucky guess that could’ve more easily been a false positive or Zeke being sloppy (which he was, as some of his site pictures had blood smeared all over the wall near him).

        4. Logging without automated analysis means you only find things by luck and maybe after action investigations (good ones took advantage of no automated analysis to take their time and cover their tracks so you wouldn’t find anything).

          Also, if you don’t analyze your logs and/or have some automated analysis, it can be hard to tell what’s normal vs abnormal.

          Also the more you log, you either lower your retention period for the logs or increase your costs for system maintenance (including backups, which you want your important logs to be part of).

          So it’s really connected if you want it to be relevant.

      2. My thought was less about Caleb noticing a few users drop off his site and more about noticing potentially odd interactions among users, social engineering attempts, etc. Nothing has really been detailed on how Zeke is gathering his list of targets, and some methods may be higher profile than others.

    2. As far as his numbers are concerned, they are still there, until the un-payed bill gets things shut off. They’re just idling in chat.

    1. Assassin? Oh, no no no, he’s a serial killer (as his reading material suggests). I’d imagine if he was an assassin he’d have a better read on the room & it’s occupants, and wouldn’t have made such a poor choice of hunting ground (plus, who put a hit out on Cinn?)

        1. We don’t know for sure that they know where that omega class pestulance came from. I demand to speak with my lawyer (and/or “Ellie did it”)

      1. I don’t think I have them all, but I found four.

        First we definitely see him in comic The Chain Part IV (current post date March 23, 2015, linked above) at the right side in the second-to-bottom row of panels (and also probably at the left side of that same row).

        Next we definitely see him in comic The Chain Part X (current post date March 29, 2015, linked above, and source of my avatar) as the second picture down in the right column with blood on the walls behind him including a hand print. He may also be in the eighth picture down in the left column.

        Next we possibly see him in the second row down on the right in comic Here I Am (current post date July 27, 2015).

        The last possibility I could find/remember is that he might be the date of the sparkliest flowers in comic Number 500 (current post date January 6, 2016), but this is pure speculation and that person could be completely different and just like hiding/stalking and have no interest in killing.

        I feel like I’m still missing one, but I can’t think what it is, and it’s late and I’m tired, so giving up at that.

  2. Looks like Cinnamon’s love life is about to take a turn for the better. That, or some ‘lil bitch is going to learn why you don’t fuck with a Buckingham girl, especially not the creepy one. I’m going to bet it’ll be both.

    1. I was actually thinking the same thing… what if he heard of the Ratchantula infestation she unleashed and is taken with her handiwork?

  3. SHOTGUN SHUFFLE on Top Web Comics earlier this evening was well over 100 with between 55 and 60 votes. At this time, the SHUFFLEVERSEhas landed at #52 with 88 votes.
    At #40, is Snow by Night with 114 votes.
    At #1 is Replay with 1228 votes.

      1. For those who have never heard of Dead by Daylight, what do the symbols mean? I get that it is Cinnamon and her Ratch’s, but I don’t get how it is relevant to the serial killer following her. Does something happen in the game when a killer is near the survivors that looks like that?

        1. Much like the title of the strip notes, the claw icon around a “Survivor” character, in this case Cinn, indicates that the Killer for that particular level has declared said Survivor his / her “obsession.” It’s a status effect that causes certain perks to work differently, or so I’m told on Steam.

    1. Where do you think Cinnamon is concealing the Ratchbominations? At the mall she had them in a bag. Now she’s walking down a dark alleyway in tight clothes, no accessories… unless she stashed them in the alley on her way over or she is keeping them in one of nature’s pockets (ew), she may be on her own for this encounter.

  4. Disappointed at no update? You bet. But 39 panels of comic ahead? That’s one monster update. Looking forward to Monday!

  5. I also agree that Cinn is going to find love, it may end up a long distance love unless prison he gets sent to allows “visits” that are more than looking through a glass wall and talking through a phone.

  6. Understood on the delay, but I’d like to again make my suggestion of posting the number of panels for the next N comics you’re working on so people can easily see when a big one is coming up and know what to expect.

      1. Or Zeke was just his alias for the site. It would be somewhat foolish for a serial killer to put their legal name in as an identifier for a place they’re using to scope out victims.

        1. …good points both, really. Zeke could easily have been an alias. There’s also nothing saying he’s ACTUALLY from North Carolina.

          Would be kind of funny for the first words out of Cinn’s mouth to be “Derek?”

        2. That’d be especially amusing considering his reasons for dumping her (too manipulative and controlling but mostly creepy, ref comic Mob Mentality with current post date October 30, 2013) coming from a serial killer.

          On the other hand, I would expect Derek to be a bit more cautious about following Cinn into a dark alley.

        3. “I missed you, Cinn. I missed your endless rambling about animal husbandry. I missed how you don’t get any joke ever. I even missed your constant farting at night. Even now I can’t fall asleep without watching that Eddie Murphy / Nutty Professor video before bed. Come back to me, Cinn. Come back to me and let’s wipe out the eastern seaboard together!”

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