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Visitors, well-wishers, & distant relations

May be a new addition to the cast page. :P So someone that works across the room from me decided to pick of the skill of tablettry to help her future husband do pro-coloring and get comics out faster. I drew her while she was working. She promptly colored it in retaliation. Which is really not bad at all for her first ever attempt on the tablet. Can't wait to exploit this to my advantage. Did I say exploit? I meant *nurture* UPDATE 7-26-19 We had a number of hiccups getting the kids back from TN and settling in to our new routines with 6 people in the house. Will update you guys Tuesday. Again, profoundly sorry for the lateness, but new comic will be a long one and up ASAP. We've had a lot of little stresses and struggles but I assure you it's coming together. :) Thanks again.

134 thoughts on “Visitors, well-wishers, & distant relations

  1. So, CiCi seems to be carrying a smaller card catalog than Le Cart, but similar, on the new case page section. Is he a grandfather? Is she his apprentice?

      1. Further speculation, as I’ve had time to think on this. Ashliii showed signs of jealousy when Pumpkin was with “other” girls. Then, when last we saw her and Pumpkin together, it looked like they were about to have a talk. And now, Pumpkin is referring to her as “dearest”, if a bit flatly. Is it possible that their relationship has had an… upgrade? A shift? Even if it’s an in-joke about Pumpkin being into girls.

    1. I’m going to have to go with “the sun” as the answer to your question (though I suppose I have to anthropomorphize it more than I tend to if I want to fit your phrasing).

    2. Hi, I’m Kyle. I briefly dated your older sister until her massive negligence almost suffocated me in her apartment. If you see her before I do–and if there’s any justice in the world I’ll never see her again–please say hi for me and that Kyle says that, if she were dying of intestinal cancer in a part of the world in which morphine is as yet undiscovered, he would not be particularly sad about it. Thanks.

      1. I really don’t see Kyle being so angry about his date with Tarragon. He seems like a pretty chill guy and though she did technically put him in a limited Oxygen situation the very next thing she did eliminated it long before it became a problem. Honestly, if I were him I’d have a bigger problem with her general attitude.

        1. Even the chillest people tend to be upset when they’re nearly murdered, even through neglect.

      1. I wish I had something clever and Amber related to this. Although I will say if you have Random you need a drum kit.

        I’ll see myself out.

  2. That’s a heck of an addition to the cast page.

    Sooo…is Dheu the dad who likes redheads? I mean, it wouldn’t be completely out there, and would allow for more quality time between him & GiGi (every day is take your daughter to work day if you work together!)

    Also, Kyle appears to have used some Minecraft themed wrapping paper, so unless there’s been a sudden & violent change in Pumpkin’s opinion of the game, he did good (at least aesthetically)

    1. I seem to remember the team character vs comics had mentioned that Dheu was Ashliii’s father (pic is under comic The Chain Part XV, current post date April 6, 2015; but I don’t recall where talk about how the characters were connected was).

      I quite enjoyed the new cast page as well (especially the new character outlines there), though a part of me is sad to learn that Tiny Atlas has an actual name, though I find the backstory amusing. Also I now want to see her eat her piece of birthday cake (I assume she cuts it over her head and drops the pieces in her mouth).

      1. I’m thinking it’s nothing more than Tarra using Kyle as her errand boy for the time being, with a promise of “do this and you’ll be rewarded”. The present is most likely actually from Tarra.

        1. I was thinking from Tarra’s apartment, but from him and not Tarra. Like if he befriended one of her worker bots and this is how he’s honoring his promise to help it escape.

        2. Lot of places to hide there. Plus I have to wonder if Kyle is showing up because Tarra is showing up.

  3. So GiGi seems to be GG (from D52) daughter.

    How many of the assassins were redheads?

    Was the dad at LoveCon?

    Is Ashliii a natural blonde?

      1. Or she’s actually much older than she looks. Since she’s just a half-sister, there’d be no way Ashliii would know for sure unless they’re very close, which I doubt. If Gigi is indeed one of Dheu’s offspring, which has been vaguely hinted at (note “Terms and Conditions, Part 6”, Aug. 20, 2016, last panel, post-it note on upper right), then knowing what we’ve seen of Dheu, any number of meta-physical things could be possible, especially if she’s his with one of the mage-squad Sexy Assassin Girl’s daughters.

      2. [Can’t edit, so I’ll add:] It’s entirely possible Gigi may be able to change her appearance, especially if she is indeed Dheu’s daughter (and if that’s true, Dheu must be able to do so as well–a woman would have to be kinkier than Cinnamon to want to “do Dheu” in the form in which we’ve seen him!). Unless Chris’s style has changed, she looks much more human in the above comic, IMHO, than she has in her previous appearances, where she looked almost alien, with larger-than-normal eyes, a much flatter nose, and a long slit for a mouth. Ellie even called her “Strange Girl” in “The Magnificent 7” (June 22,2017). If so, she theoretically could be hundreds of years old and still look like a teenager, and with her resources it wouldn’t be difficult to provide a false history and backstory.

        1. I think the nose/mouth thing is more a result of this being the first time we’re getting a good look at her from the side and staring at the camera all the time doing weird things to the perspective.

    1. Among the “Dad Likes Redheads” silhouettes, at the top left, there appears to be a hat similar to that which “Emoji Witch” is wearing in the top panel of “She Never Skips Ponytail Day” (Jan. 2, 2018). Since she’s a redhead, my Monopoly money’s on her being in that cast section. (Granted, Dheu himself wears a hat similar to that, but the rest of the silhouette holding the hat doesn’t seem like it would be him to me.) We also see a couple apparently female figures holding pistols, so I’m betting there’s more than one other Sexy Assassin Girl on there, too.

  4. Does the color of the silhouettes on the “dad likes redheads” indicate full sisterhood instead of half sisterhood?

    1. With some of those shapes it may be possible that same colors are same individual. They do seem a bit irregular.

    2. I think the shading is nothing more than showing enough contrast to differentiate the silhouettes. I wouldn’t count on the entirety of the new cast panel being the “Dad Likes Redheads” theme; the caption is way off to the far left, so that may just pertain to that particular sub-group of individuals. Note the sister cast panel above it, where each sister has her own caption. The new cast panel could be set up in a similar manner.

  5. I’m going to enjoy meeting each and every one of ‘Dad Loves Redheads’ little hellions. The man sure get’s around.

  6. Hmmm, the “lots of random people invited” might make it easier for Tarra to convince herself that Blind Guy isn’t attending as Ellie’s date or just make for confusion/hijinks as it’s realized.

    1. I have trouble thinking David would knowingly attend Pumpkin’s party, for reasons:
      •He knows Tarra is Ellie’s and Pumpkin’s sister, is deliberately keeping that fact from Ellie (“The Wedge”: http://shotgunshuffle.com/comic/the-wedge/ ) , and it’s apparent he really doesn’t care to cross paths with Tarra (although that would make me wonder why he’d want to get into a relationship with Tarra’s sister in the first place); so he should know it would be a VERY volatile situation to show up there, especially as Ellie’s date, with the strong possibility of Tarra also being there, obsessed as she is with David. That’s just a powderkeg waiting for a match…
      •I would think that as a teacher, he’d know it would cramp Pumpkin’s style for any teacher to show up at a party for a student, particularly since Pumpkin didn’t really seem to care for him any more than any of her other teachers.

      1. Well, good news? for him. After Tarra got curb stomped yesterday, (Yes, yesterday, and Lovefest was the night before that. We are moving at Dumbing Of Age speeds, here.) she miiiiight not be in any shape to attend.

        So, yeah.

        1. I’d been going by the comment of the Royal Buckinghams picture being described as Pumpkin’s birthday party to assume that all the people pictured would be attending.

          Granted, it’s now obvious that it’s not all the people attending, so possibly it wasn’t intended that way. That’s where I was getting Blind Guy showing up here.

        2. The comment I remember about that “Royal Buckinghams” pic is that cousin Cami (Camomile) was scheduled to be officially introduced to us at this party. She had to be explained beforehand for that picture and her appearances on Chris’s deviantArt page.
          Comment section quote from Chris Rusche, Oct. 17, 2014 (“DKPFX”, same day):
          “That’s their cousin, Cami (Camomile.) Chapter 5 starts with Pumpkin’s 16th birthday, so the sisters rejoin to designate/vote on Pumpkin as “The _____ One” and hopefully never spend forced-time with each other again. As a homage to TRT movie, Cami is the one who really really wants to be part of the immediate family.”
          Bear in mind that comment was made 4-1/2 years ago, and obviously Chris reserves the right to change his mind.

    1. I like to picture Panthro from Thunder Cats wailing on drums, and Tigra laying down some sick guitar riffs, chetara on bass, willy kit and kat, on keyboards, and Lion-O roaring out vocals. (although mumra on vocals could be fuckin killer..) basically the thundercats formed Pantera in my head cannon.

        1. holly shit, that is awesome!! I actually really liked the 2011 Reboot and was very unhappy that it was not renewed (as I was with the Heman reboot around the same time.)

  7. Mmmkay. Well, I stand corrected on the Gigi thing.
    There’s a few redheads in this group picture (“Assassin Girls Inc.,” http://shotgunshuffle.com/comic/assassin-girls-inc/ ). Wouldn’t surprise me if some were to appear in the new cast section. I at first thought that the hat in the upper left-hand corner was Dheu’s, but it could just as easily belong to “Emoji Witch”, for that matter: http://shotgunshuffle.com/comic/she-never-skips-ponytail-day/
    Gonna be interesting to see how this cast page fills out, and who knows/is related to whom. ;-)

    1. Well, I mean, he brought a present. He’s being polite. Pumpkin needs to chill out. He might not even be a rando invited by her mom. He might have been invited by Tarra.

      Kyle has that weird unique vibe of super expendable and yet totally invulnerable. I predict he will survive to the end of the comic despite having no special powers or skills.

        1. Henchman 21:
          Listen dude, don’t get cozy with us. You’re the guy who doesn’t come back.

          Henchman 24:
          Yeah, some guy who just shows up that nobody’s ever seen before!

          Henchman 21:
          And he’s all professional- Yeah, dude, you’re a goner.

          Henchman 24:
          (putting his arm around Henchman #1’s shoulders) Let me tell you a story about a little henchman named Speedy (or Kyle, in this case) …

          Venture Brothers ftw

  8. Well I’m calling it now but a lot of people we have seen before who were all trying to kill each other will be at this party.

    The only thing that will stop them all from having a battle royal is the death stare that the mom will have. Summer the Serious could call for the Brobdingnagian God Revolver and one look from the mom and it will return itself back to the astral plane that it came from. Why you ask, because nothing is going to ruin Pumpkin sweet 16 party

  9. Ideally (for him) Kyle will be that one guy on the back alternatively munching on popcorn and recording everything to youtube. Anything else and he’s either a trigger or a blast shield.

  10. One for the “Make Of It What You Will” department…
    While doing yet another archive crawl, I can’t help but notice how the hairstyles and hair color are very similar between Ashliii and Loose Cannon, of all people. Could just be coincidence, or Chris toying with us, but the similarity is there. I’m reeeeeally not seeing Loose Cannon as a mom type, but that doesn’t rule out some other kind of nutcase relative (aunt or cousin).
    Still, I wouldn’t be the least surprised if she shows up in the new cast section.

    1. While I wouldn’t call Loose Cannon “the mom type” she is conceivably the “passed out for 9+ months” type so might not realize it.

      However, I can’t see Ashliii as her daughter anyway, because I can’t believe any child delivered from Loose Cannon not being hideously brain damaged. I suppose that still leaves egg donor as a possibility, though.

      1. Or, as I’d speculated, crazy aunt/cousin. Or even an older half-sister Ashliii may not know about… yet; but this time, same mom/different dads.
        I’m picking out a silhouette that looks like Loose Cannon’s trademark four-paneled super-cannon thingy in the lower right-hand corner of the new cast section, adding fuel to my idea that she’s on that panel somewhere.

        1. I can see Loose Cannon being married now, even though she’s crazy. To a guy equally as crazy.

          Named Head Cannon.

  11. Dad likes redheads? He’s clearly got nice taste because so do I and its good to know he’s helped father more.

    1. Another appearance was in “Cinnavictims” (Oct. 4, 2013); holding a bucket of tickets at the “Chuck-E-Cheese” kind of place where Cinnamon cheats unsuspecting boys out of their ticket points while pretending to work.

  12. ….
    I would listen the shit out of Thunder Cats themed Metal.
    Shit, one of my favorite bands is Transformers themed Rap.

  13. According to the cast page “if she [Ashliii] could transplant her hand with a phone, she totally would.” She must be dumb because that is a really really bad idea!

    Six months down the line a new model gets released but then she needs a new surgery to remove the old phone and transplant the new model. If she doesn’t she’s outdated within a couple years. She’s better off keeping it a bit less coupled to her other body parts.
    I’m thinking a fair compromise would be to glue the phone to the palm of a glove which is then tied at her wrist with a blind knot. Come new model, cut the knot and buy a new glove.

  14. Chris, life comes first!

    If you are rushing around and screw up yourself the comics will stop, so (at least for me) if you need to slow down and take care of none comic things, do so. Please just you or Claire keep us informed on a regular basis so we don’t panic and think you are dead.

  15. Chris, you and your family come first. You write and draw a good comic. Your true fans will be patient enough to understand what you’re going through right now, and we’ll still be here for you when your life is less hectic. Take care and God bless.

  16. This has proven to be an “off” summer for a lot of web strips. So, don’t feel out of place. Even Wapsi Square is down, due to similar stuff. Then there’s PvP, WereGeek, the newly returned Real Life, etc.

    1. Part of it is that several webcomic authors are in their 30’s to 50’s, and there’s so many people that have older loved ones and families that generate a lot of IRL type situations. You mentioned PvP. Scott Kurtz’s dad is suffering from senility so bad that he had to come live with Scott, which means Scott has his hands full. Everyone’s got something going on right now.

    2. @jeffepp: Summer does seem to be the obligatory “get $#!t done” time of year, especially for those who own property that needs constant upkeep.
      As for those who have family members with health issues, like Scott Kurtz, for instance, my heart does indeed go out to them. I know what it’s like to take care of an elderly parent and slowly watch them deteriorate over the years… few things can be as heartbreaking. My own father has been gone for nearly ten years now and there are still occasional times I come to tears thinking about everything that had transpired. Enjoy the few moments you have with your loved ones… they are fleeting. And document everything you can. Go through old photographs with your parents and write down everyone and everything they can identify. Everytime they reminisce about something, write it down or record it. It’s too late when they’re gone. Take it from someone who regrets not doing so.

    1. I would invest it in Pumpkin’s wig and cosplay business, but I’m not a spambot and I don’t know if they’re legally allowed to be business associates to a established company.

    1. Never mind that our dear fellow commenter has a different avatar in each incarnation. This one’s not even getting a whiff of the inner seal of a Pringles can in the welcome basket.

  17. I briefly forgot who Kyle was and thought he was one of those “facebook suggestions” that friended her and now he’s showed up with no idea who she is either. But he has to show up with a gift because despite not remembering her he is apparently a close enough friend that she’d invite him to her birthday party.

  18. It’s weirding me out that she isn’t staring at the camera.

    Er, fourth wall.


    Look, it’s weird, okay?

  19. I had a suspicion about Kyle’s shirt, and I was right about it being a parody of a Pantera album cover, specifically “Cowboys From Hell”, but I had to do a discography search.

    1. Ah, yes, the username consisting of a first name and three letters of a surname, a tactic much favoured among spambots. I mod on another site, and names like chernyobladdict and topmenowobscuresecondarycharacter are invariably good netizens. Armandojoh, MarlaineWas, charlessom and the like are almost invariably bots. Anyway, dear charlessom, are we talking about Tired Guy’s income stream or David’s? No?

  20. Thanks for the update, Chris. Glad things are starting to come together for you and your combined family. Hope they continue to do so. Best wishes to all of you!

    1. Oh, good! We ARE summoning Cthulhu today! Boy, I was getting sick of life.


      1. Oh boy! Summoning Eldritch horrors is-
        (His own avatar whispers in his ear) …she what?
        Oh of course she did -_-…
        Sorry everyone..(ugh, This is what I get for dealing with demons)

        1. Hey, I had to have inspiration for my OC’s from somewhere, so I might have cracked open a Necromancy website and looked up what a Drider was.
          Mistakes were made.

  21. Has anyone even noticed yet, for three (THREE!) panels, Ashliii does not not have her eyes glued to her phone, and in fact, her phone hand is lowered to her side. She is actually engaged in this conversation.
    Pumpliii confirmed?

    1. Oh, I’m sorry! Today’s secret word is “aardvark.” “Aardvark.” Well, thank you for playing; we have some lovely parting gifts backstage.

    1. Your concern is hardly misplaced. Even the last promised update is nearly a week overdue.

      This still isn’t as bad as it once was; we used to go a couple months with complete silence.

      1. What’s prompting the spambots? Never saw them before in previous comics’ comments. Is this something that’s always happened, with Chris having to go through the comments section and remove them himself, or is this a new thing?

        1. Links to your site, on other sites, elevates your search ranking. The more legitimate the sites doing the linking, the better the ranking. So, any legitimate site, like this one, tends to become a target for these spammers. And, right now, with the sites maintainers away for a bit, the ones that would normally get squashed, aren’t. So, the spammers add more.

          When the cats get back, the mice is fricassee.

        2. Oof. Search Engine Optimization. Three of the worst words ever linked together to make a buzz-phrase. It’s kind of nonsense anyway; most people don’t look past the first 10 results on any Google search anyway, and for almost any term, your chances of landing there are almost nonexistent. Yet still, you have websites all over chasing keywords and phrases and tags like it’s holy writ.

  22. Some of this is just not cricket! Speaking of crickets, here’s us waiting for the page. But, Chris has a full plate, and hopefully a full heart too, now.

  23. So much anticipation of chaos, but remember, the Mother of The Seven is present. Hard to imagine her allowing Chaos. She only creates it by sending The Seven Sisters out on missions.

  24. This is probably an unpopular opinion and I hope I’m not going to sound like a jerk, but I’d honestly rather Chris tell us the next comic will be up in an unspecified amount of time. He’s busy with his life, lots going on, kiddos, and a wonderful partner, I totally get it. I also understand that he values his readers as well. It is however, extremely disheartening to check back every day after the new page was said to arrive to meet with silence. We have no right to his personal details and his priorities are completely understandable. I’m honestly happy to wait however long it takes because this is a damn good comic. I’m just really weary of seeing updates promising when the page will be up with no follow through.

    1. Yep. It looks like an odd quirk in a talented artist’s makeup. We’re sorely tempted to see the endless succession of broken protestations followed by cringe-worthy apologies and floods of exculpatory TMI as a breach of trust with his audience. He clearly doesn’t get that. Great strip, wonderful art, weird disconnect on what promises mean.

      1. I agree to a certain extent, but I’m still willing to withhold any judgement. We really don’t know all the details of what’s going on with him right now other than what he’s told us. I think that if something really dire has happened, he has a couple other people on the inside who can let us know. I’m just going to give Chris the benefit of the doubt, and assume that life has him by the nuggies right now and there’s very little he can do about it.

        1. Yep; we loyalists always give the benefit of a doubt; it’s the perennial pattern:
          Promise, slippage, silence, return, apologies, TMI, wonderful cartoon art and story.
          Rinse, repeat. No value or moral judgments here; just observation.

    2. That’s how it used to be. Just take a look at the archive dates.

      We weren’t happy about that course of action either because we had no idea whether Chris was even still alive, let alone if he’d just shut things down and we were waiting for Godot and Quinn to get together.

      1. I’m not trying to argue with you, but I would rather see an update advising that he’ll get to it after everything is straightened out in his life, however long that may take. I’ve been here almost since the begining myself, I’m not trying to seem unpleasant. More often than not, Chris sets a date for some sort of update and doesn’t follow through. I just don’t think setting an actual time is necessary. He’s great, this webcomic is great. I’ll still be here waiting, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for me (or anyone) to be let down due to lack of follow through.

        1. Concur. In the business world, and specifically in the world of Japanese anime, this behavior would get you branded as an eccentric, with warning blinkers flashing. Web comix are still something of a benign frontier territory. But the fences, they are a-comin’..

        2. (Also to “Oh Well…”) Noted. IIRC, his significant other (Claire?) has access to this site and also posts on Discord; she could also spare a moment or two to let us know what’s going on, if nothing else.
          You would think that he’d know that this behavior might cost him some Patreon patronage? Kinda hard to justify even the $10 tier when nothing shows up on Patreon for over a month… you’d think that with all the computer tech, putting aside even 15-30 minutes out of a day would get a comic or two out in a month. Granted, I’m not an artist, but I would think an artist with his talent should be able to crank stuff out at a reasonable rate even with major life issues going on, just by spending a few minutes a day on it. Not to mention building up a buffer for the times when life seriously kicks a person in the ‘nads… just my two złotys worth…

        3. Ask, and ye shall receive… Thanks for the new comic and for keeping us informed of your trials, Chris. I had no idea your behind-the-scenes situation with your kids was that harrowing. Sheds a whole new light on things. Prayers that the situation will get better for you, Claire and your children.

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