#481 – looks pretty stupid

August 19th, 2011

#481 – looks pretty stupid

Pretty dumb, huh? You might recognize the Mile-High Club and the Strong Female Characters from the work of fellow cartoonists Carly Monardo and Kate Beaton. We created these characters in a moment of freshness, and they’ve since revolutionized the entertainment world on its ass.

Reminder: I’m doing a book signing party at Desert Island next Thursday, August 25 in Brooklyn. Info here.


Discussion (50)¬

  1. Oliver says:


  2. matt w says:

    Sean should probably step back from the yellow line a bit.

  3. Jesssss says:

    I knew I recognized those strong female characters

  4. Leo says:

    Hark A Vagrant & Octopus Pie. Two of my favorite webcomics. You guys should collaborate more.

  5. Honey says:

    Phew, I hadn't seen Sean in a while now.
    I love that poster though. Strong women and such :)
    Keep up the great work!

  6. Robert says:

    I like the slime dripping down the walls in Panels 3 and 4. Very atmospheric.

  7. Andrew says:

    Ah, Will, je t'aime. And I'll echo your request– Hannah, can you let Will kill Sean? Thanks.

  8. nalem says:

    All I'm thinking reading the last two panels is: 'SEAN, GET ON THE TRAIN BEFORE THE DOORS SHUT."

  9. Anonymous says:

    Strong Female Characters the Movie! Featuring curvy and independent plot lines!

  10. Nelg says:

    I'm not sure who you were mocking, Sean or Will and Hanna? Because I think Sean is right ._.

    • Taber says:

      It is pretty funny, since "I'm so smart, commercials don't work on me despite costing companies millions of dollars that they wouldn't spend if the commercials didn't work." is pretty obnoxious, but all the context all points to Sean being in the wrong. And to be fair, he is pretty smug about it.

      • Chet says:

        Companies don't really make commercials to appeal to people who don't want something, do they? I thought they made them to appeal to people who do want something, but are unaware of it, or people who are undecided about wanting a thing due to lack of information.

        • Katie says:

          EXACTLY this. Though there's also the "I didn't think I wanted this but you know what, this ad makes it look really cool!" demographic, that's just good luck for the company, not what advertisers are truly hoping for.

      • Fady says:

        Just because something costs millions of dollars doesn't mean it is effective.

        Sometimes an ad is just… stupid. It wasn't trying to be stupid on purpose. It wasn't trying to catch you out by being so stupid that it makes people talk about it through its stupidity and be effective in a roundabout way. Sometimes a stupid ad is just so incredibly stupid and it will simply fail to convince you to consume whatever is being advertised. Sometimes a stupid ad will actually turn you off from the product.

        • Taber says:

          Didn't mean to imply that every single ad campaign was necessarily successful. But in most discussions about advertising, someone will insist that ads don't work on them, and none of their decisions are effected by advertising. Since advertising in general has to work, or else companies would have stopped pouring money down that hole a long time ago.

          Though I wouldn't really write off stupid advertisements as less effective. Advertising doesn't really work by logical argument. It is all emotional appeals and subconscious crap. For example, if you've read the book Buyology, they did a study about the effectiveness of Coca Cola and Ford's advertising in American Idol. Coke didn't run traditional ads, but paid American Idol to make their set red and white and have a lot of swooshes. Ford bought ads. Coke did a lot better at getting watchers to remember their product.

        • Leith says:

          Time to put my Major to work! The great thing about advertising expenditure is, you can write it up as a capital gain, because it is investment in your intellectual property! Intellectual property is worth what the market will pay for it, but if you haven’t tested its value on the market yet you can just claim it’s worth what you paid for it.

          In other words, as long as you never do any reality checking, you can claim that each dollar spent on brand development is a dollar gained in brand value!

          I sincerely hope intellectual property market mechanics have improved since I was in university, but can’t think of any stakeholders who would want them to.

    • Shibby says:

      Well, Sean is being pretty smug and Hanna isn't really agreeing with him as much as ending the "debate" by agreeing with him. It's a tactic we use in our own circle of friends for our resident know-it-all. You can be right, but still be an ass about it.

  11. Sean says:

    I was going to post a comment on how I thought the alt-text was lazy, until I realized that I would be doing exactly what you wanted me to. The ensuing aneurism knocked out two-thirds of my junior high education.

  12. scott hall says:


  13. Megan says:

    I love Strong Female Characters. Those bitches are rad.


    • Andrew R. says:

      WOo! I just got my book too! =D
      (only took 7 days to get to T.O.-Canada, awesome!)

      I had actually forgotten I'd signed up for it at TCAF, 'cause it's been over 3 months, and I'm a patient Canadian. BUt Wow! what a surprise pick-me-up to find in my mail!

  14. Damien Walder says:

    Spotted the Beaton "film" poster and got very excited at the idea of an animated feature, but then realized it will have to remain a wonderful fiction. It's like mind-splicing Chuck Avery with Germaine Greer – can't happen, but the idea is powerful.
    What a great episode of Hark! An Octopus Pie!

  15. MerchManDan says:

    I was going to comment on Will screaming "LET ME KILL HIM" as he enters the subway car, but then realized that likely isn't a rare occurence. Either for Will, or for the subway.
    Also: There seems to be a problem with the website, Meredith: Nearly the entire background is black, and I had to highlight the comments to read them. The links & ads seem to have been moved around, too.

  16. Louis says:

    Dude, I had a conversation EXACTLY like this a few days ago. Except we were talking about those new Slim Jim commercials…Which are stupid and promote gender stereotypes.

    I remember "strong female characters", that was some funny stuff.

  17. Dell says:

    I like how you confined Will's speech bubble to inside the train to illustrate where he's at when he says it. Part of the text is missing just like how you would only hear part of his sentence as he's walking away.

    Sometimes movies are so ridiculously stupid you have to watch them. Since the beginning of society people have invested in entertainment that exists solely for novelty value. I wouldn't be surprised if Hanna ended up seeing the movie herself, after reading of her short-lived infatuation with the Shaggs in Who Are Parents. Or maybe she sticks strictly to the eclectic.

  18. seann says:

    Sean, Sean, Sean. Is this how you make money now? Standing around ironic subway ads telling people how dumb they are to create a 'buzz'. You used to be so cool. #noyoudidnt

  19. alec says:

    Hannah, wise beyond her years, knows the only way to get out of That Goddamn Monologue by Really Smug About Rudimentary Marketing Knowledge Guy, besides graduating high school.

    Hitting Puget Sean will only squeeze more opinions about Freudian imagery and soap flakes out of him, however satisfying it would be.

  20. Pierrot says:

    I would very much like to own that button down Sean is sporting, but he can keep his opinions to himself…

  21. Squeamish says:

    Oh, Sean. That arts degree was just wasted on you, wasn't it?

  22. Steel Disqueboll says:

    Jeez, why is Will being such a dick?

  23. jbo says:

    I am lmfao at the folks hating on the Sean character, who may be a smug db – but also happens to be correct. Some commentors seem to think WIll is the "good guy" because the character is supposed to be handsome and a hip black market job and inner pathos and shit – but he's spent most of his life (at least the part of it that we've seen) fronting – angry and afraid and blaming others for his own cowardice. I hope he grows up to be a better human (there have been signs of that aplenty), but right now he's still just another twentysomething bastard.

    • granulac says:

      yeah, Will isn't necessarily meant to be right either. Glad people are noticing!

    • Andrew says:

      The exact characteristics you highlight are exactly what makes Will a great character, though, and why I'd side with him over someone like Sean in a heartbeat. Then again I don't think Sean is really meant to be anything more than a cypher anyways (at least most of the time), so if Will killed him the Octopus Pie world would keep turning and nobody would miss a beat.

      Will on the other hand is a strong dynamic character and showcases the comic's strength in terms of fleshing out and developing members of its cast. Of course he's not perfect. That's why he's so revered by readership (I'd wager, at least, since I can only really honestly speak to why I like him). He's complex, he grows, he changes (maybe more than any other non-Eve in the whole cast)…sure, he's kind of flipping out over something not worth flipping out over, but that's part of why I like him. You have to take the bad with the good.

      It's not a question of Will being right where Sean is wrong (he's not, he's just being pedantic).

  24. Michael says:

    Sean is clearly a shadow marketer. Maybe I'm paranoid, but I think I see shadow marketing all the time. Or maybe there is really no such thing, and advertising is self perpetuating, which I think might be what this comic is touching upon.

  25. suddenlyflash says:

    Am I real? Does Nike or Puma validate me? Does Pepsi endorse me? Could I be making money off my mental vacancy by renting out space to over stressed academics who need space to store their trivial thoughts on spagghetti-os? Am I a space man?

  26. Bryy says:

    Everything Will says in anger is just so revealing about his "true" personality. I love it.

  27. squawki says:

    Hannah's face at the panel bottom left. WIN!

  28. Rob says:

    I wonder what Eve and Hannah will be doing during the Hurricane? Will they evac or say fuck old Bloomy and ride it out .

  29. Jay says:

    Reverse psyche, huh? Kind of makes him look smart for being dumb, don't you know?