#401 – karaoke

Good news! Today is my brother and sister Joe & Jackie's birthday! They're twins and 22 years old and I love 'em like crazy. Have a good one, lil' guys. New Yorkers, did you know I'll be at New York Comic Con on October 8-11? I totally will! With books, prints, stickers, glassware, original pages and maybe even something brand new. Come see me at the Dumbrella table - booth 2217.

96 thoughts on “#401 – karaoke

  1. Oh, this is definitely something….

  2. why mer, why do you torture us like this 🙁

    make us wait 2 extra days and then no dialogue 🙁

    1. It definitely didn't need the dialogue. Mer could write a whole story without any words – she's an animator!

  3. oh god what were they saying WHAT WERE THEY SAYING

  4. Possibility number 1) I'm still in love with you, Eve (or probably "into you")

    Possibility number 2) I have only a week left to live (caught the black plague in that dumpster)

    Possibility number 3) I'm totally in love with Larry (yes, you are)

    Possibility number 4) Please join my harem (Will, you ass)

    Possibility number 5) I've decided to break the fourth wall and live with capitainejanvier (it's totally number 5)

    1. I'm going to go for the wildcard and say it's 6) None of the above.

  5. Someone called it in the last comment thread… oh dear. Looks like Will's ending the friendship 'cause it's getting in the way of his pretend boner for Marigold.

    1. People who end friendships over this stuff are lamers.

      1. Had Will shown even a smidgeon of genuine commitment to Mari, he'd be much less lame for ending the friendship… sometimes you gotta have priorities. But no, I'm with ya, he's being a butthead.

    2. This is so aptly put.

      My guess? Not wanting to be a diet version of flakey fakey Larry, Will is probably doing what he thinks is the right thing. Which is not the right thing at all- clearly the right thing would be to ditch Marigold and get back with Eve. Hurr durr. C'mon bucko. Maybe this is going to let Eve see that she still has feelings for Will? Something? Anyone? Bueller?

      1. Technically, wouldn't the right thing to be to stay with marigold? She needs to be loved too, right? His recognition of, and sacrifice for marigold's show greater self control and responsibility than just ditching your girl for someone who will probably be happy with someone else.

        1. I think that staying with Marigold would have been the right thing if what we've seen of their relationship so far didn't lead me to believe that he was staying with her for the sake of comfort and avoiding big scary changes. Remember his "shining endorsement" about the way things are? It *is* a step towards being less flaky by making a sacrifice but I just think that relationship is doomed anyway. My money is still on him ending up with Eve after a tumultuous internal struggle and big fat dose of maturity >:)

        2. Let's high-five.

        3. Staying with someone out of responsibility sounds like a horrible thing to do. If you don't love someone or truly want to be with them, to the point where you show interest in other people, probably means you need to end it. At least that's how I see it. Otherwise it sounds like staying with someone out of obligation and pity and that's horrible.

  6. oh man i really really really like this page a lot. it is maddening!

  7. I have a twin brother and sister too! They're 20, though.

    Also I really like the set up of this page, with the people passing by Will and Eve!

  8. SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD! … i've been inclined oh oh oh…

    love eve in the last panel, lol.

  9. I love the silent storytelling! The kid in panel 5 reminds me of Young Neil from Scott Pilgrim.

  10. Been there, totally made that face Eve is making in the last panel.

  11. Since I'm practically incapable of dwelling into such deep emotional/social turmoil, I'll just add that Eve's face in 3rd panel is… something. No matter how many times I look at it, it makes me smile.

    Also, poor Eve. When people appear to relieve the audience from seeing your misery, it surely is a bad sign. =/

  12. Woah, I thought the obvious was he told her that he likes Aimee and he isn't sure what to do about Marigold. I just can't imagine Eve so easily dealing with him saying he loves her/likes her/whatever. She gets so panicky when things get emotional–I don't think she could simply touch his shoulder and walk away with no yelling/running/etc.

    1. Then again, you can't see her face after a few panels, and the one she pulls at the end doesn't look like dealing easily… to me.

  13. I wish I had a friend like Hanna. I've played her part one too many times.

    I also like Eve's third panel face. Looks like she still hadn't let go of the "Came to challenge this?" thing. Oh, Eve.

    1. I, too, have been Hanna enough times. Where's MY ridiculously, relentlessly upbeat friend?

  14. Well, that didn't go as I had hoped. ):

  15. Oh no! A sad face! The saddest face!

    1. Hahahaha YES!

    2. XD Gunnerkrigg! *high five*


  16. 3 things:

    1)I love Eve's face in panel three. I've been there, where you're drunk and feelin' awesome, but then…bam!

    2)I'm so happy you'll be at NYCC. I was going to order the book and through the website, but now that I know you'll be there I don't have to worry about it getting lost or damaged in the mail and I'll bribe you so you can draw both Eve and Hanna in my book.

    3)The comic con dates are October 8-10. Again, I can't wait to high five you and hand my money over to you.

  17. Poor Eve. Honest to a fault.

  18. wtf, way to kick her when you know she's been down will, jesus!

  19. Oh maaaan what are they saaaying! I have a guess: something to do with Aimee and/or Marigold. Can't wait to find out. 8D

  20. bryy, I wouldn't necessarily say ending a friendship with a girl you're still attracted to is a bad thing. It depends on the reason and the tact used to do so.

  21. OR MAYBE Miss Gran doesn't know what to do with the storyline and is looking for options in the comments. Just kidding.


    Trying to decipher the facial expressions and put them into context drives me mad.

  22. Excellent storytelling.

    Also, I LOVE HANNA.

    That is all.

  23. Excellent drama, excellent characterization… dunno about excellent storytelling. The emotions are wonderfully expressed, but frankly I've no idea what's going on. "storytelling" pretty clearly means /telling/ a /story/, and it's just not told here. Meaning and impact are conveyed impactfully(?) at the cost of knowing actual events.

    1. I think I'd have to disagree. It's not as clear as it could be, but I think that's intentional.

      The storytelling device is called the "unreveal" (at least on TVtropes), where the audience expects something dramatic or important to be shown, but instead, it's just barely cut off, obscured, etc. This makes the audience want to know what it is all the more.

      I think that storytelling should be judged in respect to the story as a whole, or at least in respect to the current arc as a whole. Wait and see where this goes.

      1. It's telling a story, but the story is from Hanna's perspective.

    2. I think it is difficult to tell good storytelling one page at a time, spread out over months and months. I think this particular plot device is genius, and as the post above indicated — maddening! But, getting such an emotional response from the readers means that she has successful storytelling, in my opinion. Otherwise we wouldn't all be so invested in the characters and itching to know what's happening out there.

    3. I disagree – good storytelling when what's going on is clear and whatevs, but I read (and love) Octopus Pie because it tells it like real life…with some surreal/hyperbolic bits thrown in for laughs (because while the sock puppet cafe probably doesn't exist, you can totally imagine it in New York. Or the girl who keeps a giraffe. Or Victor).

      And real life is pretty much always this vague and hard-to-decipher. Of course you don't know what's going on – neither do the characters!

  24. I'd say the best part about this is the way you blended the crowd through those panels. Starting alone, trouble hits the crowd gets thicker and by the end it almost seems as if Eve blends into the crowd leaving Will to be alone. Such a great set of panels and yet another reason why i continue to read this excellent comic!

  25. Way to not care, Hanna.

    1. Shush your mouth. Hanna did the right thing.

    2. What? You are joking, right? Her frown in the next to last panel shows she cares. I'd say going straight after Eve with an 'I'm sorry' or 'You can tell me about it' would be a bad move.

    3. I remain firm on my rock-solid inhibitions.

  26. "I can't do the 'just friends' thing any more. I… You know."

    "……. then…. I guess we can't be friends."

    Looks just like I remember.

  27. I cant figure what the conversation is, but its good story telling.

    that said, panel 3 will is either

    "Eve, am I a good person"

    "Im moving to Vermont, I have to clear my head"


    "Do you think you can break up with Marigold for me?"

    none of those are believable tho.

  28. The only possible story line that makes sense (for me) is Will confessing his feelings (again), but Eve can't get over the drug dealer thing. And Park. It's the only thing that explains *that face* in the last panel.

    He's gone to her for dating advice before (imo, looking for her to tell him ~*~she still cares~*~) without her looking so … devastated.

  29. Wha? Am I the only one who thought he called her out so he could talk to her about Larry and his own direction in life, and how he didn't really know quite how to deal? If it's not that, I don't know. I love Eve and Will together but in the story right now (and the recent progression of events) it makes no sense for him to cut his relationship with her for any reason.

    1. I would have to agree if I didn't see Eve's face in the last panel.

  30. Rats. I don't understand this part.

  31. I'm with the confession of remaining feelings scenario too. It makes sense, after Will agonising over the last few panels about his issues with 'honesty'. It sounded like he was gearing up to open up about… something.

  32. While there are no speech bubbles to be found between Eve and Will, I'm pretty sure that this is the exact same conversation I had just a few days ago… body language seems to match up pretty well. Especially the "hand on shoulder while walking away", that's just soul crushing.

  33. It's a similar face to the one she made when she found out Park cheated the last time they were together…

    1. He cheated???? What?!!!

      1. Park cheated on Eve during their first relationship, not their second.

        1. Yeah, I caught that – but I obviously need to reread it because I never absorbed that information.

  34. I'd say it definitely has to do with Eve ("Duh," I'm sure). Her face in the last panel gives me the impression that she's emotionally involved in whatever Will told her. If it was just that Will liked Aimee or wanted to break up with Marigold, then today's strip could've ended at the 7th panel. I mean, Eve is a good friend and all, but I don't imagine that last panel face came from something completely platonic.

    The 6th panel is an awkward half-hug. 😀 j/k

    I don't imagine he's ending his friendship with Eve in order to focus on Marigold. If he wants to take time off from Eve, it would be for stability in his life as a whole. A lot of this arc has been Will becoming more aware of all of the dodging he's doing in life in order to avoid having to take the risk of living honestly (his job and love life). From the time he originally met Eve, I think he started heading in this direction — he asked to be introduced to Eve, who he felt was the "last sane person" in Brooklyn. He met someone who changed his perspective, and really, I don't believe there are any other characters that would give Will the blunt reality, that his life is full of deceit. Hanna? Larry? Marigold? They're not the type of company that would give Will a realistic perspective. Marigold in particular…. I haven't paid too much attention to her in general, but her pressuring Will in this arc (beard, moving in with her) will definitely not give Will the perspective that Eve gives him.

    So what does all of this add up to? If Will is taking a break from being around Eve, then it's to keep his life together; not just romantically… but everything, so he can keep living as he's been living without guilt. This is assuming his guilt will go away once Eve does.

    Conversely, if Will is confessing his feelings for Eve, then he's willing to make a change in his lifestyle altogether. There's a lot of shit in the way, though… Eve/Park, Will/Marigold, living situations, job situation, all of Will's friends… he'll have to start fresh and alone (I don't imagine Eve is ready to jump into a supportive relationship with him). I think this could mean that panel 6 has Eve and Will holding hands (look where Will's eye is looking).

    This arc helped me realize how Eve's character really drives the story. Without Eve's character and perspective, I feel like the entire comic could lose focus. Good stuff. 🙂

    1. ….I think you won the prize on this strip. Great insights, a lot I hadn't even considered.

    2. Huh. I kinda thought he was staring at her tit-ays.

    3. Man, I wanna do karaoke now.

  35. hanna is so dang good at noticing everything.

  36. actionshakespeare

    joining the "have twin bro and sis too" parade

  37. I like people like Hanna. They act like they have no clue what-so-ever and are complete air heads but really they soak everything up like a sponge and when the time is right they help out a friend.

  38. "Eve we have to talk"

    Will: "last days things have happened – made me think – I should not be fake – I should stop being with Marigold"

    *Eve's heart starts racing*

    Will: "I should be true to my feelings, notice the other people around me, right some things wrong from the past"

    Eve: "Yes..?" (with lotsa hope)

    Will: "I saw Aimee again and the way that made me feel really made me realize I might want to be with someone else, I want to give it a shot her"

    *Eve hearts drops in stomach*

    Eve: *hand on shoulder* "yeah I can see how that's difficult/ how you are confused / good luck friend"

    *Eve acts nonchalant*

    *Eve goes inside heart broken*

    Huh?! Why not?!

    1. I think you nailed it (almost too much!), Tessa. But Mer will no doubt fill us in…

  39. doesn't anyone else think he's just reminding her that he's with someone else and not about to hit on her? I mean, she had that rape face going on last strip and was so relieved to see him, I was expecting her to go after him again, he just seems to be letting her down easy in advance…

    1. I think she was so relieved to see him because she's sick of Larry and how everyone else absolutely fawns over him and buys his shtick. And then there is that she seems to have been having kind of a bad/stressful time recently, and Will has really been the only one who has noticed or taken the time to ask her what's up.

      The "rape" face (ugh, really?), while douche-baggy, just seemed to be Eve being drunk, competitive, and a bit conceited about her video game playing skills. It really doesn't seem like she was hitting on him, or like she was going to "go for him" at all.

      1. wellto be fair the last time they had a tryst, she was drunk and desperate for distraction also. I wouldn't be surprised if she thought she had a chance again.

        1. oh, and I mean, whether she was going to go for him or not doesn't really matter if he is just "letting her down easy in advance." All that would matter is WILL thinking that she MIGHT be getting her hopes up, and wanting to make sure that doesn't happen. Whether or not she actually was going to doesn't exactly matter I think. Because if she was getting her hopes up, being told he's involved and doesn't want to lie about it (like he did to aimee) would be crushing. But (and this has happened to me before) if she was just excited to see a friend, with no overtly sexual intentions or expectations, and he told her anyway (just to be upfront and honest and safe, from Will's perspective) then that would also be sort of crushing, like, "really? you think I'm like that?" or even "don't flatter yourself." That's happened to me though, At a bar, a friend shows up that I used to like (though I never told him), and then he starts saying "Look I know you like me but I'm not into you like that." and it was both insulting, deflating, and really annoying (My reaction was "I DON'T EVEN LIKE YOU LIKE THAT EITHER GET OVER YOURSELF" lol). So I'm not exactly saying that eve was trying to get some, just that Will perceived the situation as possibly leading to that point later, and wanting to be upfront and truthful (not fake) unlike his colleague.

  40. Hanna's face in the first panel:


  41. W: Eve, I've got a confession. I've still got feelings for you. I don't think I should kid myself about that anymore. I understand if you don't feel the same, what with Park and all… so perhaps we shouldn't see each other for a while.

    E: … OK. I… guess I understand.

    H: So, guys? Karaoke?

  42. Tessa's interpretation seems most plausible, but somehow I have a feeling this is really related to Larry and his scam.

    1. ah, but the fakeness woes were triggered by seeing Aimee originally, so it does fit with the storyline. Larry and his fakey ways seem like they were introduced more to show Will how dishonest he's been/being. Also, isn't the current "scam" just the conman book? Nothing else has been hinted, afaik.

      1. I agree with Samdidliambo about Aimee triggering the fakeness woes, but I always think back to the second strip in the arc and Will's face after talking with Eve. Perhaps (and this is a bit of a stretch) Aimee was brought in to make Will think about his relationship with Marigold… and realize he wasn't being honest about his feelings for Eve.

  43. This one is a favorite of your strips. I like the silence. Simultaneously anxious to see what comes next, and very satisfied with the lovely artwork. Also, belated congrats on #400! I haven't been following for long, but I'm hooked. Looking forward to what I hope will be hundreds more.

  44. Man, whenever you do Hannah's face like it is in the first panel, I can't help seeing it as a little chirping beak, sort of like the o3o face. I kind of ruin the serious moments for myself by looking at it that way (but I just can't stop!)

    1. ahh, dammit, now I can't see it normally again either.

    2. You've ruined hanna's face FOR3v3r


  45. Reading the past few comics, I'm pretty sure it's that Will told Eve that he wants to come clean with Marigold and tell her that they kissed. It explains why the conversation is so short, why Eve gives him such half-hearted support, and is so bummed when she gets back inside. Plus it makes sense with Will's response to Aimee's accusation that he's dishonest.

    1. oh yeah.

      Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

    2. I think this one wins.

  46. btw

    Eve's Honest Look? So fantastic.

  47. The Story is heating up. Can't wait for the next.

    Hm, almost forgot. Off to NY comic con, just for saturday with a buddy.

    You should really make your characters have all different kinds of eyes moar often. They look funny sometimes, cute, or just plain out awesome.

  48. All this talk about ending friendships…

    I don't think that Eve would be giving him the supportive "hand-on-shoulder-goodbye" if it was something like that. It looks much more like Will gave Eve some kind of proposition and Eve is politely declining…

    Meredith will reveal all eventually ^_^, no sense speculating too much lol.

    Just Hana's curious/concerned look in the very first panel shows SOO much emotion in such a simple way. It baffles my mind…

  49. The more I look at this page – trying to figure out what the hell is going on – the more I want to cry. Although it's very… vague, you can definitely feel Eve and Will's emotions running off the page. It's all very… sad.

  50. Oh man, this somehow makes me feel really….


  51. This one's so Adrian Tomine! Right down to the white guy and the Asian girl. <3


    1. This has now been answered in comic #416 – cut it

  53. I also love your brother. And his cartoons. And your cartoons. CAN'T GET ENOUGH GRAN!

  54. That is some fucking amazing line work in panel 4.

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