#742 – the witch lives

141 thoughts on “#742 – the witch lives

  1. This is brilliant, beautifully done, brutal, and sad. Oh, Hannah.

  2. Stunning.

  3. I wish I could just montage through this.

  4. The spacing between panels really hits hard…

    … please excuse me I think my heart just shattered

  5. Part of me is really loving this journey that Hanna's been on. Even if it doesn't work for her, it's nice to see her make an effort to do some good in her life.

  6. So, heartbreak. And maybe depression?

    I guess I was having trouble relating to her behavior because I’m not the type to lash out when I’m in pain or bottle things up. I still don’t think this excuses her occasional nasty treatment of her friends – and she’s still got some serious issues re: her superiority complex – but it does put her into a more sympathetic perspective.

    The layout here is particularly interesting. I like how all the space between panels serves as an indication of time passing without being too overt. Hanna’s emotional journey is implied rather than explicitly shown or told.

    1. She doesn't seem to have been abusive to them or anything. It's not like it's her job to pretend to be happy just for other people.

  7. Wonderful. Just an incredible use of the webcomic as a format. A print comic just couldn't do this (though it'll be fun to see how it's done when this strip shows up in a later collection).

    1. Actually it could be with all the whitespace, just has to be formatted correctly.
      1-2 panels on each page

      1. Would work. Wouldn’t be the same.

        1. Very much this.

    2. this could totally be done in print. It would just take a lot of paper.

  8. Yeah, pretty much.

  9. oh wow… love the sense of time and silence in this one.

    i’m also really proud of Hanna. it’s freaking hard to get up every day and keep going when you feel like she does.

  10. Oof. This made me cry.

  11. So I know this is a bit silly given how far the story has progressed, but can someone explain to me why Hanna and Marek broke up? I thought he was moving far away, but he appears to still be in the city?


    1. They broke up because Hanna does not want kids, and Marek Definitely does. They waited until he graduated to make their final decision and both decided that they wanted different things.

    2. We haven't had an explicit answer, but most people have interpreted it to be about their conflicting plans for the future: Marek wants children, while Hanna very much does not.

      1. Ah thank you! That paints a much clearer picture.

  12. Gorgeous! I love the way you've used whitespace to give a visceral feel for the passage of time. It works sooo well.

    1. Admittedly, the first time I saw it, I thought my browser was having a hiccup, lol

      1. I totally was waiting for the other panels to load before I started reading it. Too much time spent on tumblr, I guess?

    2. She actually completely drew and illustrated like 12 full pages and then painstakingly deleted individual panels until only this masterwork remained. Comics is serious business.

      1. Indeed.

        Worthwhile things can be envisioned and embraced with hopes, dreams, and passion, but making them happen is serious business.

  13. And Hanna wonders every night, does he feel this terrible too? Does he also struggle to suppress the memory of her all day, when everything reminds him of her? Or is it just her? It doesn't matter. It's getting easier as the months drag on.

    1. And then she drunk-dials him. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

      1. That drunk dial panel is the single most accurate representation of one that I've ever seen.

  14. This is really great.

  15. WOW I loooooove the use of white space to represent the passing of time. SO GOOD. Holy moly.

  16. damn, this is awesome

  17. Gobsmacking use of the webcomics format & one hell of a stunner, story-wise. Achieving such a visceral impact without using a single word? Even more impressive. Stuff like this is one of the reasons I pimp out Octo-Pie to anyone who'll listen.

  18. Jesus how does anyone else even try to make comics when you are straight killing it with every page goddamn.

    1. There’s no limits to killin’ it. Given enough time and practice, we can all be killin it. Then the world is just.. full of…. okay, I can’t take this analogy any further or it breaks down.

    2. I really think Meredith is doing the best work in webcomics right now.

    3. Because we're a bunch of stubborn-ass motherfuckers. Brilliant work like this energizes us, inspires us to up our own games.

  19. Tears in my eyes. So relatable and so great. Jeez.

  20. Damn! This is so very good. The use of whitespace for pacing. The manic phone call. The "deleting contact".. This is soo good.

  21. Hannah: I'm glad you figured this out. The road is long and hard, but it's the only one that's passable.

    Meredith: Thanks for the reminder.

  22. "the witch lives"

    –Oh man. This whole page is wonderful, like others have said, but my breath caught a second time when I finally saw the title (after having seen all the panels already). I love the mirrors and slow echoes in your stories.

  23. Growing up and finding out who you are on your own is hard.

    She's going to be fine. She's going to be stronger.

  24. Marek… *heart breaks*

  25. One of the best webcomic strips I have ever seen.
    Seriously, just wow!

    You need a montage!

  26. oh god. too real. the most real. the worst real. it's perfect.

  27. Ah, Scott McCloud’s Infinite Canvas.

  28. I think Bill Watterson would be proud.

  29. I just can't find the words…jesus…
    Seeing your comics all of these years and then getting treasures like this, you are incredible.

    This is so real I wanna cry.

  30. Wow, this was beautiful. Some of your best work yet. I went through all the emotions, all of themmmm.

  31. I like that little downward spiral of getting smashed and drunk calling the ex, followed by the deletion of the contact. It's pretty much a modern day ritual.

  32. bomb-countdown contact deletion ticker: because a simple click&gone would be downright inappropriate in these devastating times

  33. As somebody going through exactly what Hanna is going through right now, this is painfully real and exactly what I needed to read.


  35. Man, do I ever wanna bean you with a brick right now. <3

    1. Guys, do you even Ignatz?

  36. Oof. I've been there, Hanna. I've been there.

  37. Scott McCloud would be proud of this one. Hooray for medium experimentation successfully executed!

    1. Hah I thought the same thing!

  38. This is so brilliant, and heartbreaking. This story arc has been incredibly told.

  39. So this is the first time I ever comment here. I have loved this webcomic since I have first discovered it and that was quite a way back. This is just so fantastic. I makes me feel big emotions and usually I am a very unemotional human being. Just awesome.

  40. Followed this comic since Marek was explaining duck. Never before posted. But good gods damnit, this is just incredible. Meredith you are incredible.

    Every page is amazing, making us care and love ever character, their faults, their triumphs, their ugly sides and their beauty.

  41. Aw, fuck, Hannah, what the fuck did you say to Eve. What did you say THAT CANNOT BE UNSAID, HANNAH.

    1. I figured she was just telling Eve about the catastrophic drunk dial to Marek that happened the night before. Must have been pretty bad to get Eve to make that face.

    2. I think she was recounting how she drunk-dialed Marek a few panels back. Looks like she had an extra-bad night and had to tell someone about it.

      1. This is exactly how I interpreted it- she was regaling Eve with the story of the drunk dial. Particularly the placement of that panel between the act itself and Hannah deleting Marek's number from her phone seems the most logical.

        Eve's face reminds me of mine whenever someone told me they had drunk dialed their ex. It's a mix of "ohgodpleasenotellmeyoudidn't" and "sheeeiiiit."

  42. Commodore Biggles

    Masterful storytelling. All those moments add up to a whole.

  43. So much experience conveyed with no text. This is one of my favorite pages of the whole comic.

  44. Oh my goodness. Just… oh, Hanna. This page is just beautiful and heartbreaking.

  45. Ahhhh. All the feels!

  46. Thank you for telling this story, and for telling it so well.

  47. 21,666 vertical pixels. There are no coincidences.

  48. God Damn Meredith Gran, you're a master of motionless conveyance of emotion, and each perfect panel places my heart into different spaces – it's art.

  49. That was beautiful! When you're healing, every little successful act, like cleaning a dish, feels like a struggle.

  50. Can someone please explain why Hanna and Marek broke up. I've been reading this comic for a very long time… I didn't miss a single one but i'm at a loss. There was a vague mention she did it cause he was moving away.. .but not enough explanation for my taste. Insight would be much appreciated.

    1. she was more invested into the relationship than him. he knew it had an expiry date, and surely must have warned her at the beginning of their relationship. it hurts hannah more because, probably, she thought he would forget about it. that he would change his mind. marek's always wanted to go back to poland, he's never really, completely fit in with americans. sometimes we say we don't understand why something happens, but sometimes we really don't want to understand, we just don't want it to happen at all.

      1. No I’m pretty sure it’s that they wanted different things. He wanted children, she doesn’t. That’s an incompatible relationship.

    2. I believe there was another reason mentioned earlier in that Marek wanted a family with children, while Hanna didn't.

    3. Marek wants kids, Hanna does not.

      recent explanation via Hanna's mom: http://www.octopuspie.com/2014-03-21/650-mom/
      older explanation via Hanna herself: http://www.octopuspie.com/2011-12-06/497-thats-a-

    4. Having children has been discussed in the story (he wanted them, she didn't). But, it's probably more than that.

    5. it was hinted at that the main crux of their breakup was that Marek wanted children and Hannah want the status quo to remain.

      There was also hints that they had different ideologies when Marek was participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement.

      It started with this storyline: http://www.octopuspie.com/2011-10-29/488-cute-ten

    6. As I recall- they wanted different things in the long run. Marek wanted a family one day, and if I remember correctly, Hannah doesn't.

    7. they broke up because they ultimately wanted fundamentally different lives: marek is somebody who wants a big family, with lots of kids, and hannah does not. it wasn't because of any kind of visa trouble with marek (which lots of people speculated about when it was first revealed they were breaking up). unfortunately, they just wanted different things.

    8. Hannah didn't want to have kids.

    9. There was also the fact that Marek wanted children, and Hannah really, really didn’t. It was discussed back when they initially broke up. I binge-read most of Octopus Pie when I first discovered it, and I tend to lose the finer details when I do that, so I can’t point you to exactly where that is said, but something rings true about it. Like I have a vague memory of her saying that she couldn’t possibly deal with kids. I think the short answer for why they broke up is “Several complicating factors”.

  51. I was almost in tears by the end of the page. I relate to Hanna so much right now.

  52. I love every page of this story arc but this one hit me hard and I've been reading and re-reading it for the past fifteen minutes. Beautiful.

  53. This is exactly what it feels like to have severe clinical depression. So much of your life seems to just switch off because your brain literally stops forming memories properly.

  54. This is definitely my favourite strip you’ve ever done, and probably my favourite out of all the webcomics I read! The Witch Lives.It’s a perfect title, and I am just so happy to see Hanna moving on and living!!

  55. I've tried to think of a way to say this that doesn't sound blasé but…Thank you for handling the subject of depression with the tact, respect, and care that it requires.

  56. I'm crying. I don't know what to say…

  57. This hit home for me. Beautifully done!

  58. Infinite canvas living up to its name.

  59. you're a role model, gran. an inspiration.

  60. I want to give Hanna a hug.

  61. This is amazing. This is gonna hold my vote for Best Webcomic of the Year, no doubt. Just beautiful and original and incredibly evocative.

  62. Really enjoyed reading this comic. Glad to see that Hanna might be pushing through to the other side of her depression. It's cool that she's still working out.

  63. Marek's eyes….

    It reminds of the first time we see BD without his helmet in Doonesbury. Another heartbreaking panel.

  64. This is the first comic I’ve seen of yours, and it is brilliant.

  65. My life, in pictures. Thank you.

    Beautiful use of space.

  66. Oh man, drunken calling. Ouch. ;_; It makes me so sad seeing Hanna suffer her heartache. But sigh back to living!

  67. Thank you. Beautiful. Bravo.

  68. Awww…. the tissue box next to her bed… and the bag? Cleansing herself of Marek's stuff? :,(

  69. totally and utterly floored

  70. I haven't commented on your comic before but I've been reading since the beginning.
    Now that I'm a Patron I get to feel all entitled to an opinion so here ya go.

    It's really cool to see the steps you've been taking recently. This comic in particular reminds me of reading Bill Watterson's comments on some of his Calvin and Hobbes strips where he experimented hugely with use of space and box design to give the comic a different feel and to portray ideas of time or space within the strip. I feel like he'd be quiet pleased to see the kind of things that people such as yourself are doing in the medium now. I know I am.

  71. That was incredible

  72. This is me right now, only with less running, weed and booze. Ok, none of those things. But all of the feelings.

  73. Damn I finally caught up spent the last few days working through your strip your an amazing artist and story teller I shall be a fan till the end 🙂

  74. Hanna. :(((((

  75. just went through a break-up recently, and I think you really captured the way that time moves so slowly and so mundanely while one waits to stop feeling that way, because waiting is the only thing that eventually works. :/

  76. I know this place. It's familiar.

  77. Hey — I could've sworn that the drunk-dialing panel wasn't in there the first time that I read this. Is this strip — this particular image — updating or changing?

  78. I feel like this works as a piece of art on its own, but within the comic's story it is elevated to masterpiece.
    Thank you Meredith for this. It's so true.

  79. Also, did anyone else notice the phallic-shaped dough Hanna is kneading in one of the panels? I feel like the shape is too uncanny to be coincidence. I think it symbolizes her sexual frustration. Poor Hanna. She's healing, but it takes time.


  81. Cheese & Crackers… You've outdone yourself! This is… pure art. Wow. Just… WOW!

  82. I guess maybe I’m the only one who has been having a problem with this, but I haven’t been able to view this page… Not sure what the problem is, I’ve tried accepting cookies and a couple other things and have given up a couple of times. Any ideas on what the problem is? I’m in safari and have also tried viewing in chrome…..

    1. Sorry if this is a dumb answer, but have you scrolled down? There is an AWFUL lot of white space in this comic, so it could seem that it didn't fully load, when it may have. If you see the first panel if Hanna in bed, you're probably in business.

  83. Looks like Hanna is doing the big, mature stuff to [ get over her big loss of Maurek [sp?]], +and getting into healthier stuff, to get on with her new life.

    It looks like she's throwing out stuff that reminds her too much of him, + that she's getting past the [Nothing-in the-world-will-make-me-happy-Nihilism-stage], that sometimes follows a breakup with a significant-other.

    Good going, Hanna. : )

  84. This was me after finishing high school and saying goodbye to the girl I loved.

  85. Oh man. The feels!!! Thank you Meredith.

  86. My fucking heart, you guys.

  87. This is just a beautiful, perfect use of blank space in a graphic medium. I'm pretty sure this is the best page of Octopus Pie, maybe of any comic I can remember seeing in a while. I am going to remember this page for a while.

  88. As someone with clinical depression and getting over a 5 year relationship…. spot on.

    What a beautiful and poignant comic.

  89. I just linked this to an artist friend who's emotionally struggling. I recommend this page, this comic, to everyone I know when anything even remotely related comes up! Thanks for this beautiful page.

  90. I actually read this the day I got broken up with. It really helps being able to identify with Hanna

  91. Speechless

  92. This kills me. Marek and Hanna were my inspiration. They were my goal relationship. They were all about eachother and so in love… they were just perfect. I honestly don't want to see Marek dating anyone or her dating anyone.. I want her to possibly change her mind and consider a kid… at least of some kind? They could raise freaking ducks or something. It's just so heartbreaking because it seems like Marek would be more torn up and asking about her and trying to call her.. This just all hits too close to home. I hope they do still talk and hook up in the near future… and possibly hopefully get back together.

  93. I miss Marek,
    I hope he returns eventually

  94. i come back to this pretty regularly. 2015 was kind of a hell for me- i realised i was both wayyy more of a bad person than i was aware and also that i had been treating myself super fucking badly and i ended up having to distance myself from almost everyone i know.
    so, every week or so i read through this again, and think about how there's no option but to keep living, whether i'm a hideous bitch of a woman or a benign drifting creature.
    things are better now, i'm better now, but it's always one foot in front of the other, there's always another horizon to pass through.
    thank u meredith + valerie

  95. That last frame looks… familiar. Am I correct?

  96. This is beautiful. And it was kind of devastating to read, since I know it feels. Depression is such an endless, self-reinforcing loop. I've never seen it expressed so perfectly in any medium. Actually got some tears running out of my tired old head!

  97. This is my favorite chapter. I reread it over and over again. This is possibly my favorite strip, in contest with the "I'm not sure you're even one of the good guys" strip earlier in this chapter. This arc was released over the course of my first semester at college, where I went through a huge personality change and found myself feeling incredibly bitter and angry and exhausted, craving nothing, getting itchy around people, making bad choices, pushing others away. I had previously been boisterous, hyper-laid-back, impulsive, cheerful, perhaps bossy, a little caricatured, and in my cynical self reproach, I felt my entire personality was just finally going bad, like milk. It took a couple years to realize this was mental illness. I'm still working on the specifics, and managing it. This chapter meant a lot to me then and still does now.

  98. This one's real / gorgeous / heartbreaking

  99. She's getting better… She's getting there…

  100. This is my absolute favorite story in the whole series. As a grumpy but goofy Asian guy, I always related to Eve or Greg more, but I never thought I would find Hanna to be so relatable. After my last breakup, pretty much all of my friends and roommates started dating new people and/or getting in better shape while I was struggling with my depression. My best friend would constantly talk about how happy he was and how he was finally getting everything he ever wanted. It always seemed like they were rubbing it in my face, even though I know they weren't. I had a lot of the same ugly resentment that Hanna had, and my normal goofiness was replaced with bitterness and obsession. I shut people out and gained weight, and it felt like I was on a downward spiral. I've been slowly getting my shit back together; I moved to a new city and started grad school. This story inspired me to start running again. I used to only run because I wanted to lose weight, but this time, I did it to take my mind off my troubles. It's been amazing. I've already lost a decent amount of weight, I look and feel better, and I've become more outgoing and relaxed. I used to never understand how someone could "like" running, but now I finally get it. I actually look forward to each run as my escape, a chance to run farther away from my bitter old self. Thank you Meredith, for making a comic that has actually changed my life for the better.

  101. G-d, I needed this page today.

  102. Agghhhhhh, this strip was so good. This is one of those strips where I feel like it works best in the form of a webcomic.. just scrolling all the way down. The use of space is so good.

  103. Years after this was posted (and I don’t know if you’ll see this), I found this comic around August 2023. I read the whole thing in three days. This particular panel had a serious effect on me. Not only because of its excellent use of negative space. I had just gotten out of a serious depressive episode which had spoiled my progress in working on my physical health. This was the spark I had needed to get back on the horse (though it took some time to actually get going). Maybe this feels dramatic, but it has resonated with me ever since. Thank you.

    1. hell yea dude

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