Characters: Dumbing of Age
This is the character sheet for Dumbing of Age
, the "Ultimate Universe
" extension of the Walkyverse
has its own character sheet, with Roomies!, It's Walky!, Joyce and Walky!
has one under construction. Please do not confuse the two, as there are serious Alternate Character Interpretations
stemming from the difference in continuities.
Because of the large Ensemble Cast
and Switching P.O.V.
, characters are listed in alphabetical order.
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"One second, killing spiders."
A geeky girl who enjoys playing video games, Amber hides a few...issues. Dina is her roommate.
- Badass: The action sequence starting here shows Amazi-Girl pulling off some impressive physical feats.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She is a pretty nice girl, but she also acts as a vigilante, and a visit from her father revealed she has anger issues. It is also revealed that she had gotten involved in a robbery some years earlier (by none other than Sal, q.v., attempting to hold up a store) and found herself too frightened to defend Ethan (who was taken hostage). After the police arrested Sal some harsh and derisive words from her father led her to snap, grab a knife and stab Sal's hand before being restrained (sequence starts here). In the regular timeline, this memory comes up as she snaps again when her father holds Danny hostage, leading to her beating Daddy up very thoroughly.
- Break the Cutie: The poor girl had her childhood spoiled by some very traumatic events, which she hasn't completely recovered from.
- Broken Bird: With her issues with Ethan and her father, she is very broken. It's at the point where Amazi-Girl is her one coping mechanism and her favored persona.
- Character Development: Stood by Ethan while he came out, and evidently matured a great deal from the process.
- Clark Kenting: Complete with Danny as Lois Lane - and she lives in the Clark wing. It helps that she's kind of a shut-in; the few who know about her and the campus vigilante can't picture Amber zip-lining off rooftops onto trucks.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Had a very unhappy childhood due to suffering physical and emotional abuse from her father.
- Death Glare: Gives an epic one to Ethan upon finding him at Galasso's hooked up with Joyce.
- Evil Me Scares Me: After beating her father to a pulp and escaping, the event visibly disturbed her greatly, to the point she doesn't know anymore where lies the frontier between her Amazi-Girl persona and herself, and sending her once again in a Heroic BSOD.
- Worst part? The tags make it clear who's doing it.
- Gamer Chick: A Bland-Name Product version of World of Warcraft, specifically. Also a Computer Science major. And has a Nintendo DS.
- Guttural Growler: Once she starts hanging out with Danny in both identities, she adds a raspy voice represented by blue speech bubbles to her disguise. She also claims to have always sounded like that.
Danny: "You mussed up your hair a whole bunch, too."
Amazi-Girl: "You are not good at remembering things!"
- Heroic BSOD: Suffers several: First when Ethan was taken hostage, she ended up paralyzed in fear. Years later, when she stands up to her father, she punches him in the face, but quickly realizes as she flees that she enjoyed it way too much (see In the Blood). Finally, when Blaine took Danny hostage to lure her out of campus, it caused her to enter a vicious rage and led her to exert Extreme Melee Revenge. In the aftermath of the event, she completely shut down.
- Hypocrite: Sal terrified Amber with a knife - Amber actually stabbed Sal in return, and after she'd already been arrested by the police. Yet Amber sees Sal as the dangerous one. She gets this thrown back in her face when she confronts Sal & crew in a parking lot.
- Incompatible Orientation: With Ethan.
- Inspector Javert: She's so obsessed with defeating the Sal of her nightmares, she can't see that the real Sal is a very different person these days, and is horrified when Sal turns the tables and takes the moral high ground against her.
- In the Blood: Amber's father is a violent jerkass who beat her mother repeatedly. When she finally stands up to him, she ends up punching him in the face. What could have been seen as a moment of awesome quickly devolved into a much more disturbing thing when Amber remembered her emotions at the time: when she punched her father, she was smiling. When she realized that she enjoyed hurting someone, even if the person she hurt really deserved it, she got a Heroic BSOD, because that would make her not so different from her father.
- Large Ham: When Ethan and Mike (but mostly Mike) dragged her away from her laptop.
Amber: NO! NOOO! YOU'RE NOT MY MOM! YOU'RE NOT MY MOM! It's not fair!
There was time
now! There was all the time I needed!
It's not faaaaiiiirrr!
- Last Het Romance: Was Ethan's.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Now in a Two-Person Love Triangle with Danny.
- Mistaken Identity: Danny immediately becomes attracted to Amber when he first meets her. However, Amazi-Girl is depicted in such a way that she could have a lot of hair, and her modus operandi is very similar to that of Batman. You know who else has a lot of hair and resembles Batman? Sal, who was Danny's First Love in Roomies!.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: She's 5'5'' in her superhero boots.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Never again".
- The Reveal/The Unreveal: When Amazi-Girl was introduced into the strip, she was largely treated as a mystery...despite Amber, her "civilian" identity in Shortpacked!, appearing not long after. Fortunately Willis still had cards up his sleeve, and Amber's motivation for donning her mask and cape are very different than they are in the mainline continuity.
Danny: Oh my god.
Are you... Amber
under there? [beat] Amber:
...I don't know.
- Rage Breaking Point: After being unable to help your only friend, your father only further twists the knife by telling you how useless and cowardly you are (despite the fact that the robber was armed with a freakin' knife). This is the point where poor, broken Amber completely snaps.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Her eyes take this color during her Rage Breaking Point.
- Roaring Rampage of Rescue: So, your father kidnaps your boyfriend in order to use it as leverage over you? Bad, bad, BAD idea Blaine.
- Secret Identity: She's Amazi-Girl.
- Shrinking Violet: Was one during her childhood, but managed to grow out of it.
- Split Personality: The Tags consider Amber and Amazi-Girl two separate people. Amber herself originally thinks of Amazi-Girl as just a mask she puts on, but as time passes she starts acting as though both of them are personas.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Not even the Alt Text is sure how she did it while halfway between outfits.
- Third-Person Person: When masked as Amazi-Girl, she refers to Amber as a person outside herself. It's standard practice for this sort of thing - she averts But He Sounds Handsome, and has some trouble keeping her lies straight - but it may or may not also be a sign of her unraveling identity. After Danny is taken hostage, she begins to refer to both personas in the third person more often, regardless of which one she's currently supposed to be.
- Unstoppable Rage: Blaine kidnaps Danny. Amazi-Girl joins them and demands he release Danny. Blaine refuses. Serious ass kicking ensues.
- She suffers a Post-Victory Collapse afterwards, as it's not Amazi-Girl doing the ass kicking and this doesn't sit well with her.
- Yaoi Fangirl: She might have spent an entire night reading Captain America / Iron Man Slash Fic.
"Just don't let anyone change you, okay?"
Joyce's best friend from childhood. Attending Anderson University, a Christian college. She's pretty social for someone from Joyce's Christian group.
- Anguished Declaration of Love: Seen in this strip.
- Ascended Extra: Originally a a secondary character, she joined the main cast after her Coming-Out Story
- Birds of a Feather: Becky and Walky get along really well within seconds of meeting each other, bonding over their shared love of making Joyce make faces.
- Foreshadowing: Joyce is seen in several strips trying to unsuccessfully get a hold of Becky, foreshadowing Becky's Love Epiphany.
- For a short amount of time her character description mentioned that "she loves Joyce more than anything."
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Joyce.
- At least they were, but after dropping a few hints Becky made her move and revealed that she had feelings for Joyce.
- Have I Mentioned I am Gay?: All the time, and to everybody, since her coming out.
- Important Haircut: First shown here.
- Incompatible Orientation: Tearfully begs Joyce to feel the same for her that she feel for Joyce, but Joyce doesn't feel the same way.
- Love Epiphany: After she kisses Joyce she tells her that she had always been in love with her but it wasn't until they went to separate colleges that she figured it out.
- Missing Mom: According to Willis, she is currently worm food.
- Odd Friendship: Considering her similarities to Walky (and how well they get along), her friendship with Joyce and their extreme fondness of each other is pretty out there.
- Only Sane Man: To Joyce. To other characters, she's pretty loopy.
Jennifer Yunru "Billie" Billingsworth
"I'm starting to think I've been oversold on college."
The top girl at her high school, she came to college expecting more of the same. She knew Walky and Sal from childhood, and shares a room with the latter.
- The Alcoholic
Billie: Sal. Yeah, it's one in the afternoon and I'm drinking. Fuckin' surprise.
Sal: It's not a surprise. Alcoholism is yer definin' characteristic.
- Alpha Bitch: Her position in High School, given by name here.
- Always Someone Better: An ongoing theme of her adventures.
- Bi the Way: Hits on Sal while drunk and has a lot of mixed feelings after Ruth kisses her. While she eventually decides it's mutual, Ruth storms out when she realizes Billie never quit drinking. She and her high school friend Alice were also together at some point.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Despite putting on pounds since high school, Billie is still considered attractive.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Claims her dad showers her with money because he doesn't know how to show affection.
- Break the Haughty: Almost every strip she's been in involves this.
- The Cheerleader: In high school. A month or so of college has convinced her that those days have passed; before that, she was so caught up in her former identity that she had trouble letting it go.
- Closet Geek: For all her hatred of NERDS Billie uses a lot of phrases like "life-force" in casual conversation...
- Closet Key: Billie had at least one pre-college fling with another woman, but Ruth apparently "found out she was into girls" through her.
- Establishing Character Moment: Being pegged by the staff of Indiana University as an alcoholic.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Arguably more so than the guys.
Billie: You're still staring at them.
Joyce: (small voice) i could crawl up into them and be safe and warm forever
- Fallen Princess: Was very popular in high school, but in college finds herself at the bottom of the food chain. It's taken her a while to realize it's happening.
- Heroic BSOD: After a few too many mistakes and hits to her self-worth, Billie takes to Walky's bed and refuses to speak. Ruth pries her out of it... just in time for Billie to run into, and be publicly rejected by, Alice.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: Went from Alpha Bitch to Butt Monkey simply by graduating. Has slowly begun to realize this and the results are not pretty.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: Popular friends, that is.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: She's convinced that she's better than all these geeks...because deep down she's fighting crippling self-image problems.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Talks a good game about not wanting to be friends with the rest of the cast but still spends all her time with them, helps set-up Walky with Dorothy, looks out for Joyce and even showed concern for Ruth, her tormentor and confused love interest. She also tries to pay off Raidah after Sarah hits her (without much success).
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All: About relationships. She thought she had it all together in High School, in college not so much.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Dorothy described Billie and Walky this way early on in the strip. Billie was unamused.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Walky bestowed it on her during their childhood, in retaliation for her calling him "Walky," and evidently it's just stuck.
- Parental Neglect: She sees her parents so little that she's more attached to Sal and Walky's mom and dad.
- Poisonous Friend: Alice thinks so due to her self-destructive behavior, likening her to a "drama hurricane", and warns Walky and Joyce to abandon her lest they suffer what she's been through.
- Race Lift: In mainline continuity, Billie was just white, but apparently Willis got asked enough if she was Asian during its run that he decided to make her half-Asian here.
Everyone always assumed she was Asian back in Roomies!, what with the black hair and fair complexion, even though she was conceived as thoroughly English. So I figgered this go-round, hey, she’s half-Asian, why not? ... Her dad, of course, is still white through-and-through, because, dude, last name’s friggin’ Billingsworth, man.
- Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: Is pale with black hair, and is considered attractive.
- Relationship Upgrade: With Ruth.
- Selective Obliviousness: The only way she's managed to avoid a Heroic BSOD thus far, which finally starts getting broken after Ruth breaks up with her and Alice gives her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
- Weight Woe: Has put on a few pounds, probably due to all the drinking and stress.
- She lets slip that she can't lift her right leg as high as she used to. Whether this is a permanent injury from her drunken car accident or just her not stretching regularly, she doesn't say.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Early on, she tried to act as though she were still an Alpha Bitch in high school, not realizing that college works very differently.
"Sweet, I'm either desirable or merely incredibly unthreatening!"
Danny is a timid kind of guy who followed his girlfriend off to college...only to be very quickly dumped by her. He rooms with Joe.
- Above the Influence: To Joe's disgust.
- Bi the Way: Is revealed to be bisexual as of this strip.
- Butt Monkey: Got dumped by his girlfriend after following her to college, and got kidnapped.
- Distressed Dude: Danny has bad luck with this trope. He was introduced to Amazi-Girl when she rescued him from some jocks. Later, he didn't realize he was being used by Blaine in order to lure Amber out of the campus, and downright became a hostage once Blaine showed his true colors and restrained him physically.
Joe: Dude, what are you even getting yourself into out there?
- Has a Type: After being dumped by Dorothy, he immediately goes for Amber. Lampshades were hung.
- Nice Guy: Deep down he has a kind personality and truly wants to help others. Sadly, most of his attempts at helping are ineffective or backfire horribly. He confides to Sal that he feels useless, and wants to help her because her math problems are simple for him to solve. As he puts it:
Danny: I've spent the last few days feeling useless, and so I'd really be grateful just for a chance to solve a problem for somebody.
- The Power of Love: Subverted.
Danny: I'M SORRY FOR THINKING LOVE WAS MORE IMPORTANT THAN STUPID YALE!!
- Rescue Romance: His relationship with Amazi-Girl started as a result of this.
- Satellite Love Interest: Discussed. Dorothy dumps him because she's afraid he's going to turn himself into her Satellite Character.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Has a one sided version of this with Walky.
- Two-Person Love Triangle: With Amber / Amazi-Girl.
"Do others see me as...strange?"
Amber's roommate, Dina is an expert on all things dinosaurs. Her knowledge about human behavior, on the other hand...
- Adorkable: All the time. But some times more than others.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Many fans have speculated that Dina could be on the Autism spectrum. Willis own Shrug of God on this hasn't exactly helped.
- Ascended Extra: She's seen in the background of a number of panels before she's formally introduced. Readers of It's Walky picked her out immediately, of course, but to newcomers she would seem to have evolved out of the woodwork.
- Beneath Notice: Often finds herself trapped between the door and the wall of the room she shares with Amber.
- Berserk Button: For as angry as she can get, anyway. Just don't question the existence or nature of dinosaurs around her. And deny the Theory of Evolution.
- Crazy-Prepared: She carries a rubber ring in her backpack.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: She is incredibly fonds of dinosaurs, up to the point of wearing a dinosaur hat, and is very knowledgeable about them. Also, RAWR.
- Iconic Item: Her Nice Hat. Defictionalized.
- Meaningful Name: Dina Saruyama. Oddly enough, it is pronounced DEE-na.
- No Social Skills
Dina: I've never been able to understand people. But dinosaurs are extinct. They're fixed in time, letting me learn about them without them changing constantly before my eyes.
- Older Than They Look: Dina is the same age as the rest of the cast, but about half their size. Lampshaded when Raidah and her friends think she's a child, and later after she makes friends with Riley.
Amber: Dina, I think she's like twelve.
Dina: I have been deceived!
Riley: Wait, you're not twelve?
Dina: I see no answer to that which would not tarnish my dignity.
- Secret Secret Keeper: Knew Amber was Amazi-Girl, somehow.
- Shrinking Violet: She's cripplingly shy. But because this is due to her Ambiguous Disorder-fueled lack of social skills, she opens up a bit once she actually starts interacting.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: From the perspective of the other characters, anyway. "Blink your eyes and she'll be there."
- Tagalong Kid: Takes this role in a lot of social groups. By which we mean that the social groups accidentally pick her up and carry her along.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cereal.
- The Quiet One: Unless you get her talking about dinosaurs. Her parents are also laconic.
Sarah: If your thanksgivings are this quiet, I'm available for adoption.
- Weirdness Magnet: Tends to get dragged along (sometimes literally) by the other characters' plans.
"Incorporating a regulated amount of fun is an important component of mental health!"
Dorothy is a career woman aiming towards Yale and then politics. Too bad real life keeps getting in the way. She rooms with Sierra.
- Ambition Is Evil: Subverted. Dorothy plans to be President of the United States, and neither the other characters nor the comic itself doesn't judge her for that. (Beyond, y'know, throwing Walky her way to slow her down...)
- Do Wrong, Right: She warns Walky not to kick his shoe down the corridor, only to be so unimpressed with his attempt she shows him how it's done herself.
- Hollywood Atheist: Downplayed if not flat out averted. She was raised a-religious, and eventually decided that she didn't see a need to believe in a higher power.
- Intrepid Reporter: Works for the college newspaper. Covers the Amazi-Girl beat.
- I Just Want to Have Friends, Not So Above It All: To a much lesser extent than some of the other characters here, but she keeps finding herself distracted from her pre-law studies by, well, having a social life.
- Only Sane Man: Dorothy is easily the best adjusted of the main cast, if a little uptight about it. Consequently, she's a foil and friend to Joyce.
- The Southpaw: Dorothy is left-handed (the similarity to several Presidents is a coincidence).
- Uptight Loves Wild: Her romance with Walky is a subdued version.
- Weakness Turns Her On: Despite at times being embarrassed by him, Dorothy definitely enjoys Walky's juvenile and submissive personality. The feeling goes both ways...
"Okay, but we're only going to ask you four more times."
Ethan is a friendly gay (yes really) young man with identity issues. He used to date Amber (again, yes really), and also knew Mike (once more, yes really) in high school.
- Closet Key: For Danny, who's pole-axed by it, having considered himself straight until that point.
- Coming-Out Story: Part of this comic's Back Story, since it was an active plotline in Shortpacked! Evidently it happened at prom. In a hotel room that he had booked for himself and Amber.
- Demoted to Extra: Considering in Shortpacked he was the main protagonist for a long time, his character has taken a step back in Dumbing of Age, and is more of a recurring character without much going on besides his connection to Amber and Joyce.
- Gayngst: Oh boy... Things were not easy when he came out of the closet, and his parents didn't really react well when they learned, especially his mother who went as far as saying some very cruel things to her own son. His sexuality also strained his relationship with Amber, who became the catalyst for his mother's anger when she was defending him at the time.
- Incompatible Orientation: To Amber, and then Joyce (who he went out with anyway because they are both uncomfortable with their own sexuality and have a strong emotional connection).
- Jewish and Nerdy: He mentions having a hard time fitting in before coming out due to this.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Danny has been very complimentary about his chin.
- Nice Guy: See the above quote for an example of his general patience with people he knows. When Amber tells him that the girl who held a knife to his throat is at their school, he points out she's almost certainly a different person by now and is more worried about Amber doing something rash. Good call...
- Nice Jewish Boy: Part of the reason Joyce dates him.
- She Is All Grown Up: Amber mentions that he turned "suddenly hot" at 16.
- Straight Gay: One of the reasons he tries to reject his homosexuality is the idea that being gay swallowing up his identity as his sole defining trait, rather than any of his nerdy hobbies.
- Tall, Dark and Handsome: He's one of the taller characters, and looks like (in Danny's words) "the love-child of Jake Gyllenhaal and Nightwing".
"Hey, do you subscribe to my 'do' list's RSS feed?"
Joe is the ultimate ladies' man, with that being first on his mind... and not much else. He's Danny's roommate.
- Brutal Honesty:
Joe: You know I've never been the sort of friend who'd say, "Aw naw, dawg, you're totally strong enough," right?
Danny: I live in a lot of fantasies.
- Carpet of Virility: Gaston-level chest hair.
- The Casanova: A trait he shares with his Walkyverse counterpart's earlier days. This time, though, there's a bit of compulsiveness to it — his date with Joyce went badly in part because he couldn't keep his eyes on her.
- Crazy-Prepared: He always carries an extra sock to hang on a doorknob.
- Ethical Slut:
- Freudian Excuse: He never justifies his own actions with this, but his parents had a messy divorce and his father is also The Casanova. (Or, as Word of God puts it, Joe's Dad is basically Roomies-era Joe.)
- Genius Ditz: Knows a lot about the opposite sex. Not as knowledgeable about much else.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: "...Now make out. Make out, dammit."
Walky: Has that ever worked?
Joe: Once, on a TV show.
- Hidden Depths:
- As shown in interactions with Joyce, Walky and Danny, Joe is very capable of being the Only Sane Man and calling people on their stupidity... He just usually isn't willing to be. At least in Joyce's case it seems to have stuck.
- Upon discovering Walky thinks that only women can own more than one pair of shoes, he promptly shuts him down. (Granted, Joe was a little too hungover at the time to simply ignore Walky.)
Joe: If your manhood is so fragile that you gotta depend on following dumb little rules you made up, I'd keep it to your damn self.
- Informed Judaism: He is Jewish but doesn't seem to be practicing. When Danny points out that he never goes to temple, Joe claims it's all downhill once you hit thirteen. "You can't get your grandparents' life savings more than once."
- It's All About Me: He can be rather selfish at times.
- Person as Verb: He likes turning peoples' names into verbs, most obviously Danny's.
- Really Gets Around: "What kind of threesome did I have last night?"
- Shirtless Scene: Danny wishes Joe was less comfortable walking around their room in his underwear.
- The Southpaw: He's left handed according to Word of God.
"I think we should give everybody a chance before we write them off. Even the bad people. I admit sometimes I'm not very good at it, but I feel I at least need to try."
The closest to a protagonist in this comic, Joyce is a naive home-schooled young woman about to get the culture shock(s) of her life. She ends up rooming with Sarah.
- Adorkable: She tries very hard to make friends and can be incredibly cute (and awkward) because of her naivety and upbringing.
- All Loving Heroine: What prevents her Christian fundamentalist ideology from making her unlikable. She may believe that all her friends are going to hell and that homosexuality can be fixed, but she loves and cares about them enough to accept her friends as they are and believe the best of everyone.
- Ambiguously Bi: Is a bit obsessed with Sal (especially her haiiiiiir), and is clingy with Dorothy, and Billie to a lesser extent.
- It seems that as of Becky's Coming-Out Story, the above are all platonic girl-crushes. Romantically and sexually, she's straight.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: She finds the thought of life long best friends, like Walky and Billie, falling in love with each other incredibly romantic. Three months later in real world time, or a few hours in comic time, Becky confesses to her.
- The Beard: Was Ethan's, although she was aware of it and the two agreed to a rather ill-advised "relationship". However, after Becky's Coming-Out Story, Joyce broke up with Ethan in "Goodbye, my friend."
- Berserk Button: The fact that All Men Are Perverts.
- Beware the Nice Ones: When drugged and being threatened with sexual violence... She Turns Red.
- Break the Cutie: A very slow version,note to the point of Trope Aversion. The world keeps sending Joyce difficult problems she is very ill-equipped to deal with, and she surprises her friends by not letting it break her. That said, only Ethan is fully aware of how much Joyce's life not going the way she thought it would is hurting her.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Joyce started having overtones of this when Dorothy began dating Walky, something that has not gone unnoticed by the fans. Or by Walky.
- Closet Key: For Becky
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Despite being the best-socialized member of her home-school group. Or, uh, perhaps because she's the best-socialized member of her home-school group. She at least isn't one of the "No Social Skills" characters.
- Dissonant Serenity: She frequently mentions the more disturbing parts of her fundamentalist worldview in the same cheery, sunny tone as everything else.
Walky: I'm startin' to think your superpower is being able to say the scariest, most messed-up crap while somehow thinkin' it sounds fantastic.
- Dresses the Same: Here.
Dorothy: I'm going to go change.
Joyce No no no this is awesome.
- Establishing Character Moment: Her best friend Becky's last words to her she heads out with Joyce's parents: "Just don't let anyone change you, okay?"
- The Fundamentalist: Averted, and more so with time. Subscribes to quite strict interpretations of The Bible, but obviously tries to err on the side of inclusion and friendship.
"That's what the Son of God says. He is my higher authority, my moral foundation."
- Give Me a Sign: Feeling insecure about her "relationship" with Ethan compared to those she sees around her, Joyce asks God for some kind of sign. Becky, her lifelong best friend, promptly turns up... and confesses that she's in love with her.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: She doesn't swear. Ever.
- From a later strip, Joyce tries to tell Joe off:
Joyce: It'd better be, or I will fudge you up so dang hard everyone'll call you 'poopieface' 'cuz your head'll be stuffed up your own a-hole!
Joyce: ...you all know what I meant.
- I Just Want to Have Friends, I Just Want to Be Loved: Throwing herself into the college social scene with abandon.
- Incompatible Orientation: With her former boyfriend Ethan. Although now they both know it and were together anyway because they are both uncomfortable with their own sexuality. Joyce has since ended it after a whirlwind of character development, culminating in her realizing that the relationship was wrong.
- Irony strikes when Becky confesses to Joyce and even kisses her.
- Informed Ability: It's not clear what her being the "best-socialized" in her homeschool group actually means, but it's why Joyce was able to go a regular (well, secular) university. When we finally see her friend Becky (who was sent to a Christian college) for a decent length of time, she seems much better socialized.
- Innocent Bigot: Like the best examples of the trope, when others call her on her Unfortunate Implications, she listens and tries to adjust herself.
- That quote above? It's when she defies her parents, who are trying to get her to abolish her friendship with the atheist Dorothy. Joyce exhibits both the frustrating and the inspirational qualities of devout Christianity, and for that reason audiences don't always know what to make of her. (The key to understanding her is that she's plainly more "innocent" than "bigot", and is aware of it.)
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Joyce has colored eyes in a world where almost everyone else has black dots instead. (The other exceptions are her own father, from whom she clearly inherited them, Jocelyne, and Ruth.)
- In Universe Nickname: "Pre-marital hanky-panky" for, you know, fornication. Shared with her mainline-universe counterpart. (Plural? "Pre-marital hankies-panky"!)
- Morality Pet: To Sarah and Sal.
- Odd Friendship: Has quite a lot of them, reminiscent of her role as The Heart in It's Walky! It also makes her the closest thing DoA has to a main character.
- The Pollyanna: See the character quote. Sal lampshades it.
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny:
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Willis gives her the widest variety in clothing styles, as she tries out new things. They're still all really conservative, but even Joe reacted to her yellow dress.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Is explicitly attending college to get her MRS Degree. All indications are that she has since backed off from this, though how much the good and bad experiences she's had so far have influenced this is unclear.
- To Be Lawfulor Good: Struggles with having to choose between her friends and her religion, and she makes it clear she'll choose "good" every time.
"Because I paid your mom a nickel."
Defining the "Sadistic Good" alignment, Mike revels in butting in to help his fellow students with their problems in the most cruel, painful, personally devastating ways possible. He's sharing a room with Walky.
- Armor-Piercing Question: Delivers a brutal one to Amber.
Mike: If you really are doomed to follow your parents' pattern, and you're never the one picking the jerks... which of them does that make you?
- Cheated Angle: The Alt Text doesn't think he's in a position to mock Ethan's hair, as his isn't even three-dimensional.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: The reason Ethan chose not to room with him.
- Jerkass: Everyone else's character bio goes into some detail on their outlook, history and relationships. Mike's just says he's an asshole and Walky's room-mate.
Walky: Look, shut up, I'm freakin' out here. Just be helpful for once.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: While he still goes out of his way to say things in the most negative way possible, he is far more involved in the emotional affairs of other characters, and his compassion plainer to see.
- Lighter and Softer: In comparison to his Walkyverse counterpart, this version of him goes much easier on people and doesn't try for Refuge in Audacity.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Given the choice between money and the chance to punch people, he picks the latter.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor/Stealth Mentor: This appears to be Mike's modus operandi in this universe — rather than just him being a straight up Jerkass, his behaviour seems to be more a subtle way to get people to realize their failings and act on improving them.
- Tough Love: His personal code.
"Time for 'random' drug searches."
Ruth is one of the dorm's RAs. Despite this, she breaks quite a few school rules herself.
- Abusive Parents: Her parents are dead, but her grandfather abuses her over the phone and she calls college an "escape".
- The Alcoholic: In an especially vicious cycle, considering her past.
- Bi the Way: According to Word of God.
- Canada, Eh?: She's a little bitter about having to move.
Billie: Aren't you people supposed to be nice?
Ruth: May I please punch your sternum?
- Dark and Troubled Past: Her parents died in a car accident, because of a drunk driver. The fact that she became an alcoholic doesn't sit well for her at all because of that.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Ruth got into drinking as an escape regarding her parent's death by drunk driver.
- Loving Bully: Deconstructed. She lashed out at Billie because she couldn't deal with being attracted to a former drunk driver and fellow alcoholic.
- Master of the Mixed Message: "Do I send any other kind?"
- Meaningful Name:
Ruth Lessick? Is that why you nicknamed her "Ruthless?" Mandy:
Sshh I want to keep my femurs
Walky: Your unpredictable mood changes are frightening an' disorienting.
Ruth: Awww, thanks for noticing.
- Hidden Depths: Harassing Billie turns out to be an outlet for her own self-loathing and a host of other deep psychological issues.
- Parental Abandonment: Her parents were killed by a drunk driver.
- Pet the Dog: Shortly after threatening to tear out people's femurs and flipping Billie into a couch, she helped Dorothy figure out what to do about Danny. She also offered to dump him for her. "Oh God, please let me do it."
- Not So Different: To Billie, an alcoholic girl with absent parents and a willingness to use force to get her way.
- Odd Friendship: With Billie.
- Refuge in Audacity: How she gets away with her over-the-top threats and occasionally abusive behaviour.
- Relationship Upgrade: With Billie, or so it appears.
- Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Is revealed to be one from this strip onwards.
- Spared by the Adaptation: In Roomies, she was created for the sole purpose of tragically dying in a car accident. In Dumbing of Age, she has a significantly expanded role, as well as having survived the car accident which has now been established as an event which occurred in the past.
- Suddenly Sexuality/Experimented in College: Ruth herself isn't sure which it is. She admits to being confused about her sexuality, but wants to prioritize getting a handle on her other issues first.
- The Southpaw: Is left-handed according to Word of God.
- Tsundere: Towards Billie, to the point of being outright abusive.
- Deconstructed: Ruth behaves this way because she has anti-social tendencies and a bad home life. Billie confronts Ruth demanding to know what their relationship is, after weeks of Ruth alternating between (awkward) displays of affection and bullying. When Ruth suddenly kisses her during all of this, she tells her to fuck off and runs away. Billie is very confused and hurt by whatever attraction she does feel. It's still played for comedy, but the situation is acknowledged by Willis as unhealthy and just wrong.
- Wrestler in All of Us: In "Urrgl", she suplexes Blaine. It's just a shame it wasn't more permanent.
Sally "Sal" Walkerton
"Did ah say 'uptight'? Ah think ah meant 'nuts'."
Walky's twin sister, a rebel with a distinct southern accent. She spent some time in a private school, but it seems to have only made her worse. "Shares" a room with Billie.
- Ambiguously Brown: Half African-American father, Caucasian mother.
Joyce: I...I've been trying to determine if it's rude to ask what, um, flavor of human you two are.
Walky: Well, my sister is black, but I'm generically beige.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: After Walky admits he hasn't been a good brother in the past. There are limits, though.
Sal: "We ain't never been a huggin' family, huh?"
- Berserk Button: Shows complete disinterest in a fight with Amazi-Girl until she hurts Malaya, at which point Marcie has to prevent Sal from tearing her apart.
- Combat Pragmatist: Played with: When Amazi-Girl challenges her to a fight, she just has her friends dog pile her. Though after she's restrained, Sal opts to leave rather than actually beat her up.
- Conspicuous Gloves: Sal always wears her distinctive gloves, even when sleeping in the nude.
- She wears them to hide the knife wound on one of her hands, given to her by Amber.
- Cool Bike: Owns a pretty cool motorcycle.
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority: She's very anti-authoritarian and, in her own words, doesn't like "organized anything."
Sal: But the whole reason ah do things my own way is 'cuz I don't wanna learn no friggin' rules.
Danny: Aw, learning the rules can be fun!
Sal: That's a funny joke.
- Daddy's Girl: Perhaps by default. Her father makes a point of hugging and complimenting her on Parent's weekend while her mother is too obsessed with the idea of her brother actually having a girlfriend to even acknowledge Sal's presence.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Held up two convenience stores as a teenager, and was sent away to a Catholic boarding school in Tennessee. Walky claims he has barely spoken to her in five years.
- Even the Girls Want Her: Well, at least Joyce and Billie do.
Mike: For her, right? You'd be a lesbian for her. I mean, c'mon.
Joyce: Oh, if only. I-it'd be nice, in theory, if I didn't have to deal with any parts below the neck.
- Expressive Hair: Her natural curls reassert themselves when she is shocked by a bad grade.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: she keeps the curls for Parent's Weekend, only to have her Dad tell her he likes the way it looks when it's straightened. (Sal takes this as an implied criticism, though he's probably trying to be supportive.) So she "murders the curls" again and claims to prefer it that way, though that is undercut by her expression when she examines the results in a mirror afterwards.
- Hidden Depths: Sal is fluent in American Sign Language thanks to her lifelong friendship with Marcie.
- Internalized Categorism: Is convinced their parents favored Walky because he looks more white and straightens her hair to look less black. Seems to have some self-image issues besides this. (This explains why she's not close to Joyce, who is clearly in awe of her - or rather, the image she cultivates.)
- Impaled Palm: After the convenience store holdup, Amber drove a knife through her hand. This is presumably why she always wears gloves.
- Mixed Ancestry: Half African-American father, Caucasian mother.
- Ms. Fanservice: Sal looks good in pretty much anything she wears, sleeps mostly nude, and is willing to screw on a whim. She has easily won all polls for "Hottest Do A Character" and most characters first reaction to her is slack-jawed awe.
- Polar Opposite Twins: With Walky.
- Rapunzel Hair: And Joyce likes it a little too much. Played with later when Walky reveals that Sal expends a lot of time, money and effort to "murder the curls" out if it and Sal implies (in a wordless Beat Panel) that she wishes she got the same attention when it is natural.
- Sibling Rivalry: With Walky, for their parents' attention.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Prefers windows to doors, a trait she shares with her mainline-canon counterpart.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Screws her TA (Jason) hoping to improve her Math grade, and when that doesn't work screws him again to show him how angry she is. And then a few more times after that...
- Strong Family Resemblance: With Walky, though it's much less apparent when her hair is natural.
- The Southpaw: Is left handed according to Word of God.
- The Unfavorite: And extremely irked that her brother still refuses to acknowledge it.
- She refuses to drop her math class because she doesn't want another lecture from her parents about how she's a failure.
- Willis has more-or-less stated on his tumblr that Sal's attempts to rob stores without any kind of mask and using only a knife was due to wanting to be caught and found out by her parents, so they'd finally pay attention to her.
- Sal is even brings this up when acknowledging Walky & Billie's Like Brother and Sister relationship.
Billie: "Hell, sometimes I accidentally call your parents 'mom and dad'."
Sal: "Glad they got at least one daughter they like."
"Yeah, I'm gonna keep ten paces behind you."
A bitter (for very complicated reasons)
sophomore, who ends up rooming with Joyce.
- Badass: Stops Ryan from date-raping Joyce, with a baseball bat.
S-sarah, you came to save me! [...] God sent you after me! Sarah:
Yeah, the Old Testament
- Being Good Sucks: See I Did What I Had to Do.
- Big Sister Instinct: With Joyce.
- Broken Bird: See Dark and Troubled Past for more details. Is gradually recovering, thanks to Joyce's influence and friendship.
- Cynicism Catalyst/Dark and Troubled Past: Got her very popular freshman-year roommate Dana pulled out of school after she went on a death-of-mother-fueled drug binge, endangering both her health and Sarah's ability to maintain her scholarships.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: At the end of Book 1, Sarah confesses to actually caring about Joyce under her prickly demeanor.
- Insult Backfire: Here.
Danny: Geez, Sarah, you're even pissier than I am.
Sarah: Thank you.
- I Resemble That Remark
Joyce: She speaks entirely in sarcasm.
Sarah: Oh, right, that's all I do.
- Jade-Colored Glasses
- Jerk Ass -> Defrosting Ice Queen -> Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- Comes across as cold and aloof at first, but after some Character Development (as well as revelations about what happened her freshman year), she shows her Hidden Heart of Gold by showing that she really does care about Joyce. Since then, she's gradually become more willing to come out of her shell.
- Jerkass Façade: Implied. She seems to have a habit of pushing people out, and she doesn't like admitting that she cares about certain people. For instance, she only admits that she cares about Joyce when Joyce is still under the influence of the date rape drug since she wouldn't remember what Sarah told her in the morning. (For the record, Joyce is aware that she's this after their first week or so together, and makes an effort to include her.)
- Not a Morning Person: She'd like to bottle Joyce's "morning-person-ness"... and fire it into the Sun.
- Not So Above It All: She's had the occasional Not So Different moment from Walky.
David "Walky" Walkerton
"He who's tired of fast food is tired of life!"
A very juvenile young man, who may or may not be smarter than he looks. Sal is his twin sister. He rooms with Mike.
- All Women Love Shoes: Is a very firm believer that only girls own more than one pair of shoes, and that any man who does so is less of a man because of it. Even Joe thinks this is ridiculous.
- Ambiguously Brown: Like his sister, he has a half African-American father and a Caucasian mother.
Joyce: I...I've been trying to determine if it's rude to ask what, um, flavor of human you two are.
Walky: Well, my sister is black, but I'm generically beige.
- Beautiful All Along: Joyce is impressed by what she sees during his Shirtless Scene.
- Brilliant but Lazy: has never had to work hard to get top grades at school. Case in point: while Sal has to work to get her Math grade up and is quietly pleased with a 76, Walky casually gets an 85.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Avoiding all grownup responsibilities appears to be his goal.
- Deadpan Snarker: Shows up sometimes, like when Dorothy freaks out about missing classes.
Dorothy: You know who missed classes? James Buchanan. He skipped his classes and the union dissolved.
Walky: Some would say it was really over the ownership of human beings, but I think you're on to somethin' there.
- Demoted to Extra: Emphasis on the "demoted", since his mainline counterpart was the star of a good ten years of continuity, whereas he gets third billing—if that—here at college.
- Expressive Hair: Just like Sal, when he gets a bad grade his hair instantly poofs up.
- Geeky Turn-On: Dorothy's love of the Dexter & Monkey Master cartoon acts as this on him.
- He-Man Woman Hater: Early on ("I HATE PRETTY THINGS!") Current-Walky wishes he could go back in time and punch himself.
- Hollywood Atheist: Unlike Dorothy, Walky is much more outspoken and much less tactful around Joyce about his lack of faith, and blatantly tries to mock and insult her for it. This is more to show his own immature childishness than anything.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mainly because his way of dealing with harsh things is to be as immature as possible, but he does care about his friends. His relationships with Joyce, Billie and Sal are pretty good proof of that.
- Laser-Guided Karma:
- Like Brother and Sister: With Billie. He's actually closer to her than he is to his twin sister Sal.
- Love Makes You Dumb: invoked here. Early on in the series it was a running gag for Walky to have some variant of that face whenever Dorothy was in the same room.
- Man Child: He likes cartoons, junk food, Power Rangers and pyjama-jeans.
Um, Leslie, a boy just threw a toy at my head. Leslie:
It's probably because he likes you. Walky: [crush blush]
- Mixed Ancestry: Like his sister, he has a half African-American father and a Caucasian mother. However, despite them both having the exact same skin tone, he jokes that she's black and he's "generically beige", perhaps because of her accent and his naturally straighter hair.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Despite being a lazy, childish, dork who sleeps in and watches cartoons all day instead of studying, he gets great grades.
- Odd Friendship: With Joyce. It's also of the oddest ones she's developed because on the surface they have nothing in common, and deep down they... still have nothing in common. The basis of their friendship, at this point, is simply that they have the same lunch gap between the same two classes. This is particularly amusing because in mainline continuity, they're THE Official Couple. At least now they have Dexter And Monkey Master fandom to bond over.
- Old Shame: Walky's stint as a child actor on Himmel the Humming Hymnal, both because it's embarrassing (besides being the sort of show he vehemently dislikes, Joyce may have been crushing on some of them...) and because of his belated realization that it confirms the Parental Favoritism he'd just been vehemently denying to Sal. [invoked]
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Except to his family, of course, since they're all Walkertons. Sal makes a point of addressing him only as "bro" or, when the circumstances require, "David".
- Parenting the Husband: Although unmarried, Walky invoked this trope when he temporarily broke up with Dorothy. But despite his resentment early on, Walky doesn't really want to "grow up" and likes how dominant Dorothy is in the relationship...
- Polar Opposite Twins: With Sal, so much that it's not clear everyone (other than childhood friends Marcie and Billie, who presumably know) has even realized that they are twins.
- Snark Ball: Even Walky can be snarky when someone (usually Joyce) gives him the opportunity.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: He assumes Amazi-Girl secretly works at the school newspaper like Clark Kent.
Billie's best friend and ex-girlfriend in high school, who decided to break ties with her over her self-destructive behavior.
- The Cheerleader: Although she doesn't appear to be clinging to that old high school identity as hard as Billie.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gives one to Billie regarding her past behavior in high school. An especially unfortunately timed one, as Billie cheered up and relapsed into her old identity upon meeting her, which prompted Alice to do this.
A single-room sophomore and part of Sal's new "posse". Carla wants people to know she exists; wanting them to like
her is another matter.
The sex-starved editor of the school newspaper.
- Da Editor: She's professional enough to be exasperated with Billie, but tends to prioritize "titillation" (her own).
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Definitely believes in this and is constantly looking for it.
- You Need to Get Laid: Apparently it's been a while; she references this with varying degrees of subtlety all the time.
Ethan's roommate, Joe's new main man and Sarah's pre-law classmate (and lust object).
The TA of one of the freshmen classes.
- British Stuffiness: Complete with bowtie, sweater and overly-prim vocabulary.
- Culture Clash: Is clearly having some trouble aligning himself with the needs of his students, and this seems to be the cause.
- Fish out of Water: Comes off as out of his element at anything that's not TA-ing.
- Smart People Speak The Queen's English: When Sal asks him what his accent is, he claims he doesn't have an accent, and he's the only one speaking real English.
- Teacher/Student Romance: Sal seduces him in an effort to get her grades up. This is only so surprising, as their attraction to each other was one of the only stable elements of mainline canon.
The lesbian teacher of the freshmen gender studies class.
- Cool Teacher: She is friendly and understanding with her students, even the ones who disagree with everything she believes (Joyce) or are shameless mansluts (Joe).
- She's also demonstrated that she will not tolerate people attacking each other or injecting unnecessary drama into her class, and asks, or rather, orders Roz to leave when she starts harassing Joyce.
- First Name Basis: One of the first things she tells her class is to call her Leslie.
A roller-derby skater who hangs out with Sal and Marcie.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Sal and Marcie aren't sure why they let Malaya hang around them. That doesn't mean Sal won't stick up for her against vigilantes, however...
- Hidden Depths: She follows through on Sal's suggestion that she just learn sign language, much to Sal's surprise.
- Jerkass: Like her Walkyverse counterpart, she happens to be kind of a jerk.
Sal's closest friend since childhood, Marcie is a mute woman, a skater and one of the few people Sal consistently listens to. If Sal's not in class or her room, she's probably hanging out with Marcie somewhere.
- Bi the Way: First confirmed by Word of God.
- Cool Shades: Only ever seen wearing red shades / goggles. (She has apparently always done so.)
- Morality Pet: Marcie tends to reign in Sal's more destructive behavior and at times acts as her conscience.
- Signed Language: Speaks mainly through sign language, which Sal is capable of understanding.
- Silent Snarker: It's hard not to be snarky when Joyce is around, but she still manages to beat Sal.
- The Speechless: She can't talk (though she could when she was younger). Sal's explanation to Malaya is "stuff happens."
Roz's super-uptight room-mate, whose main personality traits are her "judging you" face and being even more of a fundamentalist than Joyce.
Congresswoman Robin DeSanto
Roz's older sister, and the young congresswoman of the local district. Just as crazy as her main universe incarnation.
- Bi the Way: This Robin is a closet case.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Somehow manages to become a congresswoman, despite being Robin.
- Gay Conservative: Roz immediately notices her attraction to Leslie.
- No Party Given: Played with and nearly averted. It is strongly implied that she ran as a conservative Republican (mostly to curry favor with the redneck vote in her district) but is not actually all that conservative herself, and may in fact have few to no principles at all.
- Not as You Know Them: Her immature personality is mostly the same to her Shortpacked one, but she's preoccupied with forwarding her political career and impressing lobbyists and voter blocs. The result is that this Robin comes off as kind of a gladhanding sleaze.
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Her eyesight's fine; she only wears glasses to make a good impression.
- Transparent Closet: Her attraction to Leslie is pretty noticeable.
Robin's extremely liberal younger sister, with very strong ideas on sexual freedom.
An old friend of Sarah's—or more specifically, of Sarah's roommate Dana. Hates Sarah for getting Dana removed from school, though they eventually call a cease-fire.
One of Joyce's religious friends, and Dorothy's roommate. A bit spacey.
Family members and relatives
Amber's father, and one of the most despicable characters of the comic. His name seems to allude to legendary Irish pirate queennote
Gráinne "Grace" O'Malley: this may be just a coincidence but wouldn't be atypical for David Willis.
Amber's stepbrother, who lives with her father.