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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.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Displays several symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder concerning her usage of Amazi-Girl, referring to herself and Amazi-Girl as separate entities, and needing to shift personas when near Sal due to experiencing traumatic flashbacks to the night of the robbery.
- 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.
- Crazy-Prepared: As Amazi-Girl, she carries multiple tools and weapons on her costume at all times, including grappling hook and rope, tire-piercing spike balls... and even Amazi-Girl-themed condoms.
- 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.
- Enemy Mine: Once Ryan shows up again, Amazi-Girl and Sal reach an unspoken truce to hunt down the bigger fish.
- Everyone Has Standards: Her hatred for Sal drives a lot of her, but even she is mortified when a conservative party rally cheers on her confrontation with Sal with incredibly racist rhetoric, to the point where she attempts to deescalate the conflict.
- 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 B.S.O.D..
- 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.
- The Glasses Come Off: Deconstructed after Those Who Ground Me. She broke her glasses...but since she has astigmatism, this means she can't look at a computer without giving herself a headache. See above trope for why that sucks.
- Gone Horribly Right: Amber decided to become Amazi-Girl to have a relatively harmless outlet for her anger issues. Then she started to have trouble figuring out which version of herself was the one with the rage.
- 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 B.S.O.D.: 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. 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.
- Hope Spot: Amber slowly begins making strides to get better, even trying to interact with Sal through Mario Kart, only to bear witness to Rachel tell Ruth that redemption doesn't exist and people don't change, then be "dumped" by Dorothy so Dorothy can catch up on her studies, and topped off by being confronted by Ryan. Naturally, this causes her to snap.
- 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.
- Taken even further due to recent events. She's so devoted to her perception of Sal as a villain to overcome that she blames Sal for "turning Danny against her" when he tried to convince her to stop being Amazi-Girl, and she defines Sal saving her life as "robbing Amazi-Girl of her dignity".
- Though the process is slow, she is trying to subvert this and ease into interacting with Sal..... via Mario Kart.
- 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 B.S.O.D., because that would make her not so different from her father.
- Knight Templar: Showing more and more signs of this concerning Sal, claiming that she stole her dignity, Amber's sanity, and now their Danny. Only time will tell how far she takes her vendetta against Sal.
- 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, who figured out he was gay right when they were about to have sex for the first time.
- Le Parkour: The action sequence starting here shows Amazi-Girl pulling off some impressive physical feats.
- 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?
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.
- Almost suffers another one after Danny kisses her in public. As it was widely known that he was dating Amazi-girl and not the "civilian" Amber, they previously agreed that he only treats her as a friend to protect her hero secret identity. This angers her so much that she swears at him, almost calls him some very nasty things and claims that while she needs him, she needs Amazi-Girl much more, ending their relationship on the spot.
- 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.
- Sanity Slippage: After seeing Rachel give Ruth a scathing "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how people don't change and can't redeem themselves, then Dorothy having to separate herself from Amazi-Girl to focus on studies, topped off by Ryan attacking them with a knife, Amber finally snaps and fully succumbs to her darker side. Fortunately for her, it's aimed at Ryan.
- Save the Villain: She keeps Ross from falling out of a moving car, even though he tried to kill her just seconds prior.
- Secret Identity: She's Amazi-Girl.
- Shrinking Violet: Was one during her childhood, but managed to grow out of it.
- Slasher Smile: When she reaches her breaking point and embraces her fathers genes, she tends to give these out. Two targets being Blaine himself, and a truly horrifying one to Ryan, right before she attacks him with his own knife.
- 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.
- Eventually exacerbated to the point where Amazi-Girl and Amber seem to now consider each other fully distinct.Amazi-Girl: First she took her sanity, then she took my dignity and now she's taken our Danny.
- Eventually exacerbated to the point where Amazi-Girl and Amber seem to now consider each other fully distinct.
- Stalker Without a Crush: As her Inspector Javert tendencies worsen, she begins flat-out stalking Sal.
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Not even the Alt Text is sure how she did it while halfway between outfits.
- Superheroes Wear CapesDorothy: It never gets in your way?
Amazi-Girl: It's very important psychologically. Adds ten bravery points. Any six-year-old knows that.
- Superpowered Evil Side: Subverted. She originally became Amazi-Girl as an outlet for her anger issues, but as her Split Personality worsens, it's Amber's breakdowns that cause the most damage.
- 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.
- Trauma Button: Sal. Amber can't even look at her without suffering traumatic flashbacks. (Amazi-girl can.)
- 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.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gets this from Sal, of all people, who chews her out for escalating the situation with Becky's father and risking Becky's and her own safety. Sal even warns her that she needs to sort out her issues or else she'll come after her, completely unaware that she is one of Amber's issues.
- Yaoi Fangirl: She might have spent an entire night reading Captain America / Iron Man Slash Fic.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame:
- Her reaction when a DeSanto rally eggs her on into attacking Sal by assuming that Sal was up to something and Amazi-Girl's actions were justified.
- After attacking Ryan as Amber, she has an hallucination of Blaine congratulating her on what she did to him. She is not pleased.
"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 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 eliciting humorous reactions from Joyce.
- Joyce is seen in several strips trying to unsuccessfully get a hold of Becky, foreshadowing Becky's troubles at school.
- For a short amount of time her character description mentioned that "she loves Joyce more than anything."
- Have I Mentioned I am Gay?: All the time, and to everybody, since her coming out.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Joyce, until Becky made her move and revealed that she had feelings for Joyce.
- Important Haircut: First shown here. Said haircut didn't go unnoticed, as many characters comment on it, such as Hank who is initially a little shocked, but ultimately is fine with it.
- 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 in this comment chain, she is currently worm food. A later strip implies that she committed suicide and Becky was the one who found her.
- Nice Girl: Becky can be a bit crude at times, but she's overall a very nice person.
- 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.
- Relationship Upgrade: With Dina.
- Sad Clown: Becky puts up a facade of cheerfulness but she's shown to still have it bad for Joyce, and she could be pulled out of Indiana University at a moment's notice. Understandably, she's pretty scared.
- Stepford Smiler: To a disturbing degree. Becky is shown to be very affected by everything that happened in her life, but she keeps smiling nonetheless and try to move on or ignore things that pain her greatly.
- Unknown Rival: She seems to think she and Dorothy are bitter rivals for the position of Joyce's BFF. Dorothy does not.
- Unrequited Love: After a bit of angst, she tells Joyce she understands that she was rejected and goes back to her flippant nature, but there have been a few strips that show Becky isn't as okay with the rejection as she let on. Certainly not helped by not only living with Joyce but sharing a bed with her.
- Wasn't That Fun?: Her immediate reaction to her dad's car overturning after a near-collision. "Again!!!"
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 AlcoholicBillie: 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.
- Butt-Monkey: Thanks to the above.
- 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.
- 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 B.S.O.D.: 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. It's downplayed overall as she still gives decent advice.
- Like an Old Married Couple: Dorothy described Billie and Walky this way early on in the strip. Billie was unamused.
- Like Brother and Sister: Their actual relationship, vouched for by them both, with shades of Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Not Helping Your Case: Ruth got her tickets to a football game by claiming she was a "troubled teen". Billie doesn't take this well.Billie: The Hell I'm a troubled teen! I'll punch you in you face!Ruth: Very convincing.
- 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.Willis: 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 B.S.O.D. 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.
- "The One Thing that angers you more than anything else in this world is that I exist."
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.
- Actually Pretty Funny: Initially declares the activities of the Whiteboard Ding-Dong Bandit to be a hate crime, but once it's clear that it struck everyone and just not her, she thinks it's hilarious.
- Asexuality: Ace homoromantic trans woman (as opposed to a trans-chassis Robot Girl).
- Berserk Button: Unsurprisingly, insulting Ultra Car. Walky stomps on it pretty hard.
- Changed My Mind, Kid: Carla really hates her selfless side, but she always comes back if she's well and truly needed.
- Decomposite Character: In a sense. Ultra Car is an in-universe cartoon character, who Carla has patterned herself on.
- Everyone Has Standards: Despite being a bit of a Jerkass, she's deeply uncomfortable with the idea of ganging up on Amazi-Girl, and would rather "assert her dominance via sweet pranks."
- Fingerless Gloves: She skates a lot, and the gloves stay on.
- Flipping the Bird: She does this a lot.
- Foil: To Jocelyne.
- Carla is openly trans and generally in-your-face, while Jocelyne remains closeted because she's terrified of how her fundamentalist family might react - she remains "accepted" at the cost of constant secret-keeping.
- Carla enjoys getting rises out of annoying people, while Jocelyne is more inclined to play peacemaker.
- Carla's parents run a technology company and she knows her way around a welding torch, while Jocelyne is an English major and Starving Artist.
- Hidden Depths:
- Tells Ruth that she's used to being everyone's acceptable loss after Mary misgenders her and Ruth fails to stand up for her.
- And you'd better watch out if you get her mad. That's a lot of chaotic energy to get directed your way there, Mary...
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Carla does what she likes when she likes it... but when she's the only one on-site to make sure the right thing happens, she'll do it.
- It's All About Me: Carla's got a very self-focused world view, for example she automatically assumes that some cookies of Billie's are automatically hers.
- Jerkass: Carla can be loud and obnoxious, but the point of her arc with Mary is that there is no minimum standard of behaviour she needs to reach to "deserve" her gender being acknowledged.
- Not What I Signed On For: She agrees to be a go-between for Billie and Ruth, unaware of how badly depressed Ruth is. Then she realizes she's basically being used as a suicide watch.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Carla's default state is loud, in-your-face and unapologetic. All of this goes out the window when Mary calls her a boy. All the energy goes out of her on the spot.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Mary, you pressed the misgender button. Ya shouldna done that.
- Significant Anagram: Ultra Car...ten? Net?
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: She didn't fix Joyce's jug shoes, aka a random stranger, to be nice, she did it to prove her superiority.
- Transgender: Carla is a trans woman, first confirmed by Word of God and then alluded to in the comic itself. It was only explicitly stated in-strip after Mary verbally assaulted her by stating that she didn't belong in the girls' wing of her dorm.
"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.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: As if the Wilcoxes weren't bad enough, Dorothy implies that Danny's mother was the one who sent her a photo frame with engraved scripture about the sanctity of marriage, not to mention being incredibly creepy toward her.
- Amicable Exes: Getting there with Dorothy, to the point where he came to her with his confusion over his sexuality.
- Bi the Way:
- 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?
- Extreme Doormat: Danny is very bad at asserting himself, and doesn't know how to handle affirmation. He tries to brush off Amber's guilt over nearly calling him a piece of shit in a fit of rage by telling her he's "used to stuff like that". Dorothy broke off their relationship in the first place because of this.
- Geeky Turn-On: Looking at pictures of dinosaurs.
- Has a Type: After being dumped by Dorothy, he immediately goes for Amber. Lampshades were hung.
- Incredibly Lame Fun:
- According to him, learning the rules can be fun. The person he's saying this to, Sal, thinks he's trying to be funny.
- He also seems to find doing laundry fun as well.
- 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.
- Oblivious to Hints: He was one of the only people to not figure out that Ethan's gay, despite a montage of major clues that Amber dropped.
- 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: Walky seems to think so, though it never went anywhere.
- Two-Person Love Triangle: With Amber/Amazi-Girl, prior to him finding out they're one and the same.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: He doesn't like lying to others, in no small part because he's just plain bad at it. He's very uncomfortable with "pretending" to date Amber during Freshman Family weekend. Subverted later on as he keeps Amber's identity secret easily.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Mild case. He seems to consider being in a relationship a way to prove to his parents that he's worthwhile.Danny: Mom? Dad? I know I screwed things up with Dorothy, but I found someone way better. I won't disappoint you this time!
"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...
- A Day in the Limelight: Is the star of the Walking with Dina storyline.
- Adorkable: All the time. But some times more than others.
- Ambiguously Bi: Or Pan. She kisses Becky at the party after getting fed up with the others acting like she's a child. She later states that she is unconcerned about her sexuality. Later she enters into a relationship with Becky.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Many fans have speculated that Dina could be on the Autism spectrum. Willis shrugged this off for a long time before admitting Dina was based on his own undiagnosed social deficiencies, and therefore probably has Asperger's Syndrome.
- Antiquated Linguistics: As pointed out by Sarah, Dina doesn't normally use contractions.
- 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.
- Asian and Nerdy: Her knowledge of dinosaurs and evolution makes her this.
- Beneath Notice:
- Often finds herself trapped between the door and the wall of the room she shares with Amber.
- She uses her lack of presence to her advantage when spying on Jacob and Raidah on Sarah's behalf. Note that when she was doing this, she was wearing her bright green triceratops hoodie.
- She is in fact generally aware that this trope is in play for her, and is not only fine with it but frequently exploits it to get into places she shouldn't be or listen in on conversations.
- 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.
- Also, don't treat her like a child.
- 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.
- Geeky Turn-On: She needs some alone-time, being unused to prolonged social interaction, but finding out that Becky had spent all night studying dinosaurs...Dina: Power levels at 100%.
- Iconic Item: Her Nice Hat. Defictionalized.
- Meaningful Name: Dina Saruyama. Oddly enough, it is pronounced DEE-na.
- Never Bareheaded:
- Never seen without some dinosaur-themed headgear. A bonus strip shows that she puts a showercap on over her dinosaur hat.Rachel: That hat's going to come off someday, and I'm gonna see it.
- Becky develops something of a fetish for seeing the top of Dina's head, and embarks on a determined quest to finally get her to take the hat off. This is a result of her religious upbringing drilling it into her head that all sexy parts must always be covered up, which has tricked her brain into thinking any part of the body that's always covered up must automatically be sexy.Becky: Joyce, I'm crackin' up. I've been havin' sexy dreams 'bout scalps, man. It ain't right. It ain't right.
- She does take off her hat for two strips to satisfy Becky's curiosity.
- Never seen without some dinosaur-themed headgear. A bonus strip shows that she puts a showercap on over her dinosaur hat.
- No Social Skills: As she puts it below: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.
- 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.
- Relationship Upgrade: With Becky.
- 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.
- Taught by Experience: When Amber's Archnemesis Dad appears, Dina makes the mistake of helping him locate her. When Becky's Archnemesis Dad appears, she has learned from her error and sends him on a wild goose chase.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cereal.
"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 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: Subverted. 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: 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.
- Meaningful Name: She takes her studies seriously; i.e. she's a keener. Word of God says that this was a total accident.
- Not So Above It All: She gets along surprisingly well with the screwballs that comprise the main cast.
- 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.
- Serious Business: Thank you notes, as Walky learns.
- 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...
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Dorothy wants to be President some day but is not enough of a people person to be any good at politics, as she quickly learns when she goes up against the extroverted Roz in her campaign to become the next RA.
"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: He was the main character of Shortpacked for a long time, before being superseded by Leslie and/or Robin. Here, his character has taken a step back, and is more of a recurring character without much going on besides his connection to Amber and Joyce.
- The Ditherer: Big time. He's reluctant to make his own decisions and tends to follow along with what other people want.
- 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.
- He Is All Grown Up: Amber mentions that he turned "suddenly hot" at 16.
- 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.
- Secret Keeper: Ethan is the only member of the cast who knows that Jocelyne is a trans woman. He is also one of just four people knowing Amber is the true identity of Amazi-Girl (other three being Dorothy, Danny and Dina).
- 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.
- Big "NO!": When he and Joyce are paired in a class assignment - and have to pretend to be married.
- 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:
- Everyone Has Standards: Even he seems disturbed by his dad's infidelity and sexual behavior.
- Faux Horrific: His reaction to Danny's choice to take up the Ukelele.
- 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.)
- When required to role-play part of a married couple in class, he gets very touchy and makes no secret of how he considers the whole idea a farce. Even Joyce, who usually can't stand him, asks if he's all right.
- 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.
- Identical Grandson: "Geez, Joe, your dad is just you with a beard."
- 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. When Danny tries tentatively to bring up his sexuality issues, Joe's response is to point-blank ask if he's gay or not, as he's not interested in "hand-holding" or dealing with feelings.
- Odd Friendship: Seems to have developed one with Joyce, who texts him during the time she's at home with Becky, usually asking for advice.
- Out of Focus: Over the last few years, Joe's been less prominent that he used to be, only making a few appearances every few months. He comes back into the plot somewhat when he starts helping Joyce with her new parental issues.
- Perma-Stubble: Has recently developed a massive amount of stubble. Whether he's trying to grow a beard like his Walkyverse counterpart or has just given up shaving isn't stated.
- 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.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Once they start getting along, Joe and Joyce happily offer advice to one another... and angrily text each other insults and other jabs.
"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 homeschooled young woman about to get the culture shock(s) of her life. She ends up rooming with Sarah.
- Achey Scars: She reflexively touches the mark on her hand when reminded of the party night.
- Adorkable: She tries very hard to make friends and can be incredibly cute (and awkward) because of her naiveté 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 hair), 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.
- Author Avatar: Sort of. Willis himself used to be a fundamentalist Christian (all of the characters in Roomies except Joe belonged to the same church youth group), and he has repeatedly stated that Joyce's journey from her fundamentalist worldview is autobiographical.
- 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:
- The world keeps sending Joyce difficult problems she is very ill-equipped to deal with, and she somehow manages to deal. That said, only Ethan is fully aware of how much pain Joyce is in over her life not going the way she thought it would.Jacob: I swear, there's so much pressure building up inside her, one day she's gonna snap and suck like a billion dicks.
Sarah: I dunno. That's what I've always sort of assumed, but she actually keeps surprising me. She doesn't break so easily.
- The after-effects of what Ryan did have left Joyce near-incapable of walking the campus grounds on her own, without some kind of a chaperone. Otherwise she starts seeing every male around as Ryan, followed by panic attacks.
- As of Broken, Joyce seems to have finally been broken by the realization that every part of her former worldview is wrong.
- The world keeps sending Joyce difficult problems she is very ill-equipped to deal with, and she somehow manages to deal. That said, only Ethan is fully aware of how much pain Joyce is in over her life not going the way she thought it would.
- 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, as she was the first girl Becky crushed on.
- 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.
- Death Glare: Joyce is very prone to give death glares, both for comedic but also dramatic purposes:
- Breaks out one when Sarah tries to give her a $20 for successfully swearing.
- When her mom is making mean remarks to Becky during diner, Joyce barely contains her anger, grinding her teeth at her.
- When John, her brother, made insensitive remarks and completly belittle Becky, she gives him a death glare and outright tells him he should watch his words. Shortly after, she snaps for the first time against a family member.
- Determinator: Sarah basically describes Joyce as fitting this trope.Sarah: I don't mean any of that as a compliment, by the way. It is actually quite annoying.
- 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: Subverted, 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.Joyce: 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.
- After Becky's father kidnaps her at gunpoint, she snaps and begins using "damn", "goddamn", "hell", and "asshole".
- Heroic B.S.O.D.: After the incident in which she was drugged and almost became a rape victim, Joyce developed a serious post traumatic stress disorder, and is now unable to move around the campus without being accompanied by someone, otherwise she freezes in place because she is seeing the face of her aggressor everywhere.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Played for Drama with her Date Rape Averted, but Played for Laughs when she sends Becky out to invite Mike to her dorm party.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: She throws 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 about moral foundations? 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, her sibling 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"!)
- Innocent Inaccurate: Due to her being (mostly) The Ingenue - taken to its extreme when Sarah comments that she doesn't need to date because she has "toys".
- And while dating Ethan, everyone quips "Have you tried a strap-on?" when she mentions wearing something he'd like.Joyce: Everyone keeps saying that! Does anyone have one of these "strap-ons" I can borrow? I'm like a size six.
- And while dating Ethan, everyone quips "Have you tried a strap-on?" when she mentions wearing something he'd like.
- 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.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Joyce never swears, and while she has been irritated from time to time she has never been seen outright angry, and is somewhat shy around people she admires or that she finds cool, such as Sal. When Becky is kidnapped by her dad, Joyce snaps. She SCREAMS "Damn it!", is in full-blown rage-mode, and outright demands Sal take her to Becky on her motor-cycle.Dorothy: Oh, jeez, Joyce, I've been so worried. I'm so, so relieved.
Becky: Also Joyce totally swore!
Joyce: I said "Dammit" a bunch.
Dorothy: HOLY SHIT, ARE YOU OKAY?!
- Picky Eater:
- She has a thing about different foods touching and a very low tolerance for spices or condiments, including gravy. John figures she would've died of starvation in India.
- When Becky starts waiting tables at Galasso's, she doesn't even need to ask for Joyce's order.
- The Pollyanna: See the character quote. Sal lampshades it.
- Rage Breaking Point: Joyces goes absolutely berserk after seeing her best friend, Becky, being kidnapped, and even goes as far as punching Becky's dad, successfully knocking him out.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning:
- Joyce's blue eyes turn to red after punching Ross, Becky's father. She was about to kick him while he was down until Becky stopped her.
- The red eyes make a return after John, Joyce's brother, keeps making insensitive comments about Becky's situation and acts patronising. Joyce, after having heard enough, snaps:John: Just listen to yourself Joyce, you sound so angry. So bitter.
Joyce: BECAUSE I AM!
- Sex Is Evil and I Am Horny:
- No, seriously. Combines with the Date Rape Averted to create a Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality—not to mention a Nightmare Sequence.
- And to repeat: she's still more stable than her mainline-canon version. In her first chronological appearance in Roomies!, she freaks out at the sight of the Showalter Fountain. Here in DoA she walks by it without even an eyelid twitch. (She later explains to Becky that she's suppressing her reaction, in this specific case.)
- Willis lampshaded the Mind Screw with a poll about Joyce's dream in which the only possible response was a Flat "What." Not that any other choices were really necessary.
- 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.Joyce: What? Is anything wrong?
Joe: Excuse me I've gotta go find a vest. And my eyebrows.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Came to college explicitly 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 Lawful or Good: Struggles with having to choose between her friends and her religion, and she makes it clear she'll choose "good" every time.
- Trauma Conga Line: Before her first month at college is through, she's already been nearly date-raped, and then nearly been shot by her best friend's father.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Given her serious problems dealing with her sexuality, you shouldn't read too much into her response to finding out gay porn exists. Nevertheless...
"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?
- Bi the Way: He's willing to sleep with men, if only to mess with people further.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Outright calls himself an "irredeemable one-dimensional troll of a non-person".
- 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.
- Crazy-Prepared: Turns out he keeps files on everybody to be more efficiently insulting.
- Flat Character: So far, very little of his motivation or background have been revealed. This stands in enormous contrast to the effect he has on people and plotlines, to the point that it's easier to think of him as a walking plot device rather than a person.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: The reason Ethan chose not to room with him. Really, pretty much no one properly likes him in-universe, and it is a running mystery why his presence is tolerated so well.
- 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.
- On the other hand, because his motivations are so murky, the "gold" is only visible in the effect something he said or did has had. At best his heart is maybe closer to tarnished copper or iron or very, very well hidden.
- 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. However, whereas Walkyverse!Mike typically went for low-hanging fruit in his jerkassery, Dumbiverse!Mike is more of an emotional manipulator, which leads to...
- Manipulative Bastard: Dumbiverse Mike's modus operandi. The "help" he provides necessarily requires him to have an insight into human nature that goes way beyond what a college freshman typically would, bordering on being some sort of Required Secondary Power. (It's to the degree that, if Amazi-Girl represents Batman's "hard power" aspect, Mike is the "soft power".)
- Perpetual Frowner: He is never seen without his trademark scowl.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Given the choice between money and the chance to punch people (well, just Joe so far), he picks the latter.
- Sink-or-Swim Mentor: This appears to be Mike's purpose 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. Or something.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Calls Ethan out for dating Joyce despite being gay just to make himself feel better about how messed up things are with Amber.
"Time for 'random' drug searches."
The RA of Joyce's dorm, Ruth basically sets herself up as a dictator who keeps her "subjects" in line through over-the-top threats. As the comic goes on, however, it becomes increasingly clear that she has issues...
- 0% Approval Rating: Pretty much nobody on her floor actually likes Ruth as their R.A. (though Rachel states they'd still much rather deal with her than Mary).
- Abusive Parents: Her parents are dead, but her grandfather is a verbally and emotionally abusive control freak who sees her as an investment instead of a person.
- The Alcoholic: In an especially vicious cycle, considering her past.
- Berserk Button: Don't mention the Ottawa Sens. And don't mention that they're doing better than her favoured team, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Naturally, Billie does both of these in quick succession.
- 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?
- Canadian Equals Hockey Fan: Specifically, a die-hard Maple Leafs fan.
- Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Her threat to beat people to death with their own femurs if they skip the initial floor meeting becomes memetic In-Universe.
- 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. And her hideously abusive, controlling grandfather doesn't help either.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Ruth got into drinking as an escape regarding her parent's death by drunk driver.
- Hidden Depths: Harassing Billie turns out to be an outlet for her own self-loathing and a host of other deep psychological issues.
- Lesser of Two Evils: Many of the residents consider Mary to be much worse than Ruth, and would prefer her to Mary.
- 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:Dina: Ruth Lessick? Is that why you nicknamed her "Ruthless?"
Mandy: Sshh I want to keep my femurs!
- Mood-SwingerWalky: Your unpredictable mood changes are frightening an' disorienting.
Ruth: Awww, thanks for noticing.
- 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. Escalates to OfficialCouple.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Ruth is not one of nature's most cheerful people, even without the baggage she has. So when Billie finds her being nice, and saying it's good to see her, she's alarmed.Billie: Oh my god. They drugged the shit out of you, didn't they.
Ruth: Uh, yeah. Duh. You were there when they started handing me pills yesterday.
- 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."
- Redemption Quest: After her breakdown, Ruth seems to be trying to work her way toward redemption. Though Rachel for one is brutally cynical about the idea.
- 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. They both know they're toxic presences, that they're struggling alcoholics and they'll probably kill themselves or each other at some point. They don't care. After being given medication though, Ruth loses her Death Seeker mindset.
- 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: Ruth herself isn't sure whether she's this or Experimented in College. 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.
- 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.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She has long, dark hair, a stoic and aloof attitude, and attracts admirers whether or not she wants to.
- Ambiguously Brown: In-universe when Joyce tries asking what race the Walkerton twins are.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.
- Biker Babe: Her motorcycle is her preferred mode of transport, and she's usually wearing leather jackets.
- 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.
- Commander Contrarian: Part of her anti-authoritarian nature means that if told not to do something by a figure of authority, well...
- 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. Joyce has written theme songs for it.
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority: She's very anti-authoritarian and, in her own words, doesn't like "organized anything."Becky: So... Billie moved out an' gave me her bed 'cuz my dad found out I'm gay an' I got pulled outta school an' I'm homeless an' please don't tell anyone in charge an' also she said this would appeal to yer "innate desire to rebel against any an' all authority". Her words, not mine.
Sal: (Beat) Tell Billie she was right, an' also "Fuck you, wiseass."
- 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.
- Also expanded on, she got into fights in school when a bully attacked and badly injured Marcie, getting away with it because the faculty refused to believe Sal's word... so she attacked him in the playground.
- 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.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Her leather jacket goes with her motorcycle.Walky: My parents sent her to a Catholic boarding school after she, y'know, held up two convenience stores. Though I kinda expected her to find Jesus, not leather.
- 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 Sal's hand. This is presumably why she always wears gloves.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: More aloof than an outright jerk, but despite her attempts to stay away from the issues of the cast, she almost always steps up to help them when asked. Notable instances include helping Joyce work through her post-Ryan issues and searching for Billie all night after she went missing.
- 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 character's first reaction to her is slack-jawed awe.
- Noodle Incident: She somehow lost her virginity due to an Apples to Apples game at her boarding school.
- Not Good with People: It's one of the reasons for her isolation, she finds it hard to open up to others, including her own brother, and feels people are only taking an interest in her to "fix" her attitude. It's lampshaded in a strip where she openly confesses it to Walky... and then notes that that's probably why she was only able to open up to him after he'd already walked away.
- Not a Morning Person: What with spending all night out, Sal tends to be very grouchy in the morning, as Joyce and Becky's throats can attest (though in fairness to Sal, that specific incident was them hovering over her bed).
- Oblivious to Love: Not regarding anyone who has a crush on her, but for the longest time she just couldn't figure out the glaringly obvious reason why Marcie wanted to hang out with Malaya so much.Sal: Whaddaya mean, you already told me? Ah think ah woulda remembered this.
Marcie: [signing] That? I wanna hit.
Sal: [clenching her fist] Oh, ah'd love to punch 'er, too.
- Odd Friendship: She's developed a wary mutual respect with Amazi-girl—mostly due to their mutual interest in catching the boy who roofied Joyce — while remaining completely ignorant of the unwitting role she played in Amazi-girl's creation.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Sal's a temperamental sort, especially when the subject of her parents and their favoritism towards Walky comes up, so when Linda sends Walky a large box of cookies and Sal barely anything... she just shrugs it off.
- Sal allows her hair to go natural and dresses and behaves like a very different girl on parents' weekend — all to no avail as her mother ignores her anyway, though she does get some attention from her father.
- 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.
- Rebel Relaxation: She does this a lot (leading Joyce to imitate her), and even asks Jason to prop her up like this when she's too wasted to manage it herself.
- Sibling Rivalry: With Walky, for their parents' attention.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: What with her temper, and her general disregard for social norms, Sal does swear often. Especially when she's really annoyed (like, say, when getting too into Mario Kart...)
- Stealth Hi/Bye: Prefers windows to doors, a trait she shares with her mainline-canon counterpart.
- 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.
- 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...
- There Was a Door: While not exactly to the extent of the original Sal, she does have a habit, which initially annoys Billie. A lot.Billie: OUR ROOMMATE AGREEMENT WILL REQUIRE THE USE OF FUCKING DOORS! DO YOU HEAR ME?!
- The Unfavorite: And extremely irked that her brother still refuses to acknowledge it.
- She refuses to drop her math class despite initially struggling because she doesn't want another lecture from her parents about how she's a failure.
- Word of God states that that Sal's botched juvenile convenience store robberies were a cry for attention from her parents.
- Sal 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.
- Made even worse when Mrs. Walkerton sends them a care package. Walky and Billie get similarly sized boxes filled with cookies (which incidentally include Billie's favourite), while Sal gets a much smaller box. And after some digging from Walky, all he finds is another box for Dorothy.
"Yeah, I'm gonna keep ten paces behind you."
A bitter (for very complicated reasons) sophomore, who ends up rooming with Joyce.
- Adaptational Heroism: Roomies Sarah was defined largely by her indifference and dislike of Joyce, and everyone in general, to the extent she helped Bart O'Ryan slander SEMME.
- 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: 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.
- Good Is Not Nice: Sarah's a good person, but also a very cynical and bitter person.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: At the end of Book 1, Sarah confesses to actually caring about Joyce under her prickly demeanor.
- I Did What I Had to Do: And it should be pointed out that, by and large, the fandom is on her side here. But since Dana was a Stepford Smiler and none of her friends caught on, they all consider Sarah to have crossed the Moral Event Horizon.
- 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 GlassesSarah: So you already know I'm a bitchy killjoy misanthrope.
- 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 Fašade: 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.)
- My God, What Have I Done?: A non-verbal version, but it's all over her face when Jacob explains how much he dislikes being viewed only as eye-candy.
- 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!"Sal's twin brother. A very juvenile young man, who may or may not be smarter than he looks. 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: See Sal above.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:
- He's 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.
- As the comic goes on, this starts to backfire on him as the work gets harder, causing him to panic a bit because he has no studying skills.
- 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: Like Ethan above, Walky's importance is significantly downplayed. His mainline counterpart was the Main Character 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.
- Genius Ditz: While he's naturally bright, he's also more than a little eccentric. Best evidenced with the final two panels of this strip.Walky: Yeah [Dorothy knows that Ethan's gay], but she needed you to spell it out for her. Me, I'm just a genius... Are my pants on backwards?
- 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.Dorothy: 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.
- Morality Pet: Billie tends to avoid the worst of his childishness, and he dials it down even further when he thinks she's hurting.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Despite being a lazy, childish dork who sleeps in and watches cartoons all day instead of studying, he gets great grades. Until the newer material comes up, and he can't just coast on stuff he already knows.
- 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. At first, they were less "friends" and more "people who share two classes, a lunch gap, and a mutual friend in Dorothy," though Walky later introduced Joyce to Dexter and Monkey Master. All this is particularly amusing because in the Walkyverse, they're THE Official Couple.
- Old Shame: In-Universe, 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.
- 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". Dorothy calls him David when she wants him to be serious.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: He's done this a couple times, once by calling Joyce "crazy brainwashed" when she was standing just off-panel, and the other by almost saying "gun to my head" after Becky's dad had taken her hostage with a gun. He at least realized his error before the words left his mouth that time.
- 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. Danny didn't figure it out until midway through book five, and only because he saw them sitting together at a party.
- 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 from high school, who decided to break all ties with her over her self-destructive behavior.
- Bi the Way: Alice confirms that she and Billie were more than just friends in a way that also confirms she's not particularly happy about it.
- 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 was just starting to come to a similar conclusion herself only to have Alice hammer it home in no uncertain terms:Walky: "I just want the, y'know, old Billie back."Billie: "Well, I'm pretty fuckin' sure I don't."Alice: "Finally, an epiphany. You should have taken the damn clue when I didn't talk to you all summer."
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).
- A Date with Rosie Palms: On hearing the rumours about Leslie and Robin, she declares that among the things she needs is "time in the bathroom", with illustrations.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Definitely believes in this and is constantly looking for it. For instance, in a Patreon strip when she overhears the confrontation between Amazi-Girl and Sal at the DeSanto rally while on the toilet, her first reaction is to imagine something steamy.
- Skewed Priorities: The above, due to the below, and best exemplified when she's informed that Amazi-Girl is real.
- You Need to Get Laid: Apparently it's been a while; she references this with varying degrees of subtlety all the time.
Owner of Galasso's Pizza and Subs, a restaurant near campus the cast frequent. Tolerated by the student body because his food is just that good.
- Adaptational Heroism: Not nearly as shady as his Walkyverse counterpart, with nothing like the customer protection rackets existing and in fact does want his customers to be happy, something his counterpart couldn't care less about. The worst he does is fire someone for not breaking someone's spirit.
- Do Wrong, Right: Fires Syndey Yus not for purposefully giving Becky and Dina the wrong pizza...but because it failed to break the couple's spirit like Syndey claimed, just confused them.
- Evil Overlord: Plays the part...despite owning a Pizza Parlor.
- Happily Married: His wife is still alive in this continuity.
- Large Ham: Frequently calls his customers fools and shouts everything.
- Nice Hat: Wears a Chef's hat, one of the few real differences between him and his Walkyverse counterpart.
- Pet the Dog: Sponsors the School's coming out group, if partly because gender confuses him.
- Supreme Chef: Why everyone tolerates his behavior: he has the best pizza on campus.
- Third-Person Person: Wouldn't be Galasso without it.
Ethan's roommate, Joe's new main man and Sarah's pre-law classmate (and lust object).
- Chick Magnet: Roz has been 'sniffing' around him for a while and Sarah goes almost non-verbal when they first meet, only for Raidah to beat both of them to the punch.
- Deadpan SnarkerWalky: I came as soon as I heard Dexter & Monkey Master.
Jacob: I bet you did.
- Mr. Fanservice: Introduced working out while shirtless (which kicked off the "Sexiest Man" poll). This, uh, makes things difficult for Ethan. And for Jacob, too, as it turns out. He finds people only being interested in him for sex dehumanizing.
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: Male example.
The TA of Joyce, Walky, Sal, Billie and Mike's freshmen math class.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: With Sal for all of about four strips before they go straight to the belligerent sex. It's more evident with Penny, who derides him for being "emotionally unavailable".
- British Stuffiness: Complete with bowtie, sweater and overly-prim vocabulary.
- Culture Clash: He is clearly having some trouble aligning himself with the needs of his students, and this seems to be the cause.
- Double Standard: Penny comments on this when Jason comments on her having a relationship with a student, saying that people actually like her, so if she's caught, nobody will care. On the other hand, most people find Jason to be an irritable prick, so if he's caught in a relationship with a student (which he is), he'd be the one to lose his job and reputation.
- Everyone Has Standards: He is not above having sex with one of his students but he is above allowing that to affect her grade.
- 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 not particularly surprising metawise, as their intense but ultimately doomed attraction to each other was one of the most stable elements of the Walkyverse where they originated.
The lesbian teacher of the freshmen gender studies class.
- Berserk Button: Treating one of your fellow students like crap. Roz's attack on Joyce is so far the only thing to truly anger Leslie.
- 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.
- Fanservice Pack: She briefly undoes her top and does her hair up when Robin stops by, much to Joe and Walky's distress. Robin does (eventually) admit she thinks it makes her "super-cute".
- First-Name Basis:
- One of the first things she tells her class is to call her Leslie; the Punny Name would probably stand out a lot more in DoA.
- She tends to refer to Robin as "Congresswoman Desanto". This ends on finding Robin asleep in her bed.
- Horrible Judge of Character: She seems to be drawn to women that will use and abuse her, such as Robin and Anna.
- My God, What Have I Done?:
- An understated moment occurs when she realizes she brought Robin, someone whose political views clash with the lessons she's trying to teach her students, to her class just for the sake of her own misplaced crush. She quickly shoos Robin out of the room and starts a new lesson plan.
- She has another right after after refusing to let Dorthy question Robin about Ryan working for her, in order to get his name, Dorothy explains why she was asking about him, utterly crushing Leslie with the realization that her own attempts to fix her mess only let a rapist get away.
- Only Sane Man: It's beginning to dawn on her that she's one of the few trustworthy authority figures her students have. Even including the students, she's still one of the most level-headed characters.Leslie: Need to wear, like, a sandwich board that says, 'Sorry about all those other adults. I promise I'm mostly OK.'
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Willing to listen to and understand her students.
- Sell-Out: For a while, she was hesitatingly willing to dismiss her political beliefs to support Robin's political campaign, though she tried to hide her identity during so.
- Suddenly Sober: When Joyce points out Robin's anti-gay sentiments, which the latter cannot defend, she sulkingly buttons up her top, which she had previously undone in hopes of catching Robin's attention.
- UST: With Robin. It kicks into overdrive when they start spending time together in Leslie's (very) cramped kitchen. While Leslie is partially undressed and still wearing her hair done up to catch Robin's attention.
Malaya's roommate, avid comic book fan, and Nice Girl.
- Black and Nerdy: Combined with hints of Yaoi Fangirl, at least if this is any indication.
- Demoted to Extra: While a major character in the last few years of Shortpacked! , she's an extremely minor one here.
- Irony: Considering the... um, challenging cast of this strip, Mayala could've done a lot worse than Lucy as far as roommates go. Doesn't stop her from acting like she's a nightmare.
- Nice Girl: Despite Malaya calling Lucy her "awful roommate" and insisting that she's "the worst," Lucy is very friendly and amiable. Though she can be a bit too excited about her shipping.
A roller-derby skater who hangs out with Sal and Marcie.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Sal isn't sure why Marcie lets Malaya hang around so much, and Carla's not overly fond of Malaya either. That doesn't mean the group 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.
- One strip implies she's actually more capable of studying than Walky.
- Jerkass: Like her Walkyverse counterpart, she happens to be kind of a jerk.
- Ms. Fanservice: One strip shows off her rear end and she tends to wear revealing clothing.
- Oblivious to Love: Has no idea Marcie is interested in her. Whether it's out of disinterest or cluelessness is unknown.
- Phrase Catcher:Sal: Goddammit, Malaya.
Sal's closest friend since childhood, Marcie is a mute 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.
- Ascended Extra: A notable example: Her Walkyverse counterpart had two appearances total that weren't in the background or as a general part of her squad. Here, while not main cast, Marcie is a major supporting cast member and Sal's best friend and confidant.
- Bare Your Midriff: Rarely if ever seen in an outfit that doesn't do this.
- Bi the Way: First confirmed by Word of God.
- Cool Shades: Only ever seen wearing red shades / goggles. (She has apparently always done so.)
- Clingy Jealous Girl: In a Patreon Exclusive, she locked a nude model in a closet after finding out Malaya was going to paint said Model, then told the teacher she was substituting.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Be it illness or injury, she lost her voice somehow.
- Death Glare: Shoots Sal one after she starts a fight with Amazi-Girl at Robin's rally.
- Incompatible Orientation: When a fed-up Sal demands to know what Marcie could possibly see in Malaya that Sal can't provide, Marcie replies that she wants to bang her. Though it turns out that Marcie doesn't even know what Malaya's orientation is, and doesn't want to make a move until she does, so Malaya could turn out to be incompatible as well. For the record, Sal thinks it's pretty obvious that she's straight and Marcie is wasting her time.Sal: Does she look at other girls? Does she look at you? Lookit those knockers you got. They're a singularity from which no light can escape. Has she snuck a glance once?
- Irony: The one person Sal "listens to" can't speak.
- Morality Chain: Marcie tends to reign in Sal's more destructive behavior and at times acts as her conscience.
- Mysterious Past: It's unknown just HOW she lost her voice, just that she lost it as a kid and that Sal knows why but isn't willing to share.
- Only Friend: Marcie is Sal's oldest and closest real friend, and Sal feels very threatened when she starts hanging out with Malaya.
- Signed Language: Communicates using sign language, which Sal is capable of understanding. Malaya also picks it up later, albeit with far less skill.
- 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."
- Undying Loyalty: To Sal. Despite fighting with her on occasion, she moved all the way to campus and into a cramped apartment just to support Sal, knowing her friend would be lonely that far away and need someone to lean on.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Chews out Sal via text for picking a fight with Amazi-Girl while she was running security.
Roz's super-uptight room-mate, whose main personality traits are her "judging you" face and being even more of a fundamentalist than Joyce.
- Big "NO!": When the only volunteers for her 'prayer meeting' are a Mormon and a hippy who wants to dissolve gender roles.
- Mary has found out about Billie and Ruth's relationship, and she's not above holding it over Billie, either. If it had been anyone else, she probably wouldn't need to be concerned, but...
- The penny drops when she explicitly blackmails Ruth so she doesn't get in trouble for deliberately misgendering Carla.
- Bullying a Dragon: Yes, Mary. Kick Ruth while she's strung out and can't move against you this very second. That can't go wrong at all...
- Completely Missing the Point: Among the accusations she makes of Ruth, one of them is that she's "defiling" Billie.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Upon hearing Ruth mention a "charade" (pretending not to be depressed and hungover), she instantly assumes Ruth trying to stand up for Carla was done for the sake of "liberal brownie points". Ruth's brain visibly short-circuits trying to process this.
- Evil Counterpart: To Joyce. Both begin the strip as religious fundamentalists with narrow worldviews. Yet while Joyce is a Love Freak who doesn't realize that there's a lot of poison in her upbringing and begins Character Development immediately, Mary looks down her nose at everyone.
- Eviler Than Thou: Everyone's aware that Ruth is a terrible Resident Assistant, but after finding out what Mary did to her, they unanimously agree that Mary is far worse.Mary: [After Billie punches her and everyone does nothing but glare at Mary in pure contempt.] Why are you siding with her against me? It was Ruth who was a terrible R.A.!
Rachel: Yeah, she was. But we can multitask.
- Fan of the Past: She worships Ronald Reagan, declaring him "the last great President". Then Roz points out a few things...
- Finger-Tenting: Yeah, she's evil.
- Foil: To Joyce, as with Evil Counterpart. If Joyce is a religious fundamentalist gone right, then Mary is definitely one gone wrong.
- The Fundamentalist: Joyce is intensely religious, but at least tries to be friendly and understanding of others. Mary doesn't.
- Hypocrite: Mary immediately shames Walky for doing nothing when he suspected that something was wrong in Billie's life, blaming him for any harm that might result from his silence. This, after she knew far more about the situation than he ever did and was outright blackmailing both parties.
- Holier Than Thou: "Everyone's done something wrong" (except her, obviously).
- Laser-Guided Karma: Gets hit with a truckload of this after a while.
- After misgendering Carla and then blackmailing Ruth to get away with it, Carla sets up an elaborate prank on her, being fairly delebirate in that she's planning something to make Mary nervous. Then getting Mary to steal a box from her containing a pie to the face, followed by a giant laser display of Carla's name, to rub Mary's face in the fact she exists.
- After trying to use her blackmail to get a prayer going during the dorm meeting, Ruth ignores the issue entirely and Mary's attempt to pray after only attract the attention of a Mormon and a gender role breaking hippie.
- After Ruth is hospitalised by the psychological damage Mary caused, Billie gives Mary a taste- no mouthful of her own medicine by telling everyone in the dorm how Mary blackmailed her and Ruth, so they know to go to the Resident Manager with that information should Mary try to mess with them too. Now she can't even report Billie for punching her without getting exposed as a blackmailer.
- Finally after trying to out Ruth as an alchoholic after blackmailing her and said blackmail lands Ruth in the psyche ward, she gets punched in the face by Billie and finds out the entire dorm can't stand her.
- Obviously Evil: No one who spends much time with Mary doubts that she's a horrible person. When Billie tells everyone in the dorm how Mary blackmailed her and Ruth, no-one is surprised. Some had even guessed.Rachel: (to Grace) What's your ballpark figure on how many puppies she's murdered?
- No True Scotsman: She doesn't consider Robin a true "family values" candidate because she comes from divorced parents and is unmarried at 30, which Mary considers "conspicuous."
- Red and Black and Evil All Over: Her color scheme tends to favor these colors. (Contrary to her character image above.)
- Smug Snake: She seems to think simply having blackmail material makes her invincible. Too bad for her she's not exactly a master manipulator; her attempts thus far have embarrassingly blown up in her face.
- Straight Man: Her limited non-asshole interactions with people consist mostly of bemoaning the wacky nature of the setting and the rest of the cast. Comes to a head when her attempts to study clashes with Carla's distracting antics.
- Tautological Templar: Mary doesn't even get what little sympathy comes with being a Well-Intentioned Extremist. Her interactions with Ruth and Carla prove that she only cites her so-called moral high-ground when it serves her own interests. For example, no matter what her beliefs regarding same-sex relationships, Blackmail is not the Christian way.
- 0% Approval Rating: No one on the floor likes her, and when she gets socked by Billie for trying to turn her against Carla despite the fact Mary's blackmail led to Ruth getting into a bad enough state that she's in the hospital no one stands up for her. She also doesn't appear to have a single friend among the student body.
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.
- Even Evil Has Standards: She's more of a jerk than outright evil, but she calls out Char for mocking Dina for her (perceived) mental impairment.
- Hypocrite: Tells Jacob that she cut Sarah out of her life for her own well-being, the exact same reason Sarah called Dana's dad.
- Jerkass: She may draw the line at "retarded", but she still calls Dina "mentally-challenged" to her face and talks down to her like a small child. That's not going into the way she's treated Sarah...Dina: Her tone of voice and her posture denotes condescension, correct?
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Shows Undying Loyalty to Dana.
- No Pronunciation Guide: Joyce enunciates "Rah-ee-dah" for Billie's benefit.
- Self-Serving Memory: Conveniently leaves out her continued harassment of Sarah when telling Jacob about Sarah punching her, along with Sarah's apology the very next day.
Congresswoman Robin DeSanto
Roz's older sister and the young congresswoman of the local district. Only more slightly grounded than her main universe incarnation, she got elected on a "family values" platform, which Roz translates as "non-stop pandering to scared homophobic white dudes".
- Armored Closet Gay: One of most the homophobic anti-LGBT voices in Congress according to Roz, but get two drinks in her and she's all over Leslie. Her refusal to admit she is bisexual, while still enforcing anti-LGBT endorsements, leads her to being a Broken Pedestal in Leslie's eyes.
- Bi the Way: This Robin is a closet case.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
- Somehow manages to become a congresswoman, despite being Robin.
- It's eventually subverted after being caught kissing Leslie and making several destructive comments causes her Party to stop supporting her.
- Gay Conservative:
- Roz immediately notices her attraction to Leslie.
- This gets deconstructed hard in book seven, as Leslie has to struggle with being attracted to someone who actively supports homophobic policies to get ahead. Likewise, Robin is having a very hard time denying that she's not straight.
- Jerkass: Even more selfish than her Walkyverse counterpart, on top of supporting several republican policies just to get ahead no matter who they hurt.
- Laser-Guided Karma: After several days of invading Leslie's apartment, she finally leaves after learning her Party has dropped her.
- No Party Given: Played with. 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.
- Oh, Crap!: Has this expression when Joyce turns out to be fairly well informed and asks how she could vote for an anti-gay bill.
- Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Her eyesight's fine; she only wears glasses to make a good impression.
- Same Character, but Different: 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.
- Transparent Closet:
- Her attraction to Leslie is pretty noticeable, and her attempts to deny it are...less than convincing.
- Yeah, she's sitting on Leslie's sofa, and yeah, they're watching Steven Universe, and yeah, they're holding hands. Robin still swears she's not into Leslie (and that they're barely holding hands).
- Unwanted Assistance: She decides to try and help Leslie. Unfortunately, her actions leave a lot to be desired, since Robin takes her usual thoughtless approach to all of it.
Robin's extremely liberal younger sister, with very strong ideas on sexual freedom.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Joe. (The joke is that they're the same age in this continuity, so they find and sleep with each other in the first week.)
- Establishing Character Moment: Handing out prophylactics. Just after having casual sex with Joe (which she recorded).
- Ethical Slut: In her own mind.
- Everyone Has Standards: She may dislike Joyce, but she's willing to back off after Ross attempts to kidnap Becky.
- The Matchmaker: Trying to set up Robin and Leslie.
- Not So Different: with her older sister, Congresswoman Robin DeSanto.
- Sibling Rivalry: With Robin. Not only are Robin's reactionary, anti-choice politics the complete reverse of Roz's, but Robin repeatedly treats her like a prop for her campaign.
- Soapbox Sadie:
- She's progressive, but tends to be rather obnoxious, condescending and self-righteous about it.Roz: The "church" that forced kids out of their homes and into the streets? That was you. Until today, that was you.
- Roz is also nonplussed that Leslie is adamantly not okay with Roz shaming Joyce in the class. Roz asks if Joyce gets a pass for shouting over and ignoring gay people her whole life, to which Leslie counters "Said the straight girl to the gay girl who's been asking her to shut up for the past five minutes." When called on her hypocrisy, Roz leaves the class.
- She's progressive, but tends to be rather obnoxious, condescending and self-righteous about it.
The son of a pastor that Joyce meets at a college party. A date rapist and an all-around terrible person.
- Adaptational Villainy: Ryan in the Walkyverse was hardly a nice person by any stretch of the imagination, having manipulated a much younger Ruth into having sex with him and then moving on to his next "conquest", but here he's an outright attempted rapist.
- As the Good Book Says...: Is quite fond of quoting Bible verses, which is what he uses to make Joyce believe he's a nice guy.
- Attempted Rape: Tries this on Joyce, but luckily Sarah's there to stop him with a baseball bat.
- Bait the Dog: He introduces himself to Joyce speaking bible verses and treats her with respect. This is all part of his plan to get her alone and attempt to drug and rape her.
- Big Bad: He is the main antagonist of "Yesterday Was Thursday", and he continues to remain at large for 6 books afterwards.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: If you didn't know anything about him, he'd seem like a perfectly nice guy, since his true nasty personality only comes through when he loses his patience.
- Blatant Lies: When asked to clarify a Bible quote sent to him by his mom.Ryan: Just some random thing about, y'know, Jesus.
- Bullying a Dragon: He knows that Amber / Amazi-Girl can kick his ass, and still thinks a knife is all he needs. Needless to say, he bit off about fifty times more than he can chew.
- The Bus Came Back: He makes his first real appearance (as opposed to a nightmare or fear hallucination) after his debut arc as a DeSanto supporter during one of her rallies.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- Parts of his plan fail due to this. He sent Joyce off to get friends to play games with them while he drugs her drink, not anticipating her actually gathering a bunch of drunks. Revealing his true nature to Joyce and attempting to drag her away with eyes on him didn't exactly go well for him either since it got him scarred by Joyce and beaten by a bat wielding Sarah.
- He falls victim to this again when he decides to hunt down Joyce and her friends, after a brawl with Amazi-Girl. He's ecstatic when he finally confronts her, ready to overpower her with a knife. He fails to consider that maybe the superhero who chased him down might be all too willing to fight back.
- Dramatic Irony: The Bible verse his mother sent him, 2 Corinthians 11:14, reads: "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." This describes Ryan to a tee.
- Faux Affably Evil: The mask of the pleasant pastor's son slips off when his patience wears thin.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: When he finally shows up again in person at the end of Book 6 into the beginning of Book 7, it's revealed that the wound he sustained from Joyce smacking him with her glass ended up scarring.
- Hypocrite: Quotes "you reap what you sow" at Joyce, eager to get revenge on her for hurting him. It doesn't seem to occur to him that the quote applies to him for everything he's done.
- It's All About Me: Yes, how dare Joyce defend herself from a potential rapist?
- Jerkass: Entitled, misogynistic, and absolutely vile in his every scene.
- Karma Houdini: Double subverted. He gets smashed in his face with a glass and hit with a bat for his actions, only to escape any permanent consequences.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: His luck finally runs out when he makes the mistake of threatening Amber with a knife.
- Knight of Cerebus: The first truly horrible character to appear in the strip, whose actions have heavy repercussions on Joyce's psyche.
- Knife Nut: After tracking down Amber and Dorothy, he aimed to stab them, then go after Joyce next. Unfortunately, he chose to take on Amber first.
- Manipulative Bastard: Easily picks out Joyce from a crowd as an good mark and quickly figures out what will gain her favor. At one point, he has her hold "his" drugged drink and then distracts her enough that she forgets where she got it and starts drinking it.
- Nothing Is Scarier: To Joyce, in a way. The fact he's still out there with no idea where he could be terrifies her.
- Plot Armor:
- He manages to somehow crawl away from a huge crowd surrounding him without anyone noticing until he's long gone, then when he returns manages to get away from Amazi-Girl and Sal, manages to sneak away again without either of them noticing until he's long gone, while taking Amazi-Girl's phone and deleting the photo of him while fleeing, and even accumulates three Dawson "goons" and a getaway driver somehow.
- Later when Amber tries to ask Robin about her interns (of which Ryan was one) to try and find out more about Ryan, Leslie immediately has Robin leave before she has a chance to answer and refuses to let Amber leave to find out from Robin.
- His luck finally runs out when he confronts Amber and Dorothy at knife-point and receives a swift and painful lesson about the intricacies of Amber's psychosis.
- Real Name as an Alias: He later admits in Directory that Ryan is his middle name.
- Slasher Smile:
- Gives Amazi-Girl one when she thinks she's incapacitated all of his goons, only for Tyler to grab her from behind.
- Then he gives an even bigger one to Amber and Dorothy when he pulls a knife on them.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Officially appears in only two arcs (Three if you count his appearance at the very end of Book 6), but his actions hover over Joyce's college life.
- Stalker Without a Crush: Several background shots show him tailing Dorothy, Walky, and Joe.
- Wham Line: Come to find out his name might not be actually Ryan.
- Withholding Their Name: Whether or not his name is actually Ryan, he has been keeping his real name a secret from someone. Either his friends who called him Ryan, or Robin's campaign team.
- "I wanna pray too! ...For the dissolution of gender roles."
- Alliterative Name: The only one in the cast (so far).
- Bare Your Midriff: Most of her shirts.
- Bi the Way: Reveals this to Becky while they're together at church in a Patreon bonus strip.Sierra: God made everything! Who am I not to appreciate all of it?
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Of the "space cadet" variety, contrasting with her roommate Dorothy.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Although no-one noticed until she mentioned how a church carpet felt on her feet. When questioned, Sierra figures she hasn't worn shoes since sixth grade.Sierra: I just don't like shoes. My feet get claustrophobic.
- The Fundamentalist: Completely averted so far (Church of God, if anyone's curious), to the point that she seems to be fine with Dorothy and Walky's pre-marital hanky-panky. Seems to be excited about having a group to go to church with, but clearly disagrees with Mary and to some extent Joyce's takes on religion. She also cheerfully talks about praying for the dissolution of gender roles.
- Happily Adopted: She's adopted and doesn't seem to have a problem with her parents.
- Huge Schoolgirl: Is one of the taller girls in the cast (without heels!), though no one calls any attention to it. Everyone else seems to be about average height.
- No Social Skills: Not in the same way as Joyce, but Sierra doesn't notice when she might need to leave the room.
- Peek-a-Bangs: Her defining visual trait. The right side of her face is always covered by her hair. There doesn't seem to be any of the usual symbolism behind it. (This gets a little odd with the art style, sometimes.)
- Polyamory: She is in a relationship with Grace, who's also in a relationship with Mandy, who's aware of this and okay with it. And sometimes Sierra makes out with Mandy (though whether it's an actual relationship or just making out is unclear).
- Recurring Extra: Essentially her role in the cast, as she has little to no involvement in the plot and no apparent personality flaws to further involve her...
- Unfazed Everyman: ...which also gives her shades of this, aside from her spaciness.
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.
- Abusive Parents: Amber was deeply traumatized by him during her childhood.
- Adaptational Villainy: Zig-Zagged: He's not tied to organized crime, but his abuse of his wife was upgraded to physical in the Dumbiverse, not to mention the fact he outright abandons his son in a huff.
- Archnemesis Dad: He is more than willing to take the extra step necessary to make his daughter's life miserable. The extra step in question being kidnapping Danny in order to lure her out of the campus to teach her a lesson.
- Big Bad: He is the main antagonist of "The Only Dope For Me Is You".
- Freudian Excuse: He's a walking one, explaining Amber's anger issues both by genetics and his abuse.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: He wears glasses and also happens to be one of the biggest assholes in the comic.
- Jerkass: He cheated on his wife, beat said wife, tried to impose his authority on his daughter by being downright abusive, kidnapped his daughter's boyfriend in order to use him as leverage over her, and is definitely not above beating his daughter personally.
- Knight of Cerebus: One of the absolute worst characters in the series (as well as the franchise) to date.
- Manipulative Bastard: Got close to Danny, faking concern for his daughter, in order to lure Amber into a trap.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered one to his daughter, many years ago... While completely diminishing the threat represented by someone wielding a weapon:Blaine: So, that was it? Just some stupid punk with a knife. A knife. She took your little friend and you hid in a corner and did nothing. Why am I not surprised?
- Small Role, Big Impact: He only appears in three arcs total, but is entirely responsible for how Amber is today and his kidnapping Danny to lure Amber out leads to Danny finding out her secret identity.
Amber's stepbrother, who lives with her father.
Linda and Charles Walkerton
Sal and Walky's parents.
- Abusive Parents: Due to the Parental Favoritism below. They refused to take Sal's side as a kid when Marcy was bullied by a kid on the playground and are heavily implied to be bigoted towards her, if not openly.
- Amicable Exes: Linda seems to be this with her ex-husband, Dean McHenry.
- My Beloved Smother: Linda to Walky only. She neglects Sal.
- Parental Favoritism: Preferred Walky to a point where Sal was driven into acting out and committing a robbery, just to finally receive some attention. They respond by sending her off to a boarding school in another state, and barely acknowledge her.
- When they visit, Charles at least acknowledges Sal's presence and tries conversing with her. Linda doesn't even do that.
Becky's father, whose head looks like a giant toe (according to Dina). And as it turns out, that pretty much describes his intelligence.
- Abusive Parents: Verbally, emotionally and physically. He seems to view Becky more as an extension of himself than a person - anything she does that deviates from her defined gender role is an insult to his role as head of the household.
- Adaptational Villainy: His Walkyverse counterpart was a giant asshole, but otherwise harmless. This Ross is an insane zealot who brings a rifle to a college campus with the intention of murdering Dina, then later Joyce and Becky if Becky didn't come with him, kidnaps his own daughter, and drove his own wife to suicide.
- Big Bad: He is the main antagonist of "To Those Who'd Ground Me".
- The Ditz: Believes all of Dina's Blatant Lies, up to getting on a one-way bus trip to Indianapolis, thinking that it goes to the mall, without checking himself.
- Evil Counterpart: To Joyce's father. While he too is a die-hard Christian fundamentalist, he is able to accept Joyce's growth away from that system of values. When Becky does the same, Ross goes off the deep end.
- Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Ross is adamantly against everything that doesn't fit his fundamentalist views. That include "Pokémans" or technology, such as cell phones.
- The Fundamentalist: And not the nice kind. Anything but, in fact. This is a man the Westboro Baptist Church would tell to dial it back a bit. He is implied to have driven Becky's mother to suicide.
- Hate Sink: Utterly loathsome and meant to be despised.
- Heteronormative Crusader: He considers Becky's soul at risk if she even begins to think outside his beliefs, and is willing to impose those beliefs on the rest of the world via rifle.
- Knight of Cerebus: Blaine and Ryan were no angels, but Ross takes the drama to a new level when he shows up.
- Knight Templar Parent: Everything he does comes from a desire to protect his daughter from what he considers to be "evil". Everything he does is also fucking horrible.
- Never My Fault: Even after bringing a rifle onto a college campus, kidnapping his daughter at gunpoint, assaulting her, getting chased down by Amazi-Girl in a car chase, and punched out by Joyce, Ross shows zero remorse for any of his actions when Becky tearfully visits him in the hospital and tells him she wants their family back.Ross: Look at me. You've destroyed our family.
- New Media Are Evil: Implied to hold this view with his statement on "Pokeman" putting a person's soul at risk. (For reference, he's commenting on Dina's Triceratops hoodie.)
- Stupid Evil: A noted under Too Dumb to Live, he really doesn't think his plans through. Thankfully that also means he's caught thanks to Amber, Joyce and Sal before he can get too far with Becky.
- Tautological Templar: His world view is pretty simple: either you are a good fundamentalist Christian, or you are an evil human being destined to burn in Hell. If you get in his way, he'll even send you there himself.
- Too Dumb to Live:
- It is not wise to discharge a weapon on a college campus, especially not in the 2010s. However, he may have done this to put pressure on Becky to get in the car, essentially holding himself hostage with the threat of the police coming for him after firing a gun.
- When Amazi-Girl jumps onto his car, his reaction is to let go of the wheel, lean out the window and try to shoot her. This might have indeed killed him if Amazi-Girl hadn't thrown him a rope.
- The Unfettered: Nothing will stop him from taking his daughter back home, even if it means kidnapping her with a gun, in the middle of campus, in front of her friend.
Hank and Carol Brown
- Being Good Sucks: Hank mentions that the reason they kept changing churches is because he couldn't compromise his beliefs at all, and Joyce inherited this trait from him. However, he thinks their lives would be easier if they could let themselves be just a little corruptible.
- Broken Pedestal: Joyce seems to feel this way about her mom after the events of Ross attempting to kidnap Becky at gunpoint, and almost shooting Joyce. Joyce's utterly broken and bitter expression as her mom seems more concerned with Ross going to jail for "trying to save his daughter from homosexuality," and her eerily saying "she would die for Joyce" much like how Ross did makes her realize her mother is just as blinded by her faith as Ross was.
- Character Development: Hank at first was much like Carol, judgmental and left everything to religious doctrine and his own prejudices. After Joyce stands up to them over their disdain for her Atheist friend Dorothy, he spent a lot of time praying over it and decided he needed to step back and trust Joyce to make her own choices, and remains friendly to Becky, despite the awkwardness of her coming out as a lesbian.
- Control Freak: Carol is showing more and more signs of this.Hank: All I'm saying is, we squeeze too hard and we create another Jordan situation.
Carol: We created that by not squeezing hard enough.
- Cool Old Guy: Hank is old enough for all 4 of his known children to be legal adults, and is one of the most approachable parents in the comic due to his Character Development.
- Epic Fail: In a Patreon strip where we see Hank and Carol's first meeting in college, the former's attempts to flirt fall flat.
- The Fundamentalist: Much like Joyce, but are a bit more of the Jerkass variety when they meet her Atheist friend Dorothy and her parents. While Hank grows out of it after Joyce stands up to them on the issue, Carol only gets worse Siding with Ross after Becky's kidnapping, trying to pull Joyce out of school, and being utterly passive aggressive and hateful to Becky.
- Hidden Depths:
- Hank at first seems like your typical judgmental fundamentalist Christian, but when he comes to pick Joyce up for a weekend at home, he not only invites Becky along, but reveals that, while it will be hard for him to accept Becky's sexual orientation, he still considers her a good kid, and believes he needs to let Joyce make her own decisions, instead of making them for her.
- He reveals later in the same Book that he too was passionate like Joyce and the reason they changed churches so much wasn't out of ignorance, but out of passion and dedication. He also gets noticeably upset when he overhears the congregation insulting Becky.
- Jerkass: Carol, in spades. When Becky and her are alone after the events of "To those Who'd Ground Me," her first questions to her are if she really sure she's a lesbian, and asks if it was worth sending her father to prison, utterly ignoring the facts that Becky's dad kidnapped her via gunpoint and almost killed her own daughter in the process. During all of Becky's stay at their house, she acts extremely passive-agressive towards her, putting her husband ill at ease and infuriating Joyce.
- Mama Bear: Subverted. In spite of all of Carol's talk about how she would die for Joyce, she defends the actions of Ross MacIntyre, the man who pointed a gun at her daughter.
- My Beloved Smother: Carol is this to Joyce, and it is clear that without Hank reining her in Joyce would have been withdrawn from university a long time ago.
- Nice Guy: Hank, especially compared to his wife. He happily allows Becky to come with them for the weekend, and spends dinner trying to resolve the tension between her and his wife Carol, who isn't so happy to see Becky. He is also visibly both sad and pissed when he hears other people at church trash-talking Becky because of her hair and sexuality.
- Noodle Incident: Whatever happened with Joyce's brother, Jordan. It's implied that he is alienated from the rest of the family in some way.
- Parental Substitute: Hank serves as this to Becky, treating her as he would any of his own children and trying to defend her from his wife.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Hank, on account of Character Development setting in, and deciding to be much less judgmental. He's about the second-most approachable parent in the comic behind Dorothy's parents.
Jonathan "John" Brown
Joyce's oldest sibling.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Initially seems pretty warm and friendly, right up until the subject of punching Becky's dad comes up. Things proceed to get worse from there.
- Broken Pedestal: Not as severe as with her mom, but Joyce is utterly furious with him for taking Ross' side.
- Evil Counterpart: To Jocelyne. Jocelyne is kind, polite, well spoken and tries to do what's best for her sister, understanding her point of view while trying to nudge her in the right direction. Josh THINKS he's all of these things, but in reality is an egositical dickhead who thinks he knows better than everyone else and assumes any difference of opinion on Joyce's part is just her being a Spoiled Brat.
- Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Subverted hard and so far the only Brown to still have blonde hair to avert this.
- Happily Married: Mentioned to have gotten married recently.
- Hypocrite: He claims that college is giving Joyce and Becky a "sense of entitlement" because they stood up to Becky's father over her lesbianism. Jocelyne points out that he owns a top of the line Mustang given to him for free by his church, bought using money tithed from the poor.
- Jerkass: After being condescendingly "civil" to Joyce and Becky's faces, he flat-out tells Jocelyne that he considers Becky a sinner who's just being "trendy" and entitled.
- No Sympathy:
- Shows an alarming lack of sympathy to Becky's homelessness or the fact that his own sister had a gun shoved in her face. As far as he's concerned, Joyce showing something as unseemly as actual anger totally invalidates her position.
- Rather than admit that his community has totally failed to prepare Becky for life on her own, he suggests that she "should have thought of that before" everything that happened. When Joyce warns him about finishing that sentence, he switches to tone-policing her.
- Says Joyce overreacted by breaking her hand punching Ross, despite the fact Ross threatened her at gunpoint and kidnapped her best friend.
- Perma-Stubble: Has five o'clock shadow. He's presently the only member of the Browns to display facial-hairedness.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Sees himself as this, in contrast to Joyce's barely-contained rage over Ross' actions, though he really isn't in reality.
Joyce's second oldest sibling and an aspiring writer with her own website, and closeted trans woman known as "Joshua" or "Josh" to everyone in the cast but Ethan.
- Big Sister Mentor: To Joyce and Becky, advising the former to be more civil with their mother so that she stays in college and Becky still has a family and helps Becky break into her old house so she can get her Social Security number.
- Deadpan Snarker: By far the snarkiest member of the family, and she is able to deliver fantastic lines when she is pissed.
- Dramatic Irony: Joyce has repeatedly said that she's always wanted a sister. Of course, she doesn't know that her older "brother" Joshua is actually a trans woman named Jocelyne.
- Foil: To Carla. While both are trans-women, Carla chose to be open about her status, earning her the bigotry of Mary. Meanwhile, Jocelyne remains closeted to avoid alienating her family, who have already demonstrated homophobic behavior towards Becky, causing to remain well-liked by everyone. Their personalities reflect this, with Carla being a jerk by default, while Jocelyne is a nice girl.
- And possibly also to Becky. Both have different attitudes about coming out of the closet - Becky rushed out of it, suffered for it and eventually came to greater happiness, and is fully aware of how very conditional her family's love was. She also has absolutely no lingering desire to stay at home. In contrast, Jocelyne stays closeted, suffers for it, and is overall much more attached to her family and memories to come out of the closet the same way as Becky.
- Given Name Reveal: Inverted, she texts Ethan the link to her website, which happens to be her chosen name.
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: The main reason why no one but Ethan knows what her real gender is. Even the readers were fooled up until the reveal.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Her true name and gender was a massive twist at the time it was revealed, but that was in 2013. By now, it's almost impossible not to know, especially as the character tags on pre-reveal strips have been revised to call her Jocelyne.
- Nice Girl: One of the few characters who doesn't need to change much as a person.
- Parental Favoritism: She says that she's her parents' favorite child, but only because "they know the least about [her]." She's probably not wrong, as she isn't out to her (Fundamentalist Christian) parents as a transwoman, or anyone else in her family for that matter.
- So Proud of You: Seems to be having this reaction as she sees Joyce standing up for Becky and generally behaving less like The Fundamentalist. She even mentions that she and Joyce should have a chat sometime...
- Starving Artist: A Patreon-exclusive strip has her bemoaning that she's been misled over the amount of glamour and wealth involved with going into literature.Jocelyne: We are what we experience. And these days, John mostly experiences having stuff.
Joyce: And - and you don't?
Jocelyne: Joyce, I'm a writer.
- Stepford Smiler: She mostly appears cheerful and good-natured, or at least frequently smiles. During John and Joyce's argument she's the one trying to keep everything calm and "normal".
- Transgender: Assigned male at birth, but identifies as female.
- Walking Spoiler: "He's" Josh, one of Joyce's many older brothers, right? Wrong, she's actually a transwoman named Jocelyne, and Ethan is the only one who knows this.