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Characters: Questionable Content
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The main cast:

    Marten Reed 

The main, or at least central, character of the strip, Marten is an aficionado of indie music who starts off the story by running into a girl named Faye. A few strips later, her apartment building has somehow burned down and she moves in with him.


Provides examples of:

    Faye Whitaker 

Marten's friend and eventual roommate. Inaugurates the strip's shift into Cerebus Syndrome by asking Marten flat-out whether he is attracted to her. Hilarity Ensues, not to mention Unresolved Sexual Tension.


Provides examples of:

  • Brainy Brunette: One of the most articulate characters in the series, and known for her frequent witty remarks. Appropriately, she has brown hair and wears black glasses.
  • Broken Bird: She has deeep problems. Her Disappeared Dad is just the start; she may or may not have tried to kill herself (she was in a car accident, and the memory loss from the concussion means she's not sure if it was intentional or not).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Of the “caustic” variety.
    • Stepford Snarker / Sad Clown: She seems to have started using her biting sarcasm as a defense or coping mechanism, until it became purely reflexive.
  • Disappeared Dad: He killed himself right in front of her. No one knows why.
  • The Nicknamer: “Mar-Mar,” “Hanners,” “Penny...” the list goes on.
  • Tsundere: She actually wears a shirt saying "Tsundere" from time to time. Purchased by Hannelore here.
  • Weight Woe: Her body image issues are frequently brought up, and made somewhat worse by her hanging out with the eternally skinny Dora. She starts feeling better about it when she joins a gym.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: She provided the booze when Marten mentioned that Steve gets homoerotic when drunk.

    Dora Bianchi 

The owner of the local coffee shop (Coffee of Doom) at which Faye eventually finds employment. Ramps up the Unresolved Sexual Tension by having a thing for Marten.


Provides examples of:

  • Benevolent Boss: Every single one of her employees is a close personal friend of hers. Although she gives a speech about how sometimes she has to be a Bad Boss, it's pretty clear that she gives everyone more freedom than she probably should.
  • Bi the Way: Makes no attempt to hide the fact that she lusts over all her female employees, despite formerly having a boyfriend. And she eventually gets together with Tai.
  • Birds of a Feather: With Marten. Formerly.
  • Broken Bird: She approaches Faye levels due to her problems with her brother.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Is this in spades. It tends to destroy all of her personal relationships.
  • Cool Big Sis: She's older than Faye, Marten, et al, and she's laid-back and understanding when she isn't being a Clingy Jealous Girl or a Fangirl.
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: Named her coffee shop "Coffee Of Doom". Inside is the "Restroom of Doom".
  • Local Hangout: Not her, just her business.
  • Lookalike Lovers: When she dyes her hair black, she looks just like Marten. Hilariously parodied in a rule 63 guest comic.
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Makes all the sex jokes that (stereotypically) would be assigned to guys.
  • Perky Goth: In the beginning, at least. There are allusions that she used to be a more traditional Goth.
  • Pet's Homage Name: She owns a cat named Miéville
  • Stepford Smiler: Type A. Sven explains it in detail, although Dora herself alluded to it a lot earlier. The Cool Big Sis thing is largely an act.
  • The Unfair Sex: Her many double standards is the most visible factor that eventually ended her relationship with Marten, often calling him out on minor things while not thinking twice about doing similar or worse things back.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: When Marten let slip that Steve gets homoerotic when drunk, she immediately ordered them to replicate the event in question.

    Hannelore Ellicott-Chatham 

A young lady Marten meets in a bar, who turns out to be his upstairs neighbor. Germophobic, adorably neurotic and born to a Mad Scientist father and a Corrupt Corporate Executive mother, she naturally became a fan favorite.


Provides examples of:

    Raven Pritchard 

An employee at Coffee Of Doom, most known for her antics and for matching perfectly the Dumb Blonde stereotype, except for not being blonde. Or dumb. Except when she is.


Provides examples of:

  • The Ditz, unless she isn't.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Unless she does.
    Raven: Oh, I love your boots!
    Penelope: Uh, thanks. I bought them online.
    Raven: Wow, you can buy shoes ONLINE?! I didn't know that!
    Penelope: Faye, is she being sarcastic?
    Faye: Your guess is as good as mine. Raven is the Drunken Master of ridicule.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Blodwyn
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Occasionally comes across as merely pretending to be ditzy.
    • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: She eventually went back to school to pursue a degree in physics... and wore a lab coat during a theory class because it seemed more sciencey that way. Not all the ditziness is obfuscating, apparently.
  • Perky Goth: Sort of. When she was still a goth she wasn't perky at all, but she was a Perky Emo for a while.
  • Put on a Bus: She disappeared for over a year real-time after going back to school.
  • Really Gets Around: Moreso than anyone but Sven.

    Pintsize 

An "Anthro-PC"—basically a computer in a robot body and with enough AI to be sentient — Pintsize started off as the zany comic relief before evidently getting an overdose of 4chan. Now he's still Plucky Comic Relief, but in a more sinister way.


Provides examples of:

    Sven Bianchi 

Dora's older brother is a commercially-successful songwriter in the country-music genre, making a decent living writing the musical equivalents of Extruded Book Products, which naturally means he sold out. Also The Casanova of the first degree.


Provides examples of:

  • Big Eater: Mentioned here.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Bizarrely crossed with Kavorka Man due to his prickly personality.
  • Informed Ability: Sven doesn't claim his music's good, but it sells well anyway, and the less effort he puts in the more popular it is. Some readers consider this Writer on Board, though it can also be interpreted as Sven not appreciating or not fully harnessing his talents. Whether his songs are genuinely bad or just soulless (and goofy, but the QC universe seems quite goofiness-friendly) is left to the reader to decide, since we obviously don't get to hear them.
    "I write the songs that make the whole world cringe."
  • Ladykiller in Love: Interestingly, doesn't look like he'll get the girl who changed him, unlike the normal use of this trope.
  • Man Child: "Man Teenager" would be more accurate, since that's the form Sven's immaturity took (he's never acted like a literal child), but up until he got involved with Faye he didn't really have any need to grow up.
  • Morality Pet: In a weird way, Lydia, his intern. He probably never would have changed his ways if it weren't for her, even though she didn't seem to really be trying to change him.
  • Multiethnic Name: Mother was of Swedish descent, father Italian. Mother insisted on a name from the old country. hence, Sven Bianchi.
  • Out of Focus: After Faye "breaks up" with him, he's seen moping a few times but ultimately gets very little screentime
  • Really Gets Around: Though we've only explicitly seen a few of his relationships, it's no secret he's getting some every night. Until Faye dumps him, and just stops caring.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Doesn't understand why professing his feelings to Faye didn't work. He thinks it should be like a romantic comedy, where the professes his feelings and she loses the jerk she's with. Steve points out that Angus is also a good guy, and their life isn't a romantic comedy.

    Marigold Louise Farmer 

An anime fan who lives near Dora's coffee shop. Her room had serious cleanliness problems. Sometimes known as "Mar-bear", which totally isn't confusing when you consider that there's a Marten in the strip already.


Provides examples of:

    Angus Mc Phee 

A customer who went to Dora's coffee shop just to annoy Faye, who he had a crush on. They got together eventually. He's roommates with Marigold.


Provides examples of:

  • Dogged Nice Guy: Faye is initially angry at his use of the trope, claiming it's a “romantic comedy plot,” but she eventually comes around.
  • In-Series Nickname: He was briefly known as Argument Guy before we found out his name.
  • Strawman Political: invoked Not in the comic, but he says he's paid to debate people and lose to make them look better.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: with Faye, for the longest time.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Tries to invoke this with Faye, but she's just annoyed by his ability to take it and come back for more.
  • Witty Banter: This is his only reason for coming into Coffee of Doom for the longest time. He doesn't even drink the coffee, he just throws it in the trash.
  • Yaoi FanBOY: If you can believe that. (Only mildly, and played for laughs.)

Coffee of Doom:

    Penelope Gaines 

A bookstore employee shanghaied into barista duty. Squabbles with Faye a lot. May or may not be...Pizza Girl, the pizza-delivering superhero. Most of the others suspect Penelope is her secret identity. If Penelope in strip 1932 is to be believed, it isn't.


Provides examples of:

  • Got Volunteered: The others thought it would be funny to shanghai her into working at the coffee shop. She got fired from her bookstore job that night, so she came back full time.
  • Straw Atheist: Her parents were hardcore fundies, causing her to be firmly against anything without a rational scientific basis. This causes some friction with Wil.

    Cosette Hurlbut 

A Cute Clumsy Girl who does not benefit from the trope's usual immunity to collateral damage. She was first introduced in 1322 accidentally asking Marten out, and then did not appear again until 1430, when Marten offered to hook her up with Steve. They do get together, but due to an accident and in Decompressed Comic time it's not until 1543.


Provides examples of:

  • Clingy Jealous Girl: She can get like this at times, such as when she angrily tells Padma that Steve is hers.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Tripped down the stairs while looking at a picture of Steve.
  • Doom Magnet: It's mentioned in passing that all of her previous places of employment went up in flames after she got hired.

    Dale 

Another pizza delivery man (among other things). A member of the Alliance, which makes him the natural enemy of Horde member Marigold. He begins a semi-Friendly Rivalry with her online after she stiffs him on a tip over this. Became a barista for the Coffee of Doom in 2530


Provides examples of:

The Secret Bakery:

    Padma 

Manager of The Secret Bakery. She and Faye like to spar.


Provides examples of:

    Elliot 

Another employee at the Secret Bakery, and also the bouncer at the Horrible Revelation. In love with Padma.


Provides examples of:

    Renee 

An employee at the Secret Bakery, who used to date Angus.


Provides examples of:

    Jim 

Owner of The Secret Bakery. Is divorced, with a daughter named Samantha. He and Dora went on a date, but decided not to pursue a relationship.


Provides examples of:

  • Hands-Off Parenting: Sam seems to have a lot of freedom in her activities.
    • Eventually justified when Sam reveals she's not entirely honest to him about where she's going.
  • Silver Fox: More like "salt-and-pepper fox", but he's definitely gray around the temples, and he's repeatedly indicated to be very, very attractive.
  • Supreme Chef: He bakes all the goods he sells himself.

SMIF Library:

    Tai Hubbert 

Marten's current boss at the Smif College library, perpetually stuck in an all-girl polyamorous Love Dodecahedron. Her Twitter account is "tai_fighter", named after her DJing stage name. Has a crush on Dora, and half-heartedly tried to get with her after she and Marten broke up. Now may be in a relationship with Dora. They have kissed and have a very confusing conversation involving a lot of "um"s, "uh"s, "haha"s and "yeah"s


Provides examples of:

    Claire Augustus 

One of three new interns at the SMIF library, and Clinton's sister.


Provides examples of:

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She may be a tad rough at times but when friendship and warmth are shown to her she drops her facade and shows complete gratitude and trust.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Not herself, but she doesn't really care that her brother is missing a hand. Somewhat understandable, as the injury took place years ago.
    Claire: If you knew how much he loved having a robot hand, you wouldn't feel bad for him either.
  • Pungeon Master: More than once, she's made incredibly lame puns that no-one found amusing... Probably the delivery.
    COME ON I'M HILARIOUS
  • Strong Family Resemblance: To her brother, to the point that they have to insist they're not Half-Identical Twins (she's older).
  • Transgender: to female.

    Emily 

One of the three new interns at the SMIF library, and apparently the daughter of a wealthy family.


Provides examples of:

    Gabby 

The last of the intern trio.


Provides examples of:

  • The Cynic: She says in one strip that she doesn't believe in altruism and seems to generally be more of a sourpuss than the rest of the library staff.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Not much, but it's there.
  • Only Sane Man: Of the intern trio.
  • Out of Focus: She's used the least out of the entire library staff, possibly because her status as the Only Sane Man makes her the least fun to write for.
  • Sassy Black Woman: She hasn't gotten too much screentime, but her few lines have been in this mold.

Marten's Band

    Natasha 

Ellen's roommate and Marten and Hanners' ex-bandmate.


Provides examples of:

  • The Pig Pen: She has this...thing about showering. That is, she doesn't.
  • Secretly Rich: Her parents are wealthy enough that they were happy to buy her one of the most expensive guitars on the market at a moment's notice. She tries to keep it quiet since it ruins her hipster image.

    Amir 

Natasha's ex-boyfriend, Marten and Hanners' bandmate. Is significantly older than most of the cast.


Provides examples of:

  • Older than They Look: He looks somewhere in his mid-twenties, but he's actually thirty-five.
  • The Pig Pen: After he leaves his old apartment and starts living in the band practice space. It doesn't have a shower.

Friends and Family Members:

    Steve 

Marten's best friend other than Faye. Is a secret agent. Was once dating a mortician named Meena (prior to being Put on a Bus for a short time).


Provides examples of:

  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • Gets homoerotic when drunk, usually with an unhappy Marten as the subject of his attentions.
    Steve: [drunk, sobbing on Marten's shoulder] I LOVE YOU, MAN!
    Marten: DUDE, WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS.
    Jeph's Rant: Steve only had two drinks.
    • Also, his girlfriend put her finger you know where and he sorta liked it.
      Steve: [takes a drink, fist pounds Marten's shoulder, closes his eyes] Good talk, bro. Good talk. [Marten looks creeped out]
  • Chick Magnet: Steve's physique has won him a lot of female attention over the course of the comic.
  • Handsome Lech: Far, FAR less sleazy than Sven, but Steve has his Handsome Lech moments.
  • Hero of Another Story: See "Spy Fiction" below.
  • Heroic Build: For the last few years Steve has been drawn with a muscular and athletic physique.
  • Lovable Jock: He's described as 'a bit of a bro', has a muscular physique and acts in a slightly overbearing, macho way when drunk but he's also shown to be a non-judgmental and supportive friend.
  • Mr. Fanservice: A lot of female characters are clearly enamored with Steve's rockin' bod.
  • Nice Guy: Steve may be a bit of a jock, but he definitely one of the nicest characters in the comic.
  • Rated M for Manly: Partially subverted, Steve's actually a pretty emotional guy, especially when drunk. However, he did manage to bag himself a date by showing her a picture of him flexing in front of a stuffed grizzly bear.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Marten's Blue.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Manly Man to Marten's Sensitive Guy.
  • Spy Fiction: He was a secret agent for a little while. Still is, technically, but now he has a desk job which he is very happy with.
  • Took a Level in Badass: During his recent stint as a secret agent.

    Veronica Reed 

Marten's mother, a former bondage and fetish model under the pseudonym Veronica Vance. Both Dora and Dora's father have gotten off to her. And mentioned so to Marten.


Provides examples of:

    Henry Reed 

Marten's gay dad and ex-husband of Veronica Reed. He runs a gay nightclub.


Provides examples off:

    Amanda "Mandy" Whitaker 

Faye's lesbian sister, who flunked out of college.


Provides examples of:

  • The Ditz: Flunked out of college, then got caught eating out her girlfriend by her mother. Then she stole her mother's credit cards to go see her sister.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: She seems girlier than Faye, despite being a lesbian, making her this.
  • Put on a Bus: When she went back home, she became pretty much irrelevant to the plot.

    Wil 

Sven's melodramatic poet friend. He is currently dating Penelope. Owns several cloaks.


Provides examples of:

  • Badass Biker: Surprisingly enough, yes.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Again: He owns several cloaks.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: He's a poet, apparently majored in literature or poetry. Quite the gentleman as well, although apparently he's got some really filthy poetry.
    Wil: I was attempting to channel Joyce, but without the scatological fixation...
    Penelope: I don't think they'd let us have sex in Washington's nose on Mount Rushmore, but it's a very evocative mental image.
  • Mysterious Stranger: He decides to invoke this to woo Penelope, but thankfully Sven talks him out of it.
  • Old-School Chivalry: The guy gets clipped by a truck - resulting in a broken arm - and still shows up for a date with Penelope. Why?
    Wil: A gentleman never stands a lady up.
  • The Unfunny: Never makes his own jokes, but his attempts to remain serious in all situations qualifies him for this trope.

    Samantha 

Jim's 13-year-old daughter. A tomboy and Pokémon nerd. She's become friends with Momo (who she's a bad influence on) and Faye (who's a bad influence on her).


Provides examples of:

    Clinton P. Augustus 

Robot researcher with an artificial hand. Semi-stalked Hannelore after finding out who her father was. Poor sense of personal boundaries.

Provides examples of:

Artificial Intelligence:

    Winslow 

Hannelore's Robot Buddy. The Apple version of an Anthro-PC, he's basically a sentient iPod with arms and legs. He was very naive at first, but was very quickly corrupted by Pintsize.

Provides examples of:

    Momo 

Marigold's Robot Buddy (sometimes addressed with "Momo-tan"). She's friends with Pintsize and Winslow. Apparently has a 97 terabyte hard drive. Originally small and chibi-like, she's gotten a new chassis that looks more like a young human girl.


Provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: When first introduced (in chibi mode), she mentions that she can shoot live eels from her crotch.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Her electrical self-defense has amperage within the lethal range. Also, upon gaining her new chassis, her first acts were attacking Pintsize and threatening Marigold. Even the author hypothesized she had suppressed violent impulses.
  • Chibi: Invoked. It's even in her model name.
  • Covert Pervert: She's pretty good at hiding it, but she was caught with an anatomically-correct doll at one point, and later had a sexy dream about Sven.
  • Cuteness Overload: Caused them in her Chibi form, and currently provides the page image.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Was unnamed in her first appearance, and had a different outfit and hairstyle.
  • Japanese Politeness: She's an android Made in Japan.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Even before the chassis upgrade, she has some elements of this. After, she is virtually indistinguishable from a human teenager.
  • Robot Girl: In her new chassis.
  • Satellite Character: She appears almost entirely alongside Marigold, and most discussions with other characters relate to her.
  • Shipper on Deck: Clearly one for Marigold and Dale.
  • Shock and Awe: In chibi-form, she doesn't have much power, but after her upgrade she can blow off someone's socks from a hundred yards.
  • Verbal Tic: She never uses contractions.
  • Walk, Don't Swim: She's waterproof, but too heavy to float.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Pink, both in chibi form and big mode. In big mode, pushing her belly button makes her hair change color.
  • Younger than She Looks: She's less than three years old. Justified, in that she's a Robot Girl. Her "birthday" is probably the day she was built and activated.

    Hannelore's Roomba 

Hannelore's Roomba. Pintsize has somewhat of a rivalry with it. He and Winslow eventually strapped a rocket to it and sent it out the window, and it came back with a wife and three children. Who also have rockets. Yeah. Not even the scientists could figure it out.

Provides examples of:

  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Toward Hannelore.
  • Knife Nut: It produces a knife from somewhere when it thinks Marten is hitting on Hannelore.

     May 

A holographic companion who underwent beta testing with Dale. She now has a chassis.

Provides examples of:

  • Animesque: More so than the rest of the webcomic already is.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: To her disappointment, the programmers didn't bother to render her any genitalia.
    May: [looking down at her skirt] I'm like a fuckin' BARBIE DOLL under there. Lazy goddamned bastards couldn't even bother to give me a—
  • The Bus Came Back: Guess who?
  • The Corrupter: She constantly encourages Dale to act unprofessionally at all his jobs. He will have none of it.
  • Covert Pervert: She assumes Dale to be this, and is disgusted by the fact that a compatibility algorthim decided on the sexy French Maid outfit as the best fit for his tastes. Then she immediately gropes her own boobs.
    May: [lifting her skirt] Actually, I wonder if they even bothered to RENDER panties under this—
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Resents Dale for deriving her name from "maid", and his alternative of "Dickmouth Stinkface".
  • French Maid: She claims the algorithm must have decided this would "appeal" to Dale; he denies it. His collection of Magical Love Gentlemen says something different.
  • Jerkass: She obviously hates her job and made a rude joke about Dale's dad with an insincere apology.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She eventually relents and starts behaving herself (somewhat). She also calls out Dale on the way he'd acted around Marigold in the past and helps him patch things up with her. They part on good terms.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Marigold is worried that May might try to steal Dale from her, May points out that a) she's not interested in Dale at all and b) she's the reason Dale and Marigold actually got together in the first place.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Her design seems to be intended to invoke this.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Not by choice. Though she does have a fascination for groping her boobs and checking to see if her programmers bothered to give her panties.
    Jeph comment: It's just gonna be a big pixelated blur
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: After being accepted by Dale, she curses every other sentence.
  • You Got Guts: When Momo threatens her, she comments that she likes her moxy.

Other Important characters:

    Ellen 

Steve's former girlfriend, an eighteen-year-old philosophy/marine biology major.


Provides examples of:

    Scott 

Marten's first boss.


Provides examples of:

  • Benevolent Boss: He waits around to tell Marten personally that he (and the rest of the department) had been laid off until Marten got back from sick leave. On that note, letting Marten go on sick leave from nothing but a call from Miss Vance probably qualifies him.
  • Straight Gay: Other than mentioning his boyfriend, you'd never notice.

    Jimbo 

A trucker-looking barfly who writes romance novels.


Provides examples of:

    Lydia 

Sven's "intern." She's supposed to be learning the tricks of songwriting from him, but instead she's turned into sort of a lab wretch.


Provides examples of:

  • The Heart: She's basically Sven's conscience.
  • Put on a Bus: She hasn't been seen in ages, possibly because its now the summer in the comic, meaning her "internship" ended with the school year.

Minor characters:

    Yelling Bird 

A yelling bird (theorised to be a tit or a dickcissel) who appears in occasional filler comics, usually to scream about why it was posted (usually along the lines of "Jeph is too drunk/lazy/disorganized to post a comic today,") or just give its opinion on something. Has its own Twitter account. Yelling Bird originated in Indie Tits, a side-project webcomic Jeph wrote from 2005-2007.


Provides examples of:

    Sara 

Faye's co-worker at the Coffee Of Doom in early strips.


Provides examples of:

    Sweet-Tits 

Another filler-strip character, pulled out of Jeph's sketchpad at short notice. For a long time she didn't have a real name, although it's now been revealed as Harriet. She addresses the audience directly with a mixture of sarcasm and performance anxiety. Despite only two appearances, she was an instant fan favourite and got her own story over the Christmas 2009 break.


Provides examples of:

    Randy the Bandicoot 

Yet another minor filler-strip character that became a fan favorite. Randy is eternal.


Provides examples of:

    The Thanksgiving Turkeys 

Turkeys who only appear during the Thanksgiving weekend, and parody fan talk about the comic. Apparently they get different turkeys each year.

    The Three Bros 

A set of presumably—UMass-students who are big fans of people being bros.


Provides examples of:

  • Drop-In Character: Their only purpose is to appear and start chanting “BROS! BROS! BROS!” whenever anyone does anything awesome.
  • Fratbro: Stereotypical fratbros, from their clothing, boisterousness, and (apparent personality).
  • No Indoor Voice: Subverted. It definitely seems like this at first, but when they appear in a library they quickly correct themselves.
  • Speak of the Devil: Non-villainous example. If somebody calls somebody else "Bro", they'll suddenly appear.
  • Those Two Guys: Three of them, but who's counting? Never appeared apart.

     Scrambles the Tequila Monster 

An alcohol induced hallucination that seems to haunt the main cast. Mainly Marten (though he isn't an alcoholic).

Provides examples of:


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