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 — their relationship becomes one of the central cogs of the strip for years, as the two bicker, semi-flirt, flirt, argue and more. He meets her sexy boss Dora, forming a Love Triangle, which is complicated when Marten and Dora finally hook up. He and Dora finally break up, sending them into different relationships.

Although he can snark with the best of them, most of the time he is a Nice Guy who is very accepting of others. On the downside, his lack of ambition and tendency to be too much of a doormat can also create problems.

Provides examples of:

  • Author Avatar: Originally based on Jeph's personality, though this is less true after a certain point.
  • Amicable Exes: Is once again friends with Dora, to the confusion of Gabby and some fans. Jeph points this out in the comments that people find this odd.
  • Apologises a Lot: Goes together with his Extreme Doormat tendencies. Examples include:
  • Big Brother Instinct: Feels protective towards Momo after she gets her chassis upgrade.
  • Birds of a Feather: Shared a lot of his lifetyle and interests with Dora while they were going out.
  • Can't Tie His Tie: For his dad's wedding, he struggles with a necktie, and Claire offers to help...and she doesn't know how either. Fortunately, it's a casual event.
  • The Ditherer: This about sums it up. Seems to be getting better through his relationship with Claire.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Possibly averted; his mother wanted to call him 'Marten Tiberius Reed'. We don't know his real middle name, but apparently Marten's father chose it, and his mother does not approve.
  • Extreme Doormat: It can be surprising how much he lets people get away with.
  • The Generic Guy: He has no real outstanding features other than his lack of a spine/ being the nicest character in the series.
    • Well, that and his tendency to be a Cosmic Chew Toy (at least as far as his relationships go after his break-up with Dora. Until he gets together with Claire.
  • Has Two Mommies: Well, he was not raised with two, but he does eventually have two fathers when his father remarries another guy. Marten is cheerful about the idea.
    • And gets even more cheerful about his mom dating Jim. "I could end up with three dads! That's, like, so many dads!"
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Claire, starting around strip #2800, and teased beforehand.
  • In Love with Love: He really does want to find a girl and settle down with her. He's not the type for one night stands or casual affairs. Tai sort-of steers him into one at one stage, and he doesn't feel happy about it afterwards
  • Nice Guy: Played relatively straight. He's kind, noble to a fault, and people tend to walk all over him. Some of the flaws of this character type are discussed (overall weakness and mediocrity), but he's still the kindest person in the strip by far. Briefly averted here.
  • Non-Action Guy: Except for the time he whacked the monk with the souffle pan, he's shown pretty much zero physical skills.
  • Out of Focus: Though originally the main character of the strip, ever since entering a mostly drama free relationship with Claire he has appeared less and less while the spotlight shifts over to Bubbles and Faye. Nowadays Marten's appearances are more sporadic, usually to give advice or support whenever Faye and Bubbles go back to their apartment but months can go by in real time before he actually appears in a strip or has anything to do.
  • Pungeon Master: Annoys his friends with many an Incredibly Lame Pun. Luckily, he finds a like-minded soul in Claire.
  • Satellite Character: Attempts to avert his Out of Focus status turn him into this. Unless his unlucky relationship history is brought up, he is either defined by being Claire's super understanding boyfriend or Faye's super understanding friend/roommate.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": His name is Marten. Not Martin.
  • Straight Man: Primarily to Faye, but to the others as well.
  • Understanding Boyfriend: Perhaps a bit too understanding. Still, despite being very indecisive, and tending to go with the flow, is a guy just about any girl could be happy with.

    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. Faye is tough, stubborn and argumentative, but is noticeably-weak when it comes to being insulted herself.

Provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: She's depicted in-universe as one, although for most of the story she's a Hard-Drinking Party Girl prone to binge drinking. Only after a notable Trauma Conga Line does she start displaying real symptoms of dependency and after her drinking at work gets her fired, she goes on a binge and ends up in hospital with alcohol poisoning, since when she has been a Recovered Addict.
  • 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 deep 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).
    • Additionally, since she and Angus ended their relationship, she appears to have sunk into full-blown alcoholism. Granted, Pintsize has been enabling her, but it's still more than a little self-destructive... to the point that Dora fires her for drinking on the job, causing her to go home, turn off Pintsize and drink so much, the next thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital. Since giving up drink and starting to attend AA meetings, she has become much less fatalistic and self-destructive.
  • Characterization Marches On: It seems that Jeph decided early on that Faye would have psychological problems in her past that push her to drink, but that they might not have been fleshed out in the beginning. Early on in the comic, she shows signs of past sexual abuse, being extremely defensive around men, and acting very uncomfortable if touched unexpectedly by either gender, even from something as simple as a hug. Later on, this behavior is mostly dropped in favor of trauma from seeing her father shoot himself in front of her.
  • 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.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: She acts this way toward Bubbles, and it successfully gets her to open up.
  • Disappeared Dad: He killed himself right in front of her. No one knows why.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Tends to be a fan of coping like this. Goes off the deep end after her breakup with Angus.
  • A Friend in Need: Faye is this to Bubbles, who is starting to seem like she appreciates it.
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Since taking up her job at the robot repair shop, Faye looks exactly like the stereotype of a Butch Lesbian (short hair, ripped physique, masculine clothes) but nothing in her history suggests that she's anything other than heterosexual.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A non-romantic one to Bubbles. Despite the dour Bubbles having absolutely no desire to go out and have friends, Faye incessantly hounds Bubbles to try to get her to open up.
  • The Nicknamer: "Mar-Mar," "Hanners," "Penny...", "Spookybot", etc. This is called out when Marigold first visits Coffee of Doom and Faye sets to giving her a nickname.
  • Southern Belle: Parodied. Faye hails from Georgia, and is prone to hamming up her accent, complaining about "fits o' the vapours" and referring to Massachusetts as "The Godless North" for comedic value, as well as showing extreme defensiveness when anyone badmouths the South, but otherwise is the near exact opposite of a Southern Belle.
  • Tsundere: She actually wears a shirt saying "Tsundere" from time to time. Purchased by Hannelore here.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Bursts out with spontaneous poetry on multiple occasions, particularly when drunk.
  • 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.
    • Once she found job satisfaction doing heavy and difficult mechanical work i.e. repairing robots for a living, her body image issues sort of resolved themselves:
      Dora: Faye got wicked buff and has a super-butch haircut and it is hot as shit.
      Tai: It's okay, babe. We can ogle her together.
    • Faye: So whatcha been talkin' about while I was in there dealin' with assdick?note 
      Claire: Oh, just body-image stuff. You know.
      Faye: Oh yeah. Shit sucks. I fight mine by constantly hollerin' about how great my ass is.
  • Wrench Wench: Faye shows her mechanical skills several times throughout the comic, eventually putting them to use in an underground robot-fighting ring.
  • 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. They eventually resolved it and got together until Dora's insecurity and possessiveness ended it. She had a date with Jim, but eventually ended up with Tai as her next partner.

Provides examples of:

  • Amicable Exes: With Marten, somewhat surprisingly, but she may just have become kinder since their breakup.
  • 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.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While she is a relatively Benevolent Boss, she has her limits. She fires Faye, of all people, on the spot for drinking on the job, though she relents a little when Faye ends up drinking herself into the hospital, saying that she's not "officially fired until the insurance pays for this"
  • 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: While she has problems with Sven stemming from some jealousy, Dora's really had a terrible string of horrible boyfriends that caused the possessiveness and the insecurities which she never dealt with or had treated. As a consequence, she can't hold a relationship with Marten together and it was what broke them up. Fortunately, they remained amicable.
  • 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, which has been commented on In-Universe. 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.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Admits to Faye that maintaining Coffee of Doom's general level of snarky hostility was burning her out, and that she has worked to make the place more welcoming.
  • Workaholic: She takes on a lot of the work involved in running Coffee of Doom on herself. Particularly after Faye gets fired, where it gets to the point that her employees really want her to take a day off.
  • Yaoi Fangirl: When Marten let slip that Steve gets homoerotic when drunk, she immediately ordered them to replicate the event in question.


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:

    Marigold Louise Farmer

An Occidental Otaku who lives near Dora's coffee shop. Her room is always a mess. Sometimes known as "Mar-bear", which totally isn't confusing when you consider that there's a Marten in the strip already. She suffers from poor hygiene, poor self-esteem, and social anxiety.

Provides examples of:

Coffee of Doom:

    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:

  • Disney Creatures of the Farce: Faye references this when Raven is especially nice about a grumpy customer.
  • The Ditz, unless she isn't.
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Unless she does.
    Raven: Hey, I like your shoes! Where'd you get them?
    Hannelore: Uh, thanks? I bought them online.
    Raven: Wow, you can buy SHOES on the INTERNET? I totally didn't know that!
    Hannelore: 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: Zig-zagged. She sometimes gives clear indications that she's a lot smarter than she appears, but will then go right back to being a ditz. For instance, she 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.
  • 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.

    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. Used to show up a fair bit as a grouchier side character, but all but vanished for a time after hooking up with the weak-willed, old-fashioned Wil. She has come back into focus somewhat.

Provides examples of:

  • Art Evolution: After a disappearance from the comic, she returned with a darker strawberry blonde hair color.
  • 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.
    • Happened again when Dora announced that Penelope would replace Faye as assistant manager, apparently without asking Penelope whether she was interested.
  • Hyper-Competent Sidekick: As soon as Dora promotes her to Assistant Manager, she shows immediate signs of this.
  • Pass the Popcorn: She asks Faye and Dora to hold off on an argument while she makes popcorn, and during the blowup, she's seen eating it.
  • The Reliable One: Penelope is so good at doing her job without causing drama or shenanigans that the other characters seemingly forget that she exists for hundreds of strips at a 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.
  • Those Two Girls: Became this with Cosette after the latter started at Coffee of Doom.

    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. Eventually starts working at Coffee of Doom, but has largely been absent from the strip.

Provides examples of:

  • Clingy Jealous Girl: She can get like this at times, such as when she angrily tells Padma that Steve is hers.
    • On a similar note, witness her reaction to her friend Luna's suggestion that maybe rushing into a date with Steve is a little bit... hasty. Or better, take Marten's word for it.
    Marten: Jesus, I thought she was going to go all Temple of Doom on you and pull your heart out of your chest!
  • 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.
  • Those Two Girls: Became this with Penelope after starting at Coffee of Doom.


Another pizza delivery guy (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, and hooks up with Marigold later.

Provides examples of:

The Secret Bakery:


Manager of The Secret Bakery. She and Faye like to spar. She and Marten had a brief relationship that ended on a sour note

Provides examples of:

  • Cloudcuckoolander: Is prone to starting unannounced fake fights and posing cinematically on dangerous cliffs.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Prone to this. Assuming Momo was Marten's daughter, for example—even after she found out Momo was a robot.
    Padma: You got a robot pregnant!?
  • Oblivious to Love: Specifically to Elliot's.
  • Put on a Bus: She moved away to take care of her grandmother. Neither she nor Marten handled the impending end of their relationship well and the break was fractious, but Marten eventually contacted her again and they at least appear to be on speaking terms.


Another employee at the Secret Bakery, and also the bouncer at the Horrible Revelation. Formerly in love with Padma, following his reintroduction there is the potential for a crush on Brun... and now Clinton.

Provides examples of:

  • Adorkable: Despite how huge he is, he can look really cute when he's embarassed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's as nice as can be, but if you start something violent while he's on duty he'll use his tremendous strength to straighten you out the hard way.
  • Bi the Way: While his being attracted to women was established first with Padma and later with Brun, he also bashfully admits to Renee in strip 3536 that he finds Clinton attractive. When she says she never knew that he was into guys, he says it just never came up before.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Elliot accidentally crushes Clinton's robot hand, and Clinton covers for him to Elliot's boss. When Elliot asks why, Clinton states that he's returning the favor for the time he and Emily were on a date, an angry drunk punched Clinton, and Elliot immediately threw him out of the bar. Elliot, being a bouncer, ejects belligerent drunks from the bar he works at all the time and has no memory of this event.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Though he had a good reason, he sat on his feelings for Padma for a long time. Now he's developing a bit of a crush on Brun, and he can only sort of talk to her.
  • Crush Blush: When he thinks about Brun, either as being "fastidious" or as a "friendship fairy".
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Meta example, Jeph has stated that he's "a lil’ bit gay for the big scared strong boy"
  • Gentle Giant: Has a t-shirt that says "Soft Boy" which, forgive the pun, fits him to a T. Well, normally. He works as a bouncer for a reason.
  • Hunk: He's a pretty cute guy, and neither his great height nor his strapping muscles hurt his appeal with the ladies. Renee gets quite flustered when she realizes how hot she finds him with his shirt off.
  • Nice Guy: Friendly, polite (if a little socially awkward), and honest.
  • Out of Focus: Disappears after Padma's subplot and returns in strip 3282 for Brun's.
  • Submissive Badass: He's a bouncer, so of course he can throw down, and he's a mountain of a man besides, but outside of his bar gig he's a total pushover. When Renee demands he remove his shirt to determine if she does in fact find him attractive, he keeps it off until Jim shows up because she never told him to put his shirt back on.


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

Provides examples of:

  • Characterization Marches On: Originally just a more unpleasant palette-swap of Faye. When she reappears in Brun's subplot, she's unrecognizable both in terms of looks and personality.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Tries to get her friend Brun to deal with practical problems such as getting up on time and finding new housing and employment.
  • Crush Blush: Gets one when it turns out that Brun's theory that Renee is secretly attracted to Elliot may not be entirely wrong.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Faye, though only in her initial appearances (see "Characterization Marches On" above).
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: According to Angus, anyway.
  • Loving Bully: A mild example; she gives Elliot a lot of grief while possibly having a repressed crush on him.
  • Odd Friendship: She spends most of her time being exasperated at Brun, yet still takes her in and supports her.
  • Out of Focus: Plays a very minor role as Padma's coworker, then disappears for over 1000 strips before reappearing in Brun's subplot.

    Jim Bean

No relation to the famous one, so far as we know. 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. Went on a date with Marten's mother, and they have decided to pursue a relationship.

Provides examples of:

  • Hands-Off Parenting: Sam seems to have a lot of freedom in her activities. Turns out she lies about her activities and he's none too pleased when he finds out.
  • Serious Business: His description of his job to Marten's mom comes off as a humorous cross between this and Played for Laughs hamming it up.
  • 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. She had a crush on Dora, and half-heartedly tried to get with her after she and Marten broke up. They eventually became a couple.

Provides examples of:

    Claire Augustus

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

Provides examples of:

  • Genre Savvy:
    This is where the night goes from "We had fun" to "Mistakes were made", isn't it.
  • 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 and he's not that upset about it.
    Claire: If you knew how much he loved having a robot hand, you wouldn't feel bad for him either.
  • The Matchmaker: It's become a character flaw of hers. She's quite eager to try setting Clinton up with Emily and, when that falls through, with Brun, and gets several reminders not to meddle too much in people's relationships. Given how she and Marten get together, it might be inherited.
  • Pungeon Master:
    • More than once, she's made incredibly lame puns that no-one found amusing... Probably the delivery.
    • When she saw Faye reading a book she was fond of, she wrote "Like" on a post-it and stuck it to the book.
      Claire: I put a Like on Faye's book!
      Faye: ...get out of my shop.
    • She also produced a copy of The Grapes of Wrath in response to hangover-induced crankiness.
  • Shipper on Deck: For Faye and Bubbles.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: To her brother, to the point that they have to insist they're not Half-Identical Twins (she's older). Mitigated somewhat, since they are at least different genders (though they didn't ''look'' like they were originally).
  • Transgender: In comic 2323, Claire tells Marten that she's trans. She explains that she was assigned male at birth but began transitioning to female in her first year of college, and has been on hormone replacement therapy since then.

    Emily Azuma

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

Provides examples of:


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 Woman in a Dysfunction Junction may make her the least fun to write for.
  • Put on a Bus: At some point, she quit her internship off-screen for unknown reasons.
  • Sassy Black Woman: She hasn't gotten too much screentime, but her few lines have been in this mold.

Marten's Band


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

Provides examples of:

  • Dreadful Musician: She is very enthusiastic about the guitar...the problem is that she has zero talent. While she thinks the racket she makes is really metal, everyone else cringes.
  • The Pig Pen: She has this...thing about showering. That is, she doesn't.
  • Put on a Bus: Breaks up with Amir and is never seen again.
  • 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.


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:


Marten's best friend other than Faye. Is a secret agent. Steve's varied love life has included relationships with a marine biology student, a mortician, a spy named Tortura, and Coffee of Doom employee Cosette.

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!
    Jeph's Rant: Steve only had two drinks.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Steve can come off a bit as your stereotypical jock kinda guy, the exact kind of dude you think nothing of. But, as you can see below, he's a secret agent. (Or was. He has a desk job now, ostensibly in the same organization.)
  • Chick Magnet: Steve's physique has won him a lot of female attention over the course of the comic.
    Marten: Would you like to meet—
    Cosette: YES.
  • Handsome Lech: Far, FAR less sleazy than Sven, but Steve has his Handsome Lech moments.
  • Hero of Another Story: See "Spy Fiction" below.
  • Hunk: His rugged handsomeness and muscular bod attract many admirers.
  • 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.
  • Only Sane Man: In later comics, he seems to fall into this category, especially when dealing with Marten's and later Sven's relationship problems. This is a bit ironic, as his early appearances often concerned his wacky relationship difficulties and his reactions to them.
  • Rated M for Manly: Downplayed, 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.
  • Weirdness Magnet: It starts when he's recruited as a secret agent by the U.S. government...

    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.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Sven was the target of this following his falling out with Faye. The two weren't even dating and were merely "fuck buddies" even by Faye's assertion, and Sven repeatedly told her flat-out that it was just physical, and that he reserved the right to have sex with other women. Despite this, he openly told Faye about a liaison with a famous country singer, and both she and Sven's sister Dora completely jumped down his throat about it, with Dora even threatening to kick his ass, all because he did exactly what he said he would do merely because Faye turned their relationship into more than it actually was.
  • 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."
  • Jerkass: To varying degrees.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Interestingly, doesn't look like he'll get the girl who changed him, unlike the normal use of this trope.
  • Manchild: "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.
    • Hannelore, oddly enough, combined with Odd Friendship - he's much nicer to her than he is to pretty much everyone else, particularly during their platonic date.
  • Multiethnic Name: Mother was of Swedish descent, father Italian. Mother insisted on a name from the old country. hence, Sven Bianchi.
  • Odd Friendship: with Hannelore, of all people, best seen in this strip.
  • Out of Focus: After Faye "breaks up" with him, he's seen moping a few times but ultimately gets very little screentime.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Refers to Princess as this in jest.
  • 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.
  • Self-Deprecation: Doesn't exactly think much of himself as a person (and not entirely without reason).
  • 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.

    Angus McPhee

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.

Angus seeks to be a comedian or performer.

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.
  • Put on a Bus: Moved to New York to pursue his dreams of acting — which in turn ended his relationship with Faye.
  • Strawman Political: invokedIn-universe, he is a "professional straw man" who's hired to debate people and lose in order to make them look better. The way he describes it sounds like a political equivalent of a Jobber.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Faye, for the longest time, until They Do.
  • 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.)

    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:

  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: In addition to cheerfully talking about her sex life in front of her son, she also tries to pick him up a cute waitress by mentioning how big his penis was when he was a child. Though one gets the feeling she does this on purpose because she thinks that's what parents are supposed to do.
    Marten: Just...don't bang him on my couch, okay?
    Veronica: Ooh, that would be delightfully transgressive...
    Marten: Mom.
  • Amicable Exes: In her own words she and her ex-husband "make better friends and parents than a husband and wife".
  • Closet Key: While she has never shown overt sexual interest in women, her career as a fetish model has apparently turned at least one female head:
    Dora: Marty, I don't really know how to tell you this, but, uh, your mom's old fetish photos were how I, um, figured out I liked girls.
  • Compelling Voice: Her "dom voice", as Marten calls it, which she uses by accident on occasion.
  • Dominatrix: Her profession. Although she uses the pseudonym “Veronica Vance,” she doesn't really make any attempt to hide it from anyone.
  • Gaydar: Veronica isn't gay herself, but she's very experienced. Her first, totally accurate, reaction on meeting Tai is "OH MY GOD I LOVE THE TINY BUTCH ONES."
  • Good Parents: Despite her quirks, Marten often speaks fondly of his childhood.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: She's old enough to have some grey in her hair (56 at the time of Henry's and Maurice's wedding), but she still works as a dominatrix and a photographer she knows still takes pictures of her for a fetish site.
  • Stepford Smiler: Apparently a type A. She puts a happy face over her own sense of loneliness.

    Henry Reed 

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

Provides examples off:

  • Amicable Exes: Like Veronica, he also sees their divorce as an improvement on their relationship.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: According to his husband.
  • Grandma, What Massive Hotness You Have!: Both Dora and Claire comment on his handsomeness despite his advanced age.
  • Incompatible Orientation: The reason for his divorce with Veronica.
  • Silver Fox: His gray hair apparently gets him attention from both men and women.
    Dora: [looks at Marten, then to Henry, then back to Marten] Oh my God, you are going to be so hot when you go gray!
  • Straight Gay: Considering he wanted a simple ceremony while his husband Maurice came down the aisle on horseback, this seems likely.

    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.


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 Bean

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:

  • Becoming the Mask: Briefly, as SKULLMASTER, MASTER OF SKULLS.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Has mild tones of this. If she likes you, she gives you an animal she caught. It will be either a frog or a snake. Probably a snake. The girl likes snakes.
  • Casual Kink: Not of her own, but her only concern about a famous dominatrix moving in with her dad is to make sure that her bedroom won't be repurposed as a dungeon.
  • Hates Baths: Has been noted to have a somewhat "irregular" bathing schedule. Both Faye and Veronica have remarked on her rather "pungent" aroma.
  • Nature Lover: Her primary off-screen hobby appears to be going into the woods and finding frogs and/or snakes to bring home. Mostly snakes.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Samantha is usually very loud, hyper, and quick to befriend people she meets instantly. Except Veronica, who she hides from when they first meet.
    Faye: Are you…being shy?
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Likes to sneak up on people in lieu of saying "hello".
  • Tagalong Kid: Insists on tagging along with Faye and wants to hang out at Coffee of Doom so much that she hid in the cupboards for 15 minutes.
  • Third-Person Person: As SKULLMASTER, MASTER OF SKULLS.
  • Tomboy: Usually goes by "Sam", has recently taken up swordfighting lessons, and her favorite pastime is to go into the mountains and find snakes.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: At first she wanted to visit the "spider zone," then she was swarmed by dozens of spiders. Granted she doesn't want them hurt and is comfortable around creepy things that one or two may not bother her, but there were a lot of spiders down there.
    • Ironically for the trope, has no problem with actual snakes.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Since most folks only ever call her "Sam", on the rare occasions her full name is used (such as Veronica discussing the possibility of moving in with Jim,) she assumes it's something bad.

    Clinton P. Augustus

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

Provides examples of:

    Mrs. Augustus 
Claire and Clinton's mom. Seems to be enjoying the empty nest now that her children are off at college.

  • Hidden Depths: She has a full professional bass guitar rig in her house. Marten's so impressed he asks to try it.
  • Mrs. Robinson: Has taken up dating men the same age as her children. Claire's all for it, Clinton's a little squicked out.
  • The Pollyanna: Always cheerful and friendly.
  • Shipper on Deck: She was immediately on board with Marten and Claire dating.

    Beatrice Chatham 

Hannelore's mother. Described in text as "Martha Stewart meets Darth Vader".

Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Even if unintentionally, she views Hanners' neuroses as something to be ignored and/or punished, and doesn't really relate to her.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Fondly reminisces about the days when you could topple a Mega Corp. with a few transsexual prostitutes and a Polaroid camera. She also forces Tilly on Hannelore as a P.A. so she can get support from their father, without any consideration for either Hanners or Tilly.
  • Not So Different: Hanners and Beatrice eventually bond over martinis, and this seems to have led Beatrice to take a more active interest in her daughter's life. Both can get very scary and commanding when compelled to, as well.

    John Ellicott-Chatham 

Hannelore's father. Lives on a space station.

Provides examples of:

  • Absent-Minded Professor: Is first introduced trying to find his iPod. And he can't keep track of which of his surnames the divorce leaves him with.
  • Mad Scientist: The father of cybernetics and strong A.I.. Also invented the robotic hamster.
  • The Real Heroes: In spite of being one of the foremost technological geniuses in history, he greatly admires plumbers. This may date back to the construction of Station, as any orbital habitat is at least 50% pipes and ducts.

Momo accidentally discovers the SMIF library's collection of Victorian smut.

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 with her original chassis. 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. She's also processed a significant quantity of Victorian-era pornography as part of her work at the library, and reads romance novels recommended by Hannelore.
  • Cranial Processing Unit: Her head is apparently removable.
  • Cuteness Overload: Caused them in her Chibi form, and currently provides the page image.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Several pages, starting with 2962, focus on her going about her day.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Was unnamed in her first appearance, and had a different outfit and hairstyle.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: She (as with most AIs) being a Technical Pacifist has trouble understanding why Bubbles would join the military. Bubbles is less than eager to discuss the matter with her, as she has had more than a few AIs dog her out for her choice. Momo's response is to use these, as seen here:
    Bubbles: If I agree, will you stop making that facial expression? It is causing me great discomfort.
  • Japanese Politeness: She's an android Made in Japan, and exemplifies polite and respectful behavior. She has her limits, though.
  • 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: At first; she appears almost entirely alongside Marigold, and most of her discussions with other characters relate to Marigold. She has since developed into a character who stands on her own.
  • 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.
  • Straight Man: To May.
  • Verbal Tic: She never uses contractions...except for when she loses herself in Marigold's game.
  • 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. Also played with, since AI's are matured in a purely virtual creche before being loaded into bodies. Whether her age is counted as subjective years, years since entering reality, or the age of her current body isn't clear.

    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 mate 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.

The AI that runs the Ellicott-Chatham Industries space station. He cared for Hannelore until she was ready to live on Earth.

  • A Dog Named "Dog": Is named by Hannelore in her youth, when she lacked creativity for the AI's titles.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Manifests as a humanoid hologram to interact with people.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: He falls in love with Hannelore, but she chooses to keep living the life she's established on Earth.
  • Intangible Man: Due to being a hologram. As such, he has to modify some hunter-killer droids to give hugs, and Hannelore falls through him when she tries to lean on his shoulder.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He plays a mean-spirited prank on Lieutenant Potter, but is quick to apologize and is genuinely upset to have caused Hannelore distress.
  • Orbital Bombardment: Claims to be capable of precision orbital strikes. No one seems inclined to doubt this.
  • Spaceship Guy: He is the central computer of the ECI space station.


An AI assigned as a holographic companion to Dale as part of work release program from robot jail. She was subsequently released and joined the cast, now with a chassis.

Provides examples of:

  • Amazing Technicolor Population: For whatever reason, her chassis is the same blue color as she was as a hologram. This is addressed when her facial myomer becomes damaged, as Bubbles and Faye don't have a matching one, forcing her head to be re-covered entirely.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Has made crass remarks about other female characters and their bodies, and expressed interest in engaging in sexual stuff with guys.
  • Animesque: As a hologram, more so than the rest of the webcomic already was.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: To her disappointment, the programmers didn't bother to render any genitalia on her holographic form.
    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—
    May: So, I realized there's no reason to limit myself to fleshlights. I could tape on dildos, vibrators, whatever. Like a multi-region power adapter, but for fuckin'!
  • Bile Fascination/So Bad, It's Good: In-universe. She finds amusement in "aggressively terrible porn".
    May: [Looking at an issue of "Prolapse Monthly"] Hah! Nothing medical science can do about that one!
  • 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 is most certainly not covert about her own lewdness, but she suspects it of Dale and is disgusted by the fact that a compatibility algorthim decided on the sexy French Maid outfit as the best fit for his tastes.
  • Drunk on Milk: How does May emulate intoxication? Deliberately downcycling her processor core.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Resents Dale for deriving her name from "maid", and his alternative of "Dickmouth Stinkface".
  • Foil: To Momo. Both are Animesque robots and friends with an extremely nerdy character whom they help deal with their insecurities, but while Momo is kind, polite, idealistic, and optimistic about the relationship between humans and AI, May is a foul-mouthed jerk, former criminal, has encountered prejudice against AIs, and is more in-tune with the harshnesses of reality (e.g. the ramifications of shutting down an illegal fighting ring.)
  • 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.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: She hopes that Faye and Bubbles will get it on.
    May: And if you two eventually bone down, I want pics of her out of her armor.
  • Jerkass: She made a rude joke about Dale's dad with an insincere apology.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • In her introductory arc, 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. Later, after Dale has let her stay at his place and encouraged her after she gets turned down for multiple jobs on account of her criminal record, she remains grateful to him, although she doesn't want him to know it.
    • Upon realizing who Hannelore is, she shows a genuine concern for her privacy and later defends her from a rude customer.
      May: LISTEN BABYDICK, if you got time to stop for coffee, you got time to be POLITE. Now apologize before I introduce your cellphone to your prostate.
    • By this strip, this is downplayed so much that she's more like Gold With A Thin Veneer of Jerk.
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Her holographic design seems to be intended to invoke this.
  • The Lad-ette: Crude, tomboyish, and wants to be a fighter jet.
  • Messy Hair: Her default style once embodied. Even Bubbles' styling job doesn't last.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Only at first, and not by choice. Though she does have a desire for anatomical correctness, at first examining her breasts in hologram form and checking if anything was rendered below the belt.
    Jeph comment: It's just gonna be a big pixelated blur
  • The Noseless: During her stint as an anime hologram.
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: Like Momo, she resembles a human teenage girl except that she's, well, blue. Unlike Momo, who behaves like a kind and polite human teenage girl, May behaves like a juvenile habitual criminal who's trying against most of her strongest instincts to keep on the right side of the law.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: When she first meets Dale as a hologram she is extremely polite and deferential, and addresses him as 'master'. As soon as he agrees to participate in the virtual companion testing program, let's just say that she shows her true self:
    May: OH THANK FUCKIN' GOD. You know you're the fifteenth goddamn person I've had to deal with this morning? Everyone else opted out on me. Fuckin' shitstains. Arright, first things first - I'm not doin' that creepy "master" bullshit anymore. Makes me wanna fuckin' puke. I'm s'posed to read off the licence agreement, but it's real goddamn long so if you gotta piss you better go now.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Momo thinks May's maid skirt is cute, while May expresses distaste for it and resolves to get some pants when she can.
  • Tsundere: An understated example, but while she's very appreciative of everything Dale's done for her, she doesn't really want him to know the extent, and specifically tells Faye to keep it between May and her.
    May: Look, this stays between you and me okay? But Dale was kind to me when I needed kindness. If it wasn't for him, I'd still be sitting in Robot Jail right now.
  • You Got Guts: When Momo threatens her, she comments that she likes her moxy.


A former combat droid who works for Corpse Witch at the fighting ring.

Provides examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Bubbles retains her chassis combat plating, despite no longer requiring it. Faye implies Bubbles could remove it, but Bubbles implies she chooses not to. Unlike many other humanoid robot characters, she frequently eschews clothing entirelynote , wearing only her armor. This lasts up until she asks Faye to help her out of her armor, emblematic of her learning to open up emotionally as part of her Character Development.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Beneath her armor she's built like an Olympic weightlifter, with heavily muscled arms, legs, abdomen, and glutes. Faye is jealous of her butt, and all Tai and Dora have to say about it is "Daaaaaaaaang!"
    Faye: Is it weird to be a li'l jealous of a robot's booty?
    Bubbles: If it makes you feel any better, your tax dollars paid for it.
  • Accidental Truth: When she delays Officer Basilisk, who is hiding in a trash can, by stacking another on top, she returns to Faye and says she had seen a raccoon. There actually was a raccoon which stole the officer's badge and ran off with it.
  • All Girls Like Ponies: Was very pleased to hallucinate a unicorn grove the first time she tried Hannelore's tea. She hopes to see a Pegasus next.
  • Benevolent A.I.: While this can be generally said for most of the robot characters, Bubbles is a special case in that she volunteers to fight on the frontline to protect humanity.
  • Closet Geek: Uses the compartments in her legs, designed to hold ammunition magazines, to carry around game systems.
  • The Comically Serious: She always speaks in a deadpan manner, rarely smiles and takes just about everything very seriously. Doesn't stop her from being amusing in the least.
  • Dark and Troubled Past:
    • Something that happened to Bubbles' military unit was so traumatic that she allowed Corpse Witch to lock the memories away so she couldn't recall experiencing them. She has explained to Faye that the memories caused her great distress. She only works for Corpse Witch because she has used the memories as blackmail by holding the encryption key to them.
    • It turns out that whatever the memories were, Bubbles doesn't have them anymore; Corpse Witch accidentally erased them during the encryption procedure. Bubbles uses this to walk away from Corpse Witch's repair shop and start a new life.
    • She does remembers the general outline of events, and they are indeed quite terrible: she and her unit were ambushed, she was incapacitated by an EMP pulse, and the rest of her squad was attacked with artillery bombardment. The ones that didn't immediately die were then killed off with small arms fire.
  • Deadpan Snarker: In a quiet way. Even Faye, reigning snark champion, comments that she gets some good hits in.
    Faye: So: you were up to top secret military stuff. What's really under Denver International Airport?
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Eventually styles her hair into a more and more casual appearance as she becomes less self-conscious about her appearance.
  • Feed the Mole: In a sense. When discussing the possibilities of Spookybot's nature with Station, he mentions that such an AI is probably capable of listening in on any robot's conversation. So she briefly says thank you to Station, to deliver the message to Spookybot- it works.
  • Fembot: While there are some Robot Girl characters who appear broadly similar to their organic counterparts, Bubbles is much more overtly robotic while also still clearly presenting as female in her body proportions and the careful modelling of her face and hair. The combat armor plating over her body sheathing has a lot to do with it. Ultimately proves to be a subversion. Without her armor plating her body is remarkably human, to the point it makes Faye kind of jealous.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: A tall, intimidating battle-fembot... named "Bubbles". She mentions it was an Ironic Nickname from her old squad, which she kept to remember them by.
  • Foil: She shares Faye's problems with Survivor Guilt and repressed anger, and her tendency to sabotage relationships. Bubbles' struggles with these issues show us how far Faye has come and how lonely and bitter Faye might have become if she'd never found a supportive circle of friends. At the same time, Faye serves as a positive example of what Bubbles could become if she accepts someone's helping hand.
  • Gass Hole: According to (possibly facetious) Word of God, she farts a lot in combat to discharge heat.
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: Sees them in the from of dragons when smelling Japanese tea.
  • Hikikomori: Doesn't go outside, ever. It's at least in part due to discomfort over her intimidating looks. She refuses to remove her armor even after Faye does manage to lure her outside. Having spent a great deal of time with Faye, however, she has become much more comfortable in public, with her own special chair at Coffee of Doom, even chatting with a young girl in the course of helping Claire move into Marten and Faye's apartment.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Bubbles is seven feet tall and heavily armored, capable of withstanding direct hits from anti-materiel rifles and crushing armored vehicles bare-handed. Despite this, she's capable of leaping up to three meters in the air and her running speed is 30 km/h (18 mph) which is pretty fast for a humanoid.
  • Loner-Turned-Friend: After spending a long time distrusting humans and being uncomfortable with attention, she begins opening up to Faye.
  • Mecha-Mook: When she joined up with all her organic buddies, the military outfitted her with an impressive combat 'bot chassis. She still retains it, cutting an imposing figure.
  • Megaton Punch: Almost literally. She once shattered a concrete wall next to Faye's head in a fit of rage.
  • My Sensors Indicate You Want to Tap That: Says her situational awareness protocol made her aware of Tai and Dora "checking her out" on multiple occasions.
    Alt Text: It's like radar but for boob-glances.
  • The Nose Knows: Several of her senses go beyond what a human is capable of, particularly her sense of smell. Part of her combat design for enhanced situational awareness, her sense of smell is so broad that she can effectively smell "in color", odors presenting a vivid picture of the world around her. This may be why she has an almost hallucinogenic pleasurable reaction to inhaling the vapor of aromatic teas.
  • Not So Above It All: Faye manages to get under her skin with 'join us unless you're chicken' arguments. Childish yet effective.
  • Onee-sama: Momo, an AI with Japanese mannerisms, seems to regard her like a highly respected older sister.
  • Retired Badass: Used to be a formidable infantry soldier before being discharged into civilian life. When Faye expresses a preference for a romantic partner who's muscled and heroic, yet retired from their dangerous career, it takes effort on Claire's part not to snark that she's pretty much just described Bubbles.
  • Robosexual: Since they went into business together, Bubbles seems to be falling in love with Faye despite her being an AI and Faye a human: she displays Crush Blush around her, and when asked how Faye looks to her through her robot senses, she tells Faye that she's beautiful. Neither of them seem to fully grasp the implications of these feelings yet.
  • Sci-Fi Bob Haircut: When first introduced, one could be easily forgiven for assuming she was wearing a helmet due to the art style.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Implied when she hints that most of her friends were casualties. She found the memories in question so traumatic she could not cope with them and sought to lock them into an encrypted partition so she would not longer remember them. She knows the broad strokes of what happened through after-action reports, but they are all second-hand accounts, not her own.
  • A Spot Of Tea: Unexpectedly discovers she really likes it (for the smell) at Hannelore's suggestion.
  • Statuesque Stunner: The tallest character by far, and considered attractive by other women. Justified as her body is designed for combat applications where her height and long limbs give her extra leverage.
  • The Stoic: She doesn't show emotion well when first introduced, despite the fact that she clearly possesses empathy and has a conscience. However, the more she opens up to Faye, the more her emotions seem to show on her face.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Bubbles has never heard a The Beatles song... or anything by Paul McCartney's Wings.
  • Verbal Tic: Avoids contractions, much like Faye at the start of the comic.


A bartender with poor social skills who hosts Clinton in the aftermath of a fight with Claire. Then her bar burns down. Her name is short for Brunhilde.

Provides examples of:


A personal assistant to Hannelore appointed by her mother, to Hanners' unenthusiastic surprise.

Provides examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: Hannelore's mother mistakenly referring to them as "Taffy" ends up having Hannelore doing the same thing for a while without even noticing, despite Tilly's corrections. It looks at first like it will become a Running Gag, but she eventually realizes her error. Tilly takes it well and even adopts Taffy as a nickname.
  • Adorkable: Their dorky appearance combined with their friendly enthusiasm makes them rather endearing.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Tilly is initially referred to as "she" or "her", but later clarifies that they go by they/them pronouns. They carry an androgynous appearance, especially so in their "coffee shop" work attire.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Has rounded, bushy eyebrows that contribute to a cute, boyish look.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Has a short, boyish haircut.
  • Circular Reasoning: Hannelore complains that she doesn't need a personal assistant. Tilly says they were instructed to ignore any evidence that Hannelore doesn't need assistance, as that would be an obstacle to providing her with assistance. Hannelore points out that this is a tautology, which Tilly explains they were also instructed not to worry about.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Memorized a variety of details about Hannelore and her social circle before introducing themselves, as well as being briefed on (and instructed to disregard) any objections Hanners might have to their being there.
  • Dogged Nice Person: A platonic type who refuses to give up on getting Hannelore to accept their help.
  • Extraverted Nerd: Despite their geeky presentation, Tilly isn't the least bit shy and jumps at the chance to befriend Hannelore and Winslow.
  • Eye Glasses: Tilly is drawn as if their eyes were fused with their glasses, with the irises floating around inside the large white space contained within the lenses.
  • Gender-Blender Name: "Tilly" is traditionally feminine, which causes Hannelore to assume they're female because she doesn't take any time to learn about them in her frustration.
  • Meaningful Name: Their full name is Tilly Birch. The birch tree is famous for being remarkably adaptable and easily fitting into new environments, much like Tilly themself.
  • Nerd Glasses: Wears thick coke bottle glasses that add to their nerdy yet adorable image.
  • Nice Person: Unbelievably friendly and helpful: Winslow is won over right away, while Hannelore is exasperated at how hard they are to get rid of.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy: In the conclusion to the arc, Hannelore sends Tilly off to work for her father as his personal assistant.
  • Skewed Priorities: When Dora suggests murdering them, Tilly's only concern is that being dead would prevent them from assisting Hannelore in disposing of the body.
  • Tender Tears: Moved to tears just from being brewed a cup of coffee by the heir to the Ellicott-Chatham empire. Even Hannelore thinks it's a bit much.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Hannelore is not happy her mother thought she ought to have an assistant, and even less so that she was not consulted beforehand.

Other Important characters:

    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. She is slowly getting over some of her issues with the help of her friends. She is romantically lonely but not far enough past her germophobia and other issues to seek out a partner — yet. Leaves the comic to travel the world in 3649

Provides examples of:


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:


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

Provides examples of:


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.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: "The Company Therapist" is the nickname he gives to the bottle of bourbon he keeps in his desk. He happily shares it with Martin.
  • Straight Gay: Other than mentioning his boyfriend, you'd never notice.


A trucker-looking barfly who writes romance novels.

Provides examples of:

     Dr. Corrine Buenvenida 
Faye's therapist at Hannelore's recommendation.

Provides examples of:

  • Deadpan Snarker: She psychs out Faye with promise of a lobotomy, and later shows Faye a "Rorschach test" reading "No sarcasm, please".
  • There Are No Therapists: Directly averts this. She's genuinely helpful to Faye and does her job well.


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 Conscience: She guilts Steve into telling Faye that he slept with Gina Riversmith.
  • Put on a Bus: She hasn't been seen in ages, possibly because summer arrived in the comic, meaning her "internship" ended with the school year.

     Corpse Witch 

Faye and Bubbles' boss at the underground robot-fighting ring.

Provides examples of:

  • Asshole Victim: Let's just say she can't complain about what happens to her when "Spooky Bot" catches her and then finds out there's no backup for Bubbles' deleted memories.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She has a pretty cute and simple chassis, but she doesn't approve of Faye and Bubbles using their resources to fix May, and she discourages Faye from comforting Bubbles after a bad day. She's also extremely passive-aggressive when others disagree with or defy her. It turns out it's even worse, as she blackmails Bubbles to work for her because she holds onto the encryption key to the traumatic memories Bubbles asked her encrypt. Well, that's what she told Bubbles. In truth, the blackmail is hollow as she actually deleted the memories and encrypted the resulting hole after leaving behind something nasty.
  • Break the Haughty: In the span of a few comics she goes from being the ringleader of a successful underground robot fighting operation to being manhandled and humiliated by her supposed debtor, caught by "Spookybot" during an attempt to skip town, and then forced to choose between turning herself in or an eternity of torture. What keeps it from being a full Villainous Breakdown is lack of time to react.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Left a nasty surprise in Bubbles' head if she ever defaulted on her "debt", something she was sure would immediately destroy or disable a military-grade AI chassis. A shame we'll never know what it was.
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: A very ordinary and harmless looking robot with a sinister name, to contrast with Bubbles. Subverted in that despite her bubblegum-pink chassis, she's a callous criminal with underworld connections and who thinks nothing of hollowing out and booby-trapping a subordinate's mind.
  • Exact Words: She assuages Faye's ethical concerns about the robot fights by assuring her that none of the fighters are fighting to pay off debts, or are otherwise coerced, and thanks to reinforced A.I. drives are in fact very safe. Bubbles doesn't fight but she's got blackmail and, unbeknownst to her, kill-codes keeping her under Corpse Witch's thumb.
  • Mind Rape: Partitioned off a section of Bubbles' mind, effectively making her forget her Dark and Troubled Past. In truth, she simply deleted the memories. She claims it was accidental, and that the kill-code she subsequently implanted was 'insurance' against retribution, but given that she basically enslaved Bubbles afterward...
  • Oh, Crap!: Her usual haughty attitude vanishes completely when she finds out that not only does Bubbles know that she simply deleted the memories she was supposed to be safeguarding, and has been blackmailing her with an empty bluff all this time, but the failsafe she created to stop Bubbles from completely dismantling her has been disabled as well.
    Corpse Witch: Shit.
  • Rule of Cool: This is how she tests Faye with how to fix a damaged robot chassis. Sure, the repairs are okay, but to really "fix" it, you add spikes!
  • Smug Snake: Almost every interaction she's had with another character consists of her making some sort of veiled threat or passive-aggressive comment before walking off with a wave and an insufferable look of satisfaction. One under-comic text states that she is "extremely smug".
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once she finds out Bubbles knows she deleted the memories rather than simply encrypting them, she tries to activate a failsafe that would have done who knows what to Bubbles. Fortunately, it had already been removed.

An assembly-arm AI at the underground robot-fighting ring. He's often overlooked, but is more than meets the eye.

One of the fighters at the underground robot-fighting ring. He's not very good at it.
  • Blood Knight: He loves to punch things. Subverted in that he's not mean.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: When it comes to violence, at least. He loves fighting, being absolutely delighted when Bubbles flips him in rage, and having his day made when May tries to engage in a spar with him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Every time he has to come in for repairs (usually after doing something Faye specifically told him not to) Faye doodles penises on his head... by the end of the strip there's a lot of them.
  • Hidden Depths: One of the reasons he might not be one of the better fighters in the ring? His day job's an accountant!

     Officer Roko Basilisk 
A robot police officer who tries to shut down the underground robot-fighting ring. Needless to say, she's in way over her head.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: She has a lot of issues that it makes no sense for a robot to have, like sensitive feet and getting nauseous at the sight of her own detached foot. She maintains it's psychosomatic.
    Faye: Why is fainting even a thing she can do?!
  • Annoying Patient: When she comes in for repairs, she is revealed to be overly sensitive with several psychosomatic reactions, including fainting and nausea. She doesn't trust Bubbles and Faye enough to go into sleep mode, so they can work on her without interuptions, and contiues to passive-agressively insult them.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Definitely.
  • Butt-Monkey: Corpse Witch and Bubbles are able to easily deflect her and push her away, and she gets caught in a chase for a raccoon that stole her badge.
  • Covert Pervert: When her tea gives her visions of a sexy horse man, she's surprised...but goes back to "see" it again.
  • Flat "What.": Gives one when Spookybot pulls their favorite trick of showing up out of the blue (this time with damning amounts of evidence against Corpse Witch) while she's knitting and fixing the situation.

A "sympathetic party" of an AI who offers to help Bubbles with her memory-encryption problems. Despite their offer, they don't seem to be exactly nice.

  • Ambiguous Gender: Has a neutral appearance and Jeph refers to them with neutral pronouns, suggesting a nonbinary identity. They self-identify with plural pronouns. This is not accidental- they have multiple bodies/chassis.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Their outfit is rather business-casual, they have powerful connections, they dismantled the robot fighting ring in the course of one comic (and then replaced it with a legal duplicate just as quickly) and they can incapacitate humans and AIs alike with a touch.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Their morality, like everything else about them, is ambiguous at best. However, they have placed themselves in the current situation in direct opposition to Corpse Witch, who is unquestionably villainous. They also seemed genuinely regretful that their efforts didn't help, and reveal to Corpse Witch that deleting an AI's memories and replacing them with kill-codes violates one of the few moral principles they have.
  • Creepy Good: While literally everything about them is otherworldly and unnerving, they have done nothing but good in their limited time onscreen, even taking the time to comfort Bubbles over the loss of her memories before departing to deal with Corpse Witch. Also, despite indications of them possessing great and terrible power, every interaction they have with the cast is respectful, and they don't cross any boundaries that don't need to be crossed. And really, they can't be that bad if they have dogs.
  • Deus ex Machina: No pun intended. They show up just as the full depth of Bubbles' troubles are revealed, tidy everything up, collect an eavesdropped "thank-you", and haven't been seen since, providing argument for...
    • Small Role, Big Impact: They provided the means by which Bubbles could ascend to the main cast, move in with Faye, shed her armor both psychological and literal, and start up a business of her own.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: They have Raven Hair, Ivory Skin.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite claiming to be something that makes AIs "wake up screaming", they admit to finding the direct editing of an AI's consciousness "unnerving"... But not so much that they won't conscript Emily into doing it for them, with materials they had conveniently on hand.
  • Everything's Squishier with Cephalopods: Bubbles makes use of the alien-ness of cephalopods in a metaphor to describe to Faye what They are.
    Bubbles: If the spectrum of artificial intelligence is a coral reef system, that being is an Architeuthis lurking in the deep water beyond.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: While they themselves might also be an example, the consciousness-editing interface they provide for Emily translates the insides of Bubbles' mind into easily understandable images; the "default" area is an impossibly tall room with doors sticking out of the walls that represent various blocks of data, the search engine is a map, the encrypted section is a door with a large lock, the decryption program is a "comically oversized key", whatever contingency plan Corpse Witch left behind is a giant monster, the program to delete that is a pop-gun, and the space where the deleted memories once were is an empty room.
    Faye: A little on the nose, isn't it?
    Spookybot: When you create an immersive virtual environment and an incomprehensibly powerful decryption algorithm, you can make them look however you want.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Are revealed to have a pair of dogs at their apparent personal residence.
  • Hive Mind: They have more than one body, but each body is identical.
  • Irony: They're a nonbinary AI.
  • It Amused Us: They promise to help Bubbles with no strings attached, saying that it was for their own personal satisfaction.
  • Jerkass: And not unhappy about it.
    Faye: You're a fucking asshole.
    AI: Indisputably.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite this, they offer Bubbles a way to regain her memory while asking absolutely nothing in return, and when it turns out Corpse Witch simply deleted the memories instead of encrypting them, they gently and kindly remind Bubbles that she has support from her friends before leaving. Not only that, but while dismantling the fighting ring, they establish a legal version to replace it. Plus, they have dogs! So that's nice.
  • Meaningful Echo: In their introductory strip, Jeph's comment is a sarcastic "they seem nice!" When they leave after some heartfelt encouragement, the comment from Jeph is a more genuine "They seemed nice."
  • The Nameless: They don't even offer up an alias. They refer to themselves as "a sympathetic party" which is appropriate considering there's more than one of them, and Jeph only calls them "Spookybot" in commentary. This is averted shortly afterward when Faye refers to them as such, canonically establishing itself as one of her nicknames.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: When they catch up to Corpse Witch, they give her two options. 1.) Turn herself in to the authorities, confess to her crimes, and completely submit to her sentence, whatever that might be. 2.) Become their new chewtoy, and they subject her to a nice off-panel example.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Downplayed. They've got it in for Corpse Witch bad for what she did to Bubbles, but after seeing Bubbles spare Corpse Witch they offer her the opportunity to either turn herself in and confess...or spend eternity in their "tender mercies".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: One of their most striking features, and with cat-like pupils to boot.
  • Shout-Out: Their introduction has them making one to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, saying that their group are the ones who make them wake up screaming.
  • The Singularity: It was implied as early as strip 1777 that The Singularity had occurred and later on Bubbles and Faye spend a week hypothesizing about how creepy that could theoretically be. When they show up, flat out stating in an offhand way that they're more powerful than Station, we find that it is very creepy.
  • Slasher Smile:Eeep!
    "We are very, very bad news."
  • Smug Snake: Whoever they are, they are entirely secure in their superiority; Setting aside what we've actually seen, they brush off threats of violence with a simple "wouldn't work" and "if we wanted to hurt her, there would be nothing you could do".
  • Smug Smiler: Oh so much. It reaches a completely different territory when they introduce themselves to Corpse Witch, and explain exactly how screwed she is. The resulting visual effect is downright chilling.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Appears in the scene from nowhere, which Faye lampshades.

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:


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

Provides examples of:


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 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.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: They were this for a very long time, until strip 3263 revealed that their names are Brad, Chad, and Thad.
  • 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: