Webcomic: Better Days

Lucy, Sheila and Fisk Black.
Better Days is a Furry Comic by artist Jay Naylor. It follows the lives of a cast of characters, originally primarily focused on siblings Fisk and Lucy Black, and their mother Sheila, though as the comic went on much of the story also involved Lucy's former college roommate Beth.

While Better Days has a fairly well-established fanbase of its own, a number of people are also aware of it due to its politics, its sexual themes, and other material and philosophies some find controversial. Surprisingly, most of these don't involve it being a furry comic.

The comic ended at the end of May 2009, having lasted a little over six years and 639 strips. Its successor, Original Life, began on June 1, 2009.

Better Days includes examples of:

  • Anachronism Stew: Fisk suggesting to Elizabeth to go to the movies seeing Happy Tree Friends. This scene is set in 1982; however, Happy Tree Friends was a series of Internet cartoons, not a theatrical release, so this was likely intentional.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Aron.
  • Aside Glance: One instance in Chapter 22, "Roll Play." When it is up to Lucy to defeat the boss of the DnD campaign, she is told to attack the Sorceress's weak point, the Pink Pearl. One of the guys tell her where it is, which, given the rather... particular choice of words used to describe its location on the Sorceress's body and how it apparently can not be found by "no man," makes it sound suspiciously like a woman's G-spot. Lucy gives a glance at the reader acknowledging this.
  • Author Appeal: There are lots of shots of women's derrieres. Lots and lots of 'em.
  • Author Filibuster: Too many to be counted.
  • Author Tract: The comic started out as an author tract largely for conservatism, but has gradually changed to preach Objectivism as Jay Naylor discovered that philosophy. One chapter of the comic is basically an Author Filibuster against abstract art that doesn't look like anything, culminating with the artist whose paintings "look like what they're of" being given validation in the form of a big check from a businessman.
  • Badass: Fisk, on several counts; cracking his principal upside the head with a baseball bat when the man rapes his mother, and then later on during his service in the Army during Desert Storm and the Battle of Mogadishu, and finally when he singlehandedly rescues his cousin Persia from a mob-run prostitution ring.
  • Between My Legs: Subverted with one Not Safe for Work strip.
  • Bi the Way: Flounce winds up hooking up with Persia after fighting with his boyfriend, and another old boyfriend of his shows up in a pornfolio and ends up having a threesome with both of them.
  • Black and Nerdy: The comic portrays Africans as hyenas. In one strip, there's a nerd club and one of the members is a hyena.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Fisk and Lucy, although it's downplayed.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Happens mainly to several minor characters, but also happens to notable characters like Sheila Black, Rachel, and the couple of Robert and Jessica as they drift in and out of Fisk's and Lucy's lives.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Objectivism.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Fisk.
  • Fanservice: Not limited to Naylor's pornfolios; there's plenty of shots of female butts, panty-clad or otherwise, within the actual strip.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Some furries represent specific groups. Hyenas represent African-Americans. The few rabbits we see are (raised) Catholic. Likewise, the mice are Jewish.
  • Fille Fatale: Nikki, played tragically due to being abused by her father. She eventually gets better with a lot of counseling.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Elizabeth's parents discuss this when she goes on her first date with Fisk, regarding him not being Jewish.
  • Furry Confusion: The feral dogs from Chapter 2.
    • The one and only time this happens. Naylor seemed to actually notice this trope, and tended to avoid showing or even mentioning any animals for the rest of the comic (excluding some camel spiders in one strip).
  • Gag Penis: Marvin Lipschitz, who is apparently very well hung. His semi-censored penis sort of delivers an Author Filibuster as the climax of one storyline.
    "The penis spoke. And it was wise."
  • Good Angel, Bad Angel: This occurs when Lucy first experiences feelings for Fisk.
  • Ill Girl: Happens to Lucy Black in chapter 3 when she's bedridden with a cold.
    • From Bad to Worse: When Fisk accidentally mistook their mother's blood pressure medication for decongestant, resulting in Lucy having to be rushed to the hospital. Thankfully she got better.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Elizabeth's family. Fisk comments on this.
  • Panty Shot
  • Parents in Distress: Sheila is nearly raped by Principal Longfellow, but Fisk manages to save her by whacking the guy with a baseball bat.
  • Perky Goth: Beth. Lampshaded in one comic.
  • Phony Veteran: Longfellow.
  • Playing with Syringes: Principal Longfellow's murder. He's injected with a meningitis-causing pathogen (there are several, which one we're never told) by Sheila's husband's army buddies to make it look like he died of surgical complications.
  • Polyamory: Beth, who lost her first boyfriend to an illness and is "afraid to put all her eggs in one basket". At one point, she has three different boyfriends, but is warned that she will have to pick one eventually. She does, and it ends up being Tommy's roommate, Aron...but not until after she's been in a relationship with Fisk.
  • Punny Name: Principal Longfellow. Tell me there wasn't a Double Entendre in there.
  • Rape as Drama: Played dead straight. Sheila was attacked by Harvey Longfellow after she discovers that he lied about knowing her husband in Vietnam, and he attempts to rape her. Fisk, who was by then only about 9 years old, intervenes and hits him with a baseball bat. She realistically suffers a measure of post traumatic stress after this.
    • As for the fate of Longfellow, he ends up in the hospital...where some of Sheila's husband's old Army friends pay him a visit and ensure that he'll never rape anyone again. By killing him and making it look like an accident during surgery.
    • Fisk is then sent to a psychiatrist, where he openly admits that cracking Longfellow over the head was satisfying and the right thing to do, and that he does not feel guilty in the slightest for the man's death. When we cut back to the psychiatrist, she's happily drawing a dollar sign on her notebook.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: None of the few characters revealed as rapists survive the chapters in which they're introduced.
  • Retcon: Various minor ones over the years, though the most obvious one is Robert and Jessica's relationship. It had previously been stated that they started dating in the 10th grade, but Puppy Love changes this to them meeting while Robert's already an adult and in a relationship (so that he can cheat on his fianceť with her).
  • Shipper on Deck: Lucy for Fisk and Elizabeth.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title of Chapter 9, about one of Lucy's peers dating her to get a stab at her mom, was appropriately titled "Lucy's Mom"
    • The hospital shown late in the comic is named after singer Grace Jones as an In-Joke between Naylor and a friend. Another Jones appearance appears in Original Life.
    • Mice in this setting are all depicted as being Jewish.
  • Slumber Party: Lucy holds one early on in the comic.
  • Southern-Fried Private: Fisk
  • Space Jews: Cats are white, mice are Jewish, hyenas are black.
    • Though there's been no answers from the Word of God, there's a number of hints that rabbits are analogues for Irish descent.
  • Spin-Offspring: Original Life is a rare webcomics example.
  • Stacy's Mom: The subject of Chapter 9 (complete with Shout-Out title "Lucy's Mom") wherein Ted Stephens dates Lucy to get a stab at her "porcelain white goddess" mother.
  • The Stoic: Fisk, from the very first page and progressively more as the comic goes on.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: Fun Charlie's.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Fisk insists on spearing a fish for no reason other than he can. This trope was referenced directly in the very next comic.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: Beth dreams about Fisk and realizes that it's only a dream when she accidentally grabs Lucy's left boob.
    Beth: ...You're not Fisk
    Lucy: DO YOU THINK SO?!
  • There Are No Therapists: Played with. After Fisk cracks his mom's would-be rapist over the head with a baseball bat, he's sent to a therapist for help. He stoically tells her that it was satisfying and the right thing to do, that he is not sorry the man is dead, and that his only regret is that he might get in trouble for feeling that way. The therapist's response is to smile and draw a dollar sign on her notepad.
    • She does actually help him with some of his later childhood traumas, most notably the loss of his virginity at the age of ten (to a sexually abused eleven-year-old).
  • Title Drop: On the very last page.
  • The Unfair Sex: Elizabeth's husband cheating on her is portrayed as a betrayal; Elizabeth flirting with Fisk out of revenge is portrayed as an acceptable response.
    • It's not really the betrayal, but the fact that after all the years she was goaded by her parents into marrying him for gain, Elizabeth simply doesn't love him and the cheating finally proves to her that she shouldn't be expected to.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Elizabeth for Fisk, eventually.
  • Wall of Text: Fisk loves to rant.
  • White Void Room: Frequently.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room: "I knew it!"