YMMV / Endtown

  • Angst Aversion: Previously it was a common occurrence on 4chan to see people enter an Endtown thread announcing that they'd just recently discovered the comic and were in the process of binge reading it, after which they would usually come back to give their opinion upon finishing. Over the 2017 period (beginning immediately after the end of the "Ship Arc" and Holly Hollister's removal from the comic) the pattern changed quickly to people announcing binges but not returning to give opinions, followed by newcomer interest in the comic seeming to vanish completely. The subscription rate on the GoComics site itself also looks to have slowed massively. It would seem that word about what happens to Holly has gotten around...
  • Arc Fatigue: Ever since the author had to switch from updating five days a week to three, the arcs have been far slower to complete. "Holly's Flashback" Arc has been the most egregious example.
  • Ass Pull: Flask's redemption by Marx, and a lot of other things involving Marx, from his sudden entry to the strip in order to act as a Deus ex Machina to his eating an explosion in a scene obviously inspired by Mars Attacks!.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Visually, Gustine and Maude (Aaron Neathery is known to like "large" women).
    • Personality-wise, Kirbee and, one gets the impression, Holly Hollister, at least once upon a time.
    • As a whole, Aaron Marx, a character that Aaron Neathery has previously included in many loosely-connected works and who seems to be assembled out of parts of his favourite literary and TV show characters (such as The Doctor and Tom Bombadil).
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Aaron Marx. On one hand, he's provided Funny Moments, at least one Moment of Awesome, and some interesting new premises. On the other hand, he exhibits several Mary Sue traits, including his sudden appearance from Another Dimension, and softens the sci-fi considerably. Some readers think he made the comic better than ever; others got ready to leave after too much of him.
    • Lately, Kirbee and Holly Hollister, split between fans of either due to the love triangle with Wally. Holly fans tend to find Kirbee bland and forced, Kirbee fans see Holly as a bad person due to her increasing insanity. Aaron Neathery himself seems to love Kirbee and view her as being a ray of hope in the darkness of the strip's setting, while expressing disbelief that anyone could find Holly inspiring, despite the latter character expressing some of the strip's most positive messages and being a shut-in who forced herself to rejoin humanity via sheer willpower.
  • The Chris Carter Effect: Complaints of this nature suggest this may be part of the reason behind the continuing Patreon exodus. It doesn't help that Aaron Neathery has become somewhat infamous for answering said complaints with "Trust me" or "It'll all make sense later", or that the most recent arc was capped with a "Shaggy Dog" Story ending that was so informationally empty that many have assumed it was just a way for Neathery to rid himself of a character he'd come to dislike.
  • Continuity Lockout: Inevitably happened.
  • Creator Worship: Aaron Neathery is to some degree a victim of being put on a pedestal; criticism of the comic or its creator has a difficult time being heard in some parts of the internet, and has been known to be viciously or zealously rejected in the comment section of the GoComics site itself, often by the creator's close friends.
  • Darker and Edgier: It started out as a somewhat dark adventure dramedy, and over time it slowly dropped the comedy and then even some of the adventure elements. It's gotten to the point where the word "Grimdark" has been brought into play in the fandom. See Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy, below.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: The "bleak setting" variation. It's gotten so bad by the author's own admission (he wasn't intending to create a "black-comedy version of Threads", as he refers to it) that he introduced a character partially intended to counteract it, which arguably just made things worse as said character, a gullible, air-headed optimist, emphasized the bleakness by making things seem so bad that only a fool would stay positive.
    • The recent "Holly's Flashback" arc. By the midpoint Holly had already been exposed to so much trauma (not to mention twin incidents that felt like they should have been the climax of the flashback) that fans had become numb to the follow-on traumas and many of them later expressed opinions that the flashback had outstayed its welcome. Then the apocalypse happened again.
    • The "Pig Arc" is mostly just drawing sighs of exasperated frustration and comments of "Remember when this comic was enjoyable?"
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Jim the ex-Topsider raccoon has quite a few fans who overlook him being not a very nice person in favour of him being ridiculously cute.
    • Similarly, his partner Sarah, though to a lesser extent.
    • Flask, for the people who liked her even before her posthumous redemption.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Allie Alvarez the alligator and Jim the ex-Topsider raccoon. Their popularity transcends their mortal status, see They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character, below.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: Fan-favourite Holly Hollister is Put on a Bus by way of electing to stay in a Matrix-esque illusion. It's implied she's going to have a loooong life... living in a literal bubble of denial with a faulty computer pretending (badly) to be her dead husband along with an imaginary child, all this after being the character defined by such things as detesting the way some people live in their own make believe worlds and forcing herself out of her clock tower home and back into reality prior the start of the story for the sake of finding happiness. Yay? More than anything it comes across as the author's half-hearted attempt to be rid of her while also leaving her "happy" enough not to completely disappoint the fans who were hoping for a happy ending for her. Said fans will probably still wait forever for the bus to come back...
  • Fan-Disliked Explanation: Maybe it would have been better if the mystery behind the suborning of the Council had never been explained - the given explanation hinged on the strip's least popular character and a Hand Waved and almost literal case of A Wizard Did It, rather disappointing many who sat through that arc's buildup hoping for something more interesting.
  • Fandom Life Cycle: Appears to have managed the remarkable feat of jumping straight from Stage 3 to some variation on Stage 6.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Holly and Wally for a lot of people, an unusual example in that they were originally an official pairing popular even with the author himself before he suddenly changed his mind and decided their pairing was a false "crisis relationship", Holly's entire personality for five years' worth of comics was a front worn for the sake of "self therapy", and that Holly had secretly always been pining for her long-dead and never-mentioned husband, all of which adds to the resentment over their breakup within the fandom. It doesn't help that they were literally made for each other, springing from the same page.
  • Idiot Ball: Wally is strangely okay with the woman he was trying to rescue from what he thought was certain death shutting herself away inside a giant radar reflector in the middle of a massive featureless plain, considering he just learned a few days ago that the Topsiders now have access to disintegrator-armed aircraft. Doubly stupid considering he's a military engineer.
  • Idiot Plot: The "Pig Arc". Characters known to be incompetent become utter fools while previously intelligent characters have a game of Idiot Volleyball, all in service of advancing the plot to a particular conclusion. Dottie Proctor, an experienced street reporter previously smart enough to work out the plot behind the Milk Trial arc from first principles, is hit hardest by this, forced into a role that makes her feel more like a strawman caricature of a naive college student activist in order to act as a plot trigger while unaccountably failing to show the slightest interest in the big mystery of the pig disappearances.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Flask is one cold, violent soul, but the more we learn of her history, the more we relate to her determination to kill Topsiders.
    • Linda might also qualify. Initially a Topsider as bad as any, she mutated involuntarily and then lamented her probably permanent separation from her baby. She's been making a Heel–Face Turn since, and her acts of goodness tend to yield unpleasant results.
    • In a pinch, Mr. Allgood. He was quite a cruel Knight Templar with regard to Endtowners who use mutant milk and eggs, but he finally had a heart and stopped short of spilling Linda's dark secret. When he learned of Jacob's dark secret, he wanted to deliver justice but couldn't. In the end, a random citizen shot him in the back and hung his corpse from a lamppost.
    • Holly Hollister tends to become this when she's out of her mind. The things she says are hurtful, and she's even threatened others... but she's obviously in pain. When lucid she claims not to mean any of the things she says and the one time she was given the chance to follow through on a threat, she fainted.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: Variously the fans seem to have previously found Endtown engaging for the sincere uplifting messages within the darkness (as embodied by Holly), the adventure plots, the well-written character interactions and dialogue, or for the sci-fi curiosities and more classical and spectacular post-apocalyptic elements; the comic has seen a distinct downturn as it has moved away from those aspects and their embodiments or seen them replaced with less-satisfactory substitutes.
  • Misaimed Fandom: For Holly, if you believe Aaron Neathery. Many people don't, instead being of the opinion (and citing evidence) that Holly was originally intended to be an appealing, strong and "true" character who was better at dealing with shock, trauma and loss than her partner Wally (or as Neathery himself put it long ago, Wally was intended to have "much more of an acceptance curve than Holly") and that Neathery simply changed his mind about her towards the end of her presence in the story, rapidly downgrading her from the heroine of the comic to being Wally's troubled sidekick, then to being a mere stepping stone and way of teaching him some ambiguous "lesson", and then to finally being depicted as a millstone around his neck. The reason for the change has been widely speculated about elsewhere, including the 4chan discussion threads, with some people aligning steps in Holly's degradation with certain contemporaneous events in Aaron's life.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Wanting innocent Endtowners dead for Topsiders' safety is bad enough, but where's the justification in killing them one at a time just so they suffer more?
    • For some, Holly threatening Chic. Since the threat was born of insanity and she'd previously failed to follow through on a similar threat against characters from one of the comic's nastiest factions, it's debatable whether she would have actually carried it out, but she still threatened a child.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • Marx is pretty much a walking plot-solution-device. He ate an explosion like candy.
    • The Dittos seem to be becoming this, going from camouflage device to universal utility fog.
    • Kirbee's tongue, which came out of nowhere to solve a problem and hasn't been seen since.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Really it's all over the place in this comic, there's a great deal of Body Horror, for one. The mutation that occurs when you're conscious into a monstrous Mutt being a prime example.
    • The Topsiders in general, just by the casual attitude they take to killing and their tortuous practices. Even their existence is hell as they're trapped inside their suits and heavily implied to eat their own reprocessed waste.
    • Schism Syndrome. It eventually turns most sufferers into "yowling maniacs" and opened up Jim to demonic possession, transforming him into a crazed psychopath who claimed to be God, and lead him to burning most of the lizard settlement alive.
    • Holly's backstory, with her giving birth to a fish mutant that dies, and her husband transforming into a Mutt, all while society crumbles around them.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • Despite the author positioning it as a purer affection than Wally and Holly's relationship, it's not hard to see Kirbee's affection for Wally as basically a case of naive hero worship for saving her life, and Wally's for Kirbee as nothing but a major case of comfort-seeking with a "safe" and non-threatening woman due to his current partner having become difficult for him to handle.
    • Holly and Lyn. According to Word of God, they were supposed to be deeply and passionately in love, which figured into Holly's decision to stay behind on the ship to live out a fantasy life with a fake Lyn. Meanwhile what we saw in the actual comic arguably looked like a strained, argumentative and somewhat distant relationship between two characters with absolutely zero chemistry.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Kirbee for Holly, for a segment of the fanbase.
  • Retcon: Seems to happen quite frequently, perhaps more frequently than most webcomics.
    • A lot of the stuff from the early arcs of the comic, before the "soft reboot" and move to GoComics:
      • Cooper's detachable head
      • The Topsiders being concerned with genetic purity rather than humanity
      • Endtown's Security Rats being naked
      • Plantlife still existing within the Great Waste
    • Post "reboot":
      • Wally being from outside the Great Waste (and indeed, the mutant population being aware of things outside the Great Waste)
      • Doc being Holly's stepdad, when before he was "like a father" at most
      • Holly having been married once, when she is repeatedly referred to as "Miss Hollister" early in the comic. This however could actually be explained if not outright justified by people either not knowing (Due to her husband not making it long past the apocalypse) or knowing, but wanting to not approach that subject. Then again, one example comes from the person later written as being her closest remaining and most trusted family member (this also counts for the previous point; "Miss Hollister" is an excessively formal way to refer to your supposed stepdaughter in what is effectively a private moment)
      • Holly having trouble letting go of the past, when her previous characterization demonstrated the exact opposite
      • Wally and Holly's relationship having been a thing for five months, as stated during the Milk Trial, compared to having been a thing for two years, as stated during the Flashback Arc (which takes place no longer than a few weeks after the Milk Trial). This appears to have been done to make Holly not revealing more details of her past to Wally somehow unforgivable, but the end result for a lot of people was to make it seem even more unbelievable that they would break up, especially after Unity.
      • There being a sufficient number of contemporary, parallel Endtowns that Marx could reach "down the line" to one in a really strange reality where Leonardo DaVinci had his own brand of chewing gum, to there only being one world with an Endtown, in the middle of a long streak of dead worlds killed by resource wars.
      • The surface zones being totally cleaned out vs foraging suddenly being viable again for unexplained reasons. This appears to have been dropped in order to allow the Pig Arc's plot to be a viable thing.
      • The supplemental vitamin cake Endtown citizens eat was recently retconned to being protein cake, though there's speculation among the fandom that that might be a one-off mistake on the writer's part, as a mostly-bean diet would require vitamin supplements but not protein supplements.
      • The Security rats have morphed over time into an alien side-society that see themselves as completely separate to the main Endtown population, whereas once upon a time they were tightly-integrated enough with the townspeople that some people were on a first-name basis with them and one even hired himself out to Maurice as a temporary condiment.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
    • It is implied by ex-Topsiders Jim and Sarah that it's a good thing that there's still greenery around, far away, otherwise the planet would only have about thirty years worth of air left. However, not only does most oxygen come from the ocean, but math indicates that if you eliminated the planet's oxygen production you'd still have hundreds of years of breathable air left, potentially thousands with a reduced post-apocalyptic population.
    • Fan math shows that there's absolutely no way the foraging activities previously shown in the comic could make even a slight dent in the amount of food required for 7,000+ Endtown residents, let alone lead to a multi-year stockpile.
  • Shocking Swerve: Starting with the exit of Holly Hollister from the strip (by the creator's own claim, he didn't want his readers to "get complacent") and continuing randomly through the Pig Arc with many a death; one might get the impression it's all in an effort to duplicate the gut-punch that was the sudden death of Allie Alvarez during the Milk Trial but the end result seems to have been a deepening of the general Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy surrounding the strip.
  • Special Effect Failure: A nightmare for Wally is shown in a strip where blood oozes from the phone... but it's obviously drawn in a basic paint tool, causing a bit of Narm.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Allie and Jim by popular opinion. Heather Hoss and now Cooper for some. Possibly Holly too, by virtue of feeling like her plot is only half complete at the point of her removal.
  • True Art Is Angsty: The creator appears to have come to this conclusion over the run of the comic, slowly removing the comedy elements and any measure of cheer and upping the darkness quotient over the latter half of the comic's near-decade run. He even went so far as to write a small essay on the subject as part of his attempted justifications for the removal of Holly Hollister during one of his Patreon bonus emails.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Where a lot of the love for Jim comes from, many people being able to sympathize with him on the subject of his fiance cheating on him despite Word of God saying he wasn't a very nice person at all.
  • Win Back the Crowd: Partially. While the "Endtown tensions" arc seems to have been received better by some than the "flashback" arc that preceded it, the once large 4chan fanbase has dwindled to a few fans who are openly critical of said arc's writing and plot, there are complaints of boredom and frustration in the GoComics comment section and as of this writing (September 2, 2017) the Endtown Patreon is down roughly $200 since December and shows no signs of reversing its downward trend.
    • As of December 2017, it's looking like a definite "No", with the Endtown Patreon now down $400 and 31 patrons since the start of the year (and seemingly accelerating) and the current arc having come to be regarded as awful by a large segment of the fanbase (though not quite as bad as the Flashback Arc).
  • The Woobie: Maude and especially Holly during their unjust imprisonment, torture, and embarrassing trial. Even after acquittal, Holly got downright suicidal, telling Wally she's "lost the baby".
  • Writer on Board:
    • One could be forgiven for hearing the characters Al and Cooper speaking in Aaron Neathery's voice when they give their opinions on politics at the end of the Milk Trial arc. Cooper, notably, had previously been a one-off joke character with a detachable head (now retconned) and comes across as having been retooled specifically for the role of mouthpiece.
    • Every time we hear a character waxing poetic about people being "thoughts that think themselves"/"dreams that dream themselves", it's hard not to get the impression they're acting as outlets for the author's own personal philosophy.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/Endtown