The main cast:
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:
- Apologising during the Space Arc for not being Lieutenant Potter's type, and again in the same strip again for having the nerve to think Potter, who had pulled him out of a party to spend some time alone together might have been interested in him which lead him to try making a move on her.
- After he stands up for himself in the wake of Padma jerking him around by not wanting to talk or see him the week before she leaves for good, he gets berated by Faye even though he was correct about the situation.
- Marten compliments Marigold when he sees her in her bikini for the first time, saying "Hey, looking good!" to her. He immediately apologises for this based only on Marigold's somewhat awkward expression. At the end of his first apology he then says she "looks really good", which means he spends the entire next panel on a ridiculous apology and in the final panel is probably apologising in his mind.
- Faye crudely asks him if he likes any of the interns, he pre-apologises by reflecting back to Faye and Tai what he thinks they would say to him if he actually had the balls to tell the truth and discuss the new interns and if any are attractive to him.
- 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. He ''does'' have his limits, as Pintsize can attest to:
- 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:
- 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.
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.
- Ambiguously Bi: She makes some appreciative comments about Marigold's attributes, then starts to develop an exceptionally affectionate relationship with Bubbles, an AI who presents as female. Discussed when they freely admit that this is new territory for both of them, and finally zig-zagged when Faye decides that she is, in fact, bisexual.
- Bi the Way: After Bubbles becomes her Closet Key and they consummate their relationship, Faye discusses it with Dora, who is bisexual. They decide that the label fits Faye as well, and Dora welcomes her to the bi community with open arms.Dora: Here's the basics— we can communicate with forest creatures, we have innate darkvision, and we get access to Earth magic starting at Level 12.
- 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 appeared 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.
- Dogged Nice Guy: She persistently attempts to befriend Bubbles despite initial resistance, 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.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Her attraction to Bubbles is presented as this rather than Suddenly Sexuality; it confuses the heck out of her until Marten helps her realize that it doesn't matter if her feelings match what she normally thinks of as her orientation.
- A Friend in Need: Faye is this to Bubbles, who is starting to seem like she appreciates it.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Flustered by her epiphany about Bubbles, she give Bubbles a suspicious excuse to leave with a guilty look on her face:Bubbles: Is something the matter?
Faye: Nope! I'm fine! Just a lil', um, leg cramp! Gonna walk it off! Be back soon!
- Lady Looks Like a Dude: For a time after taking up her job at the robot repair shop, Faye's design changed to look exactly like the stereotype of a Butch Lesbian (short, over-styled hair, ripped physique, masculine clothes). This was toned down, but still has some presence in her look. While not necessarily an expression of her sexual orientation, since she'd only dated men before, let's just say a can of worms was opened around the same time she got the look...when she started becoming closer to Bubbles.
- Love Epiphany: Even after various signs, Faye remains oblivious to the chemistry between her and Bubbles. Then in comic 3733, when she's getting a backrub from Bubbles and feels their bodies touch, her eyes widen and she imagines a bunch of Tetris blocks rearranging themselves into a heart. "Everything falls into place."
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: A non-romantic one (at least initially) 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.
- When Hannelore returns from her sabbatical around the world and is noticeably tanned, Faye instantly dubs her "Tannelore".
- Oblivious to Love: It takes her ages to even suspect that Bubbles could have developed an attraction to her, and she chooses quickly to reject that such a notion could be true. She also misses hints from multiple people that she and Bubbles should get together. In 3733 she has a moment of clarity about her feelings that hits her like a ton of bricks.
- 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.
- Stepford Snarker: She seems to have started using her biting sarcasm as a defense or coping mechanism, until it became purely reflexive.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: The vast majority of her friendships could be seen as such, especially earlier in the comic.
- Weight Woe:
- Her body image issues are frequently brought up, and made somewhat worse by her hanging out with the eternally skinny Dora and Hannelore. She starts feeling better about it when she joins a gym.
- Once she finds 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.
- A lot of this may have been in her head to begin with, as several characters like Angus or Clinton don't hesitate to call her hot.
- Wrench Wench: Faye shows her mechanical skills several times throughout the comic, eventually putting them to use in an underground robot-fighting ring. She later opens a robot repair shop with Bubbles.
- Yaoi Fangirl: She provided the booze when Marten mentioned that Steve gets homoerotic when drunk.
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. As of #3979, they're engaged.
- 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:
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Not quite evil (possibly only due to lack of opportunity), but at the very least is definitely not what anyone was expecting when they wanted to create a sapient AI.
- Anything That Moves: Zig-Zagged. He'll hit on anything that seems female, whether it be human, robot, animal, or a non-intelligent robotic limb. But in an early storyline, he gets weirded out after realizing he was hitting on a boy robot, though he seemed to get over it pretty quickly and maintained interest in the robot in question.
- The Artifact: Quite literally with his chassis. Of the main AI characters, Pintsize hasn't elected to get a more humanoid shell like Momo and Winslow have. He's happy the way he is, and feels being more humanoid would make people project more responsibility on him than he wants.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Despite all his many... quirks, he is actually quite good at his job.
- Character Blog: Like many characters in the strip, he has a Twitter account. Notably, virtually every post he makes is Schmuck Bait to some image that even /d/ would not touch.
- Face Death with Dignity: When Faye walks up to him carrying her welding equipment, he takes (what he assumes to be) his impending doom quite well:Pintsize: I knew this day would come. Please make it quick.
- Faux Affably Evil: Not exactly evil, but definitely amusingly twisted.
- The Hedonist: To the point of eating cake and cake batter, in spite of having no digestive tract.
- Hidden Depths: For all his foibles, he actually takes his role as a companion A.I. to Marten seriously, discussing the matter practically and professionally with Momo.Word of God: Pintsize has hidden depths. Unfortunately they are full of porn.
- Intrigued by Humanity: How he explains his 4chan obsession."Think about it! Rule 34 is the ultimate expression of human creativity! Creating porn of ANYTHING THE HUMAN MIND CAN CONCEIVE is an endeavor on par with colonizing the stars or tapping into the secrets of the universe!"
- I Should Have Been Better: Pintsize reveals in Comic 3826 that he regrets not doing more to help out Marten during his relationship with Dora, and feels like his attempts to make nice with Claire are his way of making up for failing Marten regarding Dora.
- Jerkass/Large Ham: Most of the time, with exceptions.
- Killer Rabbit: His chassis is military-grade. The design was rejected because civilians might mistake it for harmless in the same way landmines are mistaken for toys.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Pretty much literally, as seen here.
- Obfuscating Insanity: not actually crazy (though pretty disturbed), he does tend to come off as entirely wacky/crazy when he is, in fact, much more on the ball than anyone realises.
- Out of Focus: Lampshaded in 2332.
- Pet the Dog: is capable of totally spontaneous acts of kindness, such as handing over the proceeds of the party to Faye to do up her room.
- Plucky Comic Relief: For the better part of his appearances, he just shows up for the punchline.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Winslow's Blue.
- Restored My Faith in Humanity: By his own account, pooping catgirls gives him hope for humanity.
- Robot Buddy: It's quite literally his job. He was Marten's only friend for two years, but after Steven and Faye came along, he was pretty much left alone to do his own thing.
- "Second Law" My Ass!: Ordering him to do something - or more likely, not to do something - has precisely zero effect. His habit of trolling everyone and his sometimes self-destructive hijinks show an absence of the other two Laws.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Him appearing powered down is one hint that bad things are happening.
- The Unchosen One: In a way. Turns out the compatibility test to determine the ideal robot companion for Marten gave inaccurate results. Marten and Pintsize only discover this years later, after they have already grown accustomed to each other. Marten's actual ideal Robot Buddy would have been a robot whale.
- Wacky Guy: Well, robot. Though he goes through a phase where he worries that this is literally his only purpose, he gets over it.
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. Comes back in 4047.
Provides examples of:
- Adorkable: C'mon. Look at her be awkward in the oversized sweater!, Turned up to twelve when she wears the Worry Hat.
- Affectionate Nickname: "Hanners" by some of her friends.
- Animal Motifs: Tapirs show up a lot with Hannelore, due to her simultaneous fascination/horror regarding them.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She can get pretty scary. Whether she likes to admit it or not, she has that in common with her mother.
- Bifauxnen: Not intentionally at first but Hannelore's formal and outdoorwear has always tended to trend towards menswear inspired and this combined with her undercut hair as of 2017 makes her look attractively androgynous even while furious.
- The Bus Came Back: As of 4047. She made some personal breakthroughs and decided she'd missed enough important events in her friends' lives that she comes back.
- Celibate Hero: A twist on this trope. She's attracted to guys, but her mental illness prevents her from acting on it.
- Characterization Marches On: When we first met her, Hannelore was confident, extroverted, and sarcastic, but this soon evolved into a much more vulnerable character. The Watsonian perspective is that she was on much stronger anti-anxiety medication when she first showed up, but it's more likely that Jeph just didn't plan ahead at the time. As of her return from travelling the world, she seems to have got over her more crippling anxieties.
- Commuting on a Bus: After leaving on her Journey to Find Oneself the comic occasionally checks in with her at different stops.
- Compelling Voice: Apparently inherited from her mother, she has "the voice", which her mother's assistants describe in awed whispers as "the weirding way".
- Covert Pervert: She has her moments. Repeatedly.
- Dark-Skinned Blonde: Temporarily, when Emily gives her tanning lotion instead of sunscreen. While travelling, she becomes much more tanned.
- Destined Bystander: It's very subtle, but she was actually mentioned as early as strip 313 when Marten and Faye were first checking out what would be their new apartment, despite not being introduced for another 202 strips. She's almost certainly this rather than a Chekhov's Gunman, of course, given that even when she did début properly, Jeph clearly only had a vague idea where she was going...
- Drop-In Character: Less so in later chapters, but she still has a tendency to just sort of show up places.Marten: Wait, how'd I know you'd be in my apartment?
Hannelore: Why am I in your apartment?
- Genre Savvy: She's the one who bought Faye her Tsundere shirt.
- Good with Numbers: Utilizes her OCD to good effect. For the longest time, her only career is a freelance counter. Her mother also hires her to find an accounting error in a massive pile of paperwork, which she does. This also helps her pick up the drums really quickly, which, depending on your point of view, is either a case of Potential Applications or Mundane Utility.
- The Heart: Unlikely as it may seem, given her case of No Social Skills. She tries to be nice (in her own odd way) to everyone and constantly works to diffuse conflicts among the other characters. Probably the best example is how she sees the good in Sven when everyone else has written him off, and brokers his reconciliation with Dora.Hannelore: There are a lot of cute animal pictures on the internet, but I think I've finally found them all.
Penelope: ALL of them?!
Hannelore: Well, aside from tapirs. I can't decide if they're cute or terrifying.
- I Have to Go Iron My Dog: Thinks Marigold is hinting that she wants to be alone with Dale, so she excuses herself by saying she has a chicken cooking in the coffee roaster.
- Journey to Find Oneself: Puts herself on a bus to travel and sort her feelings out after having a heated confrontation with her mother.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Of her father, though without the personality. She jokes early on about being a robot, a clone, or a cyborg.
- Messy Hair: It's straight in her first appearance, but grows back floofy after a haircut. Since then, it can spontaneously mess itself up after being tidied, and even FOOFs itself out as soon as she takes off her hat.
- Morality Pet: To Sven and Bubbles. The former, she gets to act like a decent and respectful person, and she's able to address the issue of Bubbles' size with a huge chair without angering her for drawing attention to it.
- Neat Freak: When she's getting acquainted with Marten and Faye, they realize she's the neighbour who housecleans at night. As her Super OCD becomes more manageable, she gets better about tolerating minor uncleanliness, but is still the cast's go-to when there's a mess that requires expert attention.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: More than once has she said things that have cued very worried looks from her friends.
- No Social Skills: Hannelore doesn't have the greatest grasp of normal social behaviour. Her upbringing is probably more to blame than her OCD; she was primarily raised on a space station by a mad scientist, after all. Later updates indicate that she was literally raised by the space station's sapient AI, as her father was too busy with his work. And even then, the Ship states that Hannelore spent most of her childhood huddled in a corner, terrified of everything.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In #3638, Hannelore, with her well-documented aversion to touching people for any reason, is so livid that she shoves her own mother. Afterwards she also hugs Tilly.
- Parodied when on returning from her travels abroad, she greets Dora with a warm hug. Dora's reaction is to pull a ritual dagger on her.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: She does...something between strips 2682 and 2683 that stops everyone from arguing, then calmly strolls to the kitchen for a Spot of Tea. Judging by everyone else's reactions, she probably screamed at all of them. She can get Yelling-Bird loud when she wants to, and the tea was likely to soothe her hoarse throat.
- Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Hannelore is known to have a libido, but her OCD and germophobia make actually having sex with someone nigh-impossible. It's possible this contributes to her eventual interest in yaoi manga.
- Parental Abandonment: Her father wasn't really there for her growing up due to being an Absent-Minded Professor. Her mother was also dedicated to her work as a ruthless corporate predator, and her own crippling mental issues prevented her from connecting with either parent until she was an adult.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Doesn't quite intentionally weaponize them, but breaks them out on Dora at one point.
- Put on a Bus: In 3649. She'll still pop up for a page every now and then, the comic checking in on where she's currently travelling.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Feels that she has one in the form of "Juicy", whose underwear bearing said word ended up contaminating her laundry.
- Sharp Dressed Woman: She's seldom seen in traditionally feminine formal or businesswear, more often than not she wears slim cut suits and a very masculine black peacoat as her outdoorwear.
- Sleepyhead: Can even fall asleep standing up. Often found asleep on Marten's couch during her early Drop-In Character days.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's canonically the tallest of the girls in the main cast.
- Super OCD: Obsessed with cleanliness and counting, and is very good at both. Deconstructed with the major difficulties it's caused her — she spent much of her childhood heavily medicated on a space station, had a lot of trouble acclimating to life on Earth and forming personal relationships, and still can't date and struggles with mundane tasks because they trigger her OCD. Years of work have made it much more manageable, though. After a year of travelling the world and making herself useful, including a week of tending the latrines of a monastery, she's got this much more under control.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Hanners is the creepy goddess of this trope.
- Team Mom: Surprisingly, ends up essentially being this, especially to Marigold specifically. She's very caring but can put her foot down when needed.
- The Un-Smile: more than once.
- True Blue Femininity: Many of Hanners' outfits are blue, including her fancy dress.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Though she didn't know what yaoi was until Marigold showed it to her, she immediately blushed and borrowed the entire series in question.
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:
- Adorkable: Socially awkward anime/video game fan who slowly gets pulled out of her shell by her equally adorkable best friend and moe robot.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Had a thing for Angus, but has since encouraged him to pursue Faye since finding out about their relationship.
- Animesque: Her arrival boosted the number of anime elements in the comic; she is an anime fan, after all.
- Art Evolution: She went from a flat-chested skinnier girl to the bustiest and curviest girl in the strip, rivaled only by Faye.
- Author Appeal: Her anime fandom reflects Jeph Jacques's own (though he's probably not a Yaoi Fanboy), and some traits of her character are drawn from an anime character. He also lists her as his favorite character in the cast page.
- Beautiful All Along: Defied, then played straight anyway. Marigold rants about how much she hates the trope, but once she starts taking care of herself and improving a few of her habits, it quickly becomes clear that yeah, she is just as attractive as the rest of the cast.
- Beautiful Dreamer: Dale thinks so.
- Big Beautiful Woman: Once she gets in a swimsuit, anyway.Marten: What's the problem? She doesn't look good?
Faye: Too good. She looks better than me.
Marten and Angus: Daaaang.
Marigold: Stop danging at me!
- Birds of a Feather: With Dale, once they finally spit it out.
- Buxom Is Better: She is so far the bustiest character in the series and has gotten admiring comments about it from all kinds of people, including from an ex-criminal AI:May: Now that we're friends, let's talk about your amazing rack.
- Cat Smile: A couple, here and there. The first one was quickly followed by a much creepier smile.
- Expy: Jeph based her on Konata from Lucky Star, to no one's surprise.
- Fangirl: When she goes to the SMIF convention, she fangirls over a webcomic artist and trips over her own feet when she runs away in fright.
- Forgets to Eat: Hannelore implies this as an effect of her gaming here.
- Full-Name Ultimatum: Marigold Louise Farmer.
- Geek Physiques: In a physical case of Characterization Marches On, Jeph initially drew her as a skinny geek but quickly revised her character design into an example of the chubby version.
- I Am Not Pretty: She's getting better about this, but especially early on, she frequently said she was ugly and fat. And she still does so occasionally. None of the other characters agree with her about this. Sometimes she even does it to her wish-fulfillment fictional self.
- Insecure Love Interest: After she and Dale get together, she worries a lot about losing Dale to other women whom she perceives as better-looking or otherwise more appealing than her.
- Irrational Hatred: Towards Dale, at first. It started when she learned he played for the other faction in World of Warcraft, and snowballed from there.
- Meganekko: A girl whose glasses make her look geeky yet charming.
- Punny Name: A play on the term "gold farmer"- someone who plays online games all day to accumulate gold, usually to sell it. Oddly enough, Jeph apparently didn't realize it until after he'd already named her. It also sounds like the name of someone who plants marigolds (the flower).
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Attempts it on Momo to get out of her grounding. She winds up resorting to bribery when it doesn't work.
- Serious Business: On learning that Dale is a member of the Alliance in World of Warcraft.Marigold: NO TIPS FOR ALLIANCE SCUM!
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Marigold's mind wanders to strange places.
- Yaoi Fangirl: Been there, done that, wore the t-shirt. She's so much of a Yaoi Fangirl that it can turn her on at the drop of a hat. In this strip Tai practically gets a migraine trying to explain to her what is wrong with her extraordinarily non-descriptive Harry Potter Slash Fic.
Coffee of Doom:
Provides examples of:
- Awesome Mc Coolname: "Raven" is her real middle name, not a nickname.
- Disney Creatures of the Farce: Faye references this when Raven is especially nice about a grumpy customer.
- 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: She goes by her middle name because her actual first name is "Blodwyn".
- Genius Ditz: 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. Jeph describes her on the comic's cast page as "Coffee of Doom's resident idiot savant."
- 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.
- The Bus Came Back: For the summer, at least (which with Webcomic Time, could be several years).
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.
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, or when she glowers over her friend Luna's suggestion that rushing into a relationship with him would be a bit hasty.Marten: Jesus, I thought she was going to go all Temple of Doom on you and pull your heart out of your chest!
- Character Development: She matures a lot during the process of her relationship with Steve.
- 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:
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: His World of Warcraft rivalry with Marigold quickly becomes a cover for their buried interest in each other.
- Birds of a Feather: With Marigold, once they finally spit it out.
- Black and Nerdy: Enjoys anime and videogames, making him an ideal partner for Marigold.
- Cannot Spit It Out: He has a romantic interest in Marigold, but his social skills are apparently as terrible as hers are.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Dale is VERY creeped out when he thinks Hannelore is offering to bone him as a tip and is relieved to find out that it's not true. He still goes in, however, albeit reluctantly, and his personalized companion is made to wear a sexy French Maid costume because his browser history indicates that would suit him. He denies the pervert part, though.
- Covert Pervert: He is beta testing a virtual companion whose avatar is designed to appeal to him... and takes the form of an anime-style French Maid. He also apparently owns the entire collection of Magical Love Gentlemen. Make of that what you will.
- Friendly Rivalry: Thinks he has this kind of relationship with Marigold. She actually has an Irrational Hatred of him.
- Goggles Do Something Unusual: His Scary Shiny Glasses actually contain an augmented reality system.
- Nice Guy: One of the nicest people in the setting, so much so that he felt bad about turning off his AR glasses when May was being a jerk yet he turns them back on later that night.Jeph: Dale is too nice for his own good.
- The One Guy: The only guy on the Coffee of Doom staff.
- Pizza Boy Special Delivery: Hanners is disgusted to find out about this trope, after he explains that her invitation to come inside so that she can find another way to tip him could have been interpreted very differently from simply giving him a slice of the pizza he delivered.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: At first it seems like it's just drawn for effect, but it turns out he can light up his glasses at will. He doesn't actually embody any of the usual associated personality traits, and was just playing up the anime villain mannerisms when interacting with Marigold.
- Shout-Out: His mannerisms when interacting with Marigold (either online or whenever they actually meet in person) feature the Scary Shiny Glasses and hand clasping that Gendo Ikari is known for.
- Worthy Opponent: He declares Marigold this, and insists the friends he sent to PK her stick to Mook Chivalry.
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 moves away to take care of her grandmother. Neither she nor Marten handle the impending end of their relationship well and the break is fractious, but Marten eventually contacts her again and they at least appear to be on speaking terms. After her grandmother passes away, she gets engaged to some "tech-bro", according to Renee.
Another employee at the Secret Bakery, and also the bouncer at the Horrible Revelation. Formerly in love with Padma, following his reintroduction he is now crushing on both Brun and Clinton. Lives in the same building as Roko and Melon.
Provides examples of:
- Adorkable: Despite how huge he is, he can look really cute when he's embarassed. See also his less than subtle attempt at trying to suss out if Clinton would be interested in him.
- 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.
- Bouncer: Elliot is a very professional and thoughtful sort of bouncer, who understands that his job should be about de-escalation and minimum force. (He comes across as thinking more deeply about this than about anything else, except possibly bread recipes.) However, he is capable of escalating to as much force as is ever required.
- The Bus Came Back: Disappears after Padma's subplot and returns a thousand pages later for Brun's.
- 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: He sits on his feelings for Padma for a long time and gets turned down when he finally says something to her. Now that he's developing a bit of a crush on Brun he can only sort of talk to her, and he has an even harder time with Clinton.
- Crush Blush: When he thinks about Brun, either as being "fastidious" or as a "friendship fairy".
- Even the Guys Want Him: He's gotten major Ship Tease with the normally straight Clinton, though it remains to be seen whether Clinton is actually attracted to him.
- 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 bit socially awkward), and honest.
- Sweet Baker: He's an Adorkable Gentle Giant who makes friends easily and happily shares his love of breadmaking. He even takes it in stride when he learns that one of his customers has a bread fetish and gives her some pointers in the art of sourdough.
An employee at the Secret Bakery, who used to date Angus.
Provides examples of:
- Ambiguously Bi: Her Tinder list includes both men and women.
- The Bus Came Back: Plays a very minor role as Padma's coworker, then disappears for over 1000 strips before reappearing in Brun's subplot.
- 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 at the Secret Baker, though only in her initial appearances (see "Characterization Marches On" above).
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She tends to come across as aggressive and inconsiderate at first, even threatening Clinton over the phone while he's helping Brun get settled after her house fire, and Angus claims that she's jerk all the way down. However, she's also diligent in looking after Brun, has a few minor Jerkass Realizations, and shows a warmer side when she gets more screen time with her friends.Elliot: Renee means well, she just... addresses things in the worst way possible.
- Loving Bully: A mild example; she gives Elliot a lot of grief while possibly having a repressed crush on him. When she realizes it, she makes a point of Defying the trope, so as not to make things awkward.
- Odd Friendship: She spends most of her time being exasperated at Brun, yet still takes her in and supports her. It's later revealed that they've been friends since grade school and are thoroughly acclimated to each other's quirks, and they end up as roommates.
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.
- Punny Name: Yes, his name is actually Jim Bean.
- 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.
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:
- Ambiguously Brown: When asked what her ethnicity was, Jeph responded with "tan."
- Butch Lesbian: Of the tomboyish type.
- Can't Hold Her Liquor: She gets handsy and takes off her pants when she's had too much. And since she's a small girl, too much isn't really much.
- Coming-Out Story: Tai's parents were apparently completely OK with her being lesbian although an awkward one occurred when she accidentally outed her girlfriend to her family at a funeral.
- Dark-Skinned Redhead: It's not natural though; as she points out it's pretty implausible with her skin tone.
- Drives Like Crazy: If she's distracted by talking to someone else while driving, she tends to be less safe behind the wheel.
- The Lad-ette: Combined with her generally butch appearance, love of liquor, and general attitude comes off as this.
- Loving a Shadow: Played with; Tai was quick to idealize and fawn over Dora when she was unattainable thanks to dating Marten. When Dora and Marten broke up and Dora became an item with Tai, Tai eventually started to see Dora as a fully three-dimensional person. She's since encouraged Dora to get help with her emotional issues, reconcile with Sven, and very much doesn't put up with Dora's crap when she gets angry and defensive. This is one of the few examples of the trope where the person loving the shadow eventually sees the reality but they still make the relationship work.
- Naked People Are Funny: Quick to get naked for a joke, both in and out of universe.
- Shipper on Deck:
- The Stoner: Marijuana is her vice of choice. She even casually gets high during breaks at the library, first with a bowl then recently upgrading to a vaporizer.
One of three new interns at the SMIF library, and Clinton's sister.
Provides examples of:
- Ambiguously Bi: She openly swoons over Steve, but also hints at some attraction to Hannelore, Dora, and Faye, and tells Marten that "all of your friends I've met have been really attractive." She also responds to Veronica's dom-voice.
- Author Appeal: Claire gets a septum ring. Jeph loves septum rings, which he Lampshades in The Rant for the page.
- Adorkable: Has a passion for literature and librarian work, and collects vintage yet childish accessories.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Claire threatens to upload a USB stick of the entire Library of Congress onto Pintsize, overloading his data banks and frying his memory, for joking about spiking their milk. She was just bluffing, though.
- Butt-Monkey: Almost to the same level as Marten.
- Character Focus: After The Reveal that she is transgender, she got a lot of focus including a fair number of comics that were just her and Marten wandering around. Taken Up to Eleven now that she's in a relationship with Marten.
- Compressed Hair: Her hair is normally a fairly average length (if bushy) ponytail. But during her nude scene, she has enough to cover her breasts and still have a seemingly full head of hair resting on her back.
- Costume-Test Montage: Twice. Once for Marten's dad's wedding, and once for a night out on the town.
- Crush Blush: She seems to get these frequently. Steve, Steve again, Marten's dad, Marten in boxers...
- Deadpan Snarker: She drops a few snarky remarks here and there. Taken to full-on artillery levels after a stupid prank of Pintsize's.
- Disappeared Dad: It's a long time before her dad is mentioned at all, though it's clear that her parents are no longer together. It turns out that he walked out on them when Claire was younger and she hasn't spoken to him since.
- Half-Identical Twins: Subverted. Characters In-Universe (and casual readers) think that they're twins, but they're merely siblings.
- 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 that her mother nudges her and Marten together, it might be inherited.
- Odd Friendship: With Pintsize. Despite having pretty different personalities on the surface, Claire and Pintsize are both open-minded with a quirky sense of humour, which has led to them being good at helping each other with problems, as well as a degree of banter regarding Pintsize's pranks.
- Pungeon Master:
- More than once, she's made incredibly lame puns that no-one found amusing... Probably the delivery.Claire: COME ON I'M HILARIOUS
- 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.
- More than once, she's made incredibly lame puns that no-one found amusing... Probably the delivery.
- Shipper on Deck: For Faye and Bubbles.
- Stepford Smiler: When she's really stressed out she'll try to hide it behind a blatantly fake, pained-looking smile.Clinton: I know that face. That's your "screaming internally" face.
- 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.
One of the three new interns at the SMIF library, and apparently the daughter of a wealthy family.
Provides examples of:
- Asian Airhead: She's not dumb, just really, really weird. Of course, when Claire asks her to do something weird to break up a tense moment, Emily has no clue what she's talking about.
- Bizarre Taste in Food: After being told an urban legend that Coffee of Doom's "smoothie" is a banana smashed with a hammer, Emily orders one, and is disappointed when it's a normal banana smoothie. Eventually Faye gets out a hammer and a banana...
- Another time, her lunch is a package of frozen peas. Nothing else. It comes in handy when another character gets a black eye and needs a cold pack.Jeph's Rant: Man cannot live on peas alone... but Emily might.
- Another time, her lunch is a package of frozen peas. Nothing else. It comes in handy when another character gets a black eye and needs a cold pack.
- Chaotic Stupid: IN SPADES. Emily takes "doing whatever the hell you feel like" to a new level, without any regard for possible consequences. She makes Pintsize look like a master of restraint.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Emily...does not think like normal people.
- The frozen peas mentioned earlier? She wanted to give peas a chance. When someone else beat her to the punchline, she got mad.
- Emily, that is not funny, that is grotesque.
- If I tell anyone how it works, they'll kill my parents. HAAAAAHAHAHA!
- Friendless Background: Implied. She invites all of Marten's friends to her lake house for a party, and her parents are surprised to meet her friends.Marten: When do your friends get here? ... Oh lord, we've adopted another one.
- Genius Ditz: Despite all her other characteristics, she is apparently a genuinely and surprisingly brilliant materials-engineering programmer.
- Glowing Eyes: She flips out when Claire forgets her banana smoothie at the Coffee of Doom. She looks horrifying for a brief moment, then happily says she has her own banana and then giggles that it's warm from her butt heat.
- Got Volunteered: Her taking a job at Coffee of Doom is even more random that Penelope; while giving the staff assignments, Dora accidentally included Emily just because she was standing there, and Emily went along with it.
- Hair Antennae/Idiot Hair: Gains two of these on the back of her head after she cuts off her hair.
- Hidden Depths: It turns out Emily is perfectly aware that people think she's weird, and resents it, because it means that they use it as a reason to not take her seriously. Even so, Emily herself rejects the trope.Emily: And when I explain this to people, they're like "ooh, she has hidden depths. No I don't! My depths aren't hidden! I'm weird all the way down! You just can't handle it!
- Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted when meeting Pintsize; she punches a sizeable dent in his (military-grade) chassis, but injures her hand. And is upset, because somehow a robot in a solid steel chassis looked punchably soft.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The Glowing Eyes incident has her look like she's about to murder someone (for forgetting her banana smoothie), but then she happily pulls out a banana from her back pocket.
- Rapunzel Hair: She has this before she cuts it off while drunk at the party.
- Smooch of Victory: After a hiking trip in which Marten makes a hilariously unneeded attempt to rescue her from a snake bite, she kisses him on the cheek out of nowhere.
- Statuesque Stunner: She's notably taller than many of the other women, and is even taller than Marten.
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 didn't get much screentime, but her few lines were in this mold.
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:
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: Steve gets homoerotic when drunk, usually with an unhappy Marten as the subject of his attentions.
- Steve: [drunk, sobbing on Marten's shoulder] I LOVE YOU, MAN!
Marten: DUDE, WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS.
Jeph's Rant: Steve only had two drinks.
- Amicable Exes: He and Tortura have kept in touch, apparently. She even comes to him for relationship advice, and gives an If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her... speech to a disturbed Cosette.
- 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—
- 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's 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."OH COME ON I JUST GOT DONE WITH MARTEN"
- 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.
- Running Gag: Abruptly cutting away from the main plot for a single strip involving Steve eating cereal has become one of these.
- 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...
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.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: An extremely successful songwriter without even trying. Though that may be more of a commentary on the quality of popular music than any writing ability on his part.
- 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.
- One-Hour Work Week: He purposefully puts as little effort as possible into the country songs he writes, which makes his success at it all the more baffling. He wrote a song while drunk one night that was bad even for him and had it sold the next morning for enough money to buy a house.
- Out of Focus: After Faye "breaks up" with him, he's seen moping a few times but ultimately gets very little screentime.
- Really Gets Around: Though we've only explicitly seen a few of his relationships, it's no secret he's getting some every night. Until Faye dumps him, and just stops caring.
- Right-Hand Cat: Refers to Princess as this in jest.
- Robosexual: Not exclusively or primarily, but he has a few casual hookups with May.
- 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.
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:
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Pink-skinned and pink-haired in his Regular Boy Deluxe body.
- Flipping Helpless: This is ultimately what made him decide to get a humanoid body. Flat rectangle + stubby little arms and legs = And I Must Scream.
- Good Counterpart: To Pintsize.
- Love at First Sight: Is rather in awe of Roko from the first moment that he sees her.
- Nervous Wreck: In contrast to Hannelore, his time seeing the wider world has left him both moderately agoraphobic and accutely afraid of wild animals, particularly ungulates.
- Odd Friendship: Despite his innocent demeanor, he and Pintsize are good friends, and Winslow is never a victim to Pintsize's antics.
- Put on a Bus: When he leaves with Hannelore to go Walking the Earth.
- As of this strip, they're back.
- Robot Kid: He initially prefers his iPod-styled body due to the technical issues of humanoid bodies when he was first activated, but after a few years of technological improvement, he upgrades to the Regular Boy Deluxe model body.
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: In-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.)
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 childnote . 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...
- 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." Ironically, she didn't pick up on her ex-husband's homosexuality until their marriage was almost over, so her gaydar may have a blind spot.
- 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. Zig-zagged when she finds a Second Love in Jim Bean and they move in together.
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. Further, he passed as straight for years while married to Veronica, who never picked him up on her Gaydar until their marriage was almost over.
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 goes back home, she becomes pretty much irrelevant to the plot.
- The Bus Came Back: Stops in to visit Faye after a 3000-strip absence.Faye: Nothin' more frustrating than family droppin' some ridiculous bullshit on you out of nowhere—
Amanda: Holy shit, you did get buff!
Faye: God damn it sis what are you doing here
- Shipper on Deck: She pretty blatantly wants Faye and Bubbles to hook up, trying to coax Faye into a Love Epiphany and getting increasingly frustrated as Faye keeps Comically Missing the Point.
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.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: Wil interviewed for a job at The Horrible Revelation, a Victorian-themed pub, in a handsome tweed suit and matching cloak. The manager hired him on sight.
- 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.
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.
- No Indoor Voice: As SKULLMASTER, MASTER OF SKULLS.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Samantha is usually very loud, hyper, and quick to befriend people she meets instantly. Except Veronica, whom she hides from when they first meet.Faye: Are you being shy?
Sam: NO I'M NOT SHUT UP YOU SMELL
- 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 hides in the cupboards for 15 minutes.
- Third-Person Person: As SKULLMASTER, MASTER OF SKULLS.
- Tomboy: Usually goes by "Sam", takes up swordfighting lessons, and her favorite pastime is to go into the mountains and find snakes. She's also fascinated by Faye's mechanical work, though her father curtails her activities in the field after she loses a fingernail to a bit of machinery.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: Her preferred hairstyle for going off into the woods, but she gets a practical yet extremely unfortunate bowl cut when she gets into swordfighting.
- 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.
- 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.
- Young Entrepreneur: She starts selling "sprays" (drawn-on tattoos) to robots.
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:
- Ambiguously Bi: When asked about hypothetically having a crush on a guy, Clinton is open to the possibility (while moderately drunk, at the very least).Clinton: Always figured I was straight but I guess if I met the right dude, why not right?
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Played with: He is extremely protective of Claire. It's everyone else who finds him annoying.
- Ascended Extra: Since to his first date with Emily, and Claire's attempt to set them up again, Clinton's gotten more focus.
- Big Brother Instinct: To Claire, even though he's the younger sibling. Claire points this out.Claire: I always thought the older sibling was supposed to be the protective one.
- Butt-Monkey: He's been kicked around since he was first introduced, but once Marten settles into a happy relationship with Claire, Clinton seems to inherit all of Marten's bad luck. Most notably, Clinton is decidedly smitten with Brun, but she's Oblivious to Love. It's to the point that even the staff at the restaurant they had lunch in feel sorry for him.Waitress: The kitchen staff has been eavesdropping and wanted me to give you this pity milkshake.
Voice: Sympathy milkshake!
Clinton: I'm lactose intolerant.
- Cyborg: He loves having a robot hand... So much that he wears it without a faux-flesh covering, gets grime in the joints, and earns a telling-off from Faye when she repairs the damage.
- Disappeared Dad: His dad is alive but not part of the family anymore. It's implied that he was not an especially good guy and that Clinton, at least, is happier with him gone.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Has this effect on both Dora and Hannelore while he tries to tell them about Brun's misfortune.
- Evil Hand: A relatively harmless version: when he switched his bionic hand into semi-autonomous mode, it went immediately for Faye's breasts. That, of course, got her pissed at him and she hit him with his own hand.
- Fanservice Pack: After his date with Emily got him to lose the stuffy-scholar look, he started turning some heads.
- Hypocritical Heartwarming: with Claire, though he's more often on the receiving end.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: It's well hidden behind the nerdy, annoying manner and lack of social graces, but Clinton reliably does the right thing when the chips are down — as people around him do eventually notice. When the bar where Brun works burns down, he makes sure that everyone is out and Brun gets home safely, he's seriously if clumsily protective of his family, a random dudebro type who he previously tutored is happy to bump into him again, and he's the sort of guy who responds to seeing someone falling out of a bar by checking that they're okay. He's probably closer to being Innocently Insensitive than an actual Jerkass, in fact.
- No Sense of Personal Space: In addition to being very touchy-feely with Hannelore, once he realizes Momo is a robot he immediately checks how lifelike her skin is.
- Self-Abuse: Claire claims he lost his hand by masturbating so much it withered into a claw and fell off.Marigold: That doesn't make any sense. Wouldn't that make it stronger?
Momo: At worst, it might lead to some kind of repetitive motion injury. I don't see how—
Clinton: [indignant] It was a fireworks accident!
- Strong Family Resemblance: To his sister, to the point that they have to insist they're not Half-Identical Twins (she's older).
- Transhuman Treachery: When Momo sarcastically joked about robot uprising, he immediately asked to be on their side. Though since his being a cyborg wasn't actually a motivation, he's actually The Quisling.
- Cool Old Lady: She's a happy empty-nester who plays Shipper on Deck for her children, practices bass guitar, uses the odd bit of marijuana, and hooks up with a college-age man who Likes Older Women. From what's been said about her husband, it's hinted that she's unwinding after ending a deeply unhappy relationship.Clinton: My mom gets 2am booty calls. My mom is cooler than me.
- Hidden Depths: She has a full professional bass guitar rig in her house. Marten's so impressed he asks to try it.
- Hollywood Midlife Crisis: Downplayed and mostly Played for Laughs, but her present behavior is partly due to her harboring some regrets about how she lived her life when she was younger.
- Honor Before Reason: She keeps two baseball bats in her closet: the first to use as a weapon in case she needs to fight off a home invader, and a second one to give to the home invader in case they didn't bring their own. Apparently she's just that committed to fighting fair.
- Last-Name Basis: To her children, she's Mom; to everyone else, she's Mrs. Augustus. Her first name has not been revealed.
- Mama Bear: Prepared to defend home and family with a baseball bat.
- Mrs. Robinson: Has taken up dating men the same age as her children. Claire's all for it, Clinton's a little squicked out (though he doesn't try to stop her).
- Open-Minded Parent: She had no issue with one of her children coming out as trans, and encourages Claire and Clinton's crushes/relationships.
- The Pollyanna: Always cheerful and friendly.
- Shipper on Deck: She is immediately on board with Marten and Claire dating and invites him over for breakfast so he'll have an opportunity to see Claire. She also seems to support Clinton and Brun.
- The Stoner: Smoking weed has apparently become one of her numerous hobbies now that her children have moved out. She's even gotten high with both of said kids.
Hannelore's mother. Described in the 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.Hannelore: No, Mother, don't you DARE! I don't care if "that's what you bought the shark tank for," it's morally wrong!
- 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.
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. He also apparently gets distracted easily.
- 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.
Marigold's Robot Buddy (sometimes addressed with "Momo-tan"). She's friends with Pintsize and Winslow. Apparently has a 97 terabyte hard drive.note 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.
- Even before that she could delve into this occasionally, like when she forced Marigold to go to the store and get some food besides pocky by threatening to tell Angus that she'd been masturbating and become dehydrated.
- 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.
- Japanese Politeness: She's an android made in Japan, and exemplifies polite and respectful behavior. She has her limits, though.
- Odd Friendship: With the crude, abrasive May. Justified because they reluctantly decided to get to know each other after Marigold and Dale got together, and then slowly came to appreciate each other's good qualities.
- 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.
- 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: Before her chassis upgrade she was largely defined by her relationship with Marigold; but since then she's developed connections with other characters. For a while, it was even inverted, as Momo's friendship with May got a lot of attention while their respective human companions, Marigold and Dale, were Out of Focus.
- 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. 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:
- 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.
- Intangibility: 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.
- Projected Man: He can manifest a holographic avatar anywhere within the station or via remote drone elsewhere. Played for Laughs when people forget that he's not made of Hard Light, when he glitches out while "hung over", and when he stages paranormal phenomena.
- Robosexual: He was in love with Hannelore (a human) but she turned him down. He eventually becomes romantically involved with Tilly (also a human) after they move to the space station.
- Spaceship Girl: Gender-Inverted. He is the central computer of the ECI space station and projects an image of a pleasant young man as an avatar.
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: Makes crass remarks about other female characters and their bodies, and also has more than one sexual encounter with a man, Sven. The result is... disturbing.
- An Arm and a Leg: One of her arms just randomly fell off. Later, one of her legs starts coming out of her hip, both a result of how cruddy her body is.
- Animesque: As a hologram, more so than the rest of the webcomic already was.
- Appropriated Appelation: Originally did not have a name; "May" is just what Dale calls her because she looks like a maid. Her last act as Dale's holographic companion is to let him know that she likes it enough to keep it.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: To her disappointment, the programmers didn't bother to render any genitalia on her holographic form, which she even says looks "like a fuckin' BARBIE DOLL." To her renewed disappointment, her Robot Girl chassis isn't anatomically correct either, although she comes to take it as a challenge: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'!
- Berserk Button: The chassis (body) she was assigned fresh out of robot jail is essentially a robotic version of The Alleged Car, and not only contains very limited features and bright blue skin, but is constantly in need of repair and her status as a felon means she can't get a good enough job to upgrade it. As a result, she is jealous of AIs with higher quality chasses than her own, and easily gets angry when other AIs mention upgrading their chassis as she views it as rubbing their privilege in her face.
- Bile Fascination: 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!
- Brutal Honesty: The characteristic tone of her advice to other characters. Some of her greatest hits:
- "These idiots are way too socially inept for your cute little schemes to work. I say shove 'em in a room and lock the door until they either fuck or kill each other."
- "If it wasn't for me, you two would still be pretend-hating each other like a couple of friggin' doucheboats."
- "You don't have to be a fuckin' genius to choose your words carefully when your girl is askin' if your co-worker is fuckin' hotter than her!"
- "I mean, actually do quit your job just 'cause I hate cops, that'd be hilarious."
- 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 algorithm 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: Initially resents Dale for deriving her name from "maid", and his alternative of "Dickmouth Stinkface".
- Everyone Has Standards: Robot Jail did have some positive influence on her, if unintentionally; For one, she greatly values privacy, both hers and others (because privacy was the one thing you did not get in Robot Jail). Second, she makes a point of repaying any kindness that is shown to her, especially to Dale, who she credits as the reason she's even on the outside. Lastly, she can sympathize with A.I.s who have trouble fitting in with society, giving Faye advice on how to help bring Bubbles out of her shell and recognizing immediately the harm that could be done by shutting down the robot fighting ring and denying A.I.s who might not have the skills to do anything else a way to support themselves.
- Fan Disservice: Her body's tendency to fall apart, plus the...creativity...she shows in overcoming the limits of her Barbie Doll Anatomy make her hook-ups with Sven more bizarre than arousing. It's hinted that she and her partner are invoking this somewhat on purpose, to circumvent their fear of emotional intimacy.
- Fatal Flaw: Poor impulse control. It's what landed her in Robot Jail in the first place, almost caused her to ruin her chance at early release as Dale's holographic companion, and attempting to use Dale's sexual lubricant instead of actual mechanical lube inadvertently led to her getting half her face chopped off with a sword.
- 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.) Additionally, Momo's chassis is a pricy but very nice retail model, given to her as a gift by Marigold; May's chassis is a shoddy previously-owned mass-production model allocated to her as part of her release from Robot Jail, and one storyline involves the difficulties she faces trying to keep the thing repaired with no support from the parole office and a part-time job.
- 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.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: May is this to basically everyone else in the comic. She's crass, rude, tactless and swears more than most of the other characters put together. This is lampshaded when Marigold has the idea of starting a crowdfunder to get her a new body, and May herself points out how unsuccessful it would probably be:May: Oh yeah, cause I'm so '''wildly fuckin' beloved'''. People will be kickin' down the door to help out.Dale: Good point. You are awful and everyone does hate you.May: [facepalm] God damn it, I set myself up for that.Marigold: Maybe if we marketed like "if we get her a new body she'll be slightly less horrible?"
- Justified in that of all the characters, May is very much the one at the bottom of all the scales of social status, wealth, and job securitynote , and for various reasons she can't do anything about that, so many of the other characters (e.g. Roko, Dale) feel sorry for her. But for all her flaws she can also give surprisingly wise advice, she's genuinely determined not to go back to jail, and her earthy, cynical attitude is hard-earned, not a flip inability to take things seriously.
- Gass Hole: Invoked by May, who installs an app to let her butt make fart noises at will, which she immediately uses with great abandon around other characters because she thinks it's hilarious.
- 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:
- When Marigold is worried that May might try to steal Dale from her, May points out that a) she's not interested in Dale at all and b) she's the reason Dale and Marigold actually got together in the first place.
- She points out to Momo that attempting to shut down the underground robot fighting arena will accomplish nothing since no-one is being hurt by it, and it will only result in a lot of AIs being out of work while they have nowhere else to turn.
- She freaks out Dale by describing Officer Basilisk to her face as "dumb and bad at her job", but Basilisk is in the middle of a crisis of confidence, and when May recognises this, she grudgingly advises her "Don't quit your job just 'cause I fuckin' hate cops"—and then admits that it would be hilarious if Basilisk actually did quit her job for that very reason. To her surprise, Basilisk receives this as life-changing advice and thanks her.May: [stunned] What the fuck just happened
- Roko decides that she has a point about how bad her chassis is, and decides to help her try and get a better one. A repair technician even outright says that the body is a wreck, and implies that even Faye's repair work, it'll break down completely eventually.
- She points out to Winslow that applying to work at the AI Rights place that Roko works at just because he thinks that she's attractive from just meeting her probably isn't a good idea, though she feels bad about how depressed this makes him despite knowing that her point is valid.
- Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Her holographic design seems to be intended to invoke this, which she takes immediate umbrage with.
- The Lad-ette: Crude, tomboyish, wants to be a fighter jet, and after having to be a French maid hologram declares her first act upon getting embodied is buying a pair of jeans.
- Messy Hair: Her default style once embodied, due to the cheap plastic her hair is made of. Even Bubbles' styling job doesn't last. She warns Dale at one point that if he ruffles her hair, it will stay ruffled.
- 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
- Noodle Incident: Her time in Robot Jail. We know what landed her in jail, and we know how she secured early release, and we know that she didn't have any privacy. Everything else is unknown, and May doesn't like to talk about it.
- The Noseless: During her stint as an anime hologram.
- Odd Friendship: With the innocent, prim-and-proper Momo. Justified because they reluctantly decided to get to know each other after Marigold and Dale got together, and then slowly came to appreciate each other's good qualities while rubbing off on the other.
- 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.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: She borders on The Friend Nobody Likes after she starts living with Dale, but her relationship with him and his friends has improved to the point that they do like her, even if she annoys them. Not that this stops the insults.May: [proudly] I also answer to "hey fucker" and "god damn it".
- You Got Guts: When Momo threatens to have her A.I. drive incinerated, May's only comment is that she likes her moxy.
A former combat droid who works for Corpse Witch at the fighting ring when first seen in the comic.
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.
- Closet Key: For Faye, though it takes her a while to realize it.
- 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. Overlaps with Cold Ham as she is prone to making over-the-top grandiose statements in what is presumably the exact same tone of voice as normal, with one fist held in fierce determination. Case in point; the current page image? That's her declaring that the plant she has just been given as a house-warming gift is a tremendous responsibility, as she has been entrusted with the care of a living thing, and that she will name it... Arthur. (And that if she had been given a puppy, she would also name it Arthur.)
- 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?
Bubbles: A charming bed and breakfast run by genetically enhanced supersoldiers.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Ever since shedding her armor, she hasn't worn any footwear.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Eventually arranges her hair into a more and more casual style 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.
- Gasshole: 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.
- High-Pressure Emotion: Nearly-literally. Processing intense, potentially embarrassing, emotions causes her circuits to run hot, prompting her to vent steaming coolant from discharge ports near her neck.
- 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.
- Mundane Utility: Can apparently take contractless payment from other AIs via a fist bump. Possibly something all AIs can do.
- 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 have developed romantic attraction to Faye despite her being an AI and Faye a human (not to mention the same gender): 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—which makes Faye feel more happy inside than if she'd just been complimented by a friend. Bubbles tries to keep these feelings to herself while Faye remains oblivious to the signs, but when Faye comes in contact with Bubbles while recieving a backrub from her in comic 3733, everything suddenly falls into place for her.
- Robot Soldier: A literal, though discharged example. Her A.I. program volunteered to enlist, but her chassis was purpose-built for combat to integrate into an infantry unit with humans.
- 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 no 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. We see her break this for the very first time during an enraged outburst at Evie's callous assessment of AI, so the cool demeanor may start to crack.
A bartender with poor social skills who hosts Clinton in the aftermath of a fight with Claire. Then her bar burns down. "Brun" is short for Brunhilde.
Provides examples of:
- Adorkable: The first time we see her smile is when she gets a Kiki Bow for cleaning up at the bakery.
- Big Eater: Eats a dozen croissants in one sitting.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: Combined with thick hair to give her an extra surly look.
- Collector of the Strange: Collects alarm clocks. Unfortunately, she lost most of her collection in the fire.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Manages to effectively tell Clinton where he went wrong with his sister, but not before threatening him with a harpoon.
- No Social Skills: Downplayed, she is not especially emotive and has difficulty reading people. She seems to have good insight when she can understand what someone is feeling, but she admits they have to be really obvious about it for her to pick up on that.
- She later mentions she's autistic.
- Not So Stoic: First indicated when Hannelore gets her talking about clocks, and Brun positively lights up.
- Pungeon Master: Barrages the Secret Bakery with puns after Renee laughed at one of them. Fortunately, Elliot and Hannelore are much more receptive.
- The Stoic: Ostensibly "bad at emotions", and is quite deadpan when she's first seen. Subverted when she shows up again a while after the fire: at ease in the bakery, she's much more emotive.
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.
- Robosexual: By the time Hannelore pays a visit to the space station, Tilly's in a relationship with Station the AI.
- 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.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Tilly's employment as Hannelore's assistant (and the circumstances therefore,) results in Hannelore cutting ties with her mother and taking a trip to do some soul-searching, removing her from the strip for the foreseeable future.
- 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:
Steve's former girlfriend, an eighteen-year-old philosophy/marine biology major.
Provides examples of:
- Put on a Bus: When she broke up with Steve.
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:
- The Alcoholic: He's always drunk, and only seen outside a bar once.
- Purple Prose: His writing is described as "florid and overwrought", taken up to Stylistic Suck levels. It is responsible for the success of his novels due to the So Bad, It's Good appeal of them.
- Real Men Wear Pink: A stereotypical redneck who happens to be a successful romance novelist.
Provides examples of:
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:
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 to 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.
- Adorkable: When he gets some more limbs he reveals he has a crush on Number 7. It's amazing how Jeph got that much expression out of a head that consists of one robotic eye!
- Birds of a Feather: He and his crush, Seven, both have singular blue optical devices.
- Closet Geek: Asks for some Squirrel Girl comics to read in his downtime.
- Cyber Cyclops: By virtue of his only features being, initially, a robotic eye on an arm. He's still monocular after he's rebuilt.
- Deadpan Snarker: Enters a smugness war with Bubbles about his new role in the ring.
- 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!
- Accent Slip Up: When Basilisk is really annoyed, her Boston accent kicks in with a vengeance.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Only the dice came up "confused" rather than "good" or "evil". 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. Later strips imply that is due to her being "integrated" with her physical body, a documented phenomenon with AIs, where one's consciousness becomes so deeply intertwined with one's physical form that they feel like one and the same. When Roko loses her body in an accident, she fears she can never get to that point again with her new body.Faye: Why is fainting even a thing she can do?!
- It comes up later when she's in her new body; she suffers from dissociative episodes in which she feels like it isn't hers.
- 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 interruptions and continues to passive-aggressively insult them.
- "Awesome McCool" Name: Definitely. It's a reference to the Roko's Basilisk thought experiment — which technically might make this a Name To Run Away From Really Fast, but Officer Basilisk bears very little resemblance to the hypothetical entity in the thought experiment.
- Butt-Monkey: Her first appearance ends with her being trapped in a trashcan, which then escalates to her getting caught in a chase for a raccoon that stole her badge. From then on she's frequently the butt of slapstick humor, culminating in her helpfully breaking Crushbot's fall for them... Which becomes a lot less funny when it turns out that her body is damaged beyond repair; even though her AI survives intact, given her established high level of physical/psychological integration, the loss of her body is traumatic to say the least.
- She worries that her new sensorium might have robbed her of her old attraction to bread, but it turns out that she's more sensitive to it than ever and it makes her audibly sweat.
- By-the-Book Cop: She may be pushing things a little in her pursuit of the robot fighting ring, but it's clear that she's bound by rules and orders there, and mostly she tries to go strictly by the book — though she's something of a reflexive hardass about it, as when she interrogates Clinton about what he's doing out this late when she's drunk. ("It's only 8pm...") Its deconstructed here when she realizes that she was powerless to stop Bubbles from being basically enslaved by Corpse Witch, and that for all that she follows the rules, she really isn't very effective. Finally, having to reassure May that she won't unduly punish her for mouthing off to a cop because she's "not the vindictive type" is the straw that breaks the camel's back and convinces her to quit the police force in disgust.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: She sometimes acts as Melon's. It's not a big part of her life, since Melon's mostly harmless on her own, but she's interacted with her enough that she's figured out how some of Melon's sense of logic and reason works.
- Covert Pervert: Her wired-in tastes really don't seem to suit her personality.
- Empowered Badass Normal: Her chassis when introduced is apparently a civilian model (and a discontinued one, at that), but her A.I. drive is armored as part of a "law enforcement package", similar to the drives used by the robot fighting ring. This reinforcement is what allows her mind to survive her being Crushed, even as her body is destroyed beyond recovery.
- 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, thus fixing the situation.
- Funetik Aksent: When she gets angry or stressed, Rokos Boston accent becomes strong enough to require rendering phonetically.
- Odd Friendship:
- She's on good enough terms with Melon the Cloudcuckoolander that Melon has her apartment door code.
- As of here, also with May the convicted felon, whose respect Basilisk earns by quitting the police force because she no longer believes she can do any good in it.Basilisk: You can call me Roko if you want.
May: [holding out a hand to shake] May. Although I also answer to "hey fucker" and "god damn it".
Basilisk: Your friends call you that?
- Now, of all people, Spookybot.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Roko evidently feels that she needs some kind of romance. Unfortunately, the dating app she tries matches her up with Pintsize. While she has some odd quasi-sexual tastes, he's not what she was looking for.
- Take This Job and Shove It: Basilisk decides to quit being a cop, is persuaded to give it a day and think about it, and goes to work; but then can't live with the fact that she felt compelled to persuade a civilian that she wasn't going to punish said civilian for being disrespectful to her.Basilisk: Oh my god fuck this!
- Tinman Typist: Prefers to "work externally".
- Aerith and Bob: Their pet greyhounds are apparently named Azathoth and Mr. Smooches.
- Ambiguous Gender: Has an androgynous face and body, 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.
- Appropriated Appellation: When Roko tries to introduce them to Melon, they give their name as "Yay Newfriend", based on what Melon just said. Melon being Melon, she doesn't notice.
- 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 placed themselves in Bubbles' situation in direct opposition to Corpse Witch, who is unquestionably villainous. They also seemed genuinely regretful that their efforts weren't of more 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. This gets elaborated later:Spookybot: Miss Basilisk, we ... struggle with the concept of ethics. It can seem a bit pointless when one is as powerful as we are. If there were one principle we could be said to stand for, it's that the sanctity of the mind must never be violated. Not even for benevolent reasons.
- 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 depart, taking a few hundred strips to make their next appearance.
- Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: They have black hair and faintly bluish off-white skin, which accentuate the creepier aspects of their demeanor.
- 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. Their whole sojourn to help Bubbles is also because "sanctity of mind" is one of the few moral principles they care for, and Corpse Witch violated Bubbles'. They go so far as to call Witch a "filthy little brainfucker". A throwaway line also states that they pride themselves on being truthful.
- 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.
- The Fettered: They admit that the concept of ethics "can seem a bit pointless when one is as powerful as we are", but try to adhere to certain guidelines, one of which is to respect others' sanctity of mind, and being truthful is apparently a point of pride.
- 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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite fully qualifying as a Jerkass, 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. Additionally, when Roko quits the police force, they express concern (in their own condescending way) and wish her luck in her endeavors, and later show up to see how she is after her accident. 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: Initially, "Spookybot" is just a nickname; they have no proper name. They call themselves "Yay Newfriend" shortly after, which they decide to stick with. They also decide that "Yay" is short for "Yaaaaaaaay".
- No Social Skills: No, really. Swanning about and showing off how smug and all-powerful they are is one thing, but put them in the situation of having to admit that they want to be friends? All of a sudden the smug all-powerful AI is tripping over their words just to avoid saying it.Roko: Oh my god. You've never done this before. You've never made a friend, have you?
- Not So Above It All: Snarky super-AI they might be, but they studiously avoid overtly saying that they kind of want to be friends with Roko.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: They don't even offer up an alias. They introduce 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 their nicknames. Later on they state that they've never actually had a name, before latching onto Melon's declaration of "Yay new friend!" as an actual moniker.
- 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 involuntary sample.
- Painting the Medium: Subtly Averted; unlike other AIs, they have human-style speech bubbles, which might be an indicator that they're running on much better hardware.
- 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.
- The Royal We: Initially seems as such, but subverted in that they actually inhabit multiple chassis. Discussed further here.
- 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 Spookybot shows 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."
- Small Role, Big Impact: Before they returned to play a role in Roko's story, 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, and then promptly vanished.
- 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.
- Does this later on to Roko after she quits the police force.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: They claim never to lie, and indeed they never appear to. They might tease, threaten, and in Faye's words be "a smug dickhead", but everything they say will happen, happens, and every claim they make ends up being borne out. A lot of the drama with them has revolved around the extent to which they can be trusted, but the one thing you can rely on with them is that if they say something is the case, it's the case.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: This being Questionable Content, though, unreliable AI programming produces something weird rather than excessively evil or good.
- Ambiguous Disorder: Shes impulsive, has no sense of boundaries, and shows signs of forgetfulness and a short attention span. Of course, an AI's mental disorders may not correspond to human categories.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: Her green hair and pink eyes are reminiscent of a watermelon. In her first appearance, her ears were pink domes. Her sister Lemon looks just like her, but yellow. However, it's not know what comes first — the name, the body choice, or the body "paint job".
- Cloudcuckoolander: Is as nutty as Pintsize, if not more so. Lemon's behavior may lend proof this is common among her make and model:Melon: I forgot where we live!
Faye: YOU ARE A COMPUTER
Lemon: Wait, where do I live?!
- The Ditz: Whatever else is going on with Melon, she's clearly not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
- Drop-In Character: She comes and goes freely from Roko's apartment (when she can remember the door code) and seems to have popped in on Elliot enough times that he isn't freaked out to find her in his apartment uninvited.
- Hidden Depths: Is apparently good at poker. Assuming she just didn't have only low value chips (As hers are different colors then everyone else's) she is clearly winning.
- She's also invented a vast ruleset for Jenga involving bargaining, cryptology and grenades—except that she may be making it up as she goes along, but even if she is, she's got some imagination.
- Idiot Hair: In her first appearance, wherein her butt has fallen off, after which it disappears for a while. As of comic 3760, it's back.
- Insane Troll Logic: She has logic, it just doesn't usually make any coherent sense. Roko's figured out how to get through to her, but it requires some indirect thinking.Roko: Melon and logic are like oil and vinegar. You can get them to mix, but it takes vigorous shaking.
- Massively Numbered Siblings: Has 2048 sisters; how common this is for AIs is unclear.
- Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: She doesnt seem to realize that sneaking into a strangers house and surprising him at breakfast or using a dead squirrel as a fake mustache are creepy things to do, and her pretend job and home life with Arthur are kind of horrifying.
- Odd Friendship:
- She's on good enough terms with the strait-laced Officer Roko Basilisk to know her apartment door code. After Roko is smashed flat, Melon sits in her server room, singing to her "for comfort" — not that she knows any songs other than "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". Which she apparently sings to the tune of "Bohemian Rhapsody". Very badly.
- She apparently also knows Elliot and even Pintsize as well, given she sometimes wanders into the former's apartment and plays poker with the latter's friends.
- She instantly makes friends with Spookybot/Yay Newfriend, and in fact it was Melon's happy exclamation on meeting them for the first time that inspired the name "Yay Newfriend".
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: She's various shades of yellow and is called "Lemon". However, it's not known what comes first — the name, the body choice, or the body "paint job".
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Downplayed. She's a competent therapist despite being somewhat odd. She also mentions being "out of practice" with typical AIs, indicating that she's even better at helping her usual patients.
- Cloudcuckoolander: She's not as deranged as her sister, but she's certainly a little flaky and is apparently capable of forgetting where she lives.
- The Ditz: See Cloudcuckoolander above.
- Massively Numbered Siblings: Has 2048 sisters; how common this is for AIs is unclear.
- Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: "Crushbot" is a fitting moniker for a gigantic armored mech.
- Butt-Monkey: Faye and Bubbles give him grief for crushing their friend even though it wasn't his fault. And later when he tries a career change, Clair shuts him down hard.
- Gentle Giant: Well, emotionally, at least.
- No Indoor Voice: CRUSHBOT SPEAKS IN ALL CAPS.
- Reality Ensues: It turns out that a robot whose name and occupation both are "Crushbot" actually has a pretty robust liability insurance policy.
- Third-Person Person: He doesn't use personal pronouns, much like a couple of similar AI's we've seen.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His accidental crushing of Roko's original body triggers a full-on existential crisis in her that she's still trying to come to terms with.
- Ambiguous Gender Identity: Has been referred to with both "they" and "she".
- Covert Pervert: Is rather "interested" when they learn about Roko's bread fetish.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Not physically clumsy, but her technological ineptitude has led Roko to refer to her as "endearingly incompetent".
- In-Series Nickname: Called "Beeps" for short.
- Luminescent Blush: When learning about Roko's bread fetish, her entire faceplate goes red.
- Tinman Typist: prefers to "work externally".
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:
- Censor Box: This strip.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Swears constantly.
- Defiant to the End: Yelling Bird and the Hawk. He made his way out of this mess via Chest Burster.
- Jerkass: His job is to yell obscenities at the author and other characters.
- Meaningful Name: What else do you call a bird that yells constantly?
- No Indoor Voice: He has never spoken in anything but all-caps.
- Running Gagged: He has been officially retired.Jeph: I am tired of Yelling Bird comics so there will be NO MORE OF THEM, goodbye you shitty bird
- Stealth Pun: He's a bird who constantly swears. he's Fowlmouthed.
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:
Yet another minor filler-strip character that became a fan favorite. Randy is eternal.
Provides examples of:
- Animalistic Abomination: He eats hope and has hallucination-inducing teleportation powers.
- Complete Immortality: He doesn't even seem to notice being shot by Yelling Bird, let alone care.
- Keet: Constantly cheerful.
- No Indoor Voice: Yelling almost as much as Yelling Bird.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Apparently, he can teleport people, with the teensy tiny side effect of terrifying hallucinations.
- Welcome to Corneria: Ninety percent of his lines are "Hi, I'm Randy!
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.
- They even share a tinder profile.
An alcohol induced hallucination that seems to haunt the main cast. Mainly Marten (though he isn't an alcoholic).
Provides examples of:
A young woman dressed as a fairy who wanders about Northampton. Keeps a reindeer as a pet. May actually be a fairy.
Provides examples of:
- No, Except Yes: Denies being a faery prcisely long enough for Emily to accuse Faery Girl of tricking her, only to cop to it immediately because tricking people is what faeries do.
- Our Fairies Are Different: It's ambiguous whether she's a human dressed as a fairy, or if she's actually a fairy masquerading as a weird human.
- The Unintelligible: Speaks only in variations of "la li lu le lo", save for one occasion when Emily caught her and tried to wish for world peace.