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  • Aborted Arc: A lot. A few of these get picked up again later. Many semi-regular character relationships end up this way, but as it IS a webcomic with Loads and Loads of Characters, this is to be expected to some extent.
    • Marten had a blog at one point, but then the plot thread got dropped and we never found out what happened to it.
    • There was a character named Sara working at the coffee shop early on, but then she disappeared.
    • Deathmøle looked like it was headed this way, but as of strip 1985 it is back minus Nat. And it's gone again, with Marten admitting that he's givin up on the dream of being a musician in favor of doing instrument repair.
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    • At one point it looks like Raven is going to return to The Coffee of Doom, but this is quickly dropped.
  • Abstract Eater: When Marigold speculates whether Emily could design a website that would work backwards in time, Emily quickly sketches on the Coffee of Doom blackboard the mathematical reasons why you can't do that, whereupon the following dialogue ensues:
    Emily: ...And that's why you can't send information back into the past! Simple!
    Dora: Simple...
    Balding Professorial-Looking Customer: [looking at the blackboard] Ooh, you have Lorentz factors today? One medium, please!
    Dora: That's not—
    Emily: On it! [leaves]
    Balding Professorial-Looking Customer: How much do I owe you?
    Dora: [increasingly baffled] Um...four fifty?
    Emily: [returns and hands a cup to the customer] Here you go! Have a nice day!
    Balding Professorial-Looking Customer: Danke schoen!
    Emily: [as Dora and Marigold look at her with WTF expressions] This job is very satisfying.
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  • Accidental Misnaming: Tilly is repeatedly called Taffy by Hannelore after her mother calls them that.
  • Adjective Noun Fred: In comic 3425, Dale and Marigold are watching an anime titled "Ass Swordsman Tetsuo", being the story of a demon-fighting swordsman who can pull swords out of his ass. When May says that sounds interesting, they tell her that it's actually so full of boring filler and exposition that as of episode 22, the main character has yet to pull a single sword out of his ass. Marigold can't decide whether it's a brilliant deconstruction of Shonen anime tropes or just garbage.
  • Aerith and Bob: Mostly split between human and AI. You have humans named Marten, Faye, and Dora, then AI named Corpse Witch, Crushbot, and Beepatrice. There are exceptions to both camps, though.
  • A.I. Getting High: The AI of a space station is able to get drunk via emulation (to socialize with a real drunk person). He mentions (drunkenly) that all of the critical systems are running on an autonomous subsystem, so nothing was hurt.
    • Pintsize and friends appear in an early strip, getting stoned on video drivers
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    • May apparently downcycles her CPU to achieve a similar effect at a party, and Momo tries a tequila emulator provided by Pintsize (which turns out about as well as might be expected)
    • Officer Roko appears in a “cops at a bar” arc in which she, and her buddy O’Malley, appear to be using USB drives as though they were shot glasses (which implies that A.I.s have USB ports in their mouths)
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Raven attempts this starting here. It does not go well.
  • All Just a Dream: Momo seducing Sven.
  • All There in the Manual: Claire wanting to get her ears pierced was mentioned on her twitter before it was in the comic.
  • Almost Kiss: Marten and Claire get very close to kissing in strip #2801, but Claire backs off, because he's drunk.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents:
  • Ambiguously Brown: When a fan asked what race Tai was, the artist's answer was "tan".
    • Averted when Renee's dumb-as-a-rock internet hookup flat-out asks Brun "where are you from [...] ethnically." Turns out she's ethnically Lebanese, but the very fact that he asked this, plus his response ("Ooh, exotic!"), cause Renee to boot him onto the sidewalk without his shirt.
      Brun: [looking up "exotic" on her phone] "Originating in or characteristic of a distant foreign country." Neither of those applies to me.
  • Amicable Exes:
    • Marten's parents, who split up when his father realized he was gay and are still on good terms with each other.
    • Marten himself and Dora progress to this after some initial awkwardness, and are both supportive of the other's new relationships.
    • Jim and his ex-wife.
    • Steve and Tortura.
  • Anachronic Order: This guest strip, by Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots, depends on being told backwards.
  • Analogy Backfire: Averted.
  • ...And That Would Be Wrong: Nat uses this when Hanners tries to disembowel herself with Nat's guitar.
  • Angrish: Marigold on this page.
  • Animesque:
    • The character's expressions on occasion.
    • Momo, a Japanese AnthroPC specifically designed to be animesque, pictured here, here, and here.
    • Another example is Marigold's adorable little :3 smile.
    • Per Jeph, one of the biggest influences on QC is Azumanga Daioh. It's not hard to see some of the parallels. He also reads a lot of Yotsuba&! which is by the same author - Marigold even has a poster of her in her bedroom.
    • The comic went through a subtle animesque Art Shift in the late 10s, with characters eyes getting proportionally larger and the occassional beat panel now featuring simplifed expressions.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Jeph drew an Anthro of QC for the 8th anniversary.
  • Anything That Moves / Depraved Bisexual: Pintsize zig-zags both of these repeatedly. He flirts with/harasses women throughout the comic, steals Faye's underwear, and compliments random women on their breasts, but he has had at least one relationship with another male. Since it was a male robot, it might not count, though. Possibly subverted in that he seemed to actually care about him.
    • Averted in that Pintsize doesn't actually realise that the other robot is male until well into the date, and isn't too happy when he DOES realise
    • Pintsize also remarks that robotic gender is more a matter of opinion than fact, that robot "sex" is basically electronic and it's entirely possible to have 'sex' without actually knowing the gender of the other, and generally making it clear that his male-perv persona is basically an artifact of his programming
  • Arc Words: Of all things, "Hmm", during the Bubbles subplot, with this being exclaimed by both Bubbles and Corpse Witch regarding different interactions. Jeph even gets in on it in his commentary.
  • Arkham's Razor:
    • Marten and Dora take a long lunch, and return with Marten wearing some of Dora's clothes. Everyone assumes that they had done something naughty, but Marten claimed that they had been ambushed by Shaolin Monks and spilled spaghetti sauce on his clothes and needed to change at Dora's. Everyone laughs it off, but a strip later he is proven correct when a battered monk arrives at the coffee shop and recognizes Marten.
    • Also occurs in the explanation for Steve's infrequent appearances for a long stretch of the comic. The two possible explanations were "he got drunk and dicked around for a while" or "he became a secret agent and blew up an island," and it was implied that not even he knew for sure which was true. Until later, when he ran across The Baroness from his story.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: What was her name? This puts Marten's recent one night stand in the proper context, since he CAN'T answer the question.
    Marten: "Hannelore's dad sent her this weird DEVICE and we can't figure out what it's for."
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Tai thinks that Jimbo's book is "trashy, poorly-written, incredibly sexist towards BOTH genders, and the most entertaining thing I've read all year."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • Here:
      Clinton: JUST YOUR DAD? He helped develop the first true AI! He invented the quasiperpetual myomer! He's the Henry Ford of intelligent machine design! He pioneered sustainable AI-controlled orbital habitats! He designed the microsatellites that keep Earth's albedo stable! HE INVENTED THE ROBOT HAMSTER!
    • Claire is geeking out over the cool, mysterious-looking robot-repair equipment at the new shop and gets carried away.
  • Art Evolution: The art style has and continues to evolve, and comparing the newest strip with the first one shows how striking the development has been.
  • The Artifact: Pintsize. The presence of intelligent robots in the strip's setting has undergone major Cerebus Syndrome over the years; most robot characters now have humanoid bodies and major plotlines have centered on robot psychology and ethics; and yet Pintsize himself remains Marten's comic-relief pint-size Robot Buddy. As of Winslow's chassis upgrade, he is the only AI in the main cast not either have a humanoid chassis or some kind of humanoid holographic projection. This has in-character justification- he's fully aware that looking like a cute robot baby lets him get away with his incredibly crass behavior, while looking like a human means being held to a human standard.
  • Artificial Limbs: Clinton got his robotic hand after a childhood accident involving fireworks.
  • Artistic Licence Economics: Faye and Bubbles’ business venture, Union Robotics. Neither seems to have any idea how a business operates.
    • Dora, supposedly the most business-savvy of the main cast, guaranteed their lease with no sight of a business plan; this, despite one of the robot characters (well known to both Faye and Bubbles) being a Chartered Accountant.
    • Faye has TWICE allowed Sam, a minor, to handle power tools, once resulting in an accident.
    • Bubbles keeps some sort of cost/income records, apparently.
    • The Millefueille/Mee-foi “butt implants” running gag indicates that Faye has carried out quite major internal alterations without knowing quite important elements of Mee-foi’s construction.
    • There appears to be no “consulting room” or even screens. Characters are simply undressed on benches in the workshop. Either A.I.s are treated as “regular people”, or they aren’t.
  • Art Shift:
  • Ascended Extra: Angus. He appeared multiple times as a joke character, then popped into focus after Faye dropped Sven. He then appeared regularly, and had important relationships with other characters, particularly Faye.
    • Claire. Once a simple intern, now Marten's girlfriend.
  • Ass Shove: Happens to Pintsize, but he may like it.
  • Audience Surrogate: The thanksgiving turkeys.
  • Author Appeal:
  • Author Avatar: Averted - Marten is not Jeph Jacques, to the surprise of fans who meet him. He once posted a picture on LiveJournal of them meeting: Rule 34 responded quite quickly. It's something of an inverse of what happened to Penny Arcade — As Jeph has stated, Marten started out as his mouthpiece but grew into a completely different person.
  • Author Filibuster: Claire's desire to get a septum piercing involves her talking about how cool septum piercings are, and about how body art is an expression of control over one's body, mirroring Jeph's opinions on the matter.
  • Backhanded Apology: May's apology to Dale.
  • Backing Away Slowly: In 'Nothing Good Can Come', Martin demonstrates a textbook example of backing away slowly when asked to weigh in on a lover's quarrel between his ex-girlfriend and his current boss. The eyes really sell it.
  • Badass Fingersnap: How Spookybot starts the torture of Corpse Witch, as seen here.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    • In this comic Marten is suffering from food poisoning and jokes about needing "...a copy of War and Peace and a gun with a single bullet, just in case." When Dora passes the comment along, Faye is horrified:
    Faye: Th-that's terrible.
    Dora: Huh? [remembers that Faye's father shot himself in front of Faye]
    Dora: Oh — oh God, Faye, the gun thing, I didn't mean, I mean Marten didn't —
    Faye: What are you talking about? I meant the War and Peace part. I fuckin' hate Tolstoy.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Shows up occasionally, and for a while in the early days of the strip it was almost a standard feature of the female characters, especially Dora, Faye, and Raven.
  • The Baroness: Tortura seems this type.
  • Bathos: The comic often adds comedic interludes to serious plotlines about the characters' lives, aided by the World of Snark cast. Lampshaded when Faye deals with The "I Love You" Stigma by getting sloppily drunk, is accidentally punched in the face, and is stuck stanching a nosebleed while she talks things out.
    Marten: [snrk] Sorry, sorry, it's really hard to have a serious conversation when you're all stuffy-sounding.
    Faye: I do lag a cerdain grabitas ad the mobent.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Om nom nom nom. Averted in that the bear was actually a trained circus animal and not very dangerous as long as no one was stupid enough to anger it.
  • Beard of Sorrow: Steve, after a break-up.
  • Beat Panel:
  • Beautiful All Along: Invoked, lampshaded, and torn to pieces.
  • Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Faye and her mother discuss the benefits of this.
  • Behind the Black: Happens a few times.
    • Elliot tends to quietly loom just out of frame. It's a problem.
    • Faye comments that she hasn't seen Penelope and Cossette for a while (ie, they haven't appeared in the strip lately) only for them to point out they've been just to her left all day, out of frame.
    • Jeph Jacques, the comic's author, has claimed a couple of times that Coffee of Doom always has lots of patrons, just off-screen, where he doesn't have to draw them.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Faye and Sven before they hooked up.
    • For a while, Faye and Angus. However, they became friends long before they hooked up.
    • Marigold and Dale.
  • Belly Button Less: A.I.s don't have navels, as shown when some of the female A.I.s wear midriff baring outfits.
  • Benevolent Boss: Scott, Dora, and Tai.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
  • Bifauxnen: Tai, especially in early strips when she bound her breasts.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Doubles over with Papa Wolf for Marten when Samantha wanted to test out Momo's electronic defense capability.
    Marten: That girl is a bad influence.
    Padma: Hee hee, you really do sound like her dad.
  • The Big Damn Kiss:
  • Big "NO!": Winslow gets one upon finding Momo's old (and unbeknownst to him, empty) chassis and immediately concluding that something awful has happened.
    • Faye too gets one when she uses the word "wicked" as an intensifier and Angus points out to her that, therefore, she is "officially a New Englander now."
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Strip #21 provides a good example of how Marten and Steve used to look in the comic's early days.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
  • Birth/Death Juxtaposition: Happens twice, at least from a relationship standpoint.


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