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Webcomic / Cheap Thrills

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Cheap Thrills was a furry slice-of-life/romance webcomic created and drawn by S. E. Case. Published between 2006 and 2012, it is still featured either here or here (the latter link includes sketches and preview art).

The story starts out with a teenage rabbit named Jeordie Maaltajik, living a high life of booze, drugs, and girls... until he finally settles down with a childhood friend of his, Bethany O'Hearn, a tabby cat who has her own problems with her broken and abusive family. On the sidelines with their own subplots are badger Erik Volta and fellow cat Anna Lee Jensen, Jeordie's other childhood friends; and Frank Solomon, Jeordie's and Anna's chihuahua drug dealer with a messed-up life of his own.

The comic was divided into chapters, where each chapter jumped forward several months later and changed the art style, always for the better.

After suffering a bit of a Schedule Slip into the fourth chapter due to Artist Disillusionment and increasingly unrealistic expectations by some of the readership (of which S. E.'s frustration came out in a Take That! blog post months beforehand), publication of the strip abruptly stalled in December of 2012. It was presumed to have been ended with an unresolved cliffhanger, and the artist withdrew from the furry fandom and public life altogether.

Following a prolonged five-year absence, a teaser graphic for "Rigsby, WI: 2019" was quietly uploaded onto the dormant website for ''Cheap Thrills'', featuring Bethany and Jerodie in human form. Since then, S. E. Case re-emerged with intentions to Continuity Reboot the comic under the Rigsby, WI title. This reboot officially launched on January 1, 2019 (published here and featured here and here), this time with the characters in human form.

Note that most of the tropes below pertain to Cheap Thrills proper, any comparisons and/or similarities to it and Rigsby, WI are noted.

Contains examples of:

  • Ambiguously Brown: Jeordie is said to look like this In-Universe, due to having a Sudanese father and American Indian mother.
  • Art Evolution: Best known for this, S. E.’s art style for Cheap Thrills would change significantly when proceeding from one chapter to the next.
    • Chapter 1 has a much more cartoonish look to it in spite of the tone and plot.
    • Chapter 2 is predominantly in a yellow-and-blue tint.
    • Chapter 3 has a somewhat more stylized look, but a wide range of colors... until Jeordie’s mother Elizabeth and younger brother Faris die in a car crash, then the color palette is more muted.
    • Chapter 4 is very stylized with a vibrant color scheme.
  • Art Shift:
    • A flashback sequence in Chapter 2 is done in a much simpler style.
    • Jeordie’s meth-fueled nightmares towards the end of Chapter 4 almost qualify as paintings.
  • Badass Boast:
    Bully: Outta my way, you freak! I'm not afraid of you!
    Frank: Oh really? *flicks out a knife and grins* Well you should be.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The already-strained relationship between Bethany and Gladys deteriorated in Chapter 1 to the point they repeatedly set off each other’s buttons. It got to the point Alice Morgan (Gladys’ sister and Bethany’s aunt/court-appointed legal guardian) had to play peacemaker between them.
    • Bruce hits Jeordie's when he repeatedly insults Erik and Pam, in addition to the fact that Jeordie has not been having a good time lately.
  • Blatant Lies: "I have told you a million times! That is a hand-rolled cigarette!"
  • Citizenship Marriage: Gladys comes to the conclusion that Jeordie's parents did this, and she may be right.
  • Cliffhanger: The final published installment of ''Cheap Thrills'' had Bethany waking up to see a severely withdrawn Jeordie in their living room. After hugging him, Bethany discovered his meth pipe and asked "Where’d you get this?"
  • Crapsack World:
    • The second half of Chapter 3 and much (if not all) of Chapter 4 are pretty much this. Even bright moments don’t last long (Bethany gets an out-of-state university scholarship but turns it down to be closer to Jerodie; Pam and Erik become unexpected parents out of wedlock and Erik’s father kicks him out of the family home).
    • S. E. modeled Frank’s nihilistic character almost entirely from the characters depicted in Gummo.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Anna and Bethany.
  • Domestic Abuse: Bethany's mother, implied with Frank's mother, and a few of Jeordie's ex-girlfriends' boyfriends.
  • Dramatic Irony: Bethany's mother believes divorces are for people who don't make the effort to save their marriage; meanwhile her husband has clearly lost all interest in his family (assuming he had any to begin with).
  • Drugs Are Bad:
    • Zig-Zagged. Jeordie avoids drugs for the most part, but he still acts as drug dealer for a couple neighborhood scum.
    • In the third character, when his parents discover a stash, they merely give him a lecture on personal responsibility and then smoke it themselves. Of course, Jerodie happens to be wearing a D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) t-shirt at the time.
    • Played straight in the Wham Episode later in said chapter, and for much of the fourth chapter.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Frank shows up at a party in chapter 1, way before he becomes an important character in chapter 3.