1148 Cradle Of Hate.

Ha ha, Thomas, you snappy jokester… Yeah. Some people are blessed with a level of intensity in their youth that is hard to cope with. Of course each person has to respond to the world with whatever gifts they are given, and boons are not distributed equally. Which is why some of you can relate to Thomas directly and others are left wondering how such a person ever convinced other people that he was smart and cool. He is, at least, aware of himself enough to understand the whys of his life. That is probably the gift that saves him ultimately. He just needs to bring the line of thought to its logical conclusion. Giving in to that can be difficult.

I’ve been working on completing Skylanders Giants before bed. A few minutes before I go to sleep but after I put the teen to bed. The ritual now is to watch Community until she falls asleep, at which point I gather up and go back to my cave. When we run out of that I’m suggesting 30 Rock. Arrested Development just doesn’t pack the comedy punch for her. It’s such a slow burn and requires more attention than the average show. Probably part of what led to its demise originally.

I haven’t seen any of the new episodes. I’m banking on the DVD set being good and getting them that way. In fact I’ve actively avoided knowing things about the relaunch, since people online are so whiny about that sort of thing anymore. Anyway, I’ve spoken of this plan before, but I really love 30 Rock, so I’m going to keep talking about it, over and over, until I’m rewatching it again.

Gamestop has some kind of club deals for Skylanders. If you buy 6 you get one basic one free. Seeing as no one else is doling out freebies, and their prices are the same as every other retailer, I drank the kool aid. I’m going to get more of these things. I accept that. At least now I’ll save a tiny bit of money. I’ve decided not to get any characters I already have a version of (Except Stealth Elf, because she’s the best.) Some of them can’t be avoided unfortunately. At any rate I’m trying to minimize casualties. It seems like there are a billion more of these fucking things. I already gave up on the Giants stuff. Though I’m pretty sure I got all the new characters. I haven’t actually checked. I know I passed up a few reissues. I mean really, why are there lightcore and standard versions of so many of these? I might try to get the 3DS game without figures used. I think the same ones come with it as the other starter packs. In any event I bet you can get them as singles, so I’ll keep my eyes open for that.


I have to say, this belongs under “FFS, grow up” . First love ends, people move on, there’s nothing like going away to college to end a school relationship. Loads of people find that, every single year.

I’m losing interest in this comic as the cast turn into such a bunch of whiny, self-pitying non-achievers. Carol and to a lesser extent, Nina are the only ones with any sense at all. Jess is just a predator.

Sorry and all that, but this story arc seems to be foundering, because the characters don’t have enough within them to drive it.

Well, bye bye then.

Agreed, this comic doesn’t need people being whiny or butt-hurt because characters don’t fit the typical Gary-Stu/Mary-Sue we see in comics or anime.

Pardon my bringing manga/anime into this – but it feels like a lot of people criticizing comics like BF for showing characters like this are mad because the webcomic doesn’t follow the traditional, normal character development where our typical anime protagonist has no ultimately serious or human flaws, but instead only grows throughout the story.

I love Thomas’ character even more through this – it makes him feel even more believable now. He’s obviously able to feel pain and hatred, and let it hurt him for years on end. To be honest – stuff like this is what keeps me reading Between Failures. It’s less predictable, and infinitely more interesting.

And on a final note – damn I know that feel bro. I’ve been through a bad breakup where hating the person was all that I could think about, and became my day, and not just a part of it. Thankfully though, it seems I got over it far sooner than Thomas did.

Everyone have different meaning of different things so no one really blame you (too much anyway) if you find this long and boring, and in 3 by weekly format it may be so but in reality, there’s not that many pages about it if you read it all together, and series like this need aleast this much amount backstory, but if you don’t like that then I guess you can always go read dilbert or billy( do they even still produce it?)instead of yapping about people who try making a decent story instead of just throw a lot of random craand call it th h

Stupid ipad and my fingers……anyway as I tried say in the last line, stop crapping on people who try do something decent instead of just throwing something in and call it the day I say….

Oh, hai, bai!
Thomas has monpved on, he is NOT whining, he is explaining to the person (Carole) to whom he moved on, why he WAS like he was, so that the reader can see what he is not like now, and see why he doesn’t go and pummel her into the sidewalk. He got over it, he moved on, now we know why he was the way he was. Find another comic. Try LeveL.

He hasn’t -exactly- moved on. Not yet. He’s getting there, but not quite there yet.

He still gets really mad when talking to his ex and that means he still has things to deal with.

People like Thomas *are* extreme. It takes something like that to be that ringleader that builds a welcoming environment for people who don’t fit. My college peer group was something similar to Between Failures.

If you think Thomas is bad, you should have seen ours. :)

But when things went right, they went so very, very right.

I think we are jumping to judgement here. Thomas isn’t done giving his backstory yet and we have yet to see Carol’s reaction to it or what Thomas does in reaction to Carol. At this point, i get the sense that Thomas’s Ex had a lot more drive to do something with her life than Thomas did and broke up with him when the gap didn’t start to shrink. she then found a dude who is kind of like Thomas but had that drive. Seeing his ex happy and successful while he is stuck in a crap job would sting big time. At the same time I get the sense we are coming to a pivotal point for Thomas’s character. once he leaves that room will tell us a lot about where he is as a person and where he is headed and I can’t wait to read it.

Ouch, harsh criticism from Ben. Then again, we all have a right to our opinion.
Anywho, the guy’s 26. I sincerely hope he can bash that hate to pieces, especially with Carol there to help him. I would hate to see Thomas’s world go back to grey :/

The writer of this comic said he based a lot of it on the “Clerks” movies, which explains why we have a bunch of whiny slackers, super bitches, and a heaping helping of uber nerds. This also explains why the plot never moves too far in any one direction, until a character picks up some motivation and executes a major action, like Carol and Thomas’s decision to go on frequent physical escapades.

Now I never really got into aforementioned movies, but I can understand the inclusion of an immature and extremely flawed character within a story. However, I can’t stand watching a movie whose cast is 90% severely flawed and immature, because my life already has an overabundance of it (and it pisses me off!).

Yet I’m still here, reading this damned web comic, because I truly love how Carol’s nasty attitude has been tempered by having a boyfriend. That–my friends–is the power of love; one of a handful of things in which I still have faith invested. Considering that I have no religion, am not a kick-ass vampire, and questions of what happens post mortem terrifies me, the belief in love’s healing power keeps me chipper and stolid.

I have never said I based this comic on ANY movie or anything other than my own experiences. Let’s keep that point clear please.

You know, Thomas does remind me of the main character from Clerk’s, or at least his situation does.
Oddly enough, in an alternative ending to that movie, he gets shot.

I’ve been enjoying the retrospective on Thomas. It gives his character a far more natural feel. People don’t just start as being cool and laid back, usually something has to force them to be that way. We are all just the result of our own experience, regardless of them being pleasant experiences or not. I’ve found that the more unpleasant the experience, the more dramatic the result.

Probably during that time of pure hate Thomas was a fairly unpleasant person to be around, hate tends to seep into every inch of your being. It can take a monumental effort to purge yourself of it, and even then, it never is wholly gone. It lingers just under the surface, waiting for something to trigger it.

Ah Thomas what a crazy Guy, too bad i know exactly how he feels. the pure hatred that’s reserved for traitors and old friends is like an acid of the soul. At least he has a binary star system (also known as Carol’s Boobs) and Collecting stuff to keep him from snapping and killing everyone in that small town… or not maybe that’d be a great new self achieveing story arc that Ben is looking for ;p

Well, hate CAN be a powerful motivator. Not the best, but powerful. The only problem is that you mostly punish yourself. Unless the other party is out to get you as well, that is.

The point I was trying to make, is that twenty-something no-hopers in dead-end retail jobs being snarky is a crowded

I can’t see where all this one-sided negativity is going.

I kinda wonder if Thomas is downplaying what Dawn did to him. Otherwise, I can’t understand why she was so cool towards Dawn. I mean, I suppose he could’ve told Nina the story back when he was still full of rage and hate, or she could be the type to hate a person because a friend hates them, but I’m not sure about either of those.

Hi Crave – Long time follower of your terrific comic and my first post

Oh this brings back more than a few memories. The last few strips regarding this conversation between Thomas and Carol were striking for me in their content, his emotional intensity, and (unfortunately) their familiarity. As was noted in the earlier comments, this added a significant depth for me to Thomas’ character. It is never easy to go through one of those break-ups where you were not merely shattered, but broken so completely (I described it as being pounded into sand) that you must not only recover emotionally, but also to reconstitute/rediscover yourself and the rest of your in a way that does not relate to your ex. It certainly explains some of his innocence/naivete in his relationship with Carol. I am looking forward to see how this storyline evolves!

I want to chime in with those who are saying they enjoy this story arc. I can sympathize with Thomas up to a point. I remember my first breakup and how badly I dealt with it — the difference with him is that, instead of becoming a being of pure hate, I became a being of pure emo. :) (Also, I was lucky, because the relationship lasted so little that it didn’t have time to take over my life like Thomas’s apparently did.)

I do wonder about his current hostility though. Is he still holding that much of a grudge? Or is it just like Samson said: once you let yourself hate someone, it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle and it’s really hard to break out of it? (That would explain why one of my exes still acts like he hates me five years after we broke up — it was an honorable relationship and we didn’t do anything heinous to each other, from my point of view at least, so I’ve always been kind of WTF? about that.) Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how this develops.

Like any strong enough emotion, words cannot sufficiently describe the full breadth of Hate. It can be consuming, maddening, blinding all reason and snuffing out all other emotion. It can act like oil on water, spreading well beyond its original scope and tainting everything it can. It can also give you focus or make you wildly unpredictable. It feels alive, like it has its own will that it tries to pit against you. It’s not just self-perpetuating, it can become you, leaving nothing but hate. It can be insidious, comforting and terrifying all at the same time.

I have only felt Hate like that against one person before and not due to the same reason as Thomas. Back in high school I had a person who was my antagonist in the classical sense. They were one of the “popular” kids and I was awkward with a really bad temper. They were in almost every one of my classes for four years. Near constant teasing, mocking and ridicule just made it grow. No one else was doing it, just that person and that gave my Hate focus and it grew. I only really noticed how bad it was when someone offhandedly mentioned the persons name and the Hate flared up with a fury that surprised me. It took years for it to die down and I am a much calmer person because of it. Heck, even reminiscing about this person it getting me slightly agitated and it’s been a decade since I last saw the person.

Great web comic. This little look back on Thomas’ earlier years has been really helpful to understand why someone clearly capable of manipulating the world around them has yet to do something with their life.

People grow and people change. I’m sure 95% of the readers have their own sob story and at least one person who they feel hard done by. As Mary Shelley wrote, “no joy or sorrow dies barren of progeny”. The events of our lives have an impact on who we are, we now understand that much more about Thomas.

Alert, Thomas — eye-contact FAIL.

While I sort-of appreciate where Thomas is coming from, I don’t really hate any of my ex-girlfriends. A few I pity, one I fear, another just annoys me (she spent years trying to convince lawyers to sue me for patrimony — for a kid she had before I met her).

But Ben is right. This strip has gotten bogged down in its emotional examinations and soul-searching, and it’s much too cerebral and boring for my tiny mind. I think I need to move on to something more interesting. A comic without self-analysis. A strip with more explosions.


He’s not staring at her breasts… he’s lost in thought while facing that direction. :)

I spent years being extremely angry with my father – most of my childhood and adult life up until a few years ago, and I’m almost old enough to accept offers from AARP – due to feeling abandoned by him. From that standpoint, I can see where Thomas is coming from… but I’m with you, Perfesser. I don’t hate any of my exes, although I’m not sure how all of them feel about me.

Uurgh… I wish I didn’t understand what he was talking about.

This comic is pretty dang awesome, especially since everyone actually has a human character… y’know, flaws and past problems that have a lasting affect on their life. They aren’t just The Love Interest and The Hero and The Jerk. They seem like you could actually meet one of them and it makes for much more interesting reading.

…. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

.. Okay maybe I’m either missing the point, or directly on the point, but I’m starting to hear too much whine from all this. Somebody needs to throw a pie or something.

Don’t get me wrong, backstory is important, but I can’t help but feeling this is a vicious circle of writing.

“I liked her -> we broke up -> I hated her and the world -> I sorta stalked her -> we met back up -> I was filled with hate -> we sorted out our feelings -> ended up filled with hate…”

Don’t mean to knock on your story, Crave. But it is just starting to feel a little repeatative for my tastes.

My two cents, take em with a grain of salt.

Sorry you feel that way, you know where the door is.

Now now. I have no intentions of leaving. I still love your webcomic, and will continue to read it. Just voicing my opinion on the current happenings. As I said, backstory is still very important, and I understand why it must be done. Its just a little slow going for me right now. It’ll pick up (for me) eventually. Haha.

I appreciate that, but I certainly don’t want anyone feeling obligated to suffer through something they just can’t stand anymore. I finally came to a point where I just can’t read PVP. I read it for over a decade, but it’s finally too miserable to tolerate now. Before that it was Penny Arcade. One day I just stopped identifying with it. People change and move on sometimes. Those of us who make these things are familiar with the “webcomic breakup” post. I try to exit those situations more gracefully than I exit from real breakups.

First off: I’m appreciating this insight into Thomas’ character–he’s telling us how he became the cynic we saw in the B&W strips in the first place, and it’s useful to know.

Off-topic: What’s up with the “Jump to another comic” ad-bar? It suddenly dropped a bunch of comics, including this one. I was making use of that thing to do my daily trawls a little more efficiently, so it’s really kinda irritating. Just glad I have a written list of comics I keep up with, too.

The bar only shows comics that updated that day now. I think it goes back to how it was on the weekends if I understand the explanation right.

Am I the ONLY person who thought of GoldenEye 007 when they read this comic’s title? I mean, come on. With the N64’s veeery basic programming when that game came out, beating THAT particular level on 00 Agent was a damned chore. Sure, take out the four (five, maybe?) sentry turrets, easy as cake. But then chasing Alec around with all his infinitely spawning goons all chasing YOU… Seriously. Go play that on any difficulty with Invisibility on. They will seriously crowd around you and jump down to the bottom of the map if you go to that little platform Alec “steps back” down onto. Having a whole bunch of little uzis at the bottom of the map I always found damned amusing. Because they despawned… but their guns didn’t. Don’t know why that amused me so much, but it did.

This is possible not a good place for levity, but there’s something funny about the fact that, for years, Thomas woke up every morning cursing (the) Dawn.

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