1167 I’ll Take It.

I briefly played around with the idea of actually showing the shelf disaster, but decided against it for a number of reasons. Firstly, my ability to draw such a thing will ever pale in comparison to the reader’s mind to imagine it. Also, cutting away from the main story for page upon page of Reggie and Mike seemed like it might have been a bit much for a chapter that has already taken over 117 pages. That said, what little I did actually write was funny and showed off a lot that I like about Reggie and Mike. Now, however, the important stuff will just be mentioned in passing.

From the start I said that this was part of the story I wasn’t looking forward to. A long time ago I decided to give my characters real flaws that could potentially sour people on them forever. I’ve lost readers from sticking to that, but I don’t regret it. Ultimately as new people discover the comic they will be able to read through this chapter at the correct pace and not have to suffer through its creation the way some people had to. Believe me, there have been enough cranky comments to let me know that people didn’t like watching Thomas actually deal with some of his issues. I still maintain that a story where characters don’t change and grow is boring. Sometimes people are big babies about stuff, and sometimes it takes a lifetime to get over being that way. It’s so comforting to hold on to hate. It gives you direction and certainty. It’s addictive and hard to let go of. If my little story helps someone let go faster than I did then it’s been worth the unpleasantness that came with it.


One of the things that endears me the most to your comic is how your characters are flawed. It makes them immeasurably more compelling than flat, static characters–particularly Gary Stus. As I read on in the comic, I actually feared that Thomas might turn out to be a bit of a Gary Stu, but this stretch in the comic really rounded him out in my eyes. Couldn’t agree with you more that characters who don’t change and grow are boring. Stick to your guns. ‘Cause I like it! n_n

I really love that you’ve laid out Thomas’s flaws the way you did.

I had a year of my life derailed because of a failed relationship that only lasted four months! I can remember questioning what sense it made to be so bent out of shape over such a short amount of time. It was as if the part of me that was good at being a decent, productive member of society had been broken. It took me an unreasonable amount of time to return to being a normal/tolerable human being…

It’s comforting to know there are others who aren’t afraid to share similar experiences.

You’re definitely not alone in this. I was thrown so far off by a 6 month long relationship, that I’m still struggling with it after two years. I wouldn’t call my relationship failed though.

And @Crane: Thumps up for character development. You might have lost some readers, but I think a good part of those left likes it.

Just read this, a little late to the party but meh.

I had a short relationship, too. It’s been over two years and I still feel bent out of shape about it.

It’s not necessarily the length of the relationship so much as the circumstances around it.
A casual relationship in which the couple doesn’t have a lot in common is going to be easier to get over than one that’s treated like a serious, long-term thing in which both people do have a lot in common.
A relationship that ends as gracefully as one can is going to be easier to get over than one that has a sudden, abrupt end with questions left unanswered.
A relationship that ends with one person suddenly pulling a “kthxbye” out of nowhere… well, you get where I’m going, I suspect.

Me – mine was one in which we apparently did have a lot in common, in which I did consider it long-term and serious (to the extent of planning a lengthy move around it), and it was just a rarity for me, since I rarely get close to people.
Then one day I was discarded. I tried to ask about it but I was shut down after a couple days. I eventually challenged the excuse I WAS given – lack of time – and was told that she had basically considered it a fling. I challenged that, too, since I don’t think inviting your boyfriend to come with you and stay with your family for a few weeks during the holidays is exactly a typical thing done in fling relationships. Never got an answer to it.

Found out later that she’d been spending a lot of supposed “study” time with her ex, and that she had a history in the past of either seeing two guys at once or dropping one and moving on to another at a quick rate.
Not something I would’ve even suspected her capable of.

That and some other incidents with “friends” in the same year left me pretty much incapable of trusting people, so I just don’t. I keep to myself and avoid social events. I have no interest in replaying any of those incidents ever again.

Keep doin’ what you do man! It’s a great story with great art to boot!
I like how much thought you have put into it, and seeing the development of the characters. Cheers!

I like the flawed character design.
It’s true I hated Thomas acting like that but it was refreshing to see a comic where the main character did just go ‘Okay! I’m just going to smile and whine about it forever!’ But in fact to a negative turn and then got some sense from their actions.

I happened across your comic from QC and I just want to add my voice to many others who have been in Thomas’ shoes. Honestly, I’m not sure what to say to people who don’t understand the nature of being so deeply broken from a failed relationship- the way the hate, while not admirable, allows one to function. It always makes me wonder if they’ve ever truly invested in such a bond… Perhaps those people are the ones doing the breaking. Anyway, I’ve been there, still getting over it- and I give you my whole and complete respect for sharing that facet of life, one that is often covered up or ignored, an ugly truth that people like to ignore.

Even aside from such issues, I must say I enjoy the comic and am looking forward to see how things unfold from here.


Lol sorry, had to say it ;)~

Actually I love the flaws. It makes them all human, endearing, and makes us root for them. You really brought some depth to Reggie in this scene. Seeing him sit down with the gang almost humanizes the little turd…

Flawed characters are interesting characters. You can relate to them as people, not drawings on a page. This has been an interesting story arc; keep doin’ what you’re doin’, Crave, ’cause it sure works for me.

Therein lies the thing. If people read a slice-of-life for flat, static Stus and Sues, then they don’t want a slice of life. It’s that damned simple. Do what you do, write ultimately for you, and those who share in your direction of life will accompany you.

Rage is one of the Big Three emotional states, so called because they deliver both a sense of direction and their own variety of power- but none of them make a good crutch for too long.

I love the characters, flaws and all. A story that can keep me emotionally invested in the cast, whether I get giddy or frustrated with their actions, is an incredibly good one. I don’t want to read a comic where I couldn’t care less if a character was shipped off to Kalamazoo. I’d miss every one of them, even Dawn…who I don’t like very much… (Team Thomas woooo)

I also want to say that I like the art very much. The cast is distinctive and the style is easy on the eyes. And the girls’ outfits are cute! I’d love to see the guys in something different too.

Here for a minute, then back to dinner, but I wanted to say that, yes, as much as your characters have flaws, they also have strengths. It would be easy to write Reggie off as a prick, or Jess a player, and end of character. But you don’t. Reggie also has this side to him that he isn’t a prick so much as raised being told he was elite and should act that way, but deep down is starting (maybe always did) to just want an honest break and his talents recognized. Jess likes sex, and to tease her brother, but she’s not a monster for it. She’s free spirited and fun, and willing to be there when people need her. You can tell by the way she was with Thomas, she would have come cash or no cash.

So basically, they ‘re human. Good sides and bad sides. I respect that.

I’ve always thought of your chapters kinda like the (6) books of tLotR. Also, I feel graphic novels don’t really lend themselves to plot compartmentalization. And on a separate note, while I’ve never had the whole ex-hating thing go on, Between Failures has truly helped me keep moving forward after some significant personal failures, so I think you don’t have to worry about it having limited emotional relevancy.

I agree with the others; flaws are what makes characters interesting. To quote a movie I like (can Jo guess this one?): “People call these things imperfections, but they’re not. That’s the good stuff.”

Thomas is a very personable guy, and is quite adept at manipulating people. That said, he does it generally for their own benefit in the end (that we’ve seen at least), and everyone tends to come out ahead. If he had no issues, then he would be a god-like character, and we’d all wonder what he’s doing working retail. The issues he has gives him depth (as well as an interesting back story). The same goes for all the characters, although I maintain that Nina is a goddess in human form, and the imperfections serve only to endear us further to her (like those buck teeth – they’re so cute).

I’m glad the characters have flaws. No one likes “perfect” people. I’ve been loving this chapter :D

Reggie really saved his own @$$ on that one. I’m just wondering how long it will take Brooksie to fix how Reggie and Mike re-alphabetized her section — I’m thinking along the lines of John Cusack’s character Rob in High Fidelity. We collectors are fussy — O.C. fussy — about order.

We haven’t seen him bite into his sandwich yet, but I always thought Reggie would be the sort to cut — or tear — the crusts from his bread. We all know the type, some of even are one of them.

@Crave— thanks for leaving the disaster off-screen, as it were. I think the story works a lot better for it — and sometimes things that happen offstage can work really well, particularly in comedy. Hey, it worked for the ancient Greeks.

And Mr. Boothe is a more sympathetic character, almost likable, here.

Kinda wondering how re-alphabetizing caused mike to end up smoky and covered in ash. ( or am I mistaking?)

Never done any carpentry?

I’ve done carpentry but I’ve never ended up smokey and covered in ash..

That’s what happens when messing with fires

Covered in sawdust, maybe, but never smoke and ash from carpentry

He never shows up covered in ash, so it’s a moot point anyway.

I think they mean Mike looking disheveled. Reggie looks like a source of disaster, but rarely the victim of it. This can still be true, even if it’s not expressly his fault. I’m sure there’s a tvtropes of it somewhere.

I’m not going back in there. I only just came out.

Hey Crave,

Just chiming in with everyone else!! Love the fact that your characters are REAL!! They are people you could relate too and feel like they could exist in real life. it’s great! Keep up the great work!! Always look forward to Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays to see what’s next. Thanks!!!

Oh man, if anyone stopped reading because they didn’t like how Thomas reacted to all this: then we don’t need ’em! The way you write these characters is one of the TOP reasons this is one of my favorite webcomics. I can only hope you can manage to collect this into a few books one day, ’cause I’ll buy extras to put the library where I work and stick those babies on the display shelf.

Amazing. Simply amazing. It strikes me that Reggie, by accident or design, may have found himself in their good graces. It feels like an entire new character twist for him may be on the rise. ‘Course, I could be wrong. It does happen.

Through the fires of the refinery the purer elements are revealed.

Does not matter what anyone else thinks…

…We like it.

If it helps you continue, you helped me let go of negative emotions and get on with my life.
I had the opposite experience to Thomas. I started to hate this woman for being abusive but I believed hatred to be a flaw in myself, so I switched it around to make it into love… ended up in the worst, but most formative relationship of my life… and then I had to deal with the self hate that built up. It’s oddly harder to get rid of internalized hate than external… especially when that person is still around, making you remember every feeling just by existing.

So… this will become like the Great Noodle Incident for this comic. Good call.


Off to TV Tropes to see if this is one of those. If I don’t come back in three days, just go on without me.

Noodle incident?

Mom: We don’t want the petting zoo all over again.
Daughter: I can’t make any promises…

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