Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I have to disagree with my colleague on the Skull issue -- I thought the strip was funny.

Now is the perfect time to evolve Skull a bit; he's been gone a while, had new experiences, and apparently learned at least one new thing about himself. From our perspective it's an unexpected one, and that's what's supposed to make it funny.

I'm hoping this is a long-term thing -- making him less naive and a little (just a little) sarcastic would do wonders for him, I think. A perpetual naif has got to be hard to write for -- he's a one note.

Putting myself in SK's shoes I can imagine an interesting conversation with himself:

I want to change Skull up a bit, and now that he's just come back, it's a good time to do it. But what if the fans hate it?

Aha! Here's what I do -- I try it out. If it doesn't work, I start making him darker, and grimmer, until it's obvious that something is terribly wrong, and we have to go on an adventure to find a way to exorcise the whatever-it-is that's taken him over. Perfect!

Then he would go have tea and cookies with Paul Southworth, but that's just in my head.

All that having been said, I do wonder what's up with Skull's mouth in panel 2. It looks like Phillipe's mouth.

Another nitpick -- Jade's expression in panel three seems out of tune with what she's saying. She looks shocked, but Skull hasn't said anything shocking yet.


Rdy said...

If Scott 'evolving' Skull is the case and this isn't just another situation where we're filling in the blanks/connecting the dots/reading between the lines (something that really goes on too much for my taste), then I think this step is a huge mistake.

The last thing the comic needs is for Skull to become some kind of Brent-lite. Too many characters are apparently becoming subtle shades of the same gray and Skull's naive innocence would be missed greatly.

R.W.McGee said...

I would be extremely glad to see Scott evolve Skull in this direction, before he was always a one-note fart joke kind of character, and my least favorite of the PvPers (until Shecky and Scratch showed up)

Give the character some complexity and a darker tone, YES say I!

I do agree that Jade is shocked one panel too early.

paulsouthworth said...

Snacking on tea and cookies is totally out of character for Paul Southworth, you talentless hack.

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's all embrace Skull becoming exactly like everyone else.

Francis - sarcastic teenager
Brent - sarastic young adult
Cole - sarcastic father figure
Marcy - sarcastic teenage girl
Jade - sarastic woman

The only characters with any character left:
Skull - if he stays naive
Scratch - if he continues being Stewie from Family Guy
Max - if he continues being Mr. Good Guy Grins
Jase and Robbie - if they continue being the Gemini of the group
??? - if he continues being the black blind guy whose name I can't remember

So, clearly, Kurtz needs to back off his main characters and start a spin-off that focuses on the supporting cast.

Y'know, 'til they're all the same.

D said...

My English is a little rusty, but shouldn't the line from panel 2 be:

"Every family they assigned me to was worse than the last" rather than "...worse than the next".

Skull is trying to say that each family got worse, right?

Geoff said...

I think that Jade is just in shock in general because he's back. Remember, this is the first time since he's returned that we've seen them interact.

@D If he said it like that then he would be saying that each family got better. By saying that they were worse than the last, he is saying that they were worse than the one before it.

A Nonny Mouse said...

He has actually reclaimed aspects of his old personality. Remember when he told Francis that he ate children so that he could get a turn on the computer or console?

Anonymous said...

rdy said...
"If Scott 'evolving' Skull is the case and this isn't just another situation where we're filling in the blanks/connecting the dots/reading between the lines (something that really goes on too much for my taste)"
If there weren't so many gaping plot holes, we wouldn't need to try to fill in the dots, etc. We only try because so many things in the strip seem disconnected and unexplainable.
To D, yes, it should have been "each family was worse than the last," if it wanted to make sense, and describe a downhill tendency. As it was, he was implying his situation kept getting better, but I believe this is a simply a mistake/lack of proofreading. (Of course, lack of proofreading is a common mistake in PVP anyway).

The Trouble said...

Skulls kinda like Homer Simpson, just how dumb and naive he is kinda varies based on what's needed of him for the joke/premise. But I hope your right FSM.

I think that expression on Jades face is concern, since Skull just got done revealing his worsening experiences.

Rdy said...

"If there weren't so many gaping plot holes, we wouldn't need to try to fill in the dots, etc. We only try because so many things in the strip seem disconnected and unexplainable."

Well, yes, that is a problem but I just can't get on with people coming up with 'excuses' for plot holes and acting like you're an idiot for not seeing it the same way. Often times a follow-up strip or post from Scott tends to show that's not what was intended anyway (unless Scott finds out about it, likes it and retcons it that way, of course).

J. Hazelip said...

You're kidding, right? Skull ate a child.

Now, they're sharing an office with a murderer. You don't think that should cause a bit of a problem?

All prior references that have been shown of Skull and his people-eating ways were either from the time-travel storyline, him teasing Francis in a flash of uncharacteristic intelligence just to play a game, and him making a reference to his people-eating ways in the distant past.

Unless someone knows of a strip in the current time line (meaning not in medieval times) where Skull has eaten someone, I'd like to see it.

The Trouble said...

J, I think you're taking this a little bit to seriously. One of the reasons that people tell stories in the comic/cartoon style is that it automatically has a certain detachment from reality. This isn't a 1:1 analog for the real world.

Hell, Brent's been mauled and even cut in half once. All of the Looney Tunes characters were complete bastards to each other most of the time. Bugs Bunny has thrown countless sticks of dynamite, launched cannons at people and had Daffy shot hundreds of times and no one thinks him of being a murder or at least murderous.

The Trouble said...

These two articles are interesting reads, they are more geared toward physics, but the same basic concepts can be applied to violence (hence the term Cartoon Violence)

Wikipedia: Cartoon Physics

O'Donnell's Laws of Cartoon Motion

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

I liked the strip as if I had the experiences he had I would dislike those little fuckers too :). Plus if he did the "duh, ok" thing it would be stupid so the edge in Skull is nice.

Also "the last one I beat to within an inch of his life with and Xbox" is a funny line because its a dig at Ethan from CAD and what I believe Scott wants to do to Tim Buckley in real life.

Jenn Langlois said...

Hmmm I'm thinking that FSM had it right when he said that after Skull has been out on his own, that he learned and grew a bit - prolly realizing that taking care of kids is very fustrating, and it may clue in to Skull at some point that it's prolly why Brent seemed so fustrated or angry when having to babysit Skull - being so childlike and niave and all.

Apologies for the poor grammer, it's late here.


J. Hazelip said...

I'm not taking it too seriously. The xbox beating crack is funny, and it gets the point across that Kurtz is aiming for.

But, Skull eating a child? Skull? The same character everyone but Brent treats like Corky from Life Goes On? Mentally challenged, eternally innocent, and completely harmless?

Yeah. There should be a strong reaction to him devouring a human child. Even in the realm of PvP.

Clint said...

I have to agree with FSmC on this one.

The character change is way too jarring (he ate a child? whole?) and he'll get lost badly in the characters if he becomes another smarmy sarcastic guy in the office.

Lastly, a couple art nits to pick. The lines got really thick towards the last panels. And Skull's jaw/jowl line expands and shrinks like Daffy Duck after getting stuck in the iron lung.

Anonymous said...

Hey wait a sec--- Was Brent in the 3rd panel earlier today??

I distinctly remember him not being there, and when I checked the site, not only did it act like it was loading a new image (as opposed to just having it cached), Brent was there.

I'm pretty sure he wasn't before.


Anonymous said...


When will people start calling Scott on his bullshit? The next time he posts one of his crybaby SYNDICATES R MEAN rants I hope someone puts him in his fucking place.

Anonymous said...

I think I decided that the 9/29 is when I no longer like PVP.

Really, this site is the only reason I read it.

Seems unhealthy, honestly.

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Meh he's sick so not doing work today is understandable. I guess a buffer would have helped

Anonymous said...

Buffers are for squares, don't you remember?

The Trouble said...

Seeing as there is no strip...

Now I loves me some Penny Arcade, but today's has something that really bugs me... are they supposed to be floating? The combination of the dropish shadow and the flattening texture applied to the couch makes them really separate from the environment.

On the other hand Lil'Gabes foot breaks the panel and he's seated strangely.

Anonymous said...

Smiley Anon said: "Hey wait a sec--- Was Brent in the 3rd panel earlier today??"

Can't remember myself, but its quite possible he wasn't. Maybe SK has a storyline planned that requires Brent to have been there?
Either way, it isn't a huge difference, so I don't see anything wrong with it.

Jai said...

Weird, I feel like Brent did get added in later. It doesn't seem like an important change and seems to affect nothing, so... whatever will be, will be.

While I don't like to see Skull turn into a grouse just like (Ok, not "just like") the rest of the regulars (Ok, not "the rest of", but you see what I'm getting at, right), I don't view it as a flaw of that day's strip. Or even, necessarily, a flaw at all.

His mouth in the second panel is TOTALLY a flaw, though. It looks crazier than hell - I'm getting the impression that he's tonguing one of his big pointy teeth, but his tongue isn't sticking out (Although it looks like it's the only explanation for how only that part of his mouth is open) and presumably his mouth is open enough to talk. He's channeling Popeye, or something. No idea what his tongue is doing there or what, in general, is supposed to be going on with that expression.

Note the difference (I'm surprised its received no attention yet) between Skull's face in panel 1 and panel 4, though. Panel 1 is his old-school gaping maw, and yet it is suddenly restrained to a single side (Or dimension, or point of view) in panel 4 like Shecky's is. I vastly prefer big-mouth Skull. :(

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