Monday, September 29, 2008

Familiar smells

Oh something stinks alright, but it's not just the months old gritty kitty.

They were afraid of making things worse for Skull? Was there some indication that he was going to be punished? E.Z. never once attempted to blame Skull for Brent's actions. The gang didn't even know where Skull was going (aside from a nebulous "to the land of magic", perhaps) or what he'd be doing. What did they think would happen to Skull if they tried to intervene? 

"We didn't know anything about your situation, so we figured doing anything at all might make it worse." is what Cole seems to be saying here.

I think the problem is we keep hearing that Skull was missed, but have never seen evidence within the strip. (Aside from once during Brent's honeymoon). 

I call shenanigans. Possibly even shenanigoats.


TheManNamedThursday said...

I think this is SK's way of responding to criticism, which so many people on this site are trying to encourage. It's not a perfect response, since he can't go back and change everything. But it does end the controversy and give him a chance to move on.

Brent and Cole abandoned Skull, SK focused on other plots, now Skull is back. Brent showed emotion at his return and Cole shows remorse at not trying harder to get him back, and tries to explain thier inaction. He has a guilty kind of look.

At least SK threw us a bone. Consider this a mild PVPMMS band-aid, but don't expect SK to admit it.

The Trouble said...

With the exception of the moment with Brent and Skull hugging, this all still seems like no one really gave a shit that skull was gone and is now back.

Cole's explanation seems forced, and a bit of a back-peddle. This is a visual medium - show us, don't tell us. I think there could have been a lot of fun with some sort of flash back that show's the gang's crazy schemes to get Skull back.

But really my problem with today's is: where's everyone else? I'd kinda think they'd all get together and have a welcome home party or something. I would expect everyone would be curious as to where he was and what he did. It just seems to me that as little as they did to get him back, they are doing just as little to now welcome him back.

I forget, do Skull and Scratch live at the PvP offices?

TheOriginalJes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheOriginalJes said...

@ themannambedthursday -
I don't agree. If you look at the PVP without the daily visits to PVPMMS, it still needs something to put the issue of his absence to rest.

Although the litter box could be interpreted as a jab at us, or critics in general. Which would be very keen on SK's part.

It's not an especially impressive strip. But, it serves it's purpose.

TheOriginalJes said...

-"The Trouble said...

Cole's explanation seems forced, and a bit of a back-peddle. This is a visual medium - show us, don't tell us. I think there could have been a lot of fun with some sort of flash back that show's the gang's crazy schemes to get Skull back."-

True. But, even the intended arcs seem to end abruptly, or get dropped altogether. We may never see anything more of this. SK seems to prefer to get just-so-deep with PVP.

birdman said...


Really? The litter box could be a jab at us? Really?

Let's see: Skull has a cat. The cat presumably, though I don't know if it was ever "officially" established before, has a litter box in Skull's office. The litter box now stinks to high heaven and Cole is trying to pass it off as setimentality over laziness. It works fairly well on the surface level as a joke and fits with established characters and settings.

Trying to link that to Scott's reaction to criticism is such a stretch I'm afraid you're going to pull a muscle. Especially when you take into account Scott's previous jabs at critics in the comic were very overt (see paint ball arc and Lolbat week).

Last Friday's (failed?) attempt at subtlety notwithstanding. At least we had context to read that Scratch was pleased with himself there. There's absolutely no context indicating the "litter box" is really PVPMMS.

R.W.McGee said...


The lack of these character's expression is starting to drive me nuts. Observe in today's strip; the many faces of Cole. (two)

(on the other hand, Skull holding his nose was drawn quite well.)

The Trouble said...

I can't stop looking at the really dark line for the top of Cole's head, is he getting balder? If I stare hard enough, I think I can see infinity...

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

I liked the strip as it did explain what their feelings were and the cat box joke and Cole's deadpan was funny.

But if it was used as a bookend where there was an earlier strip with the PVP cast, sans Skull, explained what they would (or would not do) and even make a "who's going to clean the cat box?" Then everyone running out of the room joke. Im sure one of the one-off strips that came after the wedding could have been used for that. (hahaha ceiling fell on his head)

Rdy said...

"The lack of these character's expression is starting to drive me nuts. Observe in today's strip; the many faces of Cole."

Relying on a single line (the 'eyebrow') to express emotion isn't really working at all in this strip. The eye/mouth tweak of the 3rd panel copy/paste doesn't really match the line Cole delivers in the 4th.

The expression fits if he's chastising Skull for the state he left the office in (but that doesn't work because Skull didn't have a choice over leaving and it still wouldn't excuse anyone else from taking care of the 'maintenance' of the office) but as a sentimental comment, even one as a cover for their own laziness, it's off the mark somewhat.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the cartoonist feels he is being forced to bring Skull back by the fans, and his lack of enthusiasm is hard to hide. One reason why the strip seems flat right now.

J. Hazelip said...

The problem is SK still doesn't know the basic lesson of "show, don't tell" for writing good stories. He also doesn't know how to stand by his own explanation for not showing Cole and Brent trying to save Skull, so we get this strip...days after his defensiveness here on this weblog.

TheOriginalJes said...

@j.hazelip -

It not that he hasn't mastered it. Periodically, he'll say that he doesn't have the artistic skill. Which I think is just a cop-out, so he can do other things. It's annoying, but it's his right to choose.

@birdman - have cookie or something. And stop taking things out of context.

Jai said...

I think the first two panels are a great way to retcon what went on behind the scenes at the office to the satisfaction of everyone who wondered why the humans apparently never did a damn thing to get Skull back. I find it believable that the imposing statuesque Zeus seemed like a genuine figure of authority in Skull's life, and that he would only get pissed at Skull if the humans became nuisances.

But, in the third panel, we get the atrociously-awkward "We tried to move on but I think deep down we all hoped you would come back some day" line. Really, Cole? That must be SO nice for Skull to hear. The humans moved on (I don't see much of a failure in their moving on, despite the office - what were they gonna do with it if they "succeeded" in moving on? Hire someone else to work for them for the tempting price of free abuse? Fill up the office with... all... uh... of that stuff, that they work on? They didn't even empty the litter box, which sounds more like they just didn't want to bother dealing with his office at all, not that they couldn't move on), but Cole thinks that they hoped he would come back? That's really big of them. I don't see why Cole said "would" instead of "could", either. That was an unfortunate thing to say.

And then the punchline. They didn't clean Scratch's litter box... ever. That REALLY shows their dedication in keeping Skull's memory alive (Yeah! It shows that they had absolutely zero dedication to that idea), and I'm even going to ignore that I can't accept that the litter box could go uncleaned for so long without Scratch killing them all. "Welcome back, Skull, here's some standard appreciative abuse for you. Take care of this shit. I mean, literally. It's shit. You need to take better care of your cat." I fondly look forward to the day when we can even imagine looking up to Cole's character as a positive role model ever again.

As far as facial expressions go, I just don't like Cole's final one. Can't make anything out of it, and it could have at least been made to suggest that Cole was uncomfortable with telling Skull that they didn't even take care of Scratch while he was gone. Instead, he's totally deadpan.

What's going on with the bottom of Cole's tie in the last two panels? Is it... forked?

birdman said...


If you meant your original remark sarcastically, then I apologize. It's sometimes hard to tell on these old intertubes.

Anonymous said...

This is pretty much the worst PVP strip ever.

The Peanut Gallery said...

Hrm. You know it wouldn't be a bad strip prior to Skull's return. A janitor comes in with his dust bin and tidies up, but Brent charges him and screams the house down with "He's coming back to us! You're to touch nothing until then." The janitor is completely confused and asks, "Even the litter box?"
"ESPECIALLY the litter box!"
And maybe hanging up a air freshener anyways at the end, because cat boxes are rank.

Anonymous said...


Holy shit. Kurtz has got to be the laziest man on the bloody planet. As if the fact that his tantrums weren't enough to get him banned from ever running as a syndicated comic his inability to EVER deliver a strip on time definitely has.

TheOriginalJes said...


My comment wasn't sarcastic. And, it wasn't a stand-alone. I was referencing the very first sentence of the very first comment on this post by themannamedthursday. Which is why my comment was directed at him.


I totally agree with what you're saying about Cole. But, I think the analogy someone once made about PVP being like an 80's saturday morning cartoon is more accurate than originally stated.

The author likes to pick-and-choose about how in-depth the character development gets. But, then he'll back off when it's inconvenient. That's the real deus-ex-machina at work, here.

Also, this seems to be the new status quo for Cole. Stir up some s&^t, then backstep out the door.

It's just the author's choice to keep it light and simple. Okay. Maybe he just doesn't want to create an "entire" fantasy world.

Of course, I don't want to hear that "Now you're all just complaining that it's too long, then too short, again." Because we've also heard that "The fans don't influence my work. My inner circle does."

The Trouble said...

SK is sick more then anyone I have ever heard of. Seriously dude... take some vitamins, make some lifestyle changes, get a bubble... I dunno... that can't be pleasant.

J. Hazelip said...

Oh, trouble. Don't start that shit again...

Jes, "It's annoying, but it's his right to choose."

Really? It's his right to choose to tell a story badly? You're defending his shitty storytelling skills as a matter of personal choice and basic, human right?


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