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The main cast
The main, or at least central, character of the strip, Marten is an aficionado of indie music who starts off the story by running into a girl named Faye. A few strips later, her apartment building has somehow burned down and she moves in with him.
- Author Avatar (originally if not recently)
- Big Brother Instinct: recently towards Momo-tan
- Blue Eyes
- The Generic Guy
- Nice Guy: Played relatively straight. He's kind, noble to a fault, and people tend to walk all over him. Some of the flaws of this character type are discussed (overall weakness and mediocrity), but he's still the kindest person in the strip by far.
- Briefly averted HARD here.
- Non-Action Guy
- Spell My Name with an "S": His name is Marten. Not Martin.
- Straight Man (comedically as well as sexually)
Marten's friend and eventual roommate. Inaugurates the strip's shift into Cerebus Syndrome by asking Marten flat-out whether he is attracted to her. Hilarity Ensues, not to mention Unresolved Sexual Tension.
- Broken Bird
- Deadpan Snarker
- Disappeared Dad
- Hollywood Pudgy: Jeph comments on this in a newspost within the first couple hundred strips; he specifically says that she really isn't fat, but she has a bad body image, partly because everyone she hangs out with is skinny.
- The Nicknamer
- Tsundere: She actually wears a shirt saying "Tsundere" from time to time. Purchased by Hannelore here.
- Yaoi Fangirl
Dora Bianchi (The Other Dora)
- Base Breaker: Got a strong opinion on Dora and her relationship with Marten? Back of the line is thattaway.
- Benevolent Boss
- Bi the Way
- Broken Bird: She approaches Faye levels.
- Clingy Jealous Girl: At least has bouts of it.
- Cool Big Sis: She's older than Faye, Marten, et al, and she's laid-back and understanding when she isn't being a Clingy Jealous Girl or a Fan Girl.
- Doomy Dooms of Doom: Named her coffee shop "Coffee Of Doom". Inside is the "Restroom of Doom".
- Local Hangout: Not her, just her business.
- My Girl Is a Slut: Makes all the sex jokes that (stereotypically) would be assigned to guys.
- Perky Goth: In the beginning, at least.
- Stepford Smiler: Type A. Sven explains it in detail, although Dora herself alluded to it a lot earlier. The Cool Big Sis thing is largely an act.
- The Unfair Sex: Her many double standards is the most visible factor that eventually ended her relationship with Marten, often calling him out on minor things while not thinking twice about doing similar or worse things back.
- Yaoi Fangirl
A young lady Marten meets in a bar, who turns out to be his upstairs neighbor. Germophobic, adorably neurotic and born to a Mad Scientist father and a Corrupt Corporate Executive mother, she naturally became a fan favorite.
- Adorkable: C'mon. Look at her be awkward in the oversized sweater!
- Asexual/CelibateHero: A twist on this trope. She's attracted to guys, but really only enough to fantasize about them.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She can get pretty scary.
- Characterization Marches On: When we first met her, Hannelore was confident, extroverted, and sarcastic, but this soon evolved into a much more vulnerable character. The Watsonian perspective is that she was on much stronger anti-anxiety medication when she first showed up, but it's more likely that Jeph just didn't plan ahead at the time.
- Crazy Awesome: Normal people just give a simple refusal when they're asked out by a slimeball. Hannelore somehow channeled the voice of an Elder God...
- Destined Bystander: It's very subtle, but she was actually mentioned as early as strip 313 when Marten and Faye were first checking out what would be their new apartment, despite not being introduced for another 202 strips. She's almost certainly this rather than a Chekhov's Gunman, of course, given that even when she did début properly, Jeph clearly only had a vague idea where she was going...
- Drop in Character
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Quite possibly the most well-loved character in the strip.
- Genre Savvy: She's the one who bought Faye her Tsundere shirt.
- Good with Numbers
- The Insomniac
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: though without the personality.
- Messy Hair: It was straight when she first showed up, then she cut it off, and afterwards, for as long as it's been long enough to do so it's been floofy.
- Moe: Like you wouldn't believe!
- Neat Freak / Super OCD: Although she's getting better. She has the classic obsession with cleanliness, and counting to a lesser degree, and she is also scared of everything.
- No Social Skills: Hannelore doesn't have the greatest grasp of normal social behaviour. Her upbringing is probably more to blame than her OCD; she was primarily raised on a space station by a mad scientist, after all.
- Parental Abandonment: Her father wasn't really there for her growing up due to being an Absent-Minded Professor. Her mother was also dedicated to her work as a ruthless corporate predator, and her own crippling mental issues prevented her from connecting with either parent until she was an adult.
- Sleepyhead: Can even fall asleep standing up. Often found asleep on Marten's couch during her early Drop in Character days.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Hanners is the creepy goddess of this trope.
- Team Mom: Surprisingly, ends up essentially being this, especially to Marigold specifically.
- The Un-Smile: more than once.
- The Woobie
- Yaoi Fangirl
- The Ditz, unless she isn't.
- Does Not Understand Sarcasm
- Embarrassing First Name (Blodwyn)
- Awesome McCoolname - Raven is her actual middle name.
- Obfuscating Stupidity - Occasionally comes across as merely pretending to be ditzy.
- Bunny Ears Lawyer - She eventually went back to school to pursue a degree in physics... and wore a lab coat during a theory class because it seemed more sciencey that way. Not all the ditziness is obfuscating, apparently.
- Perky Goth - Sort of. When she was still a goth she wasn't perky at all, but she was a Perky Emo for a while.
- Put on a Bus - Hasn't been seen for over a year of real-time thanks to going back to school.
- Really Gets Around - moreso than anyone but Sven.
An "Anthro-PC"—basically a computer in a robot body and with enough AI to be sentient — Pintsize started off as the zany comic relief before evidently getting an overdose of 4chan. Now he's still Comic Relief, but in a more sinister way.
- AI Is a Crapshoot
- Anything That Moves: Zig Zagged.
- Evilly Affable: Not exactly evil, but definitely amusingly twisted.
- The Hedonist: To the point of eating cake, in spite of having no digestive tract.
- Intrigued by Humanity: How he explains his 4chan obsession.
- Jerkass / Large Ham: Most of the time, with exceptions.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Pretty much literally, as seen here.
- No Yay: People who go on his twitter often have this reaction.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to Winslow's Blue.
- Robot Buddy
- Second Law, My Ass
- Squick: Originally, Pintsize was a physical manifestation of chaos, but lately he's pretty much shifted Out of Focus to the point where his sole purpose is to cause this in the readers.
- Also, his twitter. Cannot stress this enough, do not go there. It will not end well. You have been warned.
- Wacky Guy: Well, robot.
Dora's older brother is a commercially-successful songwriter in the country-music genre, making a decent living writing the musical equivalents of Extruded Book Products, which naturally means he sold out. Also a Casanova of the first degree.
- Big Eater: Mentioned here.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Bizarrely crossed with Kavorka Man due to his prickly personality.
- Informed Ability: Sven doesn't claim his music's good, but it sells well anyway, and the less effort he puts in the more popular it is. Some readers consider this Writer on Board, though it can also be interpreted as Sven not appreciating or not fully harnessing his talents. Whether his songs are genuinely bad or just soulless (and goofy, but the QC universe seems quite goofiness-friendly) is left to the reader to decide, since we obviously don't get to hear them.
"I write the songs that make the whole world cringe."
- Ladykiller in Love: Interestingly, doesn't look like he'll get the girl who changed him, unlike the normal use of this trope.
- Man Child: "Man Teenager" would be more accurate, since that's the form Sven's immaturity took (he's never acted like a literal child), but up until he got involved with Faye he didn't really have any need to grow up.
- Multiethnic Name: Mother was of Swedish descent, father Italian. Mother insisted on a name from the old country. hence, Sven Bianchi.
- Really Gets Around
Marigold Louise Farmer
An anime fan who lives near Dora's coffee shop, and is roommates with Angus. Her room had serious cleanliness problems. Sometimes known as "Mar-bear", which totally isn't confusing when you consider that there's a Marten in the strip already.
- All Love Is Unrequited: Had a thing for Angus, but has since encouraged him to pursue Faye since finding out about their relationship.
- Animesque (Her arrival has boosted the number of anime elements in the comic; she is an anime fan, after all)
- Art Evolution: She went from a flat-chested skinnier girl to the bustiest and curviest girl in the strip, rivaled only by Faye.
- Author Appeal: Her anime fandom reflects Jeph Jacques's own (though he's probably not a Yaoi Fanboy), and some traits of her character are drawn from an anime character.
- Cat Smile
- Expy (Of Lucky Star's Konata, can you believe)
- Fan Girl
- Full Name Ultimatum: Marigold Louise Farmer.
- Hollywood Homely
- Hollywood Pudgy
- I Am Not Pretty - She's getting better about this, but especially early on, she frequently said she was ugly and fat. And she still does so occasionally. None of the other characters agree with her about this. Sometimes she even does it to her wish-fulfillment fictional self.
- Punny Name - A play on the term "gold farmer"- someone who plays online games all day to accumulate gold, usually to sell it. Oddly enough, Jeph apparently didn't realize it until after he'd already named her.
- Serious Business: On learning that Dale is a member of the Alliance in World of Warcraft.
Marigold: NO TIPS FOR ALLIANCE SCUM!
- Wrong Genre Savvy (Marigold's mind wanders to strange places.)
- Yaoi Fangirl (Been there, done that, wore the t-shirt)
Angus McPhee, formerly known as Argument Guy
A customer who goes to Dora's coffee shop just to annoy Faye. He has a crush on her. Currently moving up to a bigger role.
- Dogged Nice Guy
- Strawman Political: Not in the comic, but he says he's paid to debate people and lose to make them look better.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: with Faye, for the longest time.
- Vitriolic Best Buds (Tries to invoke this with Faye, but she's just annoyed by his ability to take it and come back for more)
- Witty Banter
- Yaoi Fanboy, if you can believe that. (Only mildly, played for laughs.)
Other important characters
- Winslow, Hannelore's Robot Buddy. The Apple version of an Anthro-PC, he's basically a sentient iPod with arms and legs. He was very naive at first, but was very quickly corrupted by Pintsize.
- Steve, Marten's best friend other than Faye. Is a secret agent. Was once dating a mortician named Meena (prior to being Put on a Bus for a short time).
- Ellen, Steve's former girlfriend, an eighteen-year-old philosophy/marine biology major.
- Penelope Gaines, a bookstore employee shanghaied into barista duty. Squabbles with Faye a lot. May or may not be...
- Pizza Girl, the pizza-delivering superhero. Most of the others suspect Penelope is her secret identity. If Penelope in strip 1932 is to be believed, it isn't.
- Tai Hubbert, Marten's current boss at the Smif College library, perpetually stuck in an all-girl polyamorous Love Dodecahedron. She really Can't Hold Her Liquor. Her Twitter account is "tai_fighter", named after her DJing stage name. Has a crush on Dora, and half-heartedly tried to get with her after she and Marten broke up.
- Veronica Reed, Marten's mother, a former bondage and fetish model under the pseudonym Veronica Vance. Both Dora and Dora's father have gotten off to her. And mentioned so to Marten.
- Amanda "Mandy" Whitaker, Faye's ditzy lesbian sister.
- Natasha, Ellen's roommate and Marten and Hanners' ex-bandmate.
- Amir, Natasha's ex-boyfriend, Marten and Hanners' bandmate. Is significantly older than most of the cast.
- Scott, Marten's likeable first boss, a semi-Straight Gay.
- Jimbo, a trucker-looking barfly who writes romance novels.
- Wil, Sven's melodramatic poet friend. He is currently dating Penelope. Owns several cloaks.
- Lydia, Sven's "intern." She's supposed to be learning the tricks of songwriting from him, but instead she's turned into sort of a lab wretch.
- Momo-tan, Marigold's Robot Buddy. She's friends with Pintsize and Winslow. Apparently has a 97 terabyte hard drive. Originally small and chibi-like, she's gotten a new chassis that looks more like a young human girl.
- Cosette Hurlbut, a Cute Clumsy Girl who does not benefit from the trope's usual immunity to collateral damage. She was first introduced in 1322 accidentally asking Marten out, and then did not appear again until 1430, when Marten offered to hook her up with Steve. They do get together, but due to an accident and Decompressed Comic time it's not until 1543.
- Hannelore's Roomba, Hannelore's Roomba. Pintsize has somewhat of a rivalry with it. He and Winslow eventually strapped a rocket to it and sent it out the window, and it came back with a wife and three children. Who also have rockets.
- Dale, another pizza delivery man (among other things). A member of the Alliance, which makes him the natural enemy of Horde member Marigold. He begins a semi-Friendly Rivalry with her online after she stiffs him on a tip over this.
- The staff of The Secret Bakery:
- Padma, who runs the bakery and is prone to Completely Missing the Point. She and Faye like to spar. She and Marten had a brief fling that ended badly.
- Elliot, a Gentle Giant. In love with Padma.
- Renee, who Angus used to date. Is apparently a ruder version of Faye.
- Jim, the owner of the bakery. Is divorced, with a daughter named Samantha. He and Dora went on a date, but decided not to pursue a relationship.
- Samantha, Jim's 13-year-old daughter. A Tomboy and Pokémon nerd. She's become friends with Momo (who she's a bad influence on) and Faye (who's a bad influence on her).
- Clinton, Robot researcher with an artificial hand. Semi-stalked Hannelore after finding out who her father was. Poor sense of personal boundaries.
- Yelling Bird, a yelling bird (theorised to be a tit or a dickcissel) who appears in occasional filler comics, usually to scream about why it was posted (usually along the lines of "Jeph is too drunk/lazy/disorganized to post a comic today,") or just give its opinion on something. Doesn't seem too fond of punctuation and uses profanity instead. Has its own Twitter account.
- Sara: Faye's co-worker at the Coffee Of Doom in early strips. She was blonde and attracted to Marten. (The feeling was mutual, though neither of them did anything about it.) With no real character, she dropped away after Dora was introduced, but still gets the occasional Continuity Nod. Rumored to have been eaten by an allosaurus.
- Sweet-Tits, another filler-strip character, pulled out of Jeph's sketchpad at short notice. She doesn't have a real name and addresses the audience directly with a mixture of sarcasm and performance anxiety. Despite only two appearances, she was an instant fan favourite and got her own story over the Christmas 2009 break.
- The Allosaurus, current home of Sara.
- Randy the Bandicoot, yet another minor filler-strip character that became a fan favorite. An excited bandicoot with No Indoor Voice who yells repeated facts about himself. Has a pouch, despite being male. Randy is eternal.----
- The Thanksgiving Turkeys, who only appear during the Thanksgiving weekend, and parody fan talk about the comic.