Watch me draw this strip, recorded for youse all.
He’s like Batman. To the alco-cave!
I was thinking Hogan’s Heroes, but yeah.
I agree. Batman’s secrets and the people he’s hiding them from are in different buildings.
Or Apu with the vegetarian oasis…
“What do you do when someone wants non-alcoholic beer?”
“Funny, it’s never come up.”
And here I thought he had a dog whistle and a Saint Bernard with one of those brandy casks around its neck “on call”. Granted, it’s too trite to be funny.
Well, if I remember correctly, Mike doesn’t like dogs that much. So the random shelf behind the Terminator toys probably works best.
She loves him for who he really is? Sober? Really? She loves an asshole who manipulates and hurts people on purpose just ’cause it’s fun? She’s more messed up than he is.
But the most interesting part is that Mike just about admitted that his feeling /could/ be hurt.
Mike has feelings? Really? Mike?
BTW: I think it is hillarious that the Mike statues are stuck in customes. Couldn’t happen to a more appropriate character! LOL!
to be fair, a lot of women with abusive fathers end up getting more aggressive or assholeish boyfriends.
Be glad this is a comedic take on it.
Pretty much this.
I’m enjoying actual-character-Mike a lot more than generic-comedy-psychopath Mike!
I’d think it’s more because Mike is a very self-confident person – he just doesn’t care what others think.
Surely that’s an attitude that Amber would find attractive, as it is likely her ideal – being able to shrug off whatever others think and continue doing what you like.
I suspect Mike’s invocation of his feelings is primarily motivated by an opportunity to use said feelings to inflict pain on Amber.
It seemed to me less like Mike is admitting that he has feelings that could be hurt, and more that he’s just telling Amber not to try and spare them – i.e. they could be real or imagined, and whether or not he would be ‘upset’ by anything she said (or anything at all) is not really the point of his statement.
/end random and much-delayed comment
Does anyone suddenly wonder if it turns out that Alcohol didn’t make Mike super-nice, and that he had been putting on an act the day that Amber caught him at McAwesomes all as part of some sort of weird elaborate long-term prank? Just saying… it IS Mike after all.
Mike’s been a nice-drunk since It’s Walky!, so no.
Unless he was already faking it even then.
so mike is making amber feel more and more comfortable with him and then he’s going to set her up and send her on a massive guilt trip…….
……. what would happen if Faz found the booze?
I love the huge REVEAL sound effect. That is the exact sound that motion makes.
Really? I always though of it as more of a REVEL, what with all the alcohol contained within…
Poor unloved Terminator toys…
This page is awesome if only for the hilarious “REVEAL” panel.
Why ARE there still Terminator Salvation toys out in stores? That movie wasn’t that big when it first hit LAST summer, and yet my local TRU still has a pretty fair share of fragile looking little not-quite-4-inch skeletal robots hanging on pegs. Don’t toys sorta have a sell-by date these days?
In other retail stores, especially chains, there is normally a “required pull list” circulated every so often. This directs the floor staff to remove unsold stock from the shelves and relocate them to the Clearance aisle with a discount sticker. Or some of it would be sent back to the Warehouse for disposal by other means, say, to a discounter such as Big Lots for an example. I never was in retail long enough to have to do RPL duty much, but when a “Godzilla” book I liked was on the RPL due to a lawsuit against its publisher, I put an employee’s claim on a copy and bought it myself.
We get a lot of that stuff in here at work (waste management). Ginger beer, real bear, Jacks & dry, concentrated orange juice, all sorts of stuff. Most of it is out of code, but not always.
God I love Mike. You never know what his motives are, you can only guess. Is he really one-dimensional, or is there a new layer of Mike underneath? Mike’s expression when Dina died troubles me sometimes. It’s exciting! A mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in an ever-present scowl.
Furthermore- some level of Amber craves parental approval. Also troubling, also exciting!
You find Mike’s face when Dina died disturbing? I’m changing my Avatar back.
I can definitely see the “Say what you want and stop trying to spare my feelings,” as much of the basis of Mike.
Amber is one of the first, if not the first, normal people, and perhaps even one of the first people period to actually take and say what she feels about Mike to Mike.
Even the SEMME personnel seemed like they were generally trying to tow a line so as to keep Mike from getting pissed at them, and his parents may be having more trouble than they are willing to show to Mike, thinking his feelings might be hurt if he knew there was any trouble in his family.
And it could be that Mike knew about his parents having such problems, and decided the only way to find any truly honest people was to put on his divine jerk routine, a routine that has become rather enforced through the years. And this could explain why as being drunk generally relieves inhibitions, Mike turns out to be a much nicer guy drunk than he is sober.
This is going to end up with the entire Shortpacked! crew drunk, isn’t it?
I can’t wait.
Ah, here we have a medium that has (practically) no limit to its special effects budget! And the Secret Cabinet is? A ironing board type door.
For secret cabinet ideas: Watch Get Smart (tv show), STOS: “Assignment: Earth”, most 007, Our Man Flint.
Should at least have gone “WOOSH” so the dust would be removed, opening like that wouldn’t keep much of the dust off.
But, of course, it’s mostly about the Feeeeeeeeeeelings…
Mike’s been so *nice* to Amber…I wonder what his motive is? He loves her, I believe that, so is it real? Or is he fucking with everybody’s minds? Both?
I want to believe it’s real. I’m such a goddamn romantic.
Oh no. The rapist is making the sad face.
I guess I’m supposed to feel sorry for her now.
I had the opportunity to work for a hospital that provided rehab for sex offenders a long time ago. It’s scary and disturbing how similar Amber’s mentality is to the people I met there.
She’s really exhibiting the traits of a lot of the long term sex offenders I met.
Whether or not it’s rape is…iffy. Mike has been shown to never actually lose unless he wants to, so it may fall closer to creepy bondage RP than rape. The question is how much Mike actually doesn’t want it, which since he is habitually untrustworthy and known to use sex as a weapon, is hard to say.
Basically, Amber is raping him, but I don’t think either of them sees it that way, and I think he’s enjoying it(terrible, but bear with me). This is the closest we’ve ever seen sober Mike to real, honest, human interaction. He refuses to ever show any kind of affection or even genuine emotion. IIRC, last time he was even angry was way back when Dinah got him drunk. But that doesn’t mean he’s incapable of human emotion or that he doesn’t need the connections, just that he’s damaged severely enough that he refuses to admit those needs. Amber ‘forcing’ him to be loving and kind is the excuse he needs to open up to her.
Also, it’s 3 AM here, so if this post is incoherent, my apologies.
Victor, I have to commend you. You’ve written one of the most rational and reasonable posts I’ve seen on this topic. It wasn’t incoherent at all.
Usually people just resort to petty garbage, like AndyL.
I agree with most of what you said. I really don’t believe that Amber thinks she is raping anyone.
Also, I really don’t think Mike would be going along with this if he didn’t want to. In fact, I actually believe he cares for her, in his own way. Mike has had many opportunities to cause a lot (more) problems for Amber. The fact that he hasn’t is so un-Mike that I have to conclude that he may actually care for her.
Furthermore, I think Mike never had to go along with the blackmail. I don’t think he is worried about being “exposed” to any of the cast, as this strip shows. So the blackmail is an empty threat.
Since Mike arguably consented, and there can’t be rape with consent, a lot of people are probably questioning why I consider her a rapist. If you want some insight as to why I think this, read the following:
Most of you may not agree with me, but at least this will give you some insight as to why I feel the way I do. You may resume disliking me now.
I won’t post too much more on this, since most of the time this discussion just degenerates into a flamewar.
It’s pretty well established that insanity, even violent insanity, is comedy gold.
Most humorous comics, films, animations, what-have-you, are packed full of hilarious characters that you wouldn’t want to meet in real life. (Think carefully, would you want to interact with Bugs Bunny on a daily basis?)
People understand the difference between comedy insanity and what acceptable in real life at an very young age. Presumably this is why our society isn’t full of people throwing pies in each other’s faces.
Samuel, Perhaps you’d be happier reading some kind of non-humorous soap opera strip?
AndyL, I didn’t know I was unhappy reading this comic. Thanks for letting me know.
I have to give you credit. You worked really hard to get that back handed comment in there.
Also, there are limits to everything. I don’t remember bugs Bunny raping anyone.
And, I didn’t realize I had complimented you at all. Thanks for letting *ME* know.
Humiliation and severe physical torture are common in the Loony Tunes, which I presume you don’t have a problem with, so I don’t see why you’re so hot and bothered by some mild sexual extortion in a similar consequence-free comedy situation.
If you’ll permit me to anticipate a common bit of rhetoric by using it first, imagine that you asked someone who survived a dynamite accident (Haha! They never survive, but bear with me.) if he’d rather be handed a lit stick of dynamite disguised as a cigar, or have loveless sex with Amber, I suspect that he’d go with the sex, despite your protestations about what is ‘over the line’ and what isn’t.
FYI, a back handed comment is not a complement. I’m just trying to clear up your confusion for you, AndyL.
AndyL, you’re comparing apples and oranges.
You’re saying I can’t have a different opinion about two different actions in two different stories. Most notably, two different stories with different internal logic and structure.
Your strawman is very weak.
A backhanded compliment is a compliment where a criticism is embedded into the compliment. The overall effect is generally negative. I understand this.
“You look pretty, for a fat person.” Could be a backhanded compliment. (A rather hamfisted one.) It contains both a compliment, and the criticism that cancels it out.
For the life of me, I can’t see a compliment, backhanded or otherwise in my first reply to you.
AndL, I have a question. Why are you trying to make the argument about something else?
How come no one gets pissed off when I say the Joker is a murderer. Think about that.
Ok, I’ve thought about it.
The Joker is a villain. Nobody goes around saying “It’s disturbing how the Joker kills people … just like a real murderer.”
Of course, this reveals how I read an ambiguity in your post. I had assumed that you found it disturbing that this fictional character mimics what you had seen in real-life criminal and/or mentally ill individuals.
It occurred to me just now that your intent could have been the opposite. You could have been disturbed that real-life individuals you’ve met mimic the exaggerated comedic insanity of web-comic characters. I’ve never met such people, but I suppose I could only agree with you.
AndL, I don’t think you’re missing the point. I just think you want to address the point at all.
I ask why no one ever gets pissed off when I say the Joker is a murderer.
You say ‘Nobody goes around saying “It’s disturbing how the Joker kills people … just like a real murderer.”’
That’s too non-sequitur to even consider. It’s also so much of a gross generalization that it’s easily refuted. All I have to do is find one person who says that and you’re wrong. Hell, all I have to do is say that, and you’re wrong.
So rather than listen to you chase your tail all day, I bid you a long and happy life.
Ooo. I just realized you’d typo’d (Or abbreviated?) my name. I almost like it better that way. I imagine it rhymes with “Handle”.
Hey, at least you can’t say I never did anything for you.
Goddammit he said he loved her, you crazy bitch, do you want fuckin’ flowers?
And I believe him.
I loved that strip, btw.
You know, I hope you’re not too offended about my opinion. I think a lot of people are getting worked up over what they think I’m saying, rather than what I’m saying.
I think I’ll just drop the subject again.
So you believe Mike when he says that he agrees with Amber that they both silently understood that Mike was a willing accomplice to their relationship all along, and yet you still go around calling her a rapist.
Just because she raped him so hard he felt in love with her cookies doesn’t make her any less of a rapist.
I kid– at worst Amber attempted sexual blackmail and Mike allowed her to get away with it (though she did not realize he was allowing it.) Amber is no rapist.
Dinah on the other hand…
This comment system wouldn’t let me respond to you directly, so I had to respond to myself.
I was going to drop this, but since you asked, I’ll respond.
“So you believe Mike when he says that he agrees with Amber that they both silently understood that Mike was a willing accomplice to their relationship all along, and yet you still go around calling her a rapist.”
Yes. I believe Mike is in this relationship of his own free will. Amber attempted to blackmail Mike, and he went along with it.
Mike’s consent means very little to me.
I explained my reasons for what I believe in my response to Viktor. I’ll sum them up here in short. I messed up the Wikipedia link.
I tend to view things, ethically, from a non-consequentialist perspective.
Basically, from this point of view, the consequences of actions don’t matter. Well they do, but I’m simplifying here. The long and the short of it is that it’s the intent of an action that matters when it come to moral decisions, not the outcomes.
The actions of the victim don’t matter. That is why I don’t factor in Mike’s consent. It’s Amber’s intent that matters. To me, anyway.
Well, at least I didn’t require you to donate to a charity just to hear an opinion that you disagree with. Haha, that’s a terrible joke, I know.
I remember something Kevin Smith said a few years ago. It was something along the lines of not liking some of his fans very much. I wouldn’t be surprised if you feel like that right now.
How do you know Amber’s intent?
Through her actions.
Are you saying Amber didn’t intend to blackmail Mike into a relationship?
The relationship was blackmail. The sex wasn’t. Mike would have banged her anyway (and he did), he just didn’t want to go to friggin’ movies, hang out, and act like a real couple. Forcing someone to take you to the movies isn’t rape.
Unless, of course, you think setting up someone unwittingly for a blind date is rape. Then I guess maybe the relationship was rape, under those parameters. Those ridiculous, ridiculous parameters.
Granted, I shouldn’t have used the word intent like that. I should have said the intended goal of her actions, to be more clear. I won’t make excuses for my poor word choice.
It’s impossible to absolutely know someone’s intent without being a mind reader. It’s even more difficult with someone else’s fictional character:)
If Amber said that she believed Mike WANTED her to find the shirts, WANTED her to have power over him (whether he did or not), doesn’t that mean that she intended to give him what he wanted (and she wanted of well). Regardless of what the actuality is, her intent seems to have been for mutual happiness, not merely her own.
“The relationship was blackmail. The sex wasn’t. Mike would have banged her anyway (and he did), he just didn’t want to go to friggin’ movies, hang out, and act like a real couple. Forcing someone to take you to the movies isn’t rape.”
No, forcing someone to take you to the movies isn’t rape.
At this point, you know my feelings about Mike’s actions. I won’t cover old ground and waste any time here.
If you’re really serious about proving me wrong, there are a few strategies that I can think of to effectively disprove my point. You have been very close up until this point.
First, you could have just said sex wasn’t a requirement by Amber, and it just happened. Since my point was about the ethics of her actions, if sex wasn’t a condition of the blackmail, then I have no point. A few people danced around this idea on the old forums, but didn’t quite nail it.
The weakest part of this argument is there is evidence that sex was part of the blackmail.
The strength is the details are vague enough to argue that sex wasn’t a requirement.
Second, you can take issue with the non-consequential ethical view I have on this. This is the easier route, but it brings up a larger philosophical argument, and it doesn’t directly refute my point, just my principles. This would be a much broader and longer dispute.
The strongest argument is that Amber thought Mike wanted her to blackmail him. There is evidence in the strip you posted earlier.
The crucial factor would be if Amber thought this from the beginning. If she came to this conclusion after the fact, she’s just rationalizing her actions. However, if this was her belief from the beginning, then she was acting with Mike’s interests in mind. Therefore she was not *really* trying to blackmail him at all, since she was doing what he wanted. It’s a bit twisted, but this absolves Amber completely.
The weakness of this argument is that the comic isn’t clear if Amber felt this way from the beginning, in the comic at least. But if you could successfully argue that she did, you will prove me wrong. Then fireworks would go off and the people would dance in the street to celebrate your victory.
I was actually waiting for you to throw this last one out there, but you haven’t quite yet. You were almost there a few posts ago, but you still were basing your argument on Mike’s actions.
As for Mike banging her anyway, sheesh who wouldn’t? Most of the dudes I know would love to be blackmailed into sex.
“Unless, of course, you think setting up someone unwittingly for a blind date is rape. Then I guess maybe the relationship was rape, under those parameters. Those ridiculous, ridiculous parameters.”
Just nope to this one.
I’m not going to handhold you anymore through an explanation of my own comic. You’re very determined to believe that Amber is a racist, so I’ll allow you to do so.
“If Amber said that she believed Mike WANTED her to find the shirts, WANTED her to have power over him (whether he did or not), doesn’t that mean that she intended to give him what he wanted (and she wanted of well). Regardless of what the actuality is, her intent seems to have been for mutual happiness, not merely her own.”
Sorry, Becca, I didn’t see this before I posted.
See my post blow yours if you want to know what I think.
You’re more or less on the money.
Wait a sec. The whole reason Mike began going out with Amber was so that she wouldn’t tell all of their friends about how he acts when drunk. We know he was telling the truth because he was drunk when he said it.
So why would he even have a hidden booze cabinet in any place?
In case he needs to smash a bottle of booze into some poor chump’s face.
What I find interesting is that he’s willing to blow his entire secret just for her.
Oh shit! I didn’t even think about it, but your totally right! He’s gonna get drunk at work (or it seems like it) and thats what started everything in the first place. Kind of makes the original dating Amber pointless. And of course there was that strange look on his face when Amber talked about how she pretended Mike had let her find out about his job at McAwesomes.
My take on the Amber rape thing- well first I dial it back a bit because it is comic. Lots of things that would be completely terrible in real life are made into jokes. Humor is about surprise to a certain extent, and taking serious things lightly or light things seriously is one way to go about that. But frankly, I was never convinced Amber demanded sex as part of the blackmail. She demanded a relationship, and a pretty cutesy romanticized version of to. I don’t see sex as being automatically included in any of this, except possibly in her ‘roses and candles’ way when she first talked about blackmailing him. The whole “at dusk we make love” bit. That was her fantasying, none of those things ended up happening. I don’t buy it. Plus, I find the first time she and mike did something, when she was so out of it she had no idea what happened the next morning, pretty iffy to. At least as iffy as what Amber did. Not to say two wrongs make a right, but again, this is comic. In real life it would be horrible. In shortpacked its humorous with an undertone of inappropriate behavior. But thats just me.
I truly adore the “REVEAL” used as a sound effect as well as exposition. Willis has done this a few times and it is unique to my experience. Very clever use of the language, I says.
So how much of their relationship is still based on blackmail? Once mike boozes up for her mom, the rest of the staff will know, so there won’t be anything left to hold over his head. Do I hear a breakup coming on? A friendly drunk ‘by the by’ style breakup?
Check again. Amber asked Mike to get drunk so her mom can meet him at McAwesome’s.
I think that he noticed that she specified the location, showing that she’s still willing to hide his secret & that’s why he was willing to go along with it & revealed the secret stash.
Yeah, but there was already a whole bit where Amber apologized and said she wouldn’t tell anyone and that he didn’t have to be her boyfriend anymore, and Mike was basically like ‘fuck it, we’re dating now, and you can’t make me leave if I don’t feel like it.’ remember? It was right before they decided to get there own place.
I want a secret awesome boozeshelf. Perhaps it should be a bookshelf. Ah, hidden compartment underneath the treadmill in the basement. No one ever goes there.
Of course this could all be a huge test for her. If she doesn’t tell him to put the booze away he’ll still drink, but their relationship will take a huge amount of damage. If she does ask him to put it away undrunk, Amber will pass some sort of Mike test. Hmm… and then their relationship will be under a lot of stress, leaving Amber vulnerable to flirtations by certain employees…
I can kind of see where he might get hurt by this. Even if the person swears to accept you “as you are”, it doesn’t really count if they’re still trying to get you to change around the people who are important to them.
Mike rules for having a bar hidden in the store alone.
I wonder if their relationship will make it through after all. I can kind of see them married some day. Hellspawn children, anyone?
You can’t fool me with that stream, Willis. There wasn’t any Doug Funnie-on-ALF action at all. You didn’t draw this strip at all, did you?
Is there a step previous to this video?
It seems like you already had a pretty good idea what the panel layout should be, even though it’s somewhat irregular.
Was there an on-paper pre-sketch, or have you been just doing this so long you just see panel boarders in your head?
That is just awesome. Now I want to make a secret, hidden bar in my apartment.
YAY DRUNK MIKE DRUNK MIKE IS MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER.
Seems like *someone* decided to join him.
I enjoy how even the cardboard boxes on top of the shelf are part of the false front.
August 19, 2010 at 12:01 am | #
“I’m not going to handhold you anymore through an explanation of my own comic. You’re very determined to believe that Amber is a racist, so I’ll allow you to do so.”
Serves Mr. Willis right, bet he never had to explain the hamsters did he?
All this deep emotional stuff is generating sub text and sub sub sub texts galore. Pretty soon folks are going to inform him this is all a metaphor for global warming or some wacky thing.
Crazy absurdism with monsters and flying talking cars and ninja crazy people and toys! Yes! Deep tangled emotional relationships with social relevance and occasional IN jokes about Transformers, NO!
I can get the tangled relationships in the REAL world.
Every character who has shown deep feelings needs to be sucked into a berserk cotton candy machine / inter-dimensional portal and come out CLEAN! Free to make absolutely no long term sense.
If we can’t have that, at least have a villain who wants to take over the world or something.
Hahaha, he thinks that absurdism doesn’t result in overanalyzation. That’s adorable.
I just find it hilarious that people can argue what is/is not in the comic, and what it does/does not mean, with the comic’s creator.
I know this is a late post, I apologize since most won’t see it unless re-reading. I just wanted to say that the story isn’t an allegory on global warming. Mr. Willis is just a super genius history and literary master that wanted to write a masterwork about the britonian split of the Pikts into the various sub factions, the Britons, the Celts, and the Scottish. If you don’t believe me, please re-read every comic and read the first, third, and twelfth word of each frame to truly revel in his glory.
Well, I just wanna say that Mike is adorable right here. And no, I don’t believe Amber is a rapist or a racist. I like Amber more when she’s with Mike than without, I think..
Anyway, Mr. Willis, you rock my socks. And the commenters get into some of the weirdest debates, so that rocks too.
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