The end?
The end?

Ok guys!! Thanks for sticking with me through this storyline! It’s sparked some great conversations in the comments. (Thank so much you guys for being super awesome and civil in there – you’re the best!)

But, it’s time to crank the drama down, at least for a week or so. We’ll pick back up after the break to see what some of the aftermath of this breakup is, but for next week we’re going to have another D&D interlude. After all the SRS WRITING I’ve been doing, I have a backlog of terrible D&D puns I need to get off my chest.

Remember – Monday is the last day of the Book 5 Kickstarter, so if you were going to get your hands on the book or any of the sweet swag we’ve got, then there’s only 4 days left!!!

News: Posted March 14th, 2013 by Alina

^ 33 Comments to “The end?”

  1. KingE Says:

    Yes! Finally did what need to be done, even if he was a coward that only did it because he had no other choice.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 2:18 am
  2. Pardona Says:

    New person! I only discovered your comic yesterday, Alina, through a link at S*P – Whoo for reading 6 years of archive in two days! And now I’m sad, because I have to wait for updates like a normal webcomic. Suffice to say, you got me hooked! 😛

    On the current developments:
    Ehh, I’m not opposed a Mark & Sarah hook up – but it shouldn’t last. And even though Sarah’s probably my favorite character, she should get some backlash once Mark finds out (or more likely, she confesses of her own accord / is coerced into it by Abbie) about Sarah’s crush on him. She’s not been good about the way she handled things. More than anything, though, I’m hoping Mark will walk away from this with a little more backbone, and get a little more bitter added to his sweet. Seems he’s been the butt of everyone’s jokes (most of the time good-natured, sometimes less so) from… well, the beginning of the comic, and while his character is fun as a ‘gullible goofball’, I really think he’s due some character development. Also, while I agree that Mark & Jess as a couple don’t make much sense, I’ve always gotten the impression that despite their differences, they do really love each other. So yeah – this really is a situation where everyone is equally at fault. Jess for her lack of understanding, Mark for not trying to explain and keeping things hidden for way too long, and Sarah for thinking her little ‘in-game’ fun with Mark couldn’t possibly have any backlash in real life. I do hope not to see Jess vanish from the comic entirely, even if she doesn’t fit in with the rest of the crew, even if she just manages to make amends with Sarah and is featured ‘Stitching and Bitching’ with her again… They’re all equally to blame and equally blameless here. They’re all good people who all did stupid stuff.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 2:19 am
  3. Marty Says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I expect that the Sarah/Jess argument will be EPIC. Hopefully they make up and can tolerate each other’s company again, since it was just a misunderstanding/miscommunication… But there’s going to be some serious backlash coming. I’ve seen gaming groups fall apart over stuff like this. I hope it doesn’t come to that.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 2:39 am
  4. LoneHowler Says:

    I hope Mark tells Sarah what happened, or when she shows up for the next knitting get together, she’ll be in for a nasty surprise

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 2:45 am
  5. Pardona Says:

    @LoneHowler- I honestly can’t imagine him being quite -that- dense. Even though he’s already pretty dense.
    @Marty- Backlash is coming in one way or the other. This is not gonna end up with kissies and let’s move on. At least I hope not.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 3:01 am
  6. Myoko Says:

    Okay. I honestly don’t think Mark is to blame at all. Yes, he was embarrassed by his hobbies at first. But he did tell her what he was up to and even tried to share his world with her. Jess wasn’t interested and mocked and belittled the things he loved. That is never okay. Ever. And after she insulted the minor things he loved, he saw no reason to share the even geekier things. He didn’t want to hear the teasing and the insults. And honestly, who would? Mark shouldn’t feel like a jerk. He tried. He sincerely tried. And all he got was hurt. And people do lose track of time. My husband does this often. And Jess has lost track of time when Mark was waiting too. So she can’t be that upset about it. She really can’t. Jess had absolutely no right to go through his emails. When she saw the thing open, she should have closed it immediately. Jess is in the wrong.

    Poor Sarah is going to bear the brunt of this break up. She will more than likely feel it was her fault since she suggested the emails to begin with. And Mark is going to be hurting too.

    It’s an all around shitty situation. But I stand by my comment.

    Jess and Jess alone is to blame: For her criticisms (which led to Mark sneaking around), and her snooping.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 3:43 am
  7. Munchlord Says:

    Honestly, I have no idea what Mark was doing with Jess still. Personally, the mockery of hobbies would be an instant deal-breaker for me. If she can’t respect who I am, in all my facets, I have no business being with her. Not thereby saying she is necessarily a bad person, but her inability to respect Mark for who he is doomed the relationship to either shatter or be very unhealthy ages ago. As it turns out, unhealthy was the name of the game for a while and Mark’s kind of stupid for not standing up for himself about it until forced to it, but as far as I see it, Jess’ disrespect made it game over either ways. Relationship incompatible.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 5:53 am
  8. Robza Says:

    First of all – here’s the fan comic predicting this exact storyline from 5 years ago :

    Mark’s long been the ‘new guy’ who ‘doesn’t quite get it’. This is why he’s often had to learn the hard lessons the hard way – don’t game too late, plan to be somewhere on time, and now keep it in character. He’s been perpetuating the problem by replying to Sarah’s emails. Yes, he’s a little naive, but the fact that he’s keeping them hidden means on a subconscious level at least he knows he’s doing something wrong.
    Sarah’s been contenting herself with *pretending* to have Mark for all this time – and she knows it’s a bad idea, hence why she’s hiding the fact she writes emails, stories, and so on from Abbie.
    Jess – well, snooping through your S.O’s things is wrong too, and she knows it. And while she, unlike we readers, doesn’t know about Sarah’s crush, on some level, she senses it, hence why she immediately assumes the worst.
    All parties involved in this have screwed something up, somewhere, and are, in fact, human. Kudos to Alina, for once again, capturing people being geeks, and being human.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 6:18 am
  9. Zoid Says:

    Unless…. Mark starts the rebounding process taking a fancy… for Abbie?

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 7:10 am
  10. Eboreg Says:

    I went through several scenarios of how Jess would find out about Mark’s hobbies. This wasn’t in any of them.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 7:40 am
  11. john Says:

    @Robza: I dont really see why he would feel the need to tell Jess, because he can’t just go up and say,”Hey I’m pretending to be in love with somebody else.” He knew that she would react that way, and there wouldn’t be anything achieved from doing so.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 7:43 am
  12. FSilvermane Says:

    Two points,….one I have said before [but bears repeating] and a new point.

    One [which has been said before], Mark had no obligation to tell Jess about the emails because as he said they were part of a game she had no interest in. Someone else had made the point that he does not tell her about his killing of people in the game either [Shadowrun he has to kill the bad guys, VtM he probably kills to eat (and yes I know Vampires can drink without killing), D&D he would almost perpetrate Genocide on Kobolds and such, etc] because its pretend. Also, Jess knows about the VtM LARP [remember she was with him when he bought the coat and he mentioned it was for that nights game] and while she may not know all the details of what it is she would atleast know in this game its “dress-up” instead of “dice roll”. Further, Mark went and LARPd for the weekend the Werewolf game where he and the group[atleast by the looks of the numbers in the background] killed a mountain of Banes so being gone gaming all weekend I am pretty sure Jess would have had an idea about LARP. All this being said while she might not know all the details Jess, as long as she has a semblance of logical reasoning, should have the basic idea of what these games entail [ie:pretend] and that there is a “game vs real life” line [in LARP you drink Fruit Punch or Cranberry juice as a prop for blood, you have a squirt gun instead of a pistol, “ingame”time passes differently as compared to the clock, and you pretend to do _____ by proxy (dice roll, paper/rock/scissors,prop,etc) etc].

    Two, I have been in Mark’s shoes before where all my frustration and trying to be understanding of other people’s viewpoints which differ drastically from my own that it just builds up and builds up till I let forth a torrent of emotional overflow. Saying things that I feel but do not necessarily mean [ I may feel one emotion but realize that logically I am not correct in feeling thus], saying things I feel and mean without tempering them with tact, or being so “in the flow” saying whats I feel that I ignore whats being said to me. All of this combined has left me feeling just as Mark does above,… I feel bad I went too far but realize some/all of what I said was how I actually felt and that it needed to be said [though maybe with a bit more tact]. The good thing for me is most of my friends/family know this about me and can tell when I am on a “tirade” as compared to me actually arguing and being angry.

    All that being said I still feel Jess was more int he wrong here for the initial issue [snooping and ignoring Mark’s explanation] but that Mark could have handled the discussion a bit better and with a bit more tact.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 8:29 am
  13. Christopher Says:

    I’m so glad I never had to go through this myself. I was fortunate enough that my first girlfriend was easily interested in gaming, and that our relationship allows that this would never happen. Whew! I married her ten years later. 🙂

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 8:40 am
  14. Douglas Says:

    This was what the whole series had been leading up to. Can a geek stay in love with a non-geek. Great writing and it makes me come back week after week! Keep it up!

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 9:40 am
  15. Frankie D. Says:

    @Robza, there was no problem that he was supposedly perpetuating and he wasn’t hiding emails.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 9:55 am
  16. randomdude Says:

    Yay! D&D puns!

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 10:56 am
  17. Robert Says:

    Alina, I just wanted to say thank you for getting this out there, I know it was rough for you, you said so enough :), but as one of your fans I really appriciate you exploring this topic. I don’t know if this is the end for Mark and Jess, but I am sure whatever direction it goes in that it will be handled well. I am here for the long haul regardless. WG4L!

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 1:12 pm
  18. Pardona Says:

    I think a lot of people are only using ‘moral wrong’ to determine who is the one (more) in the wrong here. And if you look at it like this, yes, I do agree Jess was probably the one more in the wrong here. Mark was just doing what he felt would work out best, and it didn’t. But, really, is ‘moral wrong’ so different from ‘wrong in that it didn’t work out’? I mean, Jess was probably, in her own condescending way, just doing what she knew also. Is ‘she didn’t know any better’ a full pardon? Heck no. She’s not a kid, and she should have had the brains to act better – she’s not stupid. But it’s not about pardoning things. It’s about understanding why they happened. Mark acted on fear. Jess acted on prejudice that was probably bred right into her. Sarah acted on unrequited love, and choosing to ignore the little voices telling her there would be consequences. None of those things are okay, but all of them are understandable.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 1:16 pm
  19. Mikey Says:

    Soooo how long do you think until Jess becomes a geek hunter? :3

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 2:54 pm
  20. Wm Says:

    I agree with Mark about the bad timing. If he had done this a month ago he wouldn’t have had to spring for Valentine’s Day dinner and flowers.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 4:51 pm
  21. CCarter Says:

    My wife does not like RPGs/war games ect. I love them! Thankfully she understands most of the time. Our kids love the card game munchkin(sp?). We have been together 20 years and married for 15 of them comming up in May. LOL

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 5:14 pm
  22. Dancergirl Says:

    It’s always hard when a relationship ends, but it’s even worse when it ends badly, as Mark is finding out. 🙁
    With so many people involved, I’m both apprehensive and intrigued to find out what the repercussions will be for all of them.
    Keep up the good work, Miss Alina!

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 8:40 pm
  23. ElfGIft Says:

    Well, that escladed quickly.
    does that last panel remind any of you of the second panel from the first page of the comic?

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 8:59 pm
  24. Lacee Says:

    My goodness, Sarah’s going to be excited when she learns about Veronica Mars being greenlighted to be turned into a movie.

    Posted March 14th, 2013 at 10:16 pm
  25. DM Topher Says:

    *starts shipping Mark and Abbie*

    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 12:34 am
  26. Skipster Says:

    We all know from reading that Sarah has felt guilty about her feelings for Mark. In the confrontation that will happen between Jess & Sarah I really want Sarah to come out on top. Why? Because Jess represents the popular shallow people that seem to get all the good stuff.

    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 2:44 am
  27. DragonStryk72 Says:

    @robza hiding? What was he hiding? The emails were in his email inbox, not hidden. He did try to talk to her about game, and she’s done nothing but ridicule him for it, so why would he continue to do so?

    Avoiding a topic that you get openly and repeatedly mocked for is not “hiding”.

    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 2:51 am
  28. Munchlord Says:

    Robza: I’m going to side with a few other people on the hiding point. Not talking about something you get repeatedly mocked for when you try is not hiding what you’re doing. Additionally, if I were to talk with my wife about every character development ever or even just every character romance a character of mine is involved with, we’d never ever talk about anything else, and while she does get the whole geeking thing (she’s an MtG collector herself), she’s not particularly interested in my RP tales. What Mark could have done was try to establish rules for how to handle this kind of thing with Jess. Which was probably going to fail because of her defaulting to mocking him whenever it comes up, but if he’d tried that there was not really anything more he could’ve done.

    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 5:03 am
  29. Kael Says:

    Personally I ship Mark/Abbie but thats just me *shrugs*

    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 12:18 pm
  30. Ice Raven Says:

    It was A train wreck that we all saw comeing but I dont think he (Mark) could have done verry mutch to stop it. I do think he should not have done the E-mail RP as there was too mutch of A chance of it blowing up in his face AS IT DID !
    But now that the fat is in the fire it wll make for some interesting storie action, lookingh forward to to the warfair !! 😉

    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 1:03 pm
  31. Siriln Says:

    Really hoping this doesn’t end up with “pretty, popular girls ripping on/ abusing nerd girl who stole one girl’s MAN”. Dealing with people who haven’t realized they’re no longer in high school in real life is tiresome as it is. It might be possible to do it without repeating real life or coming off like an after school special, but the whole idea makes me cringe ahead of time.

    Posted March 15th, 2013 at 10:09 pm
  32. LD115 Says:

    I pictured this exact same thing would happen when I first read how they wanted to do the email exchange… I predicted they’d fight and break it off after Jess would read and, understandably, believe Mark was cheating. Morally, i’ll say it’s Mark’s fault in this case. I mean, regardless of being teased and shot down, he should have mentioned the game and what was going on. Jess would have trusted him about it, though been paranoid more than likely. We all know the confrontation is going to happen between Sarah and Jess so that’s a given obviously. I have a feeling what will happen next is one or more of several things:

    1) Sarah will be out of the knitting group. She’ll either be mocked, shunned, or forced out through other means. She won’t want to quit. The hunters having somehow caught wind of all this will lay an ambush catching at least Sarah by surprise leading in to a rescue arc.

    2) Jess will be scouted by the Hunters and, though she’ll think it’s silly, will remain infuriated at Sarah and Mark and will want retribution for it all. The hunters will use her and her anger to get at all the geeks. However, chances are it won’t be revealed until later on.

    3) Sarah and/or Mark will be out of one or more of the role plays as fallout from this will hit all of them. Joel will will encourage it due to his stance on such things happening. I think something about how kicking them out will make them stronger will be said since, without the roleplays, real life can’t extend to them like they would if Sarah and Mark were still in them which would just cause unwanted tension. Regardless it will still affect any game they play.

    4) At some point, Jess will realize she was wrong and attempt to apologize. If Mark and Sarah aren’t together, he’ll tell Jess off at which point, a hunter ambush. If they are, he’ll want Jess back but won’t go back because he’s fallen for and is with Sarah. Queue another potential hunter ambush. Also, Sarah will probably come in at a bad time in either case and misunderstand, get overly self conscious and self destruct thinking Jess and Mark got back together.

    I am hoping it’s not this predictable though. Although, #1’s a given so that’s not to be counted :p

    Posted March 16th, 2013 at 9:24 pm
  33. Eva Says:

    I think the thing I haven’t seen brought up so far in these comments, that’s kind of important, is that some people do see purely emotional, text-based relationships as infidelity. If Jess doesn’t understand how roleplaying works, it may not even matter whether Mark is method acting when he writes that stuff or not (some people do when they RP, some don’t)… she may see the time and effort he’s spending to write tender words to someone else as a betrayal.

    And frankly it may be a betrayal. It depends on whether that’s a kind of exclusivity they agreed to in their relationship. We have no idea what their early dating looked like or if they talked about what they promised or owed to each other at all. The cultural standard is generally “don’t do physically sensual/sexual things with other people” and/or “don’t fall in love with other people”, but that may or may not be how they saw the relationship (individually or together) or what they discussed. We just can’t know.

    All the moral judging people are doing is based on the presumption that the moral norms of society are exactly what the two of them agreed to for their relationship… and if you’re doing communication right (which they clearly weren’t!) that’s not how relationships work. You talk to your partner about what you agree to and what your boundaries are. Even if they’re very traditional lines, then you both know that. :/

    Posted March 26th, 2013 at 2:01 pm