Back again!
Back again!

Hey everyone! Sorry for the impromptu hiatus. I have caught the WORST cold this summer. It was “I need a nap after eating” bad. I’m still feeling it, but I’m at least past that stage! Hopefully, a few more days of rest will put me right again, but at least I was able to get this comic together.

News: Posted July 15th, 2019 by Alina

^ 50 Comments to “Back again!”

  1. Metz Says:

    As a crisis counselor thank you SO much for saying that. Yes, always always always ask. It’s scary, you might not want to hear the answer, but sometimes those you love need to be asked that question so they can feel safe telling someone how they’re feeling. If anyone is in need of the care and support they deserve, please reach out and talk to someone. There’s lots of options, not just phone these days. https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 1:22 am
  2. While it completely makes sense in context, I have to admit it feels kind of weird to see the direction the language has taken in this latest story arc. I don’t remember anyone swearing like this in this comic like this. Again, it’s warranted, and I’m not against it. I just thought it merited pointing out that the language seems to have gotten a lot more adult along with the themes of this arc.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 1:34 am
  3. Xadah Says:

    Hope you will bei better soon.

    Abbie is so silent, thats Vers unlike her.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 1:42 am
  4. Hfar Says:

    Man, we need more Joels in the world.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 1:51 am
  5. DaveC Says:

    Yes! Once again Joel calls it. #StartTheConversation

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 2:03 am
  6. Anthony C Says:

    Y’know, while I definitely get that Mark fucked up shit pretty hard, I totally and 100% feel for him on this. This is basically how my mental breakdown happened and I’m still recovering from it over a year later. Some days are better than others, and the really dark days are seldom (thankfully). I’m just glad to see that he has such a great support group like I did, cause I probably wouldn’t of survived mine without my group 🙂

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 2:16 am
  7. Jade Gryphion Says:

    Joel has officially entered “Dad Mode”… Leastways, that’s how my dad walked my siblings and I through the consequences and damage control of our actions.

    And I’m glad you’re on the mend, Alina! I was beginning to worry. 🙂

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 2:31 am
  8. Thunder Says:

    Okay, we’re covering all the important bases here. Having somebody around with a clear enough head to figure out what to do next can do wonders in situations like these. Mark’s had a good cry, now he needs direction.

    I am glad to see that Mark is at least able to acknowledge that, there’s still a few more drops left on this rollercoaster. Denial has been quite firmly put to the curb.

    Wish you the best in feeling better yourself, too. Colds suck at the best of times.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 4:19 am
  9. Jen Says:

    Good to have you back. Make a full recovery & enjoy your summer as well as suffer it 😉

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 4:20 am
  10. Mona Says:

    Oof, getting a cold in summer is bad, I hope you feel better soon!

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 4:48 am
  11. SteinarB Says:

    Joel is definitely the sort of guy you want around in a crisis situation. The sort who logically and efficiently gets everyone to take the necessary steps to do what needs to be done.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 5:02 am
  12. Jess Says:

    Go Joel! I think this is exactly what Mark needs right now – both some friends who are just being there for him (like the others) AND a friend who is practical and to the point, one who recognises the hard questions that need to be asked and is not going to let a potentially suicidal friend be alone. Looks like Joel is going to be the one who gets Mark to see he needs therapy. (Finally!)

    @Alina – Sorry you’ve been so sick. I hope you feel better soon!

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 5:39 am
  13. Killiak Says:

    It’s quite obvious how out of her depth Abby is with this kind of stuff.

    Joel taking the lead! Go Joel, Go!

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 6:54 am
  14. MuchachoNL Says:

    Hope you feel better soon.
    Nothing worse than a heavy cold / flu… you want to just go on but the body says “Nope”

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 7:04 am
  15. Shinjischneider Says:

    Get well soon.

    May you recover faster than Marks hand. Ouch.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 7:22 am
  16. Scorch Says:

    Glad you’re back and doing okay. Was beginning to worry. Will you be at Gencon this year? And if so will there be gelatinous cube plushies again?

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 7:45 am
  17. Alastor Says:

    Oh wow, I’d never have imagined that amount of empathy coming from Joel !
    Well done Joel !

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 7:46 am
  18. dragonbite Says:

    Y’know, Joel’s right. As tough and insensitive those questions may feel, those need to be asked.

    (Note: he answered “not anymore”)

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:27 am
  19. Skatie Says:

    That…doesn’t sound like a cold. You might want to get checked out, just to rule out pneumonia. Feel better!

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:27 am
  20. Rick Gilbert Says:

    I am so glad you are starting to feel better! Hope the improvement continues!

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:28 am
  21. argentlupus Says:

    Glad you are feeling a bit better. Also, Joel asking like a true gamer about if anyone has skill with first aid. I like it.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:31 am
  22. Ozzi Says:

    *puts on Joel voice*

    We were worried about you. You vanished for nearly a month. That is forever in net time. I was starting to question if the comic was dead. Now I am glad you are OK. My suggestion would either be a comic buffer for future to take the slack off or a few single page prints for times where you are sick etc. That way we get this little thing called communication.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 9:22 am
  23. Puck Says:

    Thanks for giving us an update, and posting a new page, but your health is way more important. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better, we can wait while you recoup. 🙂

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 10:05 am
  24. Hermit Thrush Says:

    I’d like to thank you for having Joel directly and calmly ask Mark if he’s feeling suicidal. That’s actually exactly what you’re supposed to do if you suspect a friend might be suicidal (according to the mental health first aid course I took, anyway). But a lot of people (like Abby) think the opposite. So thank you for demonstrating the proper response.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 10:28 am
  25. Skrid Says:

    Hope you’re feeling much better!

    Note to Mark: punch drywall not concrete wall. 🙂

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 10:47 am
  26. LogicMouse Says:

    So glad to hear from you again, Alina! I was getting worried.

    And it’s good to have the story moving forward too, no matter how hard it is right now. Joel is a good friend, even if he’s not into hugs.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 10:58 am
  27. David M Says:

    Feel better soon!

    As to the comic, I love Joel right now. He’s being the matter-of-fact pseudo-jerk that the situation kinda needs.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 11:12 am
  28. Solx Says:

    Oops, in the last panel, in the text bubble it says “you hand” instead of “your hand”. And thanks for making this comic.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 11:21 am
  29. Daniela Says:

    Dear Aline, thank you for your creativity: For your painting and for the story. And for all the time you put into it.
    I hope, you get completely well soon.
    I also hope Marc gets well soon… Waiting…waiting…waiti…….

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 12:04 pm
  30. TB Says:

    Like I said before, hugs are great, but you also really need the Joels in your corner.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 1:31 pm
  31. Nathan Says:

    Wow, Joel is the best friend anyone could ask for. Wish i had a Joel when i went trough my “lets destroy myself because everything sucks” years

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 1:48 pm
  32. Mags Says:

    Glad you’re feeling better!! Hang in there!

    And oof, loving all this real talk. I def identify with Joel rn, i am very often that friend who navigates everyone else through the tough and rough stuff this way.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 3:26 pm
  33. Eva Says:

    Time for a trip to the ER, Mark. I assume you have insurance since you have a regular office job, so go see a doctor now. Your friends will go with you (and the ER isn’t that bad).

    As a side thing, poor Abby. She strikes me as exactly the sort of centered person who’s never had to deal with this depth of mess before. (And I’m still getting the impression there’s going to be more fallout for her because she feels like she read Mark all wrong before the event.)

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 3:28 pm
  34. Gene Wirchenko Says:

    Well, I did my month away which was not quite so much due to your illness. (Stay well, please.)

    One thing that I did not see suggested in all of the comments is about Ravenia. She appears to be quite narcissistic. It is also possible, that not supported directly by strip that I can see, that she gaslights. Given that she is still connected to the strip, at least via Dustin, what is going to be done in that area?

    It is just too convenient that Mark went so aggro. I still find it railroady.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:01 pm
  35. AceJayce Says:

    Alina, have some get well wishes from me – last summer (December here in Brazil) I had some fever and after a bad wracking cough fit I figured it could be something serious and was diagnosed with pneumonia – luckly it wasnt serious but had to rest for a week and take some heavy antibiotics for 10 days.
    As for the strip, the story is getting better and better and yea, Mark will need some heavy cast and perhaps some bone setting *ouchie*

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:07 pm
  36. Weatherheight Says:

    Totally worth the wait. Hope you’re feeling back to 100%.

    Also, Joel is Lava Soap of this group – totally practical and abrasive as h*ck, but it cleans up the mess (anyone else get the impression he’s been in this situation before?).

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:26 pm
  37. Sledge Says:

    Thank you for this strip. I really appreciate how this story has gone through the process of a main character making a serious mistake while still being human.
    Also Joel is so entirely familiar.

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 8:53 pm
  38. HousePet Says:

    Couldn’t reply on the last comic, sorry.
    I did trawl the archive for over 3 hours to work out when Dustin and Ravenia started dating. It was about 9 years ago.
    This comic has been going for almost 13 years! Alina has the stamina of a… web comic artist. XD

    I also realised that I went on a holiday recently through Alina territory without realising it! Saskatoon Berries taste like cyanide. 🙂

    Posted July 16th, 2019 at 10:36 pm
  39. Glad to hear your’e feelin better. Hope you get over the rest of it quickly.

    Posted July 17th, 2019 at 8:32 am
  40. Also, I pretty much am the Joel of my group. I can totally see where he’s coming from. “This is what happened, this is what’s GOING to happen, and you’re going to comply. Got it?”

    Posted July 17th, 2019 at 8:35 am
  41. Roger Says:

    Get well soon 🙂

    Posted July 17th, 2019 at 10:44 am
  42. Alex Says:

    I’ve been there. Not making a screwup as bad as he did…but there was the one time my adult child was having a bad day and he snapped at me. I snapped back and he left.

    I’ve always wondered how my other adult child could be so stupid as to punch a steel fire door. I was so mad that day that I stood there shaking for a few minutes and then finally lashed out at the wall. Not a drywall wall, but old Plaster and Lath. The kind of wall that fists on’t easily fo through.

    I now know how someone could be that stupid. Odds are he has a series of “Boxer’s Fractures”where it’s the bones in the hand and not the fingers that took the brunt of the impact.

    Posted July 17th, 2019 at 11:06 am
  43. Dervish Says:

    Thank you for having Joel not only being supportive, but also thinking of the practical things. His comment in the first panel is awesome. However, the editor in me keeps glitching at the typo in the last panel. ‘You hand looks broken’ should be ‘YOUR hand looks broken.’
    And now I’ll go back to obsessively refreshing in the hopes you’ve been inspired to gift us with another update so soon!

    Posted July 18th, 2019 at 2:14 am
  44. DocMcConvoy Says:

    @Alina Glad to hear from you. I really started to worry after two weeks. Hope you did see a doctor over this and take your time to recover through and through. Nothing is more nasty then an illness that leaves something chronic cause one didn’t recover long enough. And since I only wish the best for you, I strongly advise to take your time and see all the doctors you need to cure you total.

    Regarding the strip, thats such good writing.
    First Abbie. She is the only one taking a distance, I would assume she still feels guilty and fearing to mess up further. I can relate to that, since I believe she is now going through her own developement to get an adult. Till now she mostly behaved like a little girl, saying things like “Boys are gross.” and “I won’t fall in love.” way back when Sarah was showing interest in Mark. And we saw how she dealt with her studies, her troubles with the job world, and now she most likely first runs into real deep water regarding emotional troubles. I must admit, I didn’t considered her to be on this level of naivety, but maybe she thinks it is unpolite to ask questions like that. But Joel is right, at times like this you need to ask the questions. Better save then sorry.

    That brings me to Joel. Oh man, I love him for what he is and does. I start to think about if he could have german ancestors, seeing how he minds his own buisness most of the time, only butting in when it either affects him or concerns him. And also how he directly and efficiently handles things when he is pushing a matter he sees in need to be fixed as soon as possible, that is something I see quite often around me. Poor conversation kills could be no more true when dealing with this sort of mess, and I love how Joel pursues the right way to deal with it in a manner where no misunderstandings may happen. I love it.

    For three seconds I wonderd how Mark was able to drive home with his broken hand till I remembered, that on the other side of the big pond, most people drive automatic cars. I hope he will see a good doctor about it, cause the hand is something quite complex. Also he will need some days off from work, since he can’t work with a broken hand anyways. But thats additional danger in his situation. Time alone with nothing to do but pondering over his situation. Good again that Joel mentions they won’t let him be alone.

    Again a really nice piece of art, thanks for that.

    Posted July 18th, 2019 at 6:48 am
  45. Clare Says:

    I was worried when it just suddenly stopped! But I didn’t want to bother you. I’m glad you’re feeling better and hope you continue to do so x

    Posted July 18th, 2019 at 7:43 am
  46. Lihaliemikuutio Says:

    I was wondering how Mark drove home with a broken right hand, but then I realised you guys all have automatics over there. Also, Joel is being a real MVP here.

    Posted July 18th, 2019 at 7:08 pm
  47. Grampybone Says:

    @DocMcConvoy I could not have put it better.

    Alina, I’m glad you are feeling better. Hope you continue to get better. Just when I think this comic cannot get better you prove me wrong!
    The writing is just outstanding! And thank you @Metz for the great info.

    Posted July 19th, 2019 at 6:01 pm
  48. DannyboyO1 Says:

    I can stop worrying what happened! It was plague, and you’re surviving it.

    And doing the right physical/mental health stuff for your characters.

    Posted July 20th, 2019 at 2:04 am
  49. Shinjischneider Says:

    Small “artistic” input.

    I’ve had the same injury as Mark 4 times.

    3 Times is was so incredibly angry, that i had to punch a wall with full force.

    1 time i punched a metal railing with full force, because i was in incredible pain (gallbladder) and just needed to have a focussed painsource.

    In all of these cases my hand was not broken, but still all the knucklebones were swollen and blue/purple/bleeding.
    But i understand if Alina prefers not to draw it too visual.

    Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 8:20 am
  50. Gene Wirchenko Says:

    I, too, like how Joel has been portrayed in recent strips. Acerbic caring is just so right for him. (I am somewhat the same, and sometimes, it gets misunderstood.)

    Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 8:34 pm