Love and QC
Many of you have probably noticed a trend in romantic subplots when it comes to webcomics, and in fact most fiction. At first you have the initial lovers, who are mostly there to be the temporary objects of affection for one of the main characters, though this sometimes isn’t the case, but then they either meet the right person or fall for another main character and their romance becomes a big part of the story. They occasionally have their issues but it’s pretty much guaranteed they’ll be together forever once they hook up.
And that’s one of the main reasons I love Questionable Content. Specifically, for the way that the Marten and Dora romance was handled. It was done in a unique and realistic way that honestly, I’m struggling to think of anyone else who has done it before.
For the first five hundred pages, much like everyone else I assumed Faye and Marten would get together. They fit the usual webcomic tropes of the destined couple, until they had their talk and realised it couldn’t happen. In a lesser writer, they probably would have gotten together or Faye would have been written out of the cast as she no longer served as Marten’s possible love interest.
It was the same with when Dora and Marten ended things after over 1000 pages together. They had a slow and steady progression, moving in together, saying I love you, having cute couple moments, but also having fights and disagreements. In comics like Girls With Slingshots or Something Positive, the ex is rarely ever shown in the strip after this aside from the odd cameo or arc. The only other comics I can think of that subvert this had the couple getting back together. They’re all great comics, but in this one area they tend to stick with the tried and true methods.
But keeping Dora around wasn’t the only reason I liked this sub plot. Almost from the beginning you can see signs that this is going to end. Their first fight was over something incredibly trivial. There are a few less than subtle hints that the end is coming but they were never written as doomed from the start. It easily could have ended with them getting married without any story telling contradictions.
There were also hints that Dora was going to get better at trusting Marten, but unfortunately those sorts of issues don’t just fade away in an instant. And when it ended, they both realised that there was no way it would get better with things the way they were. They went through the grieving process and managed to repair some of the bridges, without falling into the old traps of getting back together as a couple, only as friends. Hell, they were even mature enough to move past the uncomfortable idea of an ex dating someone else.
It’s little things like this that make me a webcomics fan. They are more likely to subvert tropes, though they can still do them well. And I’m not bad mouthing comics that do follow the usual tropes, it doesn’t make them any less good. But seeing someone who just for once subverts what we’re all expecting can bring in a breath of fresh air.
Although if this does end up being another precursor to Faye and Marten getting together in the end, that would actually be one of the most hilarious things I could think of, especially after all the hints they wouldn’t get together (Jeph did say Faye and Sven weren’t going to hook up after all).