Faye Whitaker and @jephjacques' Questionable Content

Spoiler warning: I discuss current Questionable Content events, so if you want to not read, then leave this post.

Faye has struggled with alcohol for a long time, though at first it didn't seem like it was a big deal–she was merely having drinks with friends. It has evolved to be a big deal; and that's pretty cool. I like that Jeph Jacques is addressing real problems in his webcomic… and whether it's the medium, the honesty, or something else, I'm not turned away by it. This group of people are trying hard to live life, be good people, and find meaning for themselves. Maybe they're not good at it, but they try.

I have said, if not necessarily on this blog, that I do not like movies where characters are killed and then brought back; I think it's pointless emotional manipulation. Guardians of the Galaxy is the only movie I can think of right now where a character dies and comes back, but it's done in a way that it's meaningful, it doesn't feel pointless or like an excuse.

Today's strip is pretty dramatic, and somewhat ambiguous—sure, I can see that the obvious conclusion is Faye's dead, but since the strip appears to be Faye's drifting in and out of consciousness, I think there's a possibility that Faye is just completely unconscious. Whether she lives or dies, I think I'll be adding Questionable Content to a short list of things that have treated death meaningfully.

Jeph may be taking us for a small ride here, making us look at one hand while he works with the other hand. And if that's what he's doing by implying Faye's death when she lives, so be it. I'm okay with that, because he's done almost three thousand strips. It forms a body of work that says he's going to address whatever he damn well wants, in the way he damn well wants—that is still respectful of people.

Claire's addition into the strip was nothing remarkable; she was there. Big deal; there were so many characters, what was one more? And yet, she revealed to Marten (and others? can't recall) that she was transgender, a storyline that is still being worked through today as she has begun a relationship with Marten. I don't know that I want to see them discussing bedroom activities, especially as it's not been said how far Claire has gone in her transition that I can recall, but if it were detailed (and I think that might be something that happens in the background), I believe Jeph would handle it well.

I like Faye; if she is dead, I think that's pretty sad. She's been messed up a long time, afraid, defensive, wearing an armour against the world after her father's suicide in front of her. I think there was a pretty good person underneath all her mess, and Faye just didn't want to deal with everything she had to so that person could get out. Still… if she's dead, then she's okay now. She's free of the demons and all her issues.

As a writer, I argue that with this storyline, Jeph has reached the end of what can be done with Faye as we have known her. If she lives, she has to change how she acts; there was no point in her going through this mess otherwise. Though I admit it would not be surprising if she didn't change; plenty of other people haven't. But if she doesn't change, what does she have in her life? Dora has put up with her crap for far longer than anyone else might have, but she will not put up with getting drunk on the job. What job would?

So that leaves him with two paths: Faye's dead, or Faye's gotten a wake up call.

And I personally think Faye's death is the more interesting option; the death of a friend is something new to explore in Questionable Content, and would have a much wider impact than if it were someone's parent. And in a way, we've already had the death of a parent—Faye's dad. The death of a friend is new territory for Jeph and the cast of QC.

This week may contain some heavy shit for Marten, Dora, Hanners and all the others of the QC cast. I'm glad Jeph is going through this storyline. It's one worth telling, no matter which outcome happens.


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