Oh dear, it seems that we’ve gone full on Exorcist here.
It makes me wonder if the mutagenic virus is capable of further transforming a mutant who has lost his marbles so soon after his initial transformation, turning him from an anthro form into something more closely resembling those nightmare mutants spawned from victims who were awake at the time of being changed.
It makes me wonder if the virus has some sort of bizarre group intelligence of its own that has finally found a mouthpiece.
Love the expressions here, especially in panel three. Chilling!
Yeah…that’s not freaky at all…“shiver”
Now I understand why Schism Syndrome is so widely feared by everyone. If this is but a taste of what its like, I would hate to see a lion or a bear have it.
The lizards flooded the passages with LSD gas.This is going to be a bad trip.
This is one terrifying strip. Aaron is outdoing himself with the artwork.
The baby she said she lost, or is she pregnant again?
Serious turn for the weird- and its not just Jim’s head I’m talking about!
Give his head another half turn and this particular problem will be over.
nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope
Pea soup, anyone?
AHHHHH!!! (thwacks Jim until he stops moving)
Smash his snout! while you got a chance or go for the eyes, it should give them time to escape. Uh oh, it looks like Jim is channeling Linda Blair, but it will be eggs instead of pea soup coming up.Mr. Neathery, has outdone himself once again, ratcheting up the horror another ten notches.In hand to hand combat, there is no time for shock or hesitation, it is kill or be killed. If you can incapacitate your enemy quickly (Chic has a chance to drive his thumbs into the soft space behind Jim’s jaw) I’ve had to do this a few times, and it always works to drop your enemy without permanent damage, (depending on how hard you push). They’ll be so busy coughing and hugging the ground the will have a decent chance to run or do a finishing move. I suggest helping Jim go into the light, literally.Face first!
You know, I just had a thought, and I think it works. I think Schism Syndrome is connected with the rapid healing (though I haven’t worked out why they don’t seem to be able to remember that they have that advantage). *It seems to me that the healing factor is related to the amount of mutagen a being is exposed to. While underground, the mutants do not appear to benefit from any sort of quickened healing. When the Rats fire into the crowd, some die quickly from overwhelming trauma, while others seem to take days, or possibly even weeks to succumb. If they were benefiting from the rapid healing, it doesn’t seem likely that so many would have died after the fact. Also, at one point, Jim (or maybe Sarah, I don’t remember) asked if the mutants did not have doctors, surprised that they wouldn’t have noticed things like broken bones knitting back together impossibly quickly. Of course, broken bones and other small injuries probably wouldn’t have been terribly rare, so how could the doctor not realize that people are healing so much more quickly than normal? The logical reason is that the people aren’t healing quickly.*This brings me to the point about the mutagen. So far, we’ve been told that the surface is still teeming with the mutagenic virus (or whatever it is), but it seems that the underground communities may be unaffected. If this is true, it may lead to the fact that current exposure to the mutagens causes the rapid healing, meaning that the mutants would only benefit while on the surface, or very soon thereafter. *From there, I began to think about Schism Syndrome. I think the Syndrome works on two levels: one being simple psychology (dealing with a human mind in an animal body), and the other something more supernatural. In Al and Gustine’s story arc, Gustine is already suffering from what I believe to be the psychological form of the Syndrome. She’s simply having a hard time coping with the reality of her situation, which is certainly understandable. When she goes to the surface, however, the Syndrome appears to get worse. Once quiet and gentle, she begins to show more violent tendencies. She also starts to have dreams about becoming more animal, one of which we see. Now, this might simply have to do with the stress of the journey, but what if it’s more? What if her increased exposure to the mutagen is exacerbating the situation, causing her to see visions and whatnot (sound familiar?)?*At one point, Piotr mentions that Schism Syndrome is more likely when the subject has recently mutated. This seems obvious enough, but again, what if there’s more? As the person has just mutated (as with Jim) and has recently left the surface, it would stand to reason that the subject would carry more of the mutagen, at least for a time. What if part of the time risk is the fact that the higher levels of mutagen are attempting to invade the subject’s conscious mind? When people mutate, they have to be unconscious, possibly because the conscious mind rejects the change resulting in the nightmare fuel and insanity. When the subject is already changed, though, that particular danger has been removed, but the person’s consciousness is usually enough to keep the mutagen’s mind affects at bay. When the subject experiences extreme mental trauma (as with Jim), the conscious mind’s defenses begin to slip and the mutagen can take hold. If this is true, it would make the mutagen far more alien and insidious. It seems to have some sort of overmind, an intelligence that simply seems to know things. *When his mind is being taken over, we see spectral raccoons chasing Jim. At first, I thought they were metaphorical, but I’m not sure now. I think they are the visual representation of the mutagen invading and usurping control of Jim’s mind. The cascade scene at the end of that strip is Jim losing the battle. The cry of pain is not over losing Sarah, not entirely, but literally over losing himself.*Later, when the Jim-thing says that Jim’s not here, that it’s god, he isn’t just trying to be freaky, he’s being literal. The mutagen that has overtaken his conscious mind is connected to every other mutagen, and they know things. They are nearly gods in their own right. *This terrifies me. As a person whose family has a disturbing trend of Alzheimer’s, my greatest fear in life is eventually losing who I am. I can’t imagine what it must be like to for Jim, trapped within his own mind as an alien intelligence takes over. If he’s still there at all. Man, if I felt sorry for him before…
Oooooooh-kay. Who knew going insane made your spine into rubber? Because yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. Also, hit him with the lantern again. It’ll stop his monologue.
this body and its psychic
whats next is he going to turn into water and become the same as the oracle ?
Holly should be hitting Jim three ways; hard, fast, and continuously!
That’s what I thought might happen. I think Jim-thing is reading guilt and using it.
HULLEE CRAP! I didn’t know the Joker was a furry!
Yes, Jim is God. A twisted, cruel, vengeful JimGod.
It’s usually best not to play w/ raccoons – it could have rabies.
wow I won’t be sleeping tonight after seeing that face! Good job Aaron!
maybe the bug has some kind of mutant juju that can zap Jim into some kind of hell…..something has to save our heroes……
This may be as dark as this strip has ever gotten, and that’s saying something. Terrific artwork AND storyline, Aaron; definitely not faint-hearted stuff. Can’t wait for Friday. Or Monday. Or…
It looks as if Jim is enjoying torturing his victims psychologically as he does torturing them physically. It was suggested that Flask went through a kind of schism when she snapped underground. Given the things Flask went through right after mutating, she should have been much farther gone than Jim was and yet… I wonder, if Jim had a weaker mind that was that much more vulnerable to betrayal or if the proof of betrayal was much more powerful than capture and torture. It also could be that the hope that Flask had complained about was enough to keep her from going full schism and she just became a normal lovesick homicidal sociopath instead.
Now if she can recover long enough, a good back swing, see if his head can spin around.Now when he starts jet vomiting green goo…..
did he just turn his head around 180 degrees?! Can Raccons even DO that?!
Sheeeeeesh, you would think Jim was hopelessly in love with Sarah to lose it to that degree.
Whack him again! WHACK HIM AGAIN!!!
How far ahead does Aaron draw the strip? Seems like some people here know what will happen next very accurately. Is it a case of you suggest and it happens?
Don’t let Chic die, Don’t let Holly die, Don’t let Wally die…. please….I think that Irving is going to be a big part of their escape from Jim, much like a dog will protect their owner from danger…
Aw, Jim… Why’d you have to bring that up for?
I don’t think it’s Jim at all. It’s in Jim’s head…but it isn’t Jim. It’s moved in from somewhere else, and either pushed Jim aside or absorbed him. Those eyes are either glowing bright or blank white…but not working eyes. Whatever “it” is, it doesn’t need them, but sees in another way.
Okay, that made me cry with fear! Shudders That was awesome and so freaky! :D I don’t cry with fear easily. I don’t scare easy.
Maybe he really is God?
Just a closing note before I go for the night.Jim’s look is terrifying.Holly’s look shakes me up more that his.Jim has just ripped that old wound open and the arterial spray is fixing to begin.She is not screaming now……but I can hear it welling up.Sleep well kiddos.Remember……..there are things that go bump in the night.
I am suddenly reminded of the place where Aaron Marx brought Flask to her place of “rebirth”. There were all the bubbles that evidently were souls both unborn and departed. Jim possibly has a contact with that place and in the schism can identify them and their connection to those on the Endtown plane of existence. That would explain his ability to know about both the teacher and the baby and appear to be “godlike”. Remember, any technology sufficiently advanced would seem like magic. So any similar transsensory ability would seem godlike.
We appear to have crossed a line…
Whyyyyy did I wait until it was dark to read this today?
In my circle of friends, I’m the one who goes to the movies alone, the same for watching TV. It is not a group activity for people like myself.Why?I have a real bad habit of figuring out plots before anyone else. I’m actually jokingly called The Spoiler" behind my back. I get a laugh knowing that they do not know that i know they call me that. I’ve studied people my entire life, watching for patterns of predictability, tells, tics, and telegraphed moves.Even the illogical have a pattern to their madness.It is rare that I can thoroughly enjoy a piece of media or a good story without ruining it for myself. Kurt Vonnegut was one of those lucky few who could throw me off the trail of the plot. Mr. Neathery is also a member of this exclusive group of entertainers whom I hold dear for their ability to keep me guessing.The only time I had to suppress this skill was in the IDF, I learned quickly not to spoil plots for my comrades who had easy access to automatic weapons.As a content creator it is difficult to be original, be it art, music, writing. Unless you grew up in a vacuum it is almost impossible not to be inspired by what people say, or what you read or see on a screen or the music you listen to.One can be driven nearly crazy trying to not let something influence you or guide your hands to that end.Instead we artists have tricks, like going the opposite direction, or changing the appearance of something so radically (we hope) that no one notices.I read somewhere that Shakespeare once said that there were only 13 types of stories in the world. I would have to agree, there are only so many permutations of plot, interaction, emotion, characters.If one is well read enough, it is possible to guess the plot of a story with a high degree of predictability.The problem arises the longer a story runs, creativity is like a well. Sometimes the well is empty, or almost dry.I’ve been lucky, yes, I have had some dry spells, sometimes it was self imposed, even though I was bursting with ideas and inspiration. Other times I was in a funk and uninspired. These last few years it has been off and on (part of aging I suppose), lately I have been really tearing into my art, thanks to new 3d drafting and engineering software. But still, even with the most amazing tools at my disposal, I’ll have a weekend of feverish dedication to my craft, much to the detriment of my home life. I haven’t really done any serious writing in years, but I have so many other things intruding in on my life, work, family, friends that I don’t always get to do what I want.I still consider myself very lucky to have all my ideas come to me already finished. I just have to translate it to reality.Even so, and I’ve done the math, less than 10% ever makes it to paper or canvas, or film and hard drive.I actually was foolish enough once to think I would be able to devote all my time to my craft when I got older. My “golden age” was between the ages of 14-31, it really started to taper off after I hit 34 or so. Somehow I made the time to devote days and weeks to a concept. Now it just kicks around in my head until I simply forget it or manage to find the time to make it real.One can easily become trapped by our creations, especially when we figure out how to make it pay our bills.Then it is even scarier when the well runs dry, the good artist will work to the point of exhaustion trying to stave of the inevitable with a forced burst of creativity, trying to get as much out as possible before one cannot. Which is why this excellent strip is down to 3 days a week. In this case however, the content has gained in value because of it’s scarcity.Keep up the great work Aaron!
Aaron!Are you trying to get me a 3rd heart attack???Please don’t hurt Holly.
Oops, did I post that 6 times? o-o sorry about that, I deleted all but one of those comments…
In the Buffyverse, demons are created when people lose their souls. I think Jim qualifies.
Not only is it virtually impossible to create a “completely” original work, but if a writer actually accomplished it, very few people (if any) would understand it. Items used before (plot elements, character types, settings ect…) are called tropes. While tropes are often overused to the point of being cliches, they also provide a framework that helps the reader or viewer orient themselves in the story. If one managed to create a story that was completely devoid of tropes, it would be difficult to orient oneself and make heads or tails of what was going on. see the following link for details.http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePageOh, and Endtown has its own page:http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Webcomic/Endtown
All holly has to do is give him a particularly hard bop to the nose with that lamp and that should take care of it
Ladybugs are kind of beetles. And beetle mandibles can be brutal. And Vincent is a huge beetle. With all that fur, I suspect Jim’s face and hands (paws?) are the best place for Vincent to attack Jim.
Did anyone else notice Vincent has the same name the rocker currently known as Alice Cooper was born with? Just me? Okay.
I have seen a few comments speculate Jim is under mental … something. Jim could be between realities, the nightmare fuel monsters may be manifesting. Jim may be becoming an Oracle anything else, maybe something we haven’t seen yet. For some reason, I think when Jim checked out of his mind, for lack of a better word, the herpetopolitan dittos may have taken possession. I think of the morphic resonance, or collective unconscious of Jung, but that may be my biases. Like the dittos are a two dimensional manifestation of some sort of god intelligence. Please note the lower case, I do not mean to insult anyone. But what is the expression? Any suitably advanced tech seems like magic? I just think whatever possesses Jim’s words and deeds is alien to at least most people. I have been spectacularly wrong before, and will doubtlessly be entertained at whatever path the tale takes us.
Just think neopolitan. Looking at it, I cannot pronounce herpetopolitan. Herpetopolis I can pronounce.
He sure knows a lot of secrets about the group: the teacher, the baby…