You’ll have to forgive me… wait… no you won’t.

I’m sure that for the next several days at least the Schlock Forums and Schlock-related Live Journals will be the happy homes of countless “Fie on you, Howard!” posts. That’s fair. I liked Tagon, too, and as I’ve been scripting and drawing the strips that follow Schlocktoberfest, I keenly feel his loss.

That sounds really corny.

Anyway, I’m sure there will be all kinds of questions asked like “why did you do this?” or “why didn’t Tagon do that?” or “what about maybe if Petey has a teraport buffer in that cage thingy?” I’m sure you’ll understand when I refuse to directly answer ANY of those questions. October 31st marks the end of Schlocktoberfest, but it’s NOT the end of our story, which you need to experience as it unfolds. Anything further I say would be akin to spilling beans, letting cats out of bags, or loose-lipped ship-sinking.

So you’ll have to forgive my silence. Feel free to talk among yourselves. I may weigh in from time to time to moderate, or maybe to mock your pain, but I’m not giving anything away.

–Howard

60 thoughts on “You’ll have to forgive me… wait… no you won’t.”

  1. I’ve just read the comic and…

    Whoa.

    But I must say, I like it when comic writers keep their readers on their toes. And I certainly didn’t expect that to happen… Too many authors give their protagonists “plot immunity” and allow them to get out of any mess, no matter how big. This makes for a refeshing change.

    And it is also a good reminder that being a mercenary is a nasty line of work. You might believe that you are leading a charmed life, but sooner or later the downsides will catch up to you – as Pranger discovered.

  2. Cool! DEAAAAATH

    But, off panel? How could you miss this opportunity for sweet, sweet carnage?

    A well done strip and ending… sniff. Gonna miss the cap’n for sure.

    Maritza
    CRFH.net

    1. 20 years ago my friend’s dad died of Multiple Sclerosis. In his last year he refused all but a very, very few people to see him at all, and was very distressed knowing that his children and many others would remember him as a decrepit, wheel-chair bound wraith. He’d been a vibrant, charismatic, HEALTHY man once.

      I figured most of you would rather remember Tagon as vibrant and healthy than as a crispy corpse or pile of ash. Sappy, I know, but that’s the way *I* wanted to remember him, so that’s the last picture of Tagon that I drew.

      –Howard

      1. I guess given the right circumstances the last image of Tagon burned into our synapses could have been Schlock pouring the captain’s ashes down his muzzle.

      2. I was hoping more to see him start to face the Bangers, just before the end happened – an image of vital defiance, worthy of lionizing or raising a toast to him at a dinner, myself… but this wasn’t at all bad.

        I’m just sorry we didn’t see him taking out one or two of the Bangers, a few seconds before he was roasted alive by a plasma beam. 😀

    2. Tagon had the cojones to do what had to be done – messy though it was – and then take a few of the SOBs with him….
      (is Viva Tagon! appropriate? probably not)
      Presumably Schlock’s the only one who can tell the folks back home what happened…. Would Elf retain memories when regrown from the stem? Would she WANT to?
      I hope she’s organic this time?!

      1. It was mild, Lady Rowyn, the pun that I said
        And it hardly a ripple bestirred
        Why I’ve done rather better before leaving the bed
        Is it bad now as you have averred?

        So much stuff, Lady Rowyn, had offered itself
        To the word twisting ways I enjoy
        “Dorothy now in toto made one topless Elf
        lose her head for our officer boy.” ];-)

        Never mind, Lady Rowyn, it’s all to the good
        I’ll move on now and never look back
        Many puns I’m not even sure I understood —
        Will the D-wire cut me some slack?

        ===|==============/ Level Head

  3. If there’s anything I’ve learned from webcomics, it’s that if you don’t see them die, they aren’t really dead. Heck, with Schlock even if you do sometimes they aren’t really dead.

    I disbelieve. I disbelieve. I disbelieve.

  4. Actually, we kinda knew from the beginning that one of them wouldn’t make it. I think you handled Tagon’s passing with dignity and respect for a well-liked character. Tagon went out fighting, just like we always figured he’d want to. A great strip, it turned out… just the way it should. Thank you!

  5. Admittedly I’m fairly new to the comic and as such haven’t developed much of an attatchment to any of the characters (I must admit I like Schlock & Petey, though) I would have to say from what I can see, Tagon died in pure Schlock Mercenary style. That is, with a cold, crispy layer of pragmatism over a creamy centre of irony.

    And frankly I wouldn’t have it any other way. It takes balls to do a military comic and portray it as it really is – that there are no ‘red shirts’ and ‘PCs’, everyone can die.

    1. PC’s should be able to die.

      Song of Ice and Fire…and this LARP I play, Aralis…

      Definitely.

      And oh man does it hurt when someone you care about (fictional or not) dies.

      1. Yeah, but normally ‘PCs’ get to do some really crazy stuff without dying, and do it consistently.

        (Then again, this depends on whether one’s gaming preferences go more towards D&D or Call of Cthulu)

        1. (Then again, this depends on whether one’s gaming preferences go more towards D&D or Call of Cthulu)

          Or Paranoia, where the default state is having fun killing ungrateful PCs getting yourself killed.

  6. RIP

    The character of Captain Jeff Tagon, owner of Tagon’s Toughs, died several thousand years from now on October 31st. He was not a noble man. He was not a nice man. But he did the best he could for himself and his troops. Rest in peace, Tagon. You will be missed.
    At least until Howard brings you back, the SOB! 😀

          1. Re: RIP

            Actually, this is why I hate text. :-/
            The tone I had in mind was indeed apologetic, but without a facial expression to convey the emotion, you seem to have placed a snide, sarcastic tone in the statement, which is probably the reason for the hostile response.

          2. Re: RIP

            *points at the smiley face at the end of his reply*

            Dude… I was being a dork and kidding…

            🙂

            Honest…

            I don’t do hostile infront of Howard… He’d put me in a savage time out of “no Schlock”, and that’s a fate worse than democrat…

          3. Re: RIP

            No Schlock is indeed a fate worse than $Real_Bad_Thing().

            Again… this is why I hate text. 😉
            Don’t get me wrong, I love the medium, but it can be incredibly annoying.

      1. Probably *BLAM*. With a side order of *BLAM*. Odds are there should be enough *BLAM* that everybody gets a serve.

        and maybe *OMINOUS HUMMMMMMM* for dessert. (There’s always room for *OMINOUS HUMMMMMMM*!)

      2. What ever it is…

        Remember the most quoted line from the Mercenary’s Handbook…

        “The is no ‘overkill’, there is only ‘Open fire’ and ‘I need to reload’…”

        I’m more worried about the fact that it’s KEVIN now that’s in charge…

          1. Re: What ever it is…

            I doubt it’s Schlock. He’s only a seargeant. Granted, he’s good in that role, but he’s no officer material. Besides, he currently has some… mental problems (and I wonder how the comic is going to deal with those – I don’t think turning this comic into “The Adventures of Young Schlock” is a good idea…).

      1. Re: Annoyed at ?

        In case you haven’t already figured it out, Tagon was the leader of a band of mercenary soldiers. Lots of guns are part of their stock in trade.

  7. What’s the point of dangling your heros off the edge of a cliff if you never bother drop them? Without death in the story (and not a red-shirt, either), then where’s the risk?

    I won’t begrudging you the right to kill off a main character, nor will I browbeat you for it. It was a good strip with a decent ending. Good job.

    Cheers

  8. Perhaps you should put a spoiler warning of some sort next time. Or perhaps put it behind an lj cut which warns people not to read the post before they read the comic.

    1. Heh, I saw the preamble and ran off to read the comic before coming back. Sad to see Tagon go, but the preceeding strip of prisoner execution was satisfyingly nasty.

  9. Mind you, I was sorta disappointed.

    I mean, people were predicting Tagon’s death, along with Elf’s and Schlock’s. So I was thinking, “If I was an author with a penchant with messing around with people’s minds, and they know I was going to kill off one of my characters, who should I kill?”

    The answer was obvious, at least to me.

    Everybody in the mercenary company who took a holiday on that tropical planet could have been ambushed and murderated, maybe by forces led by Petey, or by someone else who didn’t like a superAI-with-no-fetters.

    I didn’t see anyone predicting that, so I guess I should be satisfied with being the EVILEST FAN EVAH.

      1. This, of course, makes me wonder how many people you could kill before Schlock Mercenary stops being ‘Schlock Mercenary’.

        I can imagine a run where everybody gets killed. Even you. Or your avatar representation in the Schlockiverse.

        Then we can have a zombie Howard Tayler making the occasional appearance, where you’d pontificate on intelligent things one minute, and go mad slavering brain-hungry the next.

        Hmm. Nanotechnology making zombies. Next Schlocktoberfest perhaps? >:)

    1. Everybody in the mercenary company who took a holiday on that tropical planet could have been ambushed and murderated, maybe by forces led by Petey, or by someone else who didn’t like a superAI-with-no-fetters.

      I didn’t see anyone predicting that, so I guess I should be satisfied with being the EVILEST FAN EVAH.

      Obviously you haven’t been reading the Nightstar Forums.

      Drop by sometime, it’s a great party. (Or, y’know, wake. At the moment.)

      1. I wasn’t looking very hard at the Nightstar Forums, actually.

        And I don’t wanna join. I have enough trouble trying to keep track of my online communities as it is.

  10. Side-kick?

    Today’s comic does make up for you inventing the Schlock baby. Although today’s comic does open the door for Schlock getting a side-kick, or is it Schlock-kick. If you bring in a cliche’ side-kick, there shall be no end to the wrath.

  11. I just Hope

    I just hope that you Don’t bring back Tagon, I liked him, but I hate the cliche’ of Hero dies, everyone thinks he died, but he suddenly comes back from the dead it is one of the main reasons I stopped reading Salvator’s dark elf series.

    1. Re: I just Hope

      Yah, I gotta agree. Though sometimes I’m too glad to see the character back to get mad about it.

      But in this case, I figure if Mr. Tayler wanted to bring Tagon back later, he wouldn’t have narrated Tagon’s death. He had the opportunity to leave himself wiggle room to get Tagon back — just end the strip when Elf and Schlock aren’t there to watch any more. But he didn’t. So bringing Tagon back now would be especially lame.

      *sigh*

      *sniff*

      1. Re: I just Hope

        If/When Howard brings characters back, there’s usually a good reason, and frequently a plot necessity. They also are not the _same_ character – Look at Petey.

        Bringing him back would be… Odd. But I’m more wondering what happens with “Tagon’s Toughs” when ‘Tagon’ isn’t around. Also, what do the remaining Pranger’s Bangers grunts do vs the Toughs?

        BW

  12. Can’t bring Tagon back, even if he wanted to.

    At least not untill teh emotional scars have had a chance to start healing, that wat it ripps open a whole new set of wounds for Elf and the fans.

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