Octopus Pie

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Octopus Pie
Author(s) Meredith Gran
Website octopuspie.com
Current status / schedule Active / Thrice Weekly (See Below)
Launch date May 14, 2007 [7]
Genre(s) Life, humor

Octopus Pie is a webcomic written and drawn by Meredith Gran. It focuses on the misadventures of two 20-something women living in Brooklyn, New York. It is currently scheduled to update every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Around 600 strips have been published so far. The comic has been featured in an article in The New York Daily News.[1]

Content[edit]

The comic is light humor, with some occasional swearing and partial nudity. It relies on the juxtaposition of the two protagonists. Octopus Pie also has the feel of an indie comic, focusing on young urbanites, usually from Gen Y. In that way Octopus Pie is similar to such comics as Scott Pilgrim and Questionable Content.

Main characters[edit]

Everest "Eve" Ning Eve is a post-grad in creative writing from Brooklyn who has already become embittered at just about every aspect of her life, and the universe in general. Grumpy, cynical, and introverted, Eve has a menial job at Olly's Organix, an organic grocer, and has no clear idea about what she wants to do with her future. Early chapters of the strip focused on Eve's initially rocky relationship with her roommate Hannah, but the two have since become very close friends, despite their contrasting personalities and lifestyles. Eve's inhibitions and emotional distance has led many of her friends to view her as strong-willed and resilient, but Eve does not see herself this way.

Hanna Thompson Eve's free-spirited, strong-willed and outgoing roommate Hanna is Eve's opposite in many respects, and early story arcs often focused on their Odd Couple-like relationship. Hanna moved in with Eve after Eve's mom found her on "the Craig List" and remembered Hanna as Eve's preschool classmate. Hanna's uninhibited, marijuana-fueled lifestyle is sometimes a source of friction between her and Eve. In contrast to the stereotypical stoner, Hanna is a professional, hard-working small-business owner. Her business, Bake'N'Bake, provides baked goods (which Hanna prepares while high on marijuana, lending the business its name) to a variety of cafes and specialty grocers throughout the city, including Eve's employer, Olly's Organix. She has been in a happy long-term relationship with her live-in boyfriend Marek since the strip began.

Marek Kulasenski Hanna's warm-hearted, gentle boyfriend Marek is a Polish citizen attending graduate school in the city. He possesses a Zen-like calm and patience, and has almost never been provoked to anger. His relationship with Hanna is stable and happy, and Marek's accommodating nature is often instrumental in keeping the peace between the two. It's been hinted that Marek one day wants to raise a family, which may foreshadow darker times for the couple, as Hanna is adamant in her desire to never have children.

Will LeBlanc Will is a bartender, marijuana dealer, and general "urban mercenary." Will is charismatic and thoughtful, but his short temper and impulsive nature sometimes lead him to make poor decisions. He was briefly involved in a romantic relationship with Eve, but she ended their relationship when she learned that he was a drug dealer. Will lives with his longtime friend Larry, a sleazy-yet-likeable scam artist. A lengthy relationship with Hanna's friend Marigold ended with a nasty break-up. He is now dating a woman named Aimee, who he began seeing before breaking up with Marigold. It has been hinted that he and Eve still have some feelings for one another.

Marigold Fuchs Hanna's best friend from college, Marigold is kind, easy-going, naive, and somewhat impressionable. She began as a minor character in Hanna's circle of friends, but has gradually become a central character. During Marigold's relationship with Will, she was in awe of the perceived glamor and excitement of Will's life as a drug dealer until she accompanied him for a day on the job and learned that it was actually fairly mundane. In the aftermath their very rough and painful break-up, Marigold cut off her dreadlocks and reevaluated her life. Although disillusioned with her job, Marigold eventually decided to accept a lucrative promotion at Bed and Bath 3000 and moved into an upscale Manhattan apartment using her new salary.

Other characters[edit]

Park Chao Intelligent and extraordinarily ambitious, Park temporarily returned to the city after graduating law school, and soon reignited a romantic relationship with Eve, his high school sweetheart. Although he cared for Eve, his frank and sometimes domineering nature was a frequent source of conflict during their turbulent relationship, as he didn't approve of Hanna or her circle of friends and thought Eve suffered from a lack of ambition. He eventually found an entry-level law job in Chicago, and asked Eve to come with him. She eventually refused, and the couple split. Eve has not had a serious boyfriend since their breakup.

Olly Turner A manipulative, overstressed workaholic, Olly is the founder and proprietor of Olly's Organix. Olly is often underhanded and abusive towards his employees and his vendors, and he frequently abuses Eve's hard-working nature to save the store from a perpetually looming economic disaster. His business practices are often shady, and it has been suggested that all of his employees are paid off the books. His foul-mouthed, aggressive attitude is often a smokescreen for his deep insecurities and anxieties, and one of Olly's angry tirades can instantly dissolve into pathetic tears of despair. Olly is obsessed with seeing his exacting visions realized down to the finest detail, despite the indifference of his wife and employees. Despite his many faults, there is a strange nobility to Olly's underhanded desperation, and his store's constant financial problems have been shown to be a result of his idealism and refusal to stock popular brands that he doesn't believe are truly healthy.

Jacob Marley One of Eve's co-workers at Olly's Organix, Jacob is jaded and cynical, and is typically indifferent to Olly's emotional rants and pleas. He's kind of a jerk, and his taste in women seems to be entirely superficial. Jacob claims to be used to and even to enjoy being used by women, as his impossibly high standards frequently lead him into such relationships. His naive co-worker Julie is madly in love with him, a fact that Jacob is indifferent to, although he hasn't been above exploiting her feelings for the occasional sexual rendezvous.

Julie Clark Julie is a naive, impressionable, optimistic employee of Olly's Organix. Her standards for choosing personal heroes are quite low, as both Eve and Olly seem to have made her list, and she is prone to mythologizing about them. She is hopelessly in love with her co-worker Jacob, despite his cynical, emotionally abusive attitude and his complete indifference to her. Eve has often tried to persuade her to get over Jacob and finds Julie's love for him completely inexplicable. Eventually, an encounter with the barista Painter Line Jane causes Julie to cast her first doubts on her feelings towards Jacob.

Mrs. Ning Eve's mom is a smug, snarky and domineering divorcee. She's a strongly nationalistic conservative and believes all Americans must be vigilant because "there's a 9/11 lurking around every corner." However, it has been suggested that she was once an "enormous hippie." Mrs. Ning is protective and controlling of Eve, and it was her flippant, unauthorized decision to offer Hanna a room in Eve's apartment that began Octopus Pie. Mrs. Ning has a harsh, vindictive demeanor that many find intimidating, although surprisingly, Hanna seems to get along with her. It was Mrs. Ning who decided that her children should be named after her favorite mountains.

Plot arcs[edit]

Introductions[2]

Fairly self-explanatory, introduces the general flow of the comic. Eve has just broken up with her boyfriend, James, and Hanna moves in. Eve's job and the general state of her life is introduced.

Bicycle Rights[3]

Eve's bicycle (Mr. Pedals) is stolen, which prompts her to become paranoid about security.

Bake n' Bake[4]

Explores the mystery of what Hanna does for a living, also introduces Marek and Will. A link to the official Bake N' Bake website can be found here.

Grocery Misconduct[5]

Hanna goes topless in Central Park while Marek gives Eve the inspiration to learn of 'Duck Zen' when she spots her ex-boyfriend James with another girl. Then When Olly, Eve's boss, needs to come up with a new ad campaign for the store, Eve jokingly draws a crude dog that calls the store "The Fukken Shit" - not knowing that the drawing will be seen as Olly's temporary downfall and Eve's temporary popularity.

Natural Phenomenon[6]

When James, Eve's ex-boyfriend unexpectedly shows up at their front door, Eve and Hanna make a run for it (Hanna thinking James is a Narc), and Eve eventually winds up hanging out with Will. Eve then discovers that Will is Hannah's drug dealer.

Skate or Don't[7] On an ice skating outing, Hanna cracks her coccyx and Eve confronts a rival from her childhood. Eve's father appears in flashbacks.

Our Brooklynian Life[8]

While hanging out with Hanna, Eve finds and cares for a parrot. While the parrot gives her added attention, she also has to deal with the return of Will.

Tag[9]

Eve's old friends and Hannah's stoner buddies collide for a game of Laser Tag as Eve rekindles a romance with ex-boyfriend Park.

Renaissance Unfair[10]

Hanna recruits her friends to help her gain independence from Olly's Organix at a Renaissance Fair. Will becomes embroiled in courtly love and a fight with the coordinator's son.

Octopus Pie Love Comics[11]

A brief interlude starring Julie of Olly's Organix in her quest for love.

Dumbo[12]

Olly's latest attempt at staying profitable is Ollyween, and all his employees must participate.

Interview[13]

Park interviews for a law firm with some pretty awful results.

Exile on Jericho Turnpike[13]

Eve visits her brother and her father for his birthday and troubles about the amount of influence she has in their lives.

Love Anxiously[13]

It's Valentine's Day and everyone gets a little lesson in jealousy.

Lifetime TV[13]

The Ning siblings grew up wishing they could be contestants on their favorite shopping-based gameshow. Today, they stumble upon reality.

This is How I Deal[13]

Feeling hopeless in her day-to-day life, Marigold decides that surely, Will's job must be more interesting. A drug-dealing adventure awaits!

Snowy Patrol[13]

Hanna agrees to watch Park's dog Snowy for the weekend, in hopes of gaining his trust. Meanwhile, the possibility arises that Park (and Eve, by extension) could be leaving town soon.

Beer Your Own Boss[13]

Olly figures out that beer is made by people, and orders Eve, Julie and Jacob to make some for the store.

Fear Part 1[13]

The annual bike festival is upon Brooklyn, and with it comes a whole laundry list of anxieties.

Fear Part 2[13]

The bike festival concludes with Hanna and her unicycle-riding rival, Park's secret is revealed, and Eve's bittersweet conclusion about fear.

Who Are Parents[13]

A visit to Hanna's parents' house leads to the discovery of a terrible, terrible artifact. Eve, meanwhile, is pondering the role of parents in her life.

Couch Sitter[13]

Eve, Hanna and Marek have a soft-spoken house guest named Victor.

Frontwards[13]

Eve and Park's relationship has reached a crossroads, and whatever happens is going to suck.

Moving On[13]

Eve, Hanna and Marek suddenly decide to leave home. Apartment-hopping abound.

GO Team Willary[13]

Will is rejoined by his partner and friend Larry, who has a new business venture. Their reunion is not without some girl troubles and introspection.

Octopus DIE[13]

A non-canon whodunnit as Will rents out a mansion for what is supposed to be an awesome Halloween party. Pretty much everyone dies.

The Brownout Biscuit[13]

Some unfortunate events disrupt the adults' social group. Hanna and Eve each take the blame for Marigold's despair, and try to fix things in unimaginable ways.

Issues[edit]

While Octopus Pie is primarily a humorous strip, it has dealt with wider social issues, such as the right for women to go topless.[1][14]

Awards[edit]

Octopus Pie won the 2008 Web Cartoonists' Choice Awards Outstanding Newcomer award and was nominated for Outstanding Black and White Art and Outstanding Website Design.

Collected editions[edit]

  • Octopus Pie: An Interstate Oasis
  • Octopus Pie: A Brownstone Companion
  • Octopus Pie: There are no Stars in Brooklyn, 2010, Villard Books, ISBN 978-0-345-52043-2 - collects first two years of strips, with new title pages for each story
  • Octopus Pie: Listen at Home with Octopus Pie

Change to Update Schedule[edit]

In August 2009 the author announced that the comic, which had been updating on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays would be changing its schedule. Instead of updating several times per week, Gran would complete an entire story arc over the course of several weeks, and then publish the whole plotline at one time.[15] In this way, Gran hoped to be able to dedicate more time to the artwork of the comic, and to present a better product. As of 4 August 2010, the comic has returned to updating three times a week.[16]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]