In this month’s installment of Character Deep Dive, we’re looking at Grenadine Luncher from the comic Ripping Off King Arthur by Arthur Spitzer!
Before I do any dive, I have to say that due to the unique concept and approach of this comic, I had to really think how to tweak my own approach to deep dives for character analyses. So I there are some slight changes to the format that are done to better serve the analysis of this particular character, but for the next deep dive, expect it to return!
Ok, without any more dilly-dallying, let’s see what we got!
The setting, the world, the characters
Ripping Off King Arthur is classed as “Mystery” which is an understatement! There are mysteries to be solved in the plot and storyline for sure, but the real mystery (and the uniqueness) of this webcomic is its setting.
I’d say that Ripping Off King Arthur is more of a riffing off the style of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: we start off the story (after an introduction instructing us how to read it and giving us life advice) with a dude in a straitjacket who is checked out of the mental institution by a giant sentient lizard. He’s put in a limo and driven to Webcomiclot on the orders of the owner who claims to have been a college roommate with him. Webcomiclot is, per the lizard’s words, a commune of webcomic artists owned by a dinosaur that may or may not be a cardboard cutout that is propped in random places and never speaks. Yes, that dinosaur is who claims to have been the (very human) dude’s old college roommate and ordered to have him released from the psych ward.
Everything in Webcomiclot, from the locations to the inhabitants, feels like a fever dream or something that exists in the mind of the dude in the straitjacket. The fact that a lot of the characters break the fourth wall or come across as extremely savvy of being in a webcomic adds to the impression that this whole world is potentially someone’s world while they’re tripping or having a psychotic break- very much like Wonderland feels, or even the land of Oz.
Therefore, a lot of the characters within Webcomiclot (Artists’ Camelot or an effort to Rip Off King Arthur in every way possible? You got to decide) are also surreal. That goes for their personalities, too. I’d posit that for pretty much the entire cast, each character has one trait that is disproportionately more dominant than anything else, making them into surreal, warped versions of what there could exist in a more realistic world.
This makes for a lot of gags, jokes, and tongue-in-cheek commentary that on occasion feels like an inside joke or requiring to know specific things (like varying opinions on John McCain for example!) to be completely immersed. I enjoyed the sheer self-awareness that this comic not only communicates, but outright hits the reader over the head with from the get-go (just the instructions on how to read the comic, as well as the life advice explaining the title is enough to lure you in out of curiosity alone!)
Now that we know the basics about the comic’s setup, let’s get a look at the notorious Grenadine Luncher!
Basic Character Design
Grenadine is a very curvaceous lady, wearing a ski mask and glasses. Beyond the coverup of her entire head, the rest of her outfit is very revealing. She claims she wears the ski mask for a skin condition, but it’s of course implied that she does it to hide her identity due to being wanted for multiple crimes.
I’m not sure of her height since scale is not something that matters all that much in this surreal world, but I’d say it’s more likely that she’s tall or on the tall side.
Grenadine is the wife of the owner of Webcomiclot so she must have married a giant (mostly sentient?) t-rex or a cardboard cutout of said dinosaur. She owns 50% of Webcomiclot and should anything happen to the husband, she’ll be owning all of it (per her words).
Since her husband never speaks, is often in weird situations off-site, and generally is a cut-out, Grenadine is the real leader and owner of Webcomiclot. She calls the shots, gives orders, and her word generally carries the weight you’d expect of a ruler.
She is also a regular gun slinger, has had a high body count (as in, she’s killed a ton of people), and has no problem adding to it throughout the comic.
Lastly, as is implied of all the dwellers in Webcomiclot, she is a webcomic artist, with a webcomic she works on. She’s willing to allow you to survive (for a little while) if you write a very favourable review!
Personality and Psych Scan
Personality wise, Grenadine comes across as an outspoken woman who seeks the approval of others. She does have a range of leadership traits, such as making decisions, delegating tasks, and being able to create plans for a group to adhere to.
The fact that she hides her face could be because she doesn’t want her identity to be known, but I’ll be skeptical. The sheer fact that she’s the only person wearing the exact same hood/mask/goggles combo, going by her actual name, her actual marital status, and her actual position in Webcomiclot makes her highly identifiable whether or not she shows her face to the world.
Therefore, and considering that she’s quite intelligent, I’d attribute the behavior of covering her face and never revealing it to self-consciousness. Either she feels her face is too ugly, or she is too insecure to have others look at her in the eyes and see her facial expressions. This tells me that she may be experiencing some level of Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Covering her face and shielding her facial expression might mean that there is a real fear of embarrassing herself with whatever expressions the world can read on her face- among other things. Such a level of concealment implies deep shame of some sort, and can qualify for the SAD diagnosis.
Not only is she consistently avoiding showing her face to the world, she also has instances where she displays an indirect concern (or even fear) of being judged negatively. She is willing to reward approval for her webcomic even if it’s clearly done as an exchange. She is also married to a cardboard- the perfect choice if you are nervous about dating and maintaining the approval of others.
One could even argue that the whole gunslinging she does is serving (among other things) the need to suppress any rejection of herself by the others in Webcomiclot.
And then there’s also the guiltless killings that she does, the disregard for other peoples’ feelings and discomfort, the abundance of criminal behaviors which point to Anti-social Personality Disorder.
Grenadine has at least 3 of the traits necessary for this diagnosis (constantly breaking the law, impulsivity and aggression, lack of remorse).
I am reluctant to go further into Grenadine’s psych scan because she is, after all, a surreal character. A lot of what is does is larger than life and responses to other characters that also are warped and peculiar to fit the general setting and vibe of the comic.
I’d say, however, that Grenadine is fun! She is unapologetic and wrangles a realm where anything can (and does) happen.
Go ahead and read Ripping Off King Arthur to enjoy her yourself! Thank you Arthur for this unusual character in a most unusual world!
Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Aug. 12, 2023
character deep dive, character design, Grenadine Luncher, Ripping Off King Arthur, Tantz_Aerine, writing
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